Science Is Supposed to Have Predictive Value

You are either able to predict the outcome of experiments or the behavior of nature. So what is it if there is no predictive value? Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions.

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today.

None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true.

A nice collection of images from newspapers about Global Cooling and then Global Warming, and whatever we have today. (Hat tip to 90 Miles From Tyranny.)

What Anti-vaxxers Have Achieved

Pretty much what would be expected. Measles cases skyrocket.

At least 1,241 people — many of them school-aged children — contracted the viral infection across 31 states so far this year, according to the latest count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called it the highest number of reported cases in nearly a generation.

The rise comes amid increased demand for vaccine exemptions as parents, some dubious of government control or worried about the now-debunked link between immunization and autism, seek to opt their children out of the mandatory shot schedule.

And it isn’t just that “if I vaccinate my kids, I’m OK” because for 3% of the population, the measles vaccine fails. In general, that number is small enough that they would be protected by a more completely vaccinated population.

Affects of measles can include permanent hearing loss, permanent brain-damage and death.

Climate Science – Lite on the Science

SiGraybeard has the rundown on an interesting article. The Climate Change Hoax is Worse Than You Thought.

The article is supported by a fairly large PDF, so although I will look at it eventually, that won’t happen for a while. But there seem to be some problems.

In my prior experience, climate modelers:

  • did not know to distinguish between accuracy and precision.
  • did not understand that … a ±15 C temperature uncertainty is not a physical temperature.
  • confronted standard error propagation as a foreign concept.
  • did not understand the significance or impact of a calibration experiment.
  • did not understand the concept of instrumental or model resolution or that it has empirical limits
  • did not understand physical error analysis at all.

    I’ve said before that they didn’t seem to understand gauge reliability or repeatability and if you think you have a problem you can’t just “edit the data after the fact” to best support the conclusion you want to reach. You do in fact have to toss out the suspect data, and fix the gauge.

    Anyway, it will be some time before I get to the source material…

    A Solar Road. What Could Go Wrong?

    Color me shocked. France’s Wattway solar road proves to be a big, expensive failure. The term “abject failure” came up.

    Do people with these dreams of solar everything have any idea how much stress is imposed by vehicles? I’m guessing, “No.”

    The solar roadway is constructed from panels with a special silicon resin acting as the driving surface, and while its designer, a company called Colas, claimed it would stand up to a semi-truck, tractors seem to have been enough to cause the silicon layer to flake and crack, damaging the delicate solar panels underneath.

    The Wattway is also loud. So loud, in fact, that the local government has been forced to limit traffic to just 70 kilometers per hour (around 43 miles per hour) to cut down on the sound. So, it seems like the Wattway is a failure at being a road, but how is it at generating solar energy?

    Miserable.

    The “shade” from cars driving on the road. Where it was placed, wasn’t a great solar location, and the flat nature of roads added up to less than expected performance.

    The best quote is really from the Popular Mechanics article on the Wattway.

    “If they really want this to work, they should first stop cars driving on it,” Marc Jedliczka, vice president of the Network for Energetic Transition (CLER), which promotes renewable energy

    Stop driving on your solar “road.” That’s probably a Progressive dream. Or something.

    What Makes It Likely You Will Live Past 100?

    In a word, fraud. That is, lying about your age. Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans. (That’s a preview version, not peer-reviewed.)

    The introduction of state-wide birth certification coincides with a sharp reduction in the number of supercentenarians. In total, 82% of supercentenarian records from the USA (N=536) predate state-wide birth certification. Forty-two states achieved complete birth certificate coverage during the survey period. When these states transition to state-wide birth registration, the number of supercentenarians falls by 80% per year (Fig 1a), or approximately 69% per capita (Fig 1b).

    The sound of settled science.

    If no birth certificate was issued when you were born, then minus a notation in the family bible (or whatever) you are as old as you say you are. And there’s less status to being 91 than to being 101. And that doesn’t even count things like pension fraud. Is it better to be 62, or 68 if being 68 (on paper anyway) means you can collect your pension this year instead of in 3 years?

    Hat tip to SiGraybeard with. The Secret of the People Living Past 100, who notes…

    Sorry, but this literally made me laugh out loud. They’re not measuring longevity, they’re measuring fraud. This is the quality of science we get out the medical junk science world. This is what diet advice is being based on.

    People study these populations and make pronouncements about diet and culture. The Mediterranean diet was popularized because apparently of a bunch of long-life effects. But they didn’t control for this birth-record situation. The Japanese diet was likewise praised based on the longevity of people in Okinawa. Same deal. And these diets were pushed, books were written. People were lectured about their bad eating habits because they didn’t follow this advice.

    You might also be interested in The King of Junk Food Science is Out, also from SiGraybeard. (That’s food-science that is junk, not the science of Junk-food.) Things like the Mediterranean Diet were foisted on the public by bad statistical studies. Because it is easier to do bad statistics than be diligent, and in a world where you need to publish stuff you can. As long as you aren’t worried about things like the validity of your conclusions, or the repeatability of your findings. You just need to overlook things like systematic fraud that has creeped into your underlying data.

    The Energy Density of Various Things

    This post is mostly for reference, as the subject of “what can we do with lithium-ion batteries?” is a question on everyone’s mind.

    The article is from 2015, but the associated graph is interesting. New lithium-air battery could drive huge performance gains.

    Click the image for a larger view. Lithium-ion batteries are in the lower left-hand corner. Near zero, on each axis. Hydrogen is way off on the lower right, which is why I think using solar power to create hydrogen from water might be our best long-term solution. Gasoline, diesel and kerosene are sort of in the middle of the graph.

    The graph shows the relative energy density in Megajoules per liter, and Megajoules per kilogram. Usually you see stuff in Kilowatt-hours per liter, etc. (Conversion is straight multiplication where 1 megajoule = 0.27778 kilowatt-hours, and 1 kilowatt-hour = 3.6 Mj.) The graph includes Lithium-ion batteries, gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene, Natural gas, hydrogen, and a bunch of other stuff.

    Lithium-ion batteries score about 0, compared to everything else on the chart.

    The article from 2015 talks about some “new battery technology” that is going to revolutionize everything. But it isn’t the only article of that nature I’ve read in the past 30 years. When I was in college, fusion power was just a few improvements away. Pretty much where it is right now. Does anyone remember bubble memory? And look up super-capacitors. They’re another, “just around the corner” technology. Eventually one of those technologies will arrive, but they are not here right now.

    Consider, when you are doing your calculations around batteries and use in aircraft, that a Boeing 777-200LR burns about 6.66 tons of fuel per hour. That is 8,297 liters/hr of jet fuel. (Jet fuel isn’t listed on that graph, but for the purposes of commercial airliners it is essentially kerosene.) A 747 burns more fuel, and an Airbus 350 burns less. All of that is going to depend on weight of the passengers and cargo, and the fuel.

    The Insanity That Passes for Research

    Call attention to the insanity in “research” that is loved by the Left, and lose your job. Because, “How dare you question anything on the Left!” Boghossian/Pluckrose/Lindsay Hoax: How Corrupt Is Higher Education?.

    Just how corrupt is higher education? Let’s return to October of 2018 and Grieving Grievance Studies: The Continuing Scam. There, I introduced readers to Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, academics all, who had an interesting idea: Write parodies of academic writing, so outlandish, so obviously jokes, no rational editor of an academic journal could possibly buy them, submit them to various academic journals, and see what happened. They wrote more than 20. Seven were accepted to fulsome acclamation, seven were rejected, and the rest were still being considering when they went public, as they always intended. In that article, I also reminded readers of the gold standard, the Sokal Hoax:

    As they say, go read the whole thing, and then when some talking head on CNN or elsewhere says something like, “Studies show…” or “Research says…” remember this insanity.

    “consumers are barely aware of what it would mean to stop using the herbicide.”

    That’s an understatement. Defending glyphosate: A ‘Roundup’ of German agribusiness sentiments.

    I always say that people who’ve never seen a combine harvester in real life, have no idea of the scale of modern agriculture, and no appreciation for the history of what life was like before it was mechanized, and chemistry was applied can solve all the problems with modern agriculture while drinking their soy-latte.

    Now I’m not an apologist for Monsanto, but you can’t just drop the use of Roundup and expect that nothing else will change. The linked article talks in part about the raising of sugar beets in Germany, and the use of glyphosate.

    Critics of the herbicide in Brandenburg are quick to demand that weeds be removed mechanically, but Peters says they usually fail to mention the downsides of such an approach.

    “Yes, another cultivation strategy would indeed be to remove the weeds mechanically with tractor-driven plows,” Peters admits. “But that would cost a lot more energy and increase the use of diesel enormously and our CO2 emissions respectively. Food products would become more expensive,” he notes. “And using plows extensively would harm our fields as it would worsen our already existing wind erosion problems.”

    So does the Left want to reduce the use of diesel? Of course they are going to try and mandate the elimination of diesel as well. I hope everyone reading this is prepared to grow all of your own food if they do. Again, they’ve never seen a combine harvester, or a full size Deere tractor, or any other bit of Ag machinery up close.

    Some statistics on life before agriculture was mechanized.

    • In 1790 farmers made up about 90% of the population. Agriculture was labor intensive.
    • In 1860 farmers made up 58% the working population. Several machines – McCormick’s Reaper in particular – had been introduced.
    • In 1900 farmers made up 38% of the labor force.
    • 1930: Farmers made up 21% of labor force. After the Dust Bowl, better conservation methods were introduced. (see quote above re: wind erosion.) Also the tractor (as we know it) came into widespread use in the 1930s.
    • In 1950 Farmers made up 12.2% of the labor force. The 1950s saw chemical revolution. Fertilizers had been available since before the Civil War, but now became cheap. Also herbicides and pesticides came into use.
    • 1980: Farmers made up 3.4% of labor force

    There are more statistics, about hours of labor for 100 bushels of wheat, etc. over the years at that link.

    So how far back to you want to turn the clock?

    Don’t Believe the Polls – Australian Edition

    Remember how the polls said there was no chance Hilary could lose the 2016 election? Well they’ve done it again. This time in Australia. The expert who predicted Trump, Brexit – and Scott Morrison

    The referenced article, or any of the others on the Australian elections, isn’t really of interest. What is of interest is the polling was wrong. Completely wrong. Again.

    Despite trailing in every major poll for three years, the Coalition retained power on Saturday night and could yet form majority government.

    With polling and betting markets missing the mark, experts are increasingly turning to social media to judge voter sentiment on a larger scale.

    And with the crackdown on conservative thought by Big Social Media, even that will be hard to pin down.

    So the next time some talking head, or politician, says that X percent of the population favors their latest Big Government power grab, ask them about 2016, or Australia.

    So I’ve been trying to figure out how polling companies can get so much wrong. So I went looking for their methodology. Pew Research was my first (and only) stop. What I found is inexplicable. Trump’s Staunch GOP Supporters Have Roots in the Tea Party: Methodology.

    This isn’t the only piece of Pew’s methodology I looked at. And what I saw wasn’t 100 percent uniform, but a whole bunch of what I saw, fell into this pattern.

    The ATP [Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel] is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults recruited from landline and cellphone random-digit-dial surveys.

    They will determine that 312-555-12XX is in a particular part of the Chicago area (for example) and dial random digits. They do similar calling for blocks of numbers that are cellphones. I can’t think of a more self-selecting group to answer questions. If you “randomly” call my number, and you aren’t in my contacts list, I’m going to assume you are the credit fraud scammer, and ignore the call. (Anyone with real business will leave a message.) If Pew research left a message – which I don’t believe they do, but I’m not 100 percent clear on that – I wouldn’t call them back. Would you?

    Maybe dialing people randomly could have worked back in the dark ages, before answering machines, but with caller ID and voicemail, and the proliferation of scams, who answers a call from an unknown number?

    And this isn’t a poll from the dark ages. This is from a document published in 2019, based on group recruited to be on this panel in 2014 and 2015.

    Polls in which the surveyed population is a self-selecting sample are not usually too good. People who will answer random calls from unknown numbers. People who will agree to work with Pew for years out. I don’t know anyone, of any political affiliation, that I think would fall into a group like this. Random sample? Not hardly.

    And then I’m still a fan of Mike Royko’s call to lie to exit pollsters, from 1984.

    But he said if enough voters lie, ‘The entire nation will be treated to one of the finest evenings of television viewing since the tube was unleashed.

    ‘As the evening wears on and the actual votes are counted, we will see Dan become more and more wild-eyed. We’ll see Peter hyperventilating. And even Davie will look like he is fully awake. And they’ll all be stammering about how ‘goodness, something seems to have gone wrong.’

    Surprisingly good description of what happened in 2016, even if the players had changed.

    Anti-vaccine Family Gets to Spend Vacation in Quarantine

    And (maybe) they will be credited with starting an epidemic. French boy suspected of reintroducing measles to Costa Rica.

    Costa Rica had been measles-free for 5 years.

    An unvaccinated French child who went on holiday with his parents to Costa Rica is suspected of reintroducing measles to the Central American country.

    The 5-year-old boy and his parents entered the country on February 18, Costa Rica’s Health Ministry said.

    Authorities have quarantined the boy in a hospital and are searching for people he may have come into contact with since his arrival.

    I’m sure they are happy they bought into the “vaccines are scary” narrative.

    Measles vaccine prevented an estimated 21.1 million deaths worldwide from 2000 to 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    It isn’t just France of course, all of Europe has seen a huge increase in the number of measles cases in 2018.

    The WaPo: “It’s Global Warming!”

    I almost didn’t link to them, because they get enough clicks based on this insanity. Pacific Gas and Electric is a company that was just bankrupted by climate change. It won’t be the last..

    The fires are totally the cause of Global Warming. PG&E deferring maintenance on the transmission lines, not doing brush clearing around the lines, and environmentalists fighting EVERY attempt at forest management to try and remove at least SOME of the dead trees, had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the fires.

    The Sacramento Bee, on the other hand, manages to tell the truth about the situation, even while trying not to. ‘A statewide problem.’ How PG&E’s bankruptcy could soil California’s green-energy movement.

    A year later, Williams is out, PG&E is bankrupt – and the utility is making noise about backing out of some of its commitments to use renewable energy. In a court filing Tuesday, PG&E told the bankruptcy judge it wants the authority to cancel some of its renewable-energy contracts – many of which force PG&E to buy power at above-market rates.

    Since “deregulation” – right before the Enron disaster – to today, California energy markets have been micromanaged by the State. (Because legislators are SO competent to be in the power-engineering game.) And no, it wasn’t real deregulation, the state controlled what kinds of contracts the utility could sign. Which was only short-term contracts before Enron which left them open to price manipulation in a big way, and only long term contracts after Enron, which locked them into unusually high energy costs for several years. Today it is “green energy.” Because there is nothing the Socialists in California hate more than a free market, where individuals are free to do what they feel is best.

    Now, however, the company has more contracts in place, as the California Legislature has dramatically ramped up the requirements on utilities to make use of renewable energy.

    The state’s first “renewable portfolio standard” was signed into law by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. The law required utilities to become 20 percent renewable by 2017.

    A 2011 law established a 33 percent green-energy minimum by 2020 – the threshold that PG&E boasted about meeting three years early. And last September, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 100, requiring utilities to be 50 percent green by 2026, 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045.

    Yeah, that sounds TOTALLY like a deregulated energy market. Or maybe not. Any bets on how stable the California power grid will be in 2045? (Hint: Take a look at Australia.) For a review of California’s Camp Fire, see this link.

    $140 Per Day Electricity Cost in Australia

    Because renewables. Nearly a billion dollars for electricity for just one day — $500 per family. That $140 (Aus) is per capita, so if you live by yourself, you might pay more. And 1 Australian dollar is 72 cents US, at the current exchange rate.

    For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not be aware of what happened. Coles and Woolworths will have to add a few cents to everything to cover their bills, and the government will have to cut services or increase taxes. No one will know how many jobs are not offered or opportunities lost. This is the road to Venezuela. [My emphasis, Z-Deb]

    Which seems to be the road that all the Left wants to be on.

    How did Australia (Victoria in particular) end up here? Well, let’s look at an article from Victoria’s Herald Sun: VICTORIANS SWEAT THROUGH A GREAT GREEN HOAX. The story starts out with reiterating the usual Green mantra:

    Lily D’Ambrosio, Victoria’s warmist Minister for Energy, in 2017 claimed Labor was helping to “deliver affordable, sustainable and renewable energy”.

    Turns out, it is none of those things.

    Affordable? Victoria actually had wholesale power prices hit $14,500 per megawatt hour – when prices used to average less than $40.

    Sustainable? Wind power generators on Thursday delivered a feeble 3.8 per cent of the state’s power, thanks to fickle winds. They could not deliver when needed most.

    Reliable? Victoria – which helped drive the giant Hazelwood coal-fired generator out of business – ran short of electricity in the heat wave, and suffered blackouts that hit 200,000 homes and premises, even after it ordered big power users like the Portland smelter to shut down.

    And just for perspective, consider that people with health problems can be really impacted by blackouts. Oxygen concentrators stop working, and people have to switch to backup tanks. Which means a caregiver had better be present, and someone needs to be managing the backup supply – if blackouts are frequent occurrence. Even a lack of air-conditioning can be hard on the infirm. Insulin has been made shelf-stable, so the loss of refrigeration doesn’t impact diabetics the way it used to, but there are probably some medicines that need to be temperature controlled. (Should we talk about the use of diesel generators?)

    The green contingent often downplay the economic realities, but a 36,000 percent increase in the wholesale cost of power, means you have just destroyed your economy. No one voted for that. Could you afford a $3000/month electric bill? Evey month? Most people can’t. Those who can, probably have to means to move elsewhere.

    Why does Victoria, sitting on hundreds of years of supply of coal and big gas reserves, have an electricity system that can no longer deliver enough electricity?

    In a word, Renewables. (Hat tip to Ice Age Now, and Pirate’s Cove.)

    Forensic “Science”

    JusticeIt is often more like forensic “old wives tales.” ‘I’ll always have a scarlet letter’: Mom cleared after being wrongly convicted of stabbing her son, 10, to death due to bad science says she is still shunned and feels ‘separated from society’ 20 years on.

    This “science” is known as “bloodstain-analysis.”

    In 2002 she was convicted of first-degree murder, largely based on the testimony of two bloodstain-pattern analysts.

    However, she was exonerated in 2006 and acquitted at a retrial thanks to the work of a legal team from the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law in Chicago.

    This was after a serial-killer confessed to the crime, and described it in terms that she had always used.

    She can’t get a job, because her conviction still shows up in searches.

    There were people convicted – and probably still in prison – base on “fire science” that was not in the least bit scientific. At least one was put to death. Because The Criminal Justice System, is often criminal, is not the least interested in Justice, and above all is a system, that rewards it players based on a win/lose percentage, that has nothing whatsoever to do with Justice.

    “Folks at NASA need to get out more”

    This reminds me of a quote from the movie Species, but there are enough movie references at this link: NASA wants an all female crew to Mars to prevent sex happening during the trip?.

    What makes NASA think an all female space crew might not end up being a mini version of the LPGA, women’s softball, or women’s soccer? Will NASA screen against that (how do you think that will fly with certain SJWs)?

    NASA lost most people’s imagination when they concentrated on the Space Truck Shuttle.

    Click thru for various stuff along the lines of Lesbian Vampires from Outer Space, Lesbians in Space and other bits of classic cinema.

    “Mad Science” means never stopping to ask “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” ‡

    Yeah, this won’t end badly. Japan set to allow gene editing in human embryos.

    But if adopted, the guidelines would restrict the manipulation of human embryos for reproduction, although this would not be legally binding.

    Bharaputra Labs comes to mind right away. It also brings up a host of other SciFi books and movies.

    ‡ The title of this post comes from The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries, from Schlock Mercenary. (It was originally “The Seven Rules…” but it turns out the people at Franklin/Covey have no sense of humor.)

    So Who Wins in the Battle Between a White Liberal and a Native American Tribe?

    My guess: the media is going to back the white liberal to the hilt. But I think the public won’t be fooled. ‘Inappropriate and wrong’: Cherokee Nation official throws cold water on Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test of Native American heritage.

    Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. called the test cited by Warren’s report “useless” in determining tribal citizenship and alleged she was “undermining tribal interests” with her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

    “A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Hoskin said in a statement.

    A quick survey of Bing News (11:45 PM on the 15th) shows that while a local ABC affiliate in Arizona picked up the tribal statement, the big media outlets are still trumpeting her “DNA test” results. Will check again in the AM at some point.

    Just like the media is vilifying Kanye West, just like they attacked Dr Rice, when she became Secretary of State, under GW Bush, they will treat any minority with disdain, if that minority dares to question the Democratic position on anything. And the current position is that Elizabeth Warren has a Native American Heritage – regardless of the the DNA or the Native Americans say.

    Survey on Gun Culture From the (incredibly biased) Boston University

    Too many questions that could lead to identification make actually taking the survey a problem Atrocious Study of Social Gun Culture Undermines Credibility of Public Health Research on Guns ‹ Gun Culture 2.0

    In the first place, the study purports to be “designed to understand social gun culture among adult US residents (citizens and non-citizens) who currently use social media.” But few of the 77 total questions ask about participation in social gun culture.

    The principal investigator is somewhat more honest in the flier put together to publicize the study, which makes clear the primary interest is in gun violence and gun control, not gun culture.

    Which is fine, but don’t pretend you are studying something you are not.

    As David Yamane mentions, the survey is poorly written and contains spelling errors. (Some that a decent spell-checker could have found.)

    The actual survey can be found at this link. As I mentioned there are enough questions about identity, that it could cause some to not want to answer. I suggest use of a VPN (but I suggest use of the VPN always) and maybe fudging a few of those answers to remain anonymous. But then I subscribe to the Mike Royko school of survey questions – lie.

    Predictions From 1970 – The First Earth Day

    Are you surprised that they were wrong? 13 Worst Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970 | FreedomWorks

    8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

    Hat tip to 90 Miles from Tyranny.

    Catch 22 – Medical Research Edition

    An interesting story about the War on (Some) Drugs™ hindering efforts to help people break opioid addiction. Regulations Make Medical Tourism a Necessity at A Geek With Guns

    About the use of psychedelic drugs to combat opioid addiction in other countries. It is illegal in this country because of the War on (Some) Drugs™.

    But even with all of this information at hand, the United States government continues to claim that psychedelics have no medial application whatsoever. So long as they maintain that attitude, it is mostly illegal to experiment with psychedelics for medical purposes in the United States, which creates an impasse. A researcher can’t experiment with psychedelics to determine if they can be used in medical applications so they continue to have no medial applications, which prevents researchers from determining if they can have medical applications.

    Because there is NOTHING bureaucrats can’t do, including predicting the future of medical research. Or at least interfering with future medical research. Click through for the details.