Friday, July 01, 2005

Why you need to know math and science (and history, and ....)

Yes, you. I don't care if you plan to grow free-range potatoes for a living, if you vote, you need to understand why Kyoto is a stupid, dumb idea because it will affect you, and I don't mean in the global warming sense. Actually this is an excellent learning opportunity, if rational thinking could ever get a word in edgewise. It provides examples of so many unpleasant realities, in so many different fields!
  • Politics: If, as is argued, the Kyoto protocols are all about Saving the Planet and we all need to pull together and so on, why are China and India exempt from its provisions?[because they aren't the USA, essentially.]
  • Economics: If the United States were to implement the protocols and limitations on emissions contained therein, what would be the impact on our economy? Your job?[See above. If they really cared about the environment, no exceptions would be allowed. This is about making us as miserable as the Europeans.]
  • Logic: If everything worked as laid out in the Kyoto documents, how much would the global temperature abate? [not much] Would it still keep rising?[you betcha. In fact, the calculation is that it would only buy us 6 years of delay, assuming they are correct that us evil humans are the source.]
  • Ethics: Would it be better to take the calculated cost of implementing the Kyoto protocols and instead spend the money on fuel-efficient energy technology transfers, nuclear power plants, or even simply birth control?[Can we at least talk about this? Please?]
  • History: "Medieval Warm Period". Also "Little Ice Age". If you don't know what those are, they are real temperature variations in the Earth's average temperature, but they all occur before the United States came in to existence so they MUST BE IGNORED. Otherwise the common masses might think global temperature variations were, you know, normal.
  • Planetary Astronomy: If humans are completely and totally responsible for the temperature variations, why are the Martian ice-caps receding too? [errrrr ... ]
  • Science: This is the biggie. This is where the title comes from. Take a look at this (requires free PDF reader). Many people have seen the infamous graph of the "hocky stick" data, purportedly derived from tree-ring measurements to show that world temperatures have made a dramatic and sudden upturn in recent times. I've done some statistical analysis in my day but nothing on this scale. Can't comment on the details of the methodology. I CAN comment on deliberately leaving out data that doesn't support the desired outcome, or refusing to share the computer algorithm that derived the "hocky stick" graph. There is a word for that in the scientific community, and it is not a pretty one. We don't use it lightly, because it is the one sin you may not commit. Lots of scientists who specialize in this field have attempted to re-create that famous graph. Without success. That stinks like month-old fish, and it reminds me of something. Cold Fusion. Remember that?


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