Bob Kolker

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Everything posted by Bob Kolker

  1. Lindzen on Global Warming, once again

    Peer review means work checked for accuracy by qualified parties. It is one of the protocols and conventions of science. It is the best guarantee against observer bias. The way to avoid mistakes is to have them spotted by people who can do it. Working carefully is not the ultimate guarantee against error. The subtle error in scientific work is observer bias. That means overlooking or tending to overlook instances that contradict or refute one's hypotheses. Also one of the major major protocols is having one's experimental results duplicated or corroberating by an independent observer. Experimental results are generally not accepted until duplicated which is a form of checking for error. Even Einstein could barely wait for a qualified team to verify his prediction for light bending around the sun. He finally got the good news from Eddington's team in 1919. That corroberation of his General Theory of Relativity is what made him a scientific super-star. When a second team corroberated the prediction (with even better precision than Eddinton's team) with another eclipse, Einstein had it made. Please keep in mind that the smartest and most creative people in the world are capable of error. That is why error checking (and elimination) is so important. It just occurred to me that if the designer of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge had someone bring up the issue of resonance and wind lift, "Galloping Gertie" would have been built differently it would probably still be standing. Bob Kolker
  2. Joe Stack's IRS Suicide

    Puhleeeze! It was NOT the only way he could. Stack had a hissey fit on steroids. It was loss of temper, loss of reason and perhaps even a death wish that led him to crash his plane into a building and put innocent people in mortal danger. There were people in the building who were not salaried tax thugs working for the IRS. What Stack did was bad behavior. There were other courses of action open to Stack. He could have taken an Oath of Poverty. He could have left the country. He could have bit the bullet and managed as best he could against the IRS. I have been where he was. I used to be a software contractor and I too fought the battle of provision 1706 of the tax code (I lost, by the way). What I did not do was shed blood. Bob Kolker
  3. Lindzen on Global Warming, once again

    Getting A wrong does not necessarily imply you got B wrong. If A and B are independent issues, then a mistake in A does not imply a mistake in B. Errors can be independent. Lindzen has been peer reviewed and his science is sound. It has passed muster. In addition to peer review he has been honored by some of his colleges for the quality of his work. He as won awards. As to the smoking issue, until specific carcinogens were found in tobacco smoke (and they were) the connection between smoking and lung cancer (and other obstructive lung diseases) was statistical. It took a long time to demonstrate the ways in which the chemicals in tobacco and other parts of the cigarette did the damage. Given what we know of the physiological effects of the several hundred nasty ingredients in cigarettes, few reasonable people will doubt the health dangers of smoking cigarettes. Lindzen's position on global warming has been to point out the connection between human activity and global warming has not been absolutely established and that other factors may be at work. He has also taken dead aim on the way the entire issue has been politicized. Politics and science do not mix well. He has been attacked not because his results are wrong, but because he is in opposition to The Establishment. He has questioned the quality of the data and the methodology used by people connected with the IPCC. This does not endear him to people who have a horse in that race. Global warming has occurred. That is a fact. The world has warmed up since the (so-called) Little Ice Age. That ended in the middle of the 19th century, after a five hundred year cooling down period. The world has gotten back to what it was during the medieval warm period. Bob Kolker
  4. Foxes Guarding The Chicken Coops

    Bastiat is probably the last good thing that has come from France besides Louis Pasteur. Just about everyone believes they will get a benefit and some one else will pay. It is essentially The Tragedy of the Commons. Bob Kolker
  5. Tiger Woods

    I can sum up T.W.'s problem with a simple mathematical formula: Tiger Woods --> Tiger's Wood Q.E.D. Bob Kolker

    I like that last quote a lot. Bob Kolker (surly curmudgeon).
  7. Permit-Free Guns A Great Idea

    Dammit Sherlock, you busted me! But I shall not be the only one that goes over the Falls. Bwahahhhahhhhaaa! Bob Kolker
  8. Scandal!

    You are right. But the midieval warming period shows that non-human caused factors can account for a warming epoch. What the crazies at IPCC have NOT done is to positively eliminate non-anthropogenic factors in the current warming trend. There are several hypothesis that can account for the current warming and are not human caused. Among them: solar output variation, the Malancovich cycle, cosmic radiation and its effect on cloud formation. Until these are eliminated the thesis that the current global warming epoch is the result of human activity (primarily or exclusively) is highly dubious. What the IPCC has done is bad science. They have confused statistical models with lots of variable parameters with a sound scientific theory of climate. I am truly underwhelmed by their efforts. Bob Kolker
  9. Scandal!

    Here is a refutation. Around 1000 c.e. the Norse vikings began to colonize Greenland. Greenland in those days was ... well green. It had grass for livestock, trees for wood and Look Ma, No Glaciers!. In short it was warm during the medieval warm period, and there was hardly any carbon producing industry. The human race was thin on the ground in those days. Probably less than a half billion humans on the planet. So how did it get to be warmer than it is now? Huh? Huh? Bob Kolker
  10. Joe Stack's IRS Suicide

    Here is the wittiest comment on Switzerland I have come across. It is from the motion picture -The Third Man-. Harry Lime says: Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly. This quote is not entirely fair. Switzerland also produced one of the most scientifically gifted families that ever lived, the Bernouli family. Bob Kolker
  11. Permit-Free Guns A Great Idea

    Be fair now. I was talking about military service. In the military one gets to kill people legally and if one does it well one is rewarded. Killing enemies is good for one's own welfare and also good for the country. Bob Kolker
  12. Permit-Free Guns A Great Idea

    Here is a question related to the topic: What does one do, or what should one do to keep guns out the the hands of people just released from prison for the commission of violent crimes. A similar question concerning people just released from mental institutions or people having undergone treatment for psychosis. I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of violence prone people having fire arms. On the other hand, any law abiding peaceful person should be able to acquire without restriction the means for defending his life or property. Bob Kolker
  13. Joe Stack's IRS Suicide

    Fleeing is an option. In -Atlas Shrugged-, the productive folk fled from their oppressors. Bob Kolker
  14. "Up in the air" George Clooney movie

    I thought it rather sad that a rather intelligent person was carving out a very hollow life for himself. Bob Kolker
  15. The Role Of The Mind In Human Affairs

    You are far too charitable to the people who (mis)govern us. To see what they really have in mind, perhaps you should read -1984- by George Orwell. In the words of the Inner Party man O'brien : Think of a boot smashing a human face --- forever They mean to own us and control us. Bob Kolker
  16. Descartes...Murdered?

    Applying Ockham's Razor would lead one to assume he died of pneumonia. Descartes was accustomed to a soft life, staying in bed until noon. Queen Christina required his presence at six in the morning in one of the coldest countries on earth. This wore down his far from robust health. There was a Conspiracy Theory to the effect that some Catholic Priest gave Descartes arsenic tainted communion wafers (Descartes was a practicing Catholic). The way to resolve that is to retrieve some of the hair from his remains and test it for arsenic. The same was done to the remains of Napoleon and it was discovered that he was poisoned with arsenic. Bob Kolker
  17. Anything Beyond The Universe?

    Quite true, but free will does permit doing all kinds of foolishness. The idea is to avoid being foolish and even being wise (a rare, but desirable occurrence). Bob Kolker
  18. I've Had It!

    Yes. I worked on multi sensor data integration and compression algorithms. I applied the theory of wavelets. I did algorithms and software for cash. My salaried trade was software development and applied mathematics. I always enjoyed the work. It takes brains and concentration, of which I have both in sufficient quantity. My calling however, is counterexamples and theory slaying. I have always found it fascinating that a theory, however elaborate requiring however much time to produce can be brought down by the detection of a single logical contradiction or a single empirical counter example. As the sniper motto goes: One shot, one kill. Also I have always had a soft spot for David (before he became King) bringing down Goliath with a single stone from his sling. One shot, one kill. No generalization is entirely safe when I am in the neighborhood. If my health permitted me to join the active military, I think I would have signed up for sniper school. Either that or a bombardier or a sapper. I even toyed with the idea of going into building demolition which is fascinating because one can bring down an entire skyscraper using less than one hundred pounds of explosives in shaped charges. The idea is to coax gravity into doing most of the work. Bob Kolker
  19. Anything Beyond The Universe?

    There is little we can do about that. People exercise free will all the time, most of the time, badly. Before the stupidity of men, even the Gods are helpless. What can we do? Avoid being stupid. Bob Kolker
  20. I've Had It!

    The closest thing to war I have done is to help design the terrain guidance algorithms for our cruise missiles. This was not my first choice (I preferred being a real warrior, but chronic asthma made that impossible). I had to settle for being a tool-smith for the real warriors. Indirectly I have blood on my hands up to my armpits. So that is my closest approach to a physical fight. Had my breathing been better, I might have ended up firing live ammo at our enemies. I had to settle for firing live ideas in their direction. I find my "role" is to point out contradictions to fact and logic. I am a producer of counter-examples. So it goes. My mentor-hero Socrates was pretty good at it, but I would rather not end up as he did. The gods have decreed that I be a gadfly and a mid-wife. So it goes. As to making Declarations, I find that mostly nobody listens. I have more profitable uses for my very limited time on earth. When I am dead and gone on my tombstone will be graven: "See! I told you so!" Bob Kolker
  21. I've Had It!

    Actually it was a White Paper justifying the rebellion and the quest for independence. The DoI initially had a political purpose and motive. Later on it was taken to be a philosophical justification for an independent America. Which was a little embarrassing since slavery was legal when that happened. All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ..... How about about black men in chains with whip scars on their backs? I wonder how Jefferson was able to live with that contradiction. Bob Kolker
  22. Anything Beyond The Universe?

    How about utter balderdash? Bob Kolker
  23. Robin Hood Tax

    In the world as it is today, Government is mostly kleptocracy, the rule of thieves, by thieves. Bob Kolker
  24. I've Had It!

    Just a word of fact here. The Declaration of Independence is NOT law. The Constitution is. The Constitution does not forbid the levying of property tax by the States or any government subordinate to the States. Bob Kolker

    Gates is in line for the Neville Chamberlain award. Bob Kolker