Is It Getting Hot In Here? Your Mom Says Yes.

So I noticed that some of my posts are getting to be on teh extremely rambly long side. Imma provide a shortcut for all y'all by opening with TLDR versions when teh post starts looking a bit long.

TLDR version: Even fraud demonstrates that there is growing scientific consensus on global warming.

So over at teh Mothership, there's a discussion of conservatives and their anti-science positions. Notably, the OISM petition got brought up. Anyways, now that that petition has a bit of history - there's some interesting observations that can be made about it.

The original petition circulated in '97 and by '99 had garnered over 17,000 signatures with an interesting scam cover letter/"article" attached. Scientific American took a look at a random sampled of climate-science related Ph.D. signatories in 2001. Some they couldn't identify, some had died, some had no recollection of the petition at all.
Eleven of thirty would sign again, six would not. Those six still count in OISM's numbers. SciAm's rough guess was that the petition had about 200 climate researchers signed on.

The population of denialists is not monolithic, although that is the way they are evolving. My point about the original petition is that about 20% of denialists with doctorates in some climate science related field had changed their minds in two years. Science requires that theories match the data. As moar data is collected and moar certainty is provided, even teh reality-challenged start being won over. And the past decade, decade and a half has seen a lot of new data being added to the body of knowledge.

This is reflected in the overall attitudes of the scientific community towards climate change. Certainly the design of surveys is important and flawed surveys will give you flawed results - but you can still glean information so long as the flawed surveys are consistently fraudulent.

Example: Bray and Von Storch conducted dubious surveys in '96 and '03. Comparing the two shows a slight increase in the certainty that antropogenic global warming (AGW) is occuring. A third survey conducted in '08 shows an large increase in certainty on the point. Newer surveys of scientists tend towards a range of 90% to 98% agreement - older surveys vary much moar with much greater levels of both uncertainty and disagreement.

Back to OISM. They ran a new petition campaign in 2007 in response to algore is fat. It's hard to tell how many new signatories they got, because they've been collecting non-stop since '97. BUT the total number now, 31K, is less than double what it was after their first petition campaign. Thus, despite having this established presence, despite the increased ease teh Intarspoor has given to spreading crackpot ideas, despite the supposed "widespread skepticism about climate change in the scientific community" they garnered fewer new signatures in 2007 than they did ten years earlier. Because there is scientific consensus regarding AGW and their fraud is harder to perpetrate.

The field of study has gotten more attention, more work, more research and more data since 1997 and as a result the attitudes of climate researchers is increasing certainty of man-made global warming. Even the rare dissenting groups (such as economic geologists who's entire field of study is dedicated to finding oil deposits) have moderated their dissent.

At this point, global warming is an observed fact. The "theory" that human activity is the cause of the majority of the warming is generally accepted by the scientific community. Meaning that a scientific consensus about anthropogenic global warming is an observed fact.

There is still, as has always been the case, an avenue by which denialists can challenge AGW. By using the mountains of established data and proposing their own theory as to what's happening. But denying the data or denying that there is widespread agreement amongst scientists that man-made global warming is occurring is just make-believe fantasy. And while make-believe fantasy has its place (i.e. your mom's bedroom) that place sure as heck ain't where teh denialists are trying to raise it.

edit: grammar fixes.


Neüphemism: Talking Baseball

Witch-tine is actually back in teh news after her walkout last week, but she really is disappearing into the noise. New book notwithstanding (current Amazon rank #55,667 - it was released on the 16th of August).

But I have this perfectly wonderful tag that I don't want to see disappear, so I'm expanding it. Here's your first non-Witchtine neüphemism:

Talking baseball.



Since New York legalized same sex marriage, this was pretty much inevitable. I endorse teh message - Bert, Ernie, fabulous nuptials. Make it happen.

I am disappoint in Jezebel for throwing cold water on teh idea. And doing so by parroting teh official party line. Don't exist below teh waist, huh? How do you explain this then?

Actually, let's look at that official statement again:
They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.
OMG. What could be moar in keeping with that thAn showing a loving homosexual couple? Every single character that appears in media for pre-schoolers is assumed straight. Many are obviously and clearly heterosexual. Even muppets and their stereotypically heteronormative behaviour.

OTOH, @Joan_Rivers does have a hard to refute argument.

Editted - Twitter protocol failure. And for GrammarBlaster Peter.
And one moar time to link Julian Sanchez who says what I'm trying to much bettar and almost two weeks earlier.


Good-bye Jack

Jack Layton has passed away this morning.

He was that odd thing which confuses everyone - a decent politician. He was genuinely liked and respected throughout the nation. If anything, people thought he was too naive and not cynical enough to be playing teh game. And yet he lead his party to a historic showing in the last election, the first non-Conservative and non-Liberal to be elected Leader of the Opposition.

A hippie and an idealist. The guy was a complete and total dork - but in that honest and endearing way. This is him on the campaign trail for that historic election:

It does seem like a smaller world without Jack in it.


Obama and Democracy

So, this month has marked some excursions from my ususal commenting grounds. My first comments at Balloon Juice and Lawyers, Guns and Money. Prompted by the shit sandwich that is debt ceiling Super Congress cutty Mc cut cut bullshit deficit OMG deficit - it's not like we're skirting around a fucking double dip recession or worse here. Anywho, what with all that, it's been a pretty Obama-bashing gay old time. And it's probably way too late at this point to clarify my position on Obama for folks who have only seen my nym for teh first time on some HE SOLD US OUT rant, but thinking about itand getting it down into words has been an intersting learning experience for me, so wev.

Firstly - yes, what some anonymous foul-mouthed d00d in Canuckistani land thinks about teh preznit? Who fucking cares? Well, I do. And it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. Okay, here we go:

Item: As I said over at fish's
I am still very relieved that it's him and not Bomb Iran in teh Oval Office. Or, IPU forbid - Grifter McQuitsalot.
Even if you gone on the assumption that Obama is a corporatist tool, and nothing more, he is still way preferable over JiSM3. And for all you Obamapologists with your President Bachmann ooga-booga-boo! this is what we call "grading on a curve". And it is a crazy curve that yields nothing informative or enlightening. Like when folks tell you that whatever you're being forced to settle for is "better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick". Great, thanks. When someone offer to trade me for said eye poking, I'll now know to pass.

Item: I'm not a PUMA. This isn't about Hillary being teh better choice. Ask anyone who knew me from back when I switched to this nym in ought eight. And I'm glad that we've got Barry instead if Hillary, notwithstanding that we'll never really know for sure how Hillary would have done things. LG&M moved onto this question after I decided to write this post but well before I finished it. Anyways, here's what I think about Obama v Hillary.

I'm pretty bullish about Obama on gay rights. Sure he moved really slowly on it, but I really don't know if Hillary would have been better. On DADT, I think she'd have been worse - and not because of Bill, but because she seems even more deferential to teh military than Obama does (IMO - can't be arsed to find back-up). This covers too, Iraq and Afghanistan. It's hard to imagine, but I believe that Obama is the least hawkish of anyone who had a reasonable shot at 2008.

I think HRC might well have pushed harder for HCR. It's hard to imagine someone pushing less than Obama did. Actively berating the people supporting what was then the strongest bit of leverage he had. Even if he was set on flushing teh robust public option, he could have let teh Leftsies rant and rave and shift the Overton and gotten a better price for killing the most effective cost control method being debated at the time.

Ugh, sorry for the Obama bashing diversion - where was I? Right, I think Hillary would have fought harder for HCR, but I also think that with Hillary pushing, the opposition would have fought harder as well. I think we'd probably have ended up with a dead reform bill. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I believe I'm on record as a Kill Bill during HCR Shit Sandwich - not strongly but my feeling was there was too much graft. I seem to recall that my final position was pass the thing anyways, not on its own merits, but to add momentum going into Fin Reg. Yeah, that worked out fan-fucking-tastic. Still, my feelings about the HCR that passed, I'd have to say is it woulda wash if we had Hills instead.

In Hillary's defense, I would say that I'd have been less disappointed by Hillary if we ended up in the same Debt Ceiling Austerity Growth Dada play we're in. Not to say that I didn't expect much from her - for sure her election would have been historic - and coming out of the dark years that marked teh beginning of teh new millenium, anything would have seemed glorious. But not like Barack. d00d just has so much charisma and he so captured the imaginations of not only America, but teh whole world.

Okay, battle with ancient history done with - what's my beef with Obama? There's a bunch of specific things, but I think there's a separate common item to it all. I think teh word for it is establishmentarianism. A strong bias towards those already in power.

Here's teh thing - democracies are only as strong as their institutions, otherwise it's just mob rule. This is why, for example, plebiscites on minority rights are seen as uncouth. "Minority rights" is an institution that is respected in functional democracies. The problem with teh US is that some of those institutions have gained outsized importance - those being the usual suspects - Wall Street, The Military-Industrial Complex, &c..

And my problem with Obama is his whole hearted embrace of that paradigm. Hence the lack of accountability for war crimes. The campaign against whistleblowers. The continued record high deployment fractions of the armed forces. The financial bailouts that favour giant mega corporations over families with tough mortgages. Everything he does now is in this protect-the-hierarchy-and-expand-its-reach mode. HCR favours teh insurance industry and hospitals more than it does the uninsured. The outrage against entitlement program cuts only seem to want to protect Social Security and Medicare, neither of which are means tested (note that I am most definitely NOT endorsing means testing these programs). Medicaid, which is for helping the neediest is fine for chopping.

Even his approach to doing things is different. OFA, that grassroots machine that helped him get elected - practically sat out the first fight and then got mothballed. Everything is decided by small groups of appointees working in the back rooms. He received his transparency in government award in one of those back rooms. But it's this working group or that special Presidential Commission or its Super Congress - twice the authority and about 2% of the membership! Super!

That's the complaint really. What happened to the community organizer? To small donations? To the wide base of motivated volunteers? To listening to the people that worked their assess off three years ago instead of teh Republicans?


Post Pexton

So anyways, I read Pexton's Ombudscolumn from Sunday. I figured that after anonymous journalist spills catty gossip about Michelle Obama, the whole Rubin fiasco and then a plea for a balanced impartial neither left nor right Washongton Post (BWaaAHAhAHHAaHAHahA) - he's shown consistency for being totes mockworthiness. He did not disappoint. Or rather he did disappoint, in all the ways he was expected to. I was working about a pretty good head of steam on it too, but then I figured - what's the point. The Wash Post is so pitiably pathetic now - teh humour in giving it teh well deserved kick it needs is gone. Looking at Pexton's past four columns, he's worse than Deborah Howell. But at the same time, with Ferd teh Turd still not fired-for-cause, who really cares?

At this point in time, poking fun at teh Wash Post is like pointing at all teh pennants with teh 60's dates on them at Leafs games.

Okay, here's a Shorter Patrick B. Pexton:
Conservatives complained about this, conservatives complained about that. These complaints were ludicrous and unfounded, so naturally we took them seriously. But as it turns out, the staff at the Washington Post are never wrong. Unlike teh conservatives in this case. And liberals too. I don't have any reason to mention liberals here since I studiously ignore their complaints - but trust me when I say that they are also wrong. And that's what we in teh bidness call Journalism.

That out of the way, here are a coupla videos:
For Science!

For teh long lost Goddamn Batman:

Tummy Time

Speaking of the Nanny State, babies. There's a lot of advice given to new parents, and a lot of the suggestions have reasoning and justification that is poorly understood or even completely irrelevant. In this latest filler post, I'm going to talk about back sleeping and tummy time. If you can make it to the end, there'll be Ultra Ninja stuff as reward.

One of the pervasive pieces of advice is that only the back is safest for sleeping infants. Since the "Back To Sleep" program was instituted in the early ninties, the fraction of babies sleeping face-up has increased dramatically, and the rate of SIDS cases has decreased just as dramarically. The connection between the two is still hypothetical and scientifically speaking, poorly developed - but that doesn't change the fact that it is empirical shown that only the back is safest for sleeping infants.

One of the drawbacks to all this back sleeping is delays in physical and social development, which completely vanish by the age of 18 months. Since there is no long-term negative effects of back sleeping, you would think that it gets left at that. But no, new parents apparently always need advice on what to do with their babies - and so we have tummy time.

Tummy time is supervised lying on your stomach time. Not kidding. You are supposed to place your infant on their stomachs and leave them there until they freak out. Up to 30 minutes a day starting in the first week of life. Keep going for as long as the baby can stand it. All to mitigate developmental delays whose effects are completely invisible by 18 months.

There's all sorts of resources now to help parents get their babies to tummy time longer. I've met parents who were traumatized by tummy time and have given up on it. And while it's great that they are no longer subjecting their infants to things that are guaranteed to make them cry, it kinda sucks that they all feel guilty about it. But that is the nature of how society treats new parents - as totally valid targets for judgement and scorn. Because making parents feel guilty and forcing them to second guess their every decision is what's best for baby. Or something.

Anyways, we lucked out (yet again) in that Ultra Ninja loves tummy time. No joke, we roll her onto her stomach to stop her from crying. So despite being a back sleeper, she's gotten a fair amount of tummy time and is pretty advanced in some aspects of physical development. This means that I already get to carry her around with her sitting on my shoulders. I do keep a hand on her just in case, since her grip comes and goes But she sits up there with no problems - looking around and laughing.

Which brings us to the quote of the day:
On the plus side, I can now scratch "baby vomit in the ear" off of my life list.

Here is a pic of UN being horribly tortured by being forced to lie on her stomach:


Haruka vs Kenny Omega

Confession Time: I like pro wrestling.

Anyways, I've noticed that I am way off pace to hit a hundred posts by year end, so I thought I'd start padding the post count with a video.


Cyber Cyber Burning Bright

inspired by this post at Crooked Timber and with apologies to William "Would You Like To See My Etchings" Blake.

Cyber Cyber burning bright
In teh wee hours of night
What immoral acts we type
At least we're not doin' it on Skype.

In what distant deeps and skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
How old you are, I cannot tell,
Please IM your A/S/L.

And the pic in your gravatar
Teh tee that says nerds you
Makes mine skip an irregular beat
Makes me question if I am 1337.

OMG! Teh heat does suck.
What the anvil? what death grip
Off the desk one hand slips

When it's done, I lower my spear
And water'd keyboard with my tears
I did smile, thinking you nude
Whilst in my base, killing my d00dz.

Cyber Cyber burning bright
In teh wee hours of night
What immoral acts we type
To each other through teh Intarpipes.


Ombuds Mani Padme Hum

So, last week we discovered that the Washington Post does still have an Ombudsman.  In a startlingly offensive column, Patrick B. Pexton brought out all teh standard tools of the Wash Post Ombudsman trade.  Namely, he blamed everything on offensive bloggers and angry emails.  This was in defense of Jennifer Rubin* who not only got the central fact of one of her posts incorrect, but when she corrected it - insisted that being factually wrong had no bearing on her argument.  And did so in a borderline racist way, to use Pexton's words**.

Anyways, I though I might check in to see if his latest column is going to offend me.  SPOILER: It does.

On first read it seems innocuous - he isn't circling the wagons to defend some Post writer who clearly stepped outside the bounds.  And shockingly, he seems to be saying that the opinions of readers of the Washington Post should count for something.  I know, imagine an ombudsman having that position.  It's quite surprising.

But then you remember he's talking about the Washington Post, and it falls apart.  I doubt if he could have written moar insincere words if he had tried.

He starts off by talking about the Post's competitors and how they have paywalls up.  Apparently this means that Politico and Bloomberg and teh Grey Lady are all publications doing journalism for two limited audiences: fat cats and power elites.  While teh Wash Post isn't.  BWAAhahHaHahhhaHAHAHHAhha.  Pull teh other one, it's got bells on.

The Wash Post isn't a Village rag written for Washington insiders.  What colour is the sky in Pexton's world?  Hey remember a couple years ago when Katharine Weymouth was pimping out her newsroom to fat cats and power elites?  But that was then and it's not like the Wash Post didn't do a thorough investigation into the situation and come up with some serious changes to the way they did things.  Wait, they did investigate and decide that everything's hunky dory.  Apparently the problem wasn't with the cash-for-access scheme but rather the advertising for it.  Katharine Weymouth?  Still publisher of the Washington Post.

Besides, what would it mean to "be a paper for the rest of us"?  I suppose that means cutting out all the gossipy meaningless tripe articles and only focus on the newsworthy.  To which I will point out Pexton's column from before the Rubin defense.  The one where he calls a story on Michelle Obama's lunch newsworthy.  A story they decided belonged under Politics and Policy.

Nevermind that the justification (it's hypocritical of Michelle to binge while promoting healthy eating) is wrnog.  There is no hypocrisy because a healthy lifestyle, including diet does not preclude the occasional caloric splurge.  Because Michelle is fighting against childhood obesity, and the only standard by which Michelle Obama can be considered obese is the one that fashion magazine editors have where they photoshop size 0 models to make them look thinner (incidentally, also unhealthy).

Nevermind that the entire monster lunch story is single anonymously sourced.  One source that refuses to identify themselves.  Yeah, totes not gossip - completely a "within-the-bounds" news story.

Nevermind that you most of your column to address one line in a different article about Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.  Holy crap.  A hit piece written solely to discredit the current First Lady which turns out to be totally groundless*** - you say is fine because of the hypocrisy - which isn't actually there.  A single throwaway line in a piece about someone else entirely - needs investigating, a talking to for the writer, and public admonishment in the paper.  SHE WAS FUCKING WRITING ABOUT BETTY FORD FOR FUCKS SAKE!

And I haven't even started in on the left-right bullshit (This means that The Post can’t be a liberal publication or a conservative one.) that apparently must be in every single Wash Post Ombudsman column.  Congratulations Patrick B. Pexton, you're certainly doing a great job at meeting the Ombudsman standard set by the late Deborah Howell.

* I went on at length about this in the comment threads at Teh Mothership and Crooked Timber
** That Pexton recognizes Rubin's "correction" as both a non-correction, "potentially" offensive and borderline racist might make you wonder why he went to such lengths to defend her writing.  Well the reason is because he is a douchebag.
*** And in violation of the Washington Post's policy about anonymous sorucing.  PROTIP for Patrick Pexton, not that he'll ever read this:  Also too - a fucking anonymous Washington Post journalist?!?! WTF! Your paper is not only using anonymous sources for catty, petty and substance-free attacks on public figures, it's also the anonymous source too!  Isn't that the sort of thing a fucking ombudsman should be fucking looking at you useless fucking piece of crap?  Fuck.