Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Science: it's complicated

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Harm from loss of life is easy to emotionally grasp, harm from loss of income is harder,

    Still, if the demo crew are pulling down buildings left right and centre, plus police are protecting this barricaded zone, why cant they assist people in if their premises are scheduled for destruction?.Let them in ,have the army assist removal of possessions, and recognise that each place to be destroyed gets priority for the shop/business owner. I would suggest it would be totally cost effective,sensible, compassionate, I could go on but I should move it over to other thread. Bart, you are relieved of your responsive duties. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It's obviously about control, not safety.

    Perhaps someone could clarify the exact qualifications for a worker to be allowed into the red zone, but I would suspect that unskilled labourers hired from temp agencies are allowed in after a safety briefing and the correct gear (hard hat, boots, etc). It would be quite feasible for those wanting access to go off to tech and get construction safety training that would put them on a par with these employees.

    The reason why not has to do with a narrative by which disaster can only be dealt with in a top-down manner, with ordinary citizens expected to give due obesiance to authority.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Bart, you are relieved of your responsive duties.

    but but but I have so many more opinions to share :)

    You won't get any argument from me Sofie. I personally think it is entirely reasonable to let folks in, carefully.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3114 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    dealt with in a top-down manner

    My experience in the place I work is that management are far far far more risk averse than the people actually doing the work. I think some of that is because the people doing the work have a good understanding of what is going on, same is true in the lab as is true at the demo site. Management know only how to have lunch and worry about how they will look at the next board meeting. Yes that's harsh and cynical and probably overstated but it certainly feels true sometimes.

    Meanwhile I am so looking forward to OGB.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3114 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You won’t get any argument from me Sofie.

    I am liking this response very much. Continue as you wish Bart.;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The reason why not has to do with a narrative by which disaster can only be dealt with in a top-down manner, with ordinary citizens expected to give due obesiance to authority.

    As in Pikes River Mine, where I still question why the police were even involved at a stage before any law seemed to have been broken and where the needs of the situation lay outside their accepted duties, i.e. catching crims, as they say.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Katie R,

    Here's an interesting article from The Guardian this morning...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/aug/02/scientists-ghostwritten-articles-fraud

    One of the issues with academic research is the reliance on peer review to give credence to the research and anyone who has had any experience with peer review will realise there are some pitfalls with this approach.

    Anyway, another way in which science is complicated.

    Brighton. UK • Since Aug 2011 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Katie R,

    Oh, and forgot to ask earlier. Is there any way I can see this week's show over here in the UK? To be fair I haven't tried but I am sure there is some geographical exclusion zone on TVNZ programmes.

    Brighton. UK • Since Aug 2011 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Katie R,

    I believe Russell has arranged for the Media7 shows not to be geo-blocked via TVNZ OnDemand. There's also a Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TVNZMedia7

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Katie R,

    katie, I don't think the story about ghostwritten articles being passed off as the work of influential researchers is a problem with peer review as such. It's an issue of fraud.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 623 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    A bit late to the discussion, but I just saw this. I know Rasmussen is not the most popular polling organization amongst the PAS crew, but as they have a good track record of prediciting elections, their polls are worth contemplating.
    No surprise in this one, 69% think it is at least somewhat likely that scientists have falsified research about AGW to support their own theroies and beliefs, up 10% from Dec 2009 (Climategate time). And even 51% of Dems, agree with this.
    It is not that "science is complicated", if agw scientists were open with their research and data, instead of hiding their research and fighting to keep their research and data from seeing the light of day, people would have more confidence in the results. Sunlight afterall is the best disinfectant.
    Look at Michael Mann, of hockeystick fame, still fighting like hell to keep everything under cover. If he doesn't have something to hide, he sure as hell behaves like he does.
    Again, the question is not why increasing numbers of people don't believe agw, the question is why are so many people so convinced about agw and wont contemplate that things might not be as some claim.
    It is long, long past due for all agw scientists to put all their research and data, past and present, into the public domain to be scrutinized by all comers. The consequences of what is being recommended based on their research is so destructive, especially to people in the developing world, that this just must be done.


    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Another interesting article on agw, this time about analysis of the HadCRUT3 data set.

    Seems that global warming is not so global after all. And a rather large standard deviation on the overall result. Who would base a major decision on data where the standard deviation on a trend is 3 times the calculated trend? Wouldn't an affirmative answer be grounds for a head examination?

    "In this sense, the warming recorded by the HadCRUT3 data is not global. Despite the fact that the average station records 77 years of the temperature history, 30% of the stations still manage to end up with a cooling trend. The warming at a given place is 0.75 plus minus 2.35 °C per century."

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/04/analysing-the-complete-hadcrut-yields-some-surprising-results/#more-44552

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to James Bremner,

    . . . not the most popular polling organization amongst the PAS crew

    Go on James, say "hairy armpit brigade." You know you want to.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Who would base a major decision on data where the standard deviation on a trend is 3 times the calculated trend?

    So, you're advocating... what? Abdication of responsibility for decision-making? If not our best predictions, on what do we base major decisions?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to 3410,

    on what do we base major decisions

    Don't be silly we should just trust the nice man in the suit, he'll look after our best interests.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3114 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to James Bremner,

    More disingenuity from you, James. Don't expect anyone here to be impressed by references to Anthony Watts. Of course you know that his scientific credentials are as a ... television weather presenter, don't you?
    So outraged was Watts by the whole concept of human-induced climate change that he set up a network of weather stations across the USA, to prove that the official temperature records are biased. So far, he has failed. In fact, several studies showing that he has failed have been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

    PS Watt's 'publication record', as shown in the paper cited, is rather illuminating: here's the whole thing:
    Watts, A. (2009), Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?,
    29 pp., Heartland Inst., Chicago, Ill.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 623 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Of course you know that his scientific credentials are as a ... television weather presenter, don't you?

    I think this ties back to the OP. Yes, this guy may be a TV weather man and his scientific credentials are pretty poor. All scientists can scoff at him, but I'm guessing he still has a large influence on the non-scientific community - the general public.

    Science is not a popularity contest, but public opinion does influence the decision-making around funding. It seems to me that the deniers are better at fighting the (dirty) war for winning public support.

    And, well, that's not good.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Meanwhile a mere 8 minutes* away...
    A series of large Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun over the past 3 days or so may have electromagnetic effects here from today onwards
    - check these projections

    *at the speed of light

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4220 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Bremner,

    69% think it is at least somewhat likely that scientists have falsified research about AGW to support their own theroies and beliefs

    All that figure shows is that the investment in public sentiment by the industries who profit from continued pollution is paying off. If a majority of US citizens can believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, I think I'll take their opinions with a truckload of salt, thanks. And it doesn't trump peer-reviewed scientific consensus.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Sacha,

    And it doesn't trump peer-reviewed scientific consensus.

    In terms of funding research, I'm afraid that it might.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sacha,

    peer-reviewed scientific consensus.

    Pah, who needs it when we can just have ill informed opinion?

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Having the support of those with deep pockets will always trump other things if it's funding we seek.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    we can just have ill informed opinion

    Heh even well informed opinion can be wrong, that's why scientists will almost always come off looking weasily, because we're aware that we can be wrong. Folks like James don't have that awareness so they are comfortable with absolutes, hence their statement can be stronger and more emotive.

    As I said earlier to Sasha it is for that reason that I use absolute terms when I'm talking about ridiculously improbable events. It is not something that comes naturally to me as a scientist but it something I think is necessary because what I mean by probably is quite different from what the general public understand it to mean, most of the time :).

    Interestingly, when you look at climate scientist's statements from the perspective of assuming they are being cautious and conservative about their statements (as I believe is likely) then the scariness of global warming becomes somewhat greater.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3114 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    ridiculously improbable

    That's the sort of language I like. :)

    Alongside likelihood, the potential scale of impact seems relevant with things like climate change, nuclear energy and genetic modification.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to James Bremner,

    As Earl said in "Earl"

    If I agree with you then we'd both be wrong.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

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