Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill

Politics

Australian

Should we be worried? (via Boing Boing)

Lauredhel and Fiona Reynolds discuss the absurd import restrictions on RU486.

Apathetic Sarah and clarencegirl think it’s a bit rich awarding John Howard an Aussie Gong so soon after he became a Companion of the Order of the Boot. Niall Cook thinks it’s a bit rich awarding a gong to, apparently, anyone who has achieved anything without total altruism in mind.

Harry Clarke works through the reasons Kevin Rudd is a disappointing PM.

International

Darryl Mason notes that most Iraqis would like to know when the US military plans to bugger off home again.

Tim Dunlop looks at the claimed emergence of a military junta pulling the strings of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, while Norman geras focuses on Human Rights Watch documentation of systematic regime torture and intimidation of voters, and the increasingly self-caricaturing Christopher Hitchens demands to know why Nelson Mandela isn’t condemning Mugabe.11. KP: Possibly because he’s retired and almost 90 and figures it’s time others stood up. []

Kim at LP compares Obama’s victory speech and Clinton’s concession speech.

At openDemocracy, John Casey sketches Syrian politics and society in the context of current peace talks with Israel. 

Hilzoy is markedly unimpressed by RWDB columnist Thomas Sowell’s evaluation of Obama and McCain.


Law

amsiegel posts on a stoush between US Supreme Court Justices Stevens and Scalia over the legitimacy of constitutional opposition to the death penalty.

Helen “skepticlawyer” Dale has more on the Mark Steyn “hate speech” case, looking at the role of some third party urgers.


love a line

Dr Who

on the rack

ain’t life grand!

Issues analysis

Peter Martin gives voice to Ross Garnaut and his current woes. Also reports research that giving money away makes people happy. 22. gilmae: I’m offering a happiness service, just drop me a line and much happiness can be yours. []

Tim Lambert ably defends himself on scientific grounds against a concerted attack by anti-science RWDB “heavyweights”.

Robin Hanson wonders how honest you should be with your kids about your own past peccadilloes.


Arts

Decomposing Trees considers the wonderous beauty that is the music of The Triffids

The Happy Antipodean considers Peter Stewart’s Demons at Dusk a chronicle of the Myall Creek massacre of 1838 tying it in with a recent episode of the ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club.

The Monthly’s Slow TV offers a panel focused upon the practice of contemporary journalism with David Marr and Gideon Haigh

The Art Life provides a list of the Queens Day honours list bestoyed upon those who offered services to the arts, which apparently includes a luvvee John Howard

The only other arts related award of note was to one John Winston Howard , a solicitor from Wollstonecraft who, with his mate Arthur, ran a shop. He’s been given top honours [an AC] for many things including “development of significant philanthropic links between the business sector, arts and charitable organisations.” We can’t remember seeing Mr. Howard at any arts functions over the years but also realise he and his wife have been very active in Rotary for yonks. Must have been an art raffle.

Colin Wicking offers tribute to James Hensley probably best known for his illustrations of Ginger Megs comics, who was awarded a posthumous Order of Australia.

Marcellous gives a qualified thumbs up to the new Narnia movie Prince Caspian.

 


Sport

The second half of the V8 supercars round.

Tony Tannous and Richard Markus preview Euro 2008 in soccer, while Jody Rosen at Slate recommends the best websites for Euro 2008 coverage.

Matt at Green and Gold Rugby reviews Australia A v Japan properly (he hadn’t actually seen the game before writing yesterday’s post).


Snark, strangeness and charm

Tim Sterne implicitly explains why he doesn’t give a rat’s if the boss reads his blog post about last week’s sickie.

By popular demand, another one of the Worst Album Covers of all time.

TroppoSphere, in case Missing Link email subscribers haven’t noticed, is now available as a convenient gateway to a world of news and expert opinion and analysis for those with feed reader phobia. It contains feeds to most of the blogs and other sources whose best/selected content we most regularly feature in Missing Link, as well as general news feeds and those from selected online magazines like openDemocracy, Reason, Slate, Spiked, New Matilda, Australian Opinion Online and Online Opinion.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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113 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. Yobbo says:

    anti-science RWDB heavyweights.

    Jealous Much?

    You don’t need to put “heavyweights” in scare quotes because Bolt and Blair at least really are. Not sure who wrote this link but that’s really petty.

  2. FDB says:

    “You dont need to put heavyweights in scare quotes because Bolt and Blair at least really are.”

    When’s the title fight? That I would pay to see.

  3. Ken Parish says:

    I wrote that extract. Blair and Bolt might be heavyweights in audience size terms, but in intellectual terms neither of them could power a flashlight globe. Or perhaps it’s more wilful stupidity than lack of capacity. Certainly that’s how Harry Clarke explains it on climate change:

    The science on climate change is overwhelmingly accepted. Why are the right so vehemently opposed to this science? One reason seems to be simple anti-intellectualism and to desire to appear to be against mainstream thinking. Another reason is the implication that global action needs to be taken to deal with global warming this hardly advances the cause of laissez faire.

    But this latter reason is illogical. Belief in laissez faire needs to be based on the facts not on blind religious faith and public good/externality reasons for intervening in market economies have been accepted for over 200 years. The climate change issue is an extension of these arguments.

    Moreover, accepting these arguments and moving to adopt carbon taxes or transferable carbon quotas does not make you anti-market accounting for climate change costs can be understood as attempting to get markets to work more effectively.

    But this wilful RWDB stupidity applies equally to other scientific issues like DDT, passive smoking and the hole in the ozone layer. Any scientific issue whose consequences don’t suit their ideological orientation will inevitably be met with a mix of ridicule and scorn combined with a complete disinterest in engaging with the evidence or the actual scientific issues themselves. Whatever else it might be, it certainly isn’t the behaviour of intellectual heavyweights, hence the scare quotes.

  4. JC says:

    But this wilful RWDB stupidity applies equally to other scientific issues like DDT

    1. What issue is there with DDT that’s earned your scorn, Ken? I can’t think of one right winger that suggests careless spraying should re-introduced. The real argument has always been if DDT was covertly banned from use through strong arm tactics from some (note, not all) environmental organizations.

    2. The real debate about passive smoking occurred in the early 90’s and there were real questions then if the issue was overblown (pun intended). Some people continue to use those debates in a present day context ignoring what we knew then.

    Some of this came out as a result of the giant tobacco lawsuit and eventual settlement during the Clinton administration. The result of the settlement was:

    a. the awarded damages were really no more than a tax.

    b. it protected big tobacco from competition by wrapping the award around future sales (so the tobacco firms were happy) as it really protected their profits.

    c. it screwed the smoker… particularly the smoker, as they are mostly from the lower economic classes in the US by forcing already addicted to pay more.

    d. the Feds and states basically lied about the cost smokers put on the health system. Smokers don’t dawdle around once they get sick as they die younger usually as a result of incurable fatal diseases that really place little pressure on the system. Lung cancer is a cheap way to go for the heath system, believe it or not.

    So yea, there are people who are more than a little skeptical.

  5. tim says:

    Ken’s recent low opinion of me is a direct result of Club Troppo not being linked at my new site. What a sad fellow.

  6. Yobbo says:

    Aww

    /handkerchief

  7. Ken Parish says:

    Tim

    I treated that comment with the contempt it deserved last time you made it and simply ignored it. However, just to stop you worrying about my tender feelings in future:

    (a) AFAIK you’ve never linked Troppo from your blog in all the 6 years or so I’ve been blogging;
    (b) It didn’t occur to me you would have started to do so now, and I haven’t checked because I only check your blog posts (and everyone else’s) from my feed reader which doesn’t display your blogroll anyway;
    (c) Being an unashamed elitist, I’d actually prefer not to have most of your readers as regular visitors. Although a few of them occasionally come up with witty comment box ripostes, most of them don’t exactly make a positive contribution to constructive discussion. I’m much more interested in robust but civil discussion on policy than in the tribal abuse and general smartarsery that most of your readers seem to thrive on.
    (d) Finally, my low opinion of you mostly concerns the sort of determined/wilful ignorance about scientific issues that seems to be a general attribute of the RWDB right rather than anything that’s in any sense personal to you.

  8. Yobbo says:

    I find it amusing that you quote Harry Clarke in your defense in a thread about “heavyweights” seeing that Harry doesn’t even believe his own blog, he is in fact significantly more liberal but has to blog that way because it’s his job to support regulation.

    In other words, he is a government shill.

  9. gilmae says:

    Still, it’s cute how grown men like Tim are still stuck in primary school. You should have at least obliged him with a rubber/glue rhyme, Ken.

  10. Yobbo says:

    I cant think of one right winger that suggests careless spraying should re-introduced. The real argument has always been if DDT was covertly banned from use through strong arm tactics from some (note, not all) environmental organizations.

    Exactly, the only reason RWDB’s care about DDT at all is because it makes greenpeace and the sierra club look bad. Unless of course you deny their involvement in having it banned, which is the usual path taken by people like Lambert in their attempt to put Greenpeace on a pedestal.

  11. Ken Parish says:

    Yobbo

    Unless he’s changed jobs very recently, Harry is a professor of economics at Latrobe University. In what sense do you imagine that it’s “his job to support regulation” any more than it’s Alex Robson’s job (he’s an economist at ANU last time i looked)? Have you been smoking some of that giggle weed again?

  12. Niall says:

    LOL…..really nice comeback, Ken. Author! Author!

  13. Yobbo says:

    Harry Clarke:

    Joint holder with Professor Peter Bardsley (University of Melbourne) of a large Australian Research Council Grant (2005 – 2007): Harm Minimisation Policies and the Economics of Controlling Illicit Drug Use. Please visit the Project’s website at: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~efdrgs/.

  14. Ken Parish says:

    Is there anyone who can be bothered wasting a bit of time explaining to Yobbo about academic independence and the ARC grant processes? He seems to have it all arse about. I have an exam revision tutorial to run starting in a minute so I don’t have time to continue the jollity.

  15. Jason Soon says:

    Be fair, Yobs.

    From what I can see, Harry unfortunately sincerely believes in all the prohibitionist stuff he writes about. He’s a small c conservative.

    Or were you merely demonstrating how Lamberting works?

  16. Yobbo says:

    I’ve met Harry and I assure you he doesn’t.

  17. Yobbo says:

    What he does believe in is the good old Australian practice of bullshitting your way through it to hold on to a cushy job. Can’t blame him for that I suppose.

  18. hc says:

    I remember the conversation I had with you Yobbo and it was along the lines that my job involves assessing economic policies for dealing with issues. That’s true I work in public economics. Its my job.

    I also have views on the world which sometimes question the whole basis for policies I work at analysing.

    But Jason is right. I am no libertarian. I am an inconsistent conservative who supports the widespread role of markets and favours free trade but who favours redistributive policies that favour the disadvantaged. I also oppose the liberalisation of illicit drug markets and favour hefty restrictions on smokes and alcohol.

    And as a non-science specialist called on to make judgements about climate change I defer to the views of the vast majority of climate scientists that anthropogenic climate change is a fearful reality that threatens us all.

  19. Yobbo says:

    I also oppose the liberalisation of illicit drug markets and favour hefty restrictions on smokes and alcohol.

    But not on yourself? Only the unwashed masses amiright?

  20. JC says:

    On other comment about this

    But this wilful RWDB stupidity applies equally to other scientific issues like DDT, passive smoking and the hole in the ozone layer.

    Ken, one last thing: weve had over 200 years of anti-science coming from the left. The west advance since the industrial revolution has been all about science an the ways we can harness the new knowledge. So you have to excuse some people when theyre a little skeptical that lefties have suddenly embraced science. Most of western science is at the coal face..

    -BHP hitting a record by finding a new way to drill for oil kilometers below the sea surface.

    -Rockefeller laboring and discovering a new way to refine gasoline that brings cheap gas to the market.

    -Henry Ford finding a new process that makes cars attainable to the average person

    -Steve Jobs creating amazing new gadgets.

    -The Google guys using math that allows us an easy time to search the web.

    -Vanderbilt revolutionizing Shipping

    -Containerization

    -super tankers

    This isnt science in the Uni lab, but it sure is science at its best.

    ———-

    How about the anti-science against about GW crops.

    The Australian Greens wanting to ban nuclear medicine and nuke waste dumps that we use to bury nuke medical waste (they quietly removed that from their website)

    I recall that in the 80s the union movement wanted to stop the importation and manufacture of computers, as they wanted the Hawke government to study the effects on jobs.

    And earlier how about the Luddites?

    People like Rockefeller and Ford have been branded as evil robber barons because of their great wealth. Yet they are scientists-inventors that changed the world for the better.

  21. gilmae says:

    You might want to excise the Google one; it was originally a research project in the Uni lab.

  22. gilmae says:

    I suppose it might also have been nice if you had said Samuel Andrews, Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, the guys at PARC, a variety of early employees at Ford, &c &c instead of the marketers. Marketers always get the fucking credit. God I hate marketing.

  23. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Is there anyone who can be bothered wasting a bit of time explaining to Yobbo about academic independence and the ARC grant processes?

    If there is, maybe they could also explain, while they’re there, that being a senior (or, even more so, a junior) academic is not and never has been ‘a cushy job’.

  24. JC says:

    You might want to excise the Google one; it was originally a research project in the Uni lab.

    I’m willing to bet the current set up is nothing like the lab experiment.

    I suppose it might also have been nice if you had said Samuel Andrews, Burrell Smith, Andy Hertzfeld, the guys at PARC, a variety of early employees at Ford

    You know they used to close the factory for a few weeks when they were trying out a new idea. That’s amusing.

  25. gilmae says:

    Using backlinks to determine a site’s relevancy on a subject? I’ll bet you PageRank is largely quite similar indeed to BackRub, even if the implementation has moved on in the last dozen years. And anyway, the math is entirely born from the university.

  26. JC says:

    And anyway, the math is entirely born from the university.

    Sure. Weren’t the boys from MIT?

    the point I’m making is that the most of our science is application science that gets seen in a different way such as a new product or innovation in an existing product. We don’t call that science though in the strict sense we use it now.

    I’d also bet that some of the math they use in the climate models were probably developed at bell labs. Just a hunch.

  27. JC says:

    These are my concerns with the AGW debate, Ken

    International statists have got hold of the policy levers and it would take a crowbar to make them share the platform because the only solutions statists see to the very real problem of AGW is even more choking statism. The only result I see from this more Kyoto type bubbling around that achieves very little and in some cases does more harm than good as it gives people false sense of security that signing that ridiculous piece of paper somehow means were on our way to low carbon economies.

    So you really need to understand what sceptics are concerned about as it tends to be thrown around in some generic way to brand everyone as Luddites. Mentioning skepticism about Kyoto at some sites automatically brands you as a denialist , which is really a way equating people as Nazis.

    Look a this characterization of sceptics at a well known site by one of his commenters:

    Y

    ou are all, with no exceptions, creepy little death cultists. You live and die by the feudal model where the CEO is Gods chosen royalty and you may get some perks or treats by being a particulary obsequious and bullying henchman – a paradigm kiss up, kick down sociopath.

    The people whose water you carry and whose coats you hold are the ones, if any, who killed hundreds of thousands, or millions, with malaria. This is simply their usual defensive strike of projection to hide their own psycopathic behavior. In order to save a few pennies per hundred acres of crops, they decided to breed resistant strains of malaria. And you are their goons, their thugs, their lynch mob.

    Very similar people decided to breed resistant strains of bacteria and kill thousands of people all over the developed world with them. This enabled their meat factories to produce water-weighted animals in unsanitary conditions. They even chose to sue a powerful celebrity simply for saying the words Ive eaten my last hamburger on her own TV show.

    Its very interesting that you are willing to be the brownshirts for people creating resistant malaria (and even denying that evolution itself is possible) AS LONG AS they take species like the national bird of the United States down with the people they kill.

    Im not sure Satans lapdogs quite covers it, really.

    Pretty impressive hey? Imagine this guy holding political power in any capacity. Scepticism to Kyoto gets you branded this way there.

    Then lets take the Garnaut Report.

    For all intents and purposes the Garnaut report was bumbling mess. He had the golden opportunity to present a great report and give Rudd the cover needed to soften up the electorate and his party to the idea of nuke power. Instead it did nothing to restore faith in the government doing the right thing.

    Garnaut was supposed to use the best available science which in this case is the IPCC best (likely) estimates and report back about how we organize ourselves in a way that promotes human welfare and maintains rising living standards. Economics is supposed to be about the bigger cake, right? Instead, he showed up with a report that carries the tail end of the bell curve in terms of the science and what we need to do to meet Garnaut the economists scientific concerns. So we have an economist spouting about science and thoroughly screwing up the economics. Meanwhile Garnaut is doing a great impersonation of Wheres Waldo by showing up in the media every other day talking about really illuminating things such as why he applied a zero discount rate (its because he values his grand children as highly as his kids). Spare us. You cant do a long-term economic report without applying the cost of capital as it simply becomes meaningless in evaluation.

    Seeing the report was about science he suddenly became weak at the knees when he saw the giant elephant in the bathtub. His silence about nuke power was deafening and consequently we missed a terrific opportunity in softening up perceptions with the punters.

    And what do we end up with? Possibly one of the most draconian policies sets in the world relating to AGW. One that creates the perverse incentives where we give up our Aluminum smelters to places like China or India that will use even potentially dirtier energy sources. Great job. Not only that but it does nothing to stop the big problem with China cranking up its power production by building one power plant to two new coal fired plants a week.

    So when you brand people as skeptical its important to really understand what they are skeptical about. For instance bring up the issue of Kyoto at some sites and youre basically a Nazi.

    As for those who have a lot of faith in technology making headway lets take a look at whats been going on in Europe. The UK sells petrol at about $us8 a gallon (as does most of Europe). What major technological advances have they made since the introduction of cap and trade? I think zero is close to the mark. So its not as easy as it sounds to obtain cheap and abundant electricity.

    Look AGW is a real big friggen problem from a libertarian perspective it’s a real issue because and it’s a really hard to assign property rights to air. However doing this with bullshit polices is only going to make it worse.

  28. Tim Lambert says:

    I see that Jason Soon is up to his usual sleazy tricks. Earlier he equated me to Graeme Bird, and now he’s trying to associate me with Yobbo’s disgraceful attack on Harry Clarke.

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  30. NPOV says:

    JC, I spent at least 6 months arguing black and blue with a number of AGW denialists that if they focused their efforts on arguing against the bad solutions proposed for dealing with rising emissions they could actually make a real contribution to the debate, but no-one of them were the slightest bit interested, and stuck entirely to finding obscure scientists making obscure claims that apparently proved that the IPCC’s conclusions were entirely bunkum.

    FWIW, from what I’ve seen of the sorts of ideas governments have about energy policy in recent years, I would happily concede that global warming would be far less of a problem if we had no governments at all. But we do, and governments are never going to stop trying to impose “solutions”, so realistically the best anyone can do is work to convince them to impose the least harmful ones, and hopefully some that will actually be helpful. Certainly the “gradually replace income/payroll/transactional taxes with carbon (and other environmental externality) taxes” idea is one whose time has surely come*, and global warming could be the perfect vehicle for pushing it through. I would have thought libertarians would have been at the forefront of such a move, but instead seem to generally believe that any attempt to address environmental concerns necessarily leads to bigger government, therefore prefer to stick to bagging environmentalists and any scientific research that appears to demonstrate that maybe we should be looking after our planet a bit better.
    But good solutions to environmental issues, whether it be more Pigouvian-style taxes, or better property rights, or giving voters more say in the issues, should logically lead to *smaller* government, as there’ll be less need for it to continually step in attempting to protect the environment.

    * Krugman once made a prediction of sorts that income taxes could be abolished entirely by mid-century.

  31. Helen says:

    Could someone also please explain to Yobbo and others that the idea that the environmentalist movement “banned” DDT and that this is traceable to Rachel Carson is a load of old hooey. Keeps getting resurrected, though, like a brain-eating zombie.

    http://crookedtimber.org/2007/09/22/defending-rachel-carson/

  32. gilmae says:

    Sure. Werent the boys from MIT?

    Stanford. Time was thems would have been fightin’ words. Or at least Sarcastic Trek Referencing Words.

  33. JC says:

    Earlier he equated me to Graeme Bird, and now hes trying to associate me with Yobbos disgraceful attack on Harry Clarke.

    Tim, not for nothing, but you , yourself attacked harry at his blog. And it was John Humphreys who first coined the term Lambird. It’s actually very funny how you both hate the association. Humphreys can be very amusing at times.

    N

    Krugman once made a prediction of sorts that income taxes could be abolished entirely by mid-century.

    Great, N. I hope I can take use that in the after life because I’ll be dead.

    I would have thought libertarians would have been at the forefront of such a move, but instead seem to generally believe that any attempt to address environmental concerns necessarily leads to bigger government, therefore prefer to stick to bagging environmentalists and any scientific research that appears to demonstrate that maybe we should be looking after our planet a bit better.

    Interesting that it was Thatcher who was about the first major politician that became concerned about AGW.

    The surprise to me is how the statist solutions so far haven’t been totally discredited.

    Kyoto was a joke while Europe’s attempt at a cap and trade had the sad ironic effect of carbon credit prices going to zero because the governments there issued too many credits and cheated.

  34. Yobbo says:

    Can somone please explain to Helen that the Sierra Club is still opposed to the use of DDT despite WHO clearing it for use in combatting Malaria.

    http://www.sierraclub.org/toxics/ddt/

    I’m sure their own website has been hacked by lying RWDBs though.

  35. FDB says:

    Nice side-step, Yobbo.

  36. Helen says:

    Can someone please explain to Yobbo the difference between the widespread agricultural use of DDT (ceased largely due to buildup of resistance, nothing to do with environmentalist agitation) and domestic use (not 100% opposed except where resistance will render it useless). Apparently Yobbo’s distate for those dreadful greenies prevented him from reading the linked material properly:

    Sierra Club agrees that DDT should only be used in accordance with limiting provisions agreed to by more than 150 nations in the Stockholm Convention. Further, many effective non-toxic and less toxic alternatives are available and affordable, such as cleaning mosquito breeding areas, use of treated nets …

    “Should only be used in accordance”…”treated nets”… hmmm, doesn’t look anything like a blanket ban to me.

  37. Tim Lambert says:

    I would also add that the Sierra Club does not actually have the power to ban DDT. Does Yobbo think that the Bush administration takes orders from the Sierra Club?

  38. NPOV says:

    I suspect if RWDBs got to it they would have actually said that the Sierra Club supports banning all use of DDT, and that they expressly thank Rachel Carson for being responsible for determining its deathly toxicity to all lifeforms, and that the Sierra Club speaks on behalf of the entire environmental movement.

    Never mind the fact that the Sierra Club website says none of those things, and that the Sierra Club almost certainly continues its skepticism of DDT because it’s essentially a fairly conservative organisation.

  39. JC says:

    Tim
    Why are they still opposed to it when careful spraying has finally been cleared by the WHO?

    Does Yobbo think that the Bush administration takes orders from the Sierra Club?

    No, but isn’t it an interesting rear view mirror reflection to what happened in the past? What do you reckon, are they anti-science?

    Yobbo’s link:

    The Sierra Club strongly disagrees with the WHO’s denial of the potential health and environmental risks of using DDT. Sierra Club is deeply concerned that WHO’s new position statement on “indoor residual spraying” increases the potential for widespread misuse and accidents due to the continued manufacture, storage and applications of DDT.

    So these guys are even against indoor spraying. Amazing.

    1. You can’t spray inside to protect people.

    2. You shouldn’t manufacture it

    3. You shouldn’t store it

    4. You shouldn’t apply it.

    5. it causes accidents.

    But hey, they’re not calling for a ban. LOL

  40. John Mashey says:

    re: #20

    “This isnt science in the Uni lab, but it sure is science at its best…

    People like Rockefeller and Ford have been branded as evil robber barons because of their great wealth. Yet they are scientists-inventors…”

    Actually, *not one* of the examples given is science. They’re all technology, process, or business developments, or combinations thereof.

    Rockefeller was neither a scientist nor inventor; Ford was an inventor, but not a scientist. Steve Jobs is neither, although a great marketeer and quite able to recognize good ideas. He can still generate a great “reality distortion field.” [An old XEROX PARC friend is *still* peeved at having been ordered to give Steve demoes in 1979, knowing quite well he’d go run with the ideas.]

    GM food is science-based technology, akin to genetics-based plant breeding.

    While this is over-generalizing, at least in the US (where most of the examples originated):

    – denial of science, or exaggeration of uncertainty has tended to come more often from rightist extremes.
    – exaggeration of science, or getting ahead of it, or minimizing uncertainty seems more common to the left extreme.

    – protests against new technologies have tended to come from leftist extreme, although established commercial interests also often pooh-pooh them. for obvious reasons.

    Of course, by and large, if you take the people who actually do 1) science or 2) build technology or spread it through business, as group:

    – there are a lot who are naturally apolitical [it took Silicon valley a long time before being seriously willing to bother with Washington].

    – there are a lot of centrists, whether registered Democrat, Republican, Or Independent, who often support candidates of different parties, sometimes in the same year. Or you get people like Norm Mineta, a VP of Lockheed, a Democratic Congressman for 20 years, and served in both Clinton and Bush cabinets.

    – There are of course, passionate Democrats & Republicans, and at least one well-known Libertarian … who has done very well investing in solar power.

    – In Silicon Valley, home of 2 of the companies mentioned, and of all-out entrepreneurialism, world center of venture capitalists, business-building, and many scientists and engineers:

    Democrats have lately (last few years) out-fundraised Republicans about 2:1 or 3:1 in most towns, higher or lower in a few. Some of that is an artifact of the last 7 years, as it’s normally slightly more balanced.
    To see current state:
    Google: fundrace

    *Science* ought to be apolitical, and it mostly used to be (in the US). In 1989, George H. W. Bush wrote:

    “President Bush announced today that the United States has agreed with other industrialized nations that stabilization of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should be achieved as soon as possible.”

    in

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=17765

  41. NPOV says:

    “Sierra Club agrees that DDT should only be used in accordance with limiting provisions agreed to by more than 150 nations in the Stockholm Convention… Sierra Club believes that DDT should be considered as the option of last resort only, when all feasible non-toxic and less toxic alternatives have been tried and proven ineffective.”

    So what exactly was their “involvement in having it banned” anyway, Yobbo?

  42. Ken Parish says:

    “So what exactly was their involvement in having it banned anyway, Yobbo?”

    As Helen pointed out above, DDT wasn’t and isn’t banned. That’s the point that the RWDBs including Yobbo determinedly ignore. Their conspiracy theory/fantasy that eveil greenies inspired by Rachel Carson Banned DDT and killed millions would be a bit difficult to sustain if they ever acknowledged that there wasn’t actually a ban at all. Your question to Yobbo regrettably seems to operate on the same false premise i.e. that it was banned.

    That said, I’m sure various green groups (apparently including Sierra) would like to see tighter restrictions. But that doesn’t help the RWDBs’ bogus conspiracy theory either.

  43. JC says:

    Actually, *not one* of the examples given is science. Theyre all technology, process, or business developments, or combinations thereof.

    One definition of science is:

    The ability to produce solutions in some problem domain.

    Let me ask you john, the engineers at who figured increasing efficiency in latest Dreamliner aircraft engines by 25% are not being scientific under even a broad definition? It used to be that an engine overall meant a plane would be in the hanger for a few days when overhauling aircraft engines. Now it will take a few hours as aircraft mechanics will be able to slip engines on and off. That’s what exactly… It’s not producing solutions in some problem domain.

    I think the term science is actually a very big umbrella.

    Financial markets:

    In the 80’s financial engineers developed swap markets allowing for firms to swap there debt obligations from short to long terms and opposite. That has no grounding in science? None?

    Rockefeller was neither a scientist nor inventor;

    Call him what you want, he revolutionized the way in which gasoline was refined and lowered costs by 1/2 or more. Would i call him a scientist? Dunno, but what he caused to happen easily fits into the definition.

    The point I’m making is that we shouldn’t be just looking at what happens in a uni lab when looking at what people do to advance human living standards or human knowledge.

  44. JC says:

    Okay

    Here are some definitions of the term To ban.

    1) Forbid public distribution
    2) prohibit especially by legal means or social pressure
    3) ban from a place of residence
    4) an official edict against something
    5) strict control of a substances usage.

    Which points/actions (above) against DDT didnt apply until the WHO came out with its clarification regarding DDT use? And why did the WHO need to come out with its clarification.

    There were strong implicit actions to prevent the use of DDT after the US senate hearings in the 70s and that pressure continued for decades after across the western world.

    If the Sierra Club dont/cant influence policy why are they being funded? You must therefore be implying that Sierra club donors dont expect result based accounting from Sierra Club over the longer term. That would apply to any organization by the way.

  45. Ken Parish says:

    JC

    It was probably fair enough to argue for applied technology as an aspect of “science” broadly defined, but when you try to extend it cover creation of financial derivatives you are surely extending the definition to be so wide and all embracing that it becomes meaningless.

    To an extent everyone engages in selective use of facts to suit their own opinions, and we’re all prone to “confirmation bias” etc. Thus, no doubt some “lefties” exaggerate the supposed evils of technologies they actually object to on ideological grounds (e.g. nuclear energy or GM foods). Nevertheless, denying outright the truth of well-established propositions of pure science seems to be largely the province of a particular sort of RWDB for whom truth is an infinitely flexible commodity to be bent at will in the service of ideology. You don’t find very many lefties, even the extreme sort, who argue that the atom can’t really be split and that people who claim it can are a sinister cabal of grant-funded scientists seeking to fool a gullible public.

  46. Yobbo says:

    And yet so many lefties are into homeopathy, acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine AKA snake oil. Why are they so anti-science?

    Using “The Precautionary Principle” to justify a ban on anything and everything you don’t like is not science, it’s politics. The left claim to be in love with science but the only kind of science they like is science that can’t be used to turn a profit.

    That’s why they love AGW science but hate GMO and Nuclear Power. Because nobody is going to make any money out of AGW.

  47. JC says:

    45 fair enough.

    financial derivatives you are surely extending the definition to be so wide and all embracing that it becomes meaningless.

    I mentioned the innovation of the interest rate swaps market in the 80’s as that seems to me to be up there with the best of them in terms of its effects on human welfare. For the first time we actually had a way to swap timing differences and the benefits of that flexibility has possibly been enormous.

    But , yes financial derivatives don’t rank up there with splitting the atom.

  48. Yobbo says:

    Can someone please explain to Yobbo the difference between the widespread agricultural use of DDT (ceased largely due to buildup of resistance, nothing to do with environmentalist agitation) and domestic use (not 100% opposed except where resistance will render it useless).

    Can someone please explain to Helen that the Sierra club is opposed to both uses of DDT, stating quite clearly that it should only be used in domestic applications as a “Last Resort” when all other treatments have already been tried.

  49. FDB says:

    Still manfully resisting the actual argument I see Sam.

  50. Ken Parish says:

    Can someone explain to Ken that he should never say “can someone explain” again, even when he’s rushing off to a tutorial ….

  51. Yobbo says:

    Im not even sure what your argument is FDB because that’s all you’ve posted in this thread.

  52. NPOV says:

    “Nobody is going to make any money out of AGW”

    Did you seriously just say that Yobbo? Every post I read of yours seems to further confirm that we are most likely inhabiting different planets.

    AGW and clean energy technologies needed to combat it are going to make a lot of people a lot of money. At most I’d accept that clean energy technology is popular among lefties because it seems more likely to make money for smaller companies and startups than it is for big fossil fuel companies. But in which case it should be popular with strongly pro-free-market types too, as there is a real opportunity for market forces to work their magic with many different small providers of various forms of alternative energy, in contrast to the fossil fuel industry, dominated by cosy government protection and minimal competition.

    As for the idea that lefties are into homeopathy and acupuncture, you obviously know different lefties than I do.

    If anyone are into homeopathy and acupuncture it’s anti-establishment types who don’t care for authority of any of the status quo. Given your idea of leftism generally seems to be conflated with statism, you have a very confused idea of what constitutes a lefty.

    Ultimately the unfortunate reality is that a very significant fraction of the public, regardless of their political leaning, are poorly informed about science and hold any number of anti-scientific views. Given the number of people that have difficulty believing fairly simple historical events like evolution that have left no shortage of pretty straight-forward evidence, it’s almost surprising that most at least seem to accept the case for AGW, given that the evidence is often quite subtle, and not generally directly observable.

  53. David Rubie says:

    Yobbo wrote:

    And yet so many lefties are into homeopathy, acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine AKA snake oil. Why are they so anti-science?

    Name three. I can name one guy we know was into that rubbish: Ron Paul. Uh oh, not a leftie.

    Also:

    Thats why they love AGW science but hate GMO and Nuclear Power. Because nobody is going to make any money out of AGW.

    Worst. Generalisation. Ever.

    J-Ho knew at the last election that nuclear power was a good wedge issue – it splits the left fairly down the middle. How come you didn’t get the memo? Worse than that, there’s plenty of money to be made out of AGW like anything else, it’s just that the current set of entrenched interests aren’t going to get any of it. There’s nothing particularly “leftie” about that concept, it’s just business.

    You’d also be hard pressed to find anything “left” about opposition to GMO – ask any two farmers in the same room whether they want their neighbour to grow a GMO crop and watch the akubras hit the dust.

    Where is this stereotype leftie Yobbo? He might exist in your fevered imagination, but that’s about the only place.

    JC wrote:

    But , yes financial derivatives dont rank up there with splitting the atom.

    There’s a bunch of science in financial derivatives (mathematics), don’t back down on that one JC.

  54. gilmae says:

    All science – and all human endeavour – is just applied mathematics.

  55. JC says:

    All science – and all human endeavour – is just applied mathematics.

    Dunno if you’re being ironic, G, but I think that’s actually quite true.

  56. JC says:

    Theres a bunch of science in financial derivatives (mathematics), dont back down on that one JC.

    no, i think you’re quite right. Actually I think options… parts of modern options theory came out of Bell Labs. That was some amazing place.

  57. John Mashey says:

    JC:
    “One definition of science is:

    The ability to produce solutions in some problem domain.

    Let me ask you john, the engineers at who figured increasing efficiency in latest Dreamliner aircraft engines by 25% are not being scientific under even a broad definition?”

    1) Do you frequently talk with scientists and engineers? Do you think they would agree that your definition is a good choice?

    [*I* think most scientists would say: that sounds more like a definition of engineering to me. I think even Wikipedia’s definition of science is a lot better, and it’s more in line with other definitions.]

    2) I used to visit Boeing senior *engineers* every year to discuss computing trends, since they used computers I helped design. Like many engineers, they were trying to solve specific problems, but often used scientific methods in their work, and sometimes even produced science as a result. They’d usually label themselves aerospace engineers.

    Some scientists do serious engineering in order to build apparatus for their research, but the goal is to produce knowledge, not to build the apparatus.

    Of course, career-wise, people sometimes move around, but generally:
    – science = production of knowledge
    – engineering = building things

    Computer scientists (misnomered) normally do engineering, but sometimes actually do science, although usually studying artificial things, not natural things.

    3) A common model is the following progression;

    a) Pure Research
    b) Applied Research
    c) Exploratory or Advanced Development (some split those)
    d) Development
    e) Deployment

    Scientists do a), and some of b), and occasionally stray into c). Engineers do e) d) and c) and occasionally b).

    Most of a) is done at universities and government research labs, with a bit at large companies, like IBM, 3M, Dupont, and [once upon a time, Bell Labs, although even there, only 5-10% of our total R&D budget was R, the rest was various kinds of D.]

    Companies focus on e), d) c), and sometimes b). Venture capitalists generally don’t fund a) or much b), at least not on purpose.

    Anyway, *most* invention is in c), and most of it is done by engineers, or scientists working as engineers. It’s really, really important, and the ability to effectively manage R&D portfolios, select useful R&D to pursue further, and then move it through development to the market … is absolutely crucial economically, and is poorly done in most places. But, it’s not science :-), which by contrast, is done well in many places.

  58. JC says:

    Great points John M. I really don’t think we disagree on a lot. But thanks for giving it a clearer definition.

  59. John Mashey says:

    JC and David Rubie:

    1) A lot of science has math underneath, but using math doesn’t make it science.

    2) I used to help sell computers on Wall Street to the “rocket science” crowd, of whom there were a few ex-Bell Labs physicists, mathematicians, and scientists.

    However, derivatives is more commonly associated with “financial engineering”:
    Google: derivatives financial engineering

    3) As for Bell Labs, derivatives engineering wasn’t a focus, although the Mathematics and Statistics Research Center (R) generated a great deal of fundamental work over the years. I didn’t know anyone who was doing derivatives while I was at BTL (1973-1983), but then we did have 25,000 people, and maybe one of the related AR groups (like Operations Research, or Network Planning, or Cost Systems) did something more specific in this area. Still, if someone was actually designing derivatives, it would have been considered engineering (D).

  60. JC says:

    Still, if someone was actually designing derivatives, it would have been considered engineering (D).

    I never really understood why Wall Street couldn’t go the way of software makers and patent their products.

    It also puts a question mark as to whether we need such strong patent law. A Wall Street firm comes out with a wiz bang product and then the rest of the pack move in and compete away the high levels of profitability. Despite that firms are generally profitable… (cough cough if we ignore the last year’s miserable performance.

    As for Bell Labs, derivatives engineering wasnt a focus

    My understanding was that there were several formulas conceived at Bell Labs that were than used in modern option theory and in fact most derivatives.

    In 1956 J. L. Kelly published a paper while working at Bell Labs. The paper sought to solve issues associated with noise over phone lines, noise that was random and very unpredictable.

    That was later used in modern derivatives theory and formed part of the foundations or what’s traded.

  61. JC says:

    John:

    In your travels did you spend any time selling your wares at 11 Madison Ave.? I

  62. Jacques Chester says:

    Frankly I’m just excited to be in the same thread as a Bell Labs original.

  63. J F Beck says:

    Ken Parish writes “Tim Lambert ably defends himself on scientific grounds…”

    The only thing approaching “scientific grounds” in Lambert’s post is his cite of the title of a 1948 journal article.

    Lambert cannot justify claiming the WHO was pro-DDT in 1994 by citing an opinion piece by WWF anti-DDT activist C.F. Curtis. According to the WHO:

    WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention.

    Lambert says the WHO is lying.

    Lambert links to Brent Herbert as a DDT myth debunker. Which DDT myths does Herbert debunk?

    Toady is not a term of abuse; my use of the word was not abusive.

    So Mr Parish, where is scientist Lambert’s science?

  64. melaleuca says:

    JF Beck says:

    “Toady is not a term of abuse; my use of the word was not abusive.”

    Yes it is:

    toady (v.)

    1.(pejorative;scarce)try to gain favor by cringing or flattering”He is always kowtowing to his boss”

    toady (n.)

    1.a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage

    synonyms

    toady (n.)

    coaxer, fawner, lackey, lickspittle, spaniel, sycophant, bootlicker (colloquial), brownnose (coarse), crawler (colloquial), creep (colloquial), groveler (American), groveller (British), sweet-talker (colloquial)

    toady (v.)

    bootlick, butter up, cringe, fawn, humour, kotow, kowtow, suck up, truckle

    http://dictionary.sensagent.com/toady/en-en/

    Yep, the Texan tramp definitely resides in the RWDB parallel universe.

  65. melaleuca says:

    It is also worth noting that DDT is a serious health hazard. Females exposed to DDT before puberty can look forward to a fivefold increased risk of breast cancer.

    “Women exposed to relatively high levels of DDT prior to mid-adolescence are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer later in life than women with lower exposures. But exposure after adolescence does not increase risk.

    This conclusion comes from a prospective study of young women’s blood that was collected between 1959 and 1967 and stored by freezing, combined with an analysis of their current medical records. The median time to diagnosis of breast cancer after the sample was taken of 17 years.”

    http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/newscience/2007/2007-0730cohnetal.html

    Yet for some reason nearly every RWDB blog says point blank that there is no evidence DDT causes breast cancer!!

  66. JC says:

    Mel

    you’re unusually lucid today.

    How is this definition abuse:

    a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage

    or this one:

    sweet- talker

    or this one

    humour:

    as in humour him.

    Perhaps Beck was suggesting his readers were trying to gain personal advantage, sweet talking or humouring Tim.

    I think you’re jumping to some mighty big conclusion Mel. Mighty big.

    Think of it this way: if I said you were trying to gain personal advantage, or was sweet-talking or humoring someone would you be that offended? Do you think it deserves moderation?
    No?

    Exactly.

  67. David Rubie says:

    JC wrote:

    I never really understood why Wall Street couldnt go the way of software makers and patent their products.

    You have to *trade* them to make money. If nobody else can price your product, they won’t buy it.
    re: financial derivatives and science: the products are engineering, the theory underneath is the science.

  68. JC says:

    #65

    Women exposed to relatively high levels of DDT prior to mid-adolescence are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer later in life than women with lower exposures. But exposure after adolescence does not increase risk.

    Mel, i have no doubt in the world that if you substituted DDT for milk in wheat bix every morning for a year, something really shitty is going to happen to your body. Females could develop breast cancer and I’m sure males would also have a horrid problem of some sort too- growing breasts or having periods perhaps. Who knows.

    Furthermore I don’t think Yobbo, Beck or I would have any problem with the study you quoted. No one is talking about drinking the stuff. What we’re talking about is that there was a de-facto ban on DDT which was a wrong thing to do because DDT should be in the suite of weaponry we use to fight the little bastards.

    Most reasonable people would agree that using it they we did for both agricultural spraying and malaria control was the wrong thing to do.

    What we’re saying is that we should have applied the science we knew about vector control and hammered the little bastards with DDT in a safe scientific way. A lot of people have died over this.

  69. JC says:

    Not all of them Dave.

    EFT’s are a good example. (Exchange traded funds) which I think were first introduced by Barclays Cap Markets.

    Or American depository receipts , ADR’s , which are foreign stocks traded on the NYSE in US dollars as US Stocks. ….. The bloody arb that opens on some of those at times is huge, but it’s really hard to strip them or create them unless you’re a bank of a large hedge fund. There is 2 bucks specutrage in BHP alone. It would pay for the gas bill :-)

    And why not sell rights to them with a small royalty type arrangement.

    there are a lots of bespoke type deals that go through and sit on the balance sheet don’t forget.

    Or how about the big one of the decade Prime Brokerage which allows hedge funds to trade with other banks while still attached to the prime bank without having to arrange credit lines. This would have been a good one to patent.

  70. melaleuca says:

    “What were saying is that we should have applied the science we knew about vector control and hammered the little bastards with DDT in a safe scientific way.”

    By “we” you mean keyboard warriors such as yourself. The best thing you and others such as yourself could do is mind your own business and let the experts in the field deal with the problem.

    The only reason sections of the right have an interest in this issue is because they think they have a club with which to beat greenies. This is evidenced by the fact that no RWDB ever talks about vaccines, decent nutrition, sanitation or any of the other things that cause kids in the third world to die. This false display of concern is enough to make reasonable people throw up in disgust.

    “Mel, i have no doubt in the world that if you substituted DDT for milk in wheat bix every morning for a year, something really shitty is going to happen to your body.”

    This is dishonest. The women in the study I cite were exposed to whatever DDT spraying regimes were in existence in the USA during their childhood years and they show a fivefold increase in breast cancer rates.

  71. rog says:

    Jeeez Yobbo, Sierra Club disagree with the WHO giving DDT a “clean bill of health”, surely a most inaccurate descriptor.

  72. JC says:

    Mel please read your quote

    Women exposed to relatively high levels of DDT prior to mid-adolescence are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer

    then read the statement you made:

    The women in the study I cite were exposed to whatever DDT spraying regimes were in existence in the USA during their childhood years and they show a fivefold increase in breast cancer rates.

    What’s different?

    I’m not as smart as you are , Mel, but i would take a rough guess this part of your quote offers an important distinction:

    exposed to relatively high levels

    I have often read that DDT has not been found to be a serious carcinogenic in reasonable quantities, however if you’re going to offer a contrary opinion and prove me wrong please use google scholar or a reliable link at the very least.

    I can trust you with that task with not messing it up, right?

    You’re not going to show here with a Greenpeace quote and use it against me. Anyway you’re an absolute wizard at Google scholar so get cracking and prove me wrong.

  73. J F Beck says:

    melaleuca is concerned that the delicate flowers at Deltoid might get all upset at being called toadies but in this thread with no contextual linkage whatever calls me a tramp, that is, a sexually promiscuous woman. Such is the wondrous working of this weirdo’s mind.

    Here’s the relevant definition of toady from the OED (definition 2, page 3338): A servile parasite; a sycophant, an interested flatterer; also, a humble dependant; TOAD-EATER

    There are four cited usages going back to an 1826 Disraeli quote, none of which are abusive. If you look at the context of my use of the word at Deltoid, it’s obvious I intended it to mean sycophant. I used toady rather than sycophant because the word is not commonly encountered today so its use would cause controversy. And so it did.

  74. melaleuca says:

    JC,

    You’ve made an awful fool of yourself again. The study says “relatively high levels”. The key word is “relatively” because the researchers divided the women into tertials based on exposure levels.

    Read the studies before you comment.

    Bored now.

  75. rog says:

    Blanket treatment for disease (herd innoculation) is OK as a first line but, except for a few cases (eg polio and smallpox) consistently fails to eradicate the condition. In most cases it leads to a stronger more virulent form of the original (eg MDR-TB, golden staph or MRSA,) – indiscriminate and inappropriate use of drugs has produced diseases which are very difficult to treat and are often fatal.

    Similarly with agricultural pesticides, IPM strategy (prevention, observation, and lastly intervention) evolved in the 1950s after blanket spraying techniques produced more not less of the target together with a high cost of chemicals. Identifying risk and targeting those at high risk is a more cost effective strategy than treating the entire population or area for a condition it may not have.

    Carson did not create “environmentalism”, she eloquently alerted the public to the already known risks of chemical use.

  76. J F Beck says:

    From the Cohn et al breast cancer study:

    Exposure to p,p-DDT early in life may increase breast cancer risk.

    Then again, maybe not.

  77. rog says:

    The problem with identifying a chemical that is toxic to humans is that it is unethical to dose people with a substance and monitor them to see if they contract cancer, or have premature births, or have disadvantaged or disabled kids at a higher rate than the norm. So they look at clusters of existing conditions and research to see what if any is the cause. This is all very expensive and time consuming and when govts slow down or stop R&D due to political pressure we have a problem.

  78. rog says:

    Scientific terminology is not that of everyday usage, may means that it is possible but until they identify every known environmental factor they dont know with certainty if the cancer was entirely due to DDT.

    Logically, if you have a group of women who have no DDT in their blood and no breast cancer and another group of women with DDT in their blood and breast cancer AND the rate of cancer is matched by the amount of DDT you could safely assume that there is a connection between DDT and cancer.

  79. JC says:

    Youve made an awful fool of yourself again.

    I know, it’s one of my quirks, Mel

    The study says relatively high levels.

    Yep

    The key word is relatively because the researchers divided the women into tertials based on exposure levels.

    Yep again

    Read the studies before you comment.

    I shouldn’t rely on your quotes then?

    So what’s your point: that if you feed people with relatively high levels of DDT they could have health problems? Who here arguing the opposite? Point him out and he’ll get a tongue lashing from me.

  80. J F Beck says:

    I don’t see how this from the study is correct:

    High levels of serum p,p-DDT predicted a statistically significant 5-fold increased risk of breast cancer among women who were born after 1931. These women were under 14 years of age in 1945, when DDT came into widespread use, and mostly under 20 years as DDT use peaked. Women who were not exposed to p,p-DDT before 14 years of age showed no association between p,p-DDT and breast cancer (p = 0.02 for difference by age).

    Given the ubiquity of DDT it’s hard to believe many US women were not exposed to DDT by the age of 14. Also, DDT use peaked in the late 1950s, if I remember correctly, so there appears to be an age discrepancy.

    I’m not trying to debunk this study and think it a good idea that the possible DDT – breast cancer linkage be researched further. Thimersal was once linked to autism but this linkage didn’t hold up under close scrutiny.

  81. melaleuca says:

    “Im not trying to debunk this study and think it a good idea that the possible DDT – breast cancer linkage be researched further.”

    USA Senator Coburn doesn’t think so. He blocked the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. He is also the senator who blocked bills to honour Carson.

  82. J F Beck says:

    Good for him. Have you contributed anything significant to any discussion, ever?

  83. JC says:

    he’s a medical doctor, mel. you think you should tell us why he blocked it, as US legislation sometimes times carries deliberately misleading names. This could very well have been a boondoggle for senators or carried an earamark with that intention.

  84. Nabakov says:

    Jaysus! Really Becky and Joe, why don’t you guys get an online life beyond obsessing over Tim Lambert? Talk about unrequited passion.

    Regardless of what I think of your views, you both have distinctive voices online and I’d probably enjoy reading anything you write that is not about this weird Lambert obsession and instead about subjects you really understand – whether it’s USN logistics or Forex pereginations.

    Basically chaps, the more you talk about someone else, the more it becomes clear you have less to say for yourself. This also applies for those equally idiotic Blairwatch and Boltwatch exercises.

    A good blog is a pub, not a combination of soapbox and therapist’s couch.

  85. J F Beck says:

    Hey Nobby, how’d it work out with your blogging gig?

  86. Yobbo says:

    Basically chaps, the more you talk about someone else, the more it becomes clear you have less to say for yourself.

    This is quite ironic since talking about other people is pretty much all Lambert ever does.

    Pretty much every single hit on google with the keywords “DDT Ban” links back to Lambert effectively saying this article is a fraud because the person who wrote it is the brother in law of someone who once smoked a cigarette and therefore has no credibility.

  87. JC says:

    Turn it of Nabs. He’s the one rattling everyone’s chain about killing/not killing mozzies. I was quite happy chewing on my bone.

    Anyway the DDT wars has been going on for years. It’s very similar to the Israeli- Pali stoush. There’s months/years of R&R then suddenly someone lobs a rocket over the border and it’s on again. Rest assured DDT will quietly go away soon only to raise it’s ugly little head again.

  88. melaleuca says:

    The RWDB obsession with Tim Lambert is disturbing. I’d take out a restraining order against you oinking simpletons if I were him.

    As to Republican Senator Coburn, he says too much money is spent on breast cancer already. I can’t help but be suspicious as to his motives. He may be a doctor but he is also a nutjob, he called for the execution of abortion doctors for example.

  89. J F Beck says:

    Better a simpleton than a deviant obsessed with the sex-life and dress habits of people you’ve neither seen nor met.

  90. Nabakov says:

    Three indignant responses within ten minutes to my mention of Lambert, all repeating each others talking points. Yup you guys are hooked alright.

    “howd it work out with your blogging gig?

    Which one? Recipes, film reviews, air show photo essays, Synchrotron reports, sports commentary or Wodehouse parodies?

  91. J F Beck says:

    Jeez, Nobby looks like you’re no longer just a sideshow act at LP how does raw chicken head taste, anyway? Could you please link to some of your typically outstanding output?

  92. melaleuca says:

    Calm down Miss Becky. You look absolutely fabulous in that black satin evening dress.

  93. Nabakov says:

    “Could you please link to some of your typically outstanding output?”

    Okey-dokey. Here’s a taster or two.

    Watch:
    http://aftergrogblog.blogs.com/agb/film_reviews/index.html
    (Tony pops in a few but it’s basically me over the last few years)

    and eat:
    http://www.progressivedinnerparty.net/2008/05/18/sexy-pink-mashed-potatoes/#more-78

    You’ll notice I don’t mention Tim Lambert at all. No doubt you can provide a dozen or so life-appreciating posts which don’t do so either.

  94. JC says:

    Nabs

    Is that recipe meant to kill on sight?

    Isn’t that what they feed the Gitmos during interrogation? Nothing personal.

  95. John Mashey says:

    re: #60

    Kelly & colleague Claude Shannon were well before my time, but this is what I mean when I say a great deal of fundamental work was done at BTL over the years.

    Folks like Joe Kruskal, Ron Graham, and the great John Tukey were still around. (Read Wikipedia on Tukey, especially the Quotes section.

    In particular, truly key basic mathematics, physics, and computer science origianted at BTL, because in those days, the Bell System was (I think) the largest corporation in the world, and routinely had to deal with the most complex systems engineering problems and cases where even a 1% optimization might be worth $10Ms/year. The US government sometimes asked BTL to do things, just because they thought nobody else could, like anti-ballistic missile systems and black projects like “Operation Ivy Bells”.

    Of course, it was pleasant to have monopoly money, which let BTL think about 10/20/40-year timeframes. Pure R people were often working on things that might or might not lead to actual products, but if they did, easily could be 10-20 years away, and quite often might be doing things that might seem of little direct usefulness. For instance, a colleague Ken Thompson spent a few years building Belle, which was the world computer chess champion for a few years. Nobody cared [and actually, there were some interesting spinoffs], because besides creating UNIX, Ken saved $Ms a year just in looking at projects and advising.

    Sometimes people discovered things they weren’t looking for. A friend of mine jokes “Some people get Nobel prizes for things they were looking for – we got one for something we were trying to get rid of!” That’s research.

    Anyway, I’m not surprised that there’s some Bell Labs math underneath modern derivatives trading. However, the Wall Street folks much prefer trade secret to patents.

    re: 67 David:

    “re: financial derivatives and science: the products are engineering, the theory underneath is the science.”

    Yes, well put and accurate. Here’s another friend, John Mulvey, who is very good, and is “professor of operations research and financial engineering”. He’s an example of one of those who straddle the science/engineering boundary, as he usually does research, but when consulting for companies he’s usually doing engineering.

  96. Helen says:

    Females could develop breast cancer and Im sure males would also have a horrid problem of some sort too- growing breasts or having periods perhaps. Who knows.

    So, for you, developing secondary female sexual characteristics would be equivalent to cancer?

    Wow.

    Interesting data point, that one.

  97. David Rubie says:

    John Mashey wrote:

    For instance, a colleague Ken Thompson spent a few years building Belle, which was the world computer chess champion for a few years.

    I’m not sure who’s responsible for the main part of the text in the Thompson/Ritchie/Kernighan classic books about C and Unix (“The C Programming language” and “The Unix Programmer’s Manual”), but they still sit on my shelf at work. They manage to be both entertaining and informative – I wish all programming books were written that well.

  98. JC says:

    So, for you, developing secondary female sexual characteristics would be equivalent to cancer?

    Depends which cancer we’re comparing to, Helen. If it is say lung or pancreatic where there’s little chance of survival I’d go for the breasts and period.

    If it’s in one organ and hasn’t spread, I’ll take may chances with the cancer.

    How about you…. and say the thought of growing a penis. What’s your trade off(s).

  99. David Rubie says:

    JC wrote:

    How about you. and say the thought of growing a penis. Whats your trade off(s).

    ++ could learn to drive properly.
    — easily distracted by own boobs.

    (runs away).

  100. JC says:

    John M

    you know this guy.

    He’s truly a remarkable individual who made the transition from the teaching math at a uni to being possibly the best hedge fund manager in the world. From my experience his firm was a very generous brokerage payer so it kept the snow outside, the kids well fed and the dog with the next meal.

    Jim Simons from math teacher to the best hedge fund manager in the world (i think)

    Short blurb:
    The advantage scientists bring into the game is less their mathematical or computational skills than their ability to think scientifically. They are less likely to accept an apparent winning strategy that might be a mere statistical fluke

    http://www.turtletrader.com/trader-simons.html

  101. John Mashey says:

    re: 99 David
    Well, far off-topic, but:
    – UNIX manual = Ken & Dennis + contributions from others
    – C book = Dennis & Brian, with kibitzing from others.
    – original paper on UNIX in CACM = Dennis + Ken, wouldn’t have happened without Dennis pushing for it. Ken’s standards were so high, I’d find a terrific paper on his machine, ask him where it was getting published, and he’d write back “Nowhere, not worth it.”

    If you want good history, Dennis still has a good website, including some amusing history of Thompson, games, and fake memoes.

  102. Jacques Chester says:

    John;

    Do you see the current boom in research at places like Sun and Microsoft to be anything like the Bell Labs era? Or is it too much D and not enough R?

  103. John Mashey says:

    re: #102 Jacques

    In the parlance I used in #57, and noting that Google should be included, and of course, I don’t work at any of these places:

    Sunlabs has a handy list of projects, which I’d generally call AR (as they do) or ED (exploratory development), although a few verge on R, and they certainly have world-class R computer scientists. A couple years ago, there were about 200 staff members, split among 2 main sites with scattered individuals elsewhere.

    Microsoft Research is bigger, with around 800 people much more spread around. They do more R, although a lot is still AR and ED. They have sometimes been knocked for not producing that much for the level of resources and talent (very high), but I’m not sure that’s quite fair: if people do R, most of it fails, and in any case, it takes years for it to move from R to AR to ED/AD to D and get deployed, even in software, which is easier than in physics, for example. Also, it’s like the VC business: the occasional monster winner pays for it all.

    These are probably appropriate levels of effort. Very few companies can think of 20-year timeframes, and software and computer company R&D tends to be more in the AR/ED range, since one is looking for things to become products in a few years. That’s different from basic research in physics, chemistry.

    Most real R in computing is at universities, and sometimes government labs, although at one point, a big chunk of leading-edge computing research was concentrated in IBM Research, Bell labs, and Xerox PARC, of which only one still much resembles its 1970s self, sad to say. There are still fine people at Bell Labs, but it’s much smaller.

    As for taking a while:
    Bell Labs history includes a list of top 10 innovations. If you read that, and think how long it took for things like transistor (1947), solar cells (1954), lasers (1958), and UNIX (1969) to catch on, you’ll see what I mean about lag time. Solar cells were nichey for a long time, and nobody guessed that lasers would show up in inexpensive consumer products.

    Anyway, Bell Labs was 25,000 people at its height, supported by monopoly money and long time horizons. There were probably 1000 people doing mostly R, and another 1000 or so doing mostly AR, depending on you counted. One of the Consent Decrees required that patents be licensed reasonably, which is why so much currently-used technology backtracks though some Bell Labs patent somewhere. Of course, software patents were more chancy, but we had other ways to get the software out, i.e., like licensing UNIX to universities almost free. The lawyers were terrified at that, as they worried that we;d get sued for being in the computer business. BTW, a famous Australian computer scientist, John Lions, sadly deceased, contributed strongly to the spreading of UNIX.

  104. Jacques Chester says:

    John;

    Yeah, the lag is heartbreaking at times. From time to time I’ll muse to one of my professors about a program or feature I’d like to see and they’ll mention that it was worked on in the 70s or 80s. I was born too late, in a way.

    I liked the Sun list, particularly the self-optimising and “live star” projects, both of which mesh with my own thinking about where web servers will go next. I reckon the future of web systems for sites like this belongs to turnkey virtual machines.

  105. Jacques Chester says:

    Speaking of Sun, I talked a bit about how I see their CEO “getting it” in respect of their R&D effort.

  106. gilmae says:

    Did Lions ever actually get into much trouble over that book?

  107. John Mashey says:

    re: #106 gilmae
    [For others, the story is Lions’ Commentary, i.e., he published the UNIX 6th Edition kernel in one volume, and gave a line-by-line commentary in the other.]

    The Wikipedia entry is OK as far as it goes.

    AT&T lawyers slightly hassled John, who however did several sabbaticals at Bell Labs with Ken&Dennis&co, who in no way discouraged him. As an amusing note, at the same time as the lawyers were wringing their hands about this, we were using the Lions books widely for internal BTL courses…

    John was a scholar and a gentlemen, and never got in real trouble, just hassled. The last time I saw him, he kindly replaced my personal copies that had been loaned out and never gotten back. But I did return the favor later, as the money I paid for a certain famous license plate went to a Lions Award Fund.

  108. Just Me says:

    What were talking about is that there was a de-facto ban on DDT which was a wrong thing to do because DDT should be in the suite of weaponry we use to fight the little bastards.
    JC @ 68

    There has never been a ban (de facto or otherwise) on the use of DDT to fight malaria carrying mosquitoes, only on its use in agriculture, and for very good reasons.

    If you have some serious evidence to the contrary then present it.

  109. JC says:

    If you have some serious evidence to the contrary then present it.

    Sure:
    First, Harvards Attaran worries that the procedural barriers and controls put on DDT by the POPs Treaty may raise its cost so much that many poor countries will not be able to afford to continue using it. Second, the WWF Core Issues Statement on the Johannesburg conference still asserts that “negotiators need to remain firm and committed to making elimination the central objective of the POPs Treaty.” That includes DDT. Similarly Greenpeaces briefing paper on the Johannesburg meeting insists that the POPs Treaty must adopt “measures to put an end to the production of and use of all existing POPs.” Again, that includes DDT.

    AND

    S Attaran points out that Greenpeace is currently trying to shut down one of the worlds two remaining manufacturers of DDT in India. “Thus they may accomplish through the back door what they couldnt accomplish through the front door,” says Attaran.

    Perhaps you could email the professor ask for some evidence and post it here.

    It would be particularly interesting to ask him about Greenpeace’s attempts to stage a backdoor ban in india which the Indian government obviously ignored.

  110. NPOV says:

    It’s hardly just Greenpeace trying to shut down the factories: the locals are pretty unhappy about it to. And given that they’re government run, funded by taxpayer dollars, they have every right to be.

    http://boloji.com/society/172.htm

    What Greenpeace’s position is on where and how DDT should be manufacturerd I have no idea.

  111. gilmae says:

    Wait for it…any minute now, someone is going to come in and mention property rights and possibly involve Camden.

  112. JC says:

    Wait for itany minute now, someone is going to come in and mention property rights and possibly involve Camden.

    Good idea. File a permit to set up a DDT factory in the same spot as the Islamic school. I guarantee you’ll suddenly see 100% support for the Islamic school from everyone who opposed it.

  113. Pingback: Jessie

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