A favorite ploy of many denialists is selective quotation and misrepresentation

Monckton’s “selective quotation and misrepresentation”
[Via Deltoid]

Mike Steketee bucks the groupthink at The Australian with an article on why it is necessary to adapt to the coming global warming. Christopher Monckton responds with a Gish gallop of 24 points where he alleges Steketee got it wrong. Steketee’s response is devasting: again and again and again he shows that Monckton misrepresented what Steketee wrote. Even Andrew “confirmation bias” Bolt, after at first being convinced that Monckton had shown Steketee to be wrong, was compelled to concede that Monckton had verballed Steketee. Though I’m sure Bolt will believe with all his heart and all his soul the next silly claim that Monckton makes.

Let me pick up on one of Monckton’s claims. I picked this one because I thought that Monckton had scored a point and I was writing something to that effect when I want back and checked what Steketee had written and discovered that Monckton had misrepresented him again. Monckton claims that Steketee stated:


Monckton then proceeds to calculate the equilibrium warming if CO2 was kept at current levels of 390 ppm. His calculations are a bit off, but it is generally agreed that there is about 0.5 of a degree of warming in the pipeline even if CO2 levels don’t increase any more.


Read the back and forth and you will see which person is more intellectual honest with the facts and with their opponents. And, the best denilists will completely ignore these takedowns in a few months and repeat pretty much what has been debunked here.

Even when shown that their facts are wrong, that their rhetoric is false and that they have little substantial to stand on, denialists continue to inhabit their Cargo Cult World, afraid to leave it for the real world outside.

How too much choice is a problem

Too much hardware choice
[Via Marco.org]

From my Verizon iPhone post:

Even the gadget blogs have a hard time feigning enthusiasm for this week’s hot Android phone because they still haven’t taken the shrinkwrap off of last week’s.

Not enough Nick’s response:

Wait, the stream of high-quality, constantly improving hardware with options to fit different desires is a problem for Android?

Yes, it is, for a few major reasons.

Most people don’t read gadget blogs or even know what Android is. They generally hear about individual phones, without distinguishing much based on operating system. (They don’t know what those are, either.)

The highest-profile Android launch that seemed to meaningfully reach the masses was the Motorola Droid, primarily because it was boosted by a massive Verizon television and in-store ad campaign.

But since then, very few non-geeks know about individual Android handsets. They change so frequently, and are so numerous, that there’s never much of an opportunity for a meaningful buzz to generate around any of them. Nobody’s lining up to buy them. CNN’s not covering their launches. Consumer Reports isn’t vigorously testing their antennas. The Daily Show isn’t making jokes about them. So the mass market doesn’t really respond to individual devices. Even if Uncle Joe brings his fancy Android Something to Thanksgiving and your mother is impressed by it and wants to buy one, by the time her contract expires in two months and she goes to the Verizon store, it’s gone.


When I go into a new restaurant for the first time, I usually see two types of menus. One where there are a choice of 3-5 entrees under a couple headings on two pages or ones where there are pages and pages of items under a multitude of headings. I hate the latter.

Too many choices when all I want is something to eat. And it is likely that only a few of those are really good. Maybe only a few are worthwhile but it is so hard to find them.

But the one with fewer choices makes it much easier to choose.

More possibilities does not make it easier.

Yes, our kids have rewired brains

Miles O’Brien: Is technology rewiring teens’ brains?
[Via Boing Boing]

My friend Miles O’Brien produced a really cool piece for PBS News Hour about “what could be happening to teenagers’ brains as they develop in a rapid-fire, multitasking world of technology and gadgets.”

You may know the PBS correspondent best from his many years as space and science reporter with CNN—he also slummed it on a few BBTV episodes (1, 2, 3).


I blame typewriters. Up until the late 1800s, people who wrote used one hand and initiated pathways through one hemisphere. The language skills and muscular movements needed to write only really had to come from one side of our brain.

But, with the introduction of keyboards and touch typing, people wrote and composed using two hands, requiring very precise control and communication between both hemispheres. If the language was not being transmitted to both hemispheres properly, then the correct muscular movements to hit the right keys, with each hand in the right order, could not occur.

It takes a very different type of cognitive effort to compose with a keyboard than with a pen. But, until recently, not everyone had to learn how to use a typewriter keyboard and when they did, they were usually already adults with brains already wired.

My son has never taken typing lessons but has lived with a keyboard his whole life. His ability to type is simply incredible. I watch him compose a Facebook comment and it looks like he is just randomly pounding keys. The coordination between two hands and two hemispheres has to require a very different set of neural connections than living a life with a pen.

His generation’s early introduction to the keyboard, which forces them to have enhanced communication between both hemispheres, may well have caused their brains to be different. We know that if an animal does not get visual stimulation during key parts of its early life, it will be ‘blind’ even though all the right parts are there. The old use it or lose it.

What if we all lost it because we never had the chance to use it but this new generation was able to use parts of their brains during critical times that opened up new pathways for cognition?

Now add in visual cues on top of this dual hemisphere wiring and look out. Now they can make decisions faster but just as accurately than we can. Because they have been raised dealing with games involving probabilities, they are able to understand stochastic events better than older generations.

They also appear to be able to multitask better than the rest of us.

My mother always thought I was some mutant leap forward – yes she read a lot of science fiction when she was younger . I’m beginning to wonder if we are not seeing something here, where new tools are creating a generation that actually thinks differently and perhaps better.

Antimatter created on Earth every day

Weather so severe it generates antimatter
[Via Ars Technica]

It turns out thunderstorms pack a much bigger punch than most people think. In the mid-1990s, we found that lightning and the associated electric field above a thunderstorm can be strong enough to produce a gamma ray blast detectable from space. These terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) are believed to occur all over the world at a rate of about 500 per day. Researchers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered a similar, but previously undetected phenomena: the production of an antimatter beam from the top of these storms.

Fermi is built to observe and measure gamma rays from anywhere in the Universe, but it has also been used to look at terrestrial events as well. Over its first three years, Fermi has identified 130 TGFs. These TGFs have included gamma rays with an energy of 511 keV—the energy signature of an electron-positron annihilation event.


All these TGFs are postulated to be caused by electron/positron beams by the authors of the paper. Just think that every day regular weather events could be accomplishing things that we have only been able to recreate in the lab within the last 50 years or so.

Electrons getting accelerated to almost light speed. Wow. It is a measure of just how powerful thunderstorms can be. I wonder if there are storms on Saturn or Jupiter that are even more powerful?

Since T-mobile anti-iPhone ad are great, their pro-iPhone ads could be delicious

Apple’s revolutionary iPhone coming next to T-Mobile USA?

[Via MacDailyNews]

Now that AT&T’s exclusive hold on the iPhone in the U.S. is over…


T-Mobile went right after the iPhone in their ads, although they really hit at ATT and its network. Smart since they want the iPhone on their network. So they really made the iPhone a great phone with a bad carrier.

It was a nice campaign that burned no bridges with Apple. So if the get an iPhone, I expect some cute ads.

Is Google evil?

google by toprankonlinemarketing

Slashdot Comment on Google Dropping H.264 in Chrome
[Via Daring Fireball]

“Znu”, on Slashdot:

This serves two strategic purposes for Google. First, it advances a codec that’s de facto controlled by Google at the expense of a codec that is a legitimate open standard controlled by a multi-vendor governance process managed by reputable international standards bodies. (“Open source” != “open standard”.) And second, it will slow the transition to HTML5 and away from Flash by creating more confusion about which codec to use for HTML5 video, which benefits Google by hurting Apple (since Apple doesn’t want to support Flash), but also sucks for users.

Don’t be evil.


Pushing a system where they have more control than another system is good business. Being able to use their own products to push that system, even better. And, if they stop YouTube from using the other system, then they can use other areas of the corporation to help support this while shutting out competitors.

Driving business away from their competitors and towards themselves is pure capitalism. But cloaking it under a desire for open source software?

Is this really a case of ‘Do no evil’ or is that just a marketing phrase used to fool us?

It was a big frigging laser

201101121027.jpg by dcJohn

Point a laser at a police helicopter, go to prison
[Via Ars Technica]

A United States District Court in Massachusetts has sentenced a 52-year-old resident of the Boston area to three years imprisonment for pointing a laser at a police helicopter. He was found guilty of one count of “willfully interfering with an aircraft operator with reckless disregard for human life” and another of making false statements.

That brief description doesn’t do justice to the incident in question, so we obtained a copy of the court investigator’s affidavit to get more details on the case.


The title made it seem a little unfair. But reading the article, it was obvious that this was not some little keychain laser he pointed at the pilots but a laser usually used in laser light shows. It is dangerous to look directly into.

And he confessed to it just like in the TV shows. He even showed them all the other lasers he had. Luckily he appears to have been an idiot but it makes one think about what might have happened with someone smart, evil or both.


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