Science

A Taxonomy of Climate Camps

Featured image Physicist Richard Muller of UC Berkeley offers up a remarkably unbiased classification of climate change thinkers in the unlikely venue of the Puffington Host. I think it isn’t half bad: In my book, “Energy for Future Presidents” (pg 74) I give the following categories: Alarmists. They pay little attention to the details of the science. They are “unconvincibles.” They say the danger is imminent, so scare tactics are both necessary »

Climate Egg on Their Face

Featured image Here’s another sign of the bankruptcy of both the climatistas and the liberals who fawn over “democracy” until the people don’t do exactly what they want. Science authorities in Britain put the naming of a new Arctic research ship to an online vote of the public. And the public chose—by a landslide margin—”Boaty McBoatface.” Which I suppose is better than “Big McLargehuge,” for you MST3K fans out there. Anyway, Her »

From the Annals of Scientific Objectivity

Featured image In the last few years the virtues of a low-fat diet have gradually come undone, though some “nutritional anthropologists” keep the faith like those Japanese soldiers in the island jungles who refused be believe World War II was over. Yesterday the Washington Post reported on how the full data from a major nutrition study that helped cement the old conventional wisdom was never fully analyzed, but might have saved us »

How Green Is Thy Planet?

Featured image Deciding which is the greatest single blunder of the climatistas is a difficult contest, because you have so much to choose from. Aside from their dreadful leading spokesspecies (Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Leo di Caprio—Green Weenies all), perhaps the stupidest move was the decision to call carbon dioxide—the compound that humans exhale to the tune of about 800 lbs per person per year—a “pollutant.” Sure, it’s »

Are the Social Sciences Scientific?

Featured image In principle, the scientific method can be applied to anything, I think. But it works better when you’re talking about, say, physics than when the subject is human behavior. The social sciences derive their prestige (such as they have) mostly by piggy-backing on the hard sciences, but there have been numerous scandals lately where the findings of “scientific” experiments have been impossible to replicate. To be fair, this happens in »

Is CDC Ignoring the Horrifying Zika Virus?

Featured image Last summer, my friend David Lebedoff published a thriller titled Buzz, in which a terrorist group found a way to weaponize mosquitoes. (Buzz is available on Amazon, including a Kindle edition for a mere $4.99.) Now, tragically, the nightmare fantasy envisioned in Buzz has been surpassed by reality. The Zika virus is ravaging South America and spreading rapidly. Probably you have heard about it: the virus is spread by mosquito »

Trees Like Carbon Dioxide! Who Knew?

Featured image This is going to annoy some climatistas. The next issue of Forest Ecology & Management includes an article that finds rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere are mostly good for our forests. Here’s the complete abstract: Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change Abstract The health of United States forests is of concern for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, forest commercial values, »

Settled Science: Liberals Are Simple-Minded

Featured image The nation’s best science reporter, Reason’s Ron Bailey, has the story: It is almost a truism among psychological researchers that conservatives are simple-minded and dogmatic. Liberals, meanwhile, are supposed to be more complex and open-minded thinkers. But a new paper is calling those conclusions into question. Writing in the journal Political Psychology, a team of researchers led by the University of Montana psychologist Lucian Gideon Conway III reports the results of four studies that together »

Taking the Wood to Politicized Science

Featured image Very soon the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is going to select a new president, and the leading (perhaps only) candidate appears to be Dr. Marcia McNutt, who is currently editor-in-chief of Science magazine. The problem with Dr. McNutt is that she consistently turns a blind eye to qualified dissenting scientists on a wide variety of subjects, often summarily rejecting their submissions without even the pretense of review. Dr. Peter »

Finally—An Explanation for Al Gore

Featured image The climatistas—or at least Joe Romm of the Center for American Progress—are all abuzz about a brand new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that finds elevated levels of CO2 make us stupider. Finally—an explanation for Al Gore! Anyone who exhales as much hot air as he does is certain to damage his own brain cells. The study is actually focused on establishing the superiority of “sustainable” »

The Problem With Science in Four Headlines

Featured image It has long been conventional wisdom that the so-called “hard” sciences are largely immune to the undertow of political correctness. Hence it is hard to take in these headlines from the latest issue of Nature magazine without a heavy sigh: Indigenous Peoples Must Benefit from Science U.S. Astronomers Rally to End Sexual Harassment Climate policy: US environmentalists must turn out to vote Of course, it is only Republicans who politicize »

Annals of Social Science, or Annulment of Social Science?

Featured image Don’t miss Andrew Ferguson’s cover feature “Making It All Up” in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard on the various scandals besetting behavioral science (though as we’ve observed here several times, the problem of scientific fraud isn’t limited to the social sciences by any means). This won’t come as news to our regular readers, but still: Two economists recently wrote a little book called The Cult of Statistical Significance, »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 10

Featured image Time to update our series on science fraud from a few months ago, with news of a blockbuster research review effort that is making waves this week. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today: A decade ago, John P.A. Ioannidis published a provocative and much-discussed paper arguing that most published research findings are false. It’s starting to look like he was right. The results of the Reproducibility Project are in, »

How Many Scientists Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

Featured image The answer to this gag seems increasingly to be: Nearly all of them. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on the growing trend of listing dozens and dozens of co-authors on scientific papers, presumably because it conveys authority (97 percent!) and thoroughness. In some cases the number of listed co-authors for journal articles tops 1,000: In fact, there has been a notable spike since 2009 in the number of technical »

The Eight Stages of Scam

Featured image Taking note of the fact that the long-held conventional wisdom about cholesterol has been overturned, the proprietor of the wonderfully named Barrel Strength blog over in the UK offers up the “Eight Stages of Scam” as applied to climate change. This one is worth marking down: The cholesterol scam bears a strong relationship to the anthropogenic global warming scam. 1) it is propagated by scientists on a non-scientific mission. 2) »

1,000-Year-Old Saxon Remedy Kills Superbugs

Featured image This may not be the biggest news story of the day, but it must be the most curious. As you are no doubt aware, there is great concern over resistance to conventional antibiotics. “Superbugs” are developing that are not easily killed with known medicines. So someone at the University of Nottingham, in England, thought to try an ancient remedy: a salve for eye infections found in Bald’s Leechbook, a 10th »

It’s not easy going green: A comment

Featured image A reader who must remain deep under cover writes to comment on Kathy Kersten’s column “It’s not easy going green.” He writes: Dear Mr. Johnson As a professor in the natural sciences, I get a lot of sustainability emails – and have sometimes seen the linkage between white patriarchiality and our lack of sustainability – the technology of the other cultures was always in harmony with nature (tell it to »