Category Archives: Open Thread

Monday Open Thread — What Are You Reading?

Hey, folks. Slow day here at TLP, so it’s probably a good a time as any to open the floor.

What’s currently on the reading shelves for all of you?

For me:

Just finished:
The American Story, by Garet Garrett. — Available from the Mises Store. I plan on a review of this once I get a bit of time to put it together.

On tap:
Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover – The Great Depression 1929-1941 [PDF], by Herbert Hoover. — I was trying to decide whether or not to buy it, but since I saw it on PDF I figure I’ll need to get around to reading it.

Monday Morning Question

All, if you’ve followed the ClimateGate scandal, you’ll note that most coverage on both the left and the right centers around the emails. There is discussion in the emails of trying to influence access to peer-reviewed journals to stop critics (unethical), and even some suggestions that data requested under FOIA be deleted (potentially illegal).

So we’re stuck with two basic sides:

Skeptics: “This shows that we’ve been right about you trying to stonewall us, and thus we won’t accept your conclusions unless you show us the source data and methodology, which you’ve tried to avoid for years. Your behavior suggests you have something to hide, and these emails show that you’re hiding it. Now put up or shut up.”
AGW Crowd: “This is regrettable and we all think there should be more transparency in the process. But it hardly invalidates the claims, which are from source data available elsewhere and which correspond with the claims of other climate researchers working independently of us.”

The debate largely stays at this level, because like most political debates, few in the media or in the public are comfortable looking at the deep dark bowels of all of this — numbers.

As an engineer, though, I am not stricken with such numerophobia, and thus wading through data sets and statistical methods. As such, I’ve seen a particular critique which bothers me greatly (as described here by Eric S. Raymond (via QandO)):

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/ , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.


(Note: Raymond points out later that he missed the 0.75 modifier, so what is shown here (at the maximum) as a 2.6 deg correction in the graph is likely a 1.95 deg correction. This appears to be an older version of the graph.)

One caveat — this is the only “smoking gun” I’ve seen thus far, and I personally haven’t scoured these files at all to determine exactly how important this particular file is to the whole picture. I’m likewise a bit concerned that we haven’t seen more of these “corrections”; if this is purported to account for the northern hemisphere, what about the southern?

But at this time, that’s beside the point. Absolutely NO voice on the pro-AGW side that I’ve come across has even attempted to answer this critique. They may think it’s not serious, or know that it’s being misinterpreted, or they may simply believe that if they don’t give it an answer, it’s obscure nature to most innumerate people will let a true critique be ignored. I’m not sure.

So here’s my question to readers: Have you seen any credible answer to the charge by Eric Raymond that this is blatant data-cooking? Barring that, have you seen any non-credible answer or off-handed dismissal of this charge? What I’m trying to find out is if there are actually voices trying to answer this, or if it is being ignored.

Open Thread – Libertarian Response To Klingon Upbringing

Way back in 2006 (and prior to that at my old site), I raised a question of how a libertarian society deals with children. It’s well summarized from this comment:

If a parent believes in spanking, we don’t take the child away from the parents. If the parents are beating their children abusively, we do. There is a point at which the parent is a danger to the successful development of a child, and the child should not have to pay for the parent’s sins.

To a statist, there’s nothing inconsistent here. The state knows best, and when they believe you are over the line, they take your child. But to a libertarian, who doesn’t believe the state knows best, this is inconsistent.

Kids are pre-adults, and human beings with natural rights. It cannot be true that parents “own” their children, as slavery is incompatible with natural rights. But kids not being capable of fully exercising individual natural rights, it is parents who appoint themselves as “guardian” or “caretaker” of that child until he/she is old enough to take control of his/her own life. But where’s the line between stern and abusive parenting, and where’s the line between creative and unique upbringing and damaging your child by starting their lives under a fictional language only spoken on a TV show and amongst its most rabid fans:

Is this taking the whole Star Trek thing a teensie weensie bit too far? d’Armond Speers spoke only Klingon to his child for the first three years of its life.

Klingon? Not Spanish, French, Mandarin? Not some gutteral genuflecting concoction from the deepest recesses of Borneo? Klingon? You heard it right. (And if you don’t know about the Klingon Empire, look it up.)

“I was interested in the question of whether my son, going through his first language acquisition process, would acquire it like any human language,” Speers told the Minnesota Daily. “He was definitely starting to learn it.”

This case is made even more difficult in that this guy is not some guy living in his parents’ basement watching Star Trek all day, he has a doctorate in computational linguistics.

So two questions here:

1) At what point is it morally acceptable for a libertarian to interfere with a parent in the protection of a child?
2) Where does speaking to your kids in only Klingon until age 3 fall into that spectrum?

Hat Tip: Popehat

Open Thread — Chrysler Storm A-Brewin’

This news just came through the tubes —

A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Monday granted a request to put on hold the sale of bankrupt automaker Chrysler LLC to a group led by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a one-sentence order, said the orders of the bankruptcy judge allowing the sale “are stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the court.”

This, of course, was prompted by some of the senior creditors — Indiana state worker pension funds — complaining about the raw deal they were getting in favor of the UAW, the government, and Fiat. I spoke on that here.

I’m pretty busy today, so I’ll leave this one to the commenters… This is a pretty good time for an open thread too, as a “one-sentence order” doesn’t give a lot of evidence for serious analysis… What does this mean, and what will the fall-out be? Are we headed to a Supreme Court rebuke of the Administration?

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