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Topics - Jxands

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1
General Discussion / It's quiet....too quiet....
« on: July 08, 2016, 01:23:45 PM »
No comments on the fact that Clinton earned a revocation of her security clearance and perjured herself under oath?

partisan lemmings

2
General Discussion / Bloombergs commencement speech
« on: May 03, 2016, 01:04:51 PM »
http://heatst.com/politics/michael-bloomberg-why-safe-spaces-are-terrible-mistakes/#:REcaKd2sWFLHXA

The following is an adaptation of an address to the University of Michigan’s class of 2016.


The most useful knowledge that you leave here with today has nothing to do with your major. It’s about how to study, cooperate, listen carefully, think critically and resolve conflicts through reason. Those are the most important skills in the working world, and it’s why colleges have always exposed students to challenging and uncomfortable ideas.

The fact that some university boards and administrations now bow to pressure and shield students from these ideas through “safe spaces,” “code words” and “trigger warnings” is, in my view, a terrible mistake.

The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them. A microaggression is exactly that: micro. And one of the most dangerous places on a college campus is a safe space, because it creates the false impression that we can insulate ourselves from those who hold different views.

We can’t do this, and we shouldn’t try — not in politics or in the workplace. In the global economy, and in a democratic society, an open mind is the most valuable asset you can possess.

Think about the global economy. For the first time in human history, the majority of people in the developed world are being asked to make a living with their minds, rather than their muscles. For 3,000 years, humankind had an economy based on farming: Till the soil, plant the seed, harvest the crop. It was hard to do, but fairly easy to learn. Then, for 300 years, we had an economy based on industry: Mold the parts, turn the crank, assemble the product. This was hard to do, but also fairly easy to learn.

Now, we have an economy based on information: Acquire the knowledge, apply the analytics and use your creativity. This is hard to do and hard to learn, and even once you’ve mastered it, you have to start learning all over again, pretty much every day.

Keeping an open mind to new ideas is essential to your professional success — just as it’s crucial to our collective future as a democratic society.

We are witnessing a disturbing change in the nature of American politics: a rise in extreme partisanship and intolerance for other views.

I’m a political independent, but over the course of my life, for nonideological reasons, I’ve been a Republican and a Democrat. So I can tell you: Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and each demonizes the other unfairly and dishonestly.

This is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached a dangerous new level. George Washington warned against the dangers of parties, but we have survived more than 200 years of political parties largely because the Founding Fathers created checks and balances to temper the fires of partisanship. Of course, they also excluded most Americans from their vision of democracy because they feared what democracy might produce. But over the past two centuries, through the sacrifices of so many civil rights leaders and soldiers, the promise of equal rights has spread across income, religion, race, gender and sexual orientation.

We still have a long way to go, and it would be a mistake to think that our progress is irreversible. Democracy and citizenship will always require constant vigilance against those who fan the flames of partisanship in ways that consume us and lead to, in Washington’s words, “the ruins of public liberty.”

We have certainly seen such figures before, in both parties. In the 1930s, there was the despotic Huey Long in Louisiana and Father Coughlin in Michigan, who blamed “Jewish conspirators” for America’s troubles. Then came Charles Lindbergh in the ’40s, Joe McCarthy in the ’50s, George Wallace in the ’60s and Pat Buchanan in the ’90s. Every generation has had to confront its own demagogues. And every generation has stood up and kept them away from the White House. At least so far.

In this year’s presidential election, we’ve seen more demagoguery from both parties than I can remember in my lifetime. Our country is facing serious and difficult challenges. But rather than offering realistic solutions, candidates in both parties are blaming our problems on easy targets who breed resentment. For Republicans, it’s Mexicans here illegally and Muslims. And for Democrats, it’s the wealthy and Wall Street. The truth is: We cannot solve the problems we face by blaming anyone.

So why has it become so hard to find leaders who will lead from the front, rather than following from behind?

Here’s one reason, based on my experience: Today, elected officials who decide to support a controversial policy don’t just get angry letters, phone calls and faxes. They also get millions of angry tweets and Facebook posts denouncing them in the harshest possible terms. This is democracy in action. But this kind of instant condemnation also makes elected officials afraid to do things that, in their heart of hearts, they know are right.

Democracy in action can actually produce a lot of inaction, which we see every day in Washington and other levels of government, too. When governments fail to address the needs of the people, voters in both parties get angry and some politicians exploit that anger by offering scapegoats instead of solutions.

If we want to stop demagogues, we have to start governing again, and that requires us to be more civil, to support politicians who have the courage to take risks, and to reward those who reach across the aisle in search of compromise.

Doing this won’t be easy, and that’s partly because it’s not just social media that has changed the civic dialogue. The constant bombardment of news that we see on our phones, computers and TVs gives us the impression we are acquiring knowledge. Yet many of the sources, facts and interpretations are either dubious or colored by partisanship, or outright lies.

I say that as the owner of a media company who has seen how the marketplace has shifted. Today, people choose cable TV channels and websites that affirm their own political beliefs rather than ones that inform and challenge their beliefs. As a result, we have grown more politically cloistered and more intolerant of those who hold different opinions.

Think about this: In 1960, only 4 to 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they would be upset if a member of their family married someone from the opposing party. In 2010, one in three Democrats and one in two Republicans said they would disapprove of such a marriage. In 1960, most people would never have believed that interparty marriage would attract such resistance, while interracial and same-sex marriage would gain such acceptance.

For all the progress we have made on cultural tolerance, when it comes to political tolerance, we are moving in the wrong direction — at campaign rallies that turn violent, on social media threads that turn vitriolic, and on college campuses, where students and faculty have attempted to censor political opponents.

As durable as the American system of government has been, democracy is fragile — and demagogues are always lurking. Stopping them starts with placing a premium on open minds, voting, and demanding that politicians offer practical solutions, not scapegoats or pie-in-the-sky promises.

In 1928, Republicans promised a “chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard.” They won control of Congress and the White House, and a year later, instead of a chicken and a car, we got the Great Depression.

Today, when a populist candidate promises free college, free health care and a pony, or another candidate promises to make other countries pay for our needs, remember: Those who promise you a free lunch will invariably eat you for breakfast.


3
General Discussion / Spoiler Alert!
« on: April 18, 2016, 03:43:11 PM »
'Game of Thrones': Journalist Files FOIA Request for President Obama's Season 6 Screeners

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-journalist-files-foia-884493

Haha!

4
General Discussion / Speaking of Movies
« on: April 18, 2016, 12:12:30 PM »
This one looks like it might be good.

Suicide Squad - Official Trailer


5
General Discussion / The case for Skepticism
« on: April 18, 2016, 12:03:34 PM »
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/05/scientific-regress

The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science’s actual practice.


The problem with ­science is that so much of it simply isn’t. Last summer, the Open Science Collaboration announced that it had tried to replicate one hundred published psychology experiments sampled from three of the most prestigious journals in the field. Scientific claims rest on the idea that experiments repeated under nearly identical conditions ought to yield approximately the same results, but until very recently, very few had bothered to check in a systematic way whether this was actually the case. The OSC was the biggest attempt yet to check a field’s results, and the most shocking. In many cases, they had used original experimental materials, and sometimes even performed the experiments under the guidance of the original researchers. Of the studies that had originally reported positive results, an astonishing 65 percent failed to show statistical significance on replication, and many of the remainder showed greatly reduced effect sizes.

Their findings made the news, and quickly became a club with which to bash the social sciences. But the problem isn’t just with psychology. There’s an ­unspoken rule in the pharmaceutical industry that half of all academic biomedical research will ultimately prove false, and in 2011 a group of researchers at Bayer decided to test it. Looking at sixty-seven recent drug discovery projects based on preclinical cancer biology research, they found that in more than 75 percent of cases the published data did not match up with their in-house attempts to replicate. These were not studies published in fly-by-night oncology journals, but blockbuster research featured in Science, Nature, Cell, and the like. The Bayer researchers were drowning in bad studies, and it was to this, in part, that they attributed the mysteriously declining yields of drug pipelines. Perhaps so many of these new drugs fail to have an effect because the basic research on which their development was based isn’t valid.

When a study fails to replicate, there are two possible interpretations. The first is that, unbeknownst to the investigators, there was a real difference in experimental setup between the original investigation and the failed replication. These are colloquially referred to as “wallpaper effects,” the joke being that the experiment was affected by the color of the wallpaper in the room. This is the happiest possible explanation for failure to reproduce: It means that both experiments have revealed facts about the universe, and we now have the opportunity to learn what the difference was between them and to incorporate a new and subtler distinction into our theories.

The other interpretation is that the original finding was false. Unfortunately, an ingenious statistical argument shows that this second interpretation is far more likely. First articulated by John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, this argument proceeds by a simple application of Bayesian statistics. Suppose that there are a hundred and one stones in a certain field. One of them has a diamond inside it, and, luckily, you have a diamond-detecting device that advertises 99 percent accuracy. After an hour or so of moving the device around, examining each stone in turn, suddenly alarms flash and sirens wail while the device is pointed at a promising-looking stone. What is the probability that the stone contains a diamond?

Most would say that if the device advertises 99 percent accuracy, then there is a 99 percent chance that the device is correctly discerning a diamond, and a 1 percent chance that it has given a false positive reading. But consider: Of the one hundred and one stones in the field, only one is truly a diamond. Granted, our machine has a very high probability of correctly declaring it to be a diamond. But there are many more diamond-free stones, and while the machine only has a 1 percent chance of falsely declaring each of them to be a diamond, there are a hundred of them. So if we were to wave the detector over every stone in the field, it would, on average, sound twice—once for the real diamond, and once when a false reading was triggered by a stone. If we know only that the alarm has sounded, these two possibilities are roughly equally probable, giving us an approximately 50 percent chance that the stone really contains a diamond.

This is a simplified version of the argument that Ioannidis applies to the process of science itself. The stones in the field are the set of all possible testable hypotheses, the diamond is a hypothesized connection or effect that happens to be true, and the diamond-detecting device is the scientific method. A tremendous amount depends on the proportion of possible hypotheses which turn out to be true, and on the accuracy with which an experiment can discern truth from falsehood. Ioannidis shows that for a wide variety of scientific settings and fields, the values of these two parameters are not at all favorable.

For instance, consider a team of molecular biologists investigating whether a mutation in one of the countless thousands of human genes is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The probability of a randomly selected mutation in a randomly selected gene having precisely that effect is quite low, so just as with the stones in the field, a positive finding is more likely than not to be spurious—unless the experiment is unbelievably successful at sorting the wheat from the chaff. Indeed, Ioannidis finds that in many cases, approaching even 50 percent true positives requires unimaginable accuracy. Hence the eye-catching title of his paper: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.”

What about accuracy? Here, too, the news is not good. First, it is a de facto standard in many fields to use one in twenty as an acceptable cutoff for the rate of false positives. To the naive ear, that may sound promising: Surely it means that just 5 percent of scientific studies report a false positive? But this is precisely the same mistake as thinking that a stone has a 99 percent chance of containing a ­diamond just because the detector has sounded. What it really means is that for each of the countless false hypo­theses that are contemplated by researchers, we accept a 5 percent chance that it will be falsely counted as true—a decision with a considerably more deleterious effect on the proportion of correct studies.

Paradoxically, the situation is actually made worse by the fact that a promising connection is often studied by several independent teams. To see why, suppose that three groups of researchers are studying a phenomenon, and when all the data are analyzed, one group announces that it has discovered a connection, but the other two find nothing of note. Assuming that all the tests involved have a high statistical power, the lone positive finding is almost certainly the spurious one. However, when it comes time to report these findings, what happens? The teams that found a negative result may not even bother to write up their non-discovery. After all, a report that a fanciful connection probably isn’t true is not the stuff of which scientific prizes, grant money, and tenure decisions are made.

And even if they did write it up, it probably wouldn’t be accepted for publication. Journals are in competition with one another for attention and “impact factor,” and are always more eager to report a new, exciting finding than a killjoy failure to find an association. In fact, both of these effects can be quantified. Since the majority of all investigated hypotheses are false, if positive and negative evidence were written up and accepted for publication in equal proportions, then the majority of articles in scientific journals should report no findings. When tallies are actually made, though, the precise opposite turns out to be true: Nearly every published scientific article reports the presence of an association. There must be massive bias at work.

Ioannidis’s argument would be potent even if all scientists were angels motivated by the best of intentions, but when the human element is considered, the picture becomes truly dismal. Scientists have long been aware of something euphemistically called the “experimenter effect”: the curious fact that when a phenomenon is investigated by a researcher who happens to believe in the phenomenon, it is far more likely to be detected. Much of the effect can likely be explained by researchers unconsciously giving hints or suggestions to their human or animal subjects, perhaps in something as subtle as body language or tone of voice. Even those with the best of intentions have been caught fudging measurements, or making small errors in rounding or in statistical analysis that happen to give a more favorable result. Very often, this is just the result of an honest statistical error that leads to a desirable outcome, and therefore it isn’t checked as deliberately as it might have been had it pointed in the opposite direction.

But, and there is no putting it nicely, deliberate fraud is far more widespread than the scientific establishment is generally willing to admit. One way we know that there’s a great deal of fraud occurring is that if you phrase your question the right way, ­scientists will confess to it. In a survey of two thousand research psychologists conducted in 2011, over half of those surveyed admitted outright to selectively reporting those experiments which gave the result they were after. Then the investigators asked respondents anonymously to estimate how many of their fellow scientists had engaged in fraudulent behavior, and promised them that the more accurate their guesses, the larger a contribution would be made to the charity of their choice. Through several rounds of anonymous guessing, refined using the number of scientists who would admit their own fraud and other indirect measurements, the investigators concluded that around 10 percent of research psychologists have engaged in outright falsification of data, and more than half have engaged in less brazen but still fraudulent behavior such as reporting that a result was statistically significant when it was not, or deciding between two different data analysis techniques after looking at the results of each and choosing the more favorable.

Many forms of statistical falsification are devilishly difficult to catch, or close enough to a genuine judgment call to provide plausible deniability. Data analysis is very much an art, and one that affords even its most scrupulous practitioners a wide degree of latitude. Which of these two statistical tests, both applicable to this situation, should be used? Should a subpopulation of the research sample with some common criterion be picked out and reanalyzed as if it were the totality? Which of the hundreds of coincident factors measured should be controlled for, and how? The same freedom that empowers a statistician to pick a true signal out of the noise also enables a dishonest scientist to manufacture nearly any result he or she wishes. Cajoling statistical significance where in reality there is none, a practice commonly known as “p-hacking,” is particularly easy to accomplish and difficult to detect on a case-by-case basis. And since the vast majority of studies still do not report their raw data along with their findings, there is often nothing to re-analyze and check even if there were volunteers with the time and inclination to do so.

One creative attempt to estimate how widespread such dishonesty really is involves comparisons between fields of varying “hardness.” The author, Daniele Fanelli, theorized that the farther from physics one gets, the more freedom creeps into one’s experimental methodology, and the fewer constraints there are on a scientist’s conscious and unconscious biases. If all scientists were constantly attempting to influence the results of their analyses, but had more opportunities to do so the “softer” the science, then we might expect that the social sciences have more papers that confirm a sought-after hypothesis than do the physical sciences, with medicine and biology somewhere in the middle. This is exactly what the study discovered: A paper in psychology or psychiatry is about five times as likely to report a positive result as one in astrophysics. This is not necessarily evidence that psychologists are all consciously or unconsciously manipulating their data—it could also be evidence of massive publication bias—but either way, the result is disturbing.

Speaking of physics, how do things go with this hardest of all hard sciences? Better than elsewhere, it would appear, and it’s unsurprising that those who claim all is well in the world of science reach so reliably and so insistently for examples from physics, preferably of the most theoretical sort. Folk histories of physics combine borrowed mathematical luster and Whiggish triumphalism in a way that journalists seem powerless to resist. The outcomes of physics experiments and astronomical observations seem so matter-of-fact, so concretely and immediately connected to underlying reality, that they might let us gingerly sidestep all of these issues concerning motivated or sloppy analysis and interpretation. “E pur si muove,” Galileo is said to have remarked, and one can almost hear in his sigh the hopes of a hundred science journalists for whom it would be all too convenient if Nature were always willing to tell us whose theory is more correct.

And yet the flight to physics rather gives the game away, since measured any way you like—volume of papers, number of working researchers, total amount of funding—deductive, theory-building physics in the mold of Newton and Lagrange, Maxwell and Einstein, is a tiny fraction of modern science as a whole. In fact, it also makes up a tiny fraction of modern physics. Far more common is the delicate and subtle art of scouring inconceivably vast volumes of noise with advanced software and mathematical tools in search of the faintest signal of some hypothesized but never before observed phenomenon, whether an astrophysical event or the decay of a subatomic particle. This sort of work is difficult and beautiful in its own way, but it is not at all self-evident in the manner of a falling apple or an elliptical planetary orbit, and it is very sensitive to the same sorts of accidental contamination, deliberate fraud, and unconscious bias as the medical and social-scientific studies we have discussed. Two of the most vaunted physics results of the past few years—the announced discovery of both cosmic inflation and gravitational waves at the BICEP2 experiment in Antarctica, and the supposed discovery of superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border—have now been retracted, with far less fanfare than when they were first published.

Many defenders of the scientific establishment will admit to this problem, then offer hymns to the self-correcting nature of the scientific method. Yes, the path is rocky, they say, but peer review, competition between researchers, and the comforting fact that there is an objective reality out there whose test every theory must withstand or fail, all conspire to mean that sloppiness, bad luck, and even fraud are exposed and swept away by the advances of the field.

So the dogma goes. But these claims are rarely treated like hypotheses to be tested. Partisans of the new scientism are fond of recounting the “Sokal hoax”—physicist Alan Sokal submitted a paper heavy on jargon but full of false and meaningless statements to the postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text, which accepted and published it without quibble—but are unlikely to mention a similar experiment conducted on reviewers of the prestigious British Medical Journal. The experimenters deliberately modified a paper to include eight different major errors in study design, methodology, data analysis, and interpretation of results, and not a single one of the 221 reviewers who participated caught all of the errors. On average, they caught fewer than two—and, unbelievably, these results held up even in the subset of reviewers who had been specifically warned that they were participating in a study and that there might be something a little odd in the paper that they were reviewing. In all, only 30 percent of reviewers recommended that the intentionally flawed paper be rejected.

If peer review is good at anything, it appears to be keeping unpopular ideas from being published. Consider the finding of another (yes, another) of these replicability studies, this time from a group of cancer researchers. In addition to reaching the now unsurprising conclusion that only a dismal 11 percent of the preclinical cancer research they examined could be validated after the fact, the authors identified another horrifying pattern: The “bad” papers that failed to replicate were, on average, cited far more often than the papers that did! As the authors put it, “some non-reproducible preclinical papers had spawned an entire field, with hundreds of secondary publications that expanded on elements of the original observation, but did not actually seek to confirm or falsify its fundamental basis.”

What they do not mention is that once an entire field has been created—with careers, funding, appointments, and prestige all premised upon an experimental result which was utterly false due either to fraud or to plain bad luck—pointing this fact out is not likely to be very popular. Peer review switches from merely useless to actively harmful. It may be ineffective at keeping papers with analytic or methodological flaws from being published, but it can be deadly effective at suppressing criticism of a dominant research paradigm. Even if a critic is able to get his work published, pointing out that the house you’ve built together is situated over a chasm will not endear him to his colleagues or, more importantly, to his mentors and patrons.

Older scientists contribute to the propagation of scientific fields in ways that go beyond educating and mentoring a new generation. In many fields, it’s common for an established and respected researcher to serve as “senior author” on a bright young star’s first few publications, lending his prestige and credibility to the result, and signaling to reviewers that he stands behind it. In the natural sciences and medicine, senior scientists are frequently the controllers of laboratory resources—which these days include not just scientific instruments, but dedicated staffs of grant proposal writers and regulatory compliance experts—without which a young scientist has no hope of accomplishing significant research. Older scientists control access to scientific prestige by serving on the editorial boards of major journals and on university tenure-review committees. Finally, the government bodies that award the vast majority of scientific funding are either staffed or advised by distinguished practitioners in the field.

All of which makes it rather more bothersome that older scientists are the most likely to be invested in the regnant research paradigm, whatever it is, even if it’s based on an old experiment that has never successfully been replicated. The quantum physicist Max Planck famously quipped: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Planck may have been too optimistic. A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research studied what happens to scientific subfields when star researchers die suddenly and at the peak of their abilities, and finds that while there is considerable evidence that young researchers are reluctant to challenge scientific superstars, a sudden and unexpected death does not significantly improve the situation, particularly when “key collaborators of the star are in a position to channel resources (such as editorial goodwill or funding) to insiders.”

In the idealized Popperian view of scientific progress, new theories are proposed to explain new evidence that contradicts the predictions of old theories. The heretical philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, on the other hand, claimed that new theories frequently contradict the best available evidence—at least at first. Often, the old observations were inaccurate or irrelevant, and it was the invention of a new theory that stimulated experimentalists to go hunting for new observational techniques to test it. But the success of this “unofficial” process depends on a blithe disregard for evidence while the vulnerable young theory weathers an initial storm of skepticism. Yet if Feyerabend is correct, and an unpopular new theory can ignore or reject experimental data long enough to get its footing, how much longer can an old and creaky theory, buttressed by the reputations and influence and political power of hundreds of established practitioners, continue to hang in the air even when the results upon which it is premised are exposed as false?

The hagiographies of science are full of paeans to the self-correcting, self-healing nature of the enterprise. But if raw results are so often false, the filtering mechanisms so ineffective, and the self-correcting mechanisms so compromised and slow, then science’s approach to truth may not even be monotonic. That is, past theories, now “refuted” by evidence and replaced with new approaches, may be closer to the truth than what we think now. Such regress has happened before: In the nineteenth century, the (correct) vitamin C deficiency theory of scurvy was replaced by the false belief that scurvy was caused by proximity to spoiled foods. Many ancient astronomers believed the heliocentric model of the solar system before it was supplanted by the geocentric theory of Ptolemy. The Whiggish view of scientific history is so dominant today that this possibility is spoken of only in hushed whispers, but ours is a world in which things once known can be lost and buried.

And even if self-correction does occur and theories move strictly along a lifecycle from less to more accurate, what if the unremitting flood of new, mostly false, results pours in faster? Too fast for the sclerotic, compromised truth-discerning mechanisms of science to operate? The result could be a growing body of true theories completely overwhelmed by an ever-larger thicket of baseless theories, such that the proportion of true scientific beliefs shrinks even while the absolute number of them continues to rise. Borges’s Library of Babel contained every true book that could ever be written, but it was useless because it also contained every false book, and both true and false were lost within an ocean of nonsense.

Which brings us to the odd moment in which we live. At the same time as an ever more bloated scientific bureaucracy churns out masses of research results, the majority of which are likely outright false, scientists themselves are lauded as heroes and science is upheld as the only legitimate basis for policy-making. There’s reason to believe that these phenomena are linked. When a formerly ascetic discipline suddenly attains a measure of influence, it is bound to be flooded by opportunists and charlatans, whether it’s the National Academy of Science or the monastery of Cluny.

This comparison is not as outrageous as it seems: Like monasticism, science is an enterprise with a superhuman aim whose achievement is forever beyond the capacities of the flawed humans who aspire toward it. The best scientists know that they must practice a sort of mortification of the ego and cultivate a dispassion that allows them to report their findings, even when those findings might mean the dashing of hopes, the drying up of financial resources, and the loss of professional prestige. It should be no surprise that even after outgrowing the monasteries, the practice of science has attracted souls driven to seek the truth regardless of personal cost and despite, for most of its history, a distinct lack of financial or status reward. Now, however, science and especially science bureaucracy is a career, and one amenable to social climbing. Careers attract careerists, in Feyerabend’s words: “devoid of ideas, full of fear, intent on producing some paltry result so that they can add to the flood of inane papers that now constitutes ‘scientific progress’ in many areas.”

If science was unprepared for the influx of careerists, it was even less prepared for the blossoming of the Cult of Science. The Cult is related to the phenomenon described as “scientism”; both have a tendency to treat the body of scientific knowledge as a holy book or an a-religious revelation that offers simple and decisive resolutions to deep questions. But it adds to this a pinch of glib frivolity and a dash of unembarrassed ignorance. Its rhetorical tics include a forced enthusiasm (a search on Twitter for the hashtag “#sciencedancing” speaks volumes) and a penchant for profanity. Here in Silicon Valley, one can scarcely go a day without seeing a t-shirt reading “Science: It works, b—es!” The hero of the recent popular movie The Martian boasts that he will “science the sh— out of” a situation. One of the largest groups on Facebook is titled “I f—ing love Science!” (a name which, combined with the group’s penchant for posting scarcely any actual scientific material but a lot of pictures of natural phenomena, has prompted more than one actual scientist of my acquaintance to mutter under her breath, “What you truly love is pictures”). Some of the Cult’s leaders like to play dress-up as scientists—Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are two particularly prominent examples— but hardly any of them have contributed any research results of note. Rather, Cult leadership trends heavily in the direction of educators, popularizers, and journalists.

At its best, science is a human enterprise with a superhuman aim: the discovery of regularities in the order of nature, and the discerning of the consequences of those regularities. We’ve seen example after example of how the human element of this enterprise harms and damages its progress, through incompetence, fraud, selfishness, prejudice, or the simple combination of an honest oversight or slip with plain bad luck. These failings need not hobble the scientific enterprise broadly conceived, but only if scientists are hyper-aware of and endlessly vigilant about the errors of their colleagues . . . and of themselves. When cultural trends attempt to render science a sort of religion-less clericalism, scientists are apt to forget that they are made of the same crooked timber as the rest of humanity and will necessarily imperil the work that they do. The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science’s actual practice.

William A. Wilson is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

6
Marquette University has moved to suspend and then fire Professor John McAdams for backing a student who tried to defend man-woman marriage when a leftist teaching assistant shut the student down.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/03/30/university-moves-fire-conservative-professor-political-views/


The professors p.o.v.

http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

7
General Discussion / How do you maintain your faith?
« on: March 23, 2016, 01:43:36 PM »
In Global Warming? It's a serious question. How do you maintain your faith in predictive models and prophets that have been no more accurate than the guy standing on the street corner with a sign that screams "The end is near!"?

Just a reminder of a few of the predictions based on "settled science".

The Future!  :shocked:

Your Prophet, Al Gore 2007 - "The ice cap is falling off a cliff. It could be completely gone in summer in as little as 7 years from now"

And today...  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2015/05/19/updated-nasa-data-polar-ice-not-receding-after-all/#36e41a0e32da

Let's jump into a time machine and remind ourselves how these folks used FEAR to get inside your heads (an exclusively conservative tactic according to some here)


Watch this ...  http://www.mrctv.org/videos/flashback-abcs-08-prediction-nyc-under-water-climate-change-june-2015


This...





More

https://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-apocalyptic-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-the-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year-2/

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/18888-embarrassing-predictions-haunt-the-global-warming-industry



There is much evidence that the scientists predicting climate catastrophes are really not very good at their craft and do not really form the "community consensus" that continues to be claimed.

Much more to chew on here for those who do not fear to be intellectually challenged. The articles are well argued.  https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/

So again, how do you maintain unwavering faith in models that fail so consistently and miserably? How do you muster up the audacity to call skeptics foolish for their skepticism when pure faith is far more foolish than even partial skepticism to the progression of human evolution?

8
General Discussion / Who didn't see this coming?
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:08:48 PM »
Oh yeah, Obama and his fan club...


Iran Threatens to Walk Away From Nuke Deal After New Missile Test

Islamic Republic breached international agreements by test-firing ballistic missiles

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-threatens-walk-away-nuclear-deal-missile-test/


9
General Discussion / Couldn't pay me enough!
« on: February 11, 2016, 01:48:51 PM »
Seven fake inmates spend two months in a REAL jail while their real backgrounds are kept from corrections officers and inmates for new TV show

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3441487/7-innocents-spend-time-jail-new-TV-show.html

How much would you do this for?

10
The fact that Hillary garners any support whatsoever speaks to a huge "brain dead" population on the left that libs accuse of the right with regards to Trump. She is the epitome of sleazy above the law politicians.


Top Secret Info Handled By Up to 30 Different Accounts On Hillary Clinton’s Server

The Clinton email scandal is getting bigger again, as Fox News cites a source close to the investigation who says at least a dozen different accounts on Hillary Clinton’s notorious homebrew email server handled Top Secret material. The number of different accounts could be as high as 30.

“The official said the accounts include not only Clinton’s but those of top aides – including Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines – as well as State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy and others.  There is no public evidence they were authorized to receive the intelligence some of which was beyond Top Secret,” Fox News reports.

In fact, as former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey pointed out, it’s “counterintuitive to suggest that they all had authorization and access through a non-secure server to information of that sensitivity.”

To put it more bluntly, it’s very unlikely that Clinton’s retinue was cleared to see the material they were handling. The other people with accounts on her server were passing around documents so hot they cannot be released to the public at all.

It looks an awful lot like Under Secretary for Management Kennedy has been caught giving false testimony to Congress, as Fox recalls that he told the House Benghazi Committee he was unaware of the full “scope” of Clinton’s reliance on improper personal email… but now we have emails showing he “routinely sent and received government business from the Clintonemail.com account.”

Besides raising the possibility that Kennedy perjured himself, the latest revelations also make a mockery of his job title, because the Under Secretary of Management is supposed to be responsible for the very information-technology systems he falsely claimed ignorance of.

Fox News mentions something interesting about the evolving Clinton email scandal: in the early days, Clinton claimed the whole thing was a big “food fight” between the State Department and the intelligence community. The latter supposedly has a habit of over-classifying documents, which the Secretary of State and her department disagreed with.

Leaving aside the fact that SecState is not authorized to unilaterally declassify documents when she disagrees with their security level, most of the redactions in the later rounds of Clinton email production were made by the State Department itself. What happened to the “food fight” excuse?

These new discoveries also highlight something that hasn’t been discussed enough in the Clinton email scandal: she wasn’t just hiding her own correspondence from Congress, the courts, and the American people. Her aides all had accounts on her secret server, too. This was an organized conspiracy with numerous participants. Are we supposed to believe they all thought it was too much trouble to carry two cell phones around, to cite the absurd excuse Clinton offered when this story blew up?

Politico reports increasing scrutiny on one Clinton aide in particular: her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, who now works for her campaign as a senior policy adviser. Sullivan either initiated or forwarded many of the classified email chains:

“I can only tell you that his [Jake Sullivan’s] email account initiated a number of emails,” said one source who identified Sullivan but spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue. Since the emails have been withheld from public view, the senders’ names are not a matter of public record.

When asked to confirm Sullivan’s participation in the “top secret” email chains, a separate intelligence source familiar with the investigation did so, but with a caveat: “The person in question is one of the primary participants and instigators but by no means the only one,” the source said.

A third source said that Sullivan was one of about three individuals who sent such content to Clinton. It is unclear who else was involved in the email discussions.

To give you an idea of how serious this is getting, top Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)0%
 felt obliged to pretend she didn’t know who Sullivan is. “I don’t know anything about Jake Sullivan and the emails,” she babbled. “I’ve never heard it before… I’ve seen the emails but I don’t register on Jake Sullivan.”

She must be losing her eyesight, then, because his name is all over most of the super-sensitive emails extracted from Clinton’s server. He’s usually on the receiving end of her orders to print or forward the material that wasn’t supposed to be flowing through a private mail system, including the amazing email where she explicitly orders him to pull a document off the secure network and “turn into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”

“My contacts with former colleagues and current active duty personnel involved in sensitive programs reveal a universal feeling that the HRC issue is more serious than the general public realizes,” former Africom strategic planner Dan Maquire told Fox News. “Most opine they would already be behind bars if they had apparently compromised sensitive information as reported.”

The general public should have no problem understanding that the Secretary of State shouldn’t be running a secret email network that concealed her official correspondence, and the correspondence of her aides – material that belongs to us, the people of the United States – from official inquiry and public requests for years.

They also should have trouble understanding that tossing Top Secret material around to a dozen people who lack proper clearance is a serious security breach… even if we got unreasonably lucky, and foreign agents never got around to raiding their accounts.

12
General Discussion / Most violent cities
« on: January 27, 2016, 04:42:01 PM »
A bit of surprise on some of these for me.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3419140/The-50-violent-cities-world-revealed-21-Brazil.html


THE 50 MOST DANGEROUS CITIES IN THE WORLD - BY HOMICIDES PER 100,000 INHABITANTS IN 2015

1. Caracas, Venezuela – 119.87
2. San Pedro Sula, Honduras – 111.03
3. San Salvador, El Salvador – 108.54
4. Acapulco, Mexico – 104.73
5. Maturin, Venezuela – 86.45
6. Distrito Central, Honduras – 73.51
7. Valencia, Venezuela – 72.31
8. Palmira, Colombia – 70.88
9. Cape Town, South Africa – 65.53
10. Cali, Colombia – 64.27
11. Cuidad Guayana, Venezuela – 62.33
12. Fortaleza, Brazil – 60.77
13. Natal, Brazil – 60.66
14. Salvador, Brazil – 60.63
15. St Louis, Missouri, U.S. – 59.23
16. Joao Pessoa, Brazil – 58.40
17. Culiacan, Mexico – 56.09
18. Maceio, Brazil – 55.63
19. Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. – 54.98
20. Barquisimeto, Venezuela – 54.96
21. Sao Luis, Brazil – 53.05
22. Cuiaba, Brazil – 48.52
23. Manaus, Brazil – 47.87
24. Cumana, Venezuela – 47.77
25. Guatemala City, Guatemala – 47.17
26. Belem, Brazil – 45.83
27. Feira de Santana, Brazil – 45.5
28. Detroit, Michigan, U.S. – 43.89
29. Goiania, Brazil – 43.38
30. Teresina, Brazil – 42.64
31. Vitoria, Brazil – 41.99
32. New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. – 41.44
33. Kingston, Jamaica – 41.14
34. Gran Barcelona, Venezuela – 40.08
35. Tijuana, Mexico – 39.09
36. Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil – 38.46
37. Recife, Brazil – 38.12
38. Aracaju. Brazil – 37.7
39. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil – 36.16
40. Campina Grande, Brazil – 36.04
41. Durban, South Africa – 35.93
42. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa – 35.85
43. Porto Alegre, Brazil – 34.73
44. Curitiba, Brazil – 34.71
45. Pereira, Colombia – 32.58
46. Victoria, Mexico – 30.50
47. Johannesburg, South Africa – 30.31
48. Macapa, Brazil – 30.25
49. Maracaibo, Venezuela – 28.85
50. Obregon, Mexico – 28.29



17
General Discussion / White Men!
« on: January 10, 2016, 01:25:02 PM »
This board is full of enlistee's in the "we hate whites/white men/old white men" club.

So I am curious.... Do you not see the irony in this mindless conditioned bigotry in the fact that you yourselves are white men? Did your muppet masters give you special absolution or did you just assume it for yourselves?

How do you identify fellow absolved in public? Are there secret hand-shakes, nods, or passwords similar to that of the KKK so you don't end up hating the wrong white man? Do you all get free hand jobs from each other for being fellow "elitists"?

Seriously! How in the fuck do you justify being part of the largest racial bigotry campaign in human history?

Forgetting the irony, and forgetting that the irony in itself is poof of the idiocy of racial bigotry, how do you justify singling out white men versus say Asian men, or African men? How have their societies been more inclusive and loving through-out human history?

Obviously this is just rhetorical venting because anyone who has allowed themselves to be conditioned to be a part of this campaign is very unlikely to have the intelligence to get my point at all. So let me just say to you.... fuck off, you're a fucking moron and you out yourselves as such every time you open your mouth and spout out such nonsense.

19
General Discussion / How much you wana bet..
« on: September 16, 2011, 11:43:34 AM »
How much do you wana bet that somewhere inside the Obama administration there is a debate about replacing Biden with Hillary.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-16/clinton-popularity-prompts-some-remorse-poll.html

Good idea or not?

20
General Discussion / Holy F'ing Sh#$!!
« on: August 17, 2011, 06:33:19 PM »
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/265455/Bear-s-eating-me-girl-told-

BEAR’S EATING ME, GIRL TOLD MUM IN CALL


A DISTRAUGHT mother listened on a mobile phone as her teenage daughter was eaten alive by a brown bear and its three cubs.


Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals killed her.

She screamed: “Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help!’”

Her mother Tatiana said that at first thought she was joking. “But then I heard the real horror and pain in Olga’s voice, and the sounds of a bear growling and chewing.”

She added: “I could have died then and there from shock.”

Unknown to Tatiana, the bear had already killed her husband Igor Tsyganenkov – Olga’s stepfather – by overpowering him, breaking his neck and smashing his skull. Olga, a trainee psychologist, saw the ­attack on her stepfather in tall grass and reeds by a river in Russia and fled for 70 yards before the mother bear grabbed her leg.

As the creature toyed with her, she managed to call Tatiana several times during the prolonged attack. Tatiana rang her husband – not knowing he was ­already dead – but got no answer.


 Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help! 
Olga
 

She alerted the police and relatives in the village of Termalniy, near Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy, in the extreme east of Siberia.

She begged them to rush to the river where the pair had gone to retrieve a fishing rod that Igor had left.

In a second call, a weak Olga gasped: “Mum, the bears are back. She came back and brought her three babies. They’re... eating me”.

Finally, in her last call – almost an hour after the first – Olga sensed she was on the verge of death.

With the bears having apparently left her to die, she said: “Mum, it’s not hurting anymore. I don’t feel the pain. Forgive me for everything, I love you so much.”

The call cut off and that was the last Tatiana heard from her ­daughter. Half an hour later, Igor’s brother Andrei arrived with police to find the mother bear still devouring his body. Badly mauled Olga was also dead.

Six hunters were sent in by the emergency services to kill the mother bear and her three cubs.

The double killing is the latest in a spate of bear attacks across ­Russia, as the hungry animals seek food in areas where people have ­encroached and settled on their former habitat.

A weeping Tatiana said that Olga had everything to look forward to, and was happy with her life and boyfriend Stepan.

“My daughter was such fun. She was so cheerful, friendly, and warm,” said Tatiana.

“She had graduated from music school, and just days before the bear attack she got her driving ­licence.”

Her husband and daughter are due to be buried today



21
General Discussion / An interesting web site
« on: August 04, 2011, 08:57:20 PM »
Let the "jxands is old" jokes begin.   :rolleyes:

http://www.shorpy.com/

22
General Discussion / NOOO!
« on: June 17, 2011, 01:17:01 AM »
It's not you guys, it's the rest of us!

Deny away. What else can you do? You've been "educated" to think as you do, it's really not your fault.   :P



Book: Liberal Media Distorts News Bias

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/06/16/book-liberal-media-distorts-news-bias

23
General Discussion / "Freedom" is an over-rated concept anyway
« on: June 16, 2011, 10:43:56 AM »
"Land of the Free? New York and California come out at the bottom of individual freedoms study"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2003910/New-York-New-Jersey-California-come-individual-freedoms-study.html

24
General Discussion / when talking about racists hating on Obama...
« on: May 19, 2011, 09:54:01 AM »
try to focus on those who actually ARE racists, like this moron. All political projecting does is weaken credibility...as if caring about real racism is really the point eh? 





West: Obama 'a black mascot' and 'black puppet'

Cornel West, a Princeton University professor and leading black intellectual, is harshly criticizing President Obama, a candidate he once supported but now calls “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”

West, a former Harvard University professor, said during an interview with the website Truthdig posted yesterday that the president has not been true to his race.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West said. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white…When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.”

The White House did not have an immediate comment. West did not respond to messages left at his office.

Republicans have questioned Obama’s origins — to the point where he felt compelled to release his long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii — but West also uses Obama’s past to draw into question the president’s racial bearings.

“Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive,” West said. “He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

West is a professor at Princeton's Center for African American Studies and is the author of "Race Matters." He was a professor at Harvard, but left in 2002 amid quarrels with then-president Lawrence Summers.

West also recounts personal slights — that his phone calls didn’t get returned, and that he couldn’t get a ticket with his mother and brother to the inauguration.

It is not the first time West has raised questions about Obama. Last year, during an interview with NPR, he said he wished the president were more “Martin Luther King-like.”

 :mrgreen:

26
General Discussion / Only a pinko commie wouldnt laugh at this!
« on: May 07, 2011, 01:58:08 AM »

27
General Discussion / Canada. Home of the "kinda" free
« on: April 22, 2011, 11:45:48 AM »
http://www.myfoxny.com/dpps/news/lesbian-insults-get-comic-fined-dpgonc-km-20110421_12871288


Lesbian Insults Get Comic Fined

(NewsCore) - VANCOUVER -- A Canadian comic has been ordered to pay CA$15,000 (US$15,745) to a woman he taunted along with her same-sex partner during a show in a Vancouver restaurant three years ago, the Vancouver Sun reported Thursday.

Stand-up comedian Guy Earl was ordered to pay the money to Lorna Pardy, 32, while the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal also ordered the Vancouver restaurant owner, Salam Ishmail, to pay her $7,500.

Pardy said Earle directed homophobic and sexist insults at her when she was a patron, and he was the master of ceremonies at an open mic comedy show at the restaurant in 2007.

Earle said he will appeal the ruling and that all he did was insult audience members who insulted him first. He also denied that he said some of the things he has been accused of, said Pardy threw a drink in his face and argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams said Earle repeated vulgar language in public and attacked Pardy's identity and dignity as a woman and a lesbian and ordered the payment for lost wages and for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect.

Read more: Vancouver Sun



 ::facepalm:: in advance of anticipated responses

28
General Discussion / The party of "no".
« on: April 06, 2011, 02:17:31 AM »
You young un's better climb aboard soon if you know what's good for you (or just keep rooting for your team and pay the fan club fee's later)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576242612172357504.html

29
General Discussion / Dumb Venezuelan students
« on: January 29, 2010, 02:48:58 PM »
Maybe our more enlightened American students should educate those dumb Venezuelan students on how lucky they are to live in a utopian socialist state!   :angry:


Venezuelan police fire tear gas at protesters

CARACAS, Venezuela – Police fired tear gas to chase off thousands of students demonstrating in the capital Thursday, a fifth day of protests against President Hugo Chavez for pressuring cable and satellite TV providers to drop an opposition channel.

Some of the protesters threw rocks at police in riot gear when officers moved to break up the rally outside the offices of the state-run electricity company.

While charging that the government is trying to curb criticism, the students also used their demonstration to call attention to electricity shortages plaguing much of Venezuela and other pressing domestic problems like double-digit inflation.

University students have taken to the streets daily since Sunday, after government pressure led cable TV services to drop Radio Caracas Television International, which has long been a critic of Chavez's socialist policies.

"We are not going to allow continued shutdowns of media outlets that tell the truth, and we are not going to allow ineptitude and inefficiency to continue," said Nizar El Sakih, a student leader.

Critics of the government say Chavez is responsible for domestic problems ranging from double-digit inflation to violent crime to rolling power blackouts.

The government says RCTV was removed for refusing to comply with a new rule requiring media outlets to televise mandatory programming, including Chavez's speeches.

Chavez accused students of trying to stir up violence as a means of destabilizing his government.

"There are some attempting to set fire to the country," Chavez said in a televised address Thursday. "What are they seeking? Death."

He said unidentified assailants armed with assault rifles shot at National Guard troops Wednesday in the city of Merida, where two soldiers suffered gunshot wounds. A military barracks in the city of Barquisimeto was also attacked, he said.

Chavez vowed to crack down on street demonstrations that turn violent.

"We cannot permit this," he said. "The state and the government must impose authority."

Ten students were accused of fomenting public disorder Thursday in the eastern city of Barcelona — a day after they led protests that ended in clashes with police, Fortunato Herrera, a lawyer representing the students, told the local Globovision TV channel.

Student leader Jonathan Zambrano told Globovision that 22 protesters were arrested in the city of Barinas. The students were released, Zambrano said, after university groups agreed to call off street demonstrations.

Two youths were killed in Merida on Monday — a day after the protests began. Dozens of people have been injured during the week's demonstrations.

30
General Discussion / A Walmart funny
« on: January 26, 2010, 11:10:31 AM »

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