Peer Review: “The Dueling Ground for Experts”

21 October 2014

For decades now, I’ve tried to explain the peer review process to college students. Some understand immediately. Some venerate any peer-reviewed article. Some fail to grasp the concept entirely. And a few just don’t care.

That said, academic publishing, what these authors call “the dueling ground for experts,” continues to provide the cutting edge arguments on topics most people never hear about. I once heard–or more likely read–that once the layman finally accepts the truth of some hot academic topic, for example, penis envy in women, academics who’d been arguing the topic for years had long resolved the argument, often rejecting it, and moved on to something else.

From what I’m currently reading, this article included, the climate change skeptics look to be losing their duel quite dramatically.

“Another Global Warming Contrarian Paper Found to Be Unrealistic and Inaccurate”

Frankly, I wish they were winning. Unfortunately, I’m finding more and more articles, both peer reviewed and from high end magazines, that say things like this: “How the IPCC Underestimated Climate Change.”

The good news–for me–is that I’m old.


Auction American Style

18 October 2014

“Purchase of Election by Chevron Shows We Have ‘Oligarchy, Not Democracy': Sanders”

I really liked America better when it at least allowed the illusion of a representative government.


Celebrity Opinions: When the Affect Mars?

11 October 2014

Is anyone surprised that celebrities–even brighter than average celebrities–get things wrong when they debate? Or do they? Listen and judge if you wish: “Real Time with Bill Maher: Ben Affleck, Sam Harris and Bill Maher Debate Radical Islam (HBO)”

The WaPo just ran this article rich in stats showing a more complicated reality: “Ben Affleck and Bill Maher Are Both Wrong about Islamic Fundamentalism”

For the record, Harris is no fan of ANY of the Abrahamic religions. He’s an equal opportunity critic.


Drip, Drip, Drip, and Not a Drop

11 October 2014

Exports are a sign of changing times.

“Oil Panic Puts Export Debate Back on The Table”

Yes, indeed exports tell us something.

So do the forty-five wells within a mile of us. So does the fact that our natural gas bill went up again.


Tuning up the Chea

25 September 2014

The American Legislative Exchange Council. the free-market-no-matter-what-it-costs folks, the people behind labelling animal rights crusaders as terrorists, are waging a strongly worded retreat on climate change. No longer are the folks on the far side of reality calling climate change a hoax. Now they’ve shifted to arguing a hotter planet could be a good thing.

“ALEC: Global Warming Could Be Good for You”

Nice try, ALEC. I wish you well. Perhaps some miracle will validate your position. I hope so, but for now I merely hope your retreat continues.


Need, Want, Have, Should NOT Have?

18 September 2014

The militarization of American police forces alarms me. That spokesmen for some police departments now announce that their duty is to enforce the law and NOT to serve the people alarms me even more.

Given the lack of coverage of protests on national media of some recent large protests and the legal shift towards protecting corporations aka artificial people over flesh and blood people, I now fear the use of militarized police on US citizens exercising their constitutional rights is the coming thing for America.

Doesn’t trouble you at all? Then read this:

“Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Forced to Return Military-grade Weapons, Vehicles”

And if you haven’t already, be sure and watch (or rewatch) John Oliver on the militarization of the police.

Now going to look up Kevlar on Google.


New mapping traces origins of ocean debris

3 September 2014


The world holds so much garbage and so little good news.

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Ocean boundaries redefined

Patches of plastic debris accumulate where they are concentrated by ocean currents.

Patches of plastic debris accumulate where they are concentrated by ocean currents.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Shredded bits of plastic now outweigh plankton in parts of the Pacific Ocean, posing a growing risk to to fish, turtles and birds that eat the trash. Efforts to limit the debris haven’t progressed much in the past few years, but new modeling of ocean currents may help researchers determine exactly where the waste is coming from.

“In some cases, you can have a country far away from a garbage patch that’s unexpectedly contributing directly to the patch,” said Gary Froyland, a mathematician at Australia’s University of New South Wales.

For example, the ocean debris from Madagascar and Mozambique would most likely flow into the south Atlantic, even though the two countries’ coastlines border the Indian Ocean.

View original 327 more words

Oliver: The Rainbow

15 August 2014

Despite being a huge fan of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I find myself on the verge of subscribing to HBO simply so I can watch John Oliver’s superior Last Week Tonight. The topical segments posted to YouTube often stun me with their clarity and–dare I say it?–educational value. While amusing, Oliver’s topical monologues explicate America’s problems with a simple, powerful eloquence rarely seen.

When I talk about Oliver, my remarks iterate this theme: He ought to be cloned and installed in every classroom in the USA. That said, I’d never thought about exactly how and what he was doing until I read this article in Salon:

“John Oliver Won’t Be Your Therapist: How He Torpedoed the Reassuring Tropes of Fake News”

I am in debt to Steve Almond for his first rate analysis of Oliver’s work. Thanks to Almond, I understand a bit more why I find John Oliver as fascinating as a rainbow–and a lot more informative.


A Rare Answer

11 August 2014

I have nothing but awed praise for blogger Andrew W. K.’s answer to this letter.

“Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole”

And I also got from this a new term for black/white. either/or thinking: binary thinking.


Death, Doom, and Destruction

20 July 2014

‘Declines in Insectivorous Birds Are Associated with High Neonicotinoid Concentrations

Why is this happening? How about this: Humans are greedy, lazy, and love to breed.

As of this moment, I have little affection for my species.

Since we haven’t used pesticides here for the last 35 years and since I have planted trees and fruit bearing plants and keep insect-attracting horses, I do have a yard filled with bird song.

For how long though? I’m surrounded by people who think I’m strange for disliking all those helpful Monsanto et al products.



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