or Where I Think Government Should Spend Our Money
Let’s get something straight.
Climate Change is real.
Political Science is fake.
“Aides to the US president-elect, Donald Trump, … unveiled plans to remove the budget for climate change science currently used by NASA and other US federal agencies for projects such as examining Arctic changes, and to spend it instead on space exploration,” the Guardian reported.
“Shoot the messenger?” one correspondent asked. “Trump is cutting NASA’s arctic research because the agency brings inconvenient news.”
It’s interesting news and I’m halfway to liking it.
I like funding more deep space exploration. That and the development of colonization technologies is where NASA should spend its money now. Let the Commercial Spaceflight Federation members do the near Earth orbit stuff. And, it sends a message to the scientific community that we won’t fund all the “me too” studies any more. That’s all to the good. Still, I don’t like losing the NASA satellites monitoring temperature, ice, clouds, and other meteorological phenomena because the data itself is crucial.
“Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.” Trump adviser Bob Walker said.
Salon and other drum beaters call it “Politicizing climate change.”
“Federal government scientists have been unnerved by Trump’s dismissal of climate science and are concerned that their work will be sidelined,” the Guardian reported.
Granted (heh), scientists who live from federal grant to federal grant like to know where their next meal will come from, but they make one important point.
Anyone who has read history knows that the climate has changed many times in the last 4.543 billion years. Anyone who has read history knows that the climate changed a lot more before our first human ancestor developed speech and the ability to clear cut forests, a couple of million years ago. And, unfortunately, anyone who has read history knows that our climactic data from that time is woefully incomplete. We simply don’t have good, complete, contemporaneous data for planetary conditions two hundred years ago, let alone two million or two billion years ago.
Last week, we learned that “evidence suggests the Earth underwent an ice age so cold that ice sheets not only capped the polar latitudes, but may have extended all the way to sea level near the equator” around 700 million years ago but that during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum “the poles were free of ice caps, and palm trees and crocodiles lived above the Arctic Circle.”
We don’t have enough actual data from any of those times even to build trustworthy quantitative climate models.
That’s an inconvenient truth for the alarmists who have the hubris to sell you that the rising sea will cut off the land bridge across the modern day Bering Strait (but that their settled science will cure it if we humans just stop breathing, farting, heating, and start paying higher taxes).
Loss of contemporaneous data for planetary conditions today is also an inconvenient truth for the real scientists who know that having that data is the only way our human descendants two millennia from now will know what we experience today.
We need good data about today now and we will need that good data about today 200 years from now, too.
Where should our governments spend our money? Beyond the alphabetically obvious answer of public arts, public education, public infrastructure, and public security and social protection, man has some imperatives that are best handled together. Exploration tops the list.
Basic science and basic data gathering is one such area and is an arena that jumpstarts exploration as well as commercial applications. We don’t need a new detailed map of the human brain because brain mapping is already commercially viable and well funded by private business. We do need to cure cancer. The biomedical industrial complex treats profits from its high-budget care but has no financial incentive to find a cure. We don’t need to study the effects of cocaine on Japanese quail because that’s better done by the cartels. We do need to explore beyond the solar system and we do need to explore this little blue marble we live on.
Every program government funds can profit from the “commercialization” filter.
NASA has publicly archived all of its data received from spacecraft projects — that’s over 4TB of new earth science data every day. The available data includes the CEOS International Directory Network, Earth Plus, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), Gateway to Astronaut Photography, Global Change Master Directory, Global Imagery Browse Service (GIBS), Goddard Institute for Space Studies Earth/Climate Change Data, Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center, LandSat 7 Datasets, NASA Earth Observatory, NASA Earth Observations, NASA’s HEASARC Web-based Tools, Ocean Color, Physical Oceanography DAAC, USGS/NASA Landsat Data on New Earth Explorer, Visible Earth, and more.
Global meteorological data. NASA may not be the best agency to interpret the findings but it is still the best agency to ferret it out for us. Pretty soon, we should examine that data for commercialization but, for today, it fits the basic data gathering filter and we need NASA to continue to record and store it.
We need that data so a future generation of researchers and scientists, unencumbered by politics and newspaper punditry, can build climate models that actually work.
The Water is Rising
Let us not forget: South Florida, like New Orleans, is a swamp.
In Uber Tides, I made the point that the Man-Did-This Community would assert that Anthropogenic Global Warming caused the high tides we experienced last week, not the spring tide conjoined with a Supermoon.
Here’s an example.
Dissenter: But of course rising sea levels wouldn’t have anything to do with a super high, high tide I’m sure.
Me: It would be good to actually read the piece and the comments before quoting your mantra.
See, I live right in the middle of where I have to worry about my pedicure in this unusually high tide. Want to tell me how much the rising sea levels have raised the water at my sea wall? I want an actual number. Did actual mean sea level rise an inch or a foot? Did it rise a tenth of an inch or ten feet? Actual sea level, not the height of the tide.
Dissenter: You know, if you bothered to read something other than what suits your prejudice, you’d know that the coastal communities in many parts of Florida are busy raising the level of the streets because storm surge is a lot higher than it used to be. The ocean isn’t a bath tub.
Me: Data please. How much has the mean sea level risen? An inch or a foot? Did it rise a tenth of an inch or ten feet? Actual sea level, not the height of the tide, not the amount of storm surge.
Dissenter: sad…you can’t figure out this is the same thing….I’m not your librarian, go find out for yourself. You don’t want to know. You’ve already got your gospel.
Braaaaap. Typical wrong answer.
See, folks making this kind of argument make an assertion. They refuse to back it up with data. They blame the other guy for not being willing to do their homework.
That’s not the way to play. If you claim rising sea levels partly cause a super high tide, you must have data on rising sea levels, right? You do have the data, right?
OK, I guess not.
It shouldn’t be hard to find, particularly for a scientist. But all I have ever seen from the general AGW argument is “the sea is rising.” I have never seen anyone say “the sea in the Florida Keys has risen by x inches since 1991.”
I do have some interesting data from climate.gov but finding a definitive measurement of sea level value has escaped me.
That seems odd. I can tell you with certainty that Lake Champlain is exactly 94.18 feet and a chilly 47 degrees as measured at the USGS gage in Burlington Harbor. I can tell you with certainty that Lake Okeechobee‘s current lake level is 14.98 feet. And I can tell you with certainty that searching for “Atlantic Ocean Water Level at Miami” or “Florida Straits Ocean Water Level at Marathon” or any of a number of other terms turns up 4-500,000 results warning of Tidal Flooding and Sea Level Rise but not one single actual data point for the current average sea level at Sombrero Key (Hawk Channel), or Miami Beach, or any other coastal location.
I can only posit that the AGW alarmists are afraid to publish the data because it would contradict their story line. Because it wouldn’t sell newspapers. Because it wouldn’t fund government grants.
And that’s how you win an argument today: make up a crisis and then tell the other guys to prove you’re wrong.
Show me the numbers. Until then, let us not forget; South Florida, like New Orleans, is a swamp. Storm surge, high tides, and other weather events will continue to inundate the land we humans kind of stupidly live on.
Rug Chewing and Other Epithets
In another recent discussion, I mentioned that I did not like it when “a right wing rug chewer” called me a “baby killer” back in the 90s (I’m pro-choice) and that I don’t like being called a “racist” or worse by the anti-Trumpers today.
The first, very first answer? “Rug chewer? Really? No… you’re not a racist. You’re just an as***le.”
No discussion of why the lefty loons love to play the race card for anyone who might (might) vote against Mr. Obama or vote for Mr. Trump. Just an epithet.
Gekko discussed slang, cant, idiom, argot, code words, and the like, the special words that people use to make it explicitly tough for outsiders to understand.
That first answer deliberately took a non-traditional meaning of one phrase to twist the discussion away from the Left consistently playing the race card.
And that’s how you win an argument today: make up a politically correct disparagement and divert all attention from the facts so no one notices how wrong you were.
“Who is posting this crap?” a friend asked. She had found page after page of Obama-and-Hitler-similarities.com links.
She had asked after I made the point that there are still a lot of “Trump is Hitler” comparisons floating around from my uber-Left friends and commented that one official corollary to Godwin’s Law is that, once the Nazis are invoked, whoever played the Hitler card has fallen straight into horse puckey and lost.
Friend: “Where do you see this plethora of Hitler? What media do you base this on. Please give references.”
That is the way to run a discussion. I had made a claim. My friend not only hadn’t seen what I referred to, she didn’t really believe it.
Me: “Where? Facebook. Here’s an example from today; there were plenty more before the election.” [link omitted; it’s easily found in this thread]
Friend:, referred to a NYTimes article about Protests of Mr. Trump’s Election: “Read it–very little unruliness. No Hitler references, but I see some parallels on my own…”
Me: “It’s interesting that the ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ NYTimes is so often the ‘All the News That Fits Our Politics’ NYTimes. I found the references to arrests and violence in the Wall Street Journal.
“And, no. You won’t find the Hitler references in the Mainstream Media unless they happen to appear on protester posters. It is very much a social media phenom. In fact, Godwin’s Law specifically refers to Internet discussions (it was formulated back in newgroup/BBS days).”
Friend: “Please send links so I can make my own assessment.” [Emphasis added]
Me: “Search on ‘trump compared to hitler on social media’ no quotes. Lotsa cites. [That search turns up about 1,130,000 results in 0.74 seconds, including stories from NPR, the Washington Post, and even the oh-so-politically-conservative Newsbusters.]
“And just read the rest of this thread if you want to see the Hitlerian examples up close and personal.”
Perfect. I had made a claim. My friend wanted me to back up my claim. I did. She looked for other examples. We both learned stuff. The whole discussion could have ended right there.
The thread got away from us, though, as my uber-Left friends
• Blamed the messenger (“are you trying troll liberals, because you think we’ve never heard of Godwin’s rule?”)
• Suggested that “Godwin’s Law does not apply if they really are Nazis.”
• Called me names for bringing it up (no, I’m not going to repeat that part).
• Claimed that no one ever made the comparison.
• Claimed “it was nonsense against Obama” but isn’t when used against Trump. (“The comparisons are too blatant to miss.”)
• And used the perfect counterclaim that “I know a Nazi when i see one.”
One of the great dissents in the thread was, “Well. It *did* start out with several misrepresentations. First, it implied that people on the ‘uber left’ are comparing Trump to Hitler. Not true. People in the middle are making that comparison.”
And that’s how you win an argument on the Left today: make up a diversion or make up some facts or blame the messenger. If you noticed, nowhere in that discussion did anyone actually refute the fact that my uber-Left friends still make a lot of “Trump is Hitler” comparisons.
And all we can do is shake our heads.
I hate hate hate fighting these same alligators over and over again when all I came to do was drain the darned swamp.