When Faced With Questions Most Serious, What Does One Do?

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Posted on : 10/09/2010 11:51:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

If you are an old school scientist, one who has swam in the deep waters of rigorous science, and one who sees those same waters being polluted with influences that undermine the cause of science?  You pen a letter that will carry the weight of a battleship anchor with those similarly focused on the rigors of science and the weight of a feather for those who are willing to compromise their profession for wealth and relative fame.




When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence---it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists.


....


So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind---simply to bring the subject into the open.


To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members' interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.


As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.


APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?


....


I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.



I hope they remain friends, too.  For apparently the APS is no longer concerned with being scientists.

What Media Bias? - New Jersey/NYTimes Edition

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Posted on : 10/09/2010 10:32:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Regular readers will know about NJ Governator Chris Christie and his battles with the NJEA along with the NJ Democrats over general budgetary priorities.

How do those battles get reported?

Well it seems that New Jersey missed out on collecting federal "Race To The Top" education dollars.  They came in at 11th place.  Only the top ten got any money.  New Jersey missed by 3 points.  A paperwork error cost them 4.8 points.

However, they could have gotten 14 points if the NJEA had endorsed the NJ state application.  Why the imprimatur of the NJEA should be required is beyond me.  It seems that such a requirement grants too much power to a private special interest group.

How is the story reported in the NYTimes?  Is the headline about how an intransigent union put its ego ahead of the educational needs of the state's students?

Oh hell no.

Christie Helped Lose Grant for Schools, Ex-Official Says

The guy that made the paperwork error got canned so now he's singing as loudly as he can that Chris Christie caused the problem by irritating the NJEA.

No bias to be seen here.  Move along quietly while the NYTimes hopes that you haven't an independent thought left in your head.  Sheesh!

Slaying The Beast, Pen In Hand!

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Posted on : 10/09/2010 09:35:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , ,

This Peggy Noonan article speaks to me and it speaks to the motivations of the Tea Party movement.  I have no idea how long the link will last as the article is supposed to be behind their firewall.  Here's another that might work.

If you write a column, you get a lot of email. Sometimes, especially in a political season, it's possible to discern from it certain emerging themes; the comeback of old convictions, for instance, or the rise of new concerns. Let me tell you something I'm hearing, in different ways and different words. The coming rebellion in the voting booth is not only about the economic impact of spending, debt and deficits on America's future. It's also to some degree about the feared impact of all those things on the character of the American people. There is a real fear that government, with all its layers, its growth, its size, its imperviousness, is changing, or has changed, who we are. And that if we lose who we are, as Americans, we lose everything.


...


And what I get from my mail is a kind of soft echo of this. America is not Greece and knows it's not Greece, but there is a growing sense,I should say fear, that the weighty, mighty, imposing American government itself, whether it meant to or not, has for years been contributing to American behaviors that are neither culturally helpful nor, as we now all say, sustainable: a growing sense of entitlement, of dependency, of resentment and distrust, and an increasing suspicion that everyone else is gaming the system. "I got mine, you get yours."


...


Because Americans weren't born to be accountants. It's not our DNA! We're supposed to be building the Empire State Building. We were meant, to be romantic about it, and why not, to be a pioneer people, to push on, invent electricity, shoot the bear, bootleg the beer, write the novel, create, reform and modernize great industries. We weren't meant to be neat and tidy record keepers. We weren't meant to wear green eye shades. We looked better in a coonskin cap!


There is I think a powerful rebellion against all this. It isn't a new rebellion - it was part of Goldwaterism, and Reaganism - but it's rising again.

Default On Your Mortgage? Why Not!

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Posted on : 10/08/2010 06:03:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , , ,

If it is good enough for the Mortgage Bankers Association, then it must be good enough for you!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mortgage Bankers Association Strategic Default
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

A Flip, A Double Twist, And A Reverse

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Posted on : 10/06/2010 06:36:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Today must be "make Dann chuckle" day.

It appears that some artiste has prepared a work of "art" that depicts Jesus fellatiating upon someone.  That of course has certain knickers in a decidedly twisted position.

There were the inevitable question of "why not try that sort of thing with Muhammed?" 

Surprise! Kudos to the artist for his ecumenicalism.

Then things really get going.  Bud Shark...the guy that the original exhibit is about....was advertising prints of the "art" in question on his website.  Until someone pointed out that Muhammed was in the same piece of "art".  Then he scrubbed it from his site.

The work in question was made by one Enrique Chagoya.  Bud Shark just makes the prints.  Enrique is a talentless hack who would have remained unknown but for his propensity at pissing off the right kind of people.

I would certainly be less disturbed by "challenging art" if the first challenge wasn't always the artist's lack of artistic ability and/or vision. 

Why I Do Not Listen.....

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Posted on : 10/06/2010 05:35:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

....to Rush Limbaugh anymore.  Or at least this is a good reminder.

Calling the President a "jackass" is unacceptable.  Period.

A Better Bird

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Posted on : 10/05/2010 05:45:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

For flying...

Boeing’s 737 is the best-selling jet airliner in history: Today, it carries 29 percent of all U.S. domestic air traffic and is responsible for 25 percent of the industry’s fuel use. A reinvention of this commercial workhorse, called the D series, could burn 70 percent less fuel, emit 75 percent less nitrogen oxide and dampen noise from takeoffs and landings. In short, it could transform air travel into a more environmentally benign practice.
Faster please?

A Mere Sip Of Fuel....

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Posted on : 10/05/2010 05:17:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

....required to motor along at 75 mpg.  That's 'g' folks...as in gallons.

I wonder where we might be if our American automakers were to take greater interest in fuel efficient cars that normal people would want to drive?

More please...faster please.