Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Art of a Believable Lie

Climategate exposes a far more serious problem than just how our climate is mis-behaving.

In the global temperature graphs presented to the world there were originally two significant periods: the Medieval Warming Period (MWP) and a Little Ice Age (LIA). They are discussed in Wikipedia:


They appear to have been "smoothed" over in some of the climate researchers "graphs". This blog shows the infamous hockey stick graph and tries to defend the practice:


But it can't be done. You can't justify manipulating the numbers.

Science -- some unfortunate souls seem to have forgotten -- is about producing rigid verifiable TRUE results.

If two different independent groups study the same phenomenon, and they both use a properly rigorous processes, then they will come to the same results. The results are reproducible and verifiable.

If one group has used some "complex technical" manipulations on the data to "enhance" the results, it is certain that if the other group wasn't directly involved in the deception, then their results would be different. The manipulative study would be invalid. It would not have followed the scientific method:


Science must be objective and verifiable. That is at the heart of Science, it is an absolute necessity. Otherwise it just ain't Science!

Marketing, on the other hand, is trying to spin various things so that an unsuspecting public will buy into them. It is about manipulating people, in order to achieve concrete results. It's main weapon is spin, it is NOT rigorous, and most people know enough to not believe what they have see.

In marketing, people are free to use whatever sleazy practice they desire, fiddle with the numbers, "enhance the data", etc. just so long as it is believable enough to manipulate some of the targets some of the time.

Because Science is rigorous, something is scientific or it is not. If the results are not real science, then they are marketing. They can only be one or the other, and marketing covers everything that isn't properly scientific.

If you can't reproduce the results, then it is marketing. If you fudge the results, it is marketing. If you're description is too "technical" to be understood, then it is marketing. If you employ "tricks" to make people perceive the results in a different way, then it is marketing. If it isn't really scientific then it is marketing.

Marketing is about manipulation, science is about truth.

We live in a age of bad science. Results have been littering our media for years and we've all suspected many were not worthy of being called "science". Often, they're not even good marketing.

Climategate isn't alone, but it really shows how far down the well we have sunk. It's the desperate state of our failed global society that we can't even trust the label "science" anymore. It has been robbed of its meaning, another victim to a marketing farce.

If you present marketing materials as "scientific" then it is fraud. You are lying, and there is no getting around it. A cause doesn't change it. A PhD doesn't change it. Nothing changes it. Nothing justifies it. Marketing is not science, precisely because it is not objective. It has a purpose.

Whatever Climategate turns out to be, it is clear that the "researchers" removed both the MWP and the LIA from their diagrams. Once they did that, they gave up any and all claims to science and turned towards a more insidious marketing campaign. Truth is truth. If you bend it, even a tiny bit, then it is no longer the truth. It's not really a hard concept to grok.

When its defenders try to call the corruption and fraud "normal scientific process" we should all be offended. If they think we wouldn't have understood, they are correct. If they think they're so intelligent that it is up to them to save us from ourselves, then it is their arrogance that defines them as idiots. They destroyed so much more than they realized.

Do I believe in Global Warming? I certainly did, as the supposedly "scientific community" presented irrefutable evidence that it was happening. But thanks to these clowns, I no longer have that certainty.

I have no idea who or how many from this particularly small academic community have succumbed to their god complexes. I no longer have any reliable truth on which to base my decisions. If one of the key institutions switched over to marketing and the others didn't rat them out right away, then we have no idea how deep this corruption runs.

If you're being scientific -- really scientific not just this fake marketing version -- then you have to suspend your opinion on Global Warming until there are rigid, properly carried out, properly presented, verifiable results. With most of the known results thrown into question, and with some of the studies even appearing to contradict the whole theory, an honest person is force to admit that it just ain't certain anymore.

Which is bad. Hugely bad. If the planet is really in peril, and our accepting a harsher, lesser quality of life now means that it won't be far worse later, then we'd be stupid to not try and fix this right away. On the other hand, if this is just fear mongering to suppress the masses, and keep us occupied while the rich get richer from selling fake carbon resources, then we be stupid to fall into this delusion and donate some of our wealth to their yachts and mansions.

We have a hard choice to make, and no trustworthy information on which to base it. And the people we trusted to help, have let us down.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Impending Doom

Some may think that humanity's impending doom comes from the recklessness in which we treat our world. We consume and pollute without consequence or remorse.

Some may think that it comes from our out-of-control population growth. Like an evil tide, we flow over the land bringing destruction and mayhem to each and every corner.

Some may think that it comes from technology. That our limited intellect allows us to create things faster than we can understand them.

But the real truth is that it comes from our own arrogance. From our ability to easily lie and cover up the truth when it turns out not to be convenient to our world view. From our ability to justify our loathsome methods, if we think the cause is even mildly noble. From our belief that we can fool each other and won't ever get caught, even though history is proof to the contrary.

Our impending doom comes not from our possible changes to the climate, but from the scientists supposedly studying it using "scientific methods". When we can no longer tell the difference between aggressive marketing campaigns and real science, we've descended to a dangerous new low. One that will pull the rest of our edifices down on top of us.

Climategate (if true) will easily be the greatest scandal of the 21st century:


Thursday, December 3, 2009

TTC: Why are we even paying for it?

Free trips on the TTC?

I came across a site that suggested that ALL mass transit systems should be FREE. At first glance, I figured the idea was crazy, but when you think about it:

- it wastes tonnes of money to figure out who paid
- it means way more infrastructure: people, tokens, tickets, transfers, booths,
- it means horrible line-ups
- it means people won't just wait, if the system is too busy

If it is free, people will get on and off a lot more. Which is actually a good thing, particularity in this age of green awareness. It may just be so easy to bus there, then walk home (or partway home).

Dropping the cost to zero liberates the system.

Why do we waste all of this money? So that people who use the system "more often", pay more? Who are these people anyways? The poor?

If we just made it free:

- more people would use it, and for shorter trips,
- line-ups would be easier.
- people choosing to use their cars would pay "extra" (for unused services)
- tourists / visitors would be impressed (we could quietly tax their hotel stays :-)

We'd finally look like we were actually ahead on something, instead of always looking so dysfunctional and backwards.

It would be really simple to fund this at a provincial level. Then we could make all "short" haul systems free, and all long haul systems private (and competitive). To make it fairer, we could base in on regional property tax, i.e., if you live up in the north where there are no systems, you don't have to pay. If you live in a big city like Toronto, or any of its suburbs, or nearby towns, you would pay in taxes. If you chose to use your car instead, that's your choice, but the system is always there is you need it. Fair and simple.

It's just so simple.