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Mail 598 November 23 - 29, 2009
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November 23, 2009
Latest NHS drug rationing decision: <http://tinyurl.com/y9j8k8b>. It's a bit controversial.
Despite Labour's goals, cost remains a big deterrent to working class university students in the UK <http://tinyurl.com/ycb5r4g>. In the Northeast (where I live), another deterrent to continuing education is that jobs requiring a university degree top out at about £32,000 ($50,000) a year salary. That makes doing anything after your first degree a losing proposition.
UK Government is warned that establishing a link between university funding and course quality is very risky <http://tinyurl.com/yc3jx54> because it is very difficult to isolate those factors under university control that produce a given educational outcome. Reducing funding because a course is more expensive to teach than the Government expects--perhaps due to social factors or the quality of the students' previous schooling--is likely to be counterproductive. Related story: <http://tinyurl.com/yblt4y9>.
A '1000-year' rainstorm: <http://tinyurl.com/ybcw3e3>.
Surge in libel tourism: <http://tinyurl.com/yf2pqof>.
Beware Outside Context Problems--Harry Erwin, PhD
I'm an anesthesiologist, not a cardiologist, and haven't done hearts in over a decade, but some things are obvious in the WSJ article.
As every commentator points out, the major factor is volume. He's able to drive bargains with his suppliers that yield huge cost savings, but the greater effect is efficiency throughout his process. Surgeons doing the same thing over and over again just naturally get better and faster at the mechanics. Same for everybody else, especially the ICU and floor nurses and every technician. I could argue either side of the debate whether a lot of routine experience helps or hurts judgment for individualized response to the occasional black swan patient event.
Combine that with Indian labor costs (he pays his surgeons half what would be needed here, and gets more than twice the productivity from each with his system - and I expect the floor moppers and pill counters would be ecstatic to get half a U.S. salary), no doubt substantially less regulatory and administrative expense, not to mention liability insurance savings.
Almost none of that can be transplanted here. A number of university hospitals have tried to set up centers of excellence - the article cites examples of superb institutions that have done about all that can be done to capture a volume of cases sufficient to competently tackle the toughest ones and they are doing a fraction the business Dr. Shetty sees. Our patients want Cadillac (um, Lexus?) care regardless of the cost they don't directly pay, and that means they want the hospital down the street to offer a full spectrum of every possible service. The hospital administrators compete intensely to offer and advertise the latest high-profile technology because it drives patient volume like nothing else.
And some of that might even make sense. When you go to the E.R. with chest pain you just might want to go somewhere that has a cath lab. And any decent cath lab, especially with interventional capability, should certainly be backed up by a good surgical program. But a really good surgical program needs to have enough volume, and there aren't enough cases to go around if you want an E.R near by....
If you publish this, feel free to edit for space.
Indian Heart Surgery Clinic
emailer CP writes: "Does make you wonder about the high costs of health care [in America]."
Of course, the obvious question is "what happens when someone gets surgery at this Indian clinic and dies afterwards?" Does the clinic get sued? Does the doctor get sued as an individual? Does the patient's family just get told "sorry, ya gets what ya pays fer"?
At some point America must rethink the whole system of emergency rooms being unable to turn anyone away: yes, turning away patients because they can't pay is awful, but the consequences of that have been the closing of more than half the emergency rooms in Los Angeles over the last decade, and the end of many hospitals. Egalite trumps liberte: the wealthy can't have a small private hospital because it has to accept illegal immigrant patients (actual case in Los Angeles). We may not have great sympathy for the wealthy who maintained a small elite hospital in Century City until it was discovered and flooded with indigents seeking "emergency care" but have we the right to say they have not the freedom to establish one? They pay for it.
Copyright Time Bomb Set to Disrupt Music, Publishing Industries,
Remember the item that was sneaked into the DMCA? Apparently it was rescinded. More, the copyright act of 1976 allows for authors and artists to take back their copyrights:
I presume this includes you.
I don't know. I need to look into it.
Enclosed are current links to NPR "This American Life" healthcare programs.
In Saturday's mail (mail597.html), you posted links to "This American Life" healthcare programs #391 & #392 that were obsolete.
NPR usually only publishes their podcasts for a week before they are removed and offered for sale. However, they still have the shows online with a different link. I'm not sure how long it will last, but here they are.
The shows are interesting and
7 day link....nifty little mp4 for how a Ringed Earth would look like.
If you are having problems accessing this file, copy and paste the link below into your web browser: http://files.me.com/kenuecker/6cew7j.mov
This file is shared using MobileMe iDisk. Learn more. <http://www.apple.com/mobileme/features/idisk.html> Copyright © 2009 Apple Inc.
--Ken Ken Uecker
Teachers' Union and the Iron Law
This article from the Chicago Trib (contains a link to YouTube) may be of interest:
It shows the top lawyer of the National Education Association, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA's annual meeting in July. Chanin was retiring. This was his swan song. "This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/chi-1122edit1nov22,0,2514797.story
November 24, 2009
Is 'Climate Change' data fraudulent?
Well, aside from the obvious fact that, based on the Climate Science community emails that have recently come to light, confirming that at the very least they have no clue as to the origin of their data or its reliability, there is another data point that will help with the decision:
In the course of your reading and with the contributions of other correspondents on your site, you are undoubtedly aware of the disastrous state, from a scientific point of view, of the world wide network of climate monitoring stations. The 'system' (with the possible exception of the satellite instruments, available only since circa 1976) would be hopelessly 'out of calibration' even by the standards of an 8th grade science class, for a whole host of reasons.
In spite of this, the climate science community produces paper after paper, with careful plots of the 'temperature of the earth', often spanning millennia, with the temperatures being shown to resolutions of 0.1 deg C. Or better. The data never includes error bounds. In some cases, the proxy used for the 'temperature of the Earth' is tree ring data from a literal handful of trees, carefully selected out of a much larger set of trees to produce the desired result. It is prima facie fraudulent. There is NO surface sited instrument, or combination of surface sited instruments, that is capable of measuring the 'temperature of the earth' with an accuracy of 0.1 degrees. And even with space based instruments, there are LARGE polar 'holes', whose temperatures are 'deduced' from a small number of surface stations, not optimally or even close to optimally placed.
Climate science, at least at the top if not at the level of the individual grad student, is the inverse of science. As you have suspected and as the 'hacked' emails confirm, the theory is produced and the data is adjusted to fit it. The very definition of scientific fraud.
Perhaps 'fraud' is too strong a word; enthusiasm and advocacy certainly is not. And that is not science. It's advocacy.
Why is the AARP Running This Ad? - Megan McArdle
The health care bill
If it cost $300 million to get Landrieu to vote to allow the bill to be debated, what in the world will it cost to get her to vote for the bill itself? And now that she has shown how effective shakedown tactics can be, what will others charge? We may not begin to have seen the deficit spending that the health care bill will cost.
If our lawgivers saddle us with all these expenses, will we say, "It's the will of Landrieu"?
Health care costs
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
It was recently announced that Canadian health care costs increased to US $5,131 per person for 2009, a 5% increase over last year (which was 10. According to Wikipedia, we have 33,854,000 people x $5,432 = 183,894,928,000. That’s an awful lot of money for our population base. Also according to Wikipedia, there are 307,996,000 US subjects citizens. Using the same per person cost that’s an astounding $1,673,034,272,000!
Now perhaps there are efficiencies about the US system that I’m not aware of, so the real cost will be lower. I’ve heard that US doctors and nurses get paid more than their Canadian counterparts. We certainly lose enough to the American system, and that’s the primary reason provided. Perhaps the support workers are paid much lower wages, but I really doubt that.
In fact, a comparison of Canadian and US health care shows that you have 0.2 more doctors per 1000 people, 1.6 more nurses, and spend considerably more on healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP (Cdn 10.1% vs. US 16.0%). Even the percentage of government revenue is higher right now BO (Before Obamacare) with Canada at 16.7% vs. 18.5% for the US. I can only expect this to rise in the future.
I sure hope your politicians know what they are doing, because ours certainly don’t!
Health care too important for a "profit motive" -- Dianne Feinstein
I don't know if you had a chance to see MSNBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend, but during a discussion of health care and the "public option," Sen. Dianne Feinstein decried the outrages caused by health insurers and their "profit motive." Health care is just too essential to be trusted to people seeking profit.
Surely the same is true of food, which provides sustenance to every human being? The clothing that keeps us from freezing? The shelter that protects us from weather and wild animals? Are these future targets as well?
This attitude about "profit" is puzzling, given that any honest person will admit that they make choices every day based on the return they will see from their efforts. Nothing wrong with that --no one keeps jumping to grab an overhanging apple that is two feet past their reach, unless they are stupid. What about the surgeon who chose a specialty -- and is accomplished in that specialty-- because it promised to be more lucrative. Or the person who chooses between employment offers (if any are forthcoming these days) because one pays better than the other. Or the person who shops a discount store because at the end of the day he or she will be left with more cash in the wallet by doing so?
Perhaps some politicians object to the dirty underpinnings of the "profit motive" because they project their own sometimes unprincipled motives -- such as when they make questionable claims in the hopes of a profit on election day.
PS Love your site -- this is my first letter. You once published a comment of mine (about the Epson QX-10) in Byte Magazine, by the way.
'Since February, combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been advising Salinas police on counterinsurgency strategy, bringing lessons from the battlefield to the meanest streets in an American city.'
-- Roland Dobbins
'Still, it’s interesting that in recent years, the same race to the bottom in which quality goods become unavailable and local communities suffer has taken place in nearly the same way in most of small-town America.'
-- Roland Dobbins
Your Saturday, Nov. 21st, comment about the stunning inflation in Weimar Germany got my attention. Hyper-inflation has been, for some time, a guilty pleasure of mine. I remember the news in the early 90s about the hyper-inflation then taking place in the disintegrating Yugoslavia. Looking up hyper-inflation, you can find quite a bit of information at various sources including the Cato Institute and the von Mises Institute. Wikipedia has a handy chart that starkly chronicles the fall into the black hole of hyper-inflation of the Yugoslavian dinar:
1990: 10,000 old dinars = 1 new dinar
Add up all those zeroes and you'll see that the "new" 1994 dinar was "worth" 1.3 octillion "old" pre-1990 dinars...1.3 x 10 to the 27th power.
As P. J. O'Rourke termed it in a different context, "a vapor trail of zeroes".
Steve Erbach Neenah, WI
"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong ... somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... And an enormous debt to boot!" -- Henry Morgenthau (1939), FDR's treasury secretary (1934-1945)
"This does look a lot like Jimmy Carter."
---- Roland Dobbins
Will political correctness trump truth?
An article in the 'Canada Free Press' addresses the subject:
Politically Correct Terrorism, and the Invincible Ignorance of the Left
Jim O'Neill Bio <http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/members/17116/Jim%20ONeill/> Print friendly <http://www.canadafreepress.com/printpage.php> E-mail a friend <http://www.canadafreepress.com/sendpage/friend.php> Contact Us <mailto:email@example.com?subject=Dear%20Canada%20Free%20Press>
Essentially, he says that 'Category Error' reigns supreme. He just doesn't use the term, 'Category Error'. The title is grossly misleading however: The Left is NOT ignorant. They are smart, well informed, and HIGHLY effective. Given that those traits apply, and the evidence is pretty strong that they do, and observing the policies they advocate, my deduction is that they are also evil. Your milage may vary.
'Publishers should be able to sell e-books to distributors like Amazon at $5 and still maintain the profit margins they enjoyed on print book sales.'
-- Roland Dobbins
On the subject of intelligence and brain size, there was a program on tv here in Japan last night about a breed of crow (からす) that retrieves slugs from deep inside a spiny leafy plant. They rotate their heads upside-down, make an incision in a long, narrow leaf with a spiny edge. Then, they move up the leaf and make another incision to exactly the same depth and turn their head right-side-up, peeling off a six-inch strip of the leaf. They then take the strip of leaf and insert it deep into the core of the plant where the slugs are hiding. The spiny edge catches on the slug and the crow pulls it out. Apparently this is not instinctual behavior but was (accidentally, they think) discovered by one crow and is imitated by the others. The biologists say the crows have culture.
I don't know if you can appreciate how astounding this behavior is, if you can't see it, but I was gasping for breath just watching it.
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
November 25, 2009
This day was devoured by locusts.
November 26, 2009
November 27, 2009
See the climate scientists. See them scient.
Then proceeds to tell us of all the horrific effects that we can expect as the Arctic ice cap disappears, which it is doing at an accelerating rate. (From "The Oreganian", 11/27/2009: "A group of climate scientists released "The Copenhagen Diagnosis" on Tuesday, saying that global ice-sheets are melting at an increased rate, Arctic sea ice is disappearing much faster than recently projected, and future sea-level rise is now expected to be much higher than forecast.")
In the story, two facts, while contained in the story, were most empathetically not emphasized:
1. Satellite records, which provide the ENTIRE historical record upon which the claim of the 'third lowest on record' is based, started in 1979, which was when the warnings of an impending ice age were just beginning to wind down. Said claims being based to a large degree on the UNPRECEDENTED and rapidly INCREASING extent of, yep, Arctic sea ice. (Remember the proposals to coat the Arctic and Antarctic ice with coal dust to promote melting and stave off the imminent ice age?)
2. While 2009 may indeed be the third lowest (I haven't checked the data, and at any rate, if it is more than 5 minutes old it may have already been 'adjusted'.), 2007 was supposedly the absolute lowest. According to the story, 2008 was 390,000 square km greater than 2007 and 2009 was 580,000 square km greater than 2008. Therefore, Arctic ice in 2009 was 970,000 square km GREATER than in 2007.
So. In a historical record with 41 data points, in which the first data point may have been a record or near record high (We don't know and have no way of knowing.), we have a low point in 2007, with substantial increases in both subsequent years. The second year increase was greater than the first year increase. Conclusion of the 'Climate Scientists', who settled the science years ago and no longer need to scient: Thanks to 'Anthropogenic Global Warming', Arctic sea ice is decreasing rapidly, at an accelerating rate, and we must soon face the consequences of an ice free Arctic. All of which are negative.
I don't know what people are complaining about. Faced with the facts presented in the article, that would certainly be MY reasoned, scientific, fraud free conclusion.
On of the most alarming consequences of the climate change conspiracy has been the politicization of science. Hustling for grants used to be a problem but it wasn't the all consuming passion. Now it is, and we get a failure in logic.
My friend Ed Begley continues to insist that we pay attention only to "peer reviewed" studies; which at one time would have been decent advice. But when "who is a peer" becomes part of the debate, and only those in your camp are considered peers -- don't publish in or cite journals that publish opposition theories or data -- then "peer review" itself becomes part of the conspiracy.
The motives may be good. There are scientists who actually believe that climate change deniers are all paid by oil companies and take the money knowing that they have to produce an oil company friendly result. The people who do that are often supported by peer reviewed grants -- which they would lose if they published data or conclustions contrary to the consensus. Much of that is coming out in the hacked emails.
The destruction of scientific independence seems to be rapid and steady, and continuing. Perhaps the latest revelations will slow that trend. Perhaps.
: A lawyer takes a look at "climategate"
Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy is not an expert in science. He's a law professor. One of the things lawyers may occasionally find themselves evaluating evidence. An excerpt of his take on the meaning of "climategate":
Most of us, however, lack expertise on climate issues.
And our knowledge of complex issues we don’t have personal expertise on is
largely based on social validation <http://ezinearticles.com/?
At the very least, the Climategate revelations should
weaken our confidence in the above conclusion. At least some of the
prominent scholars in the field seem driven at least in part by ideology,
and willing to use intimidation to keep contrarian views from being
published, even if the articles in question meet normal peer review
Here is a unique take on the Harlequin self-publishing controversy which compares it to scientific publishing practices. From Self Publishing Review.
'If I had the rights to all six of my Hyperion books, and sold them on Kindle for $1.99, I'd be making $20,580 per year off of them, total, rather than $4818 a year off of them, total.'
--- Roland Dobbins
Which is interesting, and needs some consideration. I have some works that might profitably be done as Kindle works. I need to look into this. It takes formatting properly and getting familiar with the Kindle self-publishing mechanisms, and I presume a certain amount of publicity.
I can't complain about Baen's marketing, but I have some older works -- hmm. I need to think on this after this weekend.
The death of the printed book is closer than you think.
- Roland Dobbins
'HSBC cannot cope with the number of investors keeping gold in their 5th Ave vault.'
-- Roland Dobbins
The Apostrophe Monster
Apostrophe Abuse: It is almost overwhelming today; more and more plurals are spelled with an apostrophe separating the "s" from the rest of the word. Wrong. WRONG. W*R*O*N*G!!! And yet I've caught myself and others who should know better including that dang punctuation mark incorrectly. All by way of introducing Oatmeal's excellent post on the proper usage -- go there right now! And for a eyeful of how bad it is out there in the real world, visit Apostrophe Abuse.
U.S., Polish Officials Agree to Terms for Stationing American Troops in Poland
Thursday, November 26, 2009 http://www.foxnews.com/images/service_ap_36.gif
WARSAW, Poland — A Polish official says the U.S. and Poland have agreed on terms for stationing American troops and military equipment in the eastern European country.
The move is a prerequisite for deploying U.S. Patriot missiles to Poland next year and a possible future missile defense site.
Defense Ministry spokesman Robert Rochowicz said Thursday Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government must still approve it. He didn't say when that would happen or give other details.
In addition, Poland has expressed willingness to host elements of a new U.S. missile-defense system that would replace a scrapped Bush-era plan.
'Was Newton right and Einstein wrong?'
- Roland Dobbins
Since neither was able to work quantum effects into his theory, it is likely that both are wrong in some fundamental way. If time is really an arrow and not just another dimension, the way we look at the universe is profoundly different.
From Aye Eternal...
Nukes or Economic Collapse?
Dear Dr. Pournelle:
Tim Garrett, associate professor of climate sciences at the University of Utah, has published a controversial paper in the journal Climatic Change that argues that CO2 emissions cannot be stabilized unless either the economy collapses or the world adds one new nuclear plant each day.
Garrett is not an economist and doesn't pretend to be one. Rather, he looks at civilization as a heat engine that consumes energy and performs work in the form of economic production. This concept has led to several interesting results, some of which are rejected by traditional economists. For example:
Economic production has had a constant value in terms of energy consumption throughout human history, stretching back for the 2000 years he studied. The value is 9.7 milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar.
Conserving energy doesn't reduce energy use, but spurs economic growth, which ends up increasing net energy use. Garrett found that he had rediscovered this principle, which dates at least as far back as the 1865 book, "The Coal Question", by William Stanley Jevons.
And here's a winner: "It is only by consuming energy that civilization is able to maintain the activities that give it economic value. This means that if we ever start to run out of energy, then the value of civilization is going to fall and even collapse absent discovery of new energy sources."
I know a lot of this seems obvious to many readers of your column, but it's nice to see an independent voice confirming all this.
Article about the study here (not the journal article, which will be published later this week):
Jeff Larson Webster, Texas
Ironically, my (Reserve) battalion in Iraq had a number of policemen (deputies, city/local, & State Troopers) in the ranks. I detailed several to counterinsurgency activities using their experience from urban gang counter-crime and anti-drug trafficking principles they were intimately familiar with. Worked quite well...
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps,
Graphic of the "Nature trick" in ClimateGate
Perhaps someone has already brought this your attention. The site below purports to graphically show the change in the 'global' temperature based on the "Nature trick" mentioned in one of the more infamous emails of ClimateGate:
I have not run the number and cannot vouch for the results, but if correct, it is more than interesting.
Scientist Repeats Swine Flu Lab-Escape Claim in Published Study.
-- Roland Dobbins
Nanny State and a Congressional Bankruptcy of Ideas
I was listening to CBS Radio News in my car yesterday and one segment was devoted to a group that wants the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy to be even higher that the current future rules, 45 MPG. The statement was made that there just wasn't sufficient demand for high mileage vehicles and that this was the only way to get high mileage vehicles made. Piffle!
If we really want to reduce demand for gasoline how about a $2.00 per gallon or so increase in the Federal Tax. But wait cry the bleeding hearts, that will fall too heavily on the poor. Easily solved by a direct rebate from old Uncle Sam with a phase out based on income.
This same lack of innovation by our Legislators on Health Care and myriad other issues is smothering our Freedoms and our Economy. Let the Government do what only Government can do, Uphold the Constitution, provide for the Common Defense from threats Foreign and Domestic, enforce contracts both private and public and provide a common medium of exchange. The remainder should be left to the States. Of course, this is too simple for the simple fools that we elect to Congress.
At U, future teachers may be reeducated
"In a report compiled last summer, the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the U's College of Education and Human Development recommended that aspiring teachers there must repudiate the notion of "the American Dream" in order to obtain the recommendation for licensure required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Instead, teacher candidates must embrace -- and be prepared to teach our state's kids -- the task force's own vision of America as an oppressive hellhole: racist, sexist and homophobic."
I still think my state would be better off with me teaching high school history, but the education classes convinced me I'm better off working in some other field of endeavor. I fear this isn't as extreme and unusual a position for the Task Group as it should be.
China in the US,
I guess this is what happens when people don't learn their history. The people who have written about the abuse during the cultural revolution in China must be stunned to see Mao's plans instituted in the one of the few free places on earth.
A crack in the facade?
--- Roland Dobbins
'It's easy to manufacture a scientific consensus when you get to decide what counts as science.'
--- Roland Dobbins
Actors Will Do Anything To Land A Role,
You probably know better than I that Actors Will Do Anything To Land A Role:
Just wait for the marshmallow scene, about halfway through.
The thing to remember in these cases: he's a bear, and you're not.
November 28, 2009
I had many things to do today.
I've been cleaning up, and I finished the Chaos Manor Reviews current mailbag today (well, yesterday since I am writing this on Sunday, but anyway the November mailbag, with letters on a variety of subjects from net neutrality to building your own sweet spot PC Box, is now posted.
|This week:||Sunday, November
climategate and the iron law
I have enjoyed dropping in on your site now and then and reading your insight on current events. I found the site one day because I was reading about bureaucracies, and how they tend to grow…and got linked in on your iron law definition. It occurred to me as I read your last post on this climategate mess that it is a great example of your law. The IPCC was created in response to genuine concerns of a problem, and funds from all over came in to study the problem…with much coming from US taxpayers…Universities all over had scientists of many stripes getting grants to study the problem…But when it turns out there is no problem, there will be no more funding. Would you expect these highly paid technocrats to give up without a fight, no matter how dirty the fighting gets?
Thank you for posting, again its been very insightful.
OMG. The term didn't even exist a week ago, and now it auto-fills on Google and produces almost 14 million hits, far more than "global warming."
And where is the so-called "mainstream" media??? Especially in the United States? The silence is deafening. How many papers picked it up that Gore reportedly had to flee a book signing in Chicago to dodge an angry crowd? Did any in the media even bother to check it out and do a verification?
Please send this to your local papers. Picture "Climategate" in huge type on the front page of the New York Times with a candid pix of Fat Albert running in panic. ;-)
John D. Trudel
I think the media cannot ignore this forever. The evidence piles up that at least part of the consensus was conspiracy. How much? It is certainly worth discussion.
Pentagon World-Sim Tool Making Good Progress
Oh yeah, this will be highly accurate ! And why should our elected officials have to know anything about the real world anymore ?
Ah, but models can be useful -- provided that you go back to the data from time to time.
Mr. Holmes' otherwise excellent letter makes the following statement, "Of course, this is too simple for the simple fools that we elect to Congress."
I submit that the "simple fools" are not necessarily the representatives we electm who, after all, are just marketing a product--themselves. That statement says a lot about our nation.
The "simple fools" are those who elect representatives who violate Mr. Holmes' solid rules for good governance--and those who refuse to elect representatives who espouse and will follow those rules. I have in mind the terrible results of the Ron Paul campaign.
By me, these people did us a big favor by exposing a vulnerability in the system, which will now be corrected. I am sure the persons that let them slip by will enjoy their new assignment on the Island of Yap. I don't think they'll be prosecuted because that would just call continued attention to a problem that the Secret Service would like to disappear from the public mind. They don't seem to have had any evil intentions. Intent is a key element of any crime.
I just got through reading the 'Scientific American' article linked by another of your readers, Roland Dobbins. It was interesting, but I am CERTAINLY not qualified to evaluate it on its merits. I did find one part that suggests that a certain physicist may be happier as a climate scientist:
"Gia Dvali, a quantum gravity expert at CERN, remains cautious. A few years ago he tried a similar trick, breaking apart space and time in an attempt to explain dark energy <http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=dark-energy> . But he abandoned his model because it allowed information to be communicated faster than the speed of light.
“My intuition is that any such models will have unwanted side effects,” Dvali thinks. “But if they find a version that doesn’t, then that theory must be taken very seriously.”" (Parts in red emphasized by Bob)
Now THERE is a REAL scientist, scienting away.
Lets imagine Dr. Jerry Pournelle in the same situation:
You, and a bunch of your fellows, observe that there is a large and growing body of astronomical data that is not accounted for by general relativity. Attempts to force the two into agreement require the postulation of huge masses of 'dark matter' (90% of ALL matter) and 'dark energy', neither of which is in evidence, other than that they are required to make observations conform with general relativity. In an attempt to explain the observations, you start examining theories OTHER than general relativity. Your theory is doing fine, up until the point where you notice that, contrary to general relativity (you know, the theory you are trying to replace because it doesn't explain observations), it allows information to be communicated faster than C. I am CERTAIN that you, as a scientist (and noted science fiction writer), would NEVER want YOUR name associated with a theory that allowed information (and hardware??) to be communicated faster than C, so you abandon your theory and go back to the never observed (or previously postulated, up until the time they had to be invented retain general relativity) dark matter and dark energy. After all, general relativity, now in its 90's and increasingly in conflict with observations, is sacrosanct. Never mind those pesky observations. And who would want to go to another star anyway?
Sure, you betcha.
My guess is that if YOU were working on a theory that, contrary to general relativity, explained observations but had the 'defect' of allowing information to be propagated at a velocity greater than C, YOUR immediate reaction would be to start whining about having to interrupt your work to eat and sleep.
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