Stockholm Stiffs Leonardo DiCaprio

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I've had a hard time taking the Nobel Peace Prize seriously since Pol Pot died without winning one. Still, I have to admit that Al Gore is in good company:

kissinger
arafat
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Buck up, Dick Cheney! 2008 could be your year! 

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  1. Yeah, you didn’t want those grapes anyway.

  2. Oh, you suck. I had a comment two seconds ago with this idea one thread down – now this shows up. *pebblekick*

  3. I’m just waiting for them to give it to Sean Penn.

    -jcr

  4. If the Nobel commission had any sense of humor or irony they would give it to Dick Cheney and then sit back and watch the fun. I would pay to see that.

  5. Can’t you let the poor guy be a hero, just for one day? W took away the presidency from him, he should get something to build his self esteem.

  6. If only he’d turn it down!

    Well I guess we can add this to Al Gore’s long list of achievements…

    Born
    Elected
    Elected Higher
    Made Movie
    Nobel Prize

    And he’s just getting started!

    Geez, if he makes another movie, how are they gonna top this?

  7. He needs self-esteem? Then let him go to a shrink.

    The Nobel Peace Prize has strayed away from its normal roots (peace vs. war) and into social commentary. Remember last year’s winner, involved with “microloans” in developing countries? That prize was social commentary and had nothing to do with peace vs. war.

  8. To be honest, though, and I was very much an “Anyone but Gore” voter in that election, I don’t mind this version of Gore so much.

    He, like joe, sees nefarious corporatism where skepticism suffices as an explanation, but he isn’t campaigning, so it is better. Too, he was correct on the science, and being right is good.

    My reservations about the guy are really that I fear him as a technocrat. I imagine him convening a panel of scientists to set policy instead of just talking to them about facts. Too, he wanted to disarm me.

    In summary, my opinion of Gore is improved, but still nervous.

  9. Actually, of all his achievements, the one I think I respect most is the initiative he took in creating the internet.

  10. “You are hearing me talk.” – Al Gore Doll

  11. This is good. It will finally get attention to the Climate Change crisis. Papers will write about and politicians will waste money on it and governments will take away our money and liberties in its name.

    No longer will the Global Climate Death Beast languish on the fringes of the internet. Now it is front and center – thus says some Swedes.

  12. Damn it, I didn’t see Jesse’s Cheney comment before posting mine. Damn your subversive hide, Walker!

  13. I must’ve missed the essay that explains how “preaching radical economic changes to avoid global catastrophe” = “Peace”.

  14. Hint to Reason: the old “let’s find the least flattering photo we can to publish” really does make you look petty and jealous.

    Which may be the point. If so, pls disregard.

  15. I believe that should be “Oslo Stiffs Leonardo DiCaprio.” The Peace Prize is the one that is handed out in Norway, not Sweden.

  16. Norway. Sweden. They’re all dirty Scandanavians.

    And MP, here is the essay explaining it:
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/

  17. Hint to Reason: the old “let’s find the least flattering photo we can to publish” really does make you look petty and jealous.

    Or maybe they are trying to drive home the point that this guy is a giant douche.

    And why would they be jealous? It’s not like they were hoping to win it themselves..

  18. I know what you mean Jesse. The SA gets no props from me since they dissed Tookie.

  19. rah62,

    Keeping people from falling into a river is better than pulling them out, and that goes for promoting peace, too.

    Resource shortages, ecological collapse, and intractable poverty cause wars. Look at Africa.

  20. Or maybe they are trying to drive home the point that this guy is a giant douche.

    Yeah, that seems to be the level of commentary we get from Reason about Al Gore, so you’re probably right.

  21. Whomever said the Nobel prize was a politically correct popularity contest sure was a loon.

  22. I’m happy about this. As they mention in a recent economist, global warming is like a prisoner’s dilemma game and we need less free riders.

  23. “y’all jus’ jellus!” – Dan T.

    Enlightened I tells ya! En. Light. Tened.

  24. WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

  25. Yeah, that seems to be the level of commentary we get from Reason about Al Gore, so you’re probably right.

    Well, he could have been the turd sandwich–it was never clear–so you are correct in pointing out that Marcvs has not fully researched his position. Shame, Marcvs, shame.

  26. “Resource shortages, ecological collapse, and intractable poverty cause wars.”

    If anyone had suggested that joe was going to credit Al Gore with preventing any of that, I’d have said they were crazy.

  27. Resource shortages, ecological collapse, and intractable poverty cause wars. Look at Africa.

    Look at tribalism. That’s what has kept Africa a perpetual basket case while much of the civilized world has prospered with fewer natural resources.

  28. If anyone had suggested that joe was going to credit Al Gore with preventing any of that, I’d have said they were crazy.

    I think you fail to understand what Al means to joe. Think “Jesus” and you’re getting there.

  29. “Oh Christ, I could care less!” –Doris Lessing, upon hearing that she just got a Nobel Prize this year (for Literature).

    Also note: Gore didn’t get the prize for Science.

    Speaking of science, notice how all this years winners talked about how it capped their life-long achievements in their careers. What did Gore actually do anyway, other than produce a Powerpoint slideshow last year?

  30. Yeah, that seems to be the level of commentary we get from Reason about Al Gore, so you’re probably right.

    It isn’t usually Jesse Walker with this kind of crappola, though.

    I would prefer Al Gore to be president, but some people are saying Clinton/Gore.

  31. “If anyone had suggested that joe was going to credit Al Gore with preventing any of that, I’d have said they were crazy.”

    Able to wipe out ecological collapse in a single movie…

    “Look! …over at that press conference!”

    “It’s a bird.”

    “It’s a plane.”

    “It’s Al Gore!”

  32. Congratulations to the man who brought us manbearpig!

  33. Wow, I knew Al Gore was a technocratic, power hungry, control freak asshole but I didn’t know he had become such a big asshole that joe would actually get stuck permanently inside him. But hey, like attracts like, like flies to….

  34. “I would prefer Al Gore to be president, but some people are saying Clinton/Gore.

    *muffled gunshot, thump*

  35. “Resource shortages, ecological collapse, and intractable poverty cause wars. Look at Africa.”

    Thing is, none of those were caused by global warming.

    “Before setting ourselves the task of ridding the world of animal flesh, we might try ridding it instead of unspeakable poverty, hunger and disease,” Ser? points out.”

    Parallel to that, I would say that before we set ourselves to the task of ridding the world of supposed climate change, perhaps we should be ridding it of unspeakable poverty, hunger, and disease first.

  36. Gore wins the big one.
    Polar bears and penguins cum.
    Pope washes Al’s feet.

  37. http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3719791&page=1

    By MARCUS BARAM
    Oct. 12, 2007

    One day before Friday’s announcement that he was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a British High Court judge ruled that Gore’s global warming film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” while “broadly accurate,” contained nine significant errors.

    The ruling came on a challenge from a UK school official who did not want to show the film to students. High Court Judge Michael Burton said that the film is “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact” but that the errors were made in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration.”

    Burton found that screening the film in British secondary schools violated laws barring the promotion of partisan political views in the classroom. But he allowed the film to be shown on the condition that it is accompanied by guidance notes to balance Gore’s “one-sided” views, saying that the film’s “apocalyptic vision” was not an impartial analysis of climate change.

  38. fuck you joe

  39. Sad thing is, if I heard Cheney and Bush both expected to have the prize by now for dealing with Saddam, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  40. Ken,

    Microloans overcome intractable poverty.

    Prevending global warming prevents resource shortages and ecological collapse.

    ed,

    Cause and effect. As we’ve seen in Iraq, people turn to tribalismm as a protective mechanism against harsh conditions.

    Episiarch, puh,

    It’s pathetic to see you try to smear me because you can’t refute my points.

    Dave,

    Thing is, none of those were caused by global warming. No, but we certainly don’t need any of those things to get worse – which they will, if rising sea levels, more severe stores, and serious changes in weather patterns come about because of global warming. Did the point of the hoary old “pulling people out of a river” saying I refernced escape you? I thought it was a rather familiar cliche.

  41. Well, to be fair as I recall Arafat shared the award with Rabin at a time when the Oslo Accords seemed on their way to success.

  42. george,

    Your tears are so yummy!

  43. Nine significant errors?

    Damn, I am so jealous!

  44. Well, to be fair as I recall Arafat shared the award with Rabin at a time when the Oslo Accords seemed on their way to success.

    and Shimon Peres

  45. I don’t know, joe, if you can call it smearing. You put the Goreacle on a pretty damn high pedestal.

  46. Your tears are so yummy!

    If you had even an ounce of integrity in your body, I might be hurt by that.

    But you share way too many key personality characteristics with your good buddy Al.

  47. Ok, so Peres, Rabin and Arafat shared the award jointly.

  48. Show some gratitude, guys. The man gave us the internet so we could post snarky comments!

    πŸ™‚

  49. No, Episiarch, I don’t put him on a high pedestal.

    You just retreat into that claim when your own smearing of him is so throughly refuted.

  50. Hey, carrick,

    Why don’t you just call him my boyfriend and get it over with?

  51. Dan T —

    Come on, that’s not that unflattering a photo. A little goofy, but Al always looks kind of goofy. I’ve seen much worse pics of him.

  52. I would think all the gas he’s passed from all the donuts he’s eaten would make him enemy #1 of the environment. All the caribou in ANWR are lookin’ at him saying damn he stink.

  53. Why don’t you just call him my boyfriend and get it over with?

    I’ve read no reports indicated that Al was bi.

  54. Hint to Reason: the old “let’s find the least flattering photo we can to publish” really does make you look petty and jealous.

    I agree. It’s a cheap shot that’s only funny when it’s John McCain.

  55. Windypundit —

    Now that’s an unflattering photo.

  56. It’s the Nobel Prize Committee’s prize and their money. However, I do think calling something the “Peace” prize, then handing it out for things not directly connected to “peace” dilutes the value of the prize. As does awarding it to people whose sole contribution to peace has been a recent cessation of a lifetime of violence.

  57. Hint to Reason: the old “let’s find the least flattering photo we can to publish” really does make you look petty and jealous.

    Actually, it’s funny, punctures windbags, and probably takes some serious searching to get good ones. All told, good fun.

  58. I agree. It’s a cheap shot that’s only funny when it’s John McCain.

    It all depends on who’s ox is being goerd, doesn’t it. Humor, being an integral part of H&R, demands that unflattering photos and caricatures be used occasionally. Lighten the hell up, folks!

  59. Why don’t you just call him my boyfriend and get it over with?

    Joe and Al, sittin’ in a tree Kay-Eye-Ess-Ess-Eye-En-Gee…

    That do it for ya?

    πŸ˜‰

  60. Microloans overcome intractable poverty.

    If microloans make people more wealthy, won’t they increase their consumption of resources, including fossil fuels and thereby increase global warming?

    Prevending global warming prevents resource shortages …

    I’ve never heard of global warming causing resource shortages. What resources would become more scarce because of global warming? Wouldn’t global temperature increases make it easier to get at resources in the arctic and antarctic?

    …and ecological collapse

    And finally, what ecological collapse? I believe it is getting warming but I am still agnostic as to how much is due to natural vairations in the earth’s climate and how much is due to anthropocentric reasons.

    The worst case scenarios I have read talk of more violent storms, low lying coastal areas flooded, and formerly tropical diseases moving northward and southward, not environmental collapse.

    Apocolyptic statements such as “ecological collapse” from environmentalist cause me to doubt their sincerity and make me and others wonder if they are latching on to global warming bandwagon because it furthers their anti-capitalist goals.

  61. I think they should’ve given it to Putin, personally. He’s been working hard to keep the peace in Russia. Even if it does require killing a few Chechens here and there.

  62. Or maybe they are trying to drive home the point that this guy is a giant douche.

    Don’t blame me, I voted for the turd sandwich.

  63. Lurker Kurt,

    If microloans make people more wealthy, won’t they increase their consumption of resources, including fossil fuels and thereby increase global warming? It’s not quite that simple. Poverty tends to create quite a bit of environmental distruction, too. Think of deforestation caused by people too poor to buy fuel, or the poaching of rare species. And then there’s the fact that wealth levels and economic activity can have widely divergent effects on the environment, depending on specific practices. If the microloan-induced economic growth allows a village to install a wind-powered generator, it’s all good.

    These are is the principle behind Sustainable Development – that human economic development is a necessary condition for environmental protection/restoration, and that it is HOW growth occurs, not WHETHER growth occurs, that determines its impacts on the environment.

    What resources would become more scarce because of global warming? Wouldn’t global temperature increases make it easier to get at resources in the arctic and antarctic?

    I’m talking about on the local level. If people have to abandon their homes, or if their fishing economy is wiped out by changing habitat, or if their fields are turned to desert, those people are going to have a great deal of trouble.

    I believe it is getting warming but I am still agnostic as to how much is due to natural vairations in the earth’s climate and how much is due to anthropocentric reasons. Well, the people in a better position than you or I to draw a conclusion about that are pretty close to unanimous on that question. The IPCC – I’m sorry, the Nobel Prize Winning IPCC – has set the odds that the temperature changes we’re seeing are natural at less than 1%.

    The worst case scenarios I have read talk of more violent storms, low lying coastal areas flooded, and formerly tropical diseases moving northward and southward, not environmental collapse.

    You don’t think those things can cause ecological collapse?

  64. Everybody needs to chill out on the Gore-hatred. He’s a career politician, so he’s probably a douche. Many nobel prize winners suck. It’s really… not that big a deal.

    love him or hate him, I bet everyone here wishes they had parlayed a powerpoint presentation in to millions of dollars and a nobel peace prize.

  65. Can we nominate the entire Reason staff, including former editor Virginia Postrel for the prize? They’ve done more for the good of humanity than this Gore character.

  66. The committee gave this prize to a committed terrorist killer in Yaser Arafat for God’s sake. It is not like the award means anything. It used to be a nice pat on the back for people like say Anwar Sadat or Albert Switzer who took real risks and did amazing things. Now they give it to some guy who took the risk of making a movie of himself giving a grossly inaccurate lecture taking a politically correct view that was guaranteed to bring him accolades and popularity. Yeah, that was real act of political courage. This award long ago ceased to be the Nobel Prize for peace and became the Nobel Prize for world leftist politics. Frankly, given the standard set by the past few winners, I really think they should have given the award to Mugabe or Chavez.

  67. joe –

    I am trying to figure out what the hell you mean by “environmental collapse”

    As we’ve seen in Iraq, people turn to tribalismm as a protective mechanism against harsh conditions.

    What? Yeah, hence all those white people tribes out in the Mojave desert /snark. I can’t believe you would make the serious suggestion that resource-rich Africa turned to tribalism for…wait for it…a lack of resources. Yikes.

  68. Yeah, those IPCC BASTARDS!

  69. So Al Gore won a prize for making some predictions about global warming, even though nobody knows whether those predictions are correct, and Al Gore isn’t even a scientist. It gets better. Gore’s guesses supposedly brought peace to the world! What can’t wild guesses about the distant future accomplish?

  70. Those crazy Norwegians even gave the Peace Prize to Norman Borlaug!

  71. Ayn Randian,

    I was using the term to refer to environmental changes that destroy, or vastly reduce, the ability of a place to support a healthy ecosystem and human population. For example, the salinization of formerly-fertile areas in Mesopotamia through unwise irrigation practices.

    As we’ve seen in Iraq, people turn to tribalismm as a protective mechanism against harsh conditions.

    The phrase “lack of resources” appears nowhere in this sentence. Do you know why that is? BECAUSE I DIDN’T ATTRIBUTE TRIBALISM IN AFRICA TO A LACK OF RESOURCES.

  72. This award long ago ceased to be the Nobel Prize for peace and became the Nobel Prize for world leftist politics.

    Well of course – a peace prize will go to leftists just like a Nobel Prize for War would always go to right-wingers.

  73. Dan, that would have been a 5-percenter at LGF, but it doesn’t really apply here. Try harder.

  74. MANBEARPIG | October 12, 2007, 9:49am | #
    Norway. Sweden. They’re all dirty Scandanavians.

    *prepares TAINT GRAPPLING HOOK

  75. I know that Al Gore tends to bring out the reactionary best from Reason, but this post is even more pathetic than I would have expected.

  76. Resource shortages, ecological collapse, and intractable poverty cause wars. Look at Africa.
    — joe @ 9:53 AM

    Reeding iz hard, joe.

  77. This just in: Bush is demanding a recount.

  78. Randian,

    Mapz r hard, too. Ever look at Mali, Muaritania, or Somalia?

  79. Next year:

    Joint award:

    Dick Cheney, Bono (one name only), and what the hell, Paris Hilton!

  80. Anyway, once you work through your confusion and defensiveness, maybe you can work on trying to make a point.

  81. I’m with National Review: The U.S. military, every year, should win the Peace Prize, as the world’s most reliable guarantor of peace.

    But on to Gore: How do you think he feels knowing, deep down, that he only gets awards from people who are trying to stick it to Bush?

  82. We can call it “the year of almost intolerable harmony.”

  83. I know that Al Gore tends to bring out the reactionary best from Reason, but this post is even more pathetic than I would have expected.

    You must be new to Reason

  84. The U.S. military, every year, should win the Peace Prize, as the world’s most reliable guarantor of peace.

    Sure, just look how peaceful Iraq is.

  85. Do they offer Nobel Prizes for the Facilitation of Ethnic Cleansing?

  86. The US military is giving Iraq its only shot a peace and freedom. Anyway, we all know that Al Gore should get the Nobel Prize for warning us of the danger of ManBearPig:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxqhwZGefc4

  87. the military for peace?

    how about the Free Trade people getting the peace prize. Like Timbro.

    That’s the way to encourage peace, there, um, “Richard”.

    But you are quite the muscular, macho, tough sort, I can see. May I bate over your picture later?

  88. Jesse, if your only step to help the environment would be to stop wanking into kleenex you would be personally responsible for eliminating mankind’s need for another 5000 acres lost to garbage dumps.

  89. Do they offer Nobel Prizes for the Facilitation of Ethnic Cleansing?

    A good friend of mine spent six months in Ramadi getting shot at on a regular basis. He volunteered for duty well after the war started so he new he would serve in Iraq.

    For you to imply in anyway that he was there to help in the ethnic cleansing of Iraq puts you beneath contempt.

    Your past opposition to the war has been mostly principled, but this steps way over the line.

  90. Certainly, VM. And I’m all in favor of free trade, but I don’t think it’s going to calm down the wahhabists much.

  91. I agree with Arthur – this particular pic is not bad. Lately he has been looking more and more like a vampire. The guy scares the shit out of me.

  92. “The Nobel Peace Prize has strayed away from its normal roots (peace vs. war) and into social commentary.”
    I agree with this. I see your point joe, but it’s a bit of a stretch, and I think Confucius had something with the rectification of names. It’s not that what Gore or the microloans winner person did was not laudable, but peace in the narrow sense is mighty important and should get a prize devoted to it alone. It’s for this reason I think the folks who area all enraged about Arafat miss the picture totally, if a bad man works against his comrades to make peace then he deserves a reward for that.

    george-you realize that in highlighting Gore’s faults in exagerrating you yourself did the same thing by bolding the part of the quote that said he exagerrating and leaving the part where it said ‘”the film is “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact”‘

    “What did Gore actually do anyway, other than produce a Powerpoint slideshow last year?” Well, that is one way to look at it. He also took a great deal of his time and resources to make the presentation, perfect it (in a rhetorical sense, the film [which essentially was the powerpoint presentation]) had great critical acclaim), and travel around the country presenting it and raising awareness of an issue that nearly all leading scientific groups think is the crucial one of our times.

  93. War is Peace.

  94. “The U.S. military, every year, should win the Peace Prize, as the world’s most reliable guarantor of peace.”

    Grenada, Panama, Iraq (twice), Kosovo, Afghanistan…

  95. RICHARD HADN’T HEARD OF “WHHABISTS” UNTIL RECENTLY, SO HE HASN’T A CLUE.

    HE HAS, HOWEVER, HEARD OF CRANE (brand) TAINT BLEACH.

    WHEN YOU NEED YOUR TAINT TO SPARKLE MORE THAN NORMAL. WHEN YOUR TAINT IS READY FOR THAT SPECIAL DAY, CRANE (brand) TAINT BLEACH IS THERE FOR YOU.

    TRY IT ON YOUR NEW T ZONE.

  96. joe – dance around it all you like. You said that Africa is short on resources, which it clearly is not. Regardless, Hong Kong has like, no resources and it turned out OK. Same-same for Iceland. It’s bad philosophies that create disaster, not bad living conditions.

  97. Nine significant errors made in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration” trumps “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact”.

  98. carrick,

    Well, I think it is fair to say that the U.S. invasion inadvertantly helped to promote ethnic cleansing; or rather, provided a new playing field where such could happen. Whether one considers that facilitation is another matter. Thus (am I’m not the first person by any stretch to note this), lots of unplanned bad shit can happen in wars – those supporting a particular war ought to take that into consideration before starting one.

  99. “those supporting a particular war ought to take that into consideration before starting one.”

    S of S:

    exactly! However, Dickie up there gets all decked out with his Pickelhaube and everything!

  100. Joe is right. Over consumption by Al and Tipper (look at those round faces and tell me farmers aren’t having to work harder and longer) causes more fossil fuel use, thereby causing greater global warming, requiring more AC use. Man, this is endless. Sure hope Al got his award electronically to cut down on being part of the problem. Happy he got the internet right anyway.

  101. Frankly, I’m just to impressed that he managed to turn a fairly mediocre PowerPoint presentation (with factual errors, no less) into a $1 million prize. That’s the Nobel Prize for Alchemy right there.

  102. I gotta say, I’m really not that enthusiastic either way about Gore getting this prize. Indeed, the thing is only time will tell if Gore is actually right.

  103. Full Disclosure: I’ve not seen Al Gore’s documentary.

  104. Certainly, VM. And I’m all in favor of free trade, but I don’t think it’s going to calm down the wahhabists much.

    Quite the opposite. The Wahhabists are all about creating very conservative theocratic societies, which by necessity must have limited contact with the Great Satan and its many minions. Open borders, or even open marketplaces, and repressive societies are fundamentally incompatable.

  105. carrick-you obviously dislike Al Gore, but don’t let your dislike warp reality around you. “Substantially” means “to a considerable amount or extent.” I’m afraid that trumps “alarmis” or “exagerration.” The man made a film that was “to a considerable amount or extent” spot on, but he exagerrated when he made his points (not an unheard of thing for one to do when promoting a cause).

  106. I would prefer Al Gore to be president, but some people are saying Clinton/Gore.

    I just wish for him to run, nomination or not. Hope he announces that Edwards would be his Attorney General, Kucinich for NASA director and Jimmy Carter for Sec. Def.

  107. A good friend of mine spent six months in Ramadi getting shot at on a regular basis. He volunteered for duty well after the war started so he new he would serve in Iraq.

    What is his bodycount? Did you even ask?

  108. R.C. Dean,

    Yet the middle east, particularly countries on the Arabian peninsula, are fully engaged in trade. The peninsula is radically different than it was fifty to sixty years ago in part because of all the trade that part of the world engages in.

  109. time will tell if Gore is actually right

    Correct. Let’s all meet back here in 100 years to discuss it. In the meantime, try not to exhale, go to work or build anything, just in case.

  110. Frankly, I’m just to impressed that he managed to turn a fairly mediocre PowerPoint presentation (with factual errors, no less) into a $1 million prize.

    He got the prize mostly for being a person of power and influence who avoided being co-opted by moneyed interests on global warming issues.

    The PowerPoint presentation ain’t the thing hier.

  111. R.C. Dean,

    In other words, the Arabian peninsula is quite different from what it was when Wilfred Theisiger was ambling about the empty quarter, etc. in the late 1940s.

  112. ed,

    You ought to realize that wasn’t my point at all.

  113. Mr Nice Guy, from an engineer’s point of view, Al Gore committed a mortal sin. He intentionally misrepresented the most likely outcome of the “substantional” set of facts he had to work from for the sole purpose of promoting a political agenda.

    By the way, Al’s mischief can’t hold a candle to the political tinkering the Bush adminstration has conducted in many areas of regulatory approval. But no one gave those idiots a Nobel.

    By all accounts Al is a smart man with a wicked sense of humor. I have no doubts that he is a good family man. I hold no personal animosity for him.

    This just makes his political shennanigans regarding GW all the more deserving of ridicule.

  114. What is his bodycount? Did you even ask?

    Dave W, you’re better than that.

  115. No, I think bodycounts should be public knowledge and should be discussed freely. Treating them as secret does not help the soldier or the civilian trying to understand the soldier.

    People used to talk about them when the wars were just.

  116. carrick,

    I remember when the U.S. military did not make a count of the number of civilians killed in the war (do they count them now?) and it appeared to be less of an issue, these days though there seems to be a greater focus on civilian deaths.

  117. Piss on you, carrick.

    The consequences speak for themselves, and the dead don’t care about your noble intentions.

    You want “beneath contempt?” How about putting your feelings and intentions before other people’s lives? That’s beneath contempt.

    I’m sure your friend didn’t mean to let al Qaeda carry out terror attacks all over Iraq. I’m sure he didn’t mean to facilitate the ethnic cleansing of millions.

    But I don’t really care.

  118. I love it how Joe whines like a stuck pig about the evil right wing propaganda machine who questions anyone’s patriotism who disagrees with the war and then gets on here and says that the US military is perpetrator of ethnic cleansing. You are beneath contempt Joe. You dish it out well but you can never take it.

    As far as Al Gore goes. There is no way under any normal standard he deserves this prize. At one level, I don’t blame him and think what is he supposed to do turn it down? But then I think yeah he probably should. Look, if the Nobel committee called me up tomorrow and said “you remember those short stories you got published in that literary review in college? Well we have read them and have decided to give you the Nobel Prize for Literature for them”, I really couldn’t accept it in good faith. If I was honest and let my integrity outweigh my greed, I would have to turn them down. If Al Gore came out and said “I appreciate the effort and I hope this gets more people to be concerned with Global Warming, but I really didn’t do enough to justify this prize, therefore I am turning it down”, you would really have to respect him. As it is, Al Gore will be a typical leftist douchbag with delusions of grander and stand up and accept this award with a tear in his eye and really think that he is on the same moral plain as Albert Switzer or Anwar Sadat. For that reason if no other one, you really have to feel sorry for Al Gore, regardless of what your opinion on his movie is.

  119. Ayn Randian,

    You said that Africa is short on resources No, I did not. I listed a shortage of resources as one of things that has caused problems in Africa – as it has, in many places, where millions of people now live.

    Last chance – are you really going to say that there hasn’t been tribalist violence in Darfur because the area lacks resources?

  120. Actually, that photo of Gore looks a little like a fat, older Leonard DiCaprio!

  121. “He got the prize mostly for being a person of power and influence who avoided being co-opted by moneyed interests on global warming issues.”

    Good one (I’m assuming this was sarcasm)

  122. Can’t we all get along? πŸ˜‰

  123. Syloson,

    Only Saudi is Wahhabist, and the hard-line Wahhabbis are not particularly thrilled that the government deals with the West in any sense.

    The rest of the nations of the peninsula are decidedly non-Wahhabist and are varying degrees of liberal on trade (UAE probably being least Wahhabbist and most liberal on trade, what with Dubai being probably THE key transshipment point in the region).

  124. Time has already proven Al Gore correct.

    We know the earth is getting warmer; that this is caused by human activity; that this is causing the loss of polar ice caps; that it is causing changes in habitat that result in species extinction; that the seas are rising; that people are being harmed by warming-related environmental changes; and that reducing our greenhouse-gas pollution is necessary to stop it.

    These are not open questions anymore. The science has been proven, and the IPCC and Al Gore have done the work that allowed people throughout the world to know it.

  125. VM,

    Achieving peace is more than getting an army in the field to cease fire. Far better is to keep that army from ever going to war in the first place.

    Tailpipe solutions are inefficient and unreliable.

  126. Timon19,

    As I understand there are actual fast food joints in Saudi Arabia as well as malls and the like. The point is that the peninsula as a whole has changed dramatically in a little over a half-century and trade is a major reason for that.

  127. Syloson,

    On that narrow point, you are obviously correct.

  128. I’m sure your friend didn’t mean to let al Qaeda carry out terror attacks all over Iraq. I’m sure he didn’t mean to facilitate the ethnic cleansing of millions.

    This is on par with “liberals support terrorists”.

  129. Piss on you, too, John, and your pathetic straw man.

    I never accused the US military of conducting ethnic cleansing, but of facilitating it. Look up “facilitate,” you ignorant cow, and stop pretending your oh-so-noble intentions make the bodies stink any less.

  130. Timon19,

    Narrow or not it is a very important point. I mean, we should have no expectation that Saudi Arabia will become Canada over night.

  131. “He intentionally misrepresented the most likely outcome of the “substantional” set of facts he had to work from for the sole purpose of promoting a political agenda.” carrick-the man is a politician, not an engineer. Scientists do the cautious jargon laden work with rightly qualified conclusions, but political leaders often use “exagerrated” rhetoric to move people to action. I’m just amazed, considering it was a politician, that the facts and science were “substantially correct.”

    Myself, if the Prize was going to be given to a Global Warming related person, then the countless scientists )working independently and with no really good reason to come up with what they did in fact find) who found out warming was happening and humans were in part responsible deserve it more. But I guess they thought giving it to Gore, who was in the right here, would further the cause (which is a pretty good one I submit).

  132. This is on par with “liberals support terrorists”.

    Nothing liberals have done has actually caused more terrorism.

    What the military has down (has been required to do by the administration) has caused more ethnic cleansing.

    So, no, they not equivalent. One of them is true, and one of them is false.

  133. Syloson,

    You’ll note that the greatest amount of change has happened in the societies that are more liberal on the peninsula, and they have dragged PARTS of Saudi along, kicking and screaming at times, since they trade amongst themselves quite heavily.

    The areas where Saudi has modernized and westernized has been almost strictly where westerners occur in large numbers.

  134. Timon19,

    BTW, according to wikipedia, Wahabism extends past Saudi Arabia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahabi

  135. You don’t think those things can cause ecological collapse?

    The words ‘ecological collapse’ bring to mind images of total, apocalyptic desolation. Kind of like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings where ‘not a single thing grew’.

    The spread of formerly tropical diseases and the rising of the sea level by millimeters each year do not strike me as being able to cause ‘ecological collapse’. Long term ecological and economic change yes, but not a collapse.

  136. If Al Gore’s contribution to human understanding of the nature and scope of the global warming problem was an irrelevant as the short stories John wrote in college, I doubt we’d see so many deniers spilling so much ink to denounce him.

    He can’t be a non-entity and be the greatest threat to human civilization ever, at the same time.

  137. I wonder if his two younger children, Sarah and Albert III (according to Wikipedia), are going to have any emotional problems when they grow up? Think how being them must suck: “Daddy says overpopulation is a huge threat to humanity. Daddy says therefore, nobody should have more than two children. We are Daddy’s third and fourth children, respectively. I wonder if we, personally, are the reasons Daddy decided that having more than two children is bad? Even if not, how can we handle the knowledge that our very existence threatens the Earth?”

  138. These are not open questions anymore.

    It’s pretty impressive that you can say this with a straight face, joe, when you consider how many supposedly rock-fucking-solid scientific theories have been shown to be wrong. Theories that had a lot more real science behind them than AGW. You know, like Newtonian physics and chump stuff like that.

  139. Timon19,

    You’ll note that the greatest amount of change has happened in the societies that are more liberal on the peninsula, and they have dragged PARTS of Saudi along, kicking and screaming at times, since they trade amongst themselves quite heavily.

    Say that is all true. That sort of goes to my point, doesn’t it?

  140. “I never accused the US military of conducting ethnic cleansing, but of facilitating it. ”

    Yeah Joe and you tried to “facilitate” the continuation of Saddam’s regime by objecting to the invasion. Same logic applies in both cases. In the case of Saddam you screamed like a stuck pig and demanded an apology for months. But, you don’t seem to have a problem of using the same logic when you can slander the military. But you support the troops don’t you Joe? Just like I support the anti-war effort.

  141. Episiarch,

    Up until about a month ago the theory that man made CFCs were the cause of dangerous ozone depletion was a hell of a lot more settled than man made global warming. Whoops. Don’t ever be surprised at what Joe will say with a straight face.

  142. the man is a politician, not an engineer. Scientists do the cautious jargon laden work with rightly qualified conclusions, but political leaders often use “exagerrated” rhetoric to move people to action. I’m just amazed, considering it was a politician, that the facts and science were “substantially correct.”

    The Nobel committee could have stopped at given the Nobel to the IPCC and I would not be complaining.

    Al Gore was given an Oscar for a film that is essentially political propaganda.

    The Nobel committee then validate this by letting him share the Nobel with the scientists that actually published a report that includes all the probabilities of the possible outcomes. The report may have debatable conclusions, but it was legitimate work.

  143. You said that Africa is short on resources No, I did not. I listed a shortage of resources as one of things that has caused problems in Africa – as it has, in many places, where millions of people now live.

    Last chance – are you really going to say that there hasn’t been tribalist violence in Darfur because the area lacks resources?

    I would say that Africa has a dire shortage of intangible assests, namely rule of law.

  144. MNG,

    1. The IPCC shared the prize..

    2. It was not just the science that has caused such changes in awareness of the problem, but the routing of the denialist position in the marketplace of ideas, and Al Gore has contributed more to that rout in that arena than anyone else.

  145. Episiarch,

    I’ll be nitpicky here and state that as I recall Newtonian physics is still taught in physics courses. Of course it no longer is seen as explaining the whole picture.

    Of course maybe thoreau can explain this better than I can. Was Newtonian physics shown to be wrong? Or merely incomplete?

    Anyway, I’d say that AGW is real (I mean, just on its face it makes a certain degree of sense) however our understanding of the future significance of such is at best incomplete.

  146. Lurker Kurt,

    The words ‘ecological collapse’ bring to mind images of total, apocalyptic desolation. Kind of like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings where ‘not a single thing grew’.

    You mean like deserts expanding into formerly-fertile areas, as has happened in Darfur?

  147. John and Episiarch
    I see your point about scientific theories being seen at one time as closed questions and then later being shown to be false. However, if you look at the scientific consensus at most given times it is more correct than, say, layperson or interest groups opinion. Now there is scientific consensus on a host of issues that I would imagine you would not defy based on the chance that this is the time they are wrong. Isn’t the pragmatic thing to follow the consensus of trained experts on things like this?

  148. joe | October 12, 2007, 10:23am | #

    Ken,

    Microloans overcome intractable poverty.

    I’d really hate to quibble on something that I had believed to be a boon, but seems to create a debt trap similar to middle class Americans with their reliance on credit cards:
    http://www.mises.org/story/2375
    Granted, it’s from the Mises Institute, but I would think even access to microloans would still not be enough since in many parts of the world the high level of corruption and stifling red tape/buisness regulations would prevent the building of buisness and instead facilitate only consumption…

  149. “Anyway, I’d say that AGW is real (I mean, just on its face it makes a certain degree of sense) however our understanding of the future significance of such is at best incomplete.”

    That is not what Al Gore says. According to him we have a complete understanding of the process.

  150. sea level by millimeters each year is deeply misleading. That refers to an average.

    Average sea level rises, like average air temperature rises, do not occur by evenly and gradually increasing everything from it’s ground state by a set amount, but by increases the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. Devestating floods can be catastrophic.

  151. Jennifer,

    “Daddy says overpopulation is a huge threat to humanity. Daddy says therefore, nobody should have more than two children.

    Gore doesnt actually say any of those things. So, unless those two children grow up to be right-wing Kool Aid drinkers, you can stop worrying.

  152. Full Disclosure: I used to be a AGW skeptic and probably held out longer on the subject than I should have.

    John,

    Well, we differ in our opinion then I guess.

  153. I think of the numerous scientific consensuses and wonder how can’t give themselves pause when they casually accept the vast majority and find that the ones they reject have political implications they don’t like. Wouldn’t you think that your political views are clouding your judgment rather than that thousands of independent trained experts are conspiring to fool us into a Gaia worshipping socialist state?

    I think the whole animosity to GW in the libertarian community is some proof of my working hypo that vested interests that fund libertarian think tanks and magazines call the tune of libertarianism more than any philosophical coherence. I don’t see any more reason that denying global warming is a “libertarian” thing to do than denying communism or drought or some other threat to human safety and comfort would be THE libertarian thing to do, and yet most libertarian institutions charged into that breach rather quickly…

  154. joe – (armies comment) exactly! but the “fucking for virginity” crowd misses it.

  155. Newtonian physics has not been shown to wrong, Episiarch. Please, lecture me a little more about science. Lol.

    John,

    Identity politics whining is even less impressive when it comes from people who like to define themselves as tough guys.

  156. “I see your point about scientific theories being seen at one time as closed questions and then later being shown to be false. However, if you look at the scientific consensus at most given times it is more correct than, say, layperson or interest groups opinion. Now there is scientific consensus on a host of issues that I would imagine you would not defy based on the chance that this is the time they are wrong. Isn’t the pragmatic thing to follow the consensus of trained experts on things like this?”

    When following the “consensus” costs trillions of dollars and destroy millions of people’s way of life and offers a convenient excuse to enact every inane socialist program that we all thought had been discredited in the past 40 years, I might not be so gung ho to follow. The problem is that unlike some decisions based on science there are tremendous costs of being wrong in either direction. Further, consensus is not science. There are other theories, specifically variations in solar activity that explain global warming. Are they right? I don’t know, but I don’t like by trillions that they are. Further, while global warming on its face makes sense, what does make sense, when you consider the fact that we know the world was 4 degrees warmer as recently five thousand years ago, is the idea that the warming associated with it is necessarily going to be catastrophic or serious enough to justify the cost of preventing it.

  157. wonder how people can’t give themselves pause” of course

  158. “Identity politics whining is even less impressive when it comes from people who like to define themselves as tough guys.”

    Why not to respond to the point Joe. If the military is facilitating ethnic clensing, then you were facilitating the continuation of Saddam Husain’s regime by objecting to the invasion. There is some logic to both points. You of course love to dish it out but can’t ever take it when applied to you.

  159. When following the “consensus” costs trillions of dollars and destroy millions of people’s way of life and offers a convenient excuse to enact every inane socialist program that we all thought had been discredited in the past 40 years, I might not be so gung ho to follow.

    In other words, you’re letting your politics determine your opinion of science. You should really know that off.

    If the military is facilitating ethnic clensing, then you were facilitating the continuation of Saddam Husain’s regime by objecting to the invasion.

    Since I supported policies intended to bring about the end of Hussein’s regime – such as continuing the type of containment policy that eventually caused the Soviet Union to reform and collapse – I don’t bear the slightest responsibility for anything Hussein might have done.

    I didn’t get my policy, so I don’t have to answer for the consequences of anyone else’s. You did get your policy, so the consequences rightly fall on your head.

    This is a really obvious logical point. You need to stop deliberately blinding yourself to things because you’re rather not know them.

  160. Joe, I’m just guessing here, but did poor farming/grazing methods have any impact on Darfur?

    As to the ‘several millimeters each year’, I just took Bjorn Lomborg’s estimate of a 13 inch sea level rise in the next century and divided by 100. Yes, this is an average. Ice caps melting means more water in the hydroshere which means more rainfall which can mean more flooding.

    Perhaps we are talking past each other here. Since mankind is a tool using animal, we can create tools to adapt to climate change. Once again, it is the apocalyptic pronouncements of the global warming crowd that I take issue with.

  161. Kurt,

    I don’t know. There are generally a number of factors at play in desertification.

    Since mankind is a tool using animal, we can create tools to adapt to climate change.

    Yes we can. And as with any problem that threates to escalate, we most efficiently fix the problem early.

  162. “while global warming on its face makes sense, what does make sense, when you consider the fact that we know the world was 4 degrees warmer as recently five thousand years ago, is the idea that the warming associated with it is necessarily going to be catastrophic or serious enough to justify the cost of preventing it.”
    John-Don’t you think the many, many experts on this subject who disagree with you know about that fact and have a darn good explanation for it that allows them to take the position that they do? Do you think they have all been brainwashed by Cobra?

  163. Syloson,

    Saudi is overwhelmingly Wahhabist. I blew it on Kuwait and Qatar, though those are listed in decreasing order of level of Wahhabist influence and (coincidentally?) increasing order of level of liberalization.

  164. Newtonian physics has not been shown to wrong, Episiarch. Please, lecture me a little more about science. Lol.

    joe, you are, as I understand, some sort of city planner? I think as a trained scientist I can lecture you a little. Newtonian physics are not correct; they are only valid at speeds far, far less than the speed of light.

    Which means that they are not fully valid (but are close enough for use at the speeds we encounter). But they were considered absolutely 100% correct until Einstein.

    You see my point, right? I don’t know how much clearer I can make it. No issue is settled–history has proven that AGAIN and AGAIN. To assume that something as difficult as AGW is settled is the height of stupidity, arrogance, and group-think.

  165. Timon19,

    FWIW, as I understand it more and more Saudis aren’t particularly happy with Wahhabism.

  166. “100% correct until Einstein.”

    Isn’t Relativity wrong when you get to subatomic particles or something?

  167. Newtonian mechanics is a bad example of “disproved” science.

    It’s still used by nearly everyone doing work on things traveling at less than 90% of the speed of light or on particles or systems with any significant mass.

    Newtonian mechanics is an excellent approximation for nearly all of the world to which we can relate.

    It breaks down at the extremes, where very few people experience things or can comprehend them.

  168. Yet the middle east, particularly countries on the Arabian peninsula, are fully engaged in trade.

    First, I wasn’t talking about the middle east in general or the Arab peninsula in particular, I was talking about Wahhabists and the society they would like to create, so this response is something of a non sequitur.

    Taking Saudi Arabia as our current examplar of a Wahhabist state, I doubt they are really fully engaged in trade, because they impose severe restrictions on travel and ideas. Trade is not just, or even mostly, commodities like oil and Mercedes cars. It is primarily about the people and ideas, and those are not free to move around in Saudi Arabia.

  169. Wait a second, there were temperature variations before the 20th century?

    Goddammit, why didn’t anyone mention this to me before?!?

    OK, settle down. Just as long as I don’t find out that the sun causes temperatures to increase, my career will survive.

  170. Episiarch,

    Newtonian physics are not correct; they are only valid at speeds far, far less than the speed of light.

    So, in other words, yes, they are correct, in almost all circumstances that matter to us.

    You see my point, right?

    Yes, you have be reduced to arguing about fraction of a percent. I get your point just fine.

  171. Newtonian mechanics is a bad example of “disproved” science.

    I guess I do have to spell it out. Newtonian physics was, by all conception, correct–except it turns out that it’s not. It is close enough at the speeds we encounter that it is totally useable, but hundreds of years after it was discovered, it was found to be fundamentally wrong.

    I thought this was a good example of how, even with the best theories, assuming that they are now and forever correct and no discussion is tolerated…is bad practice.

  172. 90% of the speed of light is still well below it in absolute terms, BTW.

    Syloson,

    That is true. Many Saudis are not happy with it. The royal family grants it more latitude in proportion with the level of control the government needs to assert over the people. And yet the Saudi royal family desperately wants to modernize further.

    It’s a delicate balancing act that will spectacularly collapse one day. It’s why most of the countries in the region have rejected following a similar path and have (largely) prospered for it.

  173. All I’m saying, Episiarch, is that you could have picked a better example.

    I’m with you on what you’re TRYING to say.

    I think the ozone thing is probably the best and most topical example, but I’m sure we can come up with something better (earth-centered vs. heliocentric immediate celestial neighborhood, as a quick example).

  174. except it turns out that it’s not.

    No, it turns out to be completely true except in a tiny fraction of cases, and has proven to be extremely accurate at describing and predicting how the world we live in functions.

    What your example does, Episiarch, is highlight exactly how far you are willing to stretch in order to find a counterexample, and how much you are willing to overemphasize it, if it appears to make your point.

  175. WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    Ooh, let me play!

    MAN CONTROLS THE CLIMATE.

  176. Oops, that was me.

  177. So, in other words, yes, they are correct, in almost all circumstances that matter to us.

    joe, we’ll gloss over the fact that you didn’t even know that Newtonian mechanics were flawed, but felt free to give me a smug “lol” and then be proved wrong.

    No, they are not correct. They are a flawed approximation that was functional but not correct. However, I am not saying that AGW theories are slightly flawed but work for us enough.

    I am saying that for you to say that discussion is 100% over is absurd on its face considering historical examples of theories being incorrect–and I gave you an example.

    Don’t try to redirect by getting into the nitty-gritty of the flawed nature of Newtonian mechanics. I want to hear you defend the idea that scientific theories can be considered undisputably settled. Like Stephen Hawking’s theories, right?

  178. MAN CONTROLS THE CLIMATE.

    Ooh, let me play!

    “Influences” is “controls.”

    “Some” is “all” (or “none,” depending on the point you’re trying to make.

    Here’s one for Episiarch:

    “True in virtually all cases, and in all cases that are applicable” is “Disproven.”

  179. No, Episiarch, I know that relativity theory and quantum theory exisit, and their relationship to Newtonian physics.

    But it’s impressive to see someone who can dodge and pat himself on the back at the same time.

    I think you picked a perfect example – one that acknowledges the accuracy of the existing science, but points out that it covers a fraction less than 100% of the subject.

  180. Newtonian physics is in fact not true. Period.

    BA Physics 1985

  181. “True in virtually all cases, and in all cases that are applicable” is “Disproven.”

    You are either really not understanding what I am saying, are being willfully obtuse, or are just going “neener neener”, and I don’t know which it is. Try reading. Harder.

    I read what you said: that discussion on this subject is absolutely closed. That’s a pretty fucked up, Catholic-church-vs-Galileo type statement.

  182. Newtonian physics is wrong?

    Forces don’t produce counterforces?

    Are you sure about that?

    Where’d you get that degree?

  183. Warming trend? Yes. Anthropogenic factors? Most likely. What will happen? Not really sure.

    The above is the science. Everything else, including most of what Gore (and joe) is saying, is not. The likelihood of catastrophic and rapid changes seems minimal, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that the only real option we have is to adapt to the changes if they continue to occur–not strive in futility to stop them. And, of course, we’re far, far from certain about what percentage of the warming has anything to do with mankind’s activities.

  184. But it’s impressive to see someone who can dodge and pat himself on the back at the same time.

    That’s rich.

  185. Quantum physics and Relativity theory added to Newtonian physics. They didn’t disprove it.

    Newtonian physics are so “disproven” that they are used every single day by millions of engineers, scientists, and researchers, who are able to effectively build, study, and predict based on their principles.

    But since we’ve learned that electrons act differently, that means Newton was wrong.

    No, sorry, it doesn’t.

  186. Where’d you get that degree?

    University of Northern Iowa, Graduated with Honors, Double major in Physics and Computer Science.

    First year physics — they teach all that practical Newtonian physics stuff.

    Day one second year physics — all that Newtonian stuff was a lie.

    Modern physics says that on a large scale all theories must produce the same result as observable Newtonian physics. That is not the same as saying Newtonian physcis is true.

    You ingnorant cunt πŸ˜‰

  187. Quantum physics and Relativity theory added to Newtonian physics.

    They replaced it.

    They didn’t disprove it.

    Yes they did.

  188. Hey, now! That’s ignorant slut. Dan Aykroyd would be most displeased.

  189. joe, you really shouldn’t get into a physics discussion that you don’t even understand. Newtonian physics is an inaccurate subset of laws that do not take relativity into account.

    But you are purposefully zeroing in on semantics about whether Newton was wrong because you are refusing to address my question: how can you say that discussion on any scientific issue is absolutely closed? Especially considering all the theories that were thought of that way and then proven wrong?

    Why won’t you address this?

  190. Hey, now! That’s ignorant slut. Dan Aykroyd would be most displeased.

    Creeping senility. My bad.

  191. R.C. Dean,

    The point of course is that the Wahabists have been steadily losing even in Saudi Arabia. So yeah, I’ll agree that things are by no means perfect there, but the significant changes seen in the region show the power of the trade that does exist and why we should encouraging that.

  192. all that Newtonian stuff was a lie.

    By the way, that’s a quote from a guy with PhD.

  193. I mean, you can’t say “cunt” on TV. Shoot, I’m going to have to say twenty Hail Marys for just typing the word.

  194. Epi, joe, Doktor T:

    While everybody knows the nature of evil of fiziks types, but hier’s a question for both:

    what the hell are you guys talking about?

    Didn’t S of S sum it up already? Don’t you learn N.P. in undergrad, early grad to get the foundation (like in Econ you do Keynesianism, Monetarism, Synthesis)?

    Does it matter how F = ma? when and where does this difference between relative/quantum and Newtonian matter? In what types of work/ research is it important?

    WHAT IS GOING ON???

  195. WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    Ooh, let me play!

    MAN CONTROLS THE CLIMATE.

    You left out the best two:

    WEALTH IS POVERTY

    PROPERTY IS THEFT

  196. And as with any problem that threates to escalate, we most efficiently fix the problem early.

    So Gore is to the environment what Bush is to the Middle East?

  197. carrick
    You are exactly right. It’s worth noting that quantum and relativity (along with everything else you think you know) are a big lie too. It’s just the best lie we have at the moment.

  198. Episiarch, you just keep telling yourself that I don’t understand the subject, because that’s clearly so important to your self esteem.

    As for your question, how can you say that discussion on any scientific issue is absolutely closed? my answer is, becasue I don’t think dancing around the semantics of the word “absolute” is a useful application of my time. Oh, gee, do you know WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY…? is a question people ask when they’ve lost the argument.

    carrick,

    Newtonian physics accurately describe how the world operates. Ergo, they are true.

    If Newtonian physics made claims about subatomic particles working like objects we can observe with the human eye, those claims would be incorrect. But, you see, they don’t. They never did.

  199. Max,

    So Gore is to the environment what Bush is to the Middle East?

    No, because unlike antropogenic global warming, the threats from Iraq didn’t exist.

  200. Newtonian physics accurately describe how the world operates. Ergo, they are true.

    You are wrong.

    You asked for my credentials — I provided them.

    You provide yours or shut up.

  201. See, Episiarch, look at Warren’s comment:

    It’s worth noting that quantum and relativity (along with everything else you think you know) are a big lie too. It’s just the best lie we have at the moment.

    This is what I’m not interested in doing – indulding in navel-gazing dorm room bull sessions about “What is TRUTH anyway, DUUUUUUUDDDDDE” which is the level of doubt that exists about global warming.

  202. carrick,

    You are wrong.

    And I’m the guy what wrote that comment, that’s who!

  203. Oh! The very best one:

    KNOWLEDGE IS DELUSION

  204. Episiarch, you just keep telling yourself that I don’t understand the subject, because that’s clearly so important to your self esteem.

    OK, I’ll do that while you continue to post comments about a subject you don’t understand. Really, keep telling people who actually know this stuff what you know, as if that would make it correct.

    Oh, gee, do you know WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY…? is a question people ask when they’ve lost the argument.

    And you keep avoiding. YOU said that this whole GW thing was a done deal, NO QUESTION. Do you really believe that all discussion on it should full stop?

  205. carrick,

    Newtonian physics accurately describe how the world operates. Ergo, they are true.

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
    WRONG!
    but thank you for playing.

    Nwetonian physics does not accurately describe the space/time deformation that occurs at relative speeds and intense gravitational fields. These are real phenomena observable at human scale.

  206. VM,

    Maybe we’ll get into a discussion of Faust soon. πŸ˜‰

  207. And I’m the guy what wrote that comment, that’s who!

    typical

  208. carrick is using “false” to mean “true, but not comprehensive.”

  209. Warren,

    Nwetonian physics does not accurately describe the space/time deformation that occurs at relative speeds and intense gravitational fields.

    These do not occur in our world. Hence, my statement that Newtonian physics accurately describe the world.

    Sort of like if I said “The law forbids polygamy,” and you wrote “BZZZZZZTTTTTTTTT, polygamy is legal in Saudi Arabia.”

  210. As much as I despise Al Gore, putting him in the sme league as Yasser Arafat is stupid beyond belief. Any point you were trying to make is lost because of the vile moral equivalence implied.

  211. carrick is using “false” to mean “true, but not comprehensive.”

    I said not true, because it is demonstrably not true.

    For someone that regularly admonishes people to read what he actually wrote, you are not particularly good at reading yourself.

    So are you ashamed of your degree?

  212. joe, your inability to back down, and to drive yourself ever harder into the ground, in this case on a subject that you truly and clearly do not comprehend, is as impressive as the other times I have observed it. That’s some good thickheadedness you got there.

  213. Episiarch,

    YOU said that this whole GW thing was a done deal, NO QUESTION. Do you really believe that all discussion on it should full stop?

    Heavens, no! There is always more to discover about its mechanisms, and how it will play out. For example, how significant will the darkening effecct of ice-cap loss be? Will the thawing of the tundra actually cause massive methane releases that accelerate the process?

    And then there’s policy – we know what we need to do (reduce greenhouse emissions), but how to accomplish that is still a very open subject.

    No, absolutely, there are still many, many questions to be answered about global warming.

  214. Oh for fuck’s sake joe. You are WAY out of your depth here. You’re like a Republican who insists that we’re winning in Iraq

  215. buh bye, carrick.

    You ceased to contribute anything worthwhile a long time ago.

  216. Take two atomics clocks and syncrhonize them. Leave one in the lab and take the other on a high altitude aircraft flying at non-relativistics speeds. Come back later and observe. Time operated slower for the clock on the aircraft.

    Observable at the macro level in this world.

  217. No, because unlike antropogenic global warming, the threats from Iraq didn’t exist.

    If you’re honest, you have to admit that you don’t know whether Gore is right any more than Bush was.

    And that kills the whole “nip it in the bud” argument, which can be used to justify any hairbrained scheme.

  218. Since we are already way off the beaten path…

    You know, Newton had some odd ideas. Supposedly (I’ve never read it) his Principia also contains hints of his religious views which apparently heavily informed his argument.

  219. You ceased to contribute anything worthwhile a long time ago.

    Also typical.

    Many people here say you are not a troll and that you actually try to contribute.

    However, it can be shown from the totality of your posts over the last few years that you are merely a dishonest prick.

    So what is your degree and where did you get it?

  220. OK.

    Newtonian physics doesn’t describe how objects at human scale behave. It isn’t the reliable system that has proven itself throgh centuries of engineering and research. It’s all a lie.

    Because electrons act differently, I suppose I should stop believing that two bodies cannot occupy the same space.

    Thanks, fellas. And to think, some people say science has become too enamoured of theoretical oddities to contribute to our lives.

  221. No, absolutely, there are still many, many questions to be answered about global warming.

    Ha, that’s witty. Now, answer the question, instead of avoiding yet another time: do you really think that all discussion of whether AGW or GW is actually happening should stop? That there is nothing to be gained in such discussion? Should discussion of relativity be stopped?

  222. carrick,
    No no no. Atomic clocks use sub atomic phenomenon. joe doesn’t want to acknowledge subatomic particles. They’re just a theory. You know like evolution.

    What you need to do is take two reeeaaaallllly big water clocks with reeeeeaaaaaallllllllyyyyyy fine graduations….

  223. Max,

    We had the best experts on the subject of Iraq’s WMDs refuting what Bush was saying.

    And we have the best experts on the subject of global warming backing up – within an plausible margin of error – what Gore is saying.

    So, no, I disagree. We are in a much better position to conclude that the IPCC (and that guy with the slide show) are correct than we were when some people concluded that Bush was correct.

  224. carrick, why the fuck would I want to share personal information with you?

    I got a Masters is screwing your mother, asshole.

  225. Episiarch,

    I already answered your question. I don’t know what you’re whining about.

    Some things are settled. Other things are not.

  226. I got a Masters is screwing your mother, asshole.

    Ah. The final level of joe.

    When all else fails, insult someones mother or sister.

    why the fuck would I want to share personal information with you?

    You challenged me to say where I got my degree. I provided that information. You are just a weasel if you won’t provide the same information.

    Since you are specifically challenging me in my area of expertise, you need to provide you credentials or just shut up.

  227. Warren,

    To continue the metaphor – physics vs. climatology – I’m not denying that subatomic particles exist (that there is more to be studied in climate science). I’m saying that, as a matter of fact, objects do behave as Newton described them (the existence and human contribution to global warming are settled matters). Now, we can refine our knowledge, and maybe find marginal cases where matter and energy do not operate as Newton described (insert theoretical modifications to global warming theory here), but they are likely to be of the “Take two atomic clocks…” variety.

  228. Tell you what, carrick, since I’m not going to write any more comments to you, tell yourself that I’ve “shut the fuck up,” and then fuck off in a good mood.

  229. joe I say this with all my heart.

    You are a mean-spirited, dishonest, son of a bitch with no discernable level of personal integrity.

    I can’t understand why anyone in this forum pays any attention to anything you say.

  230. S of S:

    recently our favorite restaurant (within Chicago city limits) had its farewell evening. They served a most excellent foie gras πŸ™‚

    We need a Physics equivalent to DEMAND KURV.

    Tycho Brahe,
    (Pierre Gassendi wrote[2] that Tycho also had a tame moose, and that his mentor the Landgraf Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel asked whether there was an animal faster than a deer. Tycho replied, writing that there were none, but he could send his tame moose. – from hier)

    TYCHONIC SYSTEM!!!!

  231. I got a Masters is screwing your mother, asshole.

    Ah. The final level of joe.

    It takes just over 200 posts.

    joe, you did not answer my question, you have scrupulously avoided answering it the entire time, because you know that your answer would make you sound like an Intelligent Designer and not a scientist.

    But hey, you have gone down to your fundamental level of mother, aunt, and daughter-fucking, which you have also thrown at me, so we know where you are at and expect nothing more.

  232. S of S,

    Newton wasted a lot of time on alchemy, too.

  233. joe, I really could not care any less about Al Gore, but whatever master’s degree it is you have doesn’t entitle you to make such broad assertions about “Newtonian” (I assume you mean classical) mechanics versus quantum theory. Sometimes I wonder if you think that degree of yours said “Joe P Boyle is hereby awarded this Master’s of Universal Knowledge and Omnipotence Degree” or something of the sort.

    And boy is that physics vs. climatology metaphor tortured. Like one of the turistas in that stupid movie of the same name is it tortured.

  234. DAMMIT!!!!!!

    ENOUGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    *throws coffee mug against the wall*

    ohshit. Franklin – I’m so sorry about your mug. Um. At least it wasn’t full. hehe… um… right.

    WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HIER?

    COULD SOMEBODY EXPLAIN WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?

    ARE THERE FUCKING TIMES OR NOT WHEN ELEMENTS OF NEWTONIAN PHYSICS OR WHATEVER THE FUCK THE MODERN TERM IS IS USEFUL?

    WHAT. THE. FUCK.

  235. I’m saying that, as a matter of fact, objects do behave as Newton described them

    No joe, they don’t. You really, really shouldn’t argue about subjects that you just do not understand. However, that you do is totally unsuprising considering your personality.

    You do realize, though, that such uninformed arguing does cast doubt on everything you say? If you are willing to talk about physics as if you know your stuff, yet know nothing, when else are you doing that?

  236. Holy crap, joe, are you a pompous knowitall and obnoxious arrogant smarmy selfrighteous asshole in real life or is this an act you put on for the intertubes?

  237. Re:joe | October 12, 2007, 2:46pm | #

    You are flat out wrong. Newtonian physics, however wrong it is, remains very useful because it works quite well in most situations. The same can simply not be claimed for climatology. While there is consensus about the existence of and human contribution to global warming. There is no consensus about future warming. No one has a climate model that you can input the condition of 1900 and come out the other end with today’s climate.

    You are just wrong. You don’t have the first clue as to what you’re talking about. This becomes more and more evident with every comment you post.

  238. No joe, they don’t.

    Yes, Episiarch, they do, in almost all circumstances. Classical mechanics describes how objects in our world behave with an extremely high degree of accuracy – not absolute accuracy, and we’ve recently developed the technology to meausre the infintesimally small degree to which their behaviors diverge from Newtonian physics’ descriptions.

    Those divergences, and those cases in which the behavior of matter is substantially different than Newton would predict do not disprove classical mechanics, they add to it.

    It’s like saying that modern computing has disproven the targetting formulas of 17th century artillerymen. No, it doesn’t. We can operate with a higher degree of accuracy, but they remain true to the degree that they claimed to be true.

    Like your “skepticism” about global warming, you are relying on tiny, tiny differences to support a much broader claim about the overall theory being disproven.

  239. Pro Libertate,

    Yeah, that too.

  240. I can care less about the politics of it all

    I think all the Bad press Al Gore is getting is from the CONSERVATIVES.

    I’m not a scientist…But I think it makes sense that the pollution, the cars, the factories, etc. etc. etc. may have contributed to global warming….so I tend to side with Gore and the people that they the environment is in DANGER.

    The CONSERVATIVES…well they are a bunch of
    1. closet case homos (who are against Homos)
    2. religious hipocrats that thru their actions and speech (WAR WAR WAR) don’t really believe in god.
    3. idiots that r pissed off that the government tries to stop companies from poluting.

    Tom Delay –The HAMMER made his debut into politics because EPA banned a pesticide that he sold.

  241. For us physics dunces who were taught in college that NP were merely incomplete can carrick, thoreau, etc. explain to us some of things that are “wrong” with NP?

  242. Holy crap, joe, are you a pompous knowitall and obnoxious arrogant smarmy selfrighteous asshole in real life or is this an act you put on for the intertubes?

    You forgot bedwetter.

  243. joe, please continue to display your ingnorance to all. It is far better than anything I could say. Please, please continue to say idiotic things about physics.

  244. Warren,

    Newtonian physics, however wrong it is, remains very useful because it works quite well in most situations. Thank you. I’ve been trying to get this simple point across to Episiarch for quite some time now.

    While there is consensus about the existence of and human contribution to global warming. There is no consensus about future warming. That’s not quite true. There is a consensus about future warming, but is exists as a range of temperatures, and a range of time frames. Nobody credible believes that there will be no future warming. No one credible believes that temperatures will rise 10 degress in the next twelve years. But there is a broad consensus that there will be bewteen 1 and 5 degrees of warming in the next several decades.

  245. And Warren, doesn’t “useful because it works quite well in most situations” translate to “true in those situations?”

  246. Gotta back joe on this one (though you could probably tone it down a bit there joe, wtf?).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton's_laws_of_motion#Importance_and_range_of_validity
    I don’t see how that can qualify that “Newtonian physics is in fact not true.” It’s certainly “true” for much of reality, so joe seems more correct to say it is not comprehensive (and wrong where it may claim to be so) than that is has been proven “wrong.”

    Jim Bob-it was Epsiriach that made the initial broad assertion about Newtonian physics (that it was “wrong”) and used it as a metaphor, so attacking joe on this says more about some previous bias against him I think…

  247. S of S:

    we’ve been asking that question for a while now (I even hepped Doktor T. to this thread to get some sort of answer).

    Might it have been an overstatement by Epi to start it off and then joe running with it with Carrik and Epi following along?

  248. S of S, I will try a quick one, partially related to joe’s comments.

    Pi is not 3.14, but we use 3.14 because it is mostly accurate. It is not truly correct, however. NP was and is like using 3.14 for pi. In the frame of reference we are operating in, it is mostly accurate, but it is not correct.

    And I must reiterate that I was not drawing a parallel between NP and GW. I was saying that considering that something as seemingly bedrock as NP later turned out to be incorrect, to place such absolute faith as joe does in GW theories is crazy.

  249. Episiarch,

    Well, I am wondering why stating that it was insufficient or incomplete isn’t better than stating that it was inaccurate?

  250. “joe, I really could not care any less about Al Gore, but whatever master’s degree it is you have doesn’t entitle you to make such broad assertions about “Newtonian” (I assume you mean classical) mechanics versus quantum theory.”
    That same logic applies to someone with a BS degree, even in physics, doing the same thing. Let’s remember that it was not joe and his master degree that first brought up a pronounced view of NP, nor did he have as sweeping an assertion as that NP was “wrong, period.”

  251. And Warren, doesn’t “useful because it works quite well in most situations” translate to “true in those situations?”

    No. It’s like this, joe (simplified). Here is an equation: a + b = c.

    Later we find out that the equation is actually a + b + x = d, but x is usually so close to zero that we got good results not knowing about it.

    That does not make a + b = c correct.

  252. We had the best experts on the subject of Iraq’s WMDs refuting what Bush was saying.

    Well, we have a better idea of who the best experts were now that some of the facts are in. There was certainly no shortage of experts urging war.

    But this is a side issue. Nobody, expert or not, can predict the distant future with any confidence.

    And we have the best experts on the subject of global warming backing up – within an plausible margin of error – what Gore is saying.

    My understanding is that Gore did not, in fact, accurately relay the scientific consensus. He juiced it up, no surprise. But again, this is beside the point.

  253. I want to suggest that none of us know wtf we are talking about on physics or global warming. But that is why deference to the experts is a good idea. Peace out!

  254. Thank you, MNG.

    I get heated when I’m repeatedly insulsted and attacked. A shortcoming unique to me, I’m sure.

    Well, I am wondering why stating that it was insufficient or incomplete isn’t better than stating that it was inaccurate? Becasue I, joe the evil liberal who must be destroyed, said that it had not been proven to be wrong.

  255. For us physics dunces who were taught in college that NP were merely incomplete can carrick, thoreau, etc. explain to us some of things that are “wrong” with NP?

    Off the top of my head from a class taken 22 years ago.

    Shine a light on a photo-voltic cell. The brighter the light the more current produced. This is in line the classic physics.

    Reverse the polarity on the cell (drive current into the cell the opposite way), the stopping voltage is related to the color of the light not the intensity of the light. This is modern physics, unexplainable from classic physics.

    Use google if you want the details this 3rd semester physics experiment.

  256. pi=3.14 is a true statement.

    One could make more accurate, more precise statements, but they would make “pi=3.14” untrue.

  257. Rember MNG, only joe can demand credentials from another person on this forum, then refuse to provide his own.

    A shortcoming unique to him, I’m sure.

  258. Max,

    We had a number of military and political experts urging us to go to war, but we arent’t talking about policy here. We’re talking about establishing the facts.

    There were very, very few (if any) weapons specialists saying there was a real threat from Iraqi WMDs by the time we went to war. The UN Inspectors, El Baradei, Blix, our own former inspectors were all pooh-poohing the administration’s claims. There were only political people arguing the other side.

    When it comes to global warming, it’s just the opposite. As we establish the facts on the ground, the scientific experts have all (well, very nearly all) come to the same conclusion (that it is real, human-induced, and a threat), and it is just political people arguing the other side.

  259. I don’t think the 3:21 post answers the question that was asked.

  260. MNG,

    I didn’t make any attribution one way or another to the origin of the metaphor I disparaged. Furthermore, someone with a BS degree in physics is infinitely more qualified to talk about physics with authority than someone with a master’s degree in something that’s not physics.

    I am not a physicist and I have nothing to add to the technicalities of this (confusing) debate.

    I have have nothing against joe, it’s just that his stubbornness baffles me sometimes. I mean, he’s clearly outclassed here by people who know what they are talking about. If we can get a real physicist in here to come clear up matters maybe his opponents will have egg on their faces, maybe not, but right now all that’s coming from joe is nonsense.

  261. master’s degree in something

    I don’t think joe’s masters degree in screwing my mother came from an accredited university.

    So we don’t know if joe even graduated high school at this point.

  262. pi=3.14 is a true statement

    joe, you just can’t stop, can you. Pi is not 3.14. Pi is an irrational number, and 3.14 is a truncation. Any calculations done using 3.14 are inherently inaccurate. To be more accurate, you use pi to more decimal places, but it still inaccurate.

    Understand?

  263. Allow me to offer an example of ‘consensus science’: Pre-continental drift geology.

    The consenus was, before the 1950s, that continental drift was not possible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_drift

  264. I’ve only been able to skim this thread very quickly, not really read it, but this jumped out at me:

    Microloans overcome intractable poverty.

    Excellent! It’s good to hear some good news for a change. How come we haven’t heard more of this success story? And exactly how did people manage to overcome poverty in the country of Microloa (which I assume is in the South Pacific/Polynesian region somewhere)?

  265. joe,
    I now think I understand your point about Newtonian physics. It’s a valid point (if I understand you correctly) though you argued it poorly. However it is not appropriate, because your fundamental thesis is just wrong. The state of climatology is simply not anywhere near classical physics. There just isn’t a consensus over the BASIC climate model. It is hotly debated. YOU ARE FLAT OUT WRONG when you say we are arguing about 1 – 5 degrees. There are hundreds of competing models out there. The fact that most of them fall into a given range is just the result of the law of large numbers.

    With every comment you demonstrate your complete ignorance of all things scientific/mathematical/rational. Won’t you give up this foolishness? Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  266. Jim Bob,

    Why don’t you go to the link Mr. Nice Guy provided, instead of appealing to authority? It’s a pretty good explaination of why I’m right, and the people who got their backs up and insisting on the absolute statement “Newton’s physics are false” are wrong.

    Yes, Episiarch, I understand fully that you are hiding behind increasingly small demands for precision to back up your indefensible, inaccurate statement.

    You know, technically, I’m note 5’8″, because the tape measure is only accurate to…guess what? “I am 5’8″” is a true statement.

  267. I don’t know. There are generally a number of factors at play in desertification.

    I’m glad to hear you say this Joe, but didn’t your previous post imply that global warming was the culprit for the desertification in Darfur?

  268. Warren,

    I will agree that the state of knowledge about the climate is not as air-tight as the state of knowledge about the movement of objects at our scale of magnitude. But you overstate the case in the opposite direction.

    The most recent IPCC report provides ranges of future warming predictions, and assign degrees of confidence to different ranges.

  269. I don’t think joe’s masters degree in screwing my mother came from an accredited university.

    School of Hard Knocks, believe me.

  270. Kurt,

    I’m glad to hear you say this Joe, but didn’t your previous post imply that global warming was the culprit for the desertification in Darfur? No, no! I was saying that resource shortages were a cause of conflict in Darfur, and that desertification was a cause of resource conflicts.

  271. Sigh. joe, if you use 3.14 to calculate the circumference of the earth, it will be…wait for it…wrong. If you use 3.1415926535, it will be much, much more accurate, yet still wrong. If you go to 39 decimal places, it will be pretty much indistinguishable from the correct value, yet is still infintessimally wrong.

    Is that shovel making your arms tired yet?

  272. Holy crap, joe, are you a pompous knowitall and obnoxious arrogant smarmy selfrighteous asshole in real life or is this an act you put on for the intertubes?

    No. He’s a motherfucker – even has a masters degree in it! (he says)
    πŸ™‚

  273. Hasn’t this conversation devolved into logomachy?

  274. Episiarch,

    It was settled long ago that you have retreated from “untrue” to “imprecise.”

    But keep hammering on that point and telling me how smart you are.

    *Inhale* but DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE, how can you say anything is true, cuz anything a person says isn’t going to be completely, precisely accurate?

  275. S of S,

    More into logorrhea.

  276. Hasn’t this conversation devolved into logomachy?

    Not if you understand physics.

  277. Pro Libertate,

    How much has the climate warmed as a result of this conversation?

  278. Here’s Episiarch’s statement that started the whole thing:

    It’s pretty impressive that you can say this with a straight face, joe, when you consider how many supposedly rock-fucking-solid scientific theories have been shown to be wrong. Theories that had a lot more real science behind them than AGW. You know, like Newtonian physics and chump stuff like that.

    Newtonian physics has been “shown to be wrong.” Not “imprecise.” Not “incomplete.” “Wrong.”

    OK, Episiarch. Newtonian physics “has been shown to be wrong” to exactly the same degree that “Pi = 3.14” has been show to be wrong. And if you pretend that “descriptive in a less than absolutely accurate manner” is close enough to “wrong” for your tastes, than that’s that.

    Like I said, the retreat of someone who lost a dorm-room argument.

  279. It was settled long ago that you have retreated from “untrue” to “imprecise.”

    It was settled long ago (if I may make the same pronouncements as you) that you have no fucking clue what you are talking about, yet continue to act like you do.

    I have no illusions that you will actually understand what we are talking about here joe, or even if you do, that you will admit it. You have too much ego invested in your stubbornness to stop, and you clearly get off on (internet) conflict.

    However, there are others who have asked questions and I’ve tried to answer them.

  280. Episiarch,
    Umm, joe is being a giant douche (or is he a shit sandwich?). But you’re making his point for him. Under your “anything less than perfect accuracy is false” thesis, nothing is ever true since nothing can ever be measured to perfect accuracy (Heeeeeelllllooooo Heisenberg) But that just ends discussion. It is still useful to talk about the world even if imperfectly. Thus it is “true” that my erect cock is six inches long, even if it’s “truer” that it’s six and a half inches long.

    This is just first year stuff regarding precision and accuracy.

  281. I don’t think accurate approximation is an oxymoron. Pi equals 3 if you only have one significant figure.

    Climatology is *gasp* complicated. “Global warming” is going to make some places colder– like England, if the cold fresh water draining off of Greenland disrupts the North Atlantic current. What happens in the future is wildly uncertain because we don’t know that much about the feedback mechanisms. Joe mentioned the tundra. I’m concerned about ocean anoxia.

    It’s possible to buy into AGW without buying into the current policy prescriptions, so lets debate the policy.

  282. Newtonian physics has been “shown to be wrong.”

    I’ve given you two examples in this thread that demonstrate that classic physics is wrong.

  283. …solid scientific theories…shown to be wrong…like Newtonian physics…

    Shown to be wrong. You could have walked it back with more class.

  284. joe, sorry to break it to you, but the statement that Newtonian physics has been proven to be wrong is 100% empirically correct.

    You have purposefully changed and misdirected to act like my point was something other than this very simple concept:

    Theories, even absolutely-agreed upon ones, have, are, and will be shown to be wrong. Yet you say that GW is 100% correct. Just like many people said NP was 100% correct.

    Squirm, twist, and obfuscate all you want, but you are essentially religious about GW, and cannot and will not accept even the possiblility that is is wrong. You have faith.

    Not very scientific.

  285. Thus it is “true” that my erect cock is six inches long, even if it’s “truer” that it’s six and a half inches long.

    It’s probably more true that it’s only five and a half inches long. πŸ™‚

  286. All I’ve seen are two examples of where classical theory doesn’t apply.

    I’m still not getting these two rocks to occupy the same space.

  287. Episiarch, given your performance and the corner you’ve backed yourself into, I’d pretend not to notice how many people have called on your retreat into imprecision, too.

    But, hey, maybe if you keep using language to assert your superiority (“hate to break it to you” is a old classic), maybe no one will notice.

    Oh, wait. Yes, they will, because more and more people keep calling you on it.

  288. Warren, you are correct in that I let joe redirect the discussion away from my actual point into stupid discussions of accuracy, which have nothing to do with my point. My mistake. I have tried to summarize my true point several times, but joe has consistently ignored this as he was doing better with the accuracy bullshit.

  289. what about those times where modern methods (whatever it’s called these days) are pretty much those first year physics Newtonian ones?

    Please, pretty please, could someone explain this instead of yelling? I’ll be good. I’ll refrain from silly URKOBOLDIAN antics for the rest of the day*.

    just please explain!!!! cuz this shit is running out of teh funni.

    *I had my fingers crossed

  290. And whatever you do, DON’T go to the web page Mr. Nice Guy provided.

    Heavens no! Don’t do THAT.

  291. joe, you seem to gain more confidence when you think people are supporting you, instead of from your actual argument. Just more indication that even you know you don’t know what you’re talking about, but try to bluff your way anyway.

  292. VM,

    We’ll have to get to five hundred posts before that can happen.

  293. We had a number of military and political experts urging us to go to war, but we arent’t talking about policy here. We’re talking about establishing the facts.

    The facts? As if there’s some self-evidently relevant set of facts that, once agreed upon, inexorably leads to an obvious course of action. No, no, no.

    Did it even matter whether Iraq had “WMD”? I would say no. Aside from the lack of “WMD” being an embarassment to war supporters, it’s pretty much irrelvant. It was just a talking point that served a particular policy choice.

    Anyway. The point, once again, is that the global warming argument you make is exactly parallel to the Iraq War argument. Food for thought.

  294. All I’ve seen are two examples of where classical theory doesn’t apply.

    How ’bout some math now joe.

    To prove classic physics is wrong; assume classic physics is right; find one example where classic physics is wrong; therefore the assumption is wrong; therefore the opposite of the assumption is true.

    That’s how science is done joe. I have proven that classic physics is wrong because it can’t handle all known test cases.

    The fact that a mechanical engineer may successfully build a bridge using classical mechanics does not change the fact that classical physics is wrong. This is not just semantics, it is how things get proven in science.

  295. VM,

    Have you ever noticed that I’ve never declared the demand curve to have been “shown to be wrong?”

    What you’ve learned in the first week of Economics 101 is true. AND YET, further insights into economics allow us to draw more accurate conclusions about certain situations than we would draw if we only used first-year economic theory. AND YET, the demand curve expresses something true.

  296. carrick,

    Alright, I understand where you are coming from now.

  297. joe, you seem to gain more confidence when you think people are supporting you, instead of from your actual argument.

    I’m sorry, was there a point when I didn’t seem to have much confidence that I was correct? When was that, exactly?

    Whatever, just don’t go to the website. Good Lord, don’t do that!

  298. Max,

    The facts don’t, all by themselves, lead us to a course of action. Absolutely not, I agree. The facts only establish what is, not what we should do.

    And, once again, I am talking about the former – reality, the facts on the ground – not the latter.

    The point, once again, is that the global warming argument you make is exactly parallel to the Iraq War argument. Except for the part about the evidence indicating that there is a threat existing in one case, and not in the earlier case. I consider that a significant difference.

  299. Great, let’s fire up some northern lights and grove on Dead Can Dance.

  300. *groove

    **must be the northern lights (it’s great tobacco).

  301. Whatever, just don’t go to the website. Good Lord, don’t do that!

    Already did, joe, and it changes nothing.

    One last time joe, and that’s all I can do for you. First, read carrick’s preceeding post. Do you understand mathematical proofs, joe? From your arguments, obviously not. Regardless, even if something is right in most circumstances but not all, it is…wrong. The statement “all humans have 23 chromosones” is mostly correct, but it is not true. It is wrong.

  302. Not to make light of anything, but I am suddenly reminded of the “mostly dead” conversation in The Princess Bride.

  303. joe – @ 4:31:

    exactly what I have been wondering. (and your demand curve is noted!) it’s when one uses the assumptions of perfect competition – there are a myriad of times when you would not do that, but it does offer a good framework. (or whatever macro example we could cook up. But macro people are freaks, like backstrokers)

    That seems to work very well with NP – you can build a bridge (as you can with witches), but once you get into those fast, small, electric situations, you’d want another set of theories in your toolbox. This is how I’ve interpreted what you’ve been saying…

    Epi seems to be going from the angle that the climate is in one of those high speed, high gravity places…

    Is that correct, guys?

    S of S: yessir, you’re right… so where’s that link…

    waded through the morass and found MNG the second’s link:

    from there (usual Wikip’deeeea disclaimer)

    Newton’s laws were verified by experiment and observation for over 200 years, and they are excellent approximations at the scales and speeds of everyday life. Newton’s laws of motion, together with his law of universal gravitation and the mathematical techniques of calculus, provided for the first time a unified quantitative explanation for a wide range of physical phenomena.

    okay – NP is good for approximations at scales and speeds of every day life.

    These three laws hold to a good approximation for macroscopic objects under everyday conditions. However, Newton’s laws (combined with Universal Gravitation and Classical Electrodynamics) are inappropriate for use in certain circumstances, most notably at very small scales, very high speeds (in special relativity, the Lorentz factor must be included in the expression for momentum along with rest mass and velocity) or very strong gravitational fields. Therefore, the laws cannot be used to explain phenomena such as conduction of electricity in a semiconductor, optical properties of substances, errors in non-relativistically corrected GPS systems and superconductivity. Explanation of these phenomena requires more sophisticated physical theory, including General Relativity and Relativistic Quantum Mechanics.

    Newton’s laws of motion are only valid in an inertial frame of reference. Notice that the surface of the Earth does not define an inertial frame of reference because it is rotating and orbiting and because of Earth’s gravity. However, since the rotation and revolution are relatively slow, the inertial force is tiny. Therefore, Newton’s laws of motion remain a good approximation on earth. In a non-inertial frame of reference, inertial forces must be considered for Newton’s laws to remain valid.

    ***

  304. Yeah um guys, I can’t go along with the “classical physics is wrong” thing. If it’s so wrong, why do we teach it to freshmen? We teach it to freshmen because in just about any situation they’re likely to find themselves in for the rest of their lives, classical physics will work just fine. So in once sense we can say “it’s not true” because relativity is “true” and relativity and classical physics are philosophically incompatible. However, we know that relativity isn’t “true” either (can’t handle black holes). In fact no theory is “true” scientific theories are just models of “truth”. But what’s the point of saying that? They are still good theories because they have predictive power. As long as you stay within certain boundaries they do a good job of describing the “truth” that inspired them.

    So, classical physics isn’t any less true. It’s still pretty good. Good enough that we still teach it (unlike say, alchemy where quantum chemistry has completely taken over).

    We had a good model, now we have better models. Climatology is closer to the alchemy thing. We’ve done a lot of experiment/observation. Lots of people are working on the problem and there are some popular theories. But none of them are good enough to say we understand what we’re talking about yet.

  305. carrick,

    Finding a case when a theory does not explain events in a specific case can prove that the theory is wrong, but only if the theory must be true in that case for the theory to be true at all.

    Another possibility is that the theory requires modification – that, too, is how science works; theories are modified in response to testing, not just proven true or false. Certainly, the experiments that established that, say, quarks operate according to different rules demonstrates that Newtonian physics is not universally applicable. And this required Newtonian physics to be modified by adding qualifications about their precision, and their appliciability on other scales of magnitude.

    So Newtonian physics as they understood in 1890 – that is, with their proclaimations of universality – were shown to be inadequate, but it is not true to say that “Newtonian physics” – without any qualification – has been shown to be untrue. Only the theory that they were universally applicable at all places and scales of magnitude.

  306. Wow, Episiarch, feel a little stupid yet?

    Uh, yeah, I sure did get shut down by carrick’s comment.

    You, my friend, are a legend in your own mind. Take off the flight suit, poseur, and try to put together an argument.

  307. I guess I do have to spell it out. Newtonian physics was, by all conception, correct–except it turns out that it’s not. It is close enough at the speeds we encounter that it is totally useable, but hundreds of years after it was discovered, it was found to be fundamentally wrong.

    I will test this in reality when I finish fussing with the engine and transmission in the Metric Organic Hydocarbon Powered Charger.

  308. And we have the best experts on the subject of global warming backing up – within an plausible margin of error – what Gore is saying.

    Easy to say when your test for who the experts are is the degree to which they go along with doom-n-gloom predictions.

    All I’ve seen are two examples of where classical theory doesn’t apply.

    Showing joe knows nothing about how science is done. Those were “examples” of where Newtonian theory “doesn’t apply.” Those were experiments that falsified Newtonian physics.

  309. I’m coining a new term: “prefuted.”

    Prefute (v, t): to refute an argument before it is made. eg, “My 4:50 comment prefuted what RC Dean wrote at 4:54.”

    People who can’t keep up with me certainly do like to assert my ignorance.

  310. Wow, Episiarch, feel a little stupid yet?

    Yeah, I do, joe–arguing with you this long tends to feel like that. I try to determine if you are just amazingly stubborn and stupid, amazingly stubborn and deceitful, or amazingly stubborn and actually believe your own bullshit.

    I think it’s all three, but trying to explain simple things to you is making my head hurt. But, it’s my entertainment for this boring Friday afternoon.

  311. As a *tool*, Newtonian physics was, is, and always will be useful.

    As a *theory*, it’s wrong. There is really no ambiguity about that. It’s not a case of an incomplete theory, since the newer theories completely overlap and replace it.

  312. It’s possible to buy into AGW without buying into the current policy prescriptions, so lets debate the policy.

    Ahhh, a breath of fresh air.

  313. Warren,

    It’s not about Newtonian physics being “pretty good.” Prediction and descriptions based on Newtonian physics are true in certain situations, and untrue in other situations. And we know exactly what those situations are, unlike “my car starts most of the time.” They have been shown not to be universally applicable. They are wrong, no damn good at all, at describing subatomic particles.

    When we are talking about an object big enough for you to pick up, or to look at, an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force. That is a true statement, not a pretty good one.

  314. I think it’s all three, but trying to explain simple things to you is making my head hurt.

    Yes, Episiarch, I just can’t keep up with you. These ideas you’re trying to express, I just can’t get my head around them, because I’m not smart, like you.

    That must be it. There couldn’t possibly be anything else going on. I couldn’t possibly have raised any other objections that you’ve comopletely whiffed on, in order to make yourself feel better.

  315. As a *theory*, it’s wrong. There is really no ambiguity about that.

    OK Max. But all theories are incomplete. So does that mean that all theories are wrong? Or is it only when we have a better theory to replace it with that it becomes wrong? Is Relativity wrong? Is Quantum? Will they become wrong if Superstring completely overlaps them? What if we are unable to test it?

  316. Max,

    It’s not a case of an incomplete theory, since the newer theories completely overlap and replace it.

    Really? At our scale of magnitude, objects in motion don’t stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force? An object’s gravitational force isn’t a function of its mass? Are you sure about that?

    Oh, wait, forget all that. I don’t know anything about physics. I am, after all, a liberal, who disagreed with Episiarch.

  317. joe @ 5:04pm,
    Which in no way resembles our current understanding of the climate.

  318. Joe, you said “Prevending global warming prevents resource shortages and ecological collapse.

    Then I replied “And finally, what ecological collapse?” and also “The words ‘ecological collapse’ bring to mind images of total, apocalyptic desolation. Kind of like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings where ‘not a single thing grew’.

    And then you replied “You mean like deserts expanding into formerly-fertile areas, as has happened in Darfur?

    Please forgive my confusion for thinking you said Global Warming was causing the desertification of Darfur.

  319. Well, Warren, “our understanding of the climate” is a broad term. We are pretty damn confident in our understanding that water evaporates into the air, attached to particulates to form clouds, travels, and is then released as rain.

    But as I’ve already written, I’m not claiming that climatology is at the same level of certainty as physics.

  320. joe, I don’t think what I said was an inappropriate appeal to authority. I honestly think consulting an expert about the issues being debated might provide some clarity and reinforce the merits of one side of the argument or another.

  321. or “the other,” is what I meant to say, with my 1337 typing skills.

  322. Oh, wait, forget all that. I don’t know anything about physics.

    joe finally gets something right. How’d that city planner degree (?) and job edumacate you in the sciences so well? I mean, the furious reading on wikipedia you’ve been doing during this thread’s lifetime hasn’t helped.

  323. Lurker Kurt,

    “Kind of like” was supposed to refer to your description of Mordor. The desert areas in Darfur are “kind of like” Mordor, in terms of their ability to grow things. In other words, I was trying to convey that Darfur had seen “ecological collapse,” at least in some areas, as you were defining it.

    I can see how my brevity could have been misleading. Funny, that’s not usually my problem.

  324. Jim Bob,

    And I was pointing to the linked piece as such an place where we can get expert testimony.

    Episiarch,

    It’s good to see that you’ve backed off from trying to argue your doomed case, but it would show more class if you just shut up entirely.

  325. It’s good to see that you’ve backed off from trying to argue your doomed case, but it would show more class if you just shut up entirely.

    Projection. Look it up.

    Beating my head against a wall is sort of fun, but my period of boredom is ending and I no longer need you to entertain me.

  326. The thread starter:
    supposedly rock-fucking-solid scientific theories have been shown to be wrong. Theories that had a lot more real science behind them than AGW. You know, like Newtonian physics and chump stuff like that.

    Had Epi said “Ptolemy” instead of Newton, we wouldn’t being having this discussion, right?

    So: is it this – some of the models used at some point in the AGW debate were Ptolemic? Or were Newtonian in the sense that there are conditions under which they don’t hold?

    But Epi – I confess that I don’t quite understand how Newtonian Physics is chump stuff under those conditions outlined above in the wiki article… (or in building a bridge)…

    I’m sorry – I’m not trying to be obtuse – I genuinely don’t understand!

    In terms of this only slightly entertaining battle royale (with cheese), could we please backtrack:
    [EPI}
    “Good call. ‘Newtonian Physics as chump’ was too strong. However, I believe that we are at the point with AGW models, just as we once were with NP, that we’re finding conditions where the AGW models don’t hold. X, Y, Z show where the models fail. A, B, C are conditions (or regions of the globe) where there is still some guarded predictive powers of the models”

    is that okay to say?

  327. VM, I am going, but to try and answer this for you quickly…

    I wasn’t comparing AGW to NP at any time. That has been a mistaken impression. I was saying that even well-regarded theories (I was using “chump” sarcastically) like NP have been proven wrong, so how can anyone put too much faith in something like AGW, which doesn’t have near the provability or rigorousness that NP had?

    Again, I never, ever said that we should look at AGW like NP. I was saying that even the seemingly best theories can and have been wrong.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

  328. thanks Epi.

    have a great weekend, all!

  329. joe, Google “perihelion precession of mercury”. The motion of the planets is certainly within the original scope of Newtonian physics, is it not?

  330. I was planning on sitting this one out after making a joke about Al Gore and the internet, but it appears that the services of a physicist are needed.

    For the record, I have a Ph.D. in physics from a top 10 department, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in theoretical biophysics at a major research institute, and I’ve held faculty positions (2 adjunct, 1 tenure track) at 3 highly prestigious schools. Currently I’m a tenure track professor teaching Newtonian mechanics, with peer-reviewed research publications in optics, materials, and biophysics, and ongoing research programs in those fields.

    So I think I can weigh in on the validity of Newtonian mechanics.

    When you ask whether Newtonian physics is correct, you need to define what you mean by correct.

    If you mean that it provides predictions that are true in all possible circumstances then, no, it’s not correct. Come to think of it, I can’t name ANY scientific theory that is correct in all circumstances. Even Relativity and Quantum Mechanics give predictions that conflict in certain cases, which means that one (or both) of them is guaranteed to be wrong, at least in their current formulation.

    However, if you mean that it makes predictions that have been shown to be accurate in experiments under a wide range of conditions, with limitations that can be understood, quantified, and systematically categorized (i.e. it’s consistently right under these conditions, not just “right except when it isn’t, depending on luck”), then yes, Newtonian mechanics is correct.

    Not only does Newtonian physics make predictions that have been experimentally verified to many, many decimal places, it also contains some key principles that have been retained by more recent theories such as relativity and quantum mechanics. The conservation laws of Newtonian mechanics occur in those theories (in modified forms), and many other intellectual foundations of Newtonian mechanics carry over into other fields (sometimes in slightly modified form, or with some additions).

    Is Newtonian mechanics perfect? No. Is it a powerful theory that explains AND PREDICTS a wide range of experimental observations? Yes. For most practicing scientists, that means it’s “correct enough.”

    Keep in mind that science doesn’t deal in certainty. We beat it into our freshmen that every answer has possible errors, and these errors must be ruthlessly quantified. The fact that the limitations of Newtonian mechanics can be quantified only further reinforces its scientific validity, because it means that when we use it we aren’t stumbling around in the dark, with no clue about the extent of its validity.

  331. Anyway, I don’t know what this has to do with Al Gore. Movie production is more of an optics matter, and Newton’s ideas on optics were only of very limited validity. But even there, we can quantify the domain in which geometrical optics remains valid.

  332. Max,

    Done. And as I’ve been describing, Newtonian physics described the orbital changes well, but not completely accurately. Relativity Theory added to our understanding, so we can now predict/describe it with even greater accurarcy.

    Nonetheless, the Newton’s theories about what influences planetary motion has not been disproven. Everything he wrote about it is true – there were just additional factors he didn’t account for.

    This is exactly what I’ve been saying – Newtonian physics has not been “shown to be wrong,” but it has been shown not to be the entire picture.

  333. Everything he wrote about it is true – there were just additional factors he didn’t account for.

    joe, don’t say that shit. Leave this to the pros.

    Newton accurately described the motion of the planets to a few significant figures. (I’m not an astronomer, I don’t know the exact percent error. Sorry.) A more accurate treatment requires general relativity.

    Isaac Asimov’s essay “The Relativity of Wrong” would be helpful here.

  334. You know, Newton had some odd ideas. Supposedly (I’ve never read it) his Principia also contains hints of his religious views which apparently heavily informed his argument.

    Apparently his occult beliefs (he was an alchemist after all), allowed him to posit “action at a distance” and so make the leap to universal gravitation.

  335. EDITING SOMETHING I WROTE ABOVE:

    I can’t name ANY scientific theory that is correct in all circumstances.

    I should have said that I can’t think of any scientific theory which is known to be correct in all possible circumstances. I can think of a few that haven’t been contradicted by careful experiments yet (that I know of) but that’s as far as I’m prepared to go.

    An imperfect scientific theory is not “incorrect.” There is no perfect scientific theory. Please read Asimov before you guys embarrass yourselves any further.

  336. thoreau,

    This has plenty to do with Al Gore, whose weight gain has made him into a significant gravity source. In fact, he bends light and acts as a gravitational lens. He also has bent joe πŸ™‚

  337. Pro Libertate, there has been lots of funny stuff on HnR today, but that one was the best.

  338. Nonetheless, the Newton’s theories about what influences planetary motion has not been disproven. Everything he wrote about it is true – there were just additional factors he didn’t account for.

    I suppose that any theory can be corrected by adding “factors”, so it follows that all theories are absolutely true.

    This reminds me of arguments with Objectivists.

  339. What did I tell you, joe? Don’t say that shit. Leave this to the science pros.

    You just invited Max’s comment at 6:36 pm.

  340. Newton accurately described the motion of the planets to a few significant figures.

    The error with Mercury was big enough to be noticed (and various bogus explainations offered) before relativity.

  341. I’m sure hundreds of posts have passed, but as I was catching up, I saw this, and I could not let it go:

    “pi=3.14 is a true statement”

    I don’t care how unrelated this is to the discussion of Al Gore and AGW and whatnot, but this is absolutely, positively false. If this is the basis for making scientific arguments (that pi is equal to anything, let alone a number with only 3 significant figures), I have to question the utterer of the statement.

  342. pi = 3.14 is a true statement if you are speaking in a context where significant digits matter. For data analysis, computational work, etc., pi = 3.14 is a perfectly valid statement (if your target accuracy is 2 decimal places).

    In pure mathematics, pi = 3.14 is a false statement. In computational work, pi = 3.14 is a perfectly valid approach. Or maybe pi = 3.1416. Depends on the accuracy you’re going for.

    Read Asimov’s “The Relativity of Wrong” before you embarrass yourself any further.

  343. Wow. Joe has taken it on the chin today like one of Peter North’s female leads.

  344. thoreau,

    As an approximation, it is true, but that’s why we use the squiggly equals sign.

    I know you’re a PhD in physics and all that, but I know enough as an engineer to know that there is a massive difference between approximation and equality, especially when you’re talking about an irrational number like pi.

    Maybe it’s too anal for a discussion about the Nobel Peace Prize, but since it was brought up…

    Please refrain from using joe Brand (TM) rhetorical tactics like “…before you embarrass yourself any further”.

    It’s unbecoming a physicist.

  345. One more thing: your computational argument only holds for first-order computations. Square your approximation of pi (a very common computation) and you fail at only the first decimal.

  346. OK, I went too easy on joe in regards to pi = 3.14. I mean, it’s not a totally false statement, to the extent that there’s an important kernel of truth there. But it’s clearly not a literally true statement. It would be better categorized as a sloppy statement rather than a blatantly false statement.

    I still maintain that Newtonian mechanics is a perfectly fine theory, and is certainly correct within a wide domain of applicability.

  347. Max,

    I suppose that any theory can be corrected by adding “factors”, so it follows that all theories are absolutely true.

    No, think of the Bodily Humors theory of disease. That has been shown not to be true. Discovering germ theory didn’t add to the Bodily humors theory, it replaced it.

  348. Timon19,

    Think of the difference between “pi = 3.14” and “pi = 3.1400.”

    One of those is a true statement, one of them is false.

    Or, “pi = 3.14” vs “pi = 3.16” Again, on is right, one is wrong.

    thoreau,

    I can handle myself fine, thanks. The jargon isn’t the point.

    And “pi = 3.14” is also “correct within a wide range of applicability.

  349. joe-

    There are different standards in different fields and venues for expressing numbers in decimal notation, and the implied precision of a given statement. Even different textbooks take different approaches.

    And then there are chemistry instructors, who are the most anal retentive people on earth in regard to that matter.

    In the context of a particular notation and convention you are right about pi = 3.14. But if people use different conventions then you are wrong. So because it depends heavily on context, notation, convention, and how far the stick is jammed up the chemistry TA’s ass, I would classify your statement as sloppy rather than wrong.

  350. I still maintain that Newtonian mechanics is a perfectly fine theory, and is certainly correct within a wide domain of applicability.

    Absolutely. We don’t design/simulate aircraft using relativistic methods.

    We use classical methods.

  351. thoreau,

    Saying “3.14 is equal to pi is false” is not the least bit anal in nearly every field that demands any sort of precision (climate science? engineering? physics?). It’s great for guessing and estimating simple linear calculations. It sucks for just about anything more complex.

    It’s irresponsible to say “close enough” in so very many contexts.

  352. Think of the difference between “pi = 3.14” and “pi = 3.1400.”

    Both of those statements are wrong, although one is less wrong than the other.

  353. Timon-

    I certainly agree with you, but I also have these recollections about chemistry TAs who would get really anal about expressing numbers with significant digits, and so when you write something down you’re only writing it to so many digits, and then they’d have a bunch of other rules that always made my head spin. I think that if you follow the conventions of those chemistry TAs you can get away with doing things that wouldn’t make sense in any other context.

    So it may be that a really super-anal chemistry TA* would say “Yes, that is correct, to two decimal places.” Of course, anybody else would say that pi is a special number with a non-repeating, non-terminating decimal representation, but the TA would staunchly maintain that it is indeed pi, to 2 decimal places.

    If joe is thinking back to one of those TAs, then he’s right in that context.

    FWIW, never since in my career have I been that anal about significant digits. It’s always been like “Well, how accurate is this?” and then you figure out how accurate it is and you run with it, and if anything you err on the side of too few digits. Significant digits got easier once I actually thought about them in the context of something I’m doing, rather than treating them as a hurdle to cross while trying to satisfy the TA from hell.

    *That would make a great porn title. “Super-anal chemistry TA,” a story of college self-discovery…

  354. if you use 3.14 to calculate the circumference of the earth, it will be…wait for it…wrong.
    And certainly not precise enough to measure the circumference of Al Gore.

  355. thoreau, Timon19,

    There are different standards in different fields and venues for expressing numbers in decimal notation, and the implied precision of a given statement. Even different textbooks take different approaches. Right, I thought of that after I posted. The mathematical term would be “accurate to two decimal places,” and whether a number written to that level of accuracy is considered right or wrong depends on the circumstances.

  356. Reading these comments is generally my favorite form of procrastination, but 358 comments?

  357. Mad Max,

    To be fair, of those 358 comments, joe constituted 25.4648 ? ? of them. Which, coincidentally is also Al Gore’s circumference in inches.

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