Linkage -



1. Elizabeth Kolbert trashes Superfreakonomics:

To be skeptical of climate models and credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery and hoses that shoot sulfur into the sky is to replace a faith in science with a belief in science fiction

2. Tracey Emin can’t figure out why she isn’t more popular in America:

She has produced works and shows titled “The Tracey Files,” “The Tracey Emin Museum” and “CV,” which stands for two words — the second of them is “vernacular” and the first is unprintable. She has made hundreds of nude self-portraits, including “I’ve Got It All,” a photograph in which her loins are obscured only by piles of money, which she is either giving birth to or forcing inside her vagina.

3. Putin gives advice to Russian hip-hoppers:

“I do not think that ‘top-rock’ or ‘down-rock’ breakdance technique is compatible with alcohol or drugs,” Putin told cheering hip-hoppers who responded with chants of “Respect, Vladimir Vladimirovich”.

4. Jim Carrey’s website will blow your mind (Via AnimalNewYork)

(Seriously, spend a half hour with it. Easter eggs wrapped in easter eggs.)




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    Photo of the day? Was just over at Jane Galt's and she had link to this photo, which made me laugh.

    I think your sentence should read 'Elizabeth Kolbert tries to trash Superfreakonomics but is not very successful'.

    And I had no idea Carrey had a website and it's pretty cool. Right now I am fascinated with small kid in hockey gear attempting to shoot massive puck, 'he shoots, he scores', but it is not very odd like other stuff on his site.

    • Great photo.

  2. Stephen Dubner tries to respond to Kolbert, although, I'm not sure he's too successful, although it is kind of funny that she has a degree in Literature….

    I get the sense that Paul Krugman has some harsh words as well for Dubner and Levitt but is unable to really go after them because of the rules of Time's columnists being critical of others who write for the Times. (Of course he does go after Casey Mulligan on the Economix blog from time to time.)

  3. I've always found levitt and his arguments very interesting, but not in a "that must be the way it is!" kind of way, more a "that's interesting, I wish I had the background and resources to thoroughly test that idea" kind of way.

  4. "Elizabeth Kolbert trashes Superfreakonomics"

    "Trashes." Doesn't seem like the right word, does it? I could trash my boss' resume without ever seeing it.

    If, however, I know it contains exaggerations and fraud and I let *that* be known – well that would be, say "devastating" my boss' resume. Or "destroying" or "debunking".

    Yeah – debunking. That's the word. Elizabeth Kolbert debunks Superfreakonomics. And she doesn't have to be a climate scientist – lord knows the authors aren't – she can rely on the dozens of detailed debunkings available to anyone with a skeptical mind.

  5. Re: Elizabeth Kolbert trashing Superfreakonomics:

    I have faith in science, and I'm a science fiction fan.

    In other words, I think that at least some of the SF-like "technological fixes" are actually feasible.

    • Whoah, there, Crit. Stop your nonsense talking, there. Why, you might start having people believe that we can fly across continents in machines, or talk to each other using devices that don't even have wires, or, or, or… or talk to one another without wires while actually sitting in those flying machines…

      • That's crazy talk, MYL. Everyone knows that technology never changes anything. That's why "technological solutions" to global warming are usually sneered at.

        • Wow. Such a rapid exchange of messages to each other. Did somebody sneak some steroids into the carrier pigeon feed? Or has somebody been technologically improving our communication system? Al Gore, you've got a suspicious smile: did you go and invent something?

          • As MYL reminicses about his undergraduate days, singing in his head "We are, we are, we are, we are the engineers…"

          • "credulous about things like carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinery"

            MYL and Crit

            There were a few sections in Kolbert's article that left me confused and Potter highlighted the main one. Why shouldn't we be credulous about 'carbon-eating trees and cloudmaking machinary' when that's what trees do – eat carbon – and the ChiComs have been seeding the clouds for years manipulating weather.

            Literature grad Kolbert is asking us to not believe our lying eyes and rely on scientists who can't predict tomorrow's weather, never mind a hundred year's forward, even though their models have been completely wrong so far. Kolbert should be looking in mirror if she is looking for believers in sci-fi.

          • Just so we're clear: the consensus opinion of the world's climate scientists that the climate is growing hotter largely as a result of CO2 emissions: this is a fraud that can be safely ignored.

            Small groups of people (some of them actual scientists) have a smattering of unproven theories about geoengineering: "Why shouldn't we be credulous…"

            You criticize Kolbert for coming down on the side of actual science, while talking up half-baked theories that support what you want to believe.

          • "Just so we're clear: the consensus opinion of the world's climate scientists"

            Since when is science done by consensus? Something is true or it isn't. If 60% of scientists say Newton's second law of motion is wrong, does that make it so or are 60% of scientists really stupid?

            It is good thing Einstein didn't care about consensus when he published E=MC2 because scientists went bonkers – how dare he challenge Newton!

            Kolbert or any other believer in AGW actually aren't "coming down on the side of actual science". With all the models the IPCC has done over the past decade, we are still waiting for one to be accurate. We are supposed to believe that even though IPCC, and many other orgs, got the first decade wrong in their projections the models will be accurate going forward. Pull the other one!

          • Nice try.

            Of course, climate scientists aren't arguing about something as simple as Newtonian laws – they're characterizing an immensely complex system. There's no single right or wrong model and there's a huge ongoing debate about the details.

            But the consensus opinion expressed by the IPCC, and signed by thousands of actual climate scientists worldwide, is that overall the system is increasing in average temperatures worldwide.

            Nowhere on earth has such a credible group expressed a single opinion. And nowhere on earth has anybody succeeded in negating that topline opinion. Pick at the details all you want – it's meaningless until a large, credible group of actual scientists come together and agree that the IPCC report has been disproven.

          • 19,000 American Scientists refute Global Warming

            Are you brainswashed by Gore, and the Fascists who claim AGW is real?

            I could link MORE but FACTS and breaking every single LIE is not my job. Try examining both sides next time.

          • "Pull the other one!"

            By the way, I'll point out again that you're willing to extend credulity to half-baked plans for geoengineering our climate but you don't even believe an acceptable model for that system even exists.

            If I didn't know better, I'd believe your credulity was extended to those things you want to believe and and endless skepticism to those things you don't want to be true.

        • It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

          • Mother Nature is a cruel, sadistic bitch. We have been running a programme of appeasement with her for far too long. I think it is time for us to resolutely declare to Mother Nature that callous abuse will no longer be a one way street between her and us.

        • Perhaps you could point to a single implementation of any technology, anywhere, of the scale and complexity talked about in that book.

          Any technology – deployed into a system as vast and complex as the earth's climate. Then tell me how it had the predicted effects and was easily controlled by humanity.

          Technology is great. I make a living from it. It's my chief hobby. It's transforming human society. But this isn't like the engine in your car, the computer you're typing on, or factory farming. To talk excitedly about geoengineering the only planet we have – as opposed to discussing it as an incredibly risky last resort – is to show breathtaking arrogance.

        • I would favour the term "adaptations" instead of solutions. The planet's been changing since, like, forever. And humans have been modifying their local environment to adapt to their greater environment ever since there have been humans.

    • One cannot have faith in science. To have faith is to reject science.

    • There are certainly feasible so-called "technological fixes", but let's be well aware of the downsides. Dubner and Levitt's geoengineering solution, amazingly, would cool the earth, probably at a cost lower than reducing carbon emissions in the short run, though the long-term cost would keep increasing, meaning it probably isn't that cost-effective thinking decades into the future.

      However, global warming, counterintuitively, does not just mean warming of the earth as a problem and the geoengineering solution proposed has more negative side-effects than would ever be acceptable. Great, the earth is cooler, but local temperatures are still widely different (leading to more regional drought and extreme weather patterns), acid rain would spike destroying habitats across the planet and especially in Ontario/Quebec where it's already a problem, ocean ecosystems would be destroyed by increased acidification as well, air quality continues to decrease, and the ozone layer starts to deplete.

      Technological solutions to global warming always appear to me like treating the symptoms of an obese person rather than just getting them to eat better and exercise. Sure, you can suck the fat out of their gut, reduce the size of their stomach, operate on all the joint problems they're likely to have and pump them full of tons of drugs to counter the heart, lung and digestive issues associated with obesity – but they'd still be less healthy than if they just put down the sugar donut and went for a walk every now and then.

      • ‘Technological solutions to global warming always appear to me like treating the symptoms of an obese person rather than just getting them to eat better and exercise”

        Stop making sense Craig. Everyone knows we capable of coming up with a donut that eats carbon and fat , thus saving the planet and making it considerably lighter which should theoretically increase our interplanetary relative velocity, which in turn should enable us to go back in time and shoot the guy who invented the internal combustion engine…problem solved…maybe we could find out who killed Kennedy while we are at it.

    • That's the most entertaining link I've seen so far this week–worth a look: "Disgruntled Star Editor Takes Constructive Revenge".

  6. To believe in computer models, which are incapable of predicting anything other than the most simple mechanisms, can predict complex and still not-well-understood variables that go into weather patterns and climate,

    is to have a faith based belief.

    To do so after these models have already been proven wrong (they predicted a skyrocketing of temperature over the last decade not slight cooling),

    is what I believe those in the faith industry call, blind faith.

    That one side of the political spectrum, that just happens to be for greater government controls of our economy, is clinging onto this with religious like fervor, says much, much more.

    • So biff – you've obviously undertaken an advanced education in climate science that allows you to assess these climate models.

      What? No? You have no training in climate science at all? Just like everybody else here?

      Then what you need to do is decide who's best-equipped to do so and see what they're saying. You'll find legions of global warming deniers who are politicians, business people, lobbyists, economists, hacks and bloggers. None of these people are qualified to assess the research and are not credible.

      Take a look at the qualifications of the people who signed the IPCC. These are climate scientists and should be given credibility in this debate.

      Don't be fooled by people who point to the daily quarreling between scientists. This is the nature of science. Creationists have been using the debate over the mechanics of evolution for years – taking it out of context and feeding it to uneducated people as "evidence" that the science isn't settled.

      And for the love of god, don't cling to isolated bits of information that support what you want to believe. And certainly don't throw them around here as though you've pulled the linchpin out of global warming and would all collapse if *only people knew this one little fact!*

      Talk about faith-based.