November 25, 2009

Scientists' emails

Hackers recently liberated 13 years (!) of private emails, documents, and code from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Global warming deniers are heralding the contents as proof of a conspiracy to create a belief in global warming. Reading list:

The scientific process works. Everything I've read from the denialists concerning science's suppression of information has revealed itself as the denialists' simple ignorance of the scientific process. In the real world: scientist A makes a public and published statement, scientist B tries to replicate the results and cannot exactly, scientist B then publishes his corrections to A's paper. The corrections are, most often, not of the quality of changing an absolute TRUE statement to an absolute FALSE statement, but more of the quality of correcting value ranges or modifying result sets (e.g. changing "from 1200 CE to 1800 CE" to "from 1250 CE to 1900 CE"). How this process gets told by denialists is by simply quoting the original paper and then saying that it's been "proven incorrect." This is what was done with the Hockey stick controversy.

Scientists are being forced to spend more energy on politics and "spinning" their message to get it through to a public swayed by corporate and ideological lies. Good science is, unfortunately, no longer effective. The market of ideas is a market and therefore ruled by who has the money to shout the loudest. This is not necessarily different than in the past, but our problems are unique: fear of water fluoridation does not present the same risks as global warming denialism. Give me the history of nefarious conspiracies propagated by scientists. OK, now give me that same history by governments and corporations.

[ update 10 Dec 2009 ]

I sometimes feel the scientific apologist what with all of the railing I do against these uneducated people, so it's comforting when my railings are confirmed. The email brouhaha became important enough for to examine the assertions of the denialists. They make their findings as clear as they could possibly be, stating in the first paragraph on the assertion of scientific misconduct: We find that to be unfounded and later We find such claims to be far wide of the mark. Just today I discussed the issue with an ostensibly scientific-minded person at work. He repeated the exact misconceptions that FactCheck struck down in this article. I believe more and more that there is no good to come from arguing with these people. They have a expansive volume of knowledge and simply choose to ignore it. We are at the mercy of the willfully ignorant.

posted by sstrader at 11:40 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

November 14, 2009

Friday night's concert

[ updated 8 Feb 2010 ]

Found this languishing unpublished.

Listened to a bunch of Russians at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra last night. Crazy Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu [ Program | Atlanta and other stuff from HL's blog ] gave us some outstanding versions of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Glazunov's Violin Concerto, and Shostakovich's 1st Symphony:

posted by sstrader at 11:44 AM in Concerts | permalink

I love being on Giant Robot's mailing list

Please be brave...

posted by sstrader at 11:19 AM in Art | permalink

November 12, 2009

Pandora stations

I've been enjoying using Pandora as my car radio for the past few months. I've only got two primary stations that I listen to. The Baroque station, seeded with "Johann Sebastian Bach", I'll use for driving-to-work music. The game is to name the composer in the first 20 seconds or so. I've gotten better at nationality (although Handel always sounds English to me) and I've realized that Vivaldi had a more expressive palette than I'd given him credit for. Otherwise, my score's only ~60%. Corelli and Fernando Sor always sneak up and mess with my head.

The other station is, naturally, seeded with "Close to the Edge". It'll basically replay a cross-section of the art rock of my youth with some pleasant surprises. Gentle Giant--who I was only introduced to in college and thought was too free-jazzy--gets in there with "Cogs in Cogs". A short, rapid 16th note heavy piece that made me realize how much Echolyn borrowed from them. The station also plays a song called "My New World" by Transatlantic. They seem to be the Asia of the 2000s, but much less gay. The source bands, Dream Theater and Spock's Beard, were two that represented--at least for me--the transition from Art Rock to Prog Rock, with the latter being generally more studio metal (not a fan). "My New World" is nice if a little too far in the opposite direction. Chris Squire's "Silently Falling" I could have really enjoyed when I first discovered Yes, but it's just kindof nice now. Also, from the station's prompting, I'm appreciating Yes's "Awaken" and several songs from Tormato more than originally.

Pandora's not the end-all, but it's a good option. I've got a (hidden) web site to allow me to generate and stream playlists from my MP3s at home (often enjoyed at work), but the HTML and M3Us're a little too funky right now for my BlackBerry Storm to support it.

posted by sstrader at 7:26 PM in Music | permalink

November 8, 2009

Where was I?

A few weeks back, we met friends in Decatur and hung out at The Brick Store.


Halloween was handing out candy in Cabbagetown (tradition), then 1/2 price dinner (!) at Parish in Inman Park. The place was packed and there were several good costumes; one couple came as a chicken and egg, one waitress was a plausible-yet-more-attractive Amelia Earhart, and there was a scattering of cleavage at the bar. Hovering over the Greek statues in the middle of the room was a Halloween cat protecting us from evil, but unfortunately my phone captured him sideways:

Meow! on Twitpic

(Not sure if I blame the updated Blackberry Storm OS or some change on TwitPic, but it's starting to irritate me...)

Yesterday was the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp. A police-related snafu cut the 5k around 1k short, so I had a quite impressive time. Afterwards was prep, herding the cats that are the chili cook-off participants, and judging the chili booth Spirit Awards. Lisa got to chat with all of the celebrity chefs who were there to judge the restaurant chilis and enjoy their culinary bon mots while Robert and I did some spirit award stealth judging. LSU game afterwards at Tin Lizzies (a further walk that was anticipated) and hanging out at Mollie and Hugh's.

posted by sstrader at 3:22 PM in Where was I? | permalink