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(Digression) What is wrong with America, summed up by Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi sums up the current insanity that is the USA:

We have two definitely connected phenomena, often treated as separate and unconnected: a growing lawlessness in the financial sector, and an expanding, repressive, increasingly lunatic police apparatus trained at the poor, and especially the nonwhite poor.

(Some people still think, despite all indications to the contrary, that the US has "a system with strong checks and balances". To that I can only say this: you will wake up -- some day.)

(Digression) The urge to find "underlying motives for distrusting science" -- my opinion

April 3rd, 2012 (03:27 pm)

(Cross-posted to Planet3.0, sort of.)

Bart Verheggen writes,

In line with [communication science professor Cees] van Woerkum I think it's important to focus on the underlying motives for [global warming skeptics] distrusting science. We should really try and figure out and discuss why we disagree so strongly about climate change [...] We don't have a similar public debate about the mating behavior of fruitflies after all.

Um, perhaps because there is a well-funded network of that pumps out climate inactivist garbage en masse?

Why won't that be enough of an explanation?

Why are we still looking for an alternative "explanation" that pretends that the misinformation mill doesn't exist?

Seriously, I don't get it. There's rich people. There's money from rich people. There's shills who willingly take money from rich people. There's goons who blindly believe shills who willingly take money from rich people. None of this is particularly hard to understand. What's more, all this is extremely well-documented. So again, why do we insist on ignoring the very clear modus operandi of the inactivist 'institutes', and keep insisting on finding some deeper "underlying" cause?

The Heartland Institute doesn't waste its time trying to figure out people's "underlying motives". It doesn't need to. We should be asking, why doesn't it need to?

SwiftHack 3.0? Skeptical Science web site reportedly hacked

March 24th, 2012 (09:24 pm)

Skeptical Science hacked, private user details publicly posted online
Posted on 25 March 2012 by John Cook

Sometime over the last few days, the Skeptical Science website [q. v.] has been hacked. The hacker has taken much or all of the Skeptical Science database, zipped various excerpts into a single file, uploaded the file onto a Russian website then linked to the zip file from various blogs. [...]

Of great concern is the fact that the hacker has published personal details such as emails and IP addresses of each user.

Not much further detail here, and while Skeptical Science commenter CBDunkerson mentioned the phrase

"This is an anonymous leak per the standard, but I will consider stepping bravely forward if I get caught."
I couldn't find it with a Google search.

If anyone has any further details on the crackers' announcement of the data dump and/or the hyperlink for the dumped material, please e-mail me, so that I can add it to my stash of information possibly related to SwiftHack. I'll use this information only for my own private knowledge, and I'll not publish it. (My e-mail address is on the left sidebar.)

Denialgate: Wrong to gloss over PR lies for being 'dog bites man': Jim Hoggan

Regarding Denialgate, DeSmogBlog's Jim Hoggan says it well:

[...] NPR radio host Larry Mantle put it [i.e. Peter Gleick's exposure of the Heartland Institute's spin campaigning tactics] in context this way: "Isn't this a dog bites man story? [...]"

[...] we have grown so used to politicians and (certain) public relations people [e.g. Heartland] stepping jauntily over this line [of acceptable campaigning tactics] that we have given up holding them accountable.

[...] instead -- too many in the media and online community have chosen to attack Gleick [for using pretexting to expose the truth].

We may no longer be shocked by professional liars' lying lies, but we can -- and we should -- continue to be outraged.

(Coincidentally, Greg Laden takes to task the 'this is dog bites man' stance on an incident unrelated to politics. And he is outraged by it.)

(Digression) Explaining that bogus math is bogus to people who embrace bogus math

March 20th, 2012 (04:21 pm)

Michael Tobis finds that the global warming denialist Steven Goddard did some bogus math again. The problem with denialists, unfortunately, is that no matter how many times people patiently explain to them that their math is bogus, they simply ignore the explanations and keep repeating their bogus claims.

Perhaps -- I thought -- in addition to the longish explanation of what's wrong, we should also provide an illustration of the wrongness of their math in terms that they understand?

So after a bit of fiddling with Goddard's graph, I came up with something. Perhaps now the denialists will start paying attention.

(Digression) The stupidification of American policy discourse?

March 18th, 2012 (07:39 pm)

There are signs that American policy discourse, even among progressives, is becoming sillier and sillier. Or perhaps it's always been this silly and I didn't notice it...

As an example, apparently Joe Romm sees nothing problematic with the idea of learning about famine and inequality through a dystopian pulp novel. For me, if young adults aren't already learning facts about real-world problems through (horrors!) non-fiction sources, then there's a serious problem.

As another example of the silly: what on earth is this pile of ... stuff? Was Auden Schendler saying that, because King Midas wasn't a greedy man, he decided to create the Gordian Knot, which if undone would prevent him from turning his daughter into a golden statue? Nobody knows, but then, apparently nobody cares either, since it ends with the correct message, which is probably Elect Obama™ or something.

That's all.

(Digression) Ars Technica acting like soulless idiots re HBGary -- why?

March 11th, 2012 (11:34 pm)

Why the flying hell is Ars Technica acting like a brainless stooge for America's rich and powerful? Only a brainless stooge can learn about HBGary Federal's attempts to launch black ops campaigns against good, honest people, and still write this:

With arrests, HBGary hack saga finally ends

By Peter Bright | Published 25 minutes ago

A little over a year ago, small security firm HBGary Federal made the news for all the wrong reasons: it had been hacked, its CEO had been made a laughing stock, and its private e-mails were splashed across the Internet. The perpetrators, a group of hackers sympathetic to the Anonymous group, trashed HBGary Federal's servers and name with impunity, confident that tor [q. v.] and private VPNs would keep their identities secret.

Yeah, Anonymous's "Sabu" is now behind bars, therefore -- poof! -- all the black ops campaigns suddenly no longer exist, there's no social injustice, and balance is restored to the universe. Yeah right. What idiots.

Taking another break from blogging

February 26th, 2012 (03:48 pm)

Taking another break from blogging. Enjoy yourselves, guys and gals.


Update 2012-02-25: Deep Climate points out that Vermeer's premise (below) may not be true. Hence I've retracted this blog post.

Read more...Collapse )

Denialgate: fallout has just begun

February 23rd, 2012 (04:41 pm)

The fallout from Denialgate seems to have just begun, and it's not just on the Heartland Institute (or the intermediate leaker Peter Gleick, for that matter). From ThinkProgress, Indur Goklany of the US Department of the Interior may also be impacted.

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