Morning Ed: Science {2018.05.01.Tu}

[Sc1] Is the pressure of prestige ruining science?

[Sc2] I had never assumed this to not be the case. They crossed the Behring Strait, why wouldn’t they cross Europe? I feel like I must me missing something.

[Sc3] This will end badly.

[Sc4] Climate change believers want laws passed but until then won’t change their behavior, while deniers oppose policy change but behave more sustainably in day-to-day life.

[Sc5] How do you develop scientifically and nutritionally superior food when the public hates the idea.

[Sc6] Thony Christie says that Galileo is overrated.

[Sc7] A look at the making of the moon.

[Sc8] The mystery of the Antarctican holes.

[Sc9] What if there was a civilization here before us? Will civilizations that come after us know we were here? {More}


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Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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26 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Science {2018.05.01.Tu}

  1. Sc4:

    deniers oppose policy change but behave more sustainably in day-to-day life

    That’s not what the link says. The bullet point is

    Climate change skeptics were most likely to report pro-environmental behavior.

    It says nothing about actual behavior.

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    • But the logic holds. If I don’t strongly believe in climate change, why would I lie about my reported behaviors to make myself seem more conscientious? Likewise, if I do strongly believe in CC, why would I report behaviors that run counter to that belief?

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    • More precisely, they were asked to specify the degree to which they participated in four specific pro-environmental behaviors: (1) recycling, (2) public transportation, (3) eco-friendly products, and (4) reusable shopping bags. Three of the four are generic tree-hugger — and I use that term with no disrespect — behaviors, have been for years, and at least IMO are probably not linked to climate change in most people’s minds. The extent to which a person participates in any of those may have more to do with where they live than anything.

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  2. Sc2 – is this the right story? (the one from the ABC site seems to be a dynamic wire link and so now just goes to the ABC News front page)

    “While it’s unclear why the women — apparently without men ” <- that's what's notable. Not that women were part of the migration, but that the (long range) migration overwhelming consisted of women.

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      • Which is plausible, (though there’s also the ‘suggests they were high class individuals’. And if so, it’s notable, based on (what I think I know) of who was doing what in the area of the upper Danube in the 6th century of the common era.

        It’s unclear from the article if the scientists think that the 40 remains found is a small sample of the total number of individuals with similar standing at the time, or is almost most of them.

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        • Given the choice, I usually choose the more negative interpretation of human events.

          They examined 41 remains in Bavaria from around 500 AD and found that most of them, both male and female, were genetically comparable to people living in Bavaria today. But the conehead women were not from around there, primarily showing Southeastern European ancestry, with some East Asian ancestry in one of them. The article indicates that artificial cranial deformation is associated with elites, but that’s not necessarily true in all places. It appears more like that with the Huns, where cranial deformation was common and standardized, that it was a group marker. The East Asian ancestry suggests Huns.

          I see the time period as one following the death of Attila and collapsing Roman authority as one of violence and disorder. The women seem to more likely to have migrated as a result of raids and trade, then as diplomatic marriages.

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  3. [Sc4] Well, people are strange, so maybe. However, according to my personal informal survey, roughly 20 percent of the cars commuting here in Silicon Valley (where there aren’t a lot of climate change skeptics) are hybrid/full-electric. Does that count as “behavior change”?

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  4. Sc1: Perhaps it’s time for media reports to exclude the names of researchers and institutions.

    Come to think of it, it’s interesting how much bad behavior is driven by the desire for viral fame, from bad research, to (IMHO) mass killings, and how we seem to be unwilling to address it. People will happily amend the 2A to halt violence, and attack the 1A to stop what they see as hate speech, but something as simple as removing names from media information is a step too far.

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      • More of a thinking out loud. Obviously public officials should always be named, but in media reports, should people be named as the norm? A research paper will obviously include the author’s names and it’s easy enough to look up the institution(s), so it’s not like the information is completely anonymous, only that most consumers would never bother looking up the names. Likewise, how often are ideas accepted or opposed because of the presenter/speaker/author, as opposed to the idea itself? Finally, per Sc5, perhaps a lack of names will allow researchers of controversial topics to feel more secure?

        The 1A demands the right to speak, but does it demand the right to be publicly known?

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        • It’s an interesting question, I just didn’t want to dive in if you were being sarcastic and I missed it.

          For me, the author’s names/institutions are a huge amount of help in finding the original research papers, which media reports don’t usually link to or even always name correctly. So I’d kind of hate to have the names removed from the reports for that reason, just the practical one.

          But there are ways around that, I’d guess. And those ways would probably make it easier, not harder, to find them.

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          • I guess I’d be thinking of just flipping our default mode around. It’s not out there, Europe has a ‘right to be forgotten’. I would move the default to “unless the person is a known public figure (which is something it would take conscious effort to become), things stay anonymous unless there was an over-riding public need for identity (like, say, a criminal at large). Arrest reports would be sealed unless there was an associated plea/conviction. Doxxing would become actionable, as would calls to ‘make a person famous’ just because they have an objectionable idea.

            Etc.

            Basically private citizen would mean ‘private’ unless that person took an overt action to make themselves public.

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            • I think I’d prefer that. I’m not sure of the legal reasons for it, but I know in Canada it’s a lot easier to NOT end up on most public documents / media /etc even though we do have a lot of public records.

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  5. Sc9: Let’s stipulate some terms and conditions first: independently evolved, technologically advanced, energy intense, globe spanning. Then the best argument against a prior civilization is the existence of fossil fuels dating back some 650M years. When we take everything we know about geology back to that point, and look in the places that fossil fuels should be, we find them. No one prior to us was digging them up and burning them. That also makes it hard for such a civilization to follow us in less than long geologic time. The jump from wood, wind harvested with wooden tools, and limited hydro to that type of civilization is too far without fossil fuels.

    I’m certainly not the first to assert this. Too many technologists overlook the neat point in A Mote in God’s Eye about the difficulty of a crashed civilization — so the intelligence is already there, just technologically-advanced civilization missing — that has to jump from wood/wind/hydro straight to fusion. Niven and Pournelle modified that somewhat in the otherwise dull The Gripping Hand when one of the Moties points out that they’ve never had a collapse that took down both Mote Prime and the asteroid civilizations, and that such a total collapse is probably not reversible.

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