Assorted links

by on January 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. How is that higher-order polynomial shaping up?

2. Do academic sociologists discriminate against the poor?

3. Are youth sports one of our biggest signaling problems?  They were great for me (Little League especially, seven years), but much cheaper back then.

4. The movie A Most Violent Year is excellent on the creeping nature of corruption, the operation of credit markets, upward mobility and the nature of the American dream, and the New Jersey heartland circa 1981.  Here is a good article on it.  I liked Selma too.

5. Which are the disproportionately popular ethnic cuisines in each state?  They get most states right, but surely Virginia should be El Salvadoran, not Peruvian, unless they miscount some of the more generic Latino chicken places as Peruvian.  And “Belgian” for D.C.?  I can think of two or three places, although I suspect North Dakota has fewer than that.  Most people might guess Ethiopian.

6. Harvard economics exam from 1953, for senior undergraduates.

7. New drone will hunt other drones.  And “…domestic criticism of the SNB’s large buildup of exchange-rate reserves (euro assets) was mounting.”

1 anon January 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm

3. Are youth sports one of our biggest signaling problems?

From the article:
“These men represent the dreams of many children — and more often their parents.”

The key word in that article is “parents”.

2 The Engineer January 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

If the average parent cared half as much for academics as they do for travel baseball, US schools would be the best in the world.

3 Harun January 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

My child’s elementary school just started Science Olympiad.

56 kids showed up from 3-6 grades. That will be 3 teams.

I’m pretty heartened by that.

4 wwebd January 17, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Harun – if one’s son places well in the Science Olympiad, he places well. Full stop. If one’s son places well in travelling baseball, ceteris paribus, he has tripled his parents’s chances at a kind and lovely daughter in law and quadrupled their chances at happy grandchilden (sorry if you don’t intuitively understand math – I assume you do and so I used a little shorthand. Talk to an older and sensible person who you respect if you are confused by my math. Ceteribus paribus is Latin – used often in money and banking and legal situations – meaning – roughly – absence of unusual and difficult efforts to disrupt the status quo, meaning – literally – all else being held equal). The situation I describe does not occur only in America; it occurs everywhere (with a few exceptions – good cooks do well if they are born near Lyon or Paris and there are a few neighborhoods in Brooklyn where scholastic success is smiled upon by those who decide who marries who.) Of course, Harun, if you and your children are rich, lack of athleticism and lack of athletic success should prove no barrier to the ordinary dream fathers often have of watching their son marry a kind and lovely daughter in law. Anyway, feel a little bit of rage at me if you wish. Maybe you already understood what I am saying and you and your loved ones are above that sort of thing, in which case I apologize. In any event, you are welcome for my good and friendly counsel. “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”

5 eyes opened! January 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

i – nay, all of us sheeple – had no clue athletes did well with women the lamestream media has once again supressed the truth

you’ve completely changed my thinking truthteller

6 wwebd January 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm

“It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.”

7 Floccina January 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm
8 BC January 17, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Where was the evidence that parents were pushing, rather than indulging, their childrens’ interest in sports? The article also asserts, again without proof, that parents view sports spending as investment in hope that their children will win athletic scholarships rather than as pure consumption, allowing their children to play sports that they enjoy. The fact that most leagues nowadays prohibit keeping score at younger ages and award everyone a participation trophy suggests that hyper-competitive parents are not a dominant factor in most cases. (If anything, parents have become more protective and coddling of children over the last few decades.)

More likely, the growth in sports spending is a reflection of the increased wealth that results from decades of 2-3% annualized economic growth. Sports are not the only entertainment and leisure activities that now comprise a larger share of our income. Total recreational spending increased from $315B in 1990 to $897B in 2009 [https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1233.pdf], an increase of 185%. Nominal GDP increased from $5.98T to $14.4T, an increase of only 141%. Growth in sports spending probably just means that we are spending more money on having fun.

9 Ted Craig January 17, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Most leagues, especially among the upper middle class, are very competitive. Even when there is no official score, everybody knows the score. Our local Pop Warner team fought the creation of a second team in town because they didn’t want to dilute the talent pool.

10 TMC January 18, 2015 at 5:01 am

The kids, no matter how small, are the first ones to tell you the score.

11 Axa January 18, 2015 at 5:28 am

When you talk to parents it’s not uncommon to find the narrative described in the article. The overweight……. fat father dreams about free college because junior will have a sports scholarship. Funny thing here is how completely out of shape parents and couches are “into sports “.

12 So Much for Subtlety January 17, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Edin and Kefalas found that the women they studied (who were also their neighbors, which is why the book is so good) felt sorry for them because they had no children. These women believed that you shouldn’t wait too long to have kids. Children brought hope and joy into neighborhoods where people were often tempted to despair.

That misses the point. It is also incredibly self-centered – notice how not one single word is given to the best interests of the children. They seem to think that children are like puppies – having one is such fun! And they are so cute!

However no one criticizes ghetto mothers for having children early. They criticize them for having them without the slightest ability to look after them. Specifically, here, without being married. Children may be fun, but that is not the point. They need looking after and so irresponsible child-adults should not be having them. Poor mothers having babies? Fine. As long as they are married to men who have jobs and can meet the rent.

And Cherlin himself offers praise for one non-elite community: He shows obvious respect for the “caring self” fostered by black communities. But that’s an exception; throughout most of the book elite values are assumed to be best.

That is nice. But caring is one of the most over-stated “virtues” on the planet. It is not enough to care. You must be able to do something at the same time.

Elite values are assumed to be the best because, by and large, they are. That is why the elite are the elite and not on welfare. Their values work.

It’s okay to marry young. It’s okay to have children before you’re financially stable. It is a good and beautiful thing when people without money have kids, even if they have little prospect of ever achieving financial stability. The problem is not with the parents, but with those who don’t offer material support so they can care for their kids.

It is OK to marry young. Perhaps even to have children before you are financially stable – as long as you are on the path to stability. It is not a good thing for people who can never look after children to have children. And the problem is not with people who indulge the feckless and irresponsible but with the feckless and irresponsible. This is not an individual issue. Societies on the right side of the Hajnal line are vastly better than those that are not. We ought to be doing everything we can to encourage Hajnalness.

13 Daniel January 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

You do realize you’re one step away from advocating eugenics, right ?

Not that I think it’s wrong, mind you – but you should be aware of what your position implies.

Meh, what I saying – looking for intellectual consistency on a blog’s comment section.

14 So Much for Subtlety January 17, 2015 at 4:50 pm

So what? Suppose I am advocating eugenics. How does that change a damn thing?

Although I will note there is a world of possibilities in the vast chasm between giving feckless welfare Queens money to have as many children as they want and gassing them at their first missed period.

15 ladderff January 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Exactly. Thank you.

16 prior_approval January 18, 2015 at 4:28 am

‘You do realize you’re one step away from advocating eugenics, right ?’

Well, Prof. Cowen isn’t one step away – you need to become a more loyal reader. We will need to do it to keep up with the Chinese, apparently, in that shiny average is over world that awaits us (though Prof. Cowen is far too clever not to have a reservation or two concerning this seemingly inevitable process). http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/10/further-small-steps-toward-designer-babies.html

17 JWatts January 17, 2015 at 6:43 pm

That was a good post So Much for Subtlety. I originally agreed with the author of the article, but after reading your post and critically thinking about my position, I find myself agreeing with you.

18 Boonton January 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

Fact is that most people will have children in their lifetime. If people believe they will be better off financially in the future, they may delay having children. If there is little reason to believe they will ever be better off, then it makes sense to have children early. It is a lot easier to take care of a baby when you are poor and only 17 but have a healthy mother and maybe even grandmother to help you than when you are poor and 37 and have neither. This also applies to marriage. If holding off childbearing meant getting a more financially stable partner, women will do it. If it doesn’t then the argument for delaying childbirth falters.

That misses the point. It is also incredibly self-centered – notice how not one single word is given to the best interests of the children

Does anyone have children because it is in the children’s best interests? This thinking sounds good but probably doesn’t work in the real world. If you lock your mind into this type of thinking you probably will never have any kids since it just sets up a feedback loop where requirements always get increased to just out of reach (ohhh we can’t have another baby, we need another bedroom…ohhh what about being able to fund his college? ohhh you shouldn’t raise kids without a nice big backyard). Human nature works because people just go ahead and have kids thinking very little about it.

19 ladderff January 18, 2015 at 8:59 am

Fact is that most people will have children in their lifetime.

That is not true and there is no reason why it should be.* My uncle, for example, is a nice, guy who happens to have a mental illness which places fatherhood out of his reach both from the standpoint of achieving it, and of being a successful, responsible father if he somehow did. Nobody weeps for him; nobody cries ‘eugenics’ because he has not the oppportunity to form a family. And while I am sympathetic, ultimately I agree that his remaining childless is for the best—obviously so. But there are other ways to be unfit for this responsibility, and as per everything So Much for Subtlety has already said, there is absolutely no reason to be encouraging those obviously unsuited to the task to become parents. It’s insane.

——-
[*] In fact this is less true than it used to be! If the TFR is around 2 and large numbers of Mormon women and ghetto baby machines are having 7, then some women are having zero. And then you have to count the men. In some, uh, ‘communities,’ the number of fathers is a lot lower than the number of mothers… Which gets us right back to what SMfS was saying, which was right on the money.

20 Boonton January 18, 2015 at 9:44 am

http://fatherhood.hhs.gov/charting02/introduction.htm#Who

At least 84% of males and 86% of females will become parents at some point. All you’ve demonstrated is that you don’t understand the definition of the word ‘most’.

21 ladderff January 18, 2015 at 9:51 am

Way to focus on the main point, clown.

22 Boonton January 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

I provided you with the point, you ignored it with your side story about your mentally ill uncle. The only other point here is the one your head comes too.

23 ladderff January 18, 2015 at 11:10 am

Meantime SMfS is still right and you still apparently think single mothers who can’t take care of themselves should be given public funds to have babies they can’t in turn take care of. You should hang for such a stupid, reckless sentiment. Which would be more fun: watching you swing or living without your glib misdirections?

24 So Much for Subtlety January 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Boonton January 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

The fact most people will do stupid things, and they will, is not a reason for the rest of us to subsidize it. Much less enthusiastically endorse it in the media. Single mothers are an utter disaster for the West.

I do not think it is easier to have children when you’re 17 and have a healthy mother and grandmother to help. It is probably better than waiting until you are 37 but that is not the point. Nor is it just a question about financial stability. It is about stability in general. A baby does not need a father with a good job. But it does need a father.

The problem with young women who are actively seeking out the bad boys to sleep with is that they are actively discouraging boys from being good fathers. Michelle Obama’s father could raise a family as a janitor. No young Black male can do that now – he wouldn’t even get laid. But if he had a prison record, he would. The more single mothers reward boys for doing the wrong thing, the more boys are going to do the wrong thing.

Girls need to wait for men who want to and can be fathers. We should not be encouraging them otherwise.

I think that people don’t have children if they think it is not in the child’s best interests. It is one of the differences between the White European peoples and China for instance. Traditionally the Chinese have had children no matter how poor they are. How poor the children are is irrelevant to the parents. But even poor people in the West tend not to have children unless they will be at least as well off as their parents.

I agree it sets up a feedback loop but in a good way. Girls put off becoming mothers until their boyfriends have graduated college. Boys go to college or otherwise find good work they don’t much like because they think it is necessary to being a father. These are all good things. Why else would anyone go to college or hold down some sh!tty job?

The West works because parents put a lot of thought into having children.

25 chuck martel January 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm
26 anon January 17, 2015 at 4:10 pm

5. Which are the disproportionately popular ethnic cuisines in each state?

Ah, a collaboration that includes Yelp. That’s the problem.

27 Jan January 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm

I think Yelp’s categories are kind of screwing this one up (they certainly aren’t all “ethnic” as TC frames it). “Hot dog,” “buffet” and ” food stand” aren’t really comparable to the ethnic groupings. I also thought Belgian has to be wrong for DC, though I actually can’t remember going to a Belgian spot anywhere outside the District.

28 Andrew January 17, 2015 at 8:04 pm

the only Belgian I can think of is Bistrot du Coin. It’s in Dupont, just a short walk from the Hinckley Hilton. Great hanger steak, wine, etc. I lived in Adams Morgan and I think I saw a steak frites type place up there too, maybe that’s also Belgian, and a couple more scattered around the district I think.

29 Ray Lopez January 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Belgian beer, yum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_in_Belgium

I like “HOTDOG” for West Virginia, lol. They did get the Midwest right, and New York, but Utah as “GLUTTEN-FREE”? California as “TAIWANESE”? What is that? Maybe because nowhere else is there Taiwanese except Monterey Park in LA? Nevada and Alaska have a lot of Filipino guest workers so they got that right, though I don’t know how you classify a place as Filipino, except maybe if they serve Kari-kari (a sort of Osso Buco with peanut butter).

30 tt31 January 17, 2015 at 11:13 pm

It’s worth just Googling . There are quite a few that pop up. The numbers are padded by two factors – a lot of crossreferencing of French restaurants as Belgian, which I guess probably doesn’t happen elsewhere, and a number of Le Pain Quotidiennes.

Actually, that’s what I found nice about this list. Even where it goes a little off, you can learn something about an area with a very quick Google.

31 GU January 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Don’t forget about Brasserie Beck in D.C.

32 ummm January 17, 2015 at 4:17 pm

even if global warming is real, it’s impossible to prove humans are responsible for it. If not, the left wants nothing to do with the issue.

33 Rightist January 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Totally true. Impossible to prove humans have anything to do it. More likely that human actions have no consequences… Why won’t scientists just accept this?

34 fwiw January 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Tell me where you disagree with this following chain of cause effect that you can easily replicate in your backyard:

1) Build two greenhouses.
2) Fill one with air. Fill another with a little bit of whatever comes out of the tailpipe of your car.
3) Wait. Maybe you can use some of that time to read a book or attend a chemistry class.
4) See which is warmer.

35 So Much for Subtlety January 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

1) Build two greenhouses.
2) Fill one with air. Fill another with a little bit of whatever comes out of the tailpipe of your car.
3) Blast cool air into one or other greenhouses.
4) Throw a Rave in one of them picked at random.
5) Spit roast a pig after your rave
6) Fill one with dry ice.
7) Wait. Maybe you can use some of that time to read a book or attend a chemistry class.
8) See which is warmer.
9) If it is not the one you want, adjust the data until it is.

The planet is very large and the atmosphere is incredibly complex. It is scientifically illiterate to pretend we know much about it and asinine to think a small scale experiment tells us anything at all.

By the way, wasn’t that famous Glass-tube-filled-with-CO2 experiment shown to be false?

36 Urstoff January 17, 2015 at 5:06 pm

I honestly don’t know much about climate science, so I’ll defer to the consensus when asked, but I do wonder about Arnold Kling’s analogy between climate models and macroeconomic models; that is, we’re making really complex and somewhat ad-hoc models for incredibly complex systems in which we can’t intervene.

37 biL. January 17, 2015 at 7:45 pm

No, CO2 does absorb IR radiation, converting it to heat – but at a rapidly decreasing marginal rate. At the simple gas-in-a-tube level, and at current concentrations, marginal CO2 emissions cause virtually zero warming, as more than 95% is already being absorbed. At the more complex atmospheric physics level, the main CO2 absorption band actually leads to a cooling effect on the planet, as the opaque layer is higher in the cooler stratosphere, and radiates heat into space faster. The sideband absorption peaks to have a slight warming effect, leading to a small theoretical net warming effect at current concentrations. To get to catastrophic anthropogenic warming, you have to depart from the hard science and build complex computer models based upon layers of highly questionable and unscientific assumptions. Then you ally with “green energy” corporate welfare queens like GE and Enron, hash out a “sky is falling, because we have sinned!” meme, and then rake in the money.

38 Jesse January 18, 2015 at 12:12 am

This is one of the things that really frustrates me on any discussion of greenhouse effects. The mechanism of a greenhouse effect is very poorly explained, and your statement of all the IR is absorbed by the existing CO2 is essentially true, but trivial.
The key parameter is the mean free path before the average IR photon gets absorbed. In our atmosphere this works out to requiring the key wavelength photons getting emitted ans absorbed something like 20 times before the energy escapes to space. The issue with increasing CO2 is the extra CO2 makes the mean free path shorter, which means that you need more ‘steps’ before the photon can escape.
Over the long term the amount of energy escaping to space matches the amount received from the sun. For each ‘step’ there is a certain amount of temperature difference required to have the net upward IR radiation match the incoming solar radiation. (Stefan–Boltzmann law effects).
The analogy should not be a glass greenhouse, but lying in bed with a bunch of blankets on. Put an additional blanket on, and you will get warmer at equilibrium.
The CO2 driven greenhouse effect is extremely well understood and very accurately modelled (it is straight up physics). What is uncertain is the magnitude of the various feedback effects (there are both positive and negative feedback loops, such as albido, cloud cover, etc). The high end of the IPCC ranges require significant net positive feedback effects, and is much less certain.
The data is also consistent with a cyclical pattern of ~60 years combined with a general linear upward trend. 1998 had a very strong el nino (which is associated with higher average temperatures), and now we have 2014 matching or exceeding 1998 without el nino. The interesting trend data point will be the next year that there is a strong el nino, until then lets at least discuss the mechanisms correctly?

39 fwiw January 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Wait, you called me scientifically illiterate, but you’re claiming that unless you can produce a system in its entirety, you can’t model it or understand its behaviors? Leaving that aside, you know you’re posting on an economics blog, right? They (we) model complex systems all the time with simplified models.

Anyway, troll on, brotha. I was making a serious point. I want ummm to tell me me where the cause-effect chain doesn’t link up for him. I seriously want to know.

40 So Much for Subtlety January 17, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Actually I don’t call you scientifically illiterate. Unless you are claiming a knowledge that we don’t have and hence is scientifically illiterate.

It depends on the system. We can model something simple like the economy. Although that is largely a waste of time. The atmosphere is not a simple system. Aerodynamics is massively complex. We can model airplane wings for instance because we ignore the higher order terms. Which means every airplane is an estimation of what flies. You can’t do that with the entire planet’s atmosphere. Especially not on the utter crude scale that climate models work.

You were not making a serious point. A Greenhouse has none of the complexity of the real world. Few if any of the feedbacks – they rarely have clouds for instance. You were grandstanding.

41 Jan January 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm

All science can be done at home now. Get a brain.

42 Jan January 17, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Troll harder.

43 TMC January 18, 2015 at 5:11 am

I can’t tell if this is to umm, or fwiw. Applies well to both.

44 Rightist January 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm

AGW AGW AGW AGW (covers hands with ears). Left is sinister. Left is sinister. Left is sinister. (deletes regression package from R and Excel).

45 JWatts January 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm

That’s amusing. Because, ironically, you are apparently doing exactly what you criticize others for doing. That is you, aren’t looking at the arguments, but just assuming the other side is emotional.

46 Rightist January 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Pray tell, what arguments? It’s got ALLEGED in the title, for not-God’s sake.

I take it you’re one of those bozos who doesn’t believe in Intelligent Design, either.

47 JWatts January 17, 2015 at 9:29 pm

“I take it you’re one of those bozos who doesn’t believe in Intelligent Design, either.”

Well there’s certainly no evidence of it in your posts.

48 Malthusian Delights January 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

But not Stata… Economist found!

49 AB January 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm

These “most disproportionately X” studies always make good press because you can count on the readers not to understand them. If there are ten self-identified belgian restaurants in America and three are in DC well…who cares?

50 Urstoff January 17, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Disproportionately popular compared to the nation average, but most of them are obvious if you know anything about the state in question. Texas likes tex-mex? South Carolina likes Southern food? Florida likes Cuban food? REVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH

51 Ted Craig January 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Yeah, Middle Eastern food in Dearborn is known as food.

52 John January 17, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Anyone else get a malicious web site warning when attempting to access the link for item 6?

53 ww January 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm

#5. As usual, California wins by light-years, as an interesting place for food.

54 Urso January 18, 2015 at 8:16 am

I wonder whether the answer isn’t simply that California is the only place where restaurants bother to differentiate between being “Taiwanese” and just being “Chinese.”

55 ww January 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm

No, California is the only place with Taiwanese restaurants, a cuisine entirely distinct from a wide variety of Chinese mainland cuisines, that others just call Chinese, because, they only have a poor American composite of a few of these, and no Taiwanese.

So, Urso, dumb statement on your part.

56 dbp January 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm

On one hand, it is arbitrary to choose 1998 as a starting point. On the other hand how come none of the super amazing models predicted no warming for 18 years?

57 JWatts January 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm

You don’t need to choose 1998 as a starting point to see a plateau (or pause) in global warming. It’s blatantly obvious even looking at the surface records:

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/HadCRUT4.pdf

There was a 30 year period of warming (1910-1940) followed by 35 years of no warming (1940-1975) followed by 25 years of warming (1975-2000) followed by 14+ years of no warming (2000-2014). No one predicted the pause before it happened. I’m skeptical of the claims that it will end tomorrow and global warming will continue on the 1975-2000 trend for the next 100 years.

And as to the claims that there’s no pause. That just strains credibility. I can look at the graphs myself and to claim that’s not a pause makes me think of the old Groucho Marx quip, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”.

58 Rightist January 17, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Whatever you do, DO NOT TRY TO REGRESS IT!

THE MATH IS LYING, TOO!

59 TMC January 18, 2015 at 5:14 am

Wow, look who got MS office for Christmas.

60 ChrisA January 17, 2015 at 8:32 pm

There are as far as I can see two pieces of evidence advanced for the AGW thesis – one is that temperatures have increased in the recent past which is correlated with increased CO2 in the atmosphere, the second is that scientists have attempted to model the earths atmosphere to account for increasing CO2, this predicts increasing temperatures and therefore the correlation is actually causation.

The problem with this thesis is that the temperature increase seen since pre-industrial times is well within the natural variation. No-one disputes that we have had a “natural” temperature rise since the low in the 1800’s when there just wasn’t enough anthropocentric CO2 in the atmosphere going into the atmosphere to cause such a steep temperature rise. I see Drum’s post ignores this issue that there must be “natural” warming going on, since he starts his graph in 1910.

The second part of the thesis is also questionable, since modelling something as complex as the atmosphere/ocean and indeed future economic growth is no simple task. This is because the model cannot be tested and fine tuned against real life, we only have one data set to test against and so we really don’t know what the most powerful driving factors are. When people compare climate science against other kinds of science they often miss this point. An engineering theory is robust because it has been tested multiple times in multiple scenarios. This kind of model is not the same as a model which is based on bottoms up, first principles, and which at best has been back tested.

Some say that this does not matter, we should act in a precautionary way anyway. But that’s a very weak argument for such a massive change in our society in my view. I prefer the Hippocratic approach – first do no harm.

Unfortunately rational argument on this topic is now impossible, Drum’s post is a good example of this where he 1) expressed glee about the 2014 higher result, when he should be professing dismay and 2) referred to his political opponents in a “gotcha” way.

61 Jan January 17, 2015 at 10:29 pm

It’s all about how likely one thinks this dramatic and sustained increase in average global temps is absent the hypothesized cause. Scientists who know this better than anyone say there is close to zero chance it is not AGW. Thing is, on your logic we can never know for sure and should therefore do nothing to slow this massive change. It’s a great framing for advocating doing nothing but also the most dangerous.

62 Chip January 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm

How is it dramatic? The warming (and cooling) cycles are no different from millions of such cycles in earths history.

The satellite data doesn’t show a significant warming at all.

And this “zero chance” claim is just utter baloney. The models have completely deviated from observed data on temperature, sea level, polar ice and tropospheric warming.

There are LOTS of scientists who see human influence as a minor player in climate.

Educate yourself.

63 ChrisA January 18, 2015 at 2:32 am

Jan, you said “scientists who know this better than anyone say there is close to zero chance it is not AGW”. My response is that we should listen indeed to people who have studied the increase in temperatures. But we have to be careful about accepting their conclusions uncritically, since they cannot run experiments on their theories, just do correlations. I think, as a reasonable person, while I do not have the ability to determine how to develop a climate model, I can ask the question about how the models can be validated. We have seen a lot of damage done in the past when these sort of theories (based on correlations) have driven public policy. One of these is the fat causes heart decease theory, which led to the replacement of fats with carbohydrates. Many sensible people now acknowledge that as a mistake which has caused more harm (obesity, diabetes) than it solved. The people who advanced this fat theory were “experts” in their field, just like the climate modelers. This is not just an isolated case, indeed I would say that unless a complex model can be empirically proven with multiple tests it should not be used to drive public policy regardless of the cleverness and rigor which went into the model. This is the true precautionary principle to my mind.

64 TMC January 18, 2015 at 5:18 am

Jan, those scientists announced 2014 was .001 degrees warmer than 2010, accurate to within .01 of a degree.
I’ll leave the math to other folks than these.

65 ladderff January 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

Jan:

I’m willing to treat you on a good-faith basis for this issue because what you’ve just said is very reasonable, even though it produces what is probably the wrong result. I like science as much anyone. I had a chemistry set when I was seven years old and I also read some contemporary propaganda about the greenhouse effect which at age seven I found fascinating. My grandfather, who had no formal training in anything but a profoundly scientific mind, actually had a greenhouse and he produced freakishly large tomatoes in there—and it was indeed warmer inside than out.

The problem with scientific consensus is that it’s produced by scientists, who are as corruptible as any other kind of human. When the scientific community all agree that a mole of carbon-12 weighs 12 grams, I take this more or less on faith because: it’s hard to imagine why anybody would lie about it; important practical undertakings would fail or otherwise defy expectations if this number, this consensus, turned out to be wrong; it’s very easy to confirm this assertion experimentally if I should ever need to.

Warming is not like this. On the scientific end we have, as ChrisA explained, models that don’t meet any sane scientific/engineering standard for being relied upon, and a temporal correlation between industrialism and rising temperatures that also doesn’t meet any real standard for proving the kind of causation that is being presented here by you and others as settled. We also have the generally unexamined assumption that the current ideal-for-humans first derivative of global temperature is 0.

So, how do we end up with a scenario in which you feel comfortable saying, “all scientists agree on AGW”? In a different thread you asked the skeptics whether they werent’ basically just asserting a conspiracy—with the subtext that that would be laughable. Well, we need a new word in English that means ‘conspiracy without the secret meetings.’ Again, scientists are human beings, and unless you are sure they operate in an institutional environment that rewards only scientific validity and nothing else, they can end up in a bad place. The difference between AGW and GW is the A, which gives it a human emotional dimension and implies that something can be done about it. Which means a buck can be made. So we have people going on the road with their ‘hockey stick’ graphs, which are a big hit with stupid politicians and the even stupider public. We have computer models chosen from a possible set of billions of such models: suppose you run your model through the supercomputer and it predicts that the Earth burst into flame in 1996. Then that model is obviously implausible and you throw it out. But what is the scientific basis for rejecting or accepting a model that predicts the start of an ice age by 2100 (which by the way, was as you probably already know, the alarmism of an earlier period of ‘scientific consensus’)? Answer: there is none. So, whether consciously or not, you submit work that contributes to a body of work featuring a set of models ranging from mild warming to catastrophic warming—and which gets better press?

So we end up with bizarre assertions about life in 2100. Little kids have books about going to school in scuba gear. Haven’t we learned from assorted links on this site that 100-yr predictions don’t usually pan out too well? My advice to governments about climate change is: keep an eye on it. Fire all your climate scientists—reassign them to completely unrelated fields—and start over. Make the new guys do actual science. The amount of information about geology and chemistry and all that that we’ve amassed is truly incredible and inherently valuable. Unfortunately this sane and temperate course of action is not what we can expect from USG and its subsidiaries.

Give skepticism a try.

66 dbp January 24, 2015 at 8:24 am

How exactly can they know this? Do they have several other Earths, identical in all respects except that they did not have an industrial revolution?

Show your math.

67 Boonton January 18, 2015 at 6:56 am

http://cdn.billmoyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Screen-Shot-2014-05-16-at-12.22.23-PM.png

When you look at the total heat content of earth’s surface, there appears to be no pause at all.

68 TallDave January 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

The ocean heat content is unknown, except to the extent that measured temperature has increased by .1 degrees in the last 100 years. That graph is model data based on the same energy balance assumptions that drive the models that keep predicting more warming that is seen in GISS or satellite trends.

The problem for those who believe we should be alarmed re AGW is two-fold here: one, their models make predictions about surface and tropospheric temperatures, not total heat content; and two, to the extent the oceans can act as a heatsink they could very easily ameliorate the warming to a picayune concern, simply because the hydrosphere is orders of magnitude more massive than the atmosphere.

69 TallDave January 18, 2015 at 10:16 pm

This is such a strange argument. If you ask “How long has it been since we last had a record high?” you must choose 1998 as the starting point. It’s no more arbitrary than determining your age based on your birthday.

70 Bryan Willman January 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

The “higher order polynomial” is irrelevent.

The climate crusaders seem to enjoy being snarky to their opponents, but I’ve never seen any of them answer the following issues:

1. There are billions of people in the world beyond the influence of US, or any US political movement. If those billions of people decide they’d rather be less poor than worry about climate change, it will not matter the crusaders prevail in politics or persuade various parties in the US. To really “impose” carbon austerity on the whole world (as would be required) implies “wars of suppression” – something I don’t think anybody will really swallow. Sharing rounds of snarky laughter at various opposing commentators is not useful. Especially when the political party most aligned with those opposing views now controls the US congress.

2. Since various parties have been warning “the tipping point is near!” for some time, why shouldn’t we just believe that the tipping point in fact came and passed, and that we’d all better get ready for a hot future as best we can?

3. Climate crusaders seem to be unable to think the thought “the current world population either cannot or will not live without a level of CO2 output that is high enough to cause serious AGW” and then reach on to “what might we do in this reality?” Mitigation schemes, rather than “carbon austerity”, seem far more likely to be acceptable, and perhaps even feasible.

In other words, let’s just stipulate “it’s getting hotter and it’s all humanity’s fault” – the harsh reality is that “we don’t care” will be the real substantive answer from most of the world’s population.

71 Michael January 18, 2015 at 9:39 am

Bryan,
Thanks for the dose of reason in this emotion – laden discussion. Take your reasoning one step further and you can also realize that big government advocates are going to advocate for big government, so the rest of us are going to have to live with: 1. Hotter temperatures, 2. Higher taxes and 3. Carbon austerity and the negative consequences of all three.

72 JWatts January 17, 2015 at 6:33 pm

“1. How is that higher-order polynomial shaping up?”

The satellite data doesn’t support the statement that 2014 was the hottest year on record.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_December_2014_v5.png

Furthermore, even the Surface data indicating that 2014 was the hottest year is well within the margin of error. So, scientifically it’s inaccurate to say that it is.

I tend to believe that we are experiencing global warming, but the data indicates the warming trend is significantly slower that the IPCC reports have previously stated.

73 Chip January 17, 2015 at 8:45 pm

The NOAA shows 2014 warmest by .04 degrees. That’s the headline.

The footnote shows a margin of error of .09.

Another footnote shows there’s a 48% chance that 2014 is the warmest year.

Why the big margins of error and probability tables?

Because this isn’t observed data so much as models, adjustments and simulations. How, for example, does the NOAA know the average temperature for the surface of the sea, Africa, Antarctica, Siberia etc etc in the year 1880, 1930, 1950 or even today?

They don’t. And it doesn’t stop them from persistently adjusting observed temperatures from the past lower and adjusting current observed temps higher either.

And stil, despite all this fudging and misrepresentation, the NOAA measurements are still below the 95% range of certainty predicted by the IPCC.

Then satellite data on the other hand mostly raw and unadjusted, and it shows 2014 to be either the 3rd or 6th warmest in the last 30 years or so.

74 Alain January 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

+1

It is almost certain that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is lower than the 3 that the IPPC has reported for years. It may be as low as 1.5. This will have serious implications on the predictions of the models. At a value of 1.5 the impacts from increased CO2 are quite low.

I wonder if those who are pushing the climate dogma will ever be held to task?

75 wm13 January 17, 2015 at 7:21 pm

3. To the extent that middle and upper middle class youth sports represents signaling activity, it constitutes signaling to colleges. Obviously, most parents understand that your typical high school athlete isn’t going to have a lucrative pro career. (If he or she does lacrosse, or wrestling, or gymnastics, or swimming, it is especially obvious.) But it is well understood that colleges, even intellectual, Division III colleges like Williams and Bowdoin, look very favorably on athletes. The reasons are less clear: outside of men’s football, no college sport could possibly return enough in alumni donations to be worth the expense. So what’s going on?

There is a real opportunity for signaling theorists like Prof. Cowen. (Sort of like the opportunity found by early economic historians at Oxford and Cambridge, who discovered that the nearby bursar’s office had about 600 years of wage and price data.) Obviously Prof. Cowen doesn’t have access to hiring decisions at Goldman Sachs, but surely he could figure out what his local admissions office is up to. Signaling theory would be significantly advanced if we knew what the signal recipients thought they were receiving.

76 Ted Craig January 17, 2015 at 8:22 pm

But the college your kid attends is another form of signaling.

77 wm13 January 17, 2015 at 9:10 pm

But why does it work? What signal are the admissions offices receiving?

My theory is that they are receiving the signal that the kids are not troublemakers who will take over the president’ office, like they did 50 years ago. They are tractable, obedient followers of instructions., who will treat the faculty the way high school and travel team athletes treat coaches (i.e., they may indulge privately in forbidden conduct involving alcohol and/or sex, but they never mount any open rebellion, because you get kicked off the team for that). But I don’t really have any evidence to support my theory. The situation calls out for empirical research.

78 Roger Sweeny January 18, 2015 at 9:12 am

I would add to that, “they work hard.” “They do what has to be done to be successful.”

Selective colleges want students who will work hard at being students (and maybe they’ll work hard at academic research, and become the best things that a person could become: first a research assistant, then a grad student, then a professor).

79 Anon January 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

As a pointy headed prof. The athletes are way more resilient. They will fail and get back up again. They will also challenge themselves. And, they will occasionally listen and do what you tell them. My B+ athletes often write better senior theses then my A non-athletes.

80 DangerZone January 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm

#5 – alright Tyler, are you going to tell us where you fall in the great El Pollo Rico / Super Pollo debate?

81 Bryan Willman January 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm

A different contemplation on the ‘signaling’ aspects of team sports (possibly distinct from ‘health’ sports such cycling or jogging.)

1. It is a signaling of force-of-will and competitiveness – not meakness as wm13 suggests, but a controlled form of the opposite. This abillity to compete is in fact one of the key driving forces in human advancement and in economics. (Obviously it often goes over the top as well.)

2. Signaling of fitness, not unlike fresh skin or main features of sexual attractiveness. That is, somebody who started on a competitive lacross team or swimming team is very likely highly able – not disabled either physically or medically. Indeed, selecting for athletic students would be a way of selecting against those with physical challenges (the person who needs crutches, or has severe diabetes, is unlikely to be starting lacross player – selecting for lacross players in effect selects against them.)

82 3rdMoment January 18, 2015 at 12:43 am

Matt Ridley pubishes a WSJ piece predicting a long-term warming trend of about 1 degree per century, much lower than most climate models:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/matt-ridley-whatever-happened-to-global-warming-1409872855

Ridley is widely accused of being a denialist:
https://www.google.com/search?q=matt+ridley+warming+denial&gws_rd=ssl

Kevin Drum posts a graph showing a warming trend of about 1 degree per century, hopes it will finally shut up the denialists:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/01/will-2014-finally-be-year-puts-climate-change-denialist-1998-chestnut-rest

Not trying to be a denialist myself, but the level of public debate on this issue is not high.

83 TallDave January 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Concerned you might be a denialist? Take the denialist quiz!

Are you a denialist?

Do you deny global warming is currently undergoing a “pause” of at least 15 years? (UAH, RSS)

Do you deny tornadoes and hurricanes are at historic lows? (NWS)

Do you deny that the midpoint of every IPCC “best” predicted estimate of global warming is higher than current temperatures, and that the IPCC predictions have been trending down? (IPCC, UAH, RSS)

Do you deny there are significant uncertainties about water vapor and other feedbacks? (Storch 2008)

Do you deny that USHCN is adding warming to the US temperature record? (USCHCN raw vs published)

Do you deny the historical evidence clearly indicates warming has generally been beneficial? (Tol 2012)

Do you deny that G7 emissions controls will have little impact on global temperatures even if the IPCC climate models are accurate? (IPCC AR5)

Do you deny sea level rise has been stable since the end of the Little Ice Age? http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

Remember kids, denialism isn’t cool.

84 S January 18, 2015 at 12:54 am

How are those climate model predicting out of sample?

85 Urso January 18, 2015 at 8:21 am

Maybe it’s signaling that 10-year-olds like to play baseball. Controversial, I know!

86 chuck martel January 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Maybe ten-year-olds, and even older adolescents like to play baseball but they’re not very good at it. Baseball is a game for adult men. The physical and mental requirements to play the game at even a modest level are beyond the capabilities of ten-year-olds. They can’t hit the ball, catch it or throw it accurately. Watching kids play baseball is agony.

87 Urso January 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

A group of balding paunchy 35 year old office drones try to play baseball isn’t exactly the apex of sporting achievement either.

88 ThomasH January 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

“Will 2014 Finally Be the Year That Puts the Climate Denialists’ 1998 Chestnut to Rest?”

Scout’s honor I knew the answer was “no” even before reading the comments.

It will probably take decades more of the trend because to deal with GCC would require an increase in a TAX. There is a political party whose presently living members find that idea (because anytime there is a tax change there is the risk that it could be toward more progressivity) anathema and until enough of them pass on, nothing will be done.

89 TMC January 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm

After decades more of this trend we’ll know it was all BS to begin with.

90 Bryan Willman January 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

1. The US tax system is already among the most progressive (ever growing marginal rates) in the world.
2. The existing political circumstance is a proof by existence that substantial, indeed, a majority of the population, does not want it to be more “progressive”

In other words, as current anti-tax politicians die or leave office, they will be replaced by other anti-tax politicians.

91 mkt January 18, 2015 at 5:56 pm

6: it’s not like other any undergraduate exam that I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure. But it’s not that much different from graduate general exams that I’ve seen, through the mid-1980s. The Harvard econ dept AFAICT has always liked to give the students a choice of questions to answer, and graduate exams are going to often be highly open-ended and expect the students to figure out how to answer them. None of the general exams that I had in grad school were mathematical in nature (however, if I’d taken the general exams in econometrics or micro theory, there probably would’ve been some which did have math questions).

92 Floccina January 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm

3. Are youth sports one of our biggest signaling problems? They were great for me (Little League especially, seven years), but much cheaper back then.

OK so people sometimes talk like black Americans are poor parents and that is why their children do not do well in school yet their children dominate the most popular sports, football and basketball, so maybe they are great parents buy have different values and if it is values who are we to attempt to change those values?

93 triclops January 26, 2015 at 12:01 am

Don’t know about other sports, but in the NBA, middle class Black’s from medium sized cities absolutely dominate the ranks.

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