Cruise Conspira-Sea markets in everything

Say you’re not one to believe the mainstream media. Maybe you think climate change is an elaborate hoax or the medical community is trying to hide the myriad dangers of vaccinations. Perhaps you are utterly convinced the government is overrun by reptilian beings.

Where on Earth can you go to get away from it all, and mingle with those who share your views? Well, Conspira-Sea, of course. It’s a seven-day cruise where fringe thinkers can discuss everything from crop circles to mind control on the open sea. Last month’s cruise featured a caravan of stars from a surprisingly vast galaxy of skeptics and conspiracy theorists, including Andrew Wakefield, known for his questionable research and advocacy against vaccines. Also aboard was Sean David Morton, who faced federal charges of lying to investors about using psychic powers to predict the stock market.

Is this not what Tiebout equilibria are for?  Best of all, the cruise gets these people away from the rest of us, for the most part.

There is more here, sad and silly throughout, via Michael Rosenwald.

Addendum: Here are the blog posts of, Colin McRoberts, the journalist who attended.


Does the cruise sails through the Bermuda Triangle?

Imagine they were marooned on Gilligan's Island . . .

Oh great, finally I can meet all the MR commentators. Ray, don't forget to bring your filipina girlfriend(s)!

BLM can't melt steel beams.

Oh, look, it's the "agree with the left and you'll be super cool and get laid by tons of awesome feminists" line again. Leftists are just too cool.

Have readers signed up for the annual National Review cruise? What's with boats and cranks. I refer to a cruise, any cruise, as sea prison.

Will the Loch Ness monster be there?

I hope Special Agent Fox Mulder gives lectures on it.

I am confused. Isn't gathering all those conspiracy theorists in one place where they can't be seen or heard and can easily be sunk without leaving living witnesses exactly what an evil secret government bent on keeping the lid on conspiracy theories (well, the accurate ones, at least) about its nefarious schemes and crushing dissent would do? A "North Korean" missile or a "rogue whale" would solve this problem.

or, conversely, for the passengers to overpower the crew in international waters and declare themselves a sovereign state. I see sitcom potential.

"I see sitcom potential."
Or at least a Reality Show.

That is exactly what I always say to conspiracists, If I believed what you are saying I would never say a thing to anyone, I would join the Lions and Kiwanas, and then I announce that I am a coward. Interestingly enough the drunker they are the more they get it, which shows something.

On the other side, being in the extractive industries, I have a few colleagues who actually are true believers, they tend to get very quiet at this point in their development, and next thing you know they no longer talk about anything other than rural real property and llamas, and then they sort of disappear, in the sense that they go off to some remote place to raise llamas.

I guess it is the most prudent thing someone who thinks he /she is surrounded by an invencible secret force to do.

If you are going to be a paranoid loon, act like it and don't just talk big.

I think the booze just makes them actually believe for a little while, the same sort of drunken delusion that has people calling exes at 2am.

Although I wonder how predictable we have the right to expect a paranoid loon to be.

Do any of your colleagues go on about abiogenic petroleum?

The average person who is not in panic mode about global warming doesn't think it's an elaborate hoax, rather that the scientists involved have to much invested in their way of thinking being right. Kinda like how Tyler says that putting money on a position makes you less likely to change your mind. Most climate scientists have lifelong careers on the line. The ideas are all there Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It's not like they have a conclave and discuss how to manipulate the data, they are just all looking for white swans.

Anthony there are still some tickets available for the cruise. You may want to consider it.

Naw, cruises are boring. I'd rather chat in my online group about how the the government is spying on it's citizens unconstitutionally with my libertarian friends. Oh, wait, that one turned out to be true. Maybe I'll keep working on my "they faked the moon landing" manifesto my shack in Montana.

Broaden your horizons Artimus, rather than engage in snark, you could at least read the wikipedia entry for Scientific Revolutions and come up with a substantive reply. Since you're so intellectually lazy, here's the link:

The government may be spying on it’s citizens unconstitutionally, but that's quite a lot different from thousands and thousands of independent researchers across the planet, almost the entirety of anyone remotely credible in the field, all going off in the same wrong direction at the same wrong time.

Imagine if all the researchers studying ulcers were totally convinced that they were not caused by a micro-organism. Or that quasi-periodic crystals don't exist. Or that eating fats increases your chance of heart disease.Certainly would prove that anyone who held otherwise was just a crackpot conspiracy theorist.

Possible for scientists to be running in the wrong direction, yes. But the fact of being able to imagine that it could happen does not mean that it applies to AGW.

C'mon. You know there is no meaningful difference between 9/11 truther level conspiracy theorists and so-called 'lukewarmers' who impolitely persist in pointing out that the climate models have all been radically overshooting the actual temperature data (especially the satellite and weather-balloon data). Doesn't matter -- it's tin foil hats all the way down.

I'm surprised all those websites that host all that kind of stuff are not full of tinfoil hat advertisements.

One side thinks windmills and solar panels will keep their computers running producing software that will make them and everyone else rich, no need for that nasty dirty real stuff.

The other side thinks that it won't work, it will impoverish millions and probably cause massive social dislocation and probably revolution, all based on flawed models.

Who is the crank?

Imagine the marginal cost of marketing an app if the servers were powered by wind and solar.

It would probably destroy the entire internet economy.


That meandered from bad to worse. The last line is in fact pro conspiracy.

The reality is complicated, it is like the question "should I have dessert?" for someone who would like to drop ten pounds. You know what would be better for you long term, and what would be better in the next ten minutes.

A recent study said people were more likely to order dessert when their server was overweight. Not hard to see why people choose consumption when everyone else does. What, me worry?

@Anthony C: since you don't care about science, look at insurance. The commercial property insurance business DO care about climate change. They don't care why the sea level rises, they just quantify how much extra you have to pay for the damage insurance in coastal property.

So, if you can convince insurance people that an extra prime is not needed for coastal properties because climate change is a hoax.......the real estate business needs you. You'll not only show people the truth but earn millions. A great career is beyond.

Oh, where did you get the idea that I don't care about science when I cite Thomas Kuhn on a blog I read every day about the dismal science of economics? If catastrophe is imminent, we shouldn't worry just about insurance companies, we should worry about tax incentives as well. As others have proposed, since urban coastal liberals are the ones so worried about climate change, we should put a very large flood-risk taxes in place, and they wouldn't mind paying it of course, since all the doom and gloom is right around the corner.

Tax the solution. Smart thinking.

Naw, just asking 'em to put their money where their mouth is.

FWIW, I think the risk is largely uninsurable. Bad things happen subtlety, adding up over decades. No smoking guns. Part of the anthropocene.

That's what makes it so intractable. To bend my metaphor from above, if eating dessert might only make strangers in the future fat, everyone has cake.

Or more directly, if turning up the thermostat now might only make strangers in the future uncomfortable, everyone turns up the thermostat.

Good points. I think it's why our national debt is so large too.

"So, if you can convince insurance people that an extra prime is not needed for coastal properties because climate change is a hoax ..."

How much money of a premium are insurance companies charging for coastal properties specifically due to climate change?

How much of a premium...

It's not normal at all to insure a property 70 years out. I doubt there are very accurate market indicators on this.

I was under the impression that Axa was saying that insurance companies are currently charging a global warming premium in excess of current claims.

There would be too much scrutiny of their climate models were they to put out specific predictions, or market the price rises as related to AGW, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were expecting higher damages in future years for climate change reasons.

In an 8-10% ROI environment, 70 years out becomes almost irrelevant for most practical amounts of money, but at 1, 2, 3, 5, % discount rates maybe it becomes more relevant for them to consider damages decades out as more relevant to current planning.


Your assumptions concerning the effect of global warming on property insurance losses are incorrect. Recent years have seen a dramatic decrease in US hurricane landfalls and, globally, an overall decrease in weather-related property insurance losses. Moreover, those losses which remain are almost all the result of extreme cold weather.

Of course, insurers always seek to increase and their public relations departments have found it easy, in recent years, to get the media to print or broadcast predictions of future losses as an excuse for current premium increases. Track the actual losses, not insurers predictions regarding future losses.

I used to work for a large P&C insurer, and we went through a large wave of reducing property exposure along coastal areas due to risk of ruin to the corporation. Much of that risk has been offloaded to state pools or other pools that will likely go bankrupt when the next big event hits. We let go of huge amounts of premium for reasons of self-preservation, so if that decision is faulty, it was expensive.

The idea is that higher global temperatures produce stronger storms (more energy in the atmosphere), but it is probably futile to mention to those who doubt the motives of scientists. Here's a link discussing a NASA study though.

I'm familiar with the idea, but how quantifiable is it. An insurer dumping it onto a state pool to avoid potential risk is not really a quantifiable risk.

Just look at the actual losses. Weather-related property losses are dropping in nominal terms and plummeting as a percentage of value at risk. Those losses which remain are the result of the severe winter snow storms of 2013-2014.

Maybe the insurers will see insuring property as a good risk again and move back into the riskier markets. I doubt it though. Near death experiences leave a mark on corporations.


Regardless of what anybody may have thought about the subject in 2005, the reality is that large weather-related property losses just did not take place. Weather-related property losses have fallen even in nominal terms. No hurricanes have made landfall in the US since Katrina. For those keeping score, that is the longest period between hurricanes hitting the U.S. in recorded history.

@Bmcburney: I wasn't aware some people hated that much NJ and NY to exclude them from US territory. Some people say Sandy (2012) was the 2nd costliest hurricane in US history.


Sandy was not a hurricane when it reached landfall, it was barely even a tropical storm. Sandy was not a significant storm because of its metrological characteristics. The AGW hysterics were fortunate in that it did make landfall in a highly populated area which had not seen a large storm in more than twenty years.

What is the point of claiming that I or "people" hate New York and New Jersey? Anyone out there who is stupid enough to believe that kind of thing is already on your side.

Fine, I'll avoid using humor.

Sustained winds between 48 to 63 knots per hour are the diffuse boundary between tropical storm and category 1 hurricane (slide 26/39) while maximum wind gusts fall perfectly in the definition of category 1 hurricane (slide 27/39)

In conclusion, investors care about flood risks for factories & malls. They pay for risk estimation and how to minimize exposure. People outside the investor definition could also benefit from knowledge but they chose to fight it. So, I go back to solving my mine dewatering problem that pays my mortgage, good luck.


If that was humor, then I agree you shouldn't try it anymore.

Risk management and risk assessment are effective only when, and only to the extent, that they reflect conditions in the real world. When the real world fails to conform to your expectations, your theories about the world are wrong. Indeed, the process of testing predictions versus reality how we know when our theories about the world wrong. At this point, the theory of CAGW, at least as to the "catastrophic" part, has been shown to be wrong. Temperatures are not rising dramatically (or at all) and storms are not getting worse or more frequent. Quite the opposite. If, despite these outcomes, you continue to act as though your predictions are correct, you are not acting in a rational manner.

Best of luck with your mine flooding problem.

Ye olde moral equivalency to tarnish one particular thought. Imagine if we had this paragraph instead:

"Say you’re not one to believe the mainstream media. Maybe you think the minimum wage is wrong or the medical community is trying to hide the myriad dangers of vaccinations. Perhaps you are utterly convinced the government is overrun by reptilian beings."

Climate change is the blindingly obvious odd man out of Wired's article. Climate change has been happening for 4.4bn years, of course, are there really kooks who don't think the climate has been changing for all of earth's existence, even if they believe that's only 6,000 years?

The MSM don't go moderate on climate change ala Bjorn Lomberg: that there is some warming probably due to humans over the past 200 years but this probably isn't a big issue. Nope, they go full on crazy into chicken little mode repeating falsifiable beliefs - The Inconvenient Truth style lies on hockey stick curves, promising the Arctic will be ice free and New York would be two-feet under water by 2015.

There is no need for some 'grand conspiracy' regarding the Al Gore scaremongering, just monetary incentives for a subset of ideological government paid scientists who then become the chosen amongst the MSM while formerly moderate, mainstream, scientists are ostracised (and there are dozens - e.g. Richard Lindzen, Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, Roger Pielke (sr & jr), Ivar Giaever, John Christy).

The conspiracy theories come from the chicken little MSM types: e.g. "big oil" are secretly paying the sceptics while ignoring the incentives of even larger more powerful groups: governments to hike taxes and insurers to fluff up premiums.

Cja, Anthony needs a bunkmate for the cruise.

Or alternatively, you need to trust NOAA more, as an informed and competent body.

Which version of the NOAA? The global cooling version in the 1980s. The 1990s pre-pause version? The aughts pause? The teens readjust the pause away version? Or just take each new NOAA revelation as spoken truth, world without end?

Save your anathema, don't care.

Anyone who says "spoken truth" does not understand science, and why it is more a process than a result.

*whoosh* over your head. It's an allusion to religion, where the bible is taken by some to be literal truth. Nobody trusts science that much, especially other scientists.

Perhaps the allusion is mre real to you than the reality.

"Climate change is the blindingly obvious odd man out of Wired’s article. Climate change has been happening for 4.4bn years, of course, are there really kooks who don’t think the climate has been changing for all of earth’s existence, even if they believe that’s only 6,000 years?"
Are we talking seriously? If it had said Anthropogenic Climate Change, it would have made you happier?.

Similarly, if nature brought asteroids, it's irrelevant if we make explosions with similar effects to asteroids.

Time for a nuclear war. After all, earth has seen asteroids before, so it doesn't matter.

Anti-vax, mind control, psychic market predictions, Lizard-Aliens, and disbelief in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming . . . one of these things is not like the others. In fact, a fervid belief in global disaster, accompanied by predictions of imminent doom (which are constantly being postponed and revised), supported by evidence which falls apart on examination, hidden from the public-consciousness by a shadowy cabal of evil corporations, Republicans and people named Koch . . . really seems more like the other examples of lunacy then a tendency to DISBELIEVE it does.

Can you say "category mistake"?

Has NOAA in fact ever predicted imminent doom?

NOAA? Mercifully no, they aim to cultivate an aura of respectability. Al Gore and others, yes.

Then just go with NOAA. I mean, someone can always clip-of-clip something ridiculous as a straw man. That doesn't get anyone closer to the truth.

Call me dense, but your comment doesn't make sense. How am I setting up a strawman? Al Gore, being a former vice-president, has the weight of authority and many people believed him. He loses much credibility when he does the equivalent of a preacher saying the end of the world will occur on such-and-such time and date due to biblical prophecy.

NOAA, on the other hand, as an organization, is savvy enough not to put their reputations on the line for any single prediction, and also savvy enough to not want to release their raw numbers to a Congressional inquiry.

Hmm, I've come full circle in my thinking, and rather than agreeing with Tyler that money can ruin debates, we should instead make NOAA put their salaries up for a 10% reduction is their predictions end up wrong and then see what happens to the integrity of their work.

Al Gore does a sales pitch, and you represent that as the science. Straw man.

A sales pitch? And based on what data did he base his "sales pitch"? He was for a long time at least, the primary spokesman for those who support the idea of man made global warming. Still is to many. Maybe you don't know exactly what straw man arguments are. They are misrepresenting the other sides position, then refuting it, when they never even made that argument in the first place. Indeed, Al Gore and many other prominent spokespersons constantly predict doom and gloom. However, I'll take your logical fallacy and raise you another, you're move the goalposts.

Skeptics want to discuss the science and are more informed about the science than the average believer. In reality-land, Al Gore-eque 'imminent catastrophe' is exactly what the best skeptics are railing against - you know, the 'science' that is pushed by Vox, Reddit, The Atlantic, The NYT, the POTUS, the DNC, Al Gore, Paul Krugman, the UN, Bernie Sanders, comedians, introductory science texts. If the NOAA doesn't predict imminent doom, then they are deniers in the common parlance.

Al Gore is not a climate scientist.

Predictions of imminent doom are obviously the sine qua non of global warming belief (and similar delusions). If you merely believe, as I do, that actual the evidence supports an equilibrium climate sensitivity of about 1.5 C or less, you are a climate criminal.

I agree, I'm not so much as climate change denier, as a "meh" on the subject, which as you say makes me a conspiracy nut.

Now, as insurers begin to shift the costs of that reality through rate increases, exclusions, lawsuits and market retreat, consumers can ask such politicians, "Why, if climate change is a hoax, are we paying for it?"


You need to update your information sources. In 2015 insured losses due to weather were $27 billion which is less than the $31 billion recorded in 2014 and, of course, much less than the 10 year average of $56 billion.

Relying on the LA Times for accurate information is always a bad practice but relying on predictions regarding global warming found in the LA Times is just insane.

Do you notice that no one in these threads ever believes in imminent doom? It is always a straw man, maybe weekly documented by one link to one nutter somewhere. The straw men outnumber the nutters 100:1.

So stop standing on that weak defense, "woe, I am a criminal."

“The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change….There will be more police cars….[since] you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” Dr. James Hansen, 1988, in an interview with author Rob Reiss.
Reiss asked how the greenhouse effect was likely to affect the neighborhood below Hansen’s office in NYC in the next 20 years.

Last I looked, the West Side Highway is not underwater. This took me less than five minutes on Google and there were many, many others. Obviously, it's not just Gore or just politicians. Hansen did not run NOAA but he did run GISS.

There are a lot of people who see global warming as an existential threat and that the only way to approach such a threat is to scare the dumb sheeple. The ends justify the means and people who think global warming will be an inconvenience which's negative impacts will be outweighed by increased prosperity must be tarred as heretics. I know plenty of people who accept the IPCC consensus (fairly big error bars) but think some global carbon tax (or a cap and trade regulatory nightmare) will be worse than the projected warming. This is a perfectly reasonable position if you are an anti-collectivist who believes in the principles of classical liberalism and sees western civilization as a remarkable positive outlier in the history of the world. I was fairly rah rah stop global warming now 15 years ago but I became more lukewarm after I saw how Bjorn Lomborg got treated. Red flags. When reasonable people are tarred as heretics it gives one pause. I still do what I can to keep my carbon footprint low but I don't consider skeptics my enemies.


Retyping hype from another cruise member is not science either.

Chris, should we really fall victim to a false dichotomy? Many here are playing the "it is immediate doom, or it is no problem game." You now neither is the answer. Lomborg took a line that there were more immediate problems, which is true, but he denied low or zero cost approaches, which was unfortunate. It is OK to work on a back burner threat, especially when energy costs money.

A better designed home may only have cost in attention (window placement, site alignment) but may yield positive ROI for the homeowner, while reducing his carbon footprint. You can go further, solar etc

Busy bees say "we can do nothing" while Walmart researches more efficient transport, etc.


There now is evidently a public disagreement concerning whether Hansen said, in 1988, that the West Side Highway would be under water in twenty years or in forty years. I don't recall Hansen objecting to being misquoted at the time but perhaps I missed it. Obviously, by moving the goal posts from twenty to forty, the true believers can avoid the humiliation of seeing their prophet fail. As I understand it, this is actually very common among doomsday cultists. When the end of the world fails to occur on schedule, some small error is found in the calculation and a new and better prediction of the millennium is substituted for the old. This is a feature of doomsday cult psychology but it is not the kind of thing rational people believe.

Certainly, it is now nearly thirty years since the prediction and, even if you accept the forty year version, the West Side Highway is not under water. In fact, none of the changes predicted by Hansen have taken place or even look like they might in the foreseeable future. If the West Side Highway was anywhere close to being underwater, or if there were any visible changes due to global warming, there might be some reason to continue to believe the hysteria. But there aren't any, so there isn't any.

I hereby predict that the West Side Highway will still be above water in twelve years. If only I could find a way to make as much money off my prediction as Gore and Hansen have made off of theirs.

Just because it's not literally the same as the entire planet exploding into a trillion pieces or being completely vaporized doesn't mean that we should ignore the possibility of gains by reducing the rate of AGW, e.g., through a carbon tax.

The very existence of "gains" from reducing the rate of AGW depends on this assumption that the "planet will explode etc" if you don't slow the rate of AGW. If equilibrium climate sensitivity is less than about 2 degrees C, the net effect of AGW is positive for all life on the planet. Even at higher levels for ECS, the net effect remains strongly positive if the next ice age is prevented or even delayed.

I would like it if you could refer me to your favourite literature corroborating your points so I can demonstrate to you the ways in which their analysis is biased or incorrect.

Nathan W,

My favorite climate sites are and Judith Curry's site, Climate Etc.

Knock yourself out.

I would conclude that we have not yet mastered the ability to perfectly predict everything on the planet yet.

But nothing about net benefits from AGW, which is what i was specifically inquiring about. Something seems to have convinced you this might be the case, and I'm curious to know what it is.


Fine, let's start with something simple. For the past 2 1/2 million years (roughly), the earth has experienced repeated episodes of glaciation in which the climate becomes very, very cold. If something similar were to happen in the near future, it would have catastrophic effects on human and animal life. Among other things, Europe and North America would become uninhabitable dramatically reducing the food supply. When glaciations happen, they generally last between 100,000 to 40,000 years. Interglacial periods, such as the present period, only last between 12,000 and 28,000 years. The most recent glaciation occurred 11,000 years ago so the next glaciation could be due right about now. If you believe, as I do, that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases likely produce increases global temperatures (at least to a limited extent), global warming may prevent or delay the next glaciation. Considering the alternative, this would be a good thing.

There are many other potential positives to global warming. Try googling.

These people only want to get together on a cruise ship (booze and meals included); listen to authors (cure for insomnia); and discuss (yawn and scream) whatever interests them. And, I'm not paying. It's all good.

Some people want to excise discussion diverging from conventional wisdom. So it goes.

FYI: Unless they're validating your opinions, 97% of what you hear/read/see in the media is unadulterated bullshit.

"Is this not what Tiebout equilibria are for?"

I can't say; but it's what torpedoes are for.

Is this not what the Internet is for?

Also, doesn't it seem suspicious that someone would organize this event? I smell a conspiracy to take out the conspiracy theorists... If I were a conspiracy theorist, I wouldn't hop on this ship.

I would like to post this on FaceBook but my anti-vaccination friends would take it as a barb for them. I have alienated them enough already.

Your anti-vax friends are stupid and endangering the rest of us.

Not you, actually, unless you're somehow immune system suppressed. That's why I don't worry so much about the vaccine thing.

I don't understand.

Is there any reason to think that believers in one conspiracy theory have anything in common with believers in another? If not, what is to be gained by putting the "lizard people"-people and the chemtrail people and the Kennedy assassination people on the same boat? Each of them will think the others are just as foolish as we do -- after all, they believe in all those preposterous conspiracy theories, and not the conspiracy fact that I know to be true.

But if this is an implicit admission that belief in one conspiracy is tantamount to belief in all of them, that seems like a pretty big claim on the part of the organizers, as if they're constructing a whole alternate reality. In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.

Perhaps it's just a booze cruise aimed at a specific audience.

It isn't just conspiracy theories, you also get legal and financial advice by 3rd rate conmen:

"...There’s definitely a streak of con-artistry in a man that gets up and tells you this is how you get rid of your debts, and doesn’t say, oh and by the way, I’m under indictment for doing this. Sean David Morton didn’t know that he was going to be arrested right after he got off the boat..."

As for A. Wakefield, he must have felt right at home on that ship of fools. A Bermuda triangle disappearance would have been ironically delicious but at least he can't do any serious damage anymore. The average MMR1 vaccination rate in Wales (which sort of was ground zero for the MMR scare) dropped to 78%, thanks to him.

"In two year old children in Wales uptake fell from a quarterly peak of 94% in 1995 to 78% by 2003, even lower in those areas for local reasons most affected by the controversy, such as Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. "

To end on a positive note, since 2003 vaccination rates have improved back to or above 90%.

In the end reason won out against the forces of unreason but it took over a decade to put things right.

Scary thing is, almost a quarter of the population fell for it and in doing so endangered others as well.

MIE: “conspiracy entrepreneurs”

On the very low end, we’d estimate a little over $1 million for Web, $215,000 for radio, and $1.5 million for paid subscribers for a not-too-shabby $2.7 million a year. On the high end, if we assume he pulls in the maximum $6 million on Web, another $450,000 on the radio (if his ad rates are at the top of their possible window), and he has 2.5 percent of his website visitors paying to subscribe, then we’re talking about more than $10 million a year. And none of this includes book sales, merch, speaking tours, promotional tie-ins, book and DVD royalties or any other revenue streams that might exist.

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