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Sandpit 300

January 2nd, 2011

This is a sandpit for people who want to
(a) argue about the efficacy of specific road safety interventions
(b) record their status as believers (with or without qualification) in the libertarian/conservative orthodoxy that climate change is a hoax/fraud/unsupported hypothesis.

I’d request no responses to those in category (b). They are, in my view, beyond help, and there are plenty of sites pointing out their errors if they want to look.

Categories: Life in General, Science Tags:
  1. Alice
    January 2nd, 2011 at 18:49 | #1

    Prof……..how can we not laugh at this sandpit??? You mean this is an open pit for one? Tony G??

  2. Tony G
  3. wilful
    January 2nd, 2011 at 22:22 | #3

    well on the matter of bike helmets, I certainly wear one and would continue to wear one, and would insist on my kids wearing one, but I can certainly see the argument that the net benefit of cycling generally is higher than the risk of head trauma.

  4. paul walter
    January 2nd, 2011 at 22:33 | #4

    Tony, the only “manipulating” going on that I detect, is yours.
    Stop it, or you’ll go blind.
    The thread topic is about the history, rationale and evolution of road safety policy, not a totally unrelated issue, here employed as a tendentious thread derail, dealt with already, months ago.

  5. Fran Barlow
    January 2nd, 2011 at 22:59 | #5

    Hat tip

    Barry Brook has taken time out from his holidays to write a substantive post on the persistent misuse (by the agnotologists) of the Phil Jones response on statistically significant warming since 1995. (Only for the statistically minded)

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/01/02/no-statistical-warming-since-1995-wrong/#comment-109951

  6. Jarrah
    January 3rd, 2011 at 00:01 | #6

    Everything wilful said.

    The miscalculation (or is it?*) of odds and risk by humans when it comes to catastrophic events is well known. Thus the remote chance of nasty head injuries to someone looms much larger in a person’s mind than the quantifiably greater problem of lower health in millions of people due to not enough exercise. It even makes sense, in a sort of “misery shared is misery halved” way – the diffuse costs to society are shared around, but only a few would have bad injuries or die from not wearing a helmet. In effect we would have transferred the negative from the many to the few, even though it reduces the overall level of negativity.

    * Saying it’s a miscalculation implies the ‘right’ approach is one that supersedes human priorities, something I’m uneasy about, but I’ll leave it for now.

  7. Rationalist
    January 3rd, 2011 at 15:30 | #7

    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    That pretty much sums it up for me.

  8. Fran Barlow
    January 3rd, 2011 at 16:04 | #8

    @Rationalist

    Apologies PrQ

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. {Trenberth}

    That pretty much sums it up for me.

    The repeated misuse of this quote by your band of polluter-loving banshees reminds all of those of us who are informed just how desperately ignorant and/or deceptive you lot are.

    The sheer effrontery of using this quote, which damns your ostensible claims utterly, would be amusing were it not a manifestation of your kind’s determination to trade the future of humanity for your own bizarre and obsessive cultural preferences.

  9. BilB
    January 3rd, 2011 at 16:05 | #9

    Wilful,

    The issue with bike helmets is about the materials that they are made from. To wear them or not is another issue altogether. The polycarbonate and polystyrene combination under some circumstances effectively grips the impact zone rather than slide over it, that is dangerous. I use a construction helmet which is injection moulded nylon, much safer.

    I doubt that you would feel so good about the current designs if you knew someone who had to live permanently in pain in a wheel chair with 24 7 care, as a result of their design shortcomings.

  10. Tony G
    January 3rd, 2011 at 21:29 | #10

    I will confront Jones warming fraud later.

    BICYCLE helmets are potentially deadly if they are worn by children

    Australia was the first country in the world to impose uniform national mandatory bicycle helmet legislation, beginning in 1990. Western Australia commenced police enforcement of the law on July 1, 1992.

    Analysis of results in Western Australia suggests the helmet legislation has:

    •increased hospital admissions per cyclist on the road
    •reduced the popularity of cycling
    •damaged public health

  11. BilB
    January 3rd, 2011 at 22:09 | #11

    I’m inclined to agree with you TonyG, where people are riding casually. Where people are riding on busy roadways and at speed then cycle helmets are well advised. This should be a matter of education and choice.

    Even more important, when someones dons a helmet, it should not improve their chances of extreme injury.

  12. Ikonoclast
    January 4th, 2011 at 12:40 | #12

    @Tony G

    Tony G, you would believe this one too I guess?

    FOOD EATING CAUSES DEATH!

    Analysis shows that 100% of humans who eat food die!

  13. Chris O’Neill
    January 4th, 2011 at 13:30 | #13

    @Tony G

    “The scandal exposed arbitrary manipulation of climate data in order to fit preconceived hypotheses.”

    Arbitrary manipulation of the facts like this quote from Tony’s cite:

    The warmest year in the 20th century was 1934 and it was followed by five of the coldest years in the century. While 1998 was the second warmest year of the century, temperatures have flattened since then.

    Tony, what diseases must you have from swallowing so much bullsh?t?

  14. jquiggin
    January 4th, 2011 at 13:54 | #14

    Tony G, please take this nonsense to the sandpit provided for the purpose. Reposting of any further examples of long-refuted delusionist talking points (Google 1934 warmest year for but one example) in this thread will result in deletion and a permanent ban.

    Please no more feeding this troll.

  15. Tony G
    January 4th, 2011 at 23:44 | #15

    “Tony G, please take this nonsense to the sandpit provided for the purpose”

    WTF is this wank of a sandpit for then?

    Regardless, re-read your condescending category (b) above; I’ve already moved from another thread to this sandpit to accommodate your pedantries , so this ‘sandpit’/pigpen will have to do.

    You can ‘believe’ the fraudulent warming based on a statistical reconstruction where the sample is minute and the margin for error is larger than any anomaly found; others can chose to disbelieve (the consensus) its getting warmer. (consensus isn’t science facts are)

    It is fraudulent for a proponent of excessive government to advocate that a carbon tax ( or any other tax) can stop the climate changing.

    I unashamedly oppose the waste and corruption that goes hand in hand with excessive government and anybody who proposes it.

  16. BilB
    January 5th, 2011 at 07:16 | #16

    Going on your last statement you are one of these people who do not know when they are well off. You want to retain all of the positive aspects of society and eliminate that which is in your mind is negative failing to realise that every negative is a positive multiplier. The standard response by people who think as you claim is to cherry pick the government services that you think that you need and demand the dropping of the rest, “I don’t need those and therefore no one else should”. The place for people who think this way is in the tribal region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and some parts of Africa, everywhere else is full.

  17. jakerman
    January 5th, 2011 at 07:27 | #17

    Rationalist [sic] writes:

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. {Trenberth}

    That pretty much sums it up for me.

    Yes, for too many who earn themselves the title denialist, this sums up their approach: Use a quote of of context, to construe some vague allegation. I suppose thats why so many spend so much time trawling in the CRU hacked emails instead of making scientific case.

    What are the odds that Rationalist [sic] didn’t bother to findout what Trenberth argues about AGW?

    Why Rationalists opts to keep it vague, is speculation. But that Rationalist fails to make a scientific argument is evident.

  18. paul walter
    January 5th, 2011 at 12:17 | #18

    I think, in the back ground there is still a point hovering in the background, waiting for acknowledgement.
    Let’s suppose a Tony G, say, is right in a *hypothetical* proposition, that – reliable- figures show a policy to be counterproductive ( eg cyclists wearing helmets suffer more injuries than those without).
    What next?
    Could you argue successfully in a court of law, for example, if you are charged with an offence related to helmets, that the sheet full of stats you are waving in your hand, compells you out of self preservation not to wear the dreaded helmet?

  19. Jarrah
    January 5th, 2011 at 12:44 | #19

    Could you argue successfully in a court of law, for example, if you are charged with an offence related to helmets, that the sheet full of stats you are waving in your hand, compells you out of self preservation not to wear the dreaded helmet?

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/heady-freedom-as-judge-agrees-helmet-laws-are-unnecessary-20100827-13vz2.html

  20. Fran Barlow
    January 5th, 2011 at 15:03 | #20

    Here’s an interesting link for PrQ
    Scientist proves conservatism and belief in climate change aren’t incompatible

    MIT professor Kerry Emanuel is among a rare breed of conservative scientists who are sounding the alarm for climate change and criticizing Republicans’ ‘agenda of denial’ and ‘anti-science stance.’

    {…}

    Emanuel dislikes applying the word “skeptic” to those who deny climate change. He says all scientists are skeptical; that’s the nature of the field. His own innate skepticism meant that it took him longer than his colleagues to be persuaded of climate change, Emanuel said.

    He remembers thinking it ridiculous when a noted climatologist told Congress in 1988 that he was all but certain that the climate was changing. Yet, as analyses of climate data advanced through the 1990s and Emanuel found a relationship between hurricanes and climate change in his own work, he came to see a link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

    {…}

    Emanuel waded into the fray early last year. He wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal criticizing a friend and colleague for dismissing the evidence of climate change and clinging “to the agenda of denial.” Then Emanuel added his name to the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, a website run by scientists to provide accurate information from top researchers in climate-related fields.

    I’ve always rebelled against the thinking that ideology can trump fact, said Emanuel, 55. The people who call themselves conservative these days aren’t conservative by my definition. I think they’re quite radical.

    {…}

    I am a rare example of a Republican scientist, but I am seriously thinking about changing affiliation owing to the Republicans’ increasingly anti-science stance, he wrote in an e-mail. The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists

  21. Tony G
    January 5th, 2011 at 20:16 | #21

    BilB @ 16 said;

    “The standard response by people who think as you claim is to cherry pick the government services that you think that you need and demand the dropping of the rest, “I don’t need those and therefore no one else should”.

    As I posted at NSW “Labor Headed For Defeat”

    Have you contemplated that governments primary role should be to regulate?

    Wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals – not government – are the true creators of wealth and employment.

    I am not advocating that we do not have the services; only that the public sector is generally useless; or say more useless than the partially useless private sector; so it is preferable to have the private sector do nearly everything except defence, law enforcement and regulation.

  22. Alice
    January 5th, 2011 at 20:40 | #22

    @Tony G
    There is nothing anymore efficient about the private sector than there is about the public sector than there is about any human beings in any sector.

    Zombie belief number one in the ten commandments of zombie ideas (“”"”efficient private sector”"”") from remote control teleprompter Tony!

  23. Alice
    January 5th, 2011 at 20:46 | #23

    @Fran Barlow
    Has an interesting point…not that I am inclined to want to see any more conseravtives in power, given the general failure of their belief system over the past three decades (however I certainly wouldnt be averse to them moving back to a more sensible position..because I am not averse to welcoming the first government who does so).

    “”The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists”

    Good start as long as the outsome doesnt continue to lower taxes on the rich. Poor Tony Abbott is still walkinga round in our inequality land coming out with the stock standard recipe for even greater inequality “lower taxes lower taxes”.

    Thats nice, but the rich need theirs increased and the poor need theirs lowered and Tony cant tell the difference.

  24. Jarrah
    January 5th, 2011 at 21:09 | #24

    @Alice
    Efficiency isn’t down to private sector humans being any different to public sector humans – it’s down to different incentive structures. Changing those changes the focus, expectations, and even culture of the entity in question.

    It’s not strictly divided along private/public lines. There are plenty of corporations and industries that have skewed or perverse incentives, and plenty of government departments and bodies that have quite good incentive structures and are quite efficient.

    It’s just that, on average and in aggregate, the private sector is more efficient than the public at providing goods and services. That provision isn’t the be-all and end-all of human affairs, and so economic/physical efficiency isn’t the only objective to strive for, but it’s fairly important.

  25. Alice
    January 5th, 2011 at 21:31 | #25

    @Jarrah
    Jarrah – I just dont agree (with the on average private sector is more efficient). I just dont think there is any difference whatsoever. The only small difference I may note is that power has been usurped from the public sector to reside in the hands of a few short term politicians (controls gradually eroded over time).

    On average efficiency is better in the hands more humans than in the hands of a few (NSW state Labor a classic example of failure of the fewer).

    Efficiency is like risk – you need to spread it to maximise efficiency but you let a few ambitious clowns have all the power and it wont work out to be efficient at all (private or public) All organisations need to adhere to reporting lines…

    Many a private organisation has come unstuck by vesting power in the few also.

  26. Jarrah
    January 5th, 2011 at 22:24 | #26

    @Alice
    “I just dont think there is any difference whatsoever.”

    Are you saying different incentives have no effect?

    “On average efficiency is better in the hands more humans than in the hands of a few ”

    You really think so? You never heard of “Too many cooks spoil the broth”? This can be confirmed mathematically – diseconomies of scale show up as the rising section of the long-run average cost curve.

    “Efficiency is like risk”

    No, it’s not.

  27. Jarrah
    January 5th, 2011 at 22:34 | #27

    I should have mentioned this right at the start, but I was assuming our hypothetical sectors had the same starting point, in order to compare like with like. But they are not alike – the public sector has to be funded by taxation, which imposes an efficiency penalty before the money even starts getting used.

  28. rog
    January 5th, 2011 at 22:39 | #28

    When it comes to providing a specific service – my experience is that private industry is more successful than the public sector. However, when it comes to delivering policy outcomes private sector is inappropriate as its primary function is to deliver a profit. Again, just my experience.

  29. rog
    January 5th, 2011 at 22:42 | #29

    Something on the psychology of climate change

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110104/full/news.2011.701.html

    I remember an agency, maybe NOAA? advising to tone it down as hyperbole is counter productive.

  30. Alice
    January 6th, 2011 at 05:15 | #30

    @Jarrah
    Jarrah – lack of taxation imposes an efficiency penalty also – common infrastructure is not constucted or maintained and only those who have the means travel well…..an increasingly fewer amount of people as wealth does have a habit of concentrating (much like what has been happening for so many decades now)…do you really want to live in the days of aristocracies and desperate peasants?

  31. BilB
    January 6th, 2011 at 06:49 | #31

    Tony G,

    “government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals – not government – are the true creators of wealth and employment”

    is entirely the libertarian dogma. The catch is that it is as much wrong as it is right. Libertarians only see half of the picture. But you did by opening the statement with “Wherever possible”, and that is exactly the way that the Western world operates, give or take a very small percentage. Greece would be an interesting study case.

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