Weekend reflections

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. In keeping with my attempts to open up the comments to new contributors , I’d like to redirect discussion, as opposed to substantive new contributions, to the sandpit. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

5 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. The Cuccinelli CID redux, issued against a Virginian university concerning a grant that Michael Mann was involved with, has turned into a case of shooting oneself in the foot. The Wegman Report has gained notoriety – twice – initially for claiming Mann et al had misused or been sloppy in his approach to data analysis, and had failed to properly archive all materials correctly; and, more recently for report’s principal author, ie Edward Wegman, coming under investigation by his own university for claims of major plagiarism of Bradley’s book, and of intentionally distorting the meaning of the extracts from that book, and I would imagine some copyright violations may be claimed as well.

    So, Senator James Inhofe (and Marc Morano? Gosh, it has been 5 years since this puerile cr*p started happening full-one) pursue Michael Mann et al, especially after testimony presented by Mann (and by Hansen too) at congressional hearing(s). Inhofe’s political urge to deny legitimate voice on AGW (aka anthropogenic global warming, or more generally abbreviated to global warming or climate change, at risk of equivocating on definitional aspects) presumably was what drove him to pursue the apex of IPCC climate scientists, among them being Michael Mann, who had co-authored a paper now known by its famous hockey stick graph. The Wegman Report (2006) was one such result of this, and it has been used extensively as a briefing document or evidence that “global warming” data is a “sham”. In fact, some specific thinktanks decided to ramp the rhetoric up a notch and to find a strategy for hurting this pinnacle of climate scientists.

    Now, the shoe is well and truly on the other foot. Indispensable work by Deep Climate and John Mashey, plus a host of blogging members of the online community, has resulted in George Mason University conducting an investigation into Wegman ,and presumably, eventually some of his students too, IIRC. The outcome was due at the end of September, so it is already overdue.

  2. Dear Prof. Quiggin,

    I have read your presentation about zombie ideas with much interest (nice lay out by the way), and I am also planning to buy your book.

    However I have been wondering whether you did not leave out a few important zombie ideas:
    1. The what-seems-to-be-the-basic assumption behind economic policy from left to right: that the economy should always grow. Obviously this is impossible if we take the “money only” GDP as a measure, but even if the GDP is somehow redefined to be some measure of well being (say) inifnite growth is impossible.
    2. The idea that extracting/selling raw materials is considered to be generating value without subtracting a “loss of capital”, for a country say.
    3. The idea that raising taxes is bad, while government austerity measures are good. It seems to be that both policies result in an extra burden for the citizens. Example: introducing (or keeping) a tax to subsidise public libraries is bad; abolishing a subsidy for public libraries is good. But in this example the results are identical!

    I very much hope that you can enlighten me on these issues. Thank you.

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