Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Bill Nye, the Not-So-Science Guy

March 9, 2017

Maybe my title is a bit inflammatory.  While I was a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I did not have cable.  Therefore, I was unacquainted with Bill Nye, The Science Guy until I was much older.  Thankfully, I do not have an attachment to this celebrity.  Overall, I do respect what he did by making science cool for many kids, and I have heard he has a mechanical engineering degree, which is no picnic to earn.

Always an advocate of carbon controls, a video he made has become quite popular on Facebook, and it warranted a response.  His video is found here:
Billy Nye’s Call To Action

I posted a response that outlines a few problems I have with his video:

1. Science is never “settled.” If your old “fact” doesn’t stand up to new data, you might just learn something new.

2. Plus or minus 2% is misleading. If you are talking about a 2% error bar on a 0.5% detected change, yes, it might mean that the effect is not happening.

3. In terms of energy balance, yes, there is plenty of energy across the US to power everything. And if you could do 100% energy conversion, and tell Newton’s laws to take a hike, we could power the country this way. Maybe we could some day (even Newton’s laws can be tested), but not today. Then, if we did generate it, that is only part of the problem. Storage and smart transmission are bigger problems.

4. Not everyone who asks questions is a climate denier. I am not a denier, but I expect sound science, not science based on an expected outcome. I expect error propagation and instrumentation error reported, just like I would for other scientific publications. These are almost always lacking. This doesn’t make me a denier.

5. No, Bill, free market and taxes are not compatible. A free market is not controlled by which technologies are taxed and which are not.

I expect as the “March For Science” approaches, we will see more of this garbage, as most people have no idea what is science and what is not.

Thank you for reading my post.

Censorship and the 1st Amendment

January 27, 2017

As many of you have heard, President Donald Trump wrote Executive Orders to keep the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and several other organizations from making press releases and social media posts.

Many on the left are calling this censorship and a violation of free speech.  Neither of these is true.

Basically, one part of the government has told another part of the government to shut up.  That’s it.  It is no different than what they’ve told folks with a security clearance for years.

Censorship is the act of a government forbidding its citizens from speaking freely.  Like, say, this.

It isn’t a war on science, either.  You can still get these articles from peer-reviwed sources, same as always.  The only difference is that, for the time being, people working for the federal government cannot publish press releases designed to alarm citizens in an effort to get more funding.

As a scientist/engineer, I am sick of seeing awful science published in regular media outlets.   So many of the press releases are done so poorly, they can hardly be called science.  From CNN articles about hurricanes in the Dakotas and blaming every weather disaster on climate change to exaggerated claims about new technological advances, the real science is not featured.

In the end, I really don’t care if the government can’t toot its own horn any more and exaggerate its contributions to science.  How many climate scientists believe in climate change?  How much funding would they receive if they disagreed?  How much would they receive if anthropological climate change wasn’t blamed every time the wind blew?

This isn’t to say that climate change isn’t happening or that government funded research hasn’t led to great discoveries.

I’m done ranting for the evening.  Thank you for reading my post.