Belmont Club

A Tour d'horizon of the Mental Lanscape

Good thing the fires weren’t set by Climate Deniers. The GAO says, “The total number of fires ignited by illegal border crossers on federal lands in the Arizona border region is not fully known, in part because federal land management agencies have not conducted investigations of all human-caused wildland fires that occurred on these lands, as called for by agency policy, and the agencies do not have a strategy for selecting fires they do investigate. Of the 422 human-caused wildland fires that occurred on Forest Service, Interior, or tribal lands and burned at least 1 acre from 2006 through 2010, only 77 were investigated. According to land management agency officials, the lack of trained fire investigators was the primary reason for the limited number of investigations. Of the investigations conducted, 30 identified illegal border crossers as a suspected source of ignition.”

Suppose you have an urn with 422 red and blue marbles. You reach in and draw 77 marbles from the urn without replacement. Thirty marbles of the 77 are blue. How many blue marbles would you guess were in the urn?

Real Climate Scientists Can Do Statistics:  Fortunately such trivial problems do not bother those who guide the destiny of our planet. A recently stolen trove of 5,200 emails taken from the University of East Anglia, known as the Climategate II emails shows that the BBC routinely sought advice from global warming scientists on economy, drama, music… and even game shows.  And right they were too, since one of them, Phil Jones, is ranked one of Britain’s hundred top scientists.  One one hacked email Jones seeks help from a colleague on an esoteric matter.

From: Phil Jones
Sent: 20 December 2007 13:58
To: Bob Ward
Subject: Re: More nonsense on climate change

Quickly re-reading this it sounds as though I’m getting at you. I’m not – just at the idiots who continue to spout this nonsense. It isn’t an issue with climatologists. All understand. If I tried to publish this I would be told by my peers it was obvious and banal. I will try and hide it in a paper at some point. I could put it on the CRU web site. I’ll see how I feel after the Christmas Pud.

I would have thought that this writer would have know better! I keep on seeing people saying this same stupid thing. I’m not adept enough (totally inept) with excel to do this now as no-one who knows how to is here.

What you have to do is to take the numbers in column C (the years) and then those in D (the anomalies for each year), plot them and then work out the linear trend. The slope is upwards. I had someone do this in early 2006, and the trend was upwards then. It will be now. Trend won’t be statistically significant, but the trend is up.

We stand on the shoulders of Titans. One of them, alas, is setting down his burden. The Smartest Man in Congress Says Goodbye:  Jay Newton Small of Time is sad to learn that Barney Frank is leaving Congress.

There has never been much debate that Barney Frank is one of the smartest members of Congress. In another era his wit would’ve made him a daunting court philosopher who could’ve put Machiavelli to shame, or a sharp-tongued jester. Washington social rags have consistently named him one of the “funniest,” “wittiest” or “smartest” members of Congress over the years. He is one of the few congressmen I’ve seen reduce reporters to tears, mocking stupid questions in scrums or press conferences, or tersely turning a cold shoulder to queries he simply didn’t want to answer. From his rumpled appearance to his refusal to peel his eyes off his blackberry whilst on national TV, Frank made it clear that there were some things worth his time and other things – most things – about which he couldn’t care less. …

After more than 30 years, Washington has finally gotten to him – particularly this Tea Party class, which he says has done nothing but induce partisan gridlock. “There are people who object to cooperation in principal because they don’t see the need for it,” Frank lamented, “because they believe their side is in the absolute majority. That’s not how Congress works.”

What’s next for Frank? He says he’ll give up his D.C. apartment and split his time between his home in Newton, Massachusetts, and his partner’s home in Maine.

Oh Barney, we hardly knew ye. Though you couldn’t care less Barney, we care. We care.

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