Why did the hummingbird snore?

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“Of course, hummingbirds don’t really snore, do they?

I’m not a scientist, man.”

“More distressing: The wrong answer will make you far more popular than the correct one.”

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”

“There is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.”

“After years of holding steady, new Center for Disease Control data shows that the United States abortion rate has fallen to an all-time low.”

“We only ask for the rights because we’ve already accepted the responsibilities.”

“Here’s a prediction: Immigration reform will be an item on the 2013 Congressional agenda, and if they actually manage to make any progress on it, there will be town hall meetings in the summer of 2013 that exceed the madness of 2009′s health care town halls.”

“These data debunk any argument that allowing gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly would discourage others from serving in the military.”

“You’re still telling me that same-sex marriage is going to destroy traditional marriage and lead to wild sexual anarchy? As if.”

“If we were locking up everybody, white and black, for doing the same drugs they would’ve done the same thing with prohibition, they would’ve outlawed it.”

“It remains the insurmountable obstacle we cannot overcome, the fly tainting our milk of human kindness that we refuse even to see in the antique rose-bedecked milk jug bequeathed from Great-Grandma So and So.”

“I don’t know him personally, but I think he’s a likable guy.”

National Geographic GIFs

  • AnonaMiss

    Why aren’t we discussing safe ways to simulate volcanic cooling, already?

    It’s a stopgap solution, but we’re at the point where we’re finally moving forward on long-term solutions, and we need more time to get to a point where our long-term solutions are sustainable. Artificial volcanic cooling would give us that time.

    There has to be some kind of particle we could start pumping into the air which would fall/decay in a year or two. Even ash would be fine, until we can come up with something safer. We know we can survive an increase in atmospheric ash. We don’t know we can survive a (potentially permanent) 4*C increase in global temperature.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I would think that in the long run, a falling abortion rate would be a good thing. At the least, fewer babies are being conceived.

  • JustoneK

    Hah!  You think this is about babies.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    From the article linked 3rd-to-last:

    I don’t care what anyone says.  If I were one of them, I’d be out there marching for my rights, too.  But Daddy lived and died a segregationist, and I intend to live and die a segregationist just like Daddy.

    The person who posted that “I don’t care if you throw things at me, I’m a Republican and I’ll stay a Republican out of respect for my father’s wartime service to this country” should recognize certain similarities here, and understand why the response to their post was universally negative.

  • Münchner Kindl

     So let’s see: Step 1, Mankind puts stuff (CO2, Methane and others) into the atmosphere without any understanding of the effects it might have
    Step 2, Once Mankind starts understanding that there are some kinda bad effects to Step 1, instead of stopping putting stuff into atmosphere, you want to put additionally other stuff into atmosphere because … we know this is a good idea?

    If you take a mechanical watch which consists of 100 or more tiny pieces working together, and you put a lot of dust in there which mucks up the system, is the solution to this
    a) clean everything to get the dust out, or at least stop dumping dust there
    b) dump different dust in the hope that things will cancel out?

    There has to be some kind of particle we could start pumping into the air which would fall/decay in a year or two.

    No, there isn’t. Otherwise serious scientists would have proposed it.

    Even ash would be fine, until we can come up with something safer. We know we can survive an increase in atmospheric ash.

    Does “Year without summer” mean anything to you? Just because the bicycle, Dracula and Frankensteins Monster came out of it doesn’t mean this is a good idea. Letting hundred thousands of people die from hunger because of cold is not much better than letting hundreds of thousands people die from hunger because places turn into desert from drought or get flooded.

    We don’t know we can survive a (potentially permanent) 4*C increase in global temperature.

    Which means we need to take sensible measures immediatly, not half-assed to buy time because in the future, somebody will invent a painless solution with magical technology. We already know solutions right now, but not enough people want to implement them.
    Putting ash into the atmosphere won’t change one iota about people’s attitude. Either the govt.s take bold measures, or people get their shit together on their own. Otherwise we suck as species.

  • MaryKaye

    The CDC web page has the primary data behind that news report, and does a better job presenting them (clarifying, for example, that it’s not the abortion rate per woman–which is affected by the changing US age distribution–but the abortion rate per woman age 15-44).  It also has breakdowns by age category and by duration of pregnancy.

    The news article seems to say that the drop in pregnancies can be attributed to birth control but the drop in the abortion ratio (abortions per pregnancy) cannot.  I don’t see the logic here.  The abortion ratio is presumably a proxy for the proportion of pregnancies that are unwanted. Birth control is normally used to prevent unwanted pregnancies so should decrease this ratio.

    If birth control, and not something else like abortion availability, is the deciding factor that is truly great news. 

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     I suspect Planetary Engineering will be a tricky business and we don’t really have the measure of it yet. I’m not sure we wouldn’t mess it up.

    My thought is we should be putting more effort into removing other stresses on the environment (while also increasing our attempts to reduce global warming as much as possible at this late point) and doing what we can to repair tattered ecosystems. Why? Because healthy and otherwise unstressed ecosystems resist stress better than ones that are a mess which will increase the planet’s (and thus our) chances of surviving global warming.

    People are always “what can one person do” and the answer is more than zero people and even if it isn’t enough in the end at least we did the right thing.

  • Tricksterson

    “If we’re going to legalize alchohol, why not crack cocaine? ”

    Why not? 

    “If boxing is legal why not matches to the death with chainsaws?’

    Tnat.   Would.   Be.   Awesome!

    “If we’re going to legalize gay marriage why not polygomous and polyandrous marriages?”

    Why not?

  • DorothyD

     I suspect Planetary Engineering will be a tricky business and we don’t really have the measure of it yet. I’m not sure we wouldn’t mess it up.

    QFT. But if something is possible, there’s probably someone out there studying it. Sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere – Bill Gates is funding research on it. It’s…controversial. 

  • AnonaMiss

    Um, hi.

    Your first couple points nearly cancel each other out. We shouldn’t be putting shit in the atmosphere that we don’t know what it’ll do, but oh remember the Year Without Summer when we learned what happens if you put a bunch of [specific shit] in the atmosphere. 

    No, there isn’t. Otherwise serious scientists would have proposed it.

    Cause it’s not like Nobel Prize-winning scientists have suggested it or anything. 

    Yes, I know, there’s criticism, there are major risks, there’s a lot of room for further research, and it’s not and could never be a permanent solution. I implicitly acknowledged the risks when I compared the negative effects of pumping ash into the air with the negative effects of 4*C warming. I explicitly acknowledged that it’s a stopgap solution, and rather than suggesting that we hold out for a “painless solution with magical technology” as you characterize me, I seem to recall saying that we have, as in present tense, long-term solutions that we are finally starting to move forward on, but which aren’t going to be ready/fully implemented for a while – and quite possibly not “in time”.

    Global temperature is increasing at an exponential rate, which is to say that the warmer it gets, the faster it warms. You may know the expression that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and that’s rarely more true when it comes to arresting an exponential growth function. (I’d be happy to give a demonstration of why this is the case later tonight if anyone wants to see it, but it will require some scratchpaper calculus and I’m terrible at doing math at the keyboard). What it comes down to is that the less temperature increase we’ve had by the time emissions controls are in full effect, the more effective they’ll be in curbing further warming. A few years of curbed temperatures – not in a row – could easily be the difference between returning to reasonable global temperatures for our civilizations by 2200 instead of by 2500, or not at all.

    Putting ash into the atmosphere won’t change one iota about people’s attitude. Either the govt.s take bold measures, or people get their shit together on their own.

    Starve the beast, eh? If things get bad enough, we’ll HAVE to do the responsible thing!

    Otherwise we suck as species.

    The palaeontology buff in me can get behind the sociopathic view of the crisis. Global warming is only really a problem for the current shape of human civilization. It’s unlikely that even the worst global warming crisis would completely wipe out the human species, and even if it did, it would almost certainly not wipe out all life on the planet. Plus, I always thought that inland sea through the middle of North America would be pretty badass.

    Then the part of me that isn’t a (complete) asshole wakes up and gives you the finger.

  • AnonaMiss

    No bile directed at Becka or Dorothy, by the way. I agree and respect with pretty much all you guys have said. I just don’t take kindly to being treated like I don’t have two brain cells to rub together.

  • Albanaeon

    There’s actually speculation that a country with a lot to lose with climate change may decide to loose SO2 on their own since it is a relatively cheap and easy thing to do that does have some history behind it, that appears to be relatively non-harmful, at least from the perspective of said country.

    Still atmospheric chemistry and the like is not settled on the “non-harmful” part and efforts are being made to dissuade someone from doing that.  But with us clearly intent on blowing past a 2 degree increase into the 4 and 5 range, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did take it upon themselves to do *something.*   Particularly if they have a lot to lose.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I just spent ages tracking down a post I read a while back that illustrates what I mean about individual efforts mattering http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/a-gardens-worth-of-difference/

    My favourite quote from that article:

    “So, yeah. One guy saved a whole species in his garden.”

    And if wildlife gardening is your thing you don’t even need a garden http://valiantveggie.wordpress.com/

    Personally I prefer growing veggies in my garden but Wildlife gardening is valuble as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.steckly Daniel L Steckly

    At some point we’re either going to employ geoengineering or we will die, because countries cutting back sufficiently to cease climate change is simply not going to happen, if cutting back even can do any more than slow it at this point. 

  • arcseconds

    Even with geoengineering, we’re presumably have to become carbon-neutral eventually,  (and still sooner rather than later).

    Increased CO2 has other problems apart from warming, like increased ocean acidity.

    Also, without reducing emissions we rely on more and more geoengineering to keep the planet cool. 

    Increasing both CO2 emissions and compensating geoengineering emissions indefinitely doesn’t exactly seem like a safe plan to me.

  • arcseconds

    “First we guess it… Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what it would imply. And then we compare those computation results… directly to observation to see if it works.”

    “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong,” he asserted, craning his neck forward and adroitly pointing his left hand at the chalkboard to accentuate the point. “In that simple statement, is the key to science.”

    (*Grumble*)

    This is like the science equivalent of “The bible says it, I believe it, that settles it”.   (At least he didn’t say “this is the scientific method”, I suppose. )

    Firstly, much, if not most science isn’t actually about testing theories at all.  I guess Feynmann doesn’t quite say it is, so I’ll give him a pass here (although he’s coming awful close).

    But on those occasions where you are testing a theory, this isn’t how it work (or at least, it’s so simplistic as to be meaningless).

    Just to set the scene here a little, consider this:

    You measure the temperature of boiling water.  It turns out to be 98.9°.

    Do you decide that you’ve compared thermodynamics directly to observation, and it’s wrong?

    No, you don’t.  And the main reason you don’t is that thermodynamics has been too successful in this domain to discard it without considering other options.

    Here’s some other options you have:
    *) the pressure is less than 1 atmosphere, maybe because you’re higher than sea level, or you’re in a low pressure system
    *) the water isn’t pure water
    *) your thermometer is a bit broken or poorly calibrated
    *) there’s some other, hitherto unknown force acting on the water to lower its boiling temperature.

    A better way of describing what happens when you test a theory is that there are the following factors at work in the experiment:

    1) background assumptions – all the established science and unquestioned implicit assumptions you already have.
    2) the experimental apparatus
    3) the truth of the hypothesis under question

    if the experiment fails, any one of those things could be at fault
    (we could also add other factors, like the skill of the experimenter).

    Also, ‘direct comparison with observation’ obscures the fact that observations are usually highly theory dependent (and never neutral with respect to all beliefs).  ‘Fossils that are more than 6,000 years old’ isn’t something that can be simply observed – instead it depends on beliefs about radioisotope dating, rock strata formation, relative chronology with other fossils, etc.  Radioisotope dating depends on beliefs about radioactive decay, original isotopic ratios, etc.

    These considerations are especially important when it comes to Young Earth Creationism, because YE creationists basically have Feynmann’s (stated) view of science.  If they can ‘directly compare’ evolution with one thing that it can’t explain, then they’ve won, or so they think, so they’re constantly looking for anomalies.

    Whereas it would be a foolish scientist who ditches a whole theory as successful as evolution because of one anomaly.  We’ve had that discussion here, more than once, too, I believe.

  • vsm

    I took a course on the philosophy of science (in fact, I’m just going home from the exam), and one of the things that struck me was how bad some scientists are at it, this being a prime example. I don’t know how rigorous this lecture was supposed to be, but there’s no excuse for quoting it in 2012, as some science fans and even scientists seem to still do.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Putting ash into the atmosphere

    And suddenly, Mistborn.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If we’re going to legalize alchohol, why not crack cocaine

    Huh, someone else besides me who believes in legalizing ALL drugs.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You don’t even need calculus to prove why halting an exponential is good. Just draw the graph, and point out that the forcing term is in the brackets of the exp( ) and that it needs to go negative tout de suite.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I would make the case that it’s more of an oversimplified use of Feynman’s criterion that an experimental fact must reign supreme.

    When it was thought that neutrinos did in fact go faster than the speed of light, people checked this out VERY carefully, because the first thing experimentalists know to check is that the equipment is giving sensible results.

    And then after repeating the experiment and checking and re-checking, it was found that a fiber-optic cable was loose, if memory serves, throwing off the timing. Once this factor was corrected for, it was clear that neutrinos go (a tiny bit) slower than light, as anything with mass does.

  • arcseconds

     That’s an excellent example of how Feynmann’s description is way too simplistic to the point of being wrong.

    Describing what’s going on here as any kind of ‘direct comparison with observation’ is a bit strange to say the least: there’s a complicated apparatus, and what you observe directly are (I guess) numbers on a computer screen.  Relativity isn’t really about numbers on computer screens,  but this is the only thing like ‘direct comparison with observation’ you can do, so we have to handwave a bit. Relativity tells you that the numbers should be less than c, and here they are showing greater than c.

    So, taking Feynmann at his word, the Theory of Relativity should have been considered ‘wrong’ at this point.

    But there wasn’t a problem with the theory — the problem was with the experiment.

    Feynmman’s not just giving some blanket ‘theories have to be compared with reality’ statement here.  He gives a procedure that fails to mention important and interesting parts of the testing theory activities in science.

    Note in particular that Feynmann doesn’t mention going back and repeating the experiment, or checking the apparatus, or anything like that.  It would have been easy to cover these sorts of activities with a “once you’re sure your observations are correct”, or something like that.

    We’ve now directly compared Fenymann’s ‘testing theories’ theory with what scientists actually do when they find their results conflict with a theory, and we’ve discovered that it doesn’t describe what scientists actually do, therefore by Fenymann’s own words, it’s wrong.  :]

    That’s a great example, Neutrino.  Thanks.  I’ll have to look it up.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, it could be argued that a hidden assumption in Feynman’s statement IS the part about “once you’ve eliminated obvious problems with the data set”.

  • David Starner

    Decreasing CO2 emissions sounds like a great plan. It’s also a failed one. Maybe, hopefully, we can change that, but any realistic solution of the problem is going to have to deal with the fact that neither Americans nor the rest of the world have any interest in trying to cut back on their production of CO2, and yelling about decades down the line isn’t going to solve that.

  • David Starner

    Feynmann wasn’t talking about the Theory of Relativity, either. He was talking about a new hypothesis, one that didn’t have  a bunch of evidence behind it.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    We shouldn’t be putting shit in the atmosphere that we don’t know what
    it’ll do, but oh remember the Year Without Summer when we learned what
    happens if you put a bunch of [specific shit] in the atmosphere.

    No. We shouldn’t put anything into the atmosphere with the arrogant belief that we know exactly what it does and that we can control it.

    And
    the Year without summer showed that a very very small amount of volcanic ash had very bad consequences, so putting a large amount up would be much worse from the known consequences plus the unforeseen consequences we don’t know about yet plus the problems when we can’t remove it, because we can’t control it.

    Cause it’s not like Nobel Prize-winning scientists have suggested it or anything.

    I said serious scientists. I should have amended to “majority of serious scientists”. I know that there are a bunch of crackpot proposolas – putting millions of CDs into the atmosphere for reflection and similar.

    The thing is, these measures aren’t painless, either. They cost a staggering amount of money once you calculate it. We already have solutions – the problem is the are painful, costing either money or requiring a change in comfort or both.

    Instead of spending the money on further messing up the atmosphere with uncontrolled reactions, we can spend the money do to the things that cut CO2 emissions right now:
    don’t eat meat on two days a week
    build solar cells twice or three times the current national energy needs
    make all cars electric with the surplus
    all houses with heating isolated and with modern heating to 3 liter houses
    all houses with AC in summer isolated and with modern AC (earth-based cooling)
    Shut down all coal plants and replace with solar etc.

    Starve the beast, eh? If things get bad enough, we’ll HAVE to do the responsible thing!

    I don’t know which beast you want to starve. But this attitude of wanting climate change without any change in comfort is like those people on the Titantic who didn’t want to go out into the rescue boats because it was cold on the open water in their evening gowns.

    The palaeontology buff in me can get behind the sociopathic view of the crisis.
    ….
    Then the part of me that isn’t a (complete) asshole wakes up and gives you the finger.

    Um, what? What the fuck are you on about? How am I sociopathic or an asshole for stating that if we as species can’t get our shit together and solve problems threatening our existence, we both fail as supposedly intelligent sapiens and are fucked?

    Global temperature is increasing at an exponential rate, which is to say
    that the warmer it gets, the faster it warms. You may know the
    expression that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and
    that’s rarely more true when it comes to arresting an exponential growth
    function

    You really don’t need to lecture me on the dangers and problems of global warming. Not only is it not beind denied here, we have taken – as country and many people on personal level – quite a lot of steps. Not enough yet, but a bit more than the US which still refuses to sign or agree with global resolutions (no matter how toothless) and therefore only has efforts on local city level.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     “If we’re going to legalize gay marriage why not polygomous and polyandrous marriages?”

    Why not?

    The best excuse I’ve heard lately is that it would be a tax and legal _nightmare_.

  • arcseconds

     Well, as Socrates discovered, it’s very common for people to be able to do something very well, but be very bad at describing how they do what they are doing.  I’m sure Feynmann never would do what he’s prima facie suggesting here.

    Here’s a few thoughts:
    *) scientists are often pragmatic types who want to get back to the lab, not sit around pontificating about how knowledge is even possible, and what is this knowledge thing anyway.  (which is fine.  Science like most human activities, benefits from people with different interests, aptitudes, and approaches).

    *) scientists claim knowledge and want more knowledge, hence they claim and want certainty (even though these days they’re usually careful enough put some caveats around this).  Philosophy often seems to undermine both current knowledge claims and the possibility of future ones.

    *) scientists don’t actually need philosophy of science to function.  While they might be bad at describing what they’re doing, they seem to cope pretty well without this higher-order cognition of what they’re about. 
    (I think the scientific community would derive a lot of benefit from being more informed in the history and philosophy of science, but they can cope without it).

    *) scientists are used to being the top dogs in the knowledge game — some would say the only dogs in the knowledge game.  It’s a position of immense privilege.  Even though many, many (maybe most) scientists express themselves reasonably humbly and  don’t necessarily think of themselves in these terms, like any form of privilege it still informs their thinking about themselves and their discipline.  And there are plenty of scientists who are plenty arrogant.

    No-one likes being told what to do, but they especially don’t like it when they think they know already, they take themselves to be at the top of the totem pole, and the people who are doing the telling are a bunch of long-winded, hoity-toity professors from the faculty of arts (of all places!).

    *) scientists often find philosophy of science a turn-off.   They don’t need it, it means spending time thinking about stuff rather than doing it, and it introduces doubts where there was none before.   It’s also a challenge to their authority.

    Also, I think it’s fair to say that philosophy of science historically hasn’t put a lot of effort into showing scientists how it could inform their work.

    Also, also, it has to be admitted that there’s quite a lot of terrible and unhelpful philosophy of science around.

    All of this can make it easy for a scientist to agree with Feynmann that

     ‘scientists need philosophy of science like a bird needs an ornothologist’.

    There’s more I could say, but this is too long already.   I’ll briefly mention one more point though: it’s important for some to make science sound extremely simple and clear-cut, because that way it’s easier to dismiss and put down people who don’t follow the orthodoxy, and you can do this while denying any claim to authority.

    I think things are changing, though.  Philosophy of science is becoming increasingly specialised, and as a result more directly relevant to science, and also more in contact with the scientists who are working in that area.  Philosophers of science can’t get away without a lot of detailed knowledge of science now, and that improves the quality and makes them more respectable to scientists.    I’ve heard about several moves to make history and philosophy of science a required part of the science curriculum.   I think there’s much more cross-disciplinary communication than there used to be.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Then *GASP* have the government stop creating tax preferences for monogamous couples.

    Canada is partway there.

    Everybody in the Canadian tax system files as an individual. Under certain conditions you can transfer tax deductions to your child, parent, or even grandparent, and obviously also your spouse, married or common-law.

    It’s not hard to extend this concept to transferring deductions among a poly-married grouping.

    So all the US has to do is stop this dual structure of filing as a married couple on one return and your problem is halfway solved.

    So, next, please?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If Anne marries Bob and Bob marries Cathy, what legal relationship is there between Anne and Cathy?

    If Anne, Bob, and Cathy are married and Anne and Bob have a kid named Zoe, what legal relationship is there between Cathy and Zoe?

    If Anne, Bob, and Cathy are married and Anne wants out, can Anne divorce Bob and Cathy without affecting Bob and Cathy’s legal relationship, or must all three divorce, then Bob and Cathy remarry?

    If Anne, Bob, and Cathy are married and Anne becomes temporarily unable to make her own medical decisions, who gets final say over those medical decisions, Bob or Cathy?

    If Anne, Bob, and Cathy are married and Anne dies, what happens to her stuff? The usual deal is that the surviving spouse gets what the will says unless the will says the spouse gets less than the elective share (usually a third of the estate) in which case the surviving spouse can challenge the will. (I forget what happens when there’s no will.) Anne’s got two surviving spouses; do they each get a third, or do they divide a third between them? If it’s they each get a third and the marriage was a quartet instead of a trio, what’s left for Anne’s kid? If it’s they each get a third and the marriage was a quintet, how does the math work?

    Poly marriage really isn’t as simple as you and I want it to be.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Well, sure, except that now you’ve got half the population who never had to do taxes before who does now, producing twice as much work for the IRS.

    So, “half” the problem solved for poly marriages, and a new much larger problem created for everyone.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, ffs. The Canadian T1 general is four pages.

    And on top of that are you seriously telling me married couples only ever have one of the two members look at and prepare the tax return?

    And if Revenue Canada can handle the tax forms for 20 million Canadians the IRS can handle 200 million Americans. As opposed to ~150 million.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Sure, that part’s still hard. But in terms of tax filing, the solution is actually very straightforward. Just allow deductions to be transferred to any named individual and then both individuals indicate giving and receiving the deduction, respectively.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t think my dad’s laid eyes on a tax return since he married my mom. It seems stupid to me to have finances be solely one partner’s responsibility, but it works for my parents and I hear it works for a lot of couples.

    On the other hand, a lot of folks don’t ever look even at their own tax returns. It’s too complicated waaaaah hey look there’s a tax return place. (One such place near me is called Liberty Tax or some such, and every April they hire a couple people to stand by the road in this ugly-ass Statue of Liberty costume and wave at the cars and point at the storefront. I feel really sorry for those people, because April is always windy and none too warm and that costume can’t possibly retain heat well.) I am not at all opposed to any measure that would require an industry to hire a bunch of people across the board, and multiplying the number of tax returns needing filing would do exactly that for the tax preparation industry.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I mainly like the Canadian method because talk of a “marriage penalty” gets little to no traction here since the concept of a joint return doesn’t exist.

  • AnonaMiss

    Apologies on the “starve the beast” reference; I shouldn’t have tried to use an allusion to thirty-year-old US politics to convey my point to someone from outside the United States. (This is a real apology, not a passive-aggressive “I can’t believe you don’t know this” “apology.”)”Starve the beast” was a Reagan-era euphemism for using tax cuts to reduce spending. The idea is that if you make spending more irresponsible, Congress will be less willing to actually spend. Obviously it doesn’t work like that, and that’s the point I was trying to make. The implication I took from you saying that geoengineering wouldn’t change people’s attitudes towards global warming was that you thought we should allow the climate to keep deteriorating until more people wake up to how dangerous it is and take action. I was drawing a parallel between the idea of letting the world heat up until people have to do something about emissions, and the “starve the beast” philosophy of reducing taxation so that deficits get so bad the government has to do something about spending. With the implication that letting the world continue to warm until it’s so bad even the denialists will have to admit it is just as irresponsible and ultimately disastrous as cutting taxes to force the government to reduce spending.

    this attitude of wanting climate change without any change in comfort

    I don’t think I’ve said anything about comfort. I think you’re ascribing motives to my support of geoengineering which I haven’t indicated and which I don’t hold.My actual motive, since you didn’t ask, is that I don’t think we’re going to get our shit together in time to beat the ‘point of no return’ on global warming. And I think that geoengineering is our best bet for postponing that point of no return, possibly long enough for us to get our shit together.

    You really don’t need to lecture me on the dangers and problems of global warming.

    I wasn’t lecturing you on the dangers and problems of global warming. I was lecturing you on why short bursts of geoengineering in the near future could be valuable in the long run, shave a lot of time off of how long more conventional methods take to work, and possibly make the difference between the conventional methods ever working, or never working.And please leave off the “My country is better than your country” shit. It’s irrelevant to whether or not geoengineering is a viable tool for combating climate change and comes off as an ad hominem argument when you bring it up out of the blue like that.

    How am I sociopathic or an asshole for stating that if we as species can’t get our shit together and solve problems threatening our existence, we both fail as supposedly intelligent sapiens and are fucked?

    Try this on for size: “College students shouldn’t use Cliff Notes. They can understand the material. Otherwise they suck as college students.” When you say that, the implication is that if a college student exists who can’t understand the material without Cliff Notes, they don’t deserve to be a college student, right? By the hypothetical quote’s logic, if you’re a college student and get to a point where you have to choose between using Cliff Notes or failing out of class, you deserve to fail out of class.And now, compare shorter-your-first-post: “We shouldn’t use geoengineering. We can get global warming under control. Otherwise we suck as a species.” Implying that if we can’t solve the problem without geoengineering, we don’t deserve to live. Implying that if it ever came down to geoengineering vs the extinction of the human race, we deserve to go extinct.That’s a sociopathic position to take – and I use the term clinically. It’s a position devoid of empathy which is rational from a certain point of view (if you believe that our attempts at geoengineering will wipe out all life on earth, for instance). As I happen to be attached to many of the humans that you would rather sacrifice, however, I gave you the finger and called you an asshole.

    [actual concerns about geoengineering here]

    Yes, I agree that there are serious concerns about geoengineering. I just don’t think they warrant dismissing the option out of hand. This is in fact exactly why simulated volcanic cooling needs more attention, so that we can have a better idea of what the actual consequences would be and at what point the benefits would outweigh the consequences.

  • AnonaMiss

    Dammit disqus stop eating my line breaks. I put those in there so I wouldn’t be a wall of text!


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