Thursday, February 19, 2009

experts don't know shit

... especially when it comes to predicting the future, whether they may be experts in economics, climate, or technology. That's why the experts weren't able to predict any of the significant world-changing events like this current financial mess, the financial mess in the 30s, the rise of Hitler, hurricane Katrina, and so forth. Nor can they be expected to predict the next financial crash or boom, long-term climate change, the next Big Thing in technology (or Hollywood), or any other stuff that actually matters.

There's a whole bunch of anecdotal evidence about expert opinion that failed the test of time dismally. Here are just a few examples:

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers, 1927

"It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?" -- Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone, 1876

"By 1985, machines will be capable of doing any work Man can do." -- Herbert A. Simon, of Carnegie Mellon University - considered to be a founder of the field of artificial intelligence - speaking in 1965

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." -- Associates of Edwin L. Drake refusing his suggestion to drill for oil in 1859

And on an article from Money Magazine:
"Some 25 years ago, Philip Tetlock, 54, a professor of organizational behavior at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley began an experiment to quantify the forecasting skill of political experts.

By the time he finished in 2003, Tetlock had signed up nearly 300 academics, economists, policymakers and journalists and mapped more than 82,000 forecasts against real-world outcomes, analyzing not just what the experts said but how they thought: how quickly they embraced contrary evidence, for example, or reacted when they were wrong. And wrong they usually were, barely beating out a random forecast generator."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

if you think your city is crappy, think again

If you think you live in a crappy city, you still have a reason to be thankful that you're not living in one of these REALLY crappy cities:

Kabwe, Zambia
Lead levels in Kabwe are astronomical. On average, lead concentrations in children are five to 10 times the permissible U.S. Environmental Protection Agency levels, and can even be high enough to kill.
People potentially affected: 255,000
Type of pollutant: Lead and cadmium

Sumgayit, Azerbaijan
Sumgayit's many factories, while they were operational, released as much as 120,000 tons of harmful emissions, including mercury, into the air every year. Most of the factories have been shut down, but the pollutants remain — and no one is stepping up to take responsibility for them.
People potentially affected: 275,000
Type of pollutant: Organic chemicals, oil and heavy metals

Chernobyl, Ukraine
When Chernobyl melted down on Apr. 26, 1986, the ruined plant released 100 times more radiation into the air than the fallout from the nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today the 19-mi (30-km) exclusion zone around the plant remains uninhabitable, and between 1992 and 2002 more than 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed among Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian children living in the fallout zone.
People potentially affected: Initially estimated at 5.5 million, currently disputed
Type of pollutant: Radiation

Dzerzhinsk, Russia
The city's own environmental agency estimates that almost 300,000 tons of chemical waste — including some of the most dangerous neurotoxins known to man — were improperly dumped in Dzerzhinsk between 1930 and 1998. Parts of the city's water are infected with dioxins and phenol at levels that are reportedly 17 million times the safe limit. The Guinness Book of World Records named Dzerzhinsk the most chemically polluted city on Earth, and in 2003 its death rate exceeded its birth rate by 260%.
People potentially affected: 300,000
Type of pollutant: Chemicals and toxic byproducts, including sarin and VX gas

Sukinda, India
Sukinda, which contains one of the largest open cast chromite ore mines in the world, 60% of the drinking water contains hexavalent chromium at levels more than double international standards. An Indian health group estimated that 84.75% of deaths in the mining areas — where regulations are nonexistent —are due to chromite-related diseases. There has been virtually no attempt to clean up the contamination.
People potentially affected: 2,600,000
Type of pollutant: Hexavalent chromium and other metals

Thursday, February 05, 2009

hot, cold, or or drowning?

Northern America and Europe is experiencing one of the worst winters in recent history while parts of the southern hemisphere are experiencing droughts and record high temperatures. At the same time, island nations in the South Pacific are slowly drowning.

I bet a horde of environmentalist fanatics are viewing this as a sign from the almighty that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) will soon spell our doom.

Well, if all the climatologists in the world, with all their superfantastic supercomputers and climate models, can't predict the climate in the next year or two, I would bet my last dollar that they can't predict the climate in the next 50 years either.

AGW believers claim that their models show a catastrophic effect if global temperatures rise more than a few degrees. And yet how can we trust their models when those same models can't even predict next year's average temperatures accurately?

Climate is a dynamic system and very sensitive to minute changes --
for all we know, a ginormous comet is already heading our way and will hit us 3 months from now, changing climate significantly as well as killing us all -- so how can these doomsayers be so confident to proclaim that the Earth is inevitably moving to a warmer future?

As for me, I embrace the uncertainty of the future. Nobody knows anything about the future, no matter how all-knowing some claim to be. That's why I'll just sit back, resume watching TV, and increase my carbon footprint to cool/warm my ass in this scorching/freezing weather.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


ice in the arctic has melted enough so that the ice cap is now effectively an island. but that's a good thing. now, ships can travel through what was before ice-blocked seas and save thousands of miles in travel time.
so what if some polar bears drown due to disappearing ice? with all the money we save from less travel time, we can breed more polar bears.

plus who gives a serious crap about polar bears anyway? i betcha, most of the vegan-nature-lover-greenpeacer hypocrites would rather have their organically-produced tofu (shipped from Japan) arrive a day early than save a polar bear from drowning in the arctic.

fucking hypocrites.

anyway, there's also news that land-based ice is also melting. guess what? the people in the largest land-based ice melt (greenland) are happy about it! and they have good reason to be happy; who wouldn't trade a land buried in ice over a land where one can actually see the soil, and possibly even plant something.
ah, but the fucking environmentalists say the seas will rise once the land-based ice starts to melt.

ok, here's a fact: if the ENTIRE greenland ice or the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) were to melt, global sea level will rise 7 meters. both hold about 500,000 cubic miles (2.2 million cubic kilometers) of ice. now, it's practically impossible for the entire greenland ice sheet to melt, unless we're hit with a ginormous meteor, in which case we're all fucked anyway. but even if it does happen, 7 meters is not too bad.

sure... some polar bears might drown, as well as the entire maldives, but worse shit can and has happened compared to a rise in sea levels of 7 meters.

what's really irritating is that the fucking environmentalists and that ex-vice president dude keep on blaming our precious right to pump carbon as the cause of global warming, ice-melting, sea level rise, and drowning of polar bears. those morons don't have any credible research to back their preposterous assertions, but they just love to hear themselves talk.

fucking morons.

here's a thought, from ACTUAL scientific research: from 18,000 years ago until now, the sea level has risen 130 meters (now that's deep shit), but the rise in sea level from 1870 onwards is (surprise!) 195 MILLIMETERS. for the environmentalist morons, 195 mm = 0.195 meters. 0.195 meters of increase for more than a hundred years of human-initiated carbon emissions? WTF?

oh yes, there's probably a whole lot of those carbon-emitting SUVs on the planet before 1870!!

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Random thoughts on politics, social issues, money, finance, sex, humor, stupidity, or just about anything, of a hatemonger, an obsessive-compulsive, and a schizophrenic forced to live in a cramped and humid apartment.