USA: Existential Crisis?


#21

Since my mind is like a steel sieve…

I was listening to that interview, I’m thinking, on NPR, but it was some time ago. So, I would completely understand if one doesn’t put much stock into what I’ve related.

But to continue. I was listening (yes again) to a professor giving testimony before a congressional committee. He mentioned that they had used the software that is being currently being used to predict the climate. Of course, this computer model is saying that the climate, by the end of the century, will be several degrees warmer. They had put in data for the last many decades and then tried to see how it would predict what the climate would be today. It predicted that it would be significantly warmer than it is today. Again, there is no evidence that this software was corrected after fraudulent code was found in it, data that was arbitrarily inserted as code that would affect the outcome.One never heard of efforts being made to correct the software after this demonstration of its error. Nope, nothing to see here. But yet its predictions are still being used. Science?

It has been mentioned that research behind papers published that are critical are funded by special interests of the status quo. I don’t doubt it. But, the question in my mind is, since the boards approving papers for publication are very biased, are they making sure that only paper critical that gets publish are these ones, thus bringing into question any critical view?

I remember some forty years ago, there were climate scientists that were saying that the earth was heading towards another ice age. My reaction was, and you may want to sit down for this for it is quite shocking, skeptical.

What I wish, since I do love science, is that all research would have been done quietly and objectively. Maybe the politicians wouldn’t have noticed until honest results would be published, whatever those results would be. From what I see, the whole “science” that is behind, what has become an obvious agenda of greed and power, is completely lacking integrity. They have, for me, lost all credibility. And that makes me sad. And irritated.


#22

Looking in from New Zealand, I would consider the result a disaster, although I do know a few Trump supporters here. Our country is in by no means in agreement about politics, and in fact almost as divided as the US. I would consider myself well left, if only Sanders was running.

Climate change is the issue I am most concerned about, since it will be my generation that will have to deal with the fallout. Those deniers and those who make laws about such events will be well dead by the time anything major happens, meaning there is no intensive for them. I’m fully expecting mass migration away from the cost, crop failures and possibly resource wars. I hope I’m wrong.

My second issue with Trump is his treatment minority groups, need I say more here?

I agree with Lunduke that Hillary was terrible as well, which is why I think there must be a better way. Unfortunate it is 2 party system and any vote for an independent is as good as a vote for Trump. This is because of the first past the post voting system, which would be improved if there was simply an option to rank candidates. For example, independent 1, Hillary 2. So when the independent losses your vote goes to Hillary. This turns people away from strategic voting and more people vote independent, therefore they actually have a chance.

My second option is a little more radical, get rid of the president/prime minster all together. For every proposed law, have the people vote on it. Get everyone involved all the time, rather than just on election day. Form a true democracy. Of cause printing so many voting papers is hugely expensive. But everyone already has Internet. Yes Internet voting is a massive security issue, but that’s because the government hold one centralised server. What about blockchain voting. Every citizen keeps a copy of all the votes on their computer and is able to verify everyone else’s vote. Votes are signed with your private key to ensure you made them. Of cause you would have to register your public key with the government, otherwise non-citizens could vote. But privacy aside, this would save million (billion?) in printing voting papers and election campaigns. A better news system would be needed to ensure that everyone knows the issues from both sides, but I would ague that this is needed anyway. Thoughts?


#23

Then let me ask you a question. What would convince you that this administration does need to be opposed?


#24

That’s a quick way to bankrupt a country. Taxes will quickly be raised so high on “other people” that those with money leave, and spending on “me” will rapidly turn the country into an economic basket case.


#25

Taxes will quickly be raised so high on “other people” that those with money leave

That’s one of the fallicies that those with money love to wave around. The thing is “these other people” hide their money very well and spend a very small percentage of it. That’s why it never trickles down and never will.

In the UK we had banks waving that threat around all the time ,that they would leave to go to Hong Kong. They never did and you know why. If the bankers behaved the way they did in the UK in China they wouldn’t be walking off with their gold plate pensions. They would be put on trial and shot.

These “other” people profit from the rule of law in Western countries but seldom give back.


#26

In the UK, US and many other places around the world we have a sort of democracy. i say sort of because while anyone can stand for political office we have what is in effect a two party system. If I was living in the US now I would have voted Clinton, not because I thought she had the best policies of all the candidates but because I knew that in reality the only possible outcomes were Trump or Cliniton and as you may have worked out for your self my distrust of Trump is much bigger than my distrust of Clinton though my opinions on Hillary are not high.

You asked why some protests work while others achieve little; I think this comes down to what is seen as the least bad option to those who potentially hold power. Trump played on the disillusionment of many who see the current system is not working for them and as an outsider Trump is seen as someone who will change the system. I am not convinced he will change it in anyway for the better but is language already has a more conciliatory tone and I could, hope to be, proved wrong.

Protests work by raising public awareness and just as a product manufacturer is not going to promote a product which means people are not going to buy it or indeed anything else from them; Politicians are going to stand behind causes which mean they will be elected and avoid ones which mean they won’t.

There are some good people in politics who want to do the best they can for the rest of us and have sound principles but I am afraid that they seam to be in the minority with most aiming to forward their own aims and expletive deleted the rest of us,

I could be being over pessimistic here, and I hope I am, but I feel the only way we are going to improve society is to recognise our common struggles and work together to overcome them.

I may have problems with a Muslim if their views are such that they want to suppress my right of expression, and kill me, but it must be remembered that this represents an exceedingly tiny minority of Muslims and assuming she does not belong to that group I couldn’t care less if she is also a Mexican lesbian or trans-gender.


#27

I know you are sensitive about the Jewish people from conversations we had in an earlier topic. I wasn’t aware you had been personally attacked in this respect and naturally I would condemn anybody thinking such actions are acceptable behaviour.

I can think of many reasons to attack you outside of race and religion :grinning:.

I am joking of-course I find we are in broad agreement on many issues though we have a few areas where we disagree and we have always been able to discuss these in a respectful way.

I am curious however given Trumps many outbursts against women, Muslims, Mexicans and the LGBT community why you do not appear to see theses groups as needing the same support the Jewish community has needed on many times, most famously under Hitler’s Germany but on many times before and since.

So like @b1ackcr0w I would love to know:


#28

Word.

Ditto.

Of course. We are rad.

WHoooooooooooah now. Never said any of that.

I’ve been a member of multiple GLBT political action organizations over the years. And have been a vocal opponent of people who have sought to take away the basic civil rights of any group of people (including at least one guest we’ve had on Bad Voltage).

Quick, quick version of my thoughts:

  1. I have opposed, and will continue to oppose, any President that is doing something evil.
  2. I have zero party or politician loyalty.
  3. I did not vote for Trump or Clinton.
  4. On the issue of GLBT rights, Clinton has (historically) been an adversary. She’s fought against marriage equality for, literally, decades.
  5. On the same issue, Trump is all over the map. Sometimes supporting, sometimes opposing. But, currently, his stance appears to be “he’s opposed, but there’s nothing he can do about it so he considers the matter closed”.

I could go on and on, I suppose, but I fail to see why I (or anyone else) needs to come out and declare defiance to Trump even before he takes office. Will I fight him any time he does something evil (such as the things Clinton has done in the past)? Yes. Vigorously. But, as of this moment, he can’t do a darn thing. We’ll see what happens when he sits in the chair.


#29

I’m sorry if my last post felt like an attack because it wasn’t meant to be. The difference between us appears to be that we both agree Trump has said some horrible things and that he should be admonished for them.

That I have taken him at his word and am therefore against him as a racist, homophobic, misogynistic attacker of the disabled. You prefer to think that while you agree he has made comments that can be interpreted in that way he may have been “playing to the crowd”, expressing views that he knew would be popular with a section of the electorate ( to get the job) but ones he may not actually subscribe to.

I hope that when we get to see him in power, he is closer to the president you are hoping him to be than the one I am expecting him to be.

Finally: You guys need to get your selves invited to a UK event so we can all meet up for a chat over a beer or six.


#30

Money does trickle down. The problem is, the whole structure of the system is designed as a gigantic industrial suction pump to draw it, and the power and resources it represents, back to the upper echelons of the structure. The fractional reserve system of money supply economics means wealth can never be created and retained as purported by it’s proponents because any money created is debt at source, only gaining any value by devaluing any existing currency, coupled to “free market” systems driven by the application of interest, a mechanism that guarantees that more debt has to be created to satisfy a system that cannot exist without infinite expansion and consumption, and currency has to be continuously devalued.

The root cause of our failing systems of government is not individual or group moral deficiencies. There isn’t a new way of shuffling currencies around that’s going to fix any (never mind all) of our problems. Until we the idea that there might be out of our heads, we wont be able to change the direction we’re headed in. We have to understand that what we have is neither designed for or capable of, meeting our needs. Trump is not the cause of that, he’s just a symptom of it.


#31

I think the argument that he should be given a pass until Inauguration because he can’t do anything is specious. His appointment proposals alone are doing something. The appointment of Steve Bannon for example indicate that Trump doesn’t see the far right as a problem, and that is already having a real world effect of increasing racist incidents.


#32

“This has lead to an explosion in financial instruments (translation: nearly but not quite scams). Because everyone who invented, bought and sold these things was trying to scam everyone else involved, it sort of worked and huge, huge piles of loot were made for the Nazgul, the maths PHDs and the pissed old boys who still held stock. Some of this cash even made it to coke dealers and strippers, but not, alas, the homeless. This is called trickle down economics, incidentally.”
Godzilla and Beaker investigate the credit crunch


#33

Probably the most foremost reason why Trump succeeded once you separate the comedy from the message… honestly, if there ever was an election to break the 2 party system… this was it.

Unfortunately the green party and the libertarian party failed to break 5% and secure access to Minor Party status and the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for 2020 so I fear the lessons learned from this cycle might fall on deaf ears.

One positive thing this election does represent however is that injecting so much money into your campaign can only get you so far (Hillary’s budget was double Trump’s was after all. source: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/)


#34

Worth noting: Where I live, millions of dollars in property damage has already been done because of rioting and violence by people who dislike Trump. Spraypainted “Fuck Trump” (etc.) covers big areas of the city. Freeways have been blocked (emergency vehicles having a hard time getting to people in need).

There are scattered reports of vandalism towards muslims – and that should not be tolerated (not in the slightest) – but it’s in much smaller quantities.

Trump could speak out, in a big way, against any violence towards any person, for any reason. And, last I checked, he has not.

Obama and Clinton could do the same. And, last I checked, they had not. They could be condemning the violence and destruction… instead they have actually encouraged it.

All of which says a whole awful lot about all of these “leaders” and what they’d like to see happen.


#35

Where would that be? In the “local” rag (Seattle Times) I see no mention of “millions of dollars” of damage. Can you supply a non breitbart.com reference?

Um you’re saying Obama (and Clinton) encouraged such actions … ditto … can your provide a reputable news source for this assertion?

  • kg

PS I think Trump’s line up of cabinet officers, as much as we know about them presently, speaks volumes for what we can expect for the next 4-8 years (and many more vis-a-vis the Supreme Court).


#36

Clinton, like many candidates, comes across as someone who may have supported LGBT rights personally, but politically didn’t until it was tipped the other way. Trump seems like the absolute worst aspects of populism rolled into one, and that both frightens me and gives me some hope.


#37

Portland. It’s been all over the news – local and national. Day after day of riots. Tons of vandalism and property damage. People getting shot.

Maybe. But all we can really do is take a candidate at their word and look at their track record. Hillary Clinton fought (hard) against marriage equality for years and years. She spoke out against it – including on the Senate floor where she informed us all that God told her that it’s wicked bad for two dudes to get married. (That’s a fun one, it’s all over the BlueToobs.)

If the majority of her life has been spent fighting against something – but then, when the thing she was fighting against began to become official law throughout the country, she changes her mind about it – that leads me to believe that she truly believes the things that she spend the bulk of her life saying. Maybe I’m wrong on that. I don’t know her personally, so I can only guess based on her words and track record… and that’s what I infer from that information.

I’m not really sure what to expect with Trump as President. Maybe it’ll be awesome. Maybe it’ll suck a ton. Maybe nothing all that exciting will happen outside of a few funny statements. Shrug. I could see a compelling case made for a whole bunch of different outcomes.


#38

I agree with @FreeDoum that this kind of allegation better be backed up.
Until they are, I agree with you that I shouldn’t give too much about them (no offense intended).
And just as a matter of style: please be careful when using words like “fraudulent” that clearly imply an intention to mislead. Software is easy to get wrong, that’s probably something we can all agree on.

Now about the models you were talking about…
Disclaimer: I am not doing my PhD in meteorology or climate science or anything related, so take my opinion with a pinch of salt. I am working with software though (applied mathematics) so I’ll take a stab at this anyway.

Any model is wrong to a degree, and that’s okay. Plugging in historic data and trying to “predict” the present is certainly a useful sanity check, but it is not the last word on accuracy. Just as an example, we had a very strong El Niño in 2015/16. To my knowledge, we don’t know exactly why this phenomenon is stronger some times than others. So the model those scientists were using would very likely have predicted the wrong temperatures in the affected regions. And that would be fine. Now, if the simulation was consistently and systematically wrong, that would be cause for concern. But being wrong, one time doesn’t make the model useless or overall wrong. In fact, it could be wrong for every year and still be “correct” and, more importantly, useful, as long as the errors are unbiased.
If the results are biased on the other hand, and if that bias limits its usefulness, then it might not have to change, but could just be made more fine-grained. In above example, that might mean “simply” finding out how and why El Niño is stronger/weaker, and adding that to the model.
But to predict overall trends for decades ahead, that might not be necessary.

As I said, I myself am doing my PhD at the moment, and from what I can see, a lot of scientists (including myself) are very unhappy with the current state of the academic system, for a lot of reasons. The kind of manipulation you are implying though would certainly still be a major scandal, at least within the scientific community.
John Oliver did a pretty good job at showing some of the systemic problems with academia as a whole. These points apply to virtually all scientific fields, more or less. But they are rarely about fraudulent science, more about bad science and bad communications. And for reasons that are much less sinister than a global effort to push an agenda.

But despite all this, science is still much more neutral, and certainly more accurate as a source of information than anything else.

tl;dr

  • wrong predictions for any given year are not necessarily a reason to change the model
  • It’s an open secret that the scientific system is broken at the moment
  • Still, science is the most reliable source of information.

#39

He will be the new Nixon.


#40

Thank you for your kindness and consideration. But no offense taken. When I wrote that, I really did not expect anyone to take it seriously since it was all from memory of something I heard on the radio. And I will not be surprised, in the least, that what I heard was not exactly what was related. But what I “heard” fit nicely into my irritation of the whole subject. Some of the things I relate are from memory of what I might have read in articles while sitting at our local library. So, it’s hard for me to pull out of my leaky head as to sources. I am waiting for @sil to start putting some note on my posts like “this post does not necessarily represent the views of Bad Voltage, or of anyone in their right mind.” :smile:

I did appreciate you relating your experience with models. It jogged my memory as to the irritation I felt as that professor was relating his results with that model. I was thinking was it a day, week, month, year, decade that his results covered? Did he run the model and see how it predicted the preceding decade? Then he related the oil interests in the area of his university. So, how objective is that? What I would like to see, if it hasn’t happened already, is that any model used be open source. That, in my mind, would be a hindrance to any temptation to manipulate the results.

I do see an agenda war here, and “science” is just a tool used to wage the war. But what you said about systemic problems reminded me of [this item] (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/30/444789771/studies-may-overstate-the-benefits-of-talk-therapy-for-depression) I heard on NPR, (wow, I managed to find the source!!) relating to depression therapy. What stood out to me from that story was:

"Of course, publication bias isn’t limited to depression treatments. It’s a widespread problem throughout the research world, says Kay Dickersin, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We’re rewarded for getting papers out, for finding results that will bring attention to our universities and to ourselves,” she says. “We aren’t rewarded for being honest; we’re rewarded for making a splash.”

"And that presents a challenge both to doctors and to their patients, Dickersin says. "I think the question that’s really arisen is, how much of what’s out there should we really believe."

That reminds me of an ancient saying: “Does not the ear test out words, as the tongue tastes food?” But, to probably my detriment, I tend not to believe anything I hear. At least, not until confirmed in some way. Even then, my skepticism remains, even if just a bit.

Anyway, thanks for the patience. Most tend to just ignore me as one would with that crazy old uncle that seems to be in everyone’s family. And I’m fine with that! :smile:


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