If I fear anything, I fear the atmosphere of the war, the power which it gives to all the things I hate — the newspapers, the politicians, the puritans, the scoutmasters, the middle-aged merciless spinsters. I fear the way I might behave, if I were exposed to this atmosphere. I shrink from the duty of opposition. I am afraid I should be reduced to a chattering enraged monkey, screaming back hate at their hate.

Hiding From Hard Facts

Climate change is complicated. Simplifying it to little more than a matter of carbon emissions is insanely inaccurate, and can be deliberately deceitful. Worse, blaming humanity for harm done by weather is a political tactic in support of increased regulation of the economy and greater control of the individual. That’s how climate becomes a weapon in the struggle against Liberty.

Most people, instead of looking into the hard science, fuss about consensus — and demand solutions to problems that do not exist. There is no scientific consensus, and mankind’s role in climate is less clear than it is fanciful. The video linked above, for example, states that pollution (which is undefined) triggered a fundamental change in the relationship between atmospheric temperature and levels of carbon dioxide; that claim is pure speculation, and makes little sense. After all, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and its relationship to genuine pollutants, if any, is entirely unknown. What is certain is that significant changes in atmospheric CO2 levels are driven by temperature, rather than the other way around. Then too, the greenhouse effect of the gas is logarithmic, which severely diminishes CO2’s ability to elevate temperatures.

On the political right, “wingnuts” see warming as moderate, and consider the political implications of it as an excuse for bad governments to hammer capitalists and hyper-regulate the economy.

On the left, guilt-soaked “progressives” bleat about the horrors of rising sea levels and perishing polar bears, while viewing with alarm the depravity and suicidal fanaticism of “deniers”. That’s rampant ignorance and mythology in the service of rascals.

Then there’s the middle — bystanders who concede a little to each camp, and put on a show of calm rationality.

Only a few folks spend time on the science. Accordingly, if you ask either a Warmer or a Denier about how Mann fiddled the data to come up with his fraudulent hockey stick graph, you won’t hear a word about principal components analysis, short centering, and Mann’s choice of proxies. Ask what the data from the buoys and weather balloons show and what those results mean, and your questions will be ignored. Request an opinion on Lindzen and Choi’s satellite data that are a measure of atmospheric sensitivity, and note how quickly that essential paper is displaced as the center of the conversation. As for Hansen’s demand (in 2008) for an immediate nine percent reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide, well, that lunatic proposal won’t draw a shrug. The opponents in the match literally won’t know what you are talking about, and that will prompt them to suggest that you are the ignorant one.

Gun-Free Zones Are Happy Hunting Grounds For Lunatics, Villains, And Psychiatric Patients

Here’s a forthright reaction to a recent tragedy:

Barack Obama says the US is vulnerable to mass killings such as Monday’s shootings in Washington navy yard because of lax gun control laws. He says Congress must act to pass laws protecting citizens from gun crime to end the cycle of shootings he believes comes around too often. He also claims that he’s done everything in his executive power to prevent gun violence, but what good will that do?

The Naval Yard was a “Gun-Free Zone”, yet someone was able to walk right on in with a shotgun and begin shooting unarmed victims. Now, if there were people that had weapons on them, and could have protected themselves, would it be possible that there would be less victims? We certainly think so.

Before you blame the National Rifle Association for this one, take a look at the chemical involved! There’s more information here, and on this site.

Meanwhile…evidently the mall in Nairobi was not a “gun-free zone”. Good, but of course it could have been better.

A Reader’s Recommendations

Thanks go to RL for suggesting some items this newsletter missed….

Syria, gas warfare, and a regional power makes a point the US administration is not likely to appreciate — or endorse.

Kabul as it once was.

Who’s fighting in Syria? For obvious reasons, this report should not be ignored, but again, it is not politically correct in Washington.

It might not be that in the Obama vs. Putin match, Putin has the advantage, but that’s the way to bet. Meanwhile, folks in the USA need to keep a few unmentioned facts in mind.

The National Security Agency Is Dangerous

A hat tip goes to reader JW for suggesting you read the comments of a knowledgeable fellow who says bluntly, “It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state.”

Further: The Economist has posted a helpful article on the subject. Takeaway point:

…America (meaning the USA-ed.) has spent years battling countries such as Russia, China and Iran which want to wrest control of the internet from the mainly American engineers and companies who run it now, and give a greater role to governments. America has fought them off, claiming that its influence keeps the internet open and free.

Now a balkanisation of the web seems more likely. Jason Healey of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank, says that the denizens of Washington, DC, have lost sight of the fact that the true source of American cyber-power is neither the NSA and its code-breaking prowess nor the offensive capabilities that produced the Stuxnet virus, which hit centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear plant; it is the hugely successful firms which dominate cyberspace and help disseminate American culture and values worldwide. By tarnishing the reputations of these firms, America’s national-security apparatus has scored an own goal.

As eager as this newsletter is to see jihadis and other villains get their just deserts, the fact is that NSA is a genuine danger to the Republic. The secrecy and the sheer technical capabilities of the agency combine to worry everyone who cares about the Liberty of the individual.

Some folks consider these concerns in terms of privacy. The fourth amendment to the US federal constitution uses the word “secure” in that sense. If you want to be patriotic and just, don’t try to dismantle or redefine any of those amendments; instead, frame your political views within them.

If you are curious as to how this newsletter views privacy/security, request a copy of the relevant 2008 item that appeared in Numbers 4, 5, and 6.

A Change In Some Good Advice

Some time ago, this newsletter advised people in the USA who find themselves under arrest to say literally nothing to the police. A modification is required: now you must say, “I am asserting and exercising my right under the fifth amendment to the constitution to remain silent. I shall make no statements”. That is necessary because silence can now be evidence of guilt, according to an idiotic misinterpretation of your rights by the federal supreme court.

The New Terrapin Gazette Returns To An Old Theme

It’s been quite a while since this newsletter complained bitterly about the state of health science reporting. To recapitulate: too often, a wonder drug or procedure is touted as about to put an end to some horrible scourge such as cancer. That engenders hope in people who are suffering. Years later, the miracle has dropped out of sight, and the health problem remains, unconquered.

It has been argued here that the public does not need to know about experimental drugs and treatments until and unless they are ready to be employed.

Here is an example: in July of 2008, The Penguin Post (as NTG was then called) angrily denounced breathless reports of the effectiveness of a drug called arbiraterone. A British newspaper had gushed childishly that the chemical would put an end to prostate cancer. Read the article, and note that it reported that the drug would probably be licensed in 2011.

Now (in late 2013) check on the current status of the drug. Note that it does not cure cancer; it is said to extend a patient’s survival, however, and that’s good…but not very good: patients who took no drug for their cancer lived 10.9 months, while patients on arbiraterone lived 14.8 months.

What’s wrong here?

Well, cancer research continues; that’s fine. Tests of promising treatments are carried out, and again, that is as it should be. The problem is rotten journalism.

Most new drugs and procedures are failures. A great many early efforts impress researchers, only to collapse under further study. There is entirely too much early, unwarranted enthusiasm in the press, and the researchers often encourage it by going along with unrealistic, overly optimistic reports of impending cures.

Many scientists, perhaps hoping to enhance their ability to attract grants for continued research, tell the reporters how wonderful a new drug just might be. The journalists ignore the conditional statements and drop the caveats, simply reporting “breakthroughs” and great prospects.

The system is broken.

Scientists should provide the full story to the press, and insist that it be reported with all the relevant disclaimers and cautions. When the press does not behave itself, it is the ethical responsibility of the researchers to denounce the misleading reports and inform the public directly (via calls to science reporters, the media and webloggers who can spread the word) that the “miracle” has not arrived, and that, based on past experience, the “breakthrough” is statistically unlikely.

Of course it’s time editors realized just how much heartbreak reporters and columnists cause when they wax dramatic over miracle cures that are years from final testing and evaluation. Encouraging false hope is appallingly unethical.

Unfortunately there is no reason to believe that cynical, greedy journalists will reform themselves. They know their reports must be written to attract attention, and there are few stories that can do that better than predictions of doom and promises of salvation from doom. The rascals will remain rascals, in other words.

A pox on the press!

Final word: research in health care is slow because it has to be. When its efforts do not produce better drugs, that is not evidence of incompetence, for, as the trite saying goes, “There are no failures — only additional data”. Recall, however, Sir Alexander Fleming’s words, “Penicillin sat on the shelf for thirteen years, while I was called a quack”; that was an institutional lapse. Then more recently, Nobel laureates Marshall and Warren remind that the system is not devoid of frustrating hide-bound orthodoxy. Read this.

Links

This is easily understood: “…it is Obama, not the House of Representatives, who is putting the country at risk of a government shutdown”. Get the full story…. And then there’s this excellent response. Highest recommendation.

Politicians and their lies.

Here’s a little recent history for Republicans to remember as the fuss over de-funding Obamacare kicks up more dust.

Collectivism is vivisected in a brilliant essay posted by an organization that provides a platform for virtually all viewpoints. Highly recommended.

“That is not something to compromise about.” What is referred to? The public nature of justice. Ominously, a British court has backed down before steadfast enemies of Liberty.

The Dean of NTG subscribers notes that in reports like this one, no mention is made of Jewish ownership of the nearby shops or of the mall itself. As time goes by, it will be interesting to see how much the news media feel can safely be reported. Then one can speculate on why that decision, whatever it might be, was made.

This commentary by Victor Davis Hanson should convince just about anybody that insanity prevails. Recommended.

Should one be skeptical of claims that Assad’s people used toxic gas in Syria? Can Russian attempts to blame the rebels be believed? This newsletter is bitterly critical of both sides in this very filthy conflict, and hopes the USA stays out of it. Isolationism? Yes, indeed! There are no Good Guys in this brawl.

The nation that has prohibited the construction of more Muslim minarets has just made this decision. Ponder the implications….

Have a cup of hot tea or coffee. Here’s a good reason to do that.

Yes. That’s all — just “yes”. Recommended.

When it comes to protecting constitutional rights, “The executive is not an effective check on the executive.” Thus spake a federal judge. The context: a lawsuit filed against Team Obama. Are your federal income taxes in perfect order, Your Honor?

Crackpot nonsense from the First Lady. Don’t bother clicking.

Possibly related: education in extremis.

The female who gave the world “a willing suspension of disbelief”, “Who painted it?” and “What difference at this point does it make?” slithers away. “Obama and Clinton concocted one of the most audacious lies ever told by an American leader….” They are very good at what they do, and the news media tacitly endorse their dishonesty.

Hillary, you scamp, you’ve been blaming things on the CIA again, haven’t you? Here’s a little something for you to read….

As you climb up the Pyramid of Power, the space shrinks — so you find the people on the higher levels all seem to know each other, or be connected…as Hillary could tell you, if she wanted to….

Wow…imagine: Senator McCain might have been elected president! Why mention it? The man has gone off the rails. That does not mean the nation is lucky to have Obama; it means the nation is unlucky to have McCain.

Just guessing, you understand — but here there might be something that will allow scientists to stop babbling about “dark matter” and “dark energy”.

A hat tip to the Dean for this report on a promising new material that may dramatically lower the cost of electric power generation.

Mass murder in the USA: the attitudes of the news media are highly relevant. Had you thought of that? Consider a trenchant commentary…. Further, it’s not the National Rifle Association that’s the problem; it’s the the crazies. That includes religious lunatics, of course.

This newsletter has been howling about “the licensing of the press” for some time. For a different approach to developments, consider this commentary.

Firearms legislation, violence, and coffee: as always, common sense should prevail. It often does not; many people pay way too much for coffee.

In the USA, taxes and politics can be — well, closely related. And if you know what’s good for you….

Reach out your hand
if your cup be empty
If your cup is full
may it be again
Let it be known
there is a fountain
that was not made
by the hands of men

There is a road
no simple highway
between the dawn
and the dark of night
And if you go
no one may follow
That path is for
your steps alone

The masthead includes a quote from the works of Christopher Isherwood.

The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Slackware Linux, Emacs, and Firefox.

Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.