Today, a grab bag:
* Color me unimpressed with this review of Alice Dreger and her book, Galileo's Middle Finger, although I haven't read the book so I'm unsure if the problem is the book or the review. The review discusses two (2) cases of white male researchers being treated unfairly for saying something that contradicts academic orthodoxy in their field. (I had known previously about the Changnon/Yanomami issue and agree with the author; I didn't know anything about the Bailey/transgender issue other than what I just read.) Two cases do not make a counterpart to Mooney's Republican War on Science.
What's odd is I'm aware of the argument that much of sociology (and anthropology outside of paleo) is hopelessly politicized in academia along a left axis. I don't know enough to make a final conclusion but it seems like there's some good evidence for that. In particular, it seems ludicrous to argue that hunter-gatherer societies were essentially peaceful, and to argue the abundant evidence of violence by modern hunter-gatherers and from those in the historical period is due to "contamination" from developed civilizations. A book that wrestled with this would be interesting; one that points out a few jerks is less so. For more, see some of the nuanced comments at the LGM post on the issue.
* Skeptical Science has a good rundown on what Alberta is doing to address climate. Alberta has one of the worst per-capita emissions in the world, making the US looking like Denmark by comparison. It's a good start, but only levels off rapidly-increasing emissions rather than lower them. It also shows the real-world political complexity of a carbon tax - the sausage-making of politics gives you something different from the economic ideal.
* A good-news article about financing solar energy in remote villages in India. We need more of this stuff, but 5 million solar home systems isn't nothing, even in India. Creating a credit history for people making a few dollars a day is also incredibly beneficial.
* A bad-news article about incredible methane leak in California, constituting the biggest single source of greenhouse gases in the state (depending on how you weigh methane). I didn't believe it when I first heard a radio talk show caller mention it, thinking it must be exaggerated. It wasn't. I'm not sure how California cap-and-trade should affect this, but I'd want the leaker forced to buy permits as just one part of the punishment.
* Know the flow! Niagara Falls is maintained at 100k cubic feet per second in the daytime (2800 cubic meters per second), with excess diverted for hydropower:
For comparison purposes when water is running down your street.
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Today, a grab bag: