Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Special Snowflake Seeks Rent

Eli observes that special snowflake syndrome is spreading faster than Zika and interacting with the carriers, well, it shrinks a bunny's brains because it is hard to believe that such needy people have survived to adulthood with all of their teeth.  

The Urban Dictionary provides a diagnostic

A malady affecting a significant portion of the world's population wherein the afflicted will demand special treatment, conduct themselves with a ludicrous, unfounded sense of entitlement and generally make the lives of everyone around them that much more miserable.
and recommends running away on first encounter.

A defining characteristic of such carriers is that they insist you do their work, 24/7.  No better example than a tweet exchange btw  Roger Pielke Sr. and Gavin Schmidt a few days ago

Well Eli could display the entire exchange after that, but suffice it to say that Roger goes rent seeking soon after
Continuing his challenge to Gavin for a challenge round of Pielkes All the Way Down

UPDATE:  Somebunny reminds Eli of Nathan Myhrvold and the black solar cells where he proved to Steve Levitt that solar cells could never help with global warming because they were black.  Brad deLong deals with this and RayP invites Levitt and Myhvold to his office for a beat down.  Good times

It appears that rent seeking is a defining symptom of Special Snowflake Syndrome. To continue with Ex 2, a few days ago Nathan Myhrvold is the former chief technology officer at Microsoft posted a manuscript to arXiv which claims that the NASA/JPL group who have been designing a mission to detect near Earth asteroids has got it all wrong and come pretty close to them wanting to go out and hire Mike Mann's lawyer. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy does an excellent job of summarizing the science as well as linking to other blogs and discussions on the set to.

The science argument can be settled in a second.  The NASA/JPL group calibrates its model of asteroid size against accurate occultation measurements of a fair number of objects in the asteroid belt.  They then use the calibrated model to measure the diameters of a large number of asteroids that were observed by previous space telescopes.  Myhrvold claims to use "basic physics" but his results are off by more than a order of magnitude. Bunnies can read Platt and Eli also recommends this discussion in the Asteroid and Comet mailing list.

However, science be damned for this post, for this post, what is most interesting is the exchange between the NASA/JPL group and Myhrvold as described by Plait
Myhrvold says the team was not cooperative about their work and gave him “cryptic” answers to his questions.

Mainzer told me a very different story. She said she worked with Myhrvold multiple times, trying to show him where some of his ideas were either incorrect or not applicable to the work they were doing, but he remained defiant. She pointed out specific errors, but despite that the errors remain in his work.

The errors she mentioned are various, including his confusing diameter with radius in his calculations and using a model that incorrectly determines diameters. For his part he says their model doesn’t include some basic physics, and that some of their numbers are suspicious.
Indeed, even though his model fails a basic bullshit test Myhrvold like an good special snowflake, digs in and demands that the JPL group bow to his genius.  No bunny should have expected anything else.  It's part of the package. This pattern of behavior is especially available in Twitter.  Eli, against his better judgement has gotten brain squeezed a couple of time there.  He shoudda known better.  Just tell em to go away.


Pinko Punko said...


Kevin O'Neill said...

Jonathan Gradie thinks that at least a few of Myhrvold's criticisms are valid.
"...Myhrvold is correct that the NEOWISE algorithm has not used Kicrchoff’s law correctly in all cases. In particular is some loose trading of spectral emissivity and bolometric emissivity in their models. Myhrvold is correct that the NEOWISE mixing of spectral and bolometric emissivity is not good, especially when trying to separate those portions of reflected sunlight from thermal emission in bands 1 and 2."

Johnny Vector said...

Plait, not Platt.

Kevin O'Neill: Yes, and so what? Their model is not a physical model. They have explained why: Asteroid surfaces are complex and not well understood. Thus, the correct parameters for a physical model are difficult to know. Whereas an empirical model, calibrated against hundreds of samples, works to within 10 or 20% in all cases tested.

A tremendous amount of astronomy is based on non-physical empirical models. The radiation spectrum from cold galactic dust, for example. Which is fine so long as you don't try to push the model too far, as the good folks at BICEP2 learned not too long ago. Physical models are preferred of course, but only if you can determine the parameters.

Anonymous said...

Somebody or some thing ate Roger's cookies apparently. That's enough to piss any snowflake off.

Anonymous said...

Roger Pielke Sr.'s tweets, blogs and other informal commentaries have often been significantly more contrarian than his published papers. And he consistently directs his scorn at leading climate scientists rather than criticizing the slipshod work or weak claims of 'skeptics'.

Since Pielke is retired and Gavin Schmidt is anything but, Pielke has more than enough time to do his own work instead of trying the "Hey, kid! Get me a beer!" approach.

Dean Rowe said...

Eh, RP complaining about RC comment moderation yet on his blog he didn't even allow them...

KAP said...

One would have thought that when one gets "cryptic" answers to questions from an expert in a field you know little about, the correct response is to educate yourself rather that rush to write a paper (and a press release!) charging incompetence and possibly fraud.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Johnny Vector writes:"Yes, and so what? Their model is not a physical model."

Ummm ... you should actually read the Myhrvold paper, Gradie's comments and the WISE and NEOWISE papers describing the calculations being made. The fact that NEOWISE is not *completely* a physics based model is really not important to the points Myhrvold raises that Gradie comments on.

The NEATM equations are still used, thermal emissivity is assumed to be 0.9 for all asteroids - regardless of composition, and reflected sunlight in Bands W1 & W2 is assumed to be negligible (this is the misapplication of Kirchoff's Law).

The reflected sunlight issue does not apply to either IRAS or AKARI because their lowest wavelengths do not contain much reflected sunlight. This is not true of the lower wavelength bands on WISE/NEOWISE. But rather than accounting for the reflected sunlight, NEOWISE often just ignores the data from bands W1 & W2 when calculating thermal emissivity.

Bob Loblaw said...

Well, my curiosity rose to the level where I had to go over to RC to look at the comment that RP Sr. posted. I couldn't find a comment over there - all I could find was an advertisement from RP Sr., listing a few of his papers. Is this some new form of "discussion" I'm not aware of?

EliRabett said...

It's always Pielkes all the way down.

Anonymous said...

Just in case some bunnies don't get Eli's reference: