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It is likely you are correct regarding the motivations at work. What I think is truly sad is that the high carbon dioxide producing industries including fossil fuels can probably have their cake and eat it too. If we were to make a serious effort to study it we could solve this problem. The answer will never be to stop using carbon dioxide producing processes and products in a very short time span but rather to develop the technology to do it in a way that does not kill us in the long run. The development process itself will boost the economy. The off-shoot products and technology could be a great boon to society. Think of all the products that were derivatives of the moon project in the sixties (no, not space food sticks or tang!) I think it is possible if we put the same effort into this as we do to find ways to kill each other at greater and greater distances! By the way, I think you are dead on about the psychopaths. I've seen too many examples with my own eyes.
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Thank you very much for your kind reply. You are correct that everything I don't understand etc. does not imply deception. As a scientist I am frustrated at time by my own disciplines use of jargon. I know the intent in many cases is to exclude those who are not in the know. This makes us less trustworthy in the eyes of the uninitiated. Please excuse my snarkiness in my reply. As for suggesting better words, well that is beyond my ability! I would have to say as a non-native speaker you do better than most of us natives. One point I would like to make in my defense is that my area of expertise is in what I think would be best called a "hard" science. Hard not in the sense of difficult but rather one that is more, though not completely, deterministic. I believe then that terms such as narrative and cultural capture play a much lesser role. At least I hope it does. I think you are referring to issues that arise in the "soft" sciences that are much more nuanced. The response elicited from the experimental input is at best an approximation due to the lack of precision in the meaning of words. All results and conclusions are open to debate because of this. This is all very interesting... Perhaps the names, hard and soft, should be reversed as I think it is harder to be competent in the "soft" sciences than in the so called "hard" sciences. If that doesn't confuse everyone I don't know what will!
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While it is a bit difficult for a simple minded fellow like myself to read I will have to admit that the point is well made. It is also interesting to me that, according to wikipedia, this was written about 374 years ago. This indicates to me we have known the ways of the politician for quite a long time and yet we still are afflicted. Remember, we elect these fools and re-elect them. What is our problem? In the end we only have ourselves to blame. Admitting the problem is the first step in the 12 steps to becoming all we can be.
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What??! I'm not sure what a narrative or meta-narrative is. Sounds like jargon intent to confuse and misdirect (I believe most jargon is meant for this purpose). Cultural capture sounds like what we are trying to do in Afganistan. Anyway, studies can have built in bias due to the way they are constructed. Yes, researchers in some areas will have an answer in mind before they ask the question. The idea of science is to minimize this type of influence. If you want economics to be a science is will have to be done in an unbiased way. If that is not accomplished it will stay a pissing match that it sometime appears to be. Economics needs to focus on cause and effect (vs. correlation). Ask the question then answer it with data from reliable sources all fully documented. Then stand back and defend your conclusions.
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Can you say tsunami! I think a quick wash will remove the stain. Soaking not necessary.
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Science and art are absolutely compatible and even dependent on each other. (See Da Vinci, L.) Creativity is a critical feature of scientific thinking and is at the root of many, if not all, discoveries, great and not so great. Science, done well, calls on many different aspects of human nature. It is not just a matter of taking the same old tinker toys throwing them in a box, shaking them and seeing what comes out. Regarding economics I would have to say from my perspective it is closer to an art than a science. It's like psychology in that there are trends and correlations but few hard and fast laws. This is probably due to the chaotic nature of the systems being studied. When I say chaotic I mean it in the mathematical sense not the congressional sense. Also, it strikes me that much of the data being discussed is retrospective in nature rather than from planned experimentation with the appropriate controls. Retrospective analysis is fraught with problems because of unknown influences that skew the data. I'm not sure if much is known about the accuracy and precision of the numbers being discussed. I think if we want to understand economic systems better we need to improve the methods of measurement so at least we can have a common complete set of numbers to look at. I suppose the same could be said regarding climate studies (if we decide to measure at all). Disclaimer: I am a scientist not an economist so any comment I make regarding the state of that science/art should be taken in that light! Just sayin'! I could be wrong.
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I think more fundamentally that the reason for the apparent lack of respect for the science presented regarding climate change is power. The quest for power by politicians and others of like mind is what may be at the crux of this issue. Regarding the impossibility to solve the problem of climate change or for that matter any other significant problem is really dependent on our will to do it. I think a perfect example would be the effort put forth in the 1960s to put a man on the moon. Talk about a complex problem! Could we do it now (we are working on it after a fashion)? Sure but the will is not really there. The bottom line in my opinion is that all problems are solvable but only after you willfully DECIDE to do it.
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The linchpin of science is a healthy sense of skepticism. Scientists need to see the data in order to believe the conclusions. Faith has no place in science at its root. That is not to say that scientists are devoid of faith. We have religious convictions, trust in people and systems as well as many other things. Without faith in many forms we (all of us) could not survive in this world. Every day we have faith that people will obey traffic laws so we can get to work alive! Faith, however, is not an excuse to ignore or deny the facts. Nature does not require our permission to follow the laws of science. Every action will have its reaction regardless of the political system employed, who is in office, or what is written on these pages. It is now time to put aside what we in science call "bull shit" and get on with making life as healthy, safe, and meaningful for EVERYONE on this planet. Anything else is a waste of time and energy. True greatness is never an accident. You can have faith in that!
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First of all I am a scientist making my living being a scientist doing scientific things. When I read about an individual denying the results of multiple studies because of one belief or another I have to shake my head and attribute the denial to ignorance. After all there are a lot of truly ignorant people out there. However, when you have an organized group making the denial in concert you have to ask yourself how is this possible? Surely at least one of them gets it! Properly done science can be quite persuasive. This does not mean that mistakes are not made. When this happens the mistake is usually quickly discovered and corrected. Also, you don't need to be a scientist to understand the implications of the conclusions of various studies because many of the important studies are translated into language the common non-scientist can appreciate. You don't have to have a PhD to understand this stuff. It's OK to not be a scientist. So, that being said, why would anyone want to deny what science is telling us is true? In this particular case why do we want to cut funding to science that apparently is yielding conclusions that we don't like? Obviously, there are other forces at work here that we do not understand. We are interpreting the reaction to the results of studies by certain people at face value, assuming that they really are that stupid. I don't believe that for a minute. The deniers have a reason to deny. Honest intelligent folk need to figure out what the reason is and then perhaps we can make progress. From a scientific point of view the damage we are doing to our planet and ourselves is self limiting. It will not go on forever. What we fail to comprehend is that the earth will continue to rotate around the sun either with us or without us. We are not critical to the existence of the earth as we like to think. It does not really matter in the long run. It is our choice to be present or not. So far ignorance appears to be our choice.
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I do not disagree with what you are saying. My response is really only based on what I have seen. China, as an example, is a very large country. The China operates on a system different from the U.S. We here in the United States would call it corrupt because of the lack of adherence to various laws. The "good ol' boy" network gets things done. The China we count on enforcing the protection of IP is not the China that actually produces the products. Just sayin'! I suppose corporate scale IP can be protected due to its size and visibility. It would be hard to export a MINI Cooper labelled as ice cream! (Many chemicals are shipped mislabelled. My personal favorite are those labelled ice cream to get through Chinese customs.)
Toggle Commented May 3, 2015 on 'Ten Facts about U.S. Trade' at Economist's View
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If Viagra is being made by others I am sure it is on the shelves somewhere. People will not make what does not sell. You're not looking in the right place! The need for a prescription for pharmaceuticals that are not OTC is true in the US also. I do not know much about software which I would guess would be easy to steal and hard to police. My experience has all been in chemistry/pharmaceuticals. I have purchased patent protected compounds from China for much lower prices that I could have from the patent holder. I have experienced companies losing there ability to make compounds only to find it at an ex-employees newly formed company. I also interviewed a scientist from a foreign country who described his work developing an antibiotic still actively patented by my company. He worked for one of the larger pharma companies in his country. My point is that no agreement with any growing country possessing any self interest will protect IP. It is true that globalization has changed the landscape. I did purchase items that in the end contradicted what I was trying to achieve. I do think this is only a phase we are going through, however, as greed is part of human nature. China and India will see (are seeing) increased wage demands. They are also producing many billionaires and have their own housing bubbles forming and all those other side products of increased wealth unevenly shared. The new trend of "re-shoring", with regard to the U.S., is already in progress. Being from the pharmaceutical industry I find it all a bit sad regarding the loss of skill that accompanied the off-shoring of R&D in the U.S. You are right, however, whining about medicine's inability to cure your infection will change nothing. Got to keep those stock holders happy!
Toggle Commented May 3, 2015 on 'Ten Facts about U.S. Trade' at Economist's View
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I hate to say it but most of these reasons hardly sound convincing. I have not read the report nor do I understand the nuances of trade but for each of the reasons I can think of at least one downside. I guess I am so cynical regarding our government that I can believe nothing it says. I'm with Mick G. Protection of IP in India and China is a fantasy. I have worked in IP intensive science based industries for 30+ years. Indian and Chinese "entrepreneurs" take what they want, build a company and sell you your product at a lower price. Their employees then steal the tech from them and start there own company! Happens all the time. I have never worked in the consumer sector but fits right in to benefit number 3! I have a saying that I have used for several years regarding politicians: "There is nothing greedier than a republican and nothing dumber than a democrat" I have never been contradicted when I use it.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2015 on 'Ten Facts about U.S. Trade' at Economist's View
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While I do not strictly disagree that "capitalism" is not a source of problems I don't think blaming capitalism gets at the root. While I have to say up front that I am not an economist but a lowly organic chemist, I think it is much more complicated than that. I googled economic systems for my own education and I find that there is a whole continuum of potential economy types. Some have examples in the various countries that currently exist. As far as I can understand none of these economies are problem free. They all have issues dealing with the less fortunate among other things. There are just not any good examples out there to emulate. I think the issue is more fundamental. I think the root cause of much of problems we see is in the nature of humanity. We are at our core fairly selfish creatures. We want what we want. We are always right and everyone else should believe what we believe. If you don't follow the pattern exactly you need to go. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong!
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Wow! None of these numbers are all that good although the poverty averages are really bad. The interesting thing to cynical scientist me is that these correlations have been known for probably 100s of years. The question is what are we doing about it? Another observation I would like to make is that these are correlations and not causes or at least not root causes. Perhaps we should spend some time getting to root causes and start solving problems! Now that would make a nice poster.
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Apr 20, 2015