Boogers Digest (Thursday)

These things pile up super quick.

Outrageous Outrage of the Day!
from Little Green Footballs

This is a case in point on the politics makes you dumb front.

NYU Students Raise More than $100,000 to Build Facebook…
from Mashable!

Via someone I follow on Google Reader. There’s a high probability I will dump Facebook for the new platform if it pans out & Facebook doesn’t clean up its act.

Links for 2010-05-13
from Uncertain Principles

His links are better than mine.

Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
from SayUncle

Uncle noticed what MilBloggers had to say on the matter.

Like you and me, only better
from SayUncle

Just weird.

The 12 Tribes in Revelation 7
from Boston Bible Geeks

Even as a non-religious person I’m prone to be impressed by a preacher elucidating something from the Bible that you wouldn’t have noticed if you weren’t paying real close attention… but often as not the preachers are not finding something interesting there as much as they are putting interesting things there.  BBG are pretty good at doing the real thing and it’s neat when they do. My applause.

The Mysterious Case of Mirin Dajo, the Human Pincushion
from Skepticblog

His show involved being run through with a fencing foil in the most realistic way possible: doing it for real. As always, the mind is boggled and wants to take the easy answer, which is of course “magic”. But the truth is stranger than fiction.

Poll: Majority of Americans Deserve Neither Liberty…
from Poli-Tea

… nor Security.

Too much television.
from View From  The Porch

Another one I re-shared from someone else I follow.  A cautionary tale on more than one front.

The Nature Of Scholarship in the Blogosphere
from Exploring Our Matrix

Mostly just for the cartoon… but some good links there, too.

Desperate man in electronics store toilet tweets for…
from Boing Boing

… and gets it.

Possible Breakthrough In Hydrogen Energy
from Slashdot

Headline misleading – closer to “possible breakthrough in hydrogen energy storage and transfer efficiency”.  But still very worthwhile.

How’s this?
from Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tenne

Bob Corker is, depending on your view, trying to get a good idea passed by stripping it of bad baggage… or just calling a bluff.  This amendment was mentioned in the last Digest, and I still think it probably is a good one.

Police torture methods questioned after “murdered”…
from Boing Boing

A Crack in the Mirror Neuron Hypothesis of Autism…

Possibly also a crack in the mirror neuron hypothesis of self-consciousness, but I guess we’ll see.

Creationist vs. creationist on Homo habilis
from The Panda’s Thumb

There’s probably less difference than you think between a human and our closest living relatives – Chimpanzees, Bonobos or both. But there’s a lot less difference between humans and many of our extinct relatives in the Homo and Australopithecus lines.  And sometimes the differences are so blurred that no one can reliably tell the difference.  What should give alarm bells to the creationists involved here is this. Each is supremely confident that humans and our extinct neighbors can be differentiated cleanly in to human “kind” and non-human “kind” (as in “created kind”). Each confidently place these extinct neighbors into those categories.  And each of those confident groupings is remarkably different than the other. Somewhere, someone should be second-guessing that supreme confidence.

Dunning-Kruger revisited

The teaser at Boing-Boing for this ABC Science article on the Dunning-Kruger effect caught my eye because of the last sentence quoted there.  I’ll include the last three for context – “It beautifully explains the utter confidence of those who, with no expertise, remain stubborn in their views regardless of overwhelming evidence. It makes you want to shake them by the collar and scream about how stupid they are. But evidence shows that’s not the best strategy.”

Oh yeah? Well, I had my ideas already about what a good strategy would look like in a perfect world, but there are problems with it. That perfect world approach is supported by the research:

The rather odd element of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that the incompetent don’t become aware of it until they become more competent. The key is education. Extending on their earlier experiments, Dunning and Kruger took half of their volunteers and trained them in how to solve the logic puzzles. It was as though a light went on for the under achievers. For the first time out of all the tests they began to realise that they were below average. Suddenly aware of their incompetence, they readjusted their estimates to something more realistic.

For example, before being trained they had thought that they answered five out of the ten questions correctly, whereas in reality they had barely managed to score a single mark. After being trained their estimates plummeted to a more realistic score of just one out of ten.

Yeah – so far so good.  But there is a catch-22 here. Sure, if you have a real simple problem and have a captive audience, a logic puzzle, and no merry band of anti-logicians doing their best to keep their recruit, it is a simple matter to help a person increase their competence.

In the real world, though, what motivation does a person have to increase their own competence when they are already unshakeably certain that they are fully competent?  What if these confident beliefs are part of a cultural identity that no one wishes to surrender? What if their self-satisfaction is reinforced continuously by their peers?

What do you* do when a D-K-er refuses to be taught how to work the logic puzzle?

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any clues to help answer that.  Feel free to brainstorm in the comments.

* Writing this, I tried to figure out a way to avoid coming off as arrogant.  I couldn’t figure out a way to do it. People who know me know that I’m not immune to a bout of it, but the quick answer is “no, I don’t think I’m the all-knowing one whose job it is to educate the rest of the world.” On the other hand, I do perceive that anyone who does have a little bit of good information has an increasingly difficult job getting it out these days. And it’s not my problem and not my business… but if there is a secret to the game, I’d love to know what it is.

Boogers Digest

My intention is/was to add a new Booger digest as soon as the last link scrolled off the page from the previous digest.  So RSS/facebook readers would still have a chance at the links.  I’ve been derelict, but I hope to do better.  Here’s the current batch.

Turley on Kagan
from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

I lean toward Turley’s view,  myself.

Mojave Cross Stolen
from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

I lean toward Ed’s view, myself

Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms
from Ancient Hebrew Poetry

This conference is something I see only as through a glass, darkly.  Even so, it looks fascinating.

The 5 Percent Down Fall
from Post Politics

Probably was a good amendment.

ScienceShot: Flash Floods Make Gems on Titan
from News – Up to the minute news and analysis from Science

Sir Ian ‘Gandalf’ McKellen mistaken for homeless,…
from Boing Boing

Hiding Police Brutality in Seattle
from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Badass Quote of the Day
from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

NATO’s ‘Most Damaging’ Spy
from 3quarksdaily

Bill Clinton to Bloomberg: I’m glad you don’t like…
from SayUncle

The Story Behind Twitter’s ‘Accept’ Bug
from Little Green Footballs

Reverse Reparations
from Obsidian Wings

The case against Elena Kagan – Glenn Greenwald –

GOP: Slavery and Disenfranchisement of Women Were…
from Obsidian Wings

He’s perfectly fit to possess and use a firearm, as…
from The Northern Muckraker

The Spider Farm Concert 2010

Well Uncle Al had the 2010 Spider Farm Concert and it was lots of fun. The weather was gorgeous during the day but it did get a little cold after the sun went down for an elderly guy who decided for some reason to wear shorts.

This year a couple of the tunes were posted up on youtube so here they are for your enjoyment.

Working Man Blues and Precious Lord.

That ain’t bad porch jammin’ in my opinion.

Just a letter

Ripped entirely from Skeptical science:

A letter Climate Change and the Integrity of Science has been published in the journal Science. It’s written by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates (here’s the complete list plus their university affiliations). I recommend reading the entire letter but here is an excerpt:

There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything. When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying society should never take action. For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet…

… The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific assessments of climate change, which involve thousands of scientists producing massive and comprehensive reports, have, quite expectedly and normally, made some mistakes. When errors are pointed out, they are corrected. But there is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change:

  1. The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
  2. Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
  3. Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth’s climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
  4. Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
  5. The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.

Much more can be, and has been, said by the world’s scientific societies, national academies, and individuals, but these conclusions should be enough to indicate why scientists are concerned about what future generations will face from business-as-usual practices. We urge our policy-makers and the public to move forward immediately to address the causes of climate change, including the un restrained burning of fossil fuels.

The scientists are the members of the NAS most familiar with climate science, as explained by lead signer Peter Gleick:

It is hard to get 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to agree on pretty much anything, making the import of this letter even more substantial. Moreover, only a small fraction of National Academy members were asked to sign (the signatories are all members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences but were not speaking on its behalf). Because of a desire to produce a statement quickly, the coordinators of the letter focused on those sections of the NAS most familiar with climate science and the ongoing debate. But the NAS (and Academies of Sciences and other professional scientific societies from dozens of other nations) has previously published a long set of assessments and reviews of the science of climate change, which support the conclusions laid out in the Science essay.

Lastly, here is a link to the National Academy of Science’s Policy advice, based on science, to guide the nation’s response to climate change.

Knocking Boots?

If Neanderthals are concerned, I think the better phrase is bumping uglies.

History, not politics

Seriously… Yes there are political lessons for today in this, but I don’t wish to draw them out so much as to clarify the past. In part because of today’s political climate, people have forgotten what socialism is. In part because of forgetting what socialism is, people have forgotten what capitalism is. A clear-eyed look at the past might help undo some of that confusion, and let the political chips fall where they may.

A clear-eyed look at the past will tell you the difference between Adam Smith and Ayn Rand. It is that Adam Smith was sane.

This Happened Yesterday

Papaw smijer is now papaw smijer twice over.  Behold:

Booger Digest

For those who don’t click through…  And to archive… And because I don’t have enough original thoughts to post of my own.

Who Wants to be A Millionaire

From onegoodmove

(He Means “Beat”)

Where does oil come from?

From Boing Boing

Whistling Dixie

From Balloon Juice

Whatever DougJ is doing, I’m not casting aspersions. Just highlighting the money quote which is certainly being ironic when it says “Thank God we now live in a post-racial world”. We don’t.

Claude Allègre: The Climate Imposter

From RealClimate

Ex-Muslim President of Liberty University Under Fire…

From Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

(for faking his ex-Muslim pedigree)

The Universe is Not a Black Hole

From Cosmic Variance

Dinosaurs outgrow their baby feathers : Nature News


Noah’s Ark Update: Yep, Its a Hoax

From Science and Religion

Not necessarily a hoax. I’m not sure about the info from Randall Price. Hoax is one option. Shrine is another. The history and geology of the region strongly suggest there was never a big enough flood to land a boat at that altitude, and that the location has been at that altitude since before there were boats.

Read this: Superbug

From Boing Boing


Frist supports (the heathcare bill)

From Post Politics

Just a few years ago, this fellow was diagnosing patients from the Senate floor. His diagnosis of the healthcare bill may not be trustworthy, but between this and his clean water campaign, I’m beginning to like this man.

26 hours

From SayUncle

Quiz: Deepak, 2Pac or Six Pack?

From Skepchick

Been thinking a lot lately about what “makes sense”.  Beginning to realize that some of the silliest things people believe are snuck into those brains under the guise of “making sense”. More reason for the empirical method.

We’re the rhomboid, they’re the rectangle with the…

From Post Politics


Bedtime for Bonzo

From Post Politics

Ronald Reagan, for all his faults and the policies with which I disagree could not have survived in modern politics.  Because he was usually trying hard to do the best thing for the country instead of slavishly toeing an ideological line.  I don’t wonder why Bill Frist got out of politics when he did.  It’s poison.

… Doomed to repeat it

Nothing new under the sun.