August 25th, 2019

#6820: This is how you know the science is settled.

Michael Mann lost his defamation lawsuit.

Here's the basic rundown. Michael Mann published a paper stating there was clear and irrefutable proof that global warming was real, man-made, and happening now. It included his now-infamous "hockey stick" graph.

The people who don't just uncritically accept the assertions of the global warming crowd looked over the paper, the methodology, and the data that was available, and cried "foul". They asked for source code and unadjusted data and Mann said, "No."

Using the published version of the program, the compiled one, people found out that if you fed just about any data series into the program, the resulting graph would come out shaped like a hockey stick. This was pointed out to all and sundry, getting them labeled "science deniers" and worse.

Someone said that Mann's paper was a fraud. Mann--very foolishly--sued for libel.

Here's why it was foolish: to prove that you did not libel someone, all you need to demonstrate is that what you said is either true, or a matter of opinion. In order to prove that you have been libeled, you need to show that what the other person said about you is in fact false. The person who has the facts on his side wins. Simple, right?

...so if you are perpetrating a hoax, and someone says so, it's the height of stupidity to sue that person for libel. Because then you need to stand up and show the court how your hoax is actually not a hoax. In Mann's case, the natural move for the defendant is to say, "Well, then, let's see the source code and the unadjusted data that supports your claim," and then you must put up or shut up.

When Mann brought the suit there was a lot of scoffing from the folks who think anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has not been proven at all (self included) for this exact reason. It was a bad idea fo him to sue because the defendant's move was obvious and Mann wasn't going to let the court have his source code and data; he couldn't, because then it would be a matter of public record and everyone could see it, and the jig would be up.

And of course that's what happened. Case filed, processes served, and the defendant's first move was to subpoena all of Mann's code and data. And Mann refused to provide it. And kept on refusing.

For eight years.

For most of a decade Mann has stalled and refused and delayed, until the court had enough of it, dismissed the case, and awarded legal fees to the defendant. Mann says he's going to appeal, but let's face it: the defendant's recourse here is simply to tell the appeals court, "Well, we made an eminently reasonable request and he fapped around for eight years and never complied with the court." Go right back to asking the code and data, which Mann cannot provide and have any hope of winning.

Because when you come right down to it, Michael Mann's entire "hockey stick" nonsense is nothing but fake science. Just like the entirety of AGW is.

And the real-world data backs that up. If you look at the graph it becomes obvious that all the models--or nearly all of them--are wrong. If you look at the past century or so, you see a pretty steady rise in atmospheric CO2 but temperatures are not increasing along with them, at least in 75% of that period.

Climatology is the only "science" where a theory which predicts reality 25% of the time is proven.

But for me, the biggest fail of AGW is how the models are built. Solar insolation is one number. Albedo--the reflectivity of Earth--is one number. The effects of clouds on heat retention is one number. The effect of humidity is one number. Globally, so that warming in the artic circle is treated the same as warming at the equator, even though they have vastly different numbers for solar insolation, humidity, and surface albedo.

The other dirty secret is that these programs must be run repeatedly because they never give quite the same answer twice, and so the runs must be tuned to come out right. This and that variable get tweaked, the other constant gets adjusted, and run it again. Some runs are rejected because their answers are obviously wrong (like the ones that lead to a five hundred degree surface temperature, or minus three hundred) but then they also reject the runs that don't show warming. And after a while they have enough runs accumulated showing warming that they can say what they've been saying: "The science is settled!"

The problem is that computer models can't prove anything. Most people don't get that; a computer can be programmed to say whatever you want it to say. Computer programs are only as unbiased as the people are who write them.

I mean, there's a famous example, so famous I don't even need to show the picture. "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" went the computer prediction.

We're better now at writing programs than we were then, but it remains true that computers cannot and do not magically produce "the right answer" without careful programming. The example I cited was not a problem with programmer bias (I don't think) but a simple failure of the algorithm.

But when you think there is a certain right answer to the question you're asking, and you're the one writing the program and tuning it to work right, you're not going to accept any output that goes against your belief.

You'll discount negative results as bugs.

* * *

The Democrat-media complex is now working on manufacturing a recession in order to beat Trump next year. I just have to wonder how well they'll do, considering that the public is a lot more skeptical of the press than it was in past years.

* * *

I should go outside and cut the grass, but I'm not feeling it. Problem is, if I don't do it today, I need to do it on a weekday. Get up early and cut it.

Maybe I'll do that.

#6821: Maybe just turn into a limp dishrag

Have a headache, which a generous helping of general tao's chicken and beef fried rice did not seem to do much for. Argh etc.

Last night I watched the first five eps of "Endless Eight"--four because I wanted to, the fifth because, well, I wanted to.

The DVDs that I made of the Haruhi series work just fine, but there's an issue: they were made for and on a system I no longer have. On the blab slab in the family room, season 1 looks okay if I adjust the screen zoom, but on that same setting season 2 cuts off half the subtitles. To make things worse, if I can see the subtitles, the actual video frame is perhaps a quarter of the total screen area, but centered. This worked well on the 35" CRT; it does not work here.

So I thought, no problem, there's the streaming site and I can run them from that. Get everything set up and start it off and right away, I'm thinking, This does not look like the first ep of "Endless Eight", but one of the middle ones. It had been long enough since I saw it that I wasn't really sure until we got to the Obon festival sequence. In the first ep, Haruhi and the girls go buy yukatas--and they did not in this one.

Did some quick checking then and rapidly determined that--for reasons which completely mystify me--the streaming site has all the eps of S2 out of order. What they had listed as ep 2 was not ep 2; it was like ep 6 of the second season. S1 should be "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" but was in fact another "Endless Eight" episode.

Went to Floristica and checked the episode guides. I can't tell for certain but it looks as if season 2 was always played straight through, not in jumbled order like S1 was. So, I haven't the faintest idea WTF is going on here, but last night, at that point it was painfully obvious that this isn't going to work as well as I'd hoped, so I dug out a USB hard drive and copied S2 to Achernar in its entirety, and then was able to start up the episodes and play them in order.

As a bonus, the audio quality was better. Mrs. Fungus was trying to read in the living room and didn't want to hear the tikka tikka tikka tikka DESU! of Japanese, so I found a 1/8" phono jack extension cord and ran the sound through earbuds, which worked a hell of a lot better than I'd hoped it would.

And then I noticed something I'd never noticed before: the backup vocals on the OP theme.

I'm wondering, in fact, if this is a different translation, or what, because I don't remember seeing them before. Also, on "cicada catching" day, I can clearly and distinctly remember Kyon calling it "a ridiculously nice day" all eight times. Maybe I'm misremembering.

But! The backup vocals are all Engrish to one extent or another, but the one that got me was the last one:

HONKY TONKY HEAD

...no, I don't know what that means, nor do I really understand how it fits with the main lyrics. Oh, well.

* * *

Anyway, yesterday was a full day. Mrs. Fungus and I went out for fajitas, then she powerwashed the driveway side of the house while I did some pruning. After that we relaxed in our gravity chairs on the back patio. She had me light a fire in the fire ring, and we toasted marshmallows and had s'mores; then it was game time and we did some WoW.

No complaints here. It was a ridiculously nice day yesterday, and also is today. Though that means it's too cool to swim, it also means I'm not paying through the nose to cool the house down. One of those plus/minus things.

* * *

This headache's not getting any better. I'm going to lay down.