Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Global warming denial

The NYT has a good opinion piece expressing an argument I couldn't quite formulate. For me, I suppose, it comes down to the difference in the following two examples:
  • I believe in ghosts and it's no surprise that scientists can't prove their existence because...
  • I don't believe in global warming or mankind's contribution thereto because the pro-warming crowd is self-motivated to predict dire things, and I read these retired engineers and meteorologists who have good arguments against aspects of the pro-warming case. And just because there's consensus, the scientific truth of the matter doesn't come down to a vote.
The latter case does not dismiss science, but rather selectively chooses the science they "believe" despite the fact that they have no expertise with which to make such choices.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Electromagnetic wave generation

I like to think of myself as something of a radical, yet pragmatic, progressive in the U.S. I say 'radical' because I try not to get too hung up on things others might hold dear, and pragmatic because whatever I advocate for has to work. So, for example, I'd be fine with applying the death penalty for a huge variety of crimes, except for the fact that the justice system is just too flawed and unfair. In terms of medical care, in general I wouldn't be too bothered by no universal health care. But if our country is going to allow poor people to use emergency rooms and hence we have to pay ultimately, let's do it in a sane way with preventive care.

And so I really can't understand how so many conservatives expect any sane person of taking them seriously when they go crazy about restrictions on light bulbs. We have so many restrictions in our homes, from our toilets (water conservation) to fire alarms (safety). And jeez, candles are still allowed. Anyone know the efficiency of a candle relative to an incandescent? This seems like a good Fermi-type question and so I'll leave it at that.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lisa Randall

Umm, not sure what compels Lisa Randall (of Warped Passages fame) to publicly comment on the musical The Book of Mormon, but she's very much a public figure so why not.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Turning the tables

Dear Editors,

We unfortunately wish to inform you that your journal has not been accepted for our manuscript. Although your journal is very well-respected (perhaps, because of this reputation), the evaluation of our own anonymous referee indicates serious problems with your publication process. In particular, as is clear from the reports you provided, you received seriously flawed reviews of our manuscript, one indicating total incompetence and the other sheer pomposity. However, our referee also faulted the acceptance process itself. In particular, as editors, one of your roles is to actually edit the paper instead of delegating such work back on the authors. Fine details, picky formatting rules, and simple tweaking should not be passed onto the authors.

We have decided instead to simply note on the arXiv record for our manuscript that, ultimately, it was accepted by your publication. If you would like to appeal this decision, please contact the first author. We hope that perhaps in the future you will consider receiving another of our manuscripts.

the authors