When there are many factors that have an impact on a system, statistical analysis yields unreliable results. Computer simulations give you exquisitely precise unreliable results. Those who run such simulations and call what they do “science” are deceiving themselves.
Beware also of models that fit historical data (especially “corrected” or “adjusted” data) but do not provide accurate predictions. This applies to macroeconomics, climate change, the stock market, social “sciences”, and other complex systems with high causal density. You have to be very very careful you aren’t fooling yourself with these models; and, as noted by Feynman, “yourself” is the easiest person to fool. Via Causal Density is a Bear | askblog.
Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO? put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”
Temperatures fluctuate over short periods, but this lack of new warming is a surprise. Ed Hawkins, of the University of Reading, in Britain, points out that surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range of projections derived from 20 climate models (see chart 1). If they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.
The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining.
The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10. Or it might be that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period. Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before. This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy.
All emphasis mine. I will add that if the models are wrong, the scientists defining those models have also been wrong (or at the very least they have had insufficient information to build models with sufficient predictive capability). Via Climate science: A sensitive matter | The Economist and PowerLine (where there is more commentary).
Recently, my parents found an old dog that had been abandoned. He stunk. We needed to bathe him, and he wasn’t keen on the idea. It might seem mean to hold him down and spray him with a hose and soap with all his whining and complaining and whelping. It would seem to the dog like he was being abused, and would sound like he was being abused. But if we don’t clean the dog, no one is going to take him in. It is a loving action to wash the dog. Whereas if we let him go on stinking, it will be much happier, and will surely die of starvation in a matter of weeks. That isn’t loving.
This is also a concept largely missing in modern morality. Evil can wear kindness, and good can wear cruelty — God was once praised as “terrifying”. Don’t be fooled by appearances, but intention. Love looks to better the other, while true hatred looks to please the other so as to use them for one’s own wishes.
To build a financial system meant building institutions (foremost, the Bank), and that in turn meant constitutional construction. Everyone on all sides eagerly mobilized the “original public meaning” of the Constitution, only to discover that it would carry only so far. Those arguments, moreover, were part of a vituperative, sharply polarized and, over long stretches, closely divided debate. (McCraw records the often razor-thin margins on votes on the Bank, the debt, and internal improvements.) The stuff that we now take for granted and cite, reverently and/or precedentially, as constitutional wisdom easily could have come out the other way. In our current confused debate, it’s good to hold on to all of that at the same time: the Constitution as a lode star; the limits of mere interpretation and the impossibility of a Constitution beyond all politics; and the recognition that the Constitution can survive and, in a real sense, rests on political strife.
Germany, the ECB and rest of the EuroThieves did something innovative.
They simply ignored Parliament and came up with a scheme that didn’t require a vote.
We’ll see how this works out for them.
This, incidentally, is exactly what happened here with GM. It was blatantly unlawful to protect the UAW’s pension fund, which had no senior standing while trashing senior bondholders. The government did not care and did it anyway – and the courts permitted it.
This has been the repeated means by which you are stolen from. When you enter into an investment, whether you make a deposit in a bank or buy a bond or something else, you are buying into a capital structure in a given place with a given and declared level of both risk and potential reward. You price that risk and your willingness to enter into the transaction with the full understanding of where you are in that capital structure.
When that is unilaterally changed retroactively you are being stolen from.
the most important lesson of economics is that no one has ever washed a rental car. An excellent point, but the problem is worse than that: Without an incentive to preserve, many of us will gleefully destroy.