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Posts tagged "Science"
The NSA has dozens of facilities around the globe. The new NSA data center in Utah alone is 5.7 times the size of the U.S. Capitol.

Apparently a Utah senator is now planning to propose one of those “life begins at conception” amendments. The hard, cold reality is that it just doesn’t (any more than it “begins” with the “potential” of a living egg or sperm). There’s a reason 1/4 to 1/5 of all pregnancies self-terminate naturally at the end of the first trimester: that’s when the in-it-for-the-long-haul pregnancy really begins, with the placenta taking over from the corpus luteum hormones that have been temporarily keeping it from self-aborting. If the pregnancy is not viable, the hormones propping it up bail at around week 12 as usual, and the system reboots. If it is viable, the pregnancy continues, as the placenta kicks in.

Claiming that (for instance) false-start, formless blobs of cells (see "blighted ovum" where “a fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, but fetal development never begins”) which never had a chance in the first place, which were never a “child,” and which result in natural termination of a non-viable pregnancy at the end of month three, are all “babies” “from conception” is not only morally offensive, but just plain crazy. See "The Different Types of Miscarriage" to get some sense of the magnitude of wrongness and ruthlessness from on high that a “life begins at conception” amendment would represent.

And this doesn’t even begin to touch the inevitable "criminalization of miscarriage" (here’s one example of how this works: "Pregnant? Don’t Fall Down the Stairs" @ RH Reality Check) and the outlawing of most folks’ birth control.

Viability and established pregnancy »»»
Beginning of human personhood »»»

Following up on the earlier post: Jon Huntsman on climate change and science — flip-flop or no flip-flop?

What Jon Huntsman actually said on the subject of climate change, transcribed, with start times:

15:10 - [Questioner] "[no mic] …primarily contributing to the earth’s warming climate, and if so, what policies would you like to see put in place to deal with that problem?”

JH: “I don’t know; I’m not a scientist, nor am I a physicist, but I would defer to science in that discussion. And I would say that the scientific community owes us more, in terms of a better description or explanation about what might lie beneath all of this. But there’s not enough information right now to be able to formulate policies, in terms of addressing it overall — primarily because it’s a global issue. We can enact policies here, but I wouldn’t want to unilaterally disarm as a country; I wouldn’t want to hinder job creators during a time when our economy is flat. When you’ve got other nations that are major emitters, and if they’re not willing to play by the same playbook, then you’ve got a real problem. So as for me, I’m not one who’s going to unilaterally disarm our economy, or our job creators, in this country.”

Not so much noticing a “flip-flop” here.

Of more concern are the problems inherent in delaying policy action until some imaginary, too-late time in the future, when all the “emitters” might theoretically bother to get around to agreeing on the science.

Also noting his using the euphemism “job creators” for "large corporations that don’t like regulation and see delay as a good thing" rather than acknowledging the role of a robust middle class as “job creators.”

Let’s try using “job creators” in a different kind of sentence: “If climate change, outsourcing, massive increases in health care/insurance costs, predatory financial practices, and legal frivolity cause job creators to suffer severe economic hardship, such that they can no longer afford to buy stuff that makes the wealthy wealthier, then the wealthy have got a real problem.” Or… “We the job creators, in order to form a more perfect union…” 

23:48 - Evan Lehmann/ClimateWire: “There are international negotiations on climate change going on now, in South Africa. Do you support the United States’ goal of reducing emissions 17 percent by 2020, and if so, what steps would you take, or should the states take, to meet those goals?”

JH: "I think our goals need to follow some recognition of science, by all of the major emitters, and I’m not sure that is the case, today. And therefore our goals become a little problematic. We can pursue goals, and have remedies, in terms of how we’re going to achieve those goals, but if we’re reading from a different scientific text than the Chinese, or than, say, the Indians, then I think we’re going to come up with different policy fixes that might make our own journey more onerous than that that the Chinese might be taking, and it might debilitate economic recovery in this country, or hobble job creators, and I think that would be a very bad outcome. So, before we start talking about goals in a broader sense, I think there has to be some recognition of some sort of harmonized approach to reading science, and the implications of emissions. And then from that, once the major emitters are on the same page, then figuring out what the policy remedies ought to be, from there. We’re not to that point yet, and I think it will be a while until we get to that point. So I say, before we start setting goals going forward, I think we need to kind of step back and make sure that we take some effort to make sure that people are on the same page from a scientific standpoint.”

Again, let’s remember that the middle class are a huge percentage of “job creators”: When we wait to make changes, while climate change “hobbles” job creators by destroying their homes, families, and livelihoods via fire, flood, tornado or drought, “I think that would be a very bad outcome.”

Yes it’s important to ultimately get the science all lined up, but I bet in the meantime there’s plenty of green R&D and renewable resource development that could (a) create jobs, (b) make the U.S. less dependent on others, and (c) reestablish the U.S. as a world leader on the tech front… thus (d) creating more jobs, etc. And which would just happen to reduce emissions in the process. Without “hobbling job creators.” Why NOT do this.

Sitting around on our hands waiting for science to come in on the causes of climate change, while the rest of the world makes smart tech/economic decisions? “I think that would be a very bad outcome.” Delaying action on policy hurts ALL the “job creators.”

31:21 - Evan McMorris-Santoro/TPM: “Governor, you’ve talked a lot about consistency on the campaign trail - you’ve made it a big part of what you’re talking about, you’ve talked about your opponents and their consistency issues. […] Aren’t you sort of changing your tune about climate change, here? Didn’t you say before that you thought, you know, if 90 percent of scientists think it’s real, that it’s probably real — and now you’re saying that there’s more that needs to be said, before we know if it’s true or not? Could you explain the difference between your past statements on it and what you’re saying now?”

JH: “I didn’t say 90 — I said 99 percent …of members of the Academy of Sciences have weighed in on the subject matter. I’m not changing that at all — I still say that. I say because of that, you know, I’m not a physicist, I’m not a scientist — I tend to defer to those who do it for a living. And I say, I’d be prepared to take it out of the political milieu and put it into the scientific milieu. But because there are questions about the validity of the science, evidenced by one university over in Scotland recently, I think the onus is on the scientific community to provide more in the way of information, to help clarify the situation. That’s all. But do I defer to science, and those who happen to do this for a living, on this issue? Yeah, I do, as I do on issues like cancer, for example. So, as somebody who […] was part of building a cancer institute many years ago, if you had 90 or 99 percent of oncologists who gave you a course of treatment on breast cancer, colon or prostate cancer, you know you’d pretty much say the scientific community has spoken, let’s generally respect what they have to say about it. If there’s some interruption or disconnect, in terms of what other scientists have to say, then let the debate play out within the scientific community. I think that’s where we are: there’s probably more debate yet to play out.”

Mostly reiterating the above:
Huntsman dials back squishiness on climate change | Politico »»»

TPM follows up:
Jon Huntsman’s Climate Change Flip Flop Explained | TPM »»»

Jon Huntsman: I’m Back On The Side Of Science | TPM »»»

and… ;)

"Huntsman Ad Slams Romney As Flip-Flopper" | TPM »»»

Jon Huntsman is making the news again with seemingly self-contradictory comments on climate change. Is he "flip-flopping" as many have gleefully opined?

"Jon Huntsman Flip-Flops On Climate Change" »»»

In a move that’s sure to endear him to the conservatives who are starting to warm up to the former Utah governor, Huntsman said Tuesday under questioning from TPM that he now believes there’s “more debate yet to play out” before we can be sure climate change is really happening. That’s certainly not the way Huntsman sounded waaay back in August, when he famously tweeted: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
"[T]here is — there are questions about the validity of the science, evidenced by one university over in Scotland recently," Huntsman said, referring to the East Anglia University conspiracy that continues to fuel climate change skepticism. “I think the onus is on the scientific community to provide more in the way of information, to help clarify the situation.” Read more…

Some in the comments section disagree:

ameliaallen169: “…he hasn’t flip-flopped. He still believes Climate Change is real and is only saying that the part up for debate is the RESPONSE to climate change.”
truth-spin: “Thing is, Huntsman didn’t say what the headline says. Not even close. Are there questions about the science? Sure there are. Should the scientific community be on the side of helping to clarify the situation? Of course they should. And the few proven instances of made up data and conclusions clearly doesn’t help. Is he trying to thread the needle so that someone who wants to support him but for this issue can do so, no question. And maybe it is too clever. But he hasn’t flip flopped at all…” Read more…

Regardless, here’s a reality check, also in the comments, on the deja-vu hullaballoo about climate scientists’ emails:

radicalrealist: “As a practicing scientist, I can tell you that there was nothing whatsoever to the East Anglia emails. I have often discussed with my colleagues how best to present data. That was what the scientists were doing. No fraud or suppression of data. It’s been thoroughly investigated by scientific review panels and no wrongdoing was found.” Read more…

Read more at TPM…

The "each vs every" thought model was briefly addressed in "Your Share of the Tent - How to Fix Capitalism, Government, Education and Family" recently here on reduce to fit:

Many of the problems of our large bureaucracies stem from people talking about guaranteeing that things apply to “every” person rather than to “each” person. “Every” child should have a good education, instead of “each” child, for instance. When we think in terms of “every,” we’re creating a one-size-fits-all giant, top-down, ruling bureaucracy. When we think in terms of “each,” we’re creating a cellular, modular, customizable, flexible, versatile, resilient, servant-leadership structure. When teachers are geared toward serving the unique needs of each individual student, guided by the adults in that student’s family who are their stewards and guardians (legal and otherwise) and ultimately responsible for raising them, we as a people can succeed. When teachers and students and families are forced to conform to some mass-produced “every child” (or “no child”) structure, in which children and families and teachers serve the system, rather than the other way around, we as a people cannot succeed — at least not with our moral values intact. Read more…

This article at ScienceDaily points out proven benefits to the “person-centred approach” in healthcare, as well, which help to argue for attending to “each” person rather than “every” person:

"Shorter Hospital Stay With Person-Centered Healthcare"
ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2011)
Healthcare that implements a person-centred approach not only make care more efficient, but also yields more satisfied patients. A study carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that if there is an active partnership between the patient and healthcare professionals, the patient’s hospital stay can be reduced by one-third. Read more…

An interesting point, raised in a second ScienceDaily article is that some people just want to be told what to do. This is presented in the article as if it were a problem, possibly causing “patient-centred healthcare” to “backfire.” But in truly “person-centred” care, the “each” approach takes this into consideration:

"If there’s a take-home message for the patient, it’s that you shouldn’t be shy about finding a doctor with the style you prefer," he said. “Doctors’ attitudes and personalities are just as diverse as patients’ attitudes and personalities. Finding a good match can be very important in terms of how satisfied you are with the care you receive and, ultimately, whether or not you stay healthy.” Read more…

Healthcare is certainly another context in which it makes sense to decentralize control and decision-making into smaller, more versatile organizational modules (like doctors, clinics, patients, and families), to be able to more efficiently serve the diverse needs of “each” person, rather than “every” person.

Earth to GOP, We Have a Problem… A party in need of some reality checks and balances.

The voters are going to wake up a week from now and realize they’re not sure they want someone leading the free world who doesn’t know what Ubeki-beki-beki-stan is or what his own position on abortion is. They love his ignorance when it comes to science and basic economics, but they hate it when it shows how unqualified he is. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Someone who is remotely competent or sentient recognizes that 97% of the world’s scientists are right about climate change (including even Koch-funded scientists), that cutting deficits during tough economic times does not stimulate the economy and that firing state workers means we have less workers.

Read more…

With the exception of Jon Huntsman — who barely registers in polls — you can’t find a Republican presidential candidate who unequivocally believes in climate science, let alone one who wants to do anything about it.

"By contrast, Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, emerged from the debate as a voice of reason. Back in August, Huntsman made a subtle dig at his rival when he tweeted, 'I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.'”

Read more »»»

95 minutes. All of the late-game zaniness is benefitting Romney, who is happily staying out of it, and Huntsman, who keeps chiming in to sound reasonable. ‘All I’m saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science,’ Huntsman says.”

Read the full GOP debate blow-by-blow by Michael Scherer at TIME’s Swampland »»»