Monday, September 28, 2015

It May Not Be Intelligent  Life,  But It Sure Makes Dandy Fireworks

Has photochemical perchlorate from Silver Lake reservoir percolated into the water coolers and brain juice of The Los Angeles Times
Fact-checkers there should consult the warning labels on the ferociously reactive ( think rocket motors and match heads) salts in the Red Planet's briny ooze :

Salty water still flows on Mars -- what does it mean for life?

Some of NASA’s top scientists... from Georgia Tech, NASA Ames Research Center and elsewhere explain that an instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted telltale signs of hydrated salts in several locations on the surface of the Red Planet.
Using data collected by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Marsinstrument, the team members concluded that salts are deposited on the slopes of several craters and canyons. 
These salts —
including magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate and sodium perchlorate
 – appear to have been carried there recently by flowing water...Finding liquid water flowing on Mars would make the planet much more Earth-like, and potentially increase the likelihood of Martian life

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Having damned air pollution, Pope Francis' Apostolic Penitentiary may have missed the Next Big Thing in hamartiology.   
Just as Climate Truthers and other denialists strive to believe in six impossible things before breakfast, Green powers of credible denial are often strained by :

Model  Pride-   A  need  for  public  acceptance  of model-based policy advice as the truthiest on offer. Self-important victims may ignore other disciplines while counting their own numbers & framing better media profiles for themselves.  see Stockholm fever
Model  Greed -  The  modelers  need  for  scientific citation , adulation, or material wealth. If unfed, the model-greedy may resort to self-citation, plagiarism, dodgy grantsmanship and denial of having lost past bets on model outcomes.

Model  Lust -   An insatiable desire to  believe your own  hypotheses, and to insist that models should overrule history,  natural and human, and dictate the thoughts and desires of generations to come. Model 
                             Lust feeds on viewing & producing climate porn

Model  Envy-  The need to command larger research budgets  and covet more  supercomputer  time  than rival  models  or  theories ,  if  need  be  by  having competitors  defunded  or  charged  with  crimes.

Model  Sloth - Indifference  to the  contradiction of models by natural history, coupled with aversion to references that contradict desired results, reluctance to debate,  and  the inability to feel relief when dire                                scenarios don't materialize. Victims may insist that 
                           what we don't know doesn't matter.

Model  Gluttony  -    Overindulgence  in  extreme  parameter values in the name of the Precautionary Principle. Metamodeling is Model Gluttony's most fearsome avatar.

Model  Wrath - Defined by Model Dante as : "love of justice  perverted to  revenge and spite."  People with Model Wrath  issues  may  turn  to  the  law or social engineering when they feel democracy or science has failed them. Left unprovoked, Wrathists may turn to political caricature of their enemies & violent public demonstrations

Text & Seven Deady Sins Emoji copyright MMXV Russell Seitz

Monday, September 21, 2015



Friday, September 18, 2015

Should Philosophers  Shoot  More  Lions , Or  Fewer Dentists?


Red in tooth and claw, but completely green on the inside, vegan NYU philosophes William and Amanda MacAskill have driven mild-mannered humanist P. Z. Myers of  Pharyngula  to remark:
I’m usually sympathetic to the importance of philosophy, but when they threaten my biological world, there is only one rational response, and it’s inspired by the MacAskill’s essay.
We need to kill all the philosophers.
Or, at least, humanely pen them up with their own kind, throwing them occasional lumps of tofu and bales of sprouts, behind soundproof glass walls, so we can occasionally bring our children to the exhibit to watch. 
“See, kids, this is what will happen to you if you don’t do your biology homework.”
The anti-Spencerian couple triggered Myer's inner dentist by opining:
As long-term vegetarians who abstain from meat for ethical reasons, we are both supporters of animal activists who seek to improve the lives of animals. So you might expect us to agree with activists like Ingrid Newkirk that the killing of Cecil is a terrible thing. But we don’t. In fact, we think it may be the case that animal rights activists should support the killing of predatory animals like Cecil. ...
most animal activists agree that we should try to protect animals from unnecessary suffering and death, and that it is wrong for humans to cause such unnecessary suffering.
 ... But we’re not the only ones who hunt and kill. It is true (and terrible) that an estimated 20 billion chickens were born into captivity in 2013 alone, many of whom live in terrible conditions in factory farms. But there are estimated 60 billion land birds and over 100 billion land mammals living in the wild. Who is working to alleviate their suffering? 
As the philosopher Jeff McMahan writes: “Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous.”
Will lion tacos become the American Philosophical Society's signature dish?  Will the Modern Language Association embrace the Second Amendment in self-defense? 

As physicists don't shoot other  physicists, and I have traded my trusty republican elephant gun ( Colt-Sauer 458 magnum ) in for a well-balanced Fox of Philidelphia 12-bore to deal with ducks and deer, I no longer have a dog in this fight.  But stay tuned for recipes. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Abandoning Teddy Roosevelt's running mate Bill McKinley to his fate as a Former  First  Mountain, former basketball star and  short-term Governor of  Alaska Sarah Palin has volunteered to serve as Donald Trump's Secretary of Energy. But not for long--in Governor Palin's view, the conservation of energy doesn't apply to Departments of Government:
 Department of Entropy  hopeful  Sarah Palin  waits word with other Cabinet Apprentices
“If  I  were  head  of  [ the Department of Energy ],  I’d  get rid of it, and I’d let the states start having more control over the lands that are within their boundaries and the people who are affected by the developments within their states.

If I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job, but it would be really great to have someone who knows energy and is pro-responsible development to be in charge.”

In a related development, Rick Perry  ended his presidential bid by remarking:
"the answer to our current divider in chief is not to elect a Republican divider in chief."

leading to widespread speculation that the ex-Texas Governor  will  seek office as the new administration's  Impaler General. 

Friday, September 4, 2015


The dastardly cabal of  White House climate denaliists who last week dishonored the memory of Teddy Roosevelt's illustrious predecessor are now targeting the New Hampshire primary. 
West Wing Whigs threaten to rename every peak in the Granite State's  Presidential Range Dead White Male Mountains after a former First Lady, or transgendered Colonial governor, unless Rachel Carlson and Maya Angelou replace Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on US five and ten dollar bills. 

The  latest  salient in  the  War on Republican Scientists threatens the nation's currency along with its topography. Apart from the high cost of replacing 500 dollar bills, the devaluation of Mt. McKinley could destabilize international currency markets. Economists note that the Russian  rouble  tanked  alarmingly  after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917.

Waterfront property insurance may also rise catastrophically in the wake of the latest presidential map malfunction.  Sea levels in North America shot up ten feet relative to the continent's highest point last week, as revisionists politically corrected the mountain's elevation along with its name. 

Had these low whigs the least respect for the decent opinion of mankind or the better sort of feminism, they would have rechristened  the peak:

Thursday, September 3, 2015


As the Climate Wars enter their second century, a London Review of Books double review of:
The Wright Brothers   and 
Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future 
oddly recalls recent vanity press efforts to interrupt scientific careers: 

'There are a number of suggestive parallels between Musk and the Wrights...One very odd thing is a parallel to do with bullies: Musk was set on and beaten half to death by a gang of thugs at his school
Wilbur Wright was attacked so badly at the age of 18 – beaten with a hockey stick – that he took years to recover from his injuries
  His  assailant ,  Oliver Crook Haugh , went on to become a notorious serial killer."