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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Greg Laden: Please bend over while I kick your freakin ass

What does this video have to do with global warming, nuclear energy, or Greg Laden? I'll get to that later and my apologies up front for that title. I adapted it from an old 2007 blog article by Laden titled:

"James Watson:Please bend over while I kick your freakin [80-year-old] ass" [words in brackets are my own and ah, were added for clarity].

...which, admittedly, I found while doing a Google search on the text string: greg laden pompous a**. I was doing that search because Laden had been calling his readers names again in the comment field of his blog at

As I mentioned in a previous article, Laden often turns his spot at ScienceBlogs over to a third party (29 times and counting) to dump their collection of lay press news articles about the damaged Fukushima power station. Following is a very recent quote from chemical engineer and (liquid) energy expert, Robert Rapier about the lay press (unrelated to nuclear energy):

Many politicians lie, pander, and promote misinformation to get elected. I have come to the conclusion that many media outlets do the same to sell papers. The casualty in both cases is a citizenry whose views on energy are perpetually distorted, and that leads to a perpetually dysfunctional energy policy.

In general, you can't rely on the lay press for accurate information about anything more complex than sports scores (just ask Arianna Huffington) but apparently Laden hasn't quite figured that out yet.

You also can't rely on the anti-nuclear activists to tell the truth (just ask environmental journalist, George Monbiot):

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all

The double standards of green anti-nuclear opponents

While doing that Google search I also stumbled upon an article by Laden plugging Jim Hansen's book Storms of My Grandchildren. I also read it and learned that Hansen is a huge proponent of using nuclear energy to fight global warming. Here is what Laden said about the book:

James Hansen is probably the world's best known climate scientist, partly because of his own work and his testimony before Congress, and partly because he has become a target of Global Warming denialists who seem to revel in every opportunity to accuse him of fraud, deceit, or incompetence.


This is "An Inconvenient Truth" on steroids. The book is well written, well presented, captivating, and depressing. The perfect Christmas gift for your favorite climate geek, or even your favorite denialist!

So ...go figure. The roads to hell are many and well-paved.

Oh, and about the video. After watching it, what would you say the odds are that the majority of American citizens will ever be convinced that global warming is anything more than just another liberal "belief?"

Reducing GHG emissions will only be accomplished as a side effect of eliminating the combustion of organic materials, be they ancient fossil versions or the modern biofuel version. They will not be reduced by convincing the majority of Americans that global warming is real (or by calling proponents of nuclear energy names and cobbling up excuses for banning them from commenting on your blog).

Here are the three comments leading up to the expulsion of that reader:

HP, sorry, your very informative comment was held in moderation until just now.

Looking at your comment and my post, though, I think you failed to answer Andrew's question. I'd love to know what I got wrong so I can fix it. Or are you just going to continue to be a self congratulating undocumented (as in, we really have no idea who you are) obnoxious shit, as usual?

Posted by: Greg Laden Author Profile Page | June 23, 2011 10:21 PM

Self congratulating obnoxious shit ...says the pot to the kettle. Note that Laden is one of the few (if not the only) person at ScienceBlogs to name his blog after himself.

Comment fields are a new phenomenon. It always amuses me to watch male hominids say (from behind the safety of their firewalls) things they would never say to another male hominid sitting within arm's reach on an adjacent bar stool, who might reach over, put you in a head lock and buff a shine on top of your head with their sweater sleeve. Any student of human nature knows what will happen when one upright walking male hominid disses another. The retaliation instinct kicks in:

Greg -

Why does it matter to you who I am? Are you a sucker for Argument From Authority? My comments are scientifically sound, though that may be obnoxious shit for you. Too fucking bad. Defend your arguments against my arguments, not who I am.

I fully answered Andrew's question, but I will provide an analogy for the Landenites.

Suppose I put you in a room with 100 malaria-Laden mosquitos for an hour. Your Exposure is 100 mosquito-hours.

But if only three mosquitos bite you, then your Dose is 3 mosquito-hours.

Exposure is different than dose.

I don't expect too many people reading this blog to understand the difference. Hopefully there is one or two.

Posted by: healthphysicist | June 23, 2011 10:33 PM

Laden closes the trap and gives another critic the boot:

HP: Again, you are being obnoxious. You are abusing the privilege of anonymity by acting in a way no one would (usually, normally) act if we knew your name, but for no good. You're not using your anonymity for an good purpose here. I am not a sucker for argument from authority, but you have made the argument from authority, and have not seen fit to back up what your qualifications are.

I may be wrong about what Andrew was asking, but I think he was asking you not to blather on about exposure and dose, but to point out where in this post it was wrong. Which you have not done.

I don't expect too many people reading this blog to understand the difference. Hopefully there is one or two.

Oh. You just insulted my readers.


How noble, protecting his readers in this fashion.

I was once accused by a commenter of not being a PZ Meyers. I was honored that anyone would even compare me to Meyers, who I have tremendous respect for. I often read his blog Pharyngula (note that he did not name his blog after himself). The comments are the best part. Because he is so well-informed, smart and witty, he attracts an army of really well-informed, smart, witty people there. Just last week one of his minions touched my forehead with her noodly appendage at a the Fremont Solstice parade.

Meyers can afford to be cocky. Landen, not so much, particularly when he strays outside of his field of expertise.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Electric Car Purchase Update

Just got an email from Nissan:

Hi Russ, congratulations! Your vehicle is scheduled to arrive at your Nissan Dealer in the month of September 2011.

As your Nissan LEAF™ is being built and shipped, we will continue to update your vehicle's status. So make sure to sign in to "my account" to stay current with your estimated delivery date.

Please be aware that it is normal for delivery dates to fluctuate by a few days as production is finalized. Should your delivery date change by more than two weeks, we will send you an email to notify you of the change.

In an earlier post I was pondering which electric car to buy. I have not heard back from Mitsubishi after plunking down (a refundable) $299 dollars to reserve a place in line.

My neighbor just bought a brand new diesel Jetta wagon. These cars get far better mileage than the American average. Three months from now there may be a Prius, Jetta, and Leaf parked in front of my house representing the most efficient car technology available. The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid will be missing but not for long I suspect.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Nuclear Debate Argument

Environmentalists are squaring off over the use of nuclear generated electricity to fight global warming. I recently concluded a "debate" with a guy in the comment field that followed an anti-nuclear article at an environmental website.

In the course of the discussion he called me naive, childish, pathetic, petulant, stupid, weak-minded, a shill, a zealot, a fool, an ideologue, and an intellectually dishonest troll. There is a word for this kind of behavior. From Wikipedia:

A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.

Note that bigotry can be left wing or right wing, and granted, I did egg him on just a little. Does that make me ...evil? For many, an anti-nuclear stance has become a tribal marker and most were imprinted with it (like the music they prefer) in their youth by others who had in turn been imprinted in their youth.

For this person, nuclear energy is evil and no amount of evidence was going to dissuade him of that fact, which is common and predictable, like trying to persuade a devout Christian or Muslim that they have picked the wrong religion.

But that isn't what debate is about. Debate is about informing an audience. That's why I resist debate one on one, like in an email exchange. It's pointless. There is no audience to be informed and even if you could change your partner's perspective (which is very unlikely), would it be worth all of that time and energy for one person?

About a month ago I was banned from commenting on a Science blog website. I often read ScienceBlogs because they tend to be more accurate and better informed than the general lay press and environmental websites. A few weeks ago I was disappointed to find that one of the writers had turned his blog over to another person to use as a news feed about the damaged Fukushima reactors long after the crisis had been averted and clean up efforts had ensued. It was his opinion that the crisis wasn't over and that the lay press was dropping the ball (after grossly over-sensationalizing it).

That seemed to me to be an inappropriate use of this coveted blog space meant for science writing. I don't know about you, but an anthropologist's opinion on nuclear energy carries little weight with me.

I finally vented my frustration in the comment field (complete with a typo) by pointing attempting to point readers to the Brave New Climate website that is devoted to fighting global warming with help from nuclear energy, but as shown below, the link was deleted:

In addition to the above link I also highly recommend part 2 as well. My comment (sans link) was then followed up with the following comment from the Science Blog writer:

Riiight. You can go here to see the aforementioned about page.

Compare the Brave New Climate articles above to the nuclear power articles written by Laden (an anthropologist) then go read about the Dunning-Kruger effect.