Thursday, November 26, 2009

Musings on homeopathy and His Dark Materials

A challenge when debating homeopathy practitioners is that they simply don't understand how the science industry works, they don't realize that if there were a shred of possibility that homeopathy made any sense there would be an ARMY of scientists all over it, elbowing each other aside for the fame and the glory ... and the probable Nobel. The whole homeopathy thing exists in an utterly different universe and therefore no Nobel is available. The quoting by homeopaths of a study here or there as evidence that homeopathy works would be simply laughable if it wasn't used as justification for a whole industry created out of magic cloth. You can't make something real by using stray threads that aren't repeated by further studies; stray threads are insufficient to make a whole cloth.

It all makes me think of the Philip Pullman series His Dark Materials. In these novels you learn that there are parallel universes where the laws of physics, chemistry, biology behave differently and magic is real. The first book exists in one of those parallel universes. Later in the series you learn that our world does indeed exist within the story and that with a special knife--the Subtle Knite--you can cut the barrier between the worlds and slip from one to another. Perhaps homeopathy does work but in some different world, and all the true believers are escapees from that world, unable to comprehend this world and the realities of science here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

spirited ramblings with a homeopath

read from bottom to top, of course (LINK to the same stream on Twitter)

The silliness of the statement about acetaminophen and surgery is particularly striking. It is true that acetaminophen isn't entirely understood. There are aspects of how it works that are still being explored. But that's science! Unlike with homeopathy, there is a rigorous, ongoing series of peer-reviewed studies and debate, all within the context of the laws of physics, chemistry and biology. As to surgery, double blind surgery is a standard practice. It's just that it's done with animals rather than humans, for obvious reasons.

Runway test for solar powered aircraft

via Wired LINK

Sunday, November 22, 2009

war = stimulus = healthcare reform // They're all about US$1 trillion

The war, the stimulus, and healthcare reform all are each about US$1 trillion, give or take. Debatably the war is the largest trillion, because it has the least long-term economic benefit and was based on false intelligence and therefore was of highly questionable utility. The stimulus may or may not, in the long lens of history, be judged cost effective, after the effects of not doing it are calculated. And healthcare reform--if anyone looks at it objectively--is unquestionably cost effective to the nation if the legislation that passes does indeed bring down our unconscionable national cost/benefit equation to be more in line with other developed nations. So who is a fiscal conservative? Someone who votes for the war, the stimulus, or for healthcare reform? And where, therefore, do you place an Obama, a Bush, a Palin, or a McCain on the grid below? Does healthcare reform count as $1 trillion? Does the stimulus? Even conservatives, at least when they're running their own businesses, invest via debt.

Bailout blues

Was the bailout of Wall St. (AIG etc) not likely to result in direct and excessive benefits to a few (Goldman Sachs for example) and in uncertain benefit to the economy as a whole? That has certainly been the general sentiment of skepticism expressed by the "American public" since the beginning. This report in the New York Times about Neil M. Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, validates this belief. Barofsky states of his inspector general work that “we’ve done a good job of instilling a greater degree of skepticism that what comes from Wall Street isn’t necessarily the holy grail.” Unfortunately this skepticism has been developed by fiscal policy makers only after the fact, after the bailout.

Monday, November 09, 2009

more pics of the insane insane insane Bugatti 5 door

This five door concept from Bugatti is just spectacular. I love the split rear window and how that carries forwards in design elements right through to the split hood opening. Via Edmunds LINK.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sad Type III Squareback

I thought it was a '68 because but apparently a 1971 model, from Jalopnik LINK