Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Mr Borlaugh … climate sceptic?
  2. The Dems pull the race card … yawn. A reply here.
  3. Truth to power?
  4. You are a cyclist if … 
  5. The big five.
  6. How many at the tea party … getting closer to real numbers, which I might add might also be a weather vane for the bias of your sources. When the MSM calls identical crowds between 1.5 to 5 million when they are for Mr Obama’s inauguration and as low as 30-60k for a tea party … bias seems the only plausible explanation.
  7. A van, not unrelated.
  8. I guess if you say, he lied, that would be racist (or true).
  9. Ethics and the Old Testament.
  10. The tire tariff, political pandering? More here.
  11. Ms McArdle rebuts Mr Sullivan.
  12. Lasers explained.
  13. I think this is a very important point made about American healthcare spending.
  14. Why is that an either or question? (the original article is here)
  15. The Tueller drill.
  16. A book recommended. Looks very good to me.
  17. Wow. That is very cool.

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9 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    1. Crowd estimating is very tricky which is why the DC police stopped doing it (too many accusations of bias).

    2. I’m skeptical that the DC tea party could have been as big as the inaugeration and the media simply missed it. One easy, indirect, test is to consider logistics. Was traffic tied up as much as for the inaugeration? If not how did an equal number of people slip in and out of DC without parking and transportation issues?

    A book recommended. Looks very good to me

    This seems loosely based on a real life case of a man who had an operation on his brain in order to stop seizures. He lost all ability to keep long term memories BUT he remembered everything tat happened up until the day of the operation. He was writen up in the medical journals and his real life identity was only revealed when he passed away.

  2. Boonton says:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/09/size-matters-so-do-lies.html has some very good points on how big the crowd could have been. 1.5-2M for the Tea Parties is impossible.

    The reason is that if there had in fact been 2 million protesters in Washington yesterday, there would have been no need to lie about it — the magnitude of the protests would have been self-evident. I was in Washington for the inauguration, an event at which there really were almost 2 million people present — and let me tell you, it was a Holy Mess. Hotels, charging double or treble their usual rates, were booked weeks in advance. Major stations on the Metro system were shut down for hours at a time. The National Guard was brought in. At least 3,000 people got stuck in a tunnel. Essentially the entirely of the National Mall, from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, was dotted with onlookers. Heaps of trash were left behind. The entire city was basically a warzone for a period of about 20 hours, from midnight through mid-evening.

    But there are no accounts of any of those sorts of things happening yesterday. 70 thousand people, rather, is about the number that will attend the Washington Redskins’ home opener next week. That’s a lot of people. Washington — actually Landover, Maryland, where FedEx Field is located — will be inconvenienced. But it won’t be shut down. Business will go on more or less as usual.

    Gormorgon’s error, IMO, is forgetting that people are very packable. You take an ariel shot and it shows a big crowd. How many? Well people can pack really tight at let’s say 2 sq feet (a rectangle 1 ft wide by 2 ft long). Or they can be a bit more comfortable at say 6 sq fet (2 ft wide, 3 ft long). From the air I think both crowds will look exactly the same.

    But doing the math yields radically different numbers. If people are really packed in an area of 100,000 sq fet you get 50,000 people. If people are loosely packed you get 16,666 people. If people are very generous and take 3 ft by 3 ft you get 9 sq ft per person which makes 11,111 people. These are radically different numbers which tells us Gor’s method is too loose to be the only source.

  3. Boonton says:

    Secondly, people will not pack in tight unless they really have too.

    Take a peek at this photo posted in the comment section:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6Y5ctiQjR7g/SqvjYzX0HiI/AAAAAAAAK0g/RM3-GKu1knw/s1600-h/_Device+Memory_home_user_pictures_IMG00035-20090912-1331.jpg

    Notice the empty green spaces? Why do I suspect that the WND photos linked by your blogger might have been from a different event? Notice also the time lapsed video from Youtube, if you look you’ll see the street packs pretty well but there’s lots of empty space on the sidewalk next to the street, even when the crowd seems to peak.

    Think about yourself in a subway. Do you feel comfortable with a person two inches from your butt, the back of a person’s head two inches in front of you? No room to move, people’s breath in your nose? People will only pack to peak capacity if they have too. If you see empty spaces, people are not packing as much as they can.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Gormogon posted a correction. The picture was indeed from a different event.

  5. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I don’t think millions are tenable either. I don’t think 30-60k is likely either, but in fact was low.

  6. Boonton says:

    Upon what do you base 70K (five’s estimate) as being too low?

  7. Boonton says:

    Interesting comment from the five site:

    I spent some time on Sarah Palin’s facebook and some “mainstream” conservative blog discussions, I must say that the themes you mentioned are exactly those that were repeated by many posters.

    Basically, they are threatening to be violent NEXT TIME. They say they are PRAYING TO GOD for liberals and Obama and Plesoi to mend their ways, FOR NOW, next time they would bring GUNS

    I think the ‘radical chic’ idea is a good model for some of the behavior of the modern conservative movement. I don’t think the above posing is real. I think the people the commenter is talking about like ‘talking tough’. They like to strike the pose of the revolutionary just as, in the 1970’s, upper crust NY socialites liked to host fundraisers for the Black Panthers to ‘bring down the system’.

    What is important about this, though:

    1. It indicates not a loyal opposition but a disloyal one.

    2. I liked it when Obama’s approval rating was around 60% but over the long term I don’t think anyone’s approval rating should average above that. I want to see a useful counter argument even if I don’t agree with it. Like the radical chic liberals who played ‘lets pretend to overthrow the system’ while Richard Nixon actually did the running of the country, this hissyfit posing adds nothing to the debate.

    3. There is a real danger that by encouraging the nuts one of them will end up feeling enabled to do something stupid which will hurt other people.

    4. Related to #2, it encourages a cartoon vision of politics. The world is populated by arch villians or heros. Realistic understanding of differences is not addressed or even considered.

    The ‘triggers are for guns’ sign is a good example. Why do I suspect if I could talk to that woman I’d discover she has no idea what she’s talking about. Does she know that the trigger idea is being proposed as a way to compromise between those who say a public plan is needed and those who say it isn’t? Does she know that Medicare Part D was enacted with a trigger? Or is she making a play on words without really understanding what they are about? I’m not asking whether she should agree that a trigger is a good idea. Its fine to say its a bad idea but why do I suspect she couldn’t explain if her life depended on it why its a bad idea except to restate the tired old stock-Beck-Rush-Rand-Paul ‘gov’t is never the solution’ type answers.

  8. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    The “five site”? #5 above has no connection to Ms Palin or politics at all for that matter.

    Why do I suspect if I could talk to that woman I’d discover she has no idea what she’s talking about.

    Well, when Obama said “trigger” for the public option, my immediate assumption that would mean put in some sort of condition, which when met would mean the public option would begin to be employed and as a corollary the Democrats would be then free to fudge the numbers ala Mark Twain’s statistics quote. That this is just a dodge to pass the public option on the sly. That is what I expect she meant. Is that “no idea” or not.

    I can’t comment on the first part of your quote, because I have no idea what you’re getting at.

  9. Boonton says:

    The person making the comment was talking about Palin’s Facebook page (I don’t know if he meant her personal page or a page devoted for her followers) and the comment community there.

    As for the trigger, isn’t it odd that someone who claims to have a 30-1 ratio of items read about healthcare to items posted has to make so many guesses? You are aware that Medicare Part D was enacted with a public option that only goes into effect if the private insurance market does not meet certain metrics for cost saving? You are aware that the trigger was introduced in the current debate as a proposed compromise towards those who don’t want a public option?

    I do think you probably know more about the healthcare debate than the woman in the picture. I think, though, that the level of ignorance displayed by people who put so much time into the topic is not really sad but kind of amazing. What exactly is the purpose of the endless array of blogs, talk radio, pundits, Fox News ‘analyst’ babes? What exactly are you all spending so much time learning about?