We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, February 3. 2016
It's being studied by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University. How cool is that?
How to Build a Portable Rapid-Fire Snowball Machine Gun Using a Leaf Blower
Was the Moon born in a head-on collision?
Are the Social Sciences Scientific?
Post-Protest Mizzou: Adverse Consequences of the Capitulation
They prey mainly on emasculated academics
Tell the truth about benefit claimants and the left shuts you down - How neurobiologist Dr Adam Perkins became a victim of the new McCarthyism
Scientist Ruthlessly Debunks One Of NOAA’s Central Climate Claims
How Sicilians deal with unruly immigrants
Germany to Insist on Assimilation?
That's the opposite of multicultural
Top German Journalist Admits Live On Air National News Agenda Set By Government
Are Unions Losing Their Grip in West Virginia?
Why Detroit's Teachers Are Suing Their School District
Ex-Spies Say That Clinton’s Illegal Server Triggered Widespread Devastation
Hillary Clinton is Awful - Bernie Sanders isn't the only problematic candidate on the Democratic side.
Nude statues in Rome’s Capitoline museum were covered by white boxes for the state visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
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Are the social sciences really sciences?
Following Betteridge's law of headlines, we of course are to assume "no".
But I think the answer is really "yes", and the reason that people might dispute that is really down to what is stated in this quote from the article:
The weakest work with the boldest claims often attracts the most publicity, helped by promotion from newspapers, television, websites, and best-selling books. And members of the educated public typically only get one side of the story.
My biggest beef with social science articles I read in the media is generally that they've not controlled for something that pretty obviously covaries with the effect of interest. In controversial cases and areas of public policy there is generally some followup in academic journals and departmental white-papers where these issues are followed up and the headline conclusion of the first article disappears. We often don't see those subsequent studies in the press, contributing to our conclusion that the conclusions of social science are contrary to the real-world.
Agreed. There is plenty in the social sciences that is actually science, and we rely on it all the time. The sexy-sounding junk crowds it out. It happens in the hard sciences as well, though less often.
The junk is tolerated because so much of it agrees with the narratives of the experts, so they resist and elude encouraging contrary research or acknowledging it when it comes out. This discouraging of the unpopular ranges from minor to totalitarian.
It's human nature. It's what everyone does. I see it here when I challenge something about the preferred educational narratives here. The admonishment and even outrage are palpable. We are not objective. We are very good at post-hoc rationalisation.
Are social sciences scientific? No.
Mizzou suffering for capitulation. Good.
NOAA claims debunked. Not the first time.
Feminists supporting rape and oppressive culture. Feminism is insanity.
Consent of the Governed- Not to go all Jaffa, but it's about time someone pointed this out. Public schools set the tone for the general public to accept rule by their betters.
How to Build a Portable Rapid-Fire Snowball Machine Gun Using a Leaf Blower
Thousands of hoplophobic leftists rendered immobile by head explosion. Story at 6:00.
I can SOO see my husband and sons-in-law building these. They might even let the grandkids use them.
McCarthy was right. Those who opposed him and covered up the degree of Russian and home grown spying and anti-American activity were wrong. Every time I see another use of McCarthy to represent something bad I and many people are simply reminded that he was correct and those opposing him then AND today are wrong.
Thank you, GWTW. It's about time to drop that derogatory use of his name and the propagandists exposed for what they were: a bunch of communists getting caught in the act while the Democrats ignored and obfuscated. And while we're at it, Joseph McCarthy was a Senator and he did not sit on HUAC, a committee of the House of Representatives that investigated both Nazi and Communist activities as well as other organizations potentially dangerous to the United States, including the motion picture industry.
@ Germany to Insist on Assimilation? -
Anyone here can tell you this is a complete farce. The Turks were invited here back in the 60's under a guest work program with the intention they would eventually return to their home country.
Today, many 2nd generation Turks have failed to assimilate as they still lack basic German language skills. Turks represent greater than 40% drop out rates in high school and are the highest group on welfare.
On the flip side, even the Turks are not keen on the new influx of "auslanders" either since they will (theoretically) end up completing with them for the few low skilled jobs that remain available. At least those jobs the Poles, and other East Europeans haven't already taken.
The joke here is we only need so many kebab stands and pizza shops.
Of course, if an overabundance of pizza shops and kebab stands were the worst of it, it wouldn't be so bad. Sadly, it's not.
What many - especially but not exclusively the open borders crowd - fail to understand is that the 'archaic' view of immigration, where people applied, took classes in the culture and political system, were required to be productive members of society, etc. made all the difference. Of course, the open borders crown have political reasons for eschewing integrating immigrants into the mainstream of the society. As with much of the left, it's about destruction.
Re: Why Detroit's Teachers Are Suing Their School District
In nine years the funding per pupil went up almost 40% to $18000/child. The funding for a 35 student classroom would be over $600K and they have mold, rats, and roaches in the classroom! One teacher moans that she used to have 5 or 6 kids who were behind and now she has 5 or 6 who are not behind. But the author seems to complain that the charter schools are taking the more motivated kids from the rest of the system. If you ask me, they are saving those kids from the rest of the system.
Obummer isn't the only reason the US is in decline.
Yes. I probably should have been less surprised by the tone about charter schools, but at the same time, they seemed to unabashedly trumpet the failures of their beloved government school system.
Re: Are Unions Losing Their Grip in West Virginia?
One factor not mentioned is the decimation of the coal industry in West Virginia. The guys who were miners were union members but now they have to find new jobs and they left the history of animosity between labor and management largely behind.
Power posing? I hardly think that is legitimate social science.
It's stuff like that which makes any decent work (as rare as it is) meaningful. Who wants to have their work lumped in with that garbage?
After all, we can't all be leaders. If we were, who would we be leading?
Well, we can always lead ourselves, and that's really all we should aspire to.
I think the social sciences have a "science" behind them. They are useful guides. They are helpful directionally, and they do explain many things.
As far as I'm concerned, if it helps explain something, it counts as a science.
There are three qualities that distinguish a science from things that are "sciencey": Science provides explanations that are predictive, measurable, and repeatable.
After all, explaining the phases of the moon by stating it takes Sky Beaver two weeks to build a moon and Sky Rabbit two weeks to eat it provides an explanation, but it is exceedingly difficult measure the presence of supernatural entities.
It seems to me the value of science lies in its ability to generate predictive explanations for why things happen - a chemist can tell you exactly what's going to happen when you mix 5ml of Chemical A with 5ml of Chemical B and he can tell you why it's going to happen. Social "science" is great at coming up with explantions for why something happened after the fact, not so hot at telling you what's going to happen beforehand. (No shortage of people explaining today how and why Cruz took Iowa, but where are the political scientists who told us last week why and how it was going to happen?)
The reason there's little predictive ability is because you're dealing with human beings endowed with free will and human beings do things for no reason. Social "science" is predicated on humans being nothing more than meatbags full of chemicals responding to electrical signals in a predictable manner, no more capable of self-directed action than a flower turning toward the sun or a ball rolling down a hill. Once you figure out what makes humans act the way they do, you're halfway to being able to control what humans do - and that's the end game. It's not just "why do people do the things they do?" but "how can I make people do what I want them to do?"
@ Top German Journalist
A bit more information you Americans may not be aware of with regards to information distribution via the media here in Germany.
In the US, you have PBS which is generally funded by charitable contributions or various foundations supporting it. The other major stations are free (ABC, NBC, CBC, etc.) and then you have cable for which you pay a subscription fee and it usually includes internet.
Back in 1950, there was only one broadcasting company known as ARD. In 1963 the ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen "Second German TV Channel" came on line. Generally speaking, private broadcasting companies in Germany have only existed since 1984.
In order to help finance these stations, the German states agreed to the Broadcasting Fee Convention and since 1976 the GEZ collected the fee. The tricky part was collecting them since they had to prove you actually owned a TV or radio.
Back then, the GEZ inspectors would come around door-to-door to see if German citizen had a TV or radio in their homes. Most people ignored them, and didn't let them in since it was a private agency and it had no "official" authority...unless they caught you with a TV or radio. One popular trick was to ask if you had either device, and when you said "No" they would ask if you had a car. Well, guess what, every car has a radio, so they "gotcha!"
Then, on January 1, 2013, Germany introduced a new TV license fee system called the "Rundfunkbeitrag" or in english, 'broadcasting contribution'. This system now requires that all households pay €17.98 per month to fund the public broadcasting services (i.e. TV channels ARD and ZDF, public radio stations, and associated websites).
This is of course, regardless of whether or not you have a TV, radio or internet access. The propaganda line is that "Everyone benefits, even if only indirectly, and therefore everyone should help fund it." Many have tried to beat this fee in court, claiming they shouldn't have to pay for something they don't use. But the broadcasting industry and government are not about to give up a cash cow!
So to think the German press isn't affected by government influence is silly, we all know it is. It didn't take Herr Herles' announcement to bring light to this issue, we've known it for decades.
One foot note; the only exception is for American service members and their families stationed here. They do not have to pay it.
Thanks for the description of the German broadcast TV model. The European model for television and radio broadcasting is foreign to us here in the states, but the threat/promise of government interference in the dissemination of the news is obvious from your description.
That doesn't mean the private media here in the US is any more objective. It's largely free of government interference, though that situation has been changing for the worse recently, but it is reliably slanted to the left to the point that some networks hire Democratic operatives to host news/opinion shows. They don't seem as anxious to hire Republican operatives or politicians. The exceptions is Fox News. Of course we pay for this programming by having to put up with commercials for all manner of product - lately there seems to be a lot of ads for erectile dysfunction medication, hemorrhoid medications, catheters, and adult diapers and less for soap, paper towels, cars, and rental cars.
Our PBS is partially funded via private and foundation donations as you say, but it is also funded with our tax dollars. While it's also reliably slanted to the left, there was a time when it much more balanced. The conservative Bill Buckley had an hour long discussion program for many years. I can't see anything like that happening today. Some of us chafe at the tax money that goes to PBS and what makes it more galling is that it actually pays for Sesame Street programming that is essentially a long commercial for dolls, games, and toys. PBS does not even ask for a portion of the profits of those sales!
Scientist Ruthlessly Debunks One Of NOAA’s Central Climate Claims
The reason why satellite temperatures are not as accurate as surface temperatures is because satellites don't measure temperature directly, and the data has to be understood through very complex models with many sources of error.
Anyway, using Cristy's own UAH, the probability that the troposphere has warmed since 2000 is 92%.
Land based temperature stations can start out in a rural area and a few years later end up near an A/C exhaust, over a blacktop parking lot,or at an airport taxi way. They used to publish the location of the temperature stations but people started posting pictures of them and explaining the interferences to their readings and they stopped. Here are a few small pictures that are left: http://www.surfacestations.org/odd_sites.htm.
mudbug: Land based temperature stations can start out in a rural area and a few years later end up near an A/C exhaust, over a blacktop parking lot,or at an airport taxi way.
Multiple studies have been made of the problem. Rural and urban trends are almost identical.
Jones et al., Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China, Journal of Geophysical Research 2008
Wickham et al., Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications, Geoinformatics & Geostatistics 2013: The results are "consistent with no urban heating effect over the period 1950 to 2010."
@ mudbug - I have only seen FoxNews on a few YouTube videos from your presidential debates. And I have to say, you have a very different idea of debate than what we used to have in University.
Back to Germany television, the worst part of paying the monthly fee is we still get commercials. Nothing embarrassing, but just annoying. And paying to watch commercials...how great is that?
But I must admit one advantage of our broadcasting system that you don't have in the US; when there is a traffic jam or serious problem on the autobans, the car radio will come on automatically, even if you have if turned off, and warn you of any hazards on the road. So, maybe it's worth the 18-Euro for that. It's saved me sitting in traffic several times since I could quickly get off the highway and find another route.
I agree with you that our political "debates" here aren't really debates. If they don't try to get one person to say something bad about another, they either try to expose what might be an embarrassing quote or ask why they are down in the polls. The best thing they do is give them an opportunity to create a new sound bite, but that's not what I call a debate. The Republican side is complicated by the plethora of candidates, but I still find many of the questions uninteresting.
The joke about TV is on us. Most of us subscribe to cable or satellite TV so we also have to pay to watch commercials!
Your traffic jam broadcast application sounds really nice. Many GPS units have a traffic notification system but I've not used it. There are also free smartphone apps that give what sounds like similar information, too. Happy motoring! :-)