‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.’

CMIP5-73-models-vs-obs-20N-20S-MT-5-yr-means1[1]

An example of predictions gone wrong

That headline is attributed to physicist Niels Bohr, but a later more popular version is attributed to Yogi Berra.

But. like predicting the future, it seems that the true provenence is murky.

That said, whether you are making climate predictions, or predictions about what kind of car and highway you’ll be driving in 20 years, predictions about the future are indeed difficult. I stumbled on this film from 1956 today by accident, and I just had to laugh at how far off the mark it was. It made me think of climate science and it’s failed predictions we see in the graph in the upper right.

On the plus side, some predictions in the film have come true. We have GPS Navigation, we have automobile status displays, and we have OnStar vehicle to dispatch communications. What we don’t have is dual jet turbine powered consumer level cars, autopilot (though Google is getting close) or uniformed controllers at freeway intersections that sing.

 

 

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119 thoughts on “‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.’

  1. Actually, warmist climate science is often as bad at “predicting” the past as it is the future.

  2. We also have air conditioning in just about all cars and almost all car have cup holders, but not tray tables.
    But I don’t get this movie, what happened to the traffic? It wouldn’t just disappear just because they had a control tower, we would still have the same number of cars or more so the control tower would be as busy or more busy than flight controllers are now.
    It isn’t just Google that is close to making hands free driving a reality GM too is very close.

  3. Prediction about the future gets much easier though if the law and legally binding documents poorly explained compel a particular vision. Especially when coupled to a global vision of education grounded in constraining what the mind believes and manipulating emotions, values, and attitudes. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/openly-admitting-global-coordination-to-impose-behavioral-programming-using-education-and-the-law/

    Through GELP–the Global Education Leaders Program we have open admissions of what the US Common Core and 21st century learning globally is really designed to force. With this vision, scientific reality becomes moot in favor the required “shared understanding” achieved via the K-12 classroom and a requirement of empathy and mutual consultation.

    When that ‘shared understanding’ becomes the new definition of knowledge, we really are gambling all that makes a civilization work so that the State can increase its decision-making power. This is what I alluded to yesterday when I mentioned the Rockefeller Foundation funded Communication For Social Change juggernaut globally.

  4. 1956, back when we were on top of the world. Technically, we are still on top economically, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. A recent story on Drudge [1] says household income in constant dollars fell by 1/3 since 2003 from about $88k to about $56k. The housing bubble hid a decline that began in 2001. Of course, the deconstruction of the Reagan boom really started before that in the 1990s [2,3].

    1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/business/the-typical-household-now-worth-a-third-less.html
    2. http://tjhancock.wordpress.com/housing-bubble-financial-crisis-detailed-comprehensive-assessment/
    3. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0102/morris1.asp

  5. Now, if only GM would have fixed their ignition switches earlier, they wouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy again.
    I had problems with my 2002 (dreaded SUV) Tahoe, the recalls haven’t reached that deep, yet.

  6. At the turn of the last “millenium”, one year too early, someone published a list of futurists’ predictions in 1901. They managed to miss all sorts of inventions, one of which, the airplane, was only two years away.

  7. I’m surprised this quote hasn’t been mentioned before

    “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”
    Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC Chinese Poet

  8. Ahh, video produced by the Thunderbirds team, in conjunction with Scalectrix. Wonderful.

    .

    Actually, there is a Twin Jet turbine car, and that is the Jaguar C-X75. It uses twin Bladon axial jet engines (made in Wales), driving electric motors – so it is a diesel-electric. It is not in production yet, but is a running test vehicle.

    The only twin Jet Turbine vehicle in production, as far as i am aware, is the M1 Abrams battle tank.

    The Jaguar C-X75.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P4kDD9qt-AA

  9. I don’t know how widespread it was but I’ve seen several assertions that in the 1950s many were expecting that in not too many years there would be personal helicopters at just about every middle class home. Obviously we are still a very very long way from that, if it ever happens. Or maybe a personal VSTOL aircraft at every home…. could replace cars… in a century… or two… or three….

  10. They would have been a little bit closer if they had had only one turbothruster (CO2, energy consumption, blah, blah). Technological forecasting is always an upper limit. They don’t factor in contrary policies of governments and the intrusion of anti-everything, ‘sinistral’ saboteur organizations and co-opted educational institutions which are a huge drag on what is possible. Recommend: make an unbounded forecast and then chop it down by forecasting the ever- present deconstructors. This film will get better with age – maybe another half a century, but drop one of the jets for sure.

  11. Hoser says: July 27, 2014 at 8:53 am
    1956, back when we were on top of the world. Technically, we are still on top economically, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
    ____________________________________

    Simple economics.

    If you spend 30% of GDP on welfare, and ham-string your industry with red tape and health and safety directives, you are going downhill fast. Just think of how many Apollo programmes, the US and UK welfare budgets would produce.

    Welfare is an easy sell for a democratic politician, as who does not want to be seen to be ‘nice’ and ‘caring’. But you would probably find that if governments invested that money in Apollo programmes instead, most of those on welfare would be gainfully employed, instead of watching day-time TV. And America and the UK would be powering ahead once more in R&D and technology, and thus earning the income and foreign exchange to pay for the standard of living we have grown used to and expect.

    Ralph

  12. In the language of climatology, the term “predict” has several meanings making it important for an author to identify which of these meanings is meant when he/she uses this term. In the scientific use of this term, it references a falsifiable claim. The claim that is falsifiable is that the outcomes of events will have the predicted relative frequencies when observed. Until recently, neither events nor relative frequencies existed for IPCC climate models. Thus, the “predictions” of these models were neither falsifiable nor scientific.

    This situation may be changing. In the report of Working Group 1, in AR5, the IPCC cites falsifiable claims that supposedly were made by climate models. I say “supposedly” because the data look somewhat fishy.

  13. So, they’re sitting right on the turbines that go all the way through the car? Bet that’s a fun ride.

  14. “What we don’t have is … uniformed controllers at freeway intersections that sing.”

    And it is a travesty that we don’t.

    Perhaps they are hiding with the missing heat?

  15. As a science fiction fan, I always find these future predictions amusing. One thing that both these types of predictions and science fiction often miss is the social revolutions – early science fiction envisioned woman as happy housewives using new technologies, nuclear families intact, homogeneous populations, and a 1950’s belief that earning a living requires hard work. Yet the most critical factors impacting our lives and our government are the loss of the nuclear family, the growth of the taking class, the reduction in family size and the diversity of the population and attendant disparate beliefs in government and social roles. Self driving cars will not change our lives nearly as much as control of the government by those who believe everyone, whether a citizen or not, is entitled to free housing, free food, free child care, free health care, free education, free electricity, free water etc. etc.

  16. Tom Trevor says:
    July 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

    We also have air conditioning in just about all cars and almost all car have cup holders, but not tray tables.

    It isn’t just Google that is close to making hands free driving a reality GM too is very close.

    It is an ad from 1956 showing how a car would be in 1976. We are in 2014.

    Anyway, movies and TV series about the future off the top of my head:

    2001: A space Odyssey.
    Space 1999.
    Star trek. Oddly enough, Star Trek artists imagined the iPad 25 years ago.
    Add your own…

  17. That video reminded me of this video that appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000, also by GM and also in 1956. And it also features the Firebird 2 like the video above.

  18. Ralph-GELP admits openly that the ‘welfare state’ is a crucial component of the K-12 and higher ed reform visions going on globally all over the world. That is in the Helsinki powerpoints. It also acknowledges GELP is openly working with the OECD in what it calls the Great Transition process.

    So the UK, Canada, US, Australia, and other cited countries are all being driven by their education systems towards advanced socialism, whatever the intentions of the elected officials are. The economic consequences are actually not that hard to predict as you note.

    I am so worried though because this reality, athough documented and easily provable, is just not filtering through to enough parents and taxpayers in all these affected countries. The only way out is sunlight on what is actually going on.

  19. What we don’t have is dual jet turbine powered consumer level cars, autopilot (though Google is getting close) or uniformed controllers at freeway intersections that sing.

    But there is one that dances. Not on a freeway though,

  20. An interesting point on the social and economic vision that is also not being covered is that the EPA is conducting regional hearings on its push to regulate carbon dioxide. Guess what the invitation to sign up to testify is actually promoting? “Just Energy”–Carbon Dioxide is, according to the various community groups planning to hold a press conference and march on Tuesday, actually just another means of getting to Economic Justice.

    Former Obama Administration advisor Van Jones said the same thing as the excuse for why political radicals are so enamored of the Green revolution. It forces the government to take charge of economic planning and then politicians get to decide what gets located where and who gets those jobs.

    Essential facts to appreciate to really understand what is intended for these models that are resistant to reality. The purpose is to create demand for public policies to try to alter the Future, not reflect current reality or even the past accurately.

  21. A google employee took a $10 RC car, and using an old spare android phone and a laptop via wifi has a self driving neuronet car with free code for anyone who wants to make their own. The code and a video is at http://blog.davidsingleton.org/nnrccar/

    The video walks a room full of nerds through the process of how it works, why it works that way, and how you can make your own self driving car with old spare junk hardware. The capacity in the old smart phones we replace very 1-2 years is still amazing.

  22. Jack H Barnes says:

    July 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

    A google employee took a $10 RC car, and using an old spare android phone and a laptop via wifi has a self driving neuronet car with free code for anyone who wants to make their own. The code and a video is at http://blog.davidsingleton.org/nnrccar/

    The video walks a room full of nerds through the process of how it works, why it works that way, and how you can make your own self driving car with old spare junk hardware. The capacity in the old smart phones we replace very 1-2 years is still amazing.
    ========================
    The first time it runs over a toddler, it’s all done.

  23. Patrick B says:
    July 27, 2014 at 10:25 am

    “…Self driving cars will not change our lives nearly as much as control of the government by those who believe everyone, whether a citizen or not, is entitled to free housing, free food, free child care, free health care, free education, free electricity, free water etc. etc.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Wrong, wrong, wrong! They do not believe in these free things for everyone, but only for those who do not produce all they consume… and then some. Productivity is to be punished, indolence and sloth rewarded. After all, “You didn’t build that!”

  24. EPA report: Climate Skeptics have reached a unprecedented tipping point

    Report: Climate Change Skeptics Could Reach Catastrophic Levels By 2020

    WASHINGTON—In a worrying development that could have dire implications for the health of the planet, a report published Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that the number of climate change skeptics could reach catastrophic levels by the year 2020.

    According to the agency’s findings, the rising quantity and concentration of individuals who willfully deny or downplay the ruinous impact of the ongoing climate crisis will no longer be manageable by the end of the decade, leading to disastrous consequences for global ecosystems that may well prove irreversible.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-climate-change-skeptics-could-reach-catastr,36521/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview%3A1%3ADefault

    ….film at 11

  25. Google is getting close ???? right just like Amazon will be soon using drones to deliver packages … Google is doing a PR stunt nothing more … being a good search engine programmer doesn’t make you a good automated driving programmer …

  26. In the films, the people are hysterically grateful for the breakthrus (spelling improvement project) they enjoy. Who is all that grateful for the real breakthrus we actually have?
    The lack of traffic, the extreme grins, the singing traffic controllers–well, this stuff is Hollywood.

  27. I believe I saw that piece at the time. Fifteen years later I was involved first-hand in preparing for a massive, but in the event, abortive–Picturephone rollout.

    But I’m a slow learner. Despite those prediction failures, I listened five years later when the they said electric cars were on the horizon, and I decided that I wouldn’t get another new car until I could buy an electric. Turns out, It was over thirty years before I bought another car–and when I did it was powered by an internal-combustion engine just like all my previous cars.

    So, yes, significant battery energy-density increases may be imminent, but you’ll understand if I don’t hold my breath..

  28. hey, they missed the memo on “Click it, or ticket.”

    and what about the cigar smoking dad?. did those 1976ers miss the Surgeon Generals warnings? Big tobacco must have thrown in some funding.

  29. If you want to see something eerie, take a look at The Mother of All Demos in 1968 by Douglas Engelbart. This is the guy that invented the mouse and many other tools as you’ll see in this demo. It’s quite long, but if you’re into technology, this is the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. It makes it seem like we’re behind the times.

  30. I have an old “The Peoples Almanac” from the mid 1970’s & the future predictions are a hoot, we should have been all dead by 1990 according to them. The Paul Ehrlich (listed as a “expert” on population & ecology) predictions are the wackiest.

  31. I’ve been re-reading Jules Verne. Talk about stories with a positive view of the future from the 19th century. Some of the details are rather amusing from our perspective here in the early 21st century. For example, “From the Earth to the Moon” speculated living on the moon with it’s atmosphere and native inhabitants, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” described a relatively warm Antarctica. (The Kindle version of “The Collected Works of Jules Verne: 36 Novels and Short Stories” is a bargain.)

    On the other side of the coin, a recent Financial Post article “World War One: The war that ended growth” examines how economic and technological growth was steadily improving from about 1870 until the start of the First World War, and didn’t really start to recover until the 1950’s.

    http://business.financialpost.com/2014/07/26/world-war-one-the-war-that-ended-growth/

  32. MrX says:

    July 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm
    “…..It makes it seem like we’re behind the times.”
    =============
    These are the times, best not to be behind.

  33. Tom Trevor says:
    July 27, 2014 at 8:38 am
    It isn’t just Google that is close to making hands free driving a reality GM too is very close.
    =========================================================================
    I hear that GM is also close to designing a reliable ignition switch. Will wonders never cease?

  34. The real eye-opener is that our marvelous technological advances of the recent past have not brought folks the happiness they imagined back in 1956. Beaming families, singing along in harmonious cooperation is not what I see about me. Each new innovation is met by a brief interlude of joy and excitement followed in very short order with, “Well…what else you got for me?” I don’t think we’re wired quite the way “futurists” insist on imagining.

  35. Claude Harvey says:

    July 27, 2014 at 1:18
    …”I don’t think we’re wired quite the way “futurists” insist on imagining.”
    =================
    Neither does Youtube :)

  36. I can hear warmists now saying “climate scientists don’t make predictions”. The problem is they keep using the the “predict”, and its variations thereof, over and over again.

    Then I hear that the IPCC NEVER HAS made a prediction. I agree, they just throw the words about whenever they LIKED.

    IPCC – Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
    3.1. Definitions and Role of Scenarios 3.1.1. Introduction
    Forecast/Prediction. When a projection is branded “most likely,” it becomes a forecast or prediction. A forecast is often obtained by using deterministic models—possibly a set of such models—outputs of which can enable some level of confidence to be attached to projections.
    ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg2/index.php?idp=125
    ==========================

    IPCC Climate Change 1992 “Climate Modelling, Climate Prediction and Model Validation”

    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/1992%20IPCC%20Supplement/IPCC_Suppl_Report_1992_wg_I/ipcc_wg_I_1992_suppl_report_section_b.pdf

    ==========================

    Climate Change 1992: The Supplementary Report to the IPCC Scientific Assessment
    Section B – Climate Modelling, Climate Prediction and Model Validation

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_supplementary_report_1992_wg1.shtml

    • Jimbo:

      You’re tuning into games being played by climatologists in attempts at persuading readers of IPCC assessment reports that climatologists have employed the scientific method in their investigation of global warming when they have not done so. Details on this deception are available at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923

  37. K-12 education is trying its best to remedy that wiring though. Down to presecribing the desired concepts we whould perceive the world through and then bragging among each other in print about creating a steerable mental and psychological ‘keel’.

    Some concept of the common good. More like acquiescence or obtuseness to a kleptocracy. “Don’t mind us while we loot.”

  38. What we don’t have is dual jet turbine powered consumer level cars, autopilot (though Google is getting close) or uniformed controllers at freeway intersections that sing.

    We are getting close. Hit it!

  39. “I stumbled on this film from 1956 today by accident,”
    LOL I wondered where the idea for slot cars came from.

  40. Chrysler made about 55 turbine cars in the early 60’s, and did a pretty extensive consumer test with them.

  41. Jimbo says:

    July 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm
    …. “Hit it!”
    =====
    I did, it was pretty good.

  42. Around two minutes in – they should have turned left at Albuquerque…;)

    Jay Leno has one of the Chrysler Turbine cars – only a single turbine, but a lot of info about the technology behind it….trying to find the link…

  43. For scientific forecasting, see The Golden Rule of Forecasting: Be Conservative, documented by J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten C. Green and Andreas Graefe

    A conservative forecast is consistent with cumulative knowledge about the present and the past. To be conservative, forecasters must seek all knowledge relevant to the problem, and use methods that have been validated for the situation. A checklist of 28 guidelines is provided to implement the Golden Rule. . . .The average error reduction from following a single guideline
    (compared to common practice) was 28 percent. The Golden Rule Checklist helps forecasters to forecast more accurately, especially when the situation is uncertain and complex, and when bias is likely.

    Kesten C Green, Willie Soon & J Scott Armstrong, (2013 Draft) Evidence-based Forecasting for Climate Change Policies

    . . .In order to meet policy makers’ need for climate forecasts, this paper extends the applications of evidence-based forecasting of global mean temperatures. The extensions utilize more years of global mean temperature data and 34 years of better data. Forecasts from the no-trend model were compared with forecasts from six more-sophisticated methods that take account of more than the most recent data point to generate forecasts of recent levels, trends, and patterns. The more-sophisticated methods provided inconsequential improvements in forecast accuracy for horizons up to 10 years, beyond which horizon the no-change model provided the most accurate forecasts. The findings reinforce earlier conclusions that the IPCC scenario of dangerous increases in global mean temperatures fails to pass basic validation tests, and that the no-trend model provides the only scientific long-term climate forecasts.. . .

  44. As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs (12 JAN 2010 http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/2009-year-end-musings.html :

    “Or in Scientific American of November 2009 :
    ‘STILL HOTTER THAN EVER’ – that may be believed by some – but again a thousand year old straight hockey stick handle of global temperature? And that in Scientific American? Such attempts to overwrite recorded history could make a respected title an oxymoron. Ironically, the last sentence in the immediately preceding article reads “It’s always difficult to predict, but if we could predict it, it wouldn’t be science.” Even more true if simulations cannot retrodict recorded history correctly.

  45. In France, we attribute “La prévision est difficile surtout lorsqu’elle concerne l’avenir” to Pierre Dac.

    Shall we now say “Prediction is very difficult unless you are allowed to have one hundred models with different results and only a few are expected to match reality”?

  46. Based on observations so far can we conclude that increasing co2 at current rates has not had a statistically significant effect on temperature ? That is assuming no other variable is providing cooling to offset the increase in co2 temp ? Meaning assuming things like heat hiding in ocean, solar cycles etc are not offsetting ?

  47. ralfellis says:
    July 27, 2014 at 9:47 am
    “But you would probably find that if governments invested that money in Apollo programmes instead, most of those on welfare would be gainfully employed, instead of watching day-time TV.
    ________
    No, Ralph I have to vociferously disagree. If governments didn’t essentially steal the excess money needed to support the welfare budget in the first place, then private industry and you and I would personally be funding the continued economic expansion and employment of all those people AND the people that the Government employees through which we wash our hard-earned dollars after they skim a bunch for special interests and well-connected off the top. THEY SHOULDN’T BE TAKING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    Ralph, we are done when so many people (like you apparently) believe that government should take money and invest it. Private companies and people will ALWAYS make better decisions and put their money to the most efficient economic use vs governments. I suggest a book called “Economics in One Lesson” by H. Hazlett.

    Bruce

  48. With regard to socialism, seems to me by nature it grows and grows and then eventually crashes. There are too many groups vested and dependent a big government.

  49. Forbidden Planet was way off (1956) :
    “In the final decade of the 21st Century, men and women in rocket ships landed on the moon.”

  50. James says (at 9:22 am)
    I think I will pass on the predigested food…
    ==================

    Good luck on that.
    food additive # 471

    ►These synthetic fats are produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, from either plant or animal origin. E471 is generally a mixture of several products, and its composition is similar to partially digested natural fat.◄

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono-_and_diglycerides_of_fatty_acids

  51. “I suggest a book called “Economics in One Lesson” by H. Hazlett.” ~ Bruce

    That is the best piece of advice I have seen here in a long time. Thanks Bruce.

    PS: As a side note, I have not been able to post here using my WordPress account for months and months. I tried it again on a MacBook today and it worked. So, investigating led me to deleted all “site preferences” in Firefox and the restart the Browser. It seems to work as this message demonstrates. My prediction is that the odds are against this working for a long time. (is that all sciency?)

    • MarkStoval

      To address your question:

      A “prediction” is an extrapolation from an observed state of nature to an unobserved but observable state of nature. The unobserved state is called the “outcome.” In a prediction, a numerical value is assigned to the probability of each of the several possible outcomes. For example, a numerical value is assigned to the probability of heads and another numerical value is assigned to the probability of tails in a coin flip. Your “prediction” does not assign a value to the probability of each of the several possible outcomes nor is the identity of these outcomes clear to me.

  52. Terry Oldberg says:
    July 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Jimbo:

    You’re tuning into games being played by climatologists in attempts at persuading readers of IPCC assessment reports that climatologists have employed the scientific method in their investigation of global warming when they have not done so. Details on this deception are available at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923

    What a great link! I read Briggs all the time but I must have missed that one somehow. Thanks to Terry for sharing that one. I recommend others spend a few minutes reading it.

  53. Why has WUWT decided to open a thread right now saying that predictions are difficult and basically promoting FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) on predictions?

    There is a very simple reason….

    On 20 July 2014 Nature Climate Change published an online paper “Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase” by Risbey, Lewandowsky, Langlais, Monselesan, O’Kane and Oreskes. It shows that if you select only climate model runs in phase with the ENSO state (by picking those whose Nina 3.4 zone temperatures are close to the actual measured Nina 3.4 zone temperatures), then the climate models do a very good job of prediction over 15 year periods, including the period 1997 to 2012 where there has been a slow down in the rate of temperature rise (though it is still rising).

    Here is the text of the abstract :-
    “The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such
    comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.”

    This is a very simple and elegant piece of science that someone was always going to do at some point. The real question is why there is no headline reference to it on this blog.

    The answer is that it is such a powerful piece of analysis contradicting claims made here that the climate models are wrong, so the policy has been not to draw attention to it.

    Here’s a link to the article preview – http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2310.html.

    • Peter

      The abstract of the paper of Risbey et al uses the term “projection” while you use the term “prediction” in reference to a related concept. In the literature of global warming climatology, “projection” and “prediction” have differing meanings. In particular, a prediction is falsifiable while a projection is not. When the two terms are used as synonyms, as you do in making your argument, the effect is to make of your argument an example of an equivocation. By rule, one cannot draw a logically proper conclusion from an equivocation. To draw such a conclusion is an “equivocation fallacy.” Your conclusion that “this is a very simple and elegant piece of science that someone was always going to do at some point ” is an application of this fallacy hence being improper.

  54. I wonder if General Motors could’ve had the foresight and imagination, back in 1956, to realize not how advanced they’d be in 1976, but how truly advanced they’d be 30+ years beyond that date when the Obama administration took them over.

    sarc

  55. It’s easier to describe a plausible concept, than to specify attributes of something fantastic. This observation is what separates the professional and amateur prognosticators.

  56. It was the need for plausible — or perhaps possible — deniability which forced doomsayers/opportunists to shift from describing their prognostications of global warming to climate change, and drop anthropogenic, and certainly catastrophic, as often as humanly possible.

  57. I remember seeing this statement on a plaque: “We walk into the future blind, only when we look behind us do we see with 20/20 vision”. The problem is that even when we view the past, we are limited in our understanding of what we saw.

  58. Peter;
    The answer is that it is such a powerful piece of analysis contradicting claims made here that the climate models are wrong, so the policy has been not to draw attention to it.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Huh? You must have missed the whole thread drawing attention to it before it was even published:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/19/a-courtesy-note-ahead-of-publication-for-risbey-et-al-2014/

    And you missed the detailed review of it after it was published:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/20/lewandowsky-and-oreskes-are-co-authors-of-a-paper-about-enso-climate-models-and-sea-surface-temperature-trends-go-figure/

    Do try and keep up Peter.

  59. Peter says:
    July 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    “The real question is why there is no headline reference to it on this blog.”
    ————————————————————
    O dear Peter, rule of life No1:-
    Always, but always, look both ways before you try to cross someone!

  60. You cannot predict things you cannot imagine. People in the 1950s could not imagine many of the sciences and technological advances that have been made. Look back a hundred years at 1914 and see them try to predict 2014 – there is no chance. Look back 200 years to 1814 and see what they might predict for 2014. So basically it is impossible for us to predict what things will be like in 2214. Will we have a Star Trek future?

  61. My folks took me to a Motorama back in the early 50’s. It had a Disney feel to it – lots of dioramas and gee-whiz things all over. The superhighway diorama was future-world tech, because we hadn’t built the Interstate system yet.

    They had a concept car with sequential turn signals that was pretty neat, but I remember best the tetrahedral ball bearings they had rolling around. My folks were interested in a new type of oven that cooked food with radio waves, but I don’t remember seeing it.

  62. I love it when that IPCC graph of the models shows up. I saw it first in a Dr. Roy Spencer post. That post led me here — an intelligent skeptic community I did not know existed until several months ago.

    That chart “speaks”. Anyone who can read a stock market report immediately gets it.

    Of course, the CAGW crowd will quickly remind you that those models don’t “predict” rather they “project”. And there is a difference between the two (see any diatribe on “weather vs. climate for a detailed explanation.)

    Here’s a paraphrased dialogue I recently had:
    Me: Since 2000, ninety-five percent of model projections are inaccurate.
    CAGW-er: The models don’t handle short term variability.
    Me: Okay, let’s imagine we run the models out for 100 years. Are the projections more accurate?
    CAGW-er: The models are inline with observed fluctuations.
    Me: So they do handle short term variability?
    CAGW-er: The models don’t handle short term variability. The observed data is well within the envelope of projections.
    Me: Okay. The models are good at defining an envelope that observations fit into. What are the envelope’s parameters? Is “envelope” like saying error-bars without using the word “error” because it detracts from the message?
    CAGW-er: The models’ projections match observed fluctuations.
    Me: So the y axis labels don’t matter? Only the number of ticks between each data point?
    CAGW-er: Why aren’t you getting it? You’re just a science denier.

  63. “Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Oh, I see. Farmers use GMO crops because they’re too dumb to realize that they are crippling themselves because the varietals are limited … again, say what? Do you truly think that some guy whose shortest season GMO varietal is a 100 day corn, he’ll just throw up his hands if the growing season is shorter than that and say “I’m out of luck”?

    Perhaps you might benefit from a year or two on the farm yourself. If GMO seeds become uneconomical to plant, because of weather or for any other reason, said farmers just pick a non-GMO seed and plant that … repeat after me, “Farmers are not stupid.”

    w.”

    What if he can’t switch?

    Have you looked at the contracts for growing GMO crops?

    They lock you in to a certain variety for a period of years. Not something I want to commit to. I like having the options of being able to switch. I happen to have the same objections for certain other hybrid varieties. There should be more options with both on available, but because of the way contracts to get them to grow lock you in, you end up with fewer.

    Basically, if you signed up for one of the varieties that limits you and a year or two later you’ve still got snow on the ground when it’s time to plant the corn, what are you going to do?

    Otherwise, I agree with you…

    As to my other point…we now allow plants, but what is to say that is where it will stop? Nothing.

    Life, in all forms, should be the ultimate ‘public domain’ item.

    And back to the subject…yep, it’s a crock. Simply because there are choices as to what to grow (even if Willis and I don’t agree on how many there are, they do exist).

  64. Matt L’s comment prompts me to offer the clariifcation that while an IPCC-style “evaluation” provides for a visualization of the errors in the various projections, it does not provide for the possible falsification of the model. For the falsification of the model one needs the counts of observed events that are called “frequencies” in statistics. Predictions yield frequencies. Projections do not.

  65. I’ve been waiting to submit my comment, below, for the “Weekly News Roundup” post, but, unfortunately, there hasn’t been such a post this week. Hence my bold attempt to attach my comment to this thread.

    In that regard, let me say, that I fully understand and heartily endorse WUWT’s policy with respect to the inappropriateness of off-topic, off-the-wall commentary. But if the moderator would be so kind, I respectfully and humbly ask for an exception to policy, that would allow the below comment to be published here. I ask this, so that I can launch a timely “dig” at Hotwhopper as payback for her recent (26 July 2014 post) snotty, little, sucker-punch diatribe, that she aimed at Dr. Curry (NOTICE: No Dr. Currys were actually harmed in the making of Hotwhopper’s preposterously over-acted, cutey-pie, show-off “big-scene” (not to mention that “John”, in the comments section of the relevant post, left “Sou” (Hotwhopper) sputtering like some bumptious, pampered, spoiled-brat, alpha hive-heroine, who had just been taken down a notch and didn’t like that first-time experience, one bit!–though I give Hotwhopper credit for not deleting John’s comments)). Well, hopin’ for the best, here goes:

    So, like, I was going to report the latest news about the Deltoid blog by comparing that improbable pesthole to a “dead-bug”, sucked dry of its juices by the last of the Deltoid’s carrion-phile, dead-ender denizens. And, then, I was goin’ to ramble on about how the Deltoid blog was only an exo-skeleton “shell” of its former self, and everything. And, then, I was going to wrap up my little, “newsflash” with this quip: “Too bad, so sad–but that’s how the chitin crumbles!” Pretty snappy, huh?

    But now, I’m kinda thinkin’ that I don’t want to waste quality zingers, like those, above, on some nothing-booger blog, like Deltoid, and the handful of carbon-phobe phonies still flocculating there. Rather, better so save my little gibes for a more worthy occassion, I’m now thinkin’. You know, just sit-on them, for the time being, and then roll ‘em out when, like, say, the Hotwhopper blog goes all “necrophage-magnet” on us, and all. You know, that sort of thing.

    Speaking of which, while giving my tinfoil-“chapeau” a fashion-statement work-out, the other day, I suddenly got this conspiracy-theory “ideation” that “Hotwhopper” is actually “Watts”!!!–THINK ABOUT IT!!! You know, like, there’s Watts, all disguised as the Southern Hemisphere’s most obnoxious, picky-picky, snippy-to-the-max eco-fussbudget, firing off daily, urgent, little pseudo-critiques, always slightly cuckoo, what with their prim, neat-nik, mono-maniac intensity, of his VERY OWN BLOG-POSTS, MIND YOU, that actually work to draw even more attention to WUWT and, thus, to further ramp up WUWT’s already totally-awsome super-abundance of page-views and comments–VOILA!!! Pretty slick, huh?

  66. Does anybody know much about the 77 Ghz frequency used by automated cars and the TSA airsport scanners?

  67. As my Phd Comp Sci buddy told me back in the 80’s:
    ALL the major computational problems were solved in the 60’s.
    He was quite correct.

  68. I guess they thought tailfins would last 20 years. But they were gone in five.
    A 100% bubble top? That didn’t happen either.
    Nor did a yoke-type steering wheel.

    What they missed:
    Cruise control.
    Seatbelts? (I’m not sure).
    Side view mirrors on both sides.

  69. :-)
    It seems that the “future” we live today, is not that which could have been, and that is a sad “reality.”

  70. As a modeler I spend a lot of effort trying to explain the difference between a prediction and a projection. The IPCC actually did a pretty good job of defining the two terms (I guess even these guys get some stuff right>

    From the IPCC:
    “Projection
    The term “projection” is used in two senses in the climate change literature. In general usage, a projection can be regarded as any description of the future and the pathway leading to it. However, a more specific interpretation has been attached to the term “climate projection” by the IPCC when referring to model-derived estimates of future climate.
    Forecast/Prediction
    When a projection is branded “most likely” it becomes a forecast or prediction. A forecast is often obtained using deterministic models, possibly a set of these, outputs of which can enable some level of confidence to be attached to projections.”

    The point to be made is nearly all predictions will be wrong because there is always uncertainty. However, good modelers will run enough projection to cover the full range of uncertainty in input variables and model algorithms (that is what design of experiment is all about). So when the actual temperatures fall outside the range of projections we can only come to two conclusions:
    1) The algorithms use to model climate do not realistically represent physics.
    2) Uncertainty in climate model inputs are higher than we thought.
    In my line of work, if actual results fell outside my projections, I would consider it a serious failure.
    (Now that’s off my chest and I can get off my soap box.)

    • Darrin Burton:

      Like yourself, I’m a modeler. Unlike yourself, I think the IPCC missed the boat on its description of the difference between a projection and a prediction. That a projection is branded “most likely” does not make it a prediction. A “projection” is a computed time series. A “prediction” is an extrapolation from an unobserved state of nature to an observed state of nature. Being non-falsifiable, projections are non-scientific. Being falsifiable, predictions are scientific.

  71. General Motors started in 1908, and went bankrupt/re-incorporated in 2008. Half-way in between in 1958, they were at their peak.

    Sad to think of the names that have gone away Pontiac/Oldsmobile/Mercury/Meteor/Plymouth/Desoto and a host of others.

  72. From the article:

    That said, whether you are making climate predictions, or predictions about what kind of car and highway you’ll be driving in 20 years, predictions about the future are indeed difficult.

    Car: Cheap and inspected.
    Highway: In need of repair.

    That was easy.

  73. In comic books back in the 40s, Dick Tracy’s wrist watch was sort of a prediction of our wireless devices for personal communication, although they called it a 2-way radio. In the 60s it even acquired visual communication abilities as a 2-way wrist TV.

  74. Walter Dnes says:
    July 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm
    General Motors started in 1908, and went bankrupt/re-incorporated in 2008. Half-way in between in 1958, they were at their peak.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well now they are at Peak Recall. They are not yet at Total Recall. That takes place in the future.

  75. The request is to prove man-made warming is not taking place. If the ultimate response is that ‘the heat is hiding in the deep oceans where there is not enough data to prove otherwise, then there is no possibility that the money can be won.

    Keating can just cite a scientist such as Trenberth saying ‘it is hiding in the deep oceans’ and claim that there is no science provided to prove otherwise. Tisdale can prove it wrong by logic but only a tiny minority of people can follow a logical argument and Keating is unlikely to be one of them, based on his arguments so far. Sorry Keating, it’s true.

    To prove the redefined challenge of showing that the ‘rise in 20th century’ temperature is not caused by human emissions of CO2 is trivial. The record of human emissions is pretty well known and there is no substantial proof that it a) caused the drop in temperatures from 1945, b) that it caused the rise in temperatures from 1976, c) that it caused the stoppage of that rise in 2001. The correlation is extremely poor.

    If the sensitivity to CO2 was such that human-sourced emissions ‘mattered much’ then the temperature would not be going down, then up, then level while the rate of emissions continued to rise. Those emissions have indeed continued to rise and the temperature has, as far as can be detected, not demonstrated any statistically significant sensitivity to human CO2. I don’t have to add, ‘at all’. It is implied by the requirement for significance. If it is undetectable it cannot be ‘much’ or ‘more that half’ or ‘most’.

    The major outcome of Keating’s exercise is that he will learn from intimate contact that what he has heretofore believed were the opinions of ‘sceptics’ were false assertions by biased calumniators intent on misrepresentation. His comment on Heartland is appalling. As always, independent investigation of Truth provides the best information even if you have to sift a bit.

  76. Jeff says:
    July 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    > Jay Leno’s 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car ….

    Wow, that was neat. Jay Leno is half a year older than me, and I strongly remember seeing the turbine cars on the Today show. They followed some of the people who were “assigned” them and they regretted having to turn them back in to Chrysler when the trial was up.

    A few other futuristic events from around that time:
    1958: Pan Am started offering Boeing 707 service, the plane that established the jet age in aviation.

    1967: Indianapolis 500: “The race was dominated by Parnelli Jones in the radically new, four-wheel drive STP-Paxton Turbocar gas turbine entered by prolific car owner Andy Granatelli. With three laps to go, however, Jones coasted to a stop when a $6 transmission bearing failed.”

    1968: Indianapolis 500: “the second and eventually the final year of participation by the controversial STP Granatelli Turbine machines. For 1968, the Pratt & Whitney turbine engine was installed in the Lotus 56 chassis, often known affectionately as the “Wedge Turbine.” In a veiled effort to curtail the turbine’s power output, USAC had imposed revised regulations regarding the maximum annulus inlet (reduced from 23.999 in² to 15.999 in²). … the green flag was given on lap 191. At that instant, both leader Joe Leonard and his teammate Art Pollard hesitated and instantly slowed with identical snapped fuel pump drive shafts. The turbine engines again failed in sight of the finish, stunning the racing fraternity.”

    1969: Men walked on the moon. Today, we can’t get to Low Earth Orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians.

  77. Well one thing is for certain. Climate is what we expect, but weather is what we get. And it is the weather that kills us. There are many lessons we can learn from the past. Don’t build on a flood plains, volcanoes erupt, Italy particularly, earthquakes happen regularly, pollution can be curtailed. Tsunamis happen and there is bugger all we can do to stop them other than give adequate warning and build stronger homes to withstand high winds. Tornadoes kill too as do Typhoons. If we build in flood prone areas, build levies. Make earthquake and high wind area homes more stable. Other than that we really can’t alter the climate to suit our needs. It’s the poorer countries that have nice little homes that are built on sticks not stones. Haven’t we learned something from the rhyme, 5 little pigs.

  78. From bushbunny on July 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm:

    Haven’t we learned something from the rhyme, 5 little pigs.

    This rhyme?

    This little piggy went to the market,
    This little piggy stayed home,
    This little piggy had roast beef,
    This little piggy had none,
    And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.

    It teaches us we need cheaper affordable energy for all to eliminate scarcity and induce prosperity. All little piggies should be able to go to the market if they want, with affordable transportation and available goods. All should be able to have all the roast beef they want.

    And no little piggies should go home crying because they couldn’t afford what they wanted or it wasn’t available for sale. Do we live in a free world or a socialist fairy tale?

  79. No I meant the rhyme ‘Huff and I bluff and blow your house down’ The one who built his house of bricks sustained the attack. Forgive me folks.

  80. Another failed prediction :
    “Internal combustion’s such old science. Bubble travel is the way of the future.”
    Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

  81. Peter: The answer is that it is such a powerful piece of analysis contradicting claims made here that the climate models are wrong, so the policy has been not to draw attention to it.

    Prediction may be very difficult, but it would be considerably easier if the criteria for success could be decided after the fact.

  82. Self-driving car is too vague a term. If, for example, we wind up with “Google Only” lanes in which only Google buses and self driving cars are allowed, then it would be safe to say “we aren’t far away”. If we’re talking about a car which will work on even 50% of America’s roads, safely, I think we’re nowhere close.
    The problem is machine vision. We have maps and GPS – but the maps are not very detailed (look at Google street map vs. satellite sometime, and compare the street edges vs. what the satellite actually shows. Now consider Captcha: a brilliant idea where text which the automatic book scanners + OCR could not recognize is used to screen out bots. If machine vision in the form of scanners + OCR is unable to function 100% in an area as limited as reading text out of a book – how exactly should machine vision in a dramatically more varied driving environment be trusted? One which not only has all sorts of objects to consider (humans in all shapes and sizes, debris on the road, wildlife, other vehicles including bicycles, skateboarders, scooters, motorcycles, etc – but also has things like rain, dust, snow, sleet?
    I have yet to see anything which I would consider anywhere near robust enough to handle the above environments.
    Then there’s cost. A cutting edge GPS which can be trusted for “auto driving” will cost $1000 or more. The CPU + multiple sensors like lidar etc – also well up into the $10K or more range.
    I foresee a nice toy good for driving facebook billionaires from their Palo Alto mansions to their Palo Alto office or Google-ionaires from their Los Altos mansions to their Mountain View campus, but worthless for anything else.

  83. The future just ain’t what it used to be. And we still don’t wear shiny, one piece, skin tight garments.

  84. About the title. In Sweden it is well known that the originator was Axel Wallengren, a humorist writing as “Falstaff Fakir”. He was born in 1865 and died in 1896, he thus preceded both the eminent Danish scientist Niels Bohr and the frenchman Pierre Dac.
    In Swedish:
    (short version) “Det är svårt att sia, särskilt om framtiden”.
    Direct translation: “It is difficult to predict, especially about the future”
    (long version) “Det har alltid varit svårt att sia, det kommer alltid att vara svårt att sia och särskilt svårt är det att sia om framtiden”
    Direct translation: “It has always been difficult to predict, it will always be difficult to predict and especially hard is to predict about the future”.
    It is intresting to note the choce of the word “sia”, it does translate as “predict” but carries a meaning of “making a prophecy” or “divining” rather than “prognosticate” or “foretell”.

    But on the other hand, that is what we are talking about here – isn’t it?

  85. Reminds me a bit of a scene from Dr Zhivago (the Omar Shariff movie). At the end, we see that the story is being related by a Soviet Kommisar to Zhivago’s grandaughter. Obviously the screenplay invention of pro Soviet enthusiasts. they are depicted standing atop a modern hydroelectric dam, wearing those futuristic minimalist uniforms that are meant to denote prosperous utopian futures. This is obviously a world where Soviet ideology has triumphed in solving the problems of production and distribution of wealth.

    Why does it remind me of this Soviet dream? Apart from the obvious “isn’t this vision just a perfect utopia”, we are invited to imagine an American car journey – the epitome of individual freedom – under the control of an official. I just cannot imagine the mindset of a 1950s American advert producer coming up with this.

  86. Boulder Skeptic says: July 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm
    Ralph, we are done when so many people (like you apparently) believe that government should take money and invest it.
    __________________________________

    Depends what the money is spent on.

    If the government spends it on a home-grown Apollo program, but the people would have spent it instead on Chinese electronics, then the government is doing more good than the people.

    The problem we have at present, is that the government spends it on welfare, and the people spend it on Chinese electronics. So we get the worst of both worlds.

    Ralph

  87. Terry Oldberg says:
    July 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Jimbo:

    You’re tuning into games being played by climatologists in attempts at persuading readers of IPCC assessment reports that climatologists have employed the scientific method in their investigation of global warming when they have not done so. Details on this deception are available at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923

    I am trying to find where I disagree with you. Maybe you made an assumption about my position.

  88. ralfellis says:
    July 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Depends what the money is spent on.

    If the government spends it on a home-grown Apollo program, but the people would have spent it instead on Chinese electronics, then the government is doing more good than the people.

    The problem we have at present, is that the government spends it on welfare, and the people spend it on Chinese electronics. So we get the worst of both worlds.
    __________________________________

    Sorry, I have to respectfully disagree in whole with this response. No, I don’t believe it depends at all on how YOU redirect MY money. Your way will always be less efficient and result in less innovation than if you leave it in my pocket. I believe you’re halfway to having the mindset of the CAGW believers when you infer that you know better than I how to spend my money. You don’t–whether or not I want to buy Chinese electronics you don’t seem to like.

    Individuals will always make better decisions and drive production and innovation more than government can. Period. Competition by individuals or companies using their own money on a level playing field (the provision of which is actually a valid role of government) will drive innovation far beyond what government can. Period.

    I design and build satellites that carry some of science instruments producing the very data we are using to show warming is not even close to what modelers predict (or project). Yes, I’m a rocket scientist (or more precisely a space scientist). You want government to drive space investment and innovation. Well, I’ve got news for you from my personal experience. The ability of the US Government to waste money, add inefficiency and thwart innovation in space still amazes me to this day (30 years in the business). I could write a book on it. The US Government has innovated us right into having to pay for rides to space on Russian rockets. Not a real success story is it?

    How is your idea of taking my money and spending it on going to the moon really any different than a bunch of scientists and politicians taking BILLIONS every year to model climate? Why do you think you know how best to spend my money any better than they? That seems quite arrogant to me. Where is an Apollo program, or welfare, or climate modeling for that matter, in the Constitution (hint: Article I, Section 8 is the right place to look)? If we want to have the discussion on amending that document to allow it (we’re averaging about one amendment per decade so far), then that’s a different discussion.

    I’ll again suggest “Economics in One Lesson” by H. Hazlitt. He destroys this kind of
    thinking. You are not thinking of the opportunities lost by excessive taxation (defined by me as taxation beyond what is needed to exercise powers specifically enumerated in the US Constitution), which will always hinder production and innovation regardless of how it’s directed.

    And speaking of welfare, we send billions every year to climate scientists trying in vain to prove we are destroying the planet–because a group of people think it’s right to take it from me and direct it a certain way. I just don’t see how you and these scientists/politicians are so much smarter than me about spending my money—regardless of whether I agree that your chosen use is better than other stupider uses like climate science or welfare (I believe very strongly in private charities) or something else. Another great read (or view the 1970’s PBS series) that might help change your mind is “The Power to Choose” by Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman.

    I believe if everyone had resisted the thinking that “if we just took a little more and directed all those taxes”, and instead had the mindset of “let’s stick to only the appropriate enumerated roles of the US Government”, we wouldn’t be fighting this bogus climate catastrophe battle in the first place. More money in DC has been a huge enabler for the CAGW side.

    You can have the last word.

    Bruce

  89. Hi Johan, Could you please precise this is in which chapter? As I have noticed somewhere else (financial groups on LinkedIn), this is a false quote. As I know a little bit about Lao Tzu/LaoZi (after have studied Tao Te Ching in Chinese since childhood for more than 40 years now), I can not find “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge” in Tao Te Ching. About knowledge, Lao Tsu only says “Those who know are not broad of knowledge. Those who are broad of knowledge do not know”. That means in Chinese “Those who REALLY know are not broad of knowledge BUT WITH PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE IN A SPECIFIC FIELD, Those who are broad of knowledge / WITHOUT PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE IN A SPECIFIC FIELD do not REALLY know” in chapter 81. Thank you, Jean-Pierre Xiao-Min Wang

  90. Jean-Pierre;
    Logical extrapolation of that would be that all generalization is impossible. Which is itself an inadmissible generalization.

  91. Interesting neurological observation is that our sensed present is actually the most recent brain-prediction to compensate for “lag”. Sometimes it anticipates wrongly, and a “double-take” is necessary!

  92. “Prediction may be very difficult, but it would be considerably easier if the criteria for success could be decided after the fact.”

    “the five-year plan has been exceeded” was the USSR moto, because they only had to lower the production target after the fact.

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