Do Lockdowns Reduce the Spread? Maybe a Little. But what else do they do?
“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” — Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
The 2020 fire season is nearing its end. But monstrous wildfires continue to rage across America’s western states, devastating towns and habitats, and killing hundreds of people and millions of animals. Politicians and environmentalists continue to rage that climate change is the primary factor, allowing few responsible, commonsense forest management actions that could actually reduce the risks.
We live in a world of complex issues, which can be very frustrating. I have been doing research on the generic structure of issues for a long time. There is an underlying pattern that might be helpful to know about. I call it the issue tree. What follows is necessarily simplified to fit into a short article, but it is still a big step forward.
Its headlines like the Guardian’s, “Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature”, that induce paranoia that “insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, and threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”.
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” —Thomas Jefferson (1809)
Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed.” – Galileo
Yesterday NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory published “The Anatomy of Glacial Ice Loss.” For the most part it’s an interesting, though not particularly revolutionary, discussion of the various forces that add to and subtract from glacial ice. Nothing wrong with that.
But its authors took the opportunity to insert a poison pill, a little bit of fearmongering, in a video caption:
Why a dramatic acceleration in sea level? It’s based primarily on dire models, typically presented to coastal planning commissions as ‘best science’, suggesting increasing ice instability and Antarctica ice sheet collapse. “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than 3.3 feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 49 feet by 2500.”
A paper out of the Harvard School of Public Health makes the claim that “Unconventional oil and natural gas development” will increase “ambient particle radioactivity” down wind. More simply, fracking will increase radon down wind. They are wrong on two counts: First, they find the increase in radon by trying multiple models until they get a publishable result, multiple testing and multiple modeling or MTMM, aka p-hacking. Second, any increase in radon is very small and higher levels of radon are actually beneficial to humans, e.g., decreases in lung cancer.