There’s a lot of smart & nuanced discussion of the messiness of science in the real world in this essay by @mattwridley

But by the time he gets to the end, my views depart from his pretty severely ...

wsj.com/articles/what-… via @WSJ
Here is how @mattwridley concludes his essay

None of us are prepared to examine evidence ourselves & judge which experts are more reliable than others

Fortunately, there are formal & informal mechanisms which play this role

That’s the short cut
Such “short cuts” — which we can call science advisory mechanisms — generally (but importantly, not always) work well in contexts like climate & GMOs, but have for the most part failed miserably in the pandemic
Certainly @mattwridley spot on when arguing scientists typically have more success characterizing the past, present & near future vs the longer-term future or consequences of alternative courses of action

This is especially the case in novel contexts, doubly so when politicized
Science is messy, scientists humans & contexts of science are characterized by the same pathologies as any other human endeavor

That said, science coupled with an ability to makes sense of science in policy & politics offers the most promising route to better outcomes


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More from @RogerPielkeJr

9 Oct

The reverberations of my 2014 column on disasters @FiveThirtyEight continue in 2020

Here Harvard's Dennis Thompson writes about it in Daedelus amacad.org/publication/pr…

I appreciate Prof Thompson's interest in my work, but he gets some things badly wrong, some thoughts
Prof Thompson certainly isn't the 1st academic to write about a colleague w/o reading their work or asking their views, hence

"He presumably thought..."
"His post was seen as..."
"Some critics question..."

How does this sort of uninformed speculation get published in a journal?
I hear this a lot:

"Witnessing professionals would do better to emphasize instead the long-term harms rather than getting involved in controversies about the causes of particular weather disasters."

IOW: "Your good science makes my political advocacy more difficult. Shut up."
Read 8 tweets
6 Oct
Year-to-date hurricane and major hurricane activity is well below average in the Northern Hemisphere (via @philklotzbach --> tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/Realtime/)
NH hurricanes since 1990
To date in 2020 (6 Oct) there have been 22, about 4 below average
NH major hurricanes since 1990
To date in 2020 (6 Oct) there have been 9 (about 4 below average)
Read 5 tweets
2 Oct
Important article by @SolomonMg and colleagues

Projecting Confidence: How the Probabilistic Horse Race Confuses and Demobilizes the Public | The Journal of Politics: Vol 82, No 4 journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.108…
I discussed the pathological potential of horse race election predictions a little ways back

Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
This won't make me friends in my campus admin but I have tenure so...

The @CUBoulder fall 2020 COVID semester has been a failure & with a heavy financial cost to the campus

In due course I expect @jaredpolis, CO Legislature, Regents, @CUSystem to evaluate & act accordingly
CUB reported $71.5m budget shortfall 2020-21

Included in the shortfall was $25m for a "COVID-ready campus"

To mitigate shortfall we had salary reductions of $14m

So CUB staff paid for the "Covid-ready campus" out of our salaries

Not that it failed, do we get our money back?
Had CUB simply started off online on Aug 24 rather than going online Sept 21 no campus employee would have needed to take a salary cut & campus would still have had an extra $11m as a buffer against enrollment declines

It is not a comfortable subject, but these are the facts
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
More misuse of RCP8.5 in gov't policy analyses
I went down the rabbit hole
The CBO hurricane analyses are based on two dated 2013 studies which depend upon RCP8.5
Emanuel 2013 and Kopp et al. 2013
Unsurprisingly, the work Bloomberg and Steyer project sits at the core of the new CBO estimates
Read 5 tweets
17 Sep
College football players as study subjects

Don’t these researchers need IRB approval for such human subjects research?

Deeply troubling behavior by universities who should know better
These are not observational studies
These are studies of situations that the research institution has created
They are human subject experiments
B10 clearly sees football players as lab rats
“... an opportunity in a global pandemic to be able to help solve some of these medical issues, especially from a cardiac-registry standpoint & be leaders from a research standpoint, that was really important"

madison.com/sports/college… Image
Read 11 tweets

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