Alexey Guzey on the Business of Science

I wrote my recent piece on global warming in part to show that the business of science is broken. Not the scientific method itself, but how we pay for and get science, mostly in academia. Alexey Guzey has a very good thought piece on this that I hope you’ll read. Among other things, he points out that peer review is a farce. People argue with me about peer review, but they don’t bring data or an outside perspective, they just assume it works. Having looked into it, I assume it is mostly hijacked to serve the agenda of a small group in every domain of inquiry. Read Alexey’s piece and explore his web site:

How Life Sciences Actually Work: Findings of a Year-Long Investigation

Starts with a Bang

I have an interest in cosmology. I also have a deep suspicion that we haven’t really framed the question of “dark matter” properly yet. I’m not convinced the “dark matter” is there to be discovered. Instead, I think we’re not looking at it in the right way yet, just as we weren’t looking at the physical universe before 1900 in the right way, either. One of my favorite authors in this area is Ethan Siegel (no relation), whose Forbes blog, “Starts with a Bang” is well worth reading and keeping up on. Enjoy:

Starts with a Bang blog

Predicting Future Climate

NOTE: This blog will be updated 2-3 times a week and the other one as well. Please bookmark this page as I can’t get the domain to point to it directly. Thanks.

If you think about it, it’s very difficult to predict what temperatures on earth will be 80 years from now, no matter what your assumptions are. The uncertainties are huge. There simply can’t be any precision in predictions that far out. And, in fact, the UN climate assessment models continue to be revised downward, because the actual temperatures continue to not show what the models predicted 20 years ago. So the extreme climate predictions continue to come down, even as headlines continue to heat up. Here is a new peer-reviewed paper showing that the models don’t take clouds into account, and if you do take clouds into account there is no reason to believe that the climate will change much at all in response to increased CO2 in the upper troposphere.

NO EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE FOR THE SIGNIFICANT ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE

It’s not easy to change your mind, but here is something to think about: If somehow a large number of credible scientists were to actually admit that close to 100 percent of observed and future climate change is not related to CO2 and that whatever happens we will have plenty of time to adapt to naturally very slowly rising sea levels and temperature, how would you react? Would you be happy or sad? I think a lot of climate activists would be very sad, because they are so engaged and their funding comes from raising the alarm. Honestly, would you be disappointed if it became a non-issue? If you would be disappointed, that’s a sign that you are not neutral, that you have a strong belief regardless of what the science shows, and that you strongly identify with others who are also fighting to save the planet from future climate destruction. If, on the other hand, you would breathe a huge sigh of relief, then you should come to Climatecurious.com and start your education.

Do We All Have Toxoplasmosis?

A reader named Bo Svensson sent me a note about toxoplasmosis. I have heard of it in cats, but humans? Apparently quite a few people have this parasite. Does it affect our behavior?

So I asked for metastudies, and I got them …

1. "The One Health Approach to Toxoplasmosis: Epidemiology, Control, and Prevention Strategies" (paper and a really good article)

2. "Beyond the association. Toxoplasma gondii in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and addiction: systematic review and meta-analysis" (paper)

3. "Toxoplasmosis – A Global Threat. Correlation of Latent Toxoplasmosis with Specific Disease Burden in a Set of 88 Countries" (paper)

4. "Driving us mad: the association of Toxoplasma gondii with suicide attempts and traffic accidents - a systematic review and meta-analysis".(paper)

Is this significant? Could Donald Trump be a carrier? What do you think?

Monetary Policy for Dummies

Monetary policy is a deep subject, one many people don’t understand (including some Nobel-prize-winning economists). I believe monetary policy is probably more important than national politics, so I hope you’ll want to spend some time to learn about it. The three main schools of thought of monetary policy are …

  • Keynesian: The government can control monetary policy largely through adjusting interest rates and fiscal (government) spending. While the central theory has been abandoned, a New Keynesian school has tried to adjust to better conform to reality (like stickiness — see below). New Keynesians like Greg Mankiw are helping adjust the theory and are making positive contributions.

  • Austrian: The Austrian school, which started in Austria but is now worldwide, is based on two fundamental concepts: laissez-faire capitalism and marginalism. They don’t believe governments should be in control of markets or money at all, except to enforce fair dealing.

  • Monetarist: Monetarists today continue the work of Milton Friedman. Friedman said that long-term inflation is always a monetary phenomenon and that fiscal policy had almost no leverage on the economy. He promoted policies that pursue a long-term target of a small amount of inflation by adjusting the money supply, to keep the economy growing. A subset of this school is market monetarism, which proposes adjusting the money supply to compensate for swings in aggregate demand.

Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabbarrok have created a fantastic set of online courses on economics called Marginal University. I recommend their course on macro economics.

Here’s the first video to get you started.

A New Institute for Millennials

This web site and blog, which almost no one reads today, are just the first steps in my long-term vision for fixing the world. I believe we need to throw off the shackles of the 20th century and embrace the accelerating change ahead. I have just published my plan for building a new institution to do just that. It’s called the Giordano Bruno Institute. Please read about it and share:

My Plan to Help Millennials

I appreciate any help in bringing my work to a wider audience.

Thank you,

David Siegel

Move the Window

I keep pointing to the writing of Maarten Van Doorn because he is a young person to follow. He’s 26, lives in Southern Holland, and he writes all the time on important topics from philosophy to society. Do you know someone else who is a young, ambitious shaper? Please introduce him/her to me and to our community.

Today, I ask you to read Maarten’s excellent and short essay on …

How to Change the World

And here is the last paragraph I would add to his essay:

The bottom line: Don’t try to do what’s possible; redefine what’s possible. While this is the kind of thing we see on LinkedIn and Twitter all day long, it’s far more difficult than it sounds. I’ve spent my life trying to redefine what’s possible, and 90 percent of everything I’ve ever done has failed. I’m used to it. But if you look at the bone pile of discarded efforts, it is vast. It’s the “dark matter” of entrepreneurship - failure outweighs success about ten to one, possibly more. So when you point to some success and say “We’ll do it like they did it,” you are almost certainly going to fail. The world is full of institutional silliness and rigorous nonsense, yet that’s what passes for normal, and moving the window past that is very, very difficult. You need clear thinking, skill, hard work, and a lot of luck to move the world even a quarter of an inch forward.

My Libra Summary

If you know me, you know I’m intensely interested in macro-economics and money. I believe we are at the very beginning of digital money, which will lead to decentralized finance. In this video from last Sunday, I break down the non-technical aspects of the Libra project by Facebook. Enjoy …


How to Retain what you Learn

Many of us read books, but what do we remember? What do we use? How much do we lose after closing the cover?

The answer is: we lose a lot. Lectures and books are particularly bad ways to learn and retain knowledge. One of our community members, Maarten van Doorn, has written an amazing Medium.com essay called The Complete Guide to Effective Reading. It’s worth a look. Skim it to get the overall concept, then read (and take notes) if you are really interested.