Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wall Street Journal: Yellow Science

I came across an excellent article in the WSJ about how just as newspaper tycoons Hearst and Pulitzer traded in methods of journalistic integrity to generate greater revenue, so have many scientists today abandoned scientific integrity in order to create greater interest and cash flow--in the area of global warming, of course.

From the article,

...Over the past several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.

If yellow science overcomes real science it will not only be on account of the greed, ambition, and cowardice of our scientists but also the sloth and cowardice of a public that is unwilling to stand up and demand professionalism. This is why, as the editors of the New York Press said in 1897, I "called them yellow because they are yellow."
Read the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Robert Plant is Cool. Alison Krauss is Prim.

Last night we went to the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss concert in Detroit. What phenomenal show. On their album Raising Sand, their separately disparate sounding voices blend into haunting, beautiful, effortless harmonies. On stage, they sounded just as good.

Plant was the essence of groovy cool. Wearing a baggy button-up shirt over brown pants, his appearance could be summed up in one word: moobs. He took a rather free-form approach to his mellow movements across the stage, and looked like he was having a great time. Krauss stood out in stark contrast, wearing a more formal fitted waistcoat, and limiting most of her movements to her mouth and her arms (for the fiddle-playing). Krauss is clearly the more accomplished vocalist, but Plant's presence was decidedly key.

While all the music was excellent, my favorite highlight was Krauss' rendition of Down to the River to Pray, with Plant singing in the backup trio.

It was clear that at least 60% of the audience were predominantly Robert Plant fans. Quite a few were brandishing t-shirts from his concerts in ages past.

I think I'll pick up some more Robert Plant and Alison Krauss music. Outside of Raising Sand, I'm pretty ignorant of both.

Check out the few crappy photos I got.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My Hypermiling Experiment

So a few weeks ago I read about 'hypermiling,'
a method of increasing your car's gas mileage by making skillful changes in the way you drive, allowing you to save gas and thereby have an easier time withstanding the rising oil and gas prices.
My car is a 1999 Ford Escort, which, according to, is designed to get 28 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.

Long story short, over past week I've done my best to use hypermiling techniques. Today when I filled up, I discovered that I had achieved 42 mpg! Not bad, considering that about half of my commute is city driving. At $4/gallon, that drops my per-mile cost from $0.125 to $0.095. A whopping 24% cost savings. (Can someone double-check my math, please?)

Has anyone else had any experiences with hypermiling?