Chinks In The Armor

As much as the ChiComs claim to be a global economic powerhouse, we should always be aware that much of the economic numbers that come out of China are either flat-out lies or at best, exaggerations.  Hence:

The most important thing to understand about Chinese statistics is not that they are necessarily manipulated from the top. Certainly that happens too, as it does in every country in the world. Look no further than Wang’s example for that. But much of the manipulation of Chinese data actually comes from the lower levels. China is a country of over a billion people, but it has no unified or centralized statistical reporting system. Data is gathered at the local level and passed up the chain until it reaches the central government. The bureaucrats in charge of that system enjoy professional success and advancement when their numbers conform to the expectations and directives of the party. As a result, the numbers can be inflated to give the impression of success or moderated in order to avoid attention.

An example of how this can lead to catastrophe comes out of China itself, in the not-so-distant past:

In the 1958-1961 Great Leap Forward, Chairman Mao’s disastrous attempt to shift a backward agrarian economy to a modern industrial powerhouse, the failure of the statistical system contributed to catastrophe on a grand scale. Mao’s plan, such as it was, required producing an agricultural surplus that could be sold to fund investment in a modern industrial base. Whipped into a patriotic frenzy, and knowing that their future depended on meeting unrealistic targets for the production of grain, local officials engaged in rampant exaggeration of output.
But reality was distorted at a cost. The higher the production figures, the greater the tax owed to the central government. In some areas, the exaggerated claims were so great that the entire harvest had to be handed over as tax, used to fund investments and extravagances that China could ill afford. In some parts of the country, the only crops left behind were grown by villagers in secret locations, away from the acquisitive eye of the local production teams. But such success stories were few and far between. Tens of millions died in history’s greatest man-made famine.

Communists are renowned, of course, for perverting the facts to suit their own ends.  Remember this over the coming political election season here in the U.S., as our own home-grown Marxists fabricate lies and misquote or otherwise falsify data, simply to advance their political agenda.

Blind Drunk, Blindingly Obvious

From the annals of modern-day !SCIENCE! comes a conclusion from this (undoubtedly taxpayer-funded) scientific study which finds that:

[H]igher levels of drinking impair brain function and memory.

In other words, the more booze you drink, the more your brain gets scrambled.

If anyone aged higher than 10 did not  know this, they ought to be euthanized as a public service, because such stupidity can only come from (and yes, there may be some overlap) Democrat voters, socialist policymakers and (apparently) Australian scientists.

Sheesh… reading stuff like this makes me want to go back to pouring Scotch over my breakfast cereal.  Now I’ll have to wait until after the Monday range session.

No Shit

What would we do without science?  From Italy:

A raft of new research shows that watching junky cable and other lowbrow TV is actually making people dumber — literally lowering their IQs.

Of course, some may say that this finding only applies to Italians — who were the ones studied — but somehow I’m pretty sure that it’s a universal phenomenon.  (Of course, I’m no scientist, so feel free to disagree with me.)

But as always, there’s an agenda:

“The language codes that were popularized by TV also made people much more susceptible to the populist party because they used very simple language,” Ruben Durante, one of the paper’s coauthors, said. “They used accessible language. And that can potentially be very powerful.”

I love that term:  “accessible language”.  In other words, people are more likely to be influenced by language they can actually understand, instead of by the circumlocution and orotundity found in, say, academic writing.  So those bloody ignorant peasants are going to respond more positively to “Build a wall!” than to “Multiculturalism can be fraught with a multiplicity of challenges”.

Quelle surprise.

I am reminded of the wonderful zinger (and I paraphrase):  “That argument is so indisputably, miserably wrong that it could only have been made by an intellectual.”  In this case, the statement is so blindingly obvious that it could only have been made by a scientist.

Quote Of The Day

From Steve Sailer:

The most glaringly obvious way to improve our schools is to improve their students via smarter immigration policy.

And if one studies the most recent international PISA scores, the obvious recruiting grounds for smarter school-age children are the countries at the top of the chart.

Whether we want a whole bunch of Yellow kids (see the graph before exploding) is a question for another time;  but it sure as hell beats bringing in kids from Africa and South America, as we are.

That is, assuming we want our schools to improve.

Wrong Headline

Here’s a classic case of media slant:

Had They Bet On Nuclear, Not Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power

This is what we non-journalists call “complete bullshit”.  In the first place, neither Germany or California “bet” on anything.  Germany closed all their nukes in a panicked reaction to the Fukishima disaster in Japan, and California deliberately closed their existing nukes and prevented new ones from being built because Californians are a bunch of fucking Green morons (as, by the way, are the Krauts).  There was no “gamble”, because everybody already knew that Green “technology” would be totally incapable of completely filling anybody’s power needs except maybe for the average sub-Saharan African country north of the Limpopo River.  For Germany and California?  Not even close.  And when even Al Gore is calling California foolish…

That said, I’m not taking a potshot at the author of the above piece, because authors seldom write their own headlines — this would probably be the doing of some Forbes   editor, who’s either stupid or purposely slanted.  In fact, given that Michael Schellenberger is TIME Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment,” a Green Book Award Winner, and President of Environmental Progress, the article is remarkably clear-headed and factual — which was clearly A Bridge Too Far for Forbes magazine, which used to be a go-to business publication but has recently become completely irrelevant — and the above should tell you why.

 

Proper Analysis

Over the years, several people have pointed me to Willis Eschenbach’s Skating Under The Ice, and it’s very, very  good.  Of late, however, this post has (and should have) become a landmark in the seemingly-endless debate on climate change, in that Willis applies an age-old accounting principle to the issue of carbon dioxide levels, thus:

Now, for me, discussing the “social cost of carbon” is a dereliction of scientific duty because it is only half of an analysis.
A real analysis is where you draw a vertical line down the middle of a sheet of paper. At the top of one side of the paper you write “Costs”, and under that heading, you list the costs of whatever you are analyzing … and at the top of the other side of the paper you write “Benefits” and beneath, you list those benefits. This is what is called a “cost/benefit analysis”, and only considering only the “Costs” column and ignoring the “Benefits” column constitutes scientific malfeasance.

…and then, in brilliant detail, he shows the other half.  It’s a very long read, but if you don’t do it all, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  His conclusion is stunning:

[T]he benefit that we get from emitting that additional tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is an increase in goods and services of $4,380 … which dwarfs the assumed social cost of carbon of $40. When we do an actual cost/benefit analysis, the result is almost all benefit.

I admit that I had only thought in vague terms about this topic, because I always took it for granted that social benefit came from industry, and that the greater the industry, the greater the benefit.  What I had never done was quantify  the benefit;  and now I don’t have to, because now it’s been done, irrefutably.

Bravo.