Category Archives: This Ain’t Science

Star Wars

starwarsTFA3-970-80What is there to say about Star Wars?

Episode IV was a wonderful movie, V was a good movie, VI wasn’t too bad, had some really good parts. I had some good parts, II didn’t, III was so bad that … it was bad on every level of storytelling.


What keeps Star Wars alive, when all around it is failure and bad fan fic? Simple, we all want it.

Explore an infinity of new places, bam. Just get in your hyperdrive capable vehicle and take off.

friends watch back

It isn’t utopia, though there are some utopian areas. It is a real place with a lot of bad, and some really nice good. It is a wild west kind of place, where you carry a blaster and have good friends watch your back.

I actually thought the Disney “Rebels” and “Clone Wars” were very good cartoons. I’ve enjoyed them. I hope that the new movies follow those leads more than the crap of I – III.

What happened to them? Really, it was a film maker who was afraid of his source material. He wanted to look “bigger and smarter” and got shown up as dumb. Writers take note:

Star Wars IV – VI is Arthur, specifically it is Morte de Arthur. Arthur has become the Dark King. Modred in this is our Luke Skywalker, so a likeable boy. He is joined by Morgan le Fae (Leia Organa) and the Druid Knight (come on, he makes a point that he doesn’t believe all that Jedi religion stuff.) His Falcon and Wolf… a Wolfee….

Ok, so the rest is pretty much putting these trappings on a good old fashioned space opera.


So the rise of Arthur should have written itself. ANYONE could have written it. But, the usual failings. 1) All the big things have to happened to Anakin at one time. 2) Space Operas aren’t comedic love stories. 3) Character development was in the toilet. 4) Subtle much? Look, a perfectly normal Anakin could have ended episode III. Or he could have been burned and not completely evil, just foreshadowing. Instead, all in. Bad Writing. Bad Story telling.


Bah, a humbug it is.

Utopian Dreams and Climate Change

I would like to be the first to agree to Utopia. There the climate is perfect and predictable. The weather is nice too. The human influence on it is always to moderate the outcomes, so that every creature lives in harmony. This is some kind of Star Trek universe, where food comes out of a matter converter. Or Camalot

Utopia doesn’t exist in this world. The climate is not influenced significantly by mankind. I strongly suspect, that if we could travel to an alternate universe, one not populated by man, we’d find no difference in the weather, much less the climate.

However, the environment is. Poor people shoot animals for food, and in competition for their food. Rich people also shoot animals, often for sport, but in much lower percentages. Poor people cut down trees and burn them. In Africa, most of the continent is “Off the grid.” The cities have relatively expensive power, but the farmlands deal with portable generators for lights and fire to cook on. (Heck, I was watching Anthony Bourdain the other night, in Ethiopia, they were cooking on a fire pit, with wood.


The North American Continent was deforested in the past, by native Indians. They wanted farmland, in the absence of metal axes, they used fire. The current state of the US is More Natural than at times during the past millennia. Rich countries can afford to protect the environment. (California, for example, is constantly spending its wealth to protect fish. On dry years, it complains that it spent its money poorly, but those are political choices.)

So, Paris Accords. I don’t believe in the honesty of anyone attending that monstrosity. In My HUMBLE Opinion, its purpose is to set up a perpetual graft and support fund for every ones favorite NGOs. This will come as part of large political payments between Democracies and dictators. The UN may have had some valuable moments, but it is a den of corruption. (Congress isn’t far behind.) The only thing worse is the Presidents “CZARS” who trade favors and power behind closed doors. You know they are setting up jobs for themselves for after the Dems lose the presidency. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were amazing small fortunes from “side” work. It is a sad feature of dictatorships, which this presidency seems to allow.

Frankly, the UN is founded on that graft. Top to bottom. Kofi Annan made at the minimum tens of millions and likely brought home more than a billion dollars. This Climate Money Pot has been estimated to be 2.5 trillion dollars. I expect that most of the “disagreements” have nothing to do with environment and everything to do with Graft.

You want to help the poor? Good. I donate thousands every year, you should too. You want to help a poor country? Make power so cheap that fire is relatively expensive. When you pay only pennies per kilowatt-hour poor people stop cutting wood. Don’t give their Dictator a new billion dollar hotel, buy his people’s products. This has lifted China out of poverty, India as well. (mostly) It will do the same in Africa.

Fighting Robots

I got an email from Dr. DNA today. Yeah, I’d seen this. I can’t wait… of course, it will all end in tears, but dang, what fun till it does.
First they clean our floors as cute little roombas,
Then the battle to the death for our amusement on the gladatorial arena,
How long before they link up and overthrow the rule of us decadent meat bags?
I have seen that movie…
…it does NOT end well…
sincerely, yours in giant fighting robot science,


I wish I had more pictures of me in these shades, they are awesome. (I think I look awesome, but I’m known to be a bit biased there.) I bought them from Paul is the maker and – when I called him for an emergency pair before DC, he got them out. I really appreciated that. I hope he does good business. He just added a new cut, the snow pattern, and a zebra-looking paint job.

I swear these should be the goggles for some ice-shooting villain.

If you buy a pair, I recommend some stick-on tabs for your nose, these things are metal. Other than that, awesome. (oh, and I do recommend you buy a pair. They run from about 45 bucks to around 130, depending on metal, cut, and treatments.) Most importantly, he does custom work, so use your imagination. Clearly the brass ones make good steampunk accessories, but the copper has an asian feel to it that I can’t explain. I’ve got to work on some kind of Future Samurai look for those. And obviously everything with color on it could be turned into some version of a super-hero costume piece.

I’m definitely feeling Diesel-Punk this year, so I may have to figure out how to incorporate these.

Fake Science

What initially tweaked me to the problems with Global Warming? Well, I looked at the Hockey Stick and didn’t see any interesting features before 1970. It was flat as a pancake.

I’m a history buff, but I figured everyone knew about the Medieval Warm period. It happened. I’ve seen several papers “debunk” the “theory” that temperatures were warmer then…but people are excavating Viking farms from the Greenland Glaciers. It used to be common and interesting. I used to read about it in Archeology magazines … suddenly it disappeared.

Still, scientifically, that would be an interesting subject…but they erased history to make the current problem seem worse. They erased a lot of history and seem to be continually revising things to make their points. An author – Jarad Diamond – Produced a book “Collapse” which tried to show that humans keep destroying their environments. He had to ignore the global warming and cooling cycles, which apparently drove several of these collapses. It made the science … frankly crazy in places. “These people destroyed their environment…which is why it lasted 500 years and then they moved 100 miles and have kept going another 500 years.” Crazy if you believe that the cause was people, not natural environment shifts.

Atheists like to mock the Christians for Revelations, that there is an “End times” and we are living in it. But, Malthusian thinking is no different. They put a scientific venear on their “End of the world” rhetoric, but it isn’t really different. REPENT NOW, STOP BURNING COAL OR YOU WILL DIE IN THE FIRES OF … Global Warming.  It is False Science.

Environmental Scientists Getting Things Wrong: DDT, Global Cooling, Global Warming, Ozone Holes, Spotted Owls … This is off the top of my head, probably missing about everything. 

Still, lets not limit ourselves to Environmentalists. Science is frequently wrong. Any Astronomer can point you at a dozen changes in the way we’ve viewed the universe in the last twenty years, we’re revamping Black Holes as you read this. Medical science is wrong on a daily basis. There is still nothing wrong with eating salt…studies showing this have been miss-interpreted for over a generation, they actually shown how much people need Potassium, which is frequently missing from our diets. American diets are high in corn and weak in green veggies. We get plenty of sodium but no where near enough potassium. 

But honestly, this isn’t about science, it is about Government interference in science. Belief or dis-belief in black holes or dark matter (or evolution for that matter) don’t affect the price of tea in China. Spending a 13.25 billion dollars searching for the Higgs Boson…which balances a cute mathematical equation and little else… doesn’t affect gas prices (much). But it does have a measurable effect. US spent 90 billion dollars on green energy to combat global warming… more than a percent of the budget, so more than a percent of our tax dollars. I guess that only comes to about $100 bucks for me, so still only a big cost.

What has had a HUGE effect? Oh, adding ethanol to my gas costs me 2 mpg ~ 10% and raises the price of gas 10 cents.   This costs me about $500 a year, big but not huge. Still, a hundred here and a hundred there, sooner or later I just can’t afford to pay my heating bill. When I moved into my house, winter heating went to $120, this year  – 10 years later – it was nearly $300. Why is electricity so expensive?  My annual bills have gone up over a thousand dollars, now we’re talking huge. And with health care rising by $3600 last year, my last two raises still have me bringing home less money each year.

I’m just saying:
You have to watch these scientists. When they are on their own dime, they can do a lot of good work, but as soon as they are being paid by the government, their research will cost you a fortune. In many cases, your money will go to something with less benefits than the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
And that is all I have to say.

Friday Funnies

Ok, I normally don’t get conned into doing a Friday Funnies routine, but here are some additions I can’t avoid.

Robot Identifies Human Flesh as Bacon

I’ve long been told that humans are just “long pig.” So… don’t stand too close to hungry robots, they might not be able to tell the difference. Pretty soon you’ll be ordering “tasting robots” on amazon…

Speaking of food, this was brought to my attention by Dr. DNA. How did our budding Aquatic Scientist (Rachel) miss this? Oh, the humanity. A peanut butter Jelly fish. The worst part is that they invented the word peanutbutterification to describe the process. Seriously? At least it is not like it is printed in an academic journal. oh, wait, nevermind.

And just to finish things out. It turns out that you can order spiders delivered by mail. My christmas shopping is practically done already.

Just remember, you can feed him bacon…

Opposite Worlds

I watched this new “reality show” the other week with my wife and son. We were interested, at first, but I think we picked up the real game here. This isn’t a reality show about the people on the screen, but about the people watching it.

First off: They are all freaking models. Ok, most “Reality” shows can have at least one non-perfect human.
Second: Team 1 breaks a member of Team 2 with an illegal move. They continue the contest and Team 1 wins. Ok, all reasonable. Then the winner gets to decide who goes to the past and who goes to the future. (nothing else that I can see.) So, they pick the future… It appears to be a unanimous decision. REALLY? Can not one person give a sympathy vote for Team 2?

Team 1 is given Sloth, Wrath, Gluttony, and Greed right off the bat. I assume they’ll work in Lust and Pride in future episodes. 
Team 2 has envy, which they work to tamp down. I’m sure they’ll expose all their virtues in future episodes.

So, it doesn’t “Feel” like a reality show to me. It feels like a rough-scripted and carefully edited punch in your humanity. You are expected to TWEET things with a #oppositeworlds tag and … join their experiment. I hope they find some kindness in humanity. That would be a welcome change.

Politics not Science (updated)

Look, I’ve had a busy week involving a mico amount of real science and a heck of a lot of paperwork. It can be a drain, but we have to get approval before the Science Police show up on your doorstep. (I desparately need an orange business suit. Because Ultraman.)

So, I ended up in an argument on Facebook. (Long periods of filling out paperwork, sitting in meetings, and arguing with people leads me to becoming a Science Troll on Facebook.) It appeared that Michele Bachmann made some statement that we shouldn’t take scientist’s word for it and she included Creationism, Global Warming, Stephen Hawking, and probably some other culprits. 

My first argument here should be this: Well intentioned, well researched, science is frequently wrong. As an example (wikipedia)

“In 1898, Kelvin predicted that only 400 years of oxygen supply remained on the planet, due to the rate of burning combustibles.[62][63] In his calculation, Kelvin assumed that photosynthesis was the only source of free oxygen; he did not know all of the components of the oxygen cycle. He could not even have known all of the sources of photosynthesis: for example the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus—which accounts for more than half of marine photosynthesis—was not discovered until 1986.”

Now, to my point. I am not going to support everyword out of the mouth of anyone. But, I’ll refrain from the obvious statement that a 57 year old woman from a conservative christian background might have ideas that are “out-of-date” to the modern hip guy. I grew up with creationism and evolution – taught as an argument – and thought it made sense. Maybe I’m out-of-date, but whatever. 

50 years later and I’m not really sure where Paleontology is taking us. Anywhere? We’re collecting more weird fossils. I think our direct work with DNA is more promising than a stack of bones. My son would probably have some words on this, he is excited by genetic engineering. (I just hope we get bigger chicken legs out of it, I have low expectations.) How much money goes into Paleontology? Is it primarily supported by universities and private grants? Then, I expect I have no beef with it. I think they ignore the interesting part (how different the Earth must have been to support these creatures), but whatever.

Lets talk, instead, about Anthropogenic Global Warming. How much government money is invested in Climate Control, alternative energy, AGW research, and the like? I’ve heard estimates that run into the billions. If you included the rebates we’re giving the wind farm industry, you could run a second NASA. We Throw Away more than 300 million every year, on failed businesses that should never have had a cent of government money.

This is your money. Seriously. We treat tax money as if it is free, but wasted & stolen money comes out of your pocket. Where does Hansen’s million dollar check come from? Well, Columbia University, so it isn’t our money, right? Nope. Columbia gets a big check from the government for Global Warming Research, which they give to endow a chair, which goes into Hansen’s awards. But he is just one of the players. Most of the scientists who back a politician are getting cash or awards. The government will organize big gifts to their university, employer, to Non-Gov organizations (who are staffed by party hacks) who will give it as a gift to the right person, whatever. Graft, Bribery, theft from the taxpayer. Fraud.

When you see a scientist backing a politician – moving science in a highly public manner – he/she is likely bought and paid for. When you see MILLIONS of dollars go into a scientists pocket, you know it is fraud. But, we still pretend that the science is good.

Frankly, I’d rather believe in God Created Global Warming (GCGW). He takes a lower percentage of my salary.

Predicting Solar Cycles – Dalton Minimum

There is a new paper out that – while I agree with some of its conclusions – uses the same fallacy as the Global Warming papers. I just want to point out that I can disagree with a paper, even when I agree with its conclusions.

The paper is “An empirical approach to predicting the key parameters for a sunspot number cycle” by H.S. Ahluwalia. The link to the paper is here.  He proposes that the measurment of the Earth’s Geomagnetic field average (Ap) can be used to predict the behavior of the sun. The problem is that Ap doesn’t have a long history. He has two solar cycles, less than 30 years, to make his point. That is a lot like taking a short run from 1968 – 1998 and trying to predict the next hundred years. (ie. Global Warming)
Full-size image (21 K)
Take a look at the figure above. (Figure 3. from Ahuluwalia’s paper) Yes, we have a lot of sunspot data, but it doesn’t really seem to be predictive. Only a few of those curves are really similar mathematically. (Yes, I’ve run a gazillion models to predict the future using sunspots of the past – for example is 16 to 17 similar to 18 to 19? – but ChiSquared correlations haven’t been good, except when predicting the past, when they do pretty good.) Now that we have STEREO satellites in place, measuring the magnetic field on the sun, we should be able to model the dynamo of the sun. (someday might not be soon, the sun is amazingly complicated.)
Maybe the Earth’s magnetic field is finding data that STEREO hasn’t found yet. Maybe the sun is already sending signals of future Dalton Minimum behavior. In honest fact, that is likely true. The Human Eye sees some sort of correspondance between cycles of old, the Dalton minimum of old, and the present conditions. This is just reviewing Sun Spot numbers and “seeing” a pattern that – so far – no mathematical model replicates. However, there isn’t any way to compare 2 sets of any data to 2 cycles and call anything Science. This is just a model which matches twice, but might not ever match anything ever again.  This is a fallacy of “short data.”

PS. I rate it 60/40 that we are going into a solar minimum. We really won’t know until the next cycle… so this argument can continue at the same time in 12 years. But, I’m disprovable. If in 6 years the next solar max comes roaring back for a major solar max… I’ve been disproven. My “eye” doesn’t predict that sort of behavior. My “eye” sees a small cycle occurring for 12 years, then EITHER a bigger cycle – ending the Dalton set – or a fall off with no cycle apparant for 50 years. After 12 years, if the next cycle is still equally small and doesn’t show any characteristics which are mitigating, I’m going 80/20 for a Dalton minimum. Of course, with my timing, I’m planning for the next “Carrington Event” for 2090 +/- 5 years. (I’ll refine that number when we’re a bit closer, ya know, but I’m willing to put money at 100/1 for something like that.)

Wide-Open Interview

Hey guys, Stephanie Osborn here. Hawk gave me permission to do a bit of shameless self-promotion here, right before the holidays. Reason? Lots of you folks read, and I’ve written lots of stuff to be read. Anyway, y’all know that I’m a rocket scientist, astronomer, and writer, but maybe you don’t know much more about me. So I wanted to post a link to what ended up being the longest and widest-ranging print interview I’ve ever done, in case you wanted to know more about me than what you could find out reading here, or looking over my website.

Shiny Book Review has reviewed 4 of 5 of my books, and in general has seemed to like them, whether fiction or non-fiction, and when they asked if they could interview me, I was glad to do so. The interview came out this evening, and I thought I’d stick up a link here. 
So here you go, more about me than you ever thought about.