In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and religion, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

jtotheizzoe:

Chris Mooney on the Number One Lesson *Not* To Take Away from Hurricane Irene 
(hint: it’s about “hurricane hype” … you’re gonna hear a lot about it this week)

Nevertheless, somehow Irene still wasn’t damaging enough, and so we’re going to hear about how politicians were covering their $#^@, scaring people when they didn’t have to.
Not only is this idiotic—it’s downright dangerous.
Nobody can perfectly forecast how a storm is going to turn out or where it is going to go—not even the experts. This storm clearly posed a very serious threat to New York, and while it certainly could have been worse, that’s precisely the point. We err on the side of caution. We warn people strenuously because to under-warn them would be unforgivable.
Even worse, if this narrative about hurricane “overhyping” takes hold, it could utterly distract from the real take-away from this storm experience. Namely: This was a test run for a much worse storm that will someday come and threaten New York. And the test run proved that we’re not remotely ready.
The image I’ve posted above shows the cumulative tracks of all Atlantic hurricanes on record. As you can see, there is virtually no part of the East Coast that has not gotten hit at some time or other.
New York will be hit again, and it will be hit worse. It is only a matter of time.
And while the city may have withstood Irene relatively well, it will not, with its current defenses, withstand a direct hit from a stronger storm with a bigger storm surge. And if that storm comes and New York isn’t ready, we could have a scenario even worse than Katrina.
So while the journalists are talking about “hype,” here’s what we should actually be discussing:
Sea defenses.

(via DeSmog Blog)

It’s got to be the climate change deniers. I’m sure they think that storm warnings are part of a larger weather event hype machine. They’re taking head-in-sand denial to the next level if they would have us forego warning people of deadly weather events simply to avoid drawing attention to the idea that events are getting stronger and more frequent. 

This reminds me of the people who are ardently and broadly opposed to anti-bullying laws because they think that protection would encourage kids to be gay.

jtotheizzoe:

Chris Mooney on the Number One Lesson *Not* To Take Away from Hurricane Irene 

(hint: it’s about “hurricane hype” … you’re gonna hear a lot about it this week)

Nevertheless, somehow Irene still wasn’t damaging enough, and so we’re going to hear about how politicians were covering their $#^@, scaring people when they didn’t have to.

Not only is this idiotic—it’s downright dangerous.

Nobody can perfectly forecast how a storm is going to turn out or where it is going to go—not even the experts. This storm clearly posed a very serious threat to New York, and while it certainly could have been worse, that’s precisely the point. We err on the side of caution. We warn people strenuously because to under-warn them would be unforgivable.

Even worse, if this narrative about hurricane “overhyping” takes hold, it could utterly distract from the real take-away from this storm experience. Namely: This was a test run for a much worse storm that will someday come and threaten New York. And the test run proved that we’re not remotely ready.

The image I’ve posted above shows the cumulative tracks of all Atlantic hurricanes on record. As you can see, there is virtually no part of the East Coast that has not gotten hit at some time or other.

New York will be hit again, and it will be hit worse. It is only a matter of time.

And while the city may have withstood Irene relatively well, it will not, with its current defenses, withstand a direct hit from a stronger storm with a bigger storm surge. And if that storm comes and New York isn’t ready, we could have a scenario even worse than Katrina.

So while the journalists are talking about “hype,” here’s what we should actually be discussing:

Sea defenses.

(via DeSmog Blog)

It’s got to be the climate change deniers. I’m sure they think that storm warnings are part of a larger weather event hype machine. They’re taking head-in-sand denial to the next level if they would have us forego warning people of deadly weather events simply to avoid drawing attention to the idea that events are getting stronger and more frequent.

This reminds me of the people who are ardently and broadly opposed to anti-bullying laws because they think that protection would encourage kids to be gay.