vivere est cogitare

Tag: global warming

cruel necessity

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Lawrence Brownlee is one of the best singers I’ve ever heard. With his marvelous bel canto as Arturo, he was definitely the most impressive voice in last night’s Seattle Opera production of Bellini’s I puritani, despite only being present in two of the three acts. It’s hard to find a tenor these days with such a beautiful voice.

Also, I have to agree with those who say that the libretto is rather absurd. The ending is a total cop-out, and the story is basically trite nonsense. But the music is beautiful so meh.

This Friday (a very hot one, as was Saturday) I presented a poster at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, and was approached by a gentleman with a really curious offer to help with some sort of “new paradigm” in biomedical research. It was extremely thin on details, and a little questionable, but I figured there might be something to it so I gave him my email address.

And while 90°F is pushing it, I really like it when the weather is in the 70s or even hovering around 80. It makes me miss being (however briefly) in Southern California.

Ich bin ein Berliner

As a matter of principle I believe it is important to evaluate all information from primary sources when making decisions of significance (e.g. the presidential election, the question of whether the event is actually significant notwithstanding, i.e. accepting the assumption that it is). This is the only way to avoid being misled by deliberate or accidental misinformation. Examples of the former include basically anything from Faux News, anything out of the Bush administration regarding FISA/PAA, and so on. Of the latter, a general example would be inaccurate popular science, such as the “Equal Transit theory.”

But a tremendous hindrance exists, making this principle difficult to put into practice: we (as a people) are not well educated. To be sure, many of us will come to be proficient in a particular discipline, while some will never be very knowledgeable about anything at all. But we are called upon to make decisions that would ideally require extensive knowledge in practically every discipline. This makes it incredibly difficult to evaluate all issues with which we will be faced, unless we manage to confine ourselves to a world in which all we have to decide is whether Britney Spears should ever have more children.

For instance, who actually understands global warming? In attempting to weigh the consensus view against dissenting ones, I realized that I don’t know the first thing about how to analyze or approach the data. And I would be highly skeptical of anyone who claims to understand the scientific bases of the global warming issue, unless they are able to support such a claim by explaining the mathematics behind the models.