Comments: The Sherman and Mangano Study, Part 3

Well, I know this. My hair stopped growing recently, so blaming it on nuclear pollution strikes me as just fine....that or the fact that I am somewhat north of 60. OTOH I can now stiff my barber, shift haircut resources, and modulate my indifference curves.

mmmmmmm, mmmmm.....neener, neener....My income line is now tangential to a preference for 1/400,000,000 more of a luxury yacht vs. refried beans. I am so happy.

Posted by bobbyp at July 22, 2011 12:01 AM

Now I remember why I never wanted to become an electrical engineer!

That's really hard material for me, but let's be clear: A lot of science isn't this difficult, and many scientists will avoid using their expertise to reach obvious conclusions they don't like, or alternatively misuse their expertise to reach bogus conclusions. They will do this for money, for professional advancement, for ideology, to avoid personal discomfort, for patriotic reasons, or even, perhaps especially, to avoid being mocked. It's tiresome. With enough money, it's not hard to find a Nobel winner who will say any damn thing.

I can forgive the not doing homework, but lobotomzing oneself for any or all of the above reasons, that's pathetic. A whole bunch of scientists need to quit being so full of themselves or so damn greedy and/or just grow a pair and cut that out. You hear that, ya'll!

Not my scientific guru Aaron though. Way to go Aaron!

Posted by N E at July 23, 2011 07:28 AM

@NE -

Thanks for the compliment; I appreciate it very much, though I don't wish to be anybody's guru.

I agree with the comments about scientists and Nobel prize winners. Someday I will find a critic of the Yablokov report to ask what the difference is between scientific "peer review" and middle school "peer pressure". It remains a bit of a mystery to me.

I should have worked harder to make a basic point, however: this is quite basic science. All I did was look at the data using a two-week moving average, rather than examining the weekly numbers.

This is scarcely mysterious - it's no different than a moving stock average. I believe this reinforces your point that scientists should open up their minds and fulfill their societal obligation to act as critics.

The stuff about DFT's and shot noise etc. I added on later. This is not layman-accessible, but it should be comprehensible to any smart physics undergraduate, and familiar to electrical engineering undergraduates in the communications sub-field at the junior or senior level.

There are many hundreds of thousands of Americans with this level of knowledge. So it's a tragedy to witness the horrible information and judgments we receive.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at July 24, 2011 12:17 PM

aaron datesman would require proof that the sky is blue and the sun yellow while standing outside on a sunny bluebird day with his color-accurate vision intact... he'd need charts graphs and statistics else he would not believe.

Posted by Karl at July 24, 2011 04:29 PM

Aaron Datesman: Now that YOU mention it, moving averages makes sense. Variable dosage from minute to minute and varying rate of decay among the different particles.

Posted by Mike Meyer at July 24, 2011 05:24 PM

Funny, it's stuff exactly like this that makes me want to be an engineer.

Posted by Amandasaurus at July 24, 2011 10:21 PM

@Karl - Well, since the sky is transparent and the sun is white, you've picked interesting examples... Actually, my deal isn't with needing data, so much as with interpreting the data we have intelligently.

@MM - Yeah, I realize now that there's a theme here. Sometimes we're told to look at the average (for instance, the whole-body dose), when the effect (cancer) relates to the instantaneous rate - which may be far higher in a limited subset. In this case, it's the opposite: we can resolve a picture which can't be seen in the instantaneous data by looking at the average rate.

This is a problem that the Greeks first wrestled with 2500 years ago; it was solved completely by Newton and Leibniz. Apparently in the intervening 350 years their knowledge still hasn't spread very far.

@Amandasaurus - Funny, it's stuff like this which makes me ashamed to be an engineer. It often occurs to me that, if just 50,000 good engineers grew a social conscience and refused to work for death, the entire edifice of our military dominance would begin to crumble. If that happened, I think our relationships with the rest of the world would quickly assume a more healthy character.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at July 26, 2011 02:02 PM

...which is why I wish to become one. Initiating change isn't limited to holding up a handmade sign and shouting about things.

Posted by Amandasaurus at July 26, 2011 02:55 PM