Out-Of-Body Experiences 11

The sirens were loud, and getting closer to our house. My wife and I remembered times when one of our neighbors had a heart attack, or other serious malady and our peaceful neighborhood was run over with emergency vehicles.

Partly in jest, I made the statement that I hoped it wasn’t me, this time. I had recently read a story about a man who had died (temporarily), left his body, and did not realize what was going on. He had tried to talk to people, but had no luck in them hearing him. Just for an instant, I feared that I was trapped in a like situation and would bear witness to my own body being trucked out of my own front door.

” I hope it’s not me they are after”, I said to my wife. When she replied laughingly, I knew I was out of consideration for soylent green recycling, at least for today.

I have never had an out of body experience, but I do enjoy reading about those that have. Basically, I don’t believe in out-of-body experiences and look for ways to poke holes in the stories. But, who really knows?

There have been some experiences when I WANTED to get out of my body, and those were in my younger years and involved immense amounts of alcohol. As far as other drugs are concerned, I was always chicken to try cocaine, heroine, or even marijuana, but that’s another story.

Within the last decade, I had a couple of “wish I were dead” experiences. Once, I was out on the town with a client, drinking fine wine and expensive whiskey. On top of that, we were smoking expensive cigars. The problem is that I had quit smoking about twenty years previous to the event, and between the alcohol and large doses of nicotine, I got dreadfully ill. It was worse than when I tried to start smoking when I was a teenager!

I was almost as ill as that time when I got food poisoning from bad seafood enchiladas in downtown Austin, Texas. Now, that was a doozy with me renting a hotel room for twenty-four hours just to have a decent place to throw-up and pass-out. That was almost like an out-of-body experience, except that I felt the pain. Isn’t that the reason for out-of-body stuff, not to feel the pain?

The last time (as far as I will let you know) where I was so stupid and so sick was during the Year 2000 Presidential Election Recounts. That whole fiasco was like an out-of-body experience, and I really got stupid.

I was on a trip at the time, and had checked into a motel. It was McDonald’s burgers for dinner, and a fifth of really cheap bourbon whiskey to ease the pain of the election recounts. That was the night the Florida Supreme Court came up with their Kangaroo Court decision to recount only a couple of counties. This was obviously in support of Al Gore’s candidacy, and was not supported by any law in the State of Florida.

As the night wore on, I would pour another drink, then another, then another. By the time the Florida Supreme Court ruling came in, I was in misery. It was an upsetting evening, and I was stupid enough to watch everything. No matter whose side you were on, the whole thing was like a circus.

Looking back, the recount was like an out-of-body experience. It was just not real, not in the physical or legal sense. When the US Supreme Court put an end to the circus, it was well past time to stop all the legal shenanigans.

Well, that’s my out-of-body experiences. What about yours?

Carbon Taxes Or Trading – What Do You Know 2

We have all read about carbon taxes and other malicious fees that our EPA is preparing for the American public. Just how many people in the US know anything about it?

Why should there be a carbon tax? What is it supposed to accomplish? Will carbon taxes halt climate change? Are there other alternatives to handling risks attributed to climate change?

Fortunately for us, we have a guinea pig in the form of the entire country of Australia which foolishly established a carbon tax. We have the figures estimated by world-class economists and climate scientists on the effectiveness of a carbon tax in combating carbon dioxide induced climate change.

A young Australian named Topher Field recently volunteered to produce and direct several YouTube videos explaining carbon taxes and climate change for lay persons. He financed this endeavor with contributions from climate skeptics from all over the world. This is, indeed, a grass-roots effort.

Take a look at the video and decide for yourself. The bottom line is that it costs fifty times more to try to squelch carbon emissions than just adapting to possible damage.

Here’s the link to the 50 to 1 web site.

Nate Silver – Lost In The Noise Reply

The book is, “The Signal And The Noise: Why Some Predictions Fail – And Some Don’t”, by Nate Silver. This book is about the art and science of forecasting, and how some predictions are fairly accurate, and some are not. Being a self-proclaimed statistician and economist, Nate Silver has been a successful predictor in baseball, political elections, and on-line poker. Just winning in poker is impressive to me, but Silver managed to put his expertise into computer programs, and that’s where he makes his money, now.

The first part of the book is filled with stories of his salad days in the poker business, and how when the field got over run with players, he found it tougher to earn money. He has been successful in predicting political elections, using his own methodology.

Although being good at mathematical statistics, he comes up short when addressing scientific issues. It is not that Silver is incapable of the science, but he is an economist, and has misinterpreted noise as signal, a common problem that Silver is supposed to be writing about.

Climate Consensus – Silver realizes that the so-called consensus of climate scientists is defined from a very simple statement. I accept the so-called consensus view, and so do most climate skeptics. My cat would accept the consensus view which says,”The greenhouse effect is real. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Increasing carbon dioxide causes additional warming in the atmosphere, and mankind is the source of some of this carbon dioxide.”  OK. That’s it. Silver recognized this.

Extreme Weather – There is no evidence that accumulating carbon dioxide, or global warming will cause weather to become more extreme. More correctly, the available evidence shoes that global warming DOES NOT cause extreme weather. Period. That is an easy research project, The data is readily available on NOAA web sites. Silver did not do his homework.

Climate Models – Silver argued that climate model predictions are within a reasonable error, and if several are averaged, a more accurate forecast is achieved. Averaging forecasts is a theme that runs throughout other chapters. He argues that averaging several climate forecasts results in more accuracy. I think Silver seriously misreads the science on this one.

Climate models need to be reasonable models that can stand on their own. There are parameters in the model input that need to be realistic, but instead are just assumptions. They have shown over time that assumptions about clouds, aerosols, and sensitivity to carbon dioxide are significantly incorrect.

It is widely agreed among climate scientists (not modelers) that the models are running hot, meaning that their forecasts of global temperatures are out of bounds on the warm side. Silver interviewed Gavin Schmidt, a well know NASA modeler and political activist, but did not investigate the actual record and physics of the models. Schmidt makes his living running models for NASA, and is known to suffer from a political bias in his science. Silver scores a fail on science.

ClimateGate – Nate Silver really struck out on this one. He thinks that Climategate was all about a monthly published global temperature record called HADCRUT. This stands for the Hadley Center in Britain, and the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Sadly, it is obvious that Silver never researched Climategate, and has totally missed the mark. Climagegate had nothing to do with the global temperature product.

Climategate was all about prominent scientists from the University of East Anglia fudging data; publishing fraudulent academic studies; endeavoring to silence skeptics by controlling the peer review process with well known scientific journals; and illegally conspiring to refuse Freedom Of Information Act petitions for data paid for by the public. These rogue British scientists did so in league with some American scientists, guilty of the same scientific crimes. The most infamous American was Dr Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University.

Silver defended Mann by saying that Mann had been cleared by a group of his peers. You should remember that academics are rather like cops and doctors. They do not squeal on their  buddies. Penn State actually gave Mann a  whitewash, not an investigation. Not once was a complainant questioned, and the Climategate emails were not introduced into evidence. All this information is available, and Silver believed Mann instead of doing the work necessary to find the truth. Mann is a bad apple.

Florida Turns Education On Its Racial Head 9

The Florida State Board of Education thinks they are taking the easy way out with their latest set of goals for students. They have arrived at a race based set of goals that sound sort-of racist. Or are they?

This is it in a nutshell:

By the year 2018 the goals for the state of Florida are for students in the following racial groups to achieve as follows. There are other goals, but these are the salient ones related to race:

In percent at or above grade level:

Asian students: 90%  reading:/92% in math.

White students: 88% reading/86% math. Current reading -> 69% 

Hispanic students: 81%reading/80% math. Current reading -> 53%

Black students: 74% reading/74% math. Current reading -> 38%

It is pretty obvious that nobody thinks the Asian community is in trouble. From what I have seen of these hard-working people, they make fine American citizens, assume individual responsibility, and become leaders in our communities.

The current figures made available in the article let us know the degree to which the students in the Florida public schools are getting the shaft. Those numbers are awful for every group for which I have data.

The problem is not a lack of effort or money to educate those kids. The problem is not the teachers, or the Florida State Board of Education. The problem is the culture of the kids and their families. The kids are capable of learning, but get no help at home, or worse, their cultures, i.e., gangsta & prison wannabes, are anti-education. Sometimes it is not cool to be educated if you are in certain sub-cultures.

As a matter of fact, the Florida educators have set goals that may be impossible to achieve with their five-year plan. Given the state of things, today, I would say that there’s not much hope for the Florida public schools simply because of the education-scoffers and anti-education attitude prevalent in many cultural sub-groups.

Now we know why so many people in Florida vote Democratic. They are not educated enough to understand the real issues, but they do understand liberal and socialistic handouts.

Hat tip to Instapundit & Small Dead Animals

Greedy Chicago Teachers To Strike! 5

CNN.com reports that the teachers in the third largest school system in the country will go on strike Monday morning. The system is composed of over 600 elementary and high schools, serving over 400,000 students.

The 30,000 teachers and support employees will shut down the entire system in spite of the school board offer of a 16% raise over four years. This is much more than many school systems across the nation can expect.  The Fulton County, GA teacher haven’t had a raise in five years, but they still do their job, even with continued lay-offs and furloughs cutting into their income.

The City of Chicago is in financial trouble like other large cities, and the teachers are going on strike. This will put over 400,000 children on the streets with nothing to do in a city with one of the worst crime rates in the nation. This year 346 people have been murdered so far, while burglaries and other crimes are skyrocketing in the Windy City.

Inner city public schools in Chicago are some of the worst in the nation. The occasional charter school will be open, but the vast majority of those inner city kids are the big losers.

This action by the school teachers says to the at risk students and their parents, “Screw you!”

This highlights the fact that teacher unions have nothing to do with education. They are all about enriching the union coffers.

What Happened In Aurora? 5

picture of James Holmes, Aurora shooter

James Holmes

What is it about Colorado that the worst shooting incidents happen there? How does a 24-year-old honors student go bonkers preparing for his high-profile career? What happened to make him drop out of a graduate program?

There are so many questions and no answers. What is happening is there are hundreds and thousands of opinions, but very little in the way of facts. This blog article is speculative, too.

Try to put yourself in the place of Jimmy Holmes, honors student at the University of California, Riverside. He majored in neuroscience, a discipline which integrates real science into psychology. At least, that’s what I think it means. Anyway, James could not get a job after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience.

After not getting a job, James applied to and was accepted at the University of Colorado at Denver. According to articles, he was in a program leading to a PhD in Neuroscience. I cannot find where he had earned a Master’s Degree. Apparently, the PhD  program at UC, Denver includes the work for a Masters.

After starting the program in the fall of 2011, he was having academic problems.

What’s this? An honors student having academic problems? Yes, and I have my own ideas about why.

I remember the kick in the academic butt graduate school delivered to me when I first started in the MBA program. I had gotten my bachelor’s in engineering five years before my entry into graduate school. Graduate school is at a much higher level and is at a much faster pace. It takes maturity to compete. All of  the  students in graduate school are good students, and they are all ambitious. The competition is really stiff.

Holmes was quickly inundated with the massive amounts of material. I believe he was trying to get his Master’s Degree in one year.

Trying to assimilate mountains of new material, plus, having to review the stuff you thought you knew can be harder than anyone expects. This can be a physical and a mental brick wall. If you don’t have the maturity to handle it, you can easily get behind. Getting behind in graduate school can be academically terminal.

I read that Holmes didn’t do well on his comprehensive exams. Comprehensive exams are normally taken prior to achieving ones Masters Degree. If Holmes did poorly in the Master’s part of the program, his chance of success in the PhD program was almost non-existent.

Holmes had failed.

Here we have a former honors student not being able to get a job, and then failing at the subject thought to be his strength. This, my friends, does not bode well for his future. It is a terrifying thing to think about having to take a construction job, or do other manual labor just to get by. That’s not the way he was raised.

Holmes lived alone. When Holmes lived at home, he had no friends, either. The problem with being a loner is that you have a limited perspective on life. When things get tough and you are not used to going to family and friends for support and opinions, you are in danger of doing the wrong thing.

I believe there were other contributing factors to Holmes’ actions. In our nation today there is a drive to take God out of our lives. Our universities hammer our children with the idea of moral relativity. From this we get the “if it feels good, do it” people.

Were Holmes parents religious? Did they raise their child with a moral foundation? Did they teach him right from wrong?

When James was going through his vulnerable years in college, was he exposed to professors who made a joke of people who believe in God? Was he indoctrinated with the idea that what is moral for one person is not necessarily moral for another?

James Holmes became a victim. His future was snatched from him. He had no moral foundation. He was extremely disappointed in life.

I will be interested to find out if James had problems with depression. I believe that he was depressed, and could only see the low point of his life, which was now. He didn’t know how to deal with his problems, so he decided to strike back.

Was Holmes evil? Was he doing something to strike back at society because of his failures?

What do you think?

Update: Here’s a TMZ article about a profile James Holmes was reported to have established on a sex website.

Diddy’s Kid Got A Big Scholarship 5

In the news on Yahoo is the story that Diddy‘s son, Justin Combs, has won a $54,000 scholarship to UCLA. Diddy, the richest rap artist in the world, has a net worth of about $500 million as noted in this Wikipedia article.

With all that wealth, a lot of people think that Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, does not deserve the scholarship. According to the article, some taxpayers think that the $54,000 should go to others, less fortunate than Combs. It sounds kind of logical.

However, the scholarship is for Justin Combs to play football at UCLA. For that $54,000, he is expected to do hard physical work, putting his body at risk, and to do well in his classes. This is not a slam-dunk for the kid.  I suppose that you could make the case that UCLA recruited Justin so that his daddy could donate millions of dollars to the program, but that’s a stretch.

Justin Combs played corner back at a New York prep school, and carried a 3.75 academic average while doing so. Justin Combs is the example of what the student athlete should be, and I imagine UCLA is proud to have him.

Justin Combs scholarship was awarded for his performance, not his father’s reputation or wealth. In my opinion it belongs to Justin. If the taxpayers in the State of California want to means test all college scholarships to state supported institutions, they have that right. Just don’t gripe when the athletic programs fall short of providing their millions to the universities.

What do you think?