Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Schopenhauer on Pessimism

"The best consolation in misfortune or affliction of any kind will be the thought of other people who are in a still worse plight than yourself; and this is a form of consolation open to every one. But what an awful fate this means for mankind as a whole! We are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses out first one and then another for his prey. So it is that in our good days we are all unconscious of the evil Fate may have presently in store for us — sickness, poverty, mutilation, loss of sight or reason."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Suffering of the World

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Victor Venema Had Died

And Then There's Physics reports that Victor Venema had died. 

That's sad and a loss for the climate community, and decency in general. Victor was a scientist at the University of Bonn who worked on the homogenization of climate data*, and very active on social media. I corresponded with him several times, asking question about temperature data. He was always kind and thoughtful and pleasant. I'm sorry to hear he has passed.  

* homogenization is the science of bringing data from different time periods and locations into a common baseline. For example, how do records of temperature in the past need to be adjusted, if at all, in order to be compared to temperatures taken today -- given changes in instrumentation, weather station moves, changes in the time of day the thermometers are read, incomplete data, etc. Yes, adjustments are necessary, and doing them correctly is a complicated science. 

Here's an excellent article about these adjustments.


"Understanding adjustments to temperature data," Zeke Hausfather, Climate Etc., 7/7/2014.
"Berkeley Earth: raw versus adjusted temperature data," Robert Rohde, Zeke Hausfather, Steve Mosher, Climate Etc., 2/9/2015.

"Understanding Time of Observation Bias," Zeke Hausfather, Climate Etc., 2/22/2015.

Friday, December 23, 2022

A Decline of About 15 Percent....

 ....in global grain production per capita. Almost looks permanent.

Global grain production (Statistica)
World Population (Fred)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

100 Million COVID-19 Cases in US

US just reached 100 million cumulative cases of COVID-19.
Daily cases are growing here but not yet too bad. Still, I've started wearing a mask again when I visit big stores. Five vaccination shots and still COVID-free, though I did have a bad virus this summer that led to walking pneumonia. ("Walking" means I didn't have to be hospitalized.) But I tested negative for COVID. I'm wondering if it might have been RSV -- it was the sickest I've been in many years. It was strange being so sick in the middle of summer.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Blatant Error by AI

On the other hand, here ChatGPT makes an egregious arithmetic error. Surprising. And scary. Makes it impossible to believe any nonobvious conclusion it comes up with....


Thursday, December 08, 2022

Funny Joke Written by AI

 Here's a pretty good joke written by ChatGDP, an artifical intelligence that gives answers to submitted questions. 

Via a column by Paul Krugman in the NY Times. I made it free to read.