Let's Stop Bashing the Common Sense of Science! No, Really.

How Should Science be Done?
Stephan Guyenet

Lately I keep running into the idea that the proper way to do science is to continually strive to disprove a hypothesis, rather than support it*. According to these writers, this is what scientists are supposed to aspire to, but I've never actually heard a scientist say this. The latest example was recently published in the Wall Street Journal (1). This evokes an image of the Super Scientist, one who is so skeptical that he never believes his own ideas and is constantly trying to tear them down. I'm no philosopher of science, but this idea never sat well with me, and it's contrary to how science is practiced. Descending from the writings of Karl Popper, apparently the idea has been strongly criticized by a number of other philosophers of science.

I'd go further and say that the idea is commonly abused by non-scientist contrarians who need an excuse to wholesale reject a body of scientific evidence that is inconvenient for them (along with Thomas Kuhn's writing on paradigms). It's also abused by writers who want to make a dramatic story by creating a sense of outrage or superiority in the reader (i.e., "these people are supposed to be scientists, but they can't even get the scientific method right!").

I could spend my entire career trying to disprove Pasteur's germ theory, and it would be a waste of time. I could spend my career trying to disprove the idea that DNA contains genetic material, and I would also be wasting my time. Why did we ever move on from testing these hypotheses? Because the evidence supporting them is overwhelming. At some level of evidence, one has to conclude that a hypothesis is sufficiently supported, stop testing it, and move on.

The scientific method is just a formalized version of common sense. If you were to try to eat five rocks, and break your teeth each time, you'd conclude that rocks aren't good food and stop trying to eat them. You wouldn't conclude that you failed to disprove the idea that rocks aren't good food, and keep trying to eat them.

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Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted

New smoking gun revealed by David DeGraw in the Bush Ohio Election Fraud. This is a must read if you're serious about democracy. And no, this isn't just net nonsense. 



Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted – Here Are 20 Reports On Vote Tampering

July 26th, 2011 · · Hotlist, Politics & Government

 Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted - Here Are 20 Reports on Vote Tampering“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.”

– Thomas Paine
The integrity of our electronic voting system is one of the greatest examples of our banana republic status. As you will see on the AmpedStatus Electronic Voting Watch news wire below, the machines are easily tampered with and only a complete fool would trust them to give legitimate results. It’s bad enough that we have a system dominated by campaign finance and lobbying, the rigging of vote counts is the final nail in our coffin.



Dominion Voting Machines Mean Control and Manipulation in The Making? Whose Dominion Are We Talking About?


This November, 25 percent of voters will cast ballots on digital voting machines that won't leave a verifiable paper trail. Paperless voting machines are in use in four battleground states that account for 71 of the 270 electoral votes it takes to win.

What happens when paperless voting machines fail? Best case: Election results are delayed by a few hours or days. Worst case: The machine over- or undercounts votes, and there's no way to verify the tally. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, such failures have caused the miscount or loss of anywhere from a few dozen to tens of thousands of votes in nine states. In 2006, the touch-screen iVotronic system in Florida's Sarasota County recorded 13 percent of the 140,000 votes cast as blanks.

Who makes the machines? HAVA's passage precipitated a "feeding frenzy" in the voting machine industry, according to Douglas Jones, a computer science professor and the co-author* of Broken Ballots, a new book on voting technology. In 2002, there were about a half-dozen major voting system vendors. Today there are two, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, which together control an estimated 70 to 90 percent of the market. (Diebold's voting machine unit, once synonymous with doubts about digital voting, is now part of Dominion.)



Will Author Salon Take Me To Agent Query Land?


Liz Needs Arse Kick - Too Many Blips - Freaks of Nature Who Can't Spell? - The YADS Parade - Back to Carla and Wendy - Six Pinots of Author Salon

Join Algonkian Author Salon? Huh? Two of my ya-ya sisters on there keep trying to elevate me to their atmosphere, but I've been resisting. I read the Author Salon prologue. It made me stop and think. I thought I had a better novel than I did, and now I don't want to be embarrassed if I blast my ms on AAS and come out looking foolish. But my sisters urge me on!  "On, Liz, on! Do it. You will only benefit, honey," they say, "It's the filter you need, the boost, the kick in the butt pants." And yes, I need a kick. 

What the heck, I've already spent at least three thousand or more on various writer conferences over the years (yes, yes, I know, but it was worth it), including travel, etc., etc., so what is the big deal? AAS is what? $89 for a whole year. As a contributing editor at AAS, Michael Neff, points out to me: would you rather spend nearly ten thousand on the Stanford program and come away with a useless pile of amateur opinions led by a teaching instructor who has zero familiarity with genre fiction?

Well, for ten thousand I get the Stanford Novel Writing Certificate, or whatever. Cool. It gives me some form of CV legitimacy, right? Right? Regardless, I don't have to rush on and spill my literary guts too quickly. I'm tempted though by their agent news blips, lots and lots of request-for-ms blips, publisher and agent yummy blips. Is it too good to be true? The ya-yas clamor for "No, Liz, it's not too good, it's sensible because it really works. Look at Carla and Wendy!"

Someone online at a writer homeless shelter referred to AAS as a YADS? I thought of Book Country and recalled breezing through there and seeing the golden lads and lasses as chimney sweeps coming to dust while kissing each others butts sooooo profusely, telling each other that their horrible novels were certainly ready to publish! On to the agent query? Argh! I thought I would gag, gag, gag! Then I stumbled onto WAE Network run by Jeff Herman and it reminded me of a cheap dating site I once used. Then something else for MFA grads which was more or less a social club (and they deserve it, poor darlings), and not much else, and back to the wonderland of Algonkian's Author Salon. 

I'm misting over ... Could I become an author there? Would they take me under their wings of salon and transform me into a published writer with a real contract??? 

Author Salon has already born considerable lit fruit. So how did they do it? I saw Caitlin Alexander on the mast, and some other NYC types, and little voices whisper that the site is operated by wizards with extreme contacts in the publishing biz (no wonder the mutant was bitter!), and that must be true. Any site without those contacts and no fracking way they could have collected so many requests so early, no way. Just doesn't happen. 


Will I break open my Pinot Noir piggy bank for ten Pinots worth of Algonkian Author Salon, at least? Most likely. Freedom to choose means nothing left to lose. I read their craft articles and realized I needed a better antagonist. That's the key to plot line. I hope they will be kind to me, tough love to me. I need tough love. At least they have a sense of humor.

Is my much needed butt kick is coming at last?

I just hope I can feel it through all the thick hide!

Some Algonkian Author Salon links:

Author Salon - Where Writers Work Towards Publication
The Algonkian Novel Writing Program, Writer Community, Craft Library and Agent ... Algonkian Author Salon has defined a high quality group of literary agents ...

Algonkian Novel Writing Program - Algonkian Writer Conferences
These novel writing courses were brainstormed by the faculty of Algonkian Writer .... faculty and affiliate Author Salon, have created this competitive novel writing ...

Author Salon Reviews, New York Pitch, Algonkian Writer Conferences ...
Jun 7, 2016 - Forums for Author Salon reviews, alums and discussions involving writer issues, craft,Author Salon nuances, and the new novel writing ...

Algonkian Author Salon Commercial Novel Writing Program in ...
Program Description, The Algonkian Author Salon Novel Writing Program does one thing: realistically preps and edits a novel manuscript in any stage for ...

Will Author Salon Take Me To Agent Query Land? - Arts and Palaver
Jul 7, 2012 - It's all in their news section, Carlin: Algonkian Author Salon News. Any news ... This bit on writing fiction narrative just posted on Author Salon.

Algonkian Novel Writing Courses and Program ... - The Writer's Edge
The Writer's Edge Publishes An Interview With Lois Gordon About Her Writing Life. TITLE: DEATH AT IRON .... Labels: advice for authors, Algonkian Novel Writing Courses, Algonkian Novel WritingProgram, reviews .... Algonkian Author Salon.

Underground Book Reviews – Algonkian Author Salon
The Algonkian Author Salon and its companion novel writing program evolved out of a desire on the part of the Algonkian Writer Conferences and New York ...

Algonkian Author Salon - Getting Writers Published - Facebook › Places › Los Angeles, California
Algonkian Author Salon - Getting Writers Published, Los Angeles, CA. 2682 likes · 2 talking about this. Pre-MFA, Post-MFA, or No MFA - Get Your Novel...


Liberals ignore Obama's Guantanamos

I couldn't say this better, so here it is, courtesy of the NY Daily (a source I don't normally quote, but this piece appears dead on):

In a city full of them, Harold Koh is Washington’s biggest hypocrite.

As the dean of Yale Law School, Koh was the most prominent critic of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies, deriding them as “executive muscle-flexing.” The former President, Koh said, was the “torturer-in-chief.” In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, he referred to the war on terror as “legally undeclared” and questioned the administration’s right to kill terrorists on the battlefield. “What factual showing will demonstrate that they had warlike intentions against us and who sees that evidence before any action is taken?” he asked.
In 2009, after the election of Barack Obama, Koh was awarded the job of State Department legal adviser. Since that time, he has defended a war waged in Libya without explicit congressional authorization, drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists and the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen who had become a leading Al Qaeda ideologist.
None of these, however, can be considered the greatest of Koh’s manifold hypocrisies. That honor stems from a 2010 speech in which he triumphantly declared that the Obama administration “unequivocally guarantee(s) humane treatment for all individuals in U.S. custody as a result of armed conflict” (emphasis original).
One wonders, then, what Koh would make of Eli Lake’s blockbuster Daily Beast story last week. Reporting from Somalia, Lake found a secret prison holding alleged terrorists captured by, or with the assistance of, the United States.
“Overcrowded, underfunded, and reeking of urine, the Bosaso Central Prison could make even the most dedicated insurgent regret ever getting into the terrorism business,” Lake wrote. The prison’s warden told Lake that nearly 400 men are being held in a facility designed for 300. There today exist an untold number of such prisons where terrorism suspects, dispensed with by the United States, live in substandard, dehumanizing conditions.
The proliferation of such hellish prisons — which make Guantanamo Bay look like Trump Tower — is a function of two, seemingly contradictory impulses of the Obama administration: a near-religious conviction in its own moral immaculateness and the imperative to wage an aggressive fight against Al Qaeda.
After President Obama entered office, he drastically increased the role of the Central Intelligence Agency and the use of drone strikes in counterterrorism operations. Simultaneously, however, Obama closed the American-operated “black sites” in Europe, where terrorist suspects were sent to and interrogated. And while he has yet to fulfill his promise of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, it does not take new prisoners.

Read more:


"Pain Compliance" Police Techniques Recommended by UC Berkeley Report

We all remember the brave UC Berkeley students standing up earlier this year to a paramilitary-like college police force armed with millions of dollars worth of riot-suppression gear (which they never needed in the first place).  How could we forget? The images of the UC cops bathing peaceful protestors in showers of pepper spray cause more than one OMG in this country, especially among those left in this country who still have possess some notion of justice or fairplay.

Now assuming peaceful protestors on UC Berkely campus have no right under the code or spirit of American law to protest in the first place, we arrive at RECOMMENDATION 11 of the ROBINSON-EDLEY REPORT (created by UC Berkeley employees at a cost of several hundred thousand, btw):
When faced with protesters who are non-aggressively linking arms, and when the event response team has determined that a physical response is required, principles should specify that administrators should authorize the police to use hands-on pain compliance techniques rather than higher levels of force (e.g., pepper spray, batons)...
Hands-on pain compliance? What does that mean? Quite simply, guys, it means that "liberal college" in CA recommends that it's paramilitary force be allowed to physically attack peaceful protestors with a variety of grappling holds and wrestling pins. Here is an explanation on Wikipedia.

So this report, at a huge cost to the college, administered and presented by UCB professors, recommends their guard dogs tackle peaceful protestors (who are within their democratic right to protest) and proceed to throw them down and wrestle them to the ground. Can you imagine? Can you believe this crap? Seriously, scores of campus cops lunging on command at a line of protestors just standing there, putting them in headlocks, body-slamming them, laying on top of them?  This is exactly what they're proposing. They figure this is less force than pepper spray or whacking someone with a baton?  Well, maybe it is, but there is something very very sick about this whole reasoning, this report, and the associated circumstances. 

This is old news, really, but the vast majority of Americans have no idea.  Even more Californians appear to have no idea.  I just find it incredible and disturbing.

And bonus for the admins and their flying monkeys, the use of this type of force will make resistance very likely and therefore justify escalation. 

I firmly think that's the real plan.