Posting opinions, letters and correspondence from far and wide. Even some to/from my elected representatives.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare Upheld Because of Failing SCOTUS Popularity?

So the latest cuckoo idea is that Chief Justice Roberts ruled the way he did in order to improve the SCOTUS popularity (according to recent polls it has been losing fans). I guess it does not occur to the people propounding this wacky idea that if a Supreme Court Justice was to rule to try to improve its image that it would only damage its image further? The public may not like the way the court rules, but the Supreme Court is not an elected body and thus, shouldn't give one whit about its popularity. And the public certainly shouldn't think it a good thing that a ruling was made that wasn't entirely made according to Constitutional law. Mind you, I don't think it plausible that Roberts was ruling to improve the image of the SCOTUS. At this point, I don't understand why he didn't rule against Obamacare. I guess I need to read the entire ruling and opinions and I will perhaps expand on this after having done that.

But before I go read, let me offer up my initial reaction: the Supreme Court just proved that all three branches of the United States Federal Government are political through and through and have long ago forgotten that they were intended to be restricted and small. The challenge then is to remain libertarian in a world surrounded by socialist people and organizations. The Federal Gov. the States, local Gov. Unions, the system, the bureaucracy, leviathan, call it what you will, is in your face no matter where you turn, no matter where you see, hear or feel. The beast wants to grind us all down, turn us against each other, succumb to the parasitic blood sucking construct that will ultimately put us all in the grave poorer and much more unhappy than we ever would have been if most of what we do had been allowed to happen through our own devices, voluntarily and freely hard working together as independent spirits.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Reason this Layman Doubts some Climate Sciencists Work

For background on this post read Steve McIntyre's post here

 I was thinking of posting this on Steve's blog but it's too long and probably too self indulgent and off topic. But for what it's worth, I post it here.

Here's why this layman (me) suspects the work of some climate scientists such as Schmidt. Many years ago while working as a biomedical technician in a neonatal intensive care unit, the Professor of the unit asked me to test the performance of syringe infusion pumps in delivering a continuously smooth dose of cardioactive drugs to premature babies. Cardioactive drugs are used to control patient heart rate and blood pressure. We set up an experiment using a digital measuring scale with a computer attached. I then tested flow rates over time with a selection of different manufacturers pumps (eg: and a selection of different syringes (eg: The Professor's theory was that "stiction" (a combination of the stickiness and friction of the plunger inside the barrel of syringes) accompanied by the physical properties of the pump mechanisms themselves was combining to cause very uneven flow rates. Thus the drug delivery was not smooth and continuous but varied and potentially could be delivering a "bolus" - that is, large drug "hits" were being delivered followed by periods of low does and then another large "hit" and so on.

Since the drug being delivered is cardioactive, the result was suspected to be wild swings in the blood pressure and heart rates of these tiny infants. This placed them at risk of brain haemorrhage due to their young and weak blood vessels being overwhelmed by high blood pressure. Remember, these are premature babies up to 24 weeks gestation, making them incredibly small and fragile. Thus, they are at risk of severe injury and potentially very poor outcomes. The Prof. provided evidence of this occurring in the form of HR and BP graphs over time that showed very cyclic and wide ranging behavior for his neonatal patients. My job was to correlate the pumps and syringes with the HR and BP.

When I showed the results of my lab testing to the Prof he was impressed. However, he also impressed upon me the importance of the difference between showing a physical behavior versus correlation to a clinical outcome. It took us a further two years of work before the Prof. was able to publish anything at all. All data, good and bad, was made publicly available. And protocols within our State hospitals took many additional years before they were changed.

I have not worked in an academic unit since those many years ago, but the lessons learned give this one layman reason to question the work of people like Schmidt et al. Because it appears that lessons I learned through that arduous research and publication process seem to have been partially, if not sometimes, entirely lost on these climatologists. For the extremely important scientific pursuits, scientists must publish all results including raw data. Analysis must include all data collected. Excluding data must be explained in detail and often in the published work itself. Anything less than this level of dedication to explanation makes published and reviewed works suspect and open to ongoing and relentless questioning. In medicine, protocols cannot be changed until the data, methods, conclusions and *exceptions* are thoroughly and entirely scrutinized and satisfactorily accounted for. Anyone who fails to cooperate under ongoing and relentless questioning is considered suspect and publishing generally just won't and doesn't happen. The same Prof. fired one researcher who repeatedly attempted to avoid scrutiny of his work. At the time, I thought that the Prof. was heavy handed. Once I had gone through my own research process with him, I understood his actions. Steve McIntyre and others ongoing questioning and criticisms should be answered by scientists like Schmidt et al until he/they are blue in the face. Keep at it Steve!