Anti-Science Quotable: GOP candidates on winter storm Jonas

As if winter storm Jonas wasn’t terrible enough on it’s own, GOP candidates have been weighing in with their opinions. Compiled by Huffington Post:

Sen. Cruz Issues Statement on “Climate Change” and Winter Storm Jonas

North Conway, N.H. — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) January 20th released a statement on President Obama’s failed policy as related to Winter Storm Jonas:

“Even as End Times-levels of snow are headed to our nation’s capital city, the Obama Administration continues to propagate the false religion of “climate change,” indulging the educated elite while normal Americans prepare for a completely routine historic blizzard event.”

“While liberal, left-leaning Democratic activists and so-called scientists may insist that extreme weather events like Winter Storm Jonas, in tandem with increasingly warmer record average temperatures, are warning signs of their so-called climate change, the satellite data simply isn’t there. These extreme fluctuations — and the national security risks that they cause for our men and women overseas — merit no government intervention or consideration of policy proposals. Ever. At all.”

Sen. Cruz continued: “I look forward to joining Sens. Inhoffe and Wicker for a snowball fight upon my…

As for my opinions on Senator Cruz’s statements, check out this previous post. It’s increasingly worrisome that this guy is running for president (and doing surprisingly well in the polls…)

Jeb! (Bush) Reacts to the Impending Snow Storm

Ames, IA — “When I was governor or Florida we never had snow and I have the non-erased e-mails to prove it. Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz may claim that they would prevent snow, but I’m the only candidate with proven solutions to prevent snow and be the best! candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.

“When I’m president, HEY — STOP LAUGHING!. When I’m president I’ll go to every single person’s house and shovel their driveway. Because that’s the kind of person I am — I care.”

That’s just false and unrealistic.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

“While these media heads are spinning about the impending snow coldness attack, why don’t we just say “no thank ya” to this global warming line, thinking about the real Americans who have to shovel walks not made for DC highbrow elites and we’ll stand strong against this ice-IS threat.”

No. Just no.


#Science is make all of our 1980s childhood technology dreams come true… sort of


Huffington Post has a humorous article about how successful science has been at making our (for people who grew up in the 1980s) childhood technology dreams come true.

Here’s the bad news up front: we still don’t have the hoverboards that the movies of the 1980s promised us. (What’s taking so long? Get on it, people.)….

….scientists have otherwise been doing a pretty good job of whipping up even the most absurd technology we imagined when we were kids. On a future trip, who knows? You might hop in your automated flying car, get a hotel room for the night, shower off behind the privacy of an invisibility curtain, schedule time with the expert robot masseuse, and then dial up a gourmet meal on your portable 3D Food Printer. Anything’s possible.

The list of 80s childhood dream technologies includes flying cars, exoskeletons, smart cars, personal helicopters, robot friends, virtual wardrobes, and X-ray glasses. Check out the list for descriptions of where these childhood dreams technologies came from, and what the current status is.

What’s up with our “rabid” obsession with ebola?

Interesting piece in the Huffington Post about the Rabid Opposition to Ebola: where epidemiology meets hyperbole.

The current Ebola outbreak is obviously terrible (the worst in history), and the disease is quite scary with somewhere around ~10% survival rate… but the current American “freak out” maybe some what of an exaggeration, according to this piece.  Western Africa lacks a lot of the routine, common medical facilities found here.  So while devastating in Africa, the likelihood of Ebola becoming an issue in the U.S. is quite minimal.  Yet, why the huge obsession and fear?  From the article:

What makes Ebola such a devastating disease in Africa is the lack of medical facilities to contain it. When family members in remote villages tend to one another, there is — of course — routine and rather copious exposure to infected body fluids, including blood. This is the very thing the gloves and gowns in routine use in every hospital in the U.S. are intended to prevent. When isolation precautions are taken, the degree of personal protection is considerably greater still. When need be, we have recourse to even more extreme forms of quarantine. 

Another really good point:

Perhaps the exaggerated fear of Ebola is in part due to the vanishingly remote likelihood of an outbreak here in the U.S., and the fact that there has never been one. When it comes to risks, familiarity does seem to breed contempt. We Americans routinely dismiss, for instance, the perils of eating badly or want of exercise — which will be the leading causes of premature death among us. We are dismissive about the threat of flu as well, because the virus is familiar. Our perceptions often distort risk, hyperbolizing the exotic and trivializing the mundane.

If we were at all rational about health risks, we should certainly consider closing our borders to tobacco. We would close them to soft drinks as well if a considered assessment of net harm were the basis for our actions. And maybe we would even do something to stave the trade of high-capacity, semi-automatic weapons.

Exhortations about the risks of Ebola in the U.S. are not the product of rational assessment. They are the product of excitement and exaggeration, and fear of the exotic. They are born of hyperbole, not epidemiology. They represent opposition of the rabid, knee-jerk variety.

There is a lot to be said about media portrayal of world issues… and how the dramatic, unique, and even “exciting” stories repeatedly make top headlines.  I’m not saying this disease isn’t terrible… it’s awful and devastating to those in West Africa.  But a good point to be made is that we have much more serious and threatening “killers” in this country that frequently go under-mentioned and undiscussed.


Science Quotable: William H. Press and Hunter R. Rawlings III #scienceadvocacy


Most Americans highly value science and scientists and seem to have an intuitive grasp of the returns for research. Advocates for science must continue to provide the evidence that justifies those beliefs. We must seize every opportunity to demonstrate that the U.S. scientific enterprise is not only altruistic but economically vital, leading, often unpredictably, to better jobs and better lives, new products, and new industries. If we don’t, future generations will regret our shortsightedness.

– William H. Press and Hunter R. Rawlings III