Archive for December, 2009

Statistics: Scientific Consensus on Climate Change?

One of the memes I’ve heard recently in the climate debate is that there is no scientific consensus — that there is actually strong disagreement.

The main basis of this argument is that 31,486 dissenting scientists have signed a petition against the belief that Global Warming is man made at the PetitionProject.org.

I don’t want to debate climate change; rather, I want to look at that argument to see if there are any statistical flaws in it.

My problem is whenever anyone uses a single, out of context, data point. What does this number actually mean? Is 31,486 alot or a little? How many scientists are there in the US? etc.

I heard this argument the other day, and went hunting down a visual way to express it, and found this via Information is Beautiful:

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This does not resolve the debate — there are more variations (Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists?) — at but it demonstrates an obvious flaw in the “dissenting scientist” argument.

Here is the breakdown of skeptics, by field:

Interesting stuff . . .

Category: Mathematics, Really, really bad calls, Science

VisuWords: Online Graphical Dictionary

Visuwords is is a visualization tool based upon Princeton University’s WordNet. The online graphical database — part dictionary, part thesaurus — that groups words by their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. These related linguistic ideas are visually displayed in an interactive graphic. The most interesting visual displays come from the broadest topical…Read More

Category: Digital Media, Web/Tech

Year End Market Review

We won’t get the final numbers til after the close today, but here is what they look like going into the final session: • Nasdaq is up 45%; Its the big winner for 2009 of the major US Indices; • S&P 500 index up 25% for the year. • Dow Jones Industrial Average is up…Read More

Category: Markets

Quote of the Day Year

Seems appropriate: “I’m starting to get the sense that 2009 wants to finish me off before it dies of old age. A calendrical unit yelling “I’m taking you with me, you bastard!” from its vanishing final paper bunker marked December, every spent day a room deleted from the structure until 2009 is finally huddled in…Read More

Category: Current Affairs

The Dangers of Wanton Money Printing

Interesting commentary in the UK on QE: “The truth is, though, that we have been living in an economic La La Land, induced by perhaps the biggest policy undertaken during the Labour Government’s period in office: printing money, or quantitative easing, to use its economically correct but unlovely name. The way QE works is like…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Currency

Stiglitz: 6 Harsh lessons We Failed to Learn

Economics Nobel laureate and Columbia University professor Joseph E. Stiglitz has what very well be the best year end piece I have seen to date; “The best that can be said for 2009 is that it could have been worse, that we pulled back from the precipice on which we seemed to be perched in…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Markets on track to end in the direction of the ’09 trend

We are on track to finish the yr with the trends that have been in place 3/4 of ’09, strong stocks and corporate debt, weak US$ and lower US treasuries. The credit markets led the way down in ’08 in terms of equity performance, up in ’09 and I believe will again dictate the direction…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Tech Ticker’s Best of 2009: Guest of the Year

Category: Video

What Would Cause a 5.50% 10-Year Note Next Year?

What Would Cause A 5.50% 10-Year Note Next Year? Bloomberg.com – Morgan Stanley Sees 5.5% Note as U.S. Faces Deficits If Morgan Stanley is right, the best sale of U.S. Treasuries for 2010 may be the short sale. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes will climb about 40 percent to 5.5 percent, the biggest annual increase…Read More

Category: Think Tank

Picturing the Past Decade Graphically

Here are the highlights of the year’s news stories, depicted visually: Click for large graphic Source: OP-CHART: Picturing the Past 10 Years Phillip Niemeyer NYT, December 27, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/12/27/opinion/28opchart.html

Category: Current Affairs, Financial Press, Weekend