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September 21, 2008

Comments

Brendan:

No comment on the bailout?

You know, the $700B does buy something valuable, i.e., probably stock and or debt in financial institutions who sell them along with the loan-derivatives themselves. OK, the housing market has tanked causing a lot of defaults; but prosecuting people for default and/or a steady rise FROM HERE in housing prices will change the value of those assets. Very likely, the US Government might turn an excellent profit here (as would anyone with deep pockets who can afford this risk). That was what happened in Sweden some years ago in a similar context.

How about a post on this, politically neutral or opinionated as you determine? Swattie-to-Swattie.

TOH

There was nothing predictable about this week's shift in polling numbers. I think if we were looking JUST at gallup tracking polls, it would be silly to start hypothesizing about causes, but we have 4 tracking polls and about 25 state polls coming out every day right now. It's pretty easy to spot a sharp trend like what happened this week. I think attributing this week's shift to dissipation of a bounce is no more simple an explanation than attributing it to a major economic crisis and candidates' responses.

Palin's numbers are a different story. We don't have that much data out there, but what we do have looks like a gradual downward trend over the past three weeks. Your Palin story line makes a whole lot more sense.

But that's not what the horse-race trend looks like. It looks like a bounce unto itself, not the dissipation of McCain's bounce.

I think you need to take a better look at this week's poll numbers.

Let us site "Whiggish historiography" and be done with it...

Yes, explanations for some numerical trend made after the fact are often not worth much. It would be more impressive if these analysts could predict in advance what will happen and get it right.

That's why the financial analysts who explain each day's movement in the Dow Jones average after the market has closed aren't capable of making a fortune in the stock market. If they really knew what moved the market, they'd be able to make money buying and selling on a daily basis.

It's also why the hypothesis that man-made CO2 is the primary cause of global warming should be taken with a grain of salt. There are models that do a fine job of fitting what occurred in the past, but they have not been accurate in predicting the future.

Wanta see more distorted reporting?

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/09/update-fannie-mae-and-freddie.html

Not to get off topic, but this is a bit of a misstatement...

"... the hypothesis that man-made CO2 is the primary cause of global warming should be taken with a grain of salt. There are models that do a fine job of fitting what occurred in the past, but they have not been accurate in predicting the future."

Identifying a cause and predicting future outcomes are not the same thing. Past human activity has been linked to global warming with what amounts to scientific certainty.

If models of future outcomes are somewhat imprecise I would not accept that that means they necessarily overstate possible detrimental outcomes. Those detrimental outcomes may actually be understated.

Just food for though.

"Identifying a cause and predicting future outcomes are not the same thing."

Actually, I think they are pretty much the same thing. I make models for a living. It's easy to fit any number of different models to a set of past observations. The way one validates a model is that it tells you things you didn't know.

E.g., Einstein proposed three tests of general relativity, subsequently called the classical tests of general relativity, in 1916:
1. the perihelion precession of Mercury's orbit
2. the deflection of light by the Sun
3. the gravitational redshift of light

These and other tests helped validate the theory of relativity.

Einstein believed that gravitational forces could influence the travel of light through space.

Subsequent observations have verified this appears be to be true.

Scientific studies have recognized global warming is occurring. Human activity is the most likely cause.

Subsequent observations have verified this appears be to be true. The mechanics by which human activities cause global warming are not complex or mysterious.

Reference the report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

http://www.ipcc.ch/index.htm

From Wikipedia:

In the modern period of global warming, a slight increase of 0.8 °C [1.4 °F] has been measured at weather stations throughout the world, since around 1850, when organized records began to be kept. Since this happens to correlate with increases in carbon dioxide, many have speculated about their possible relationship. Despite this, there is no completely proven model explaining the rise in global temperatures.

That language doesn't exist on Wikipedia any more (no, I didn't edit it).

Here is their current summary...

"The average global air temperature near the Earth's surface increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations" via an enhanced greenhouse effect.

Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.

These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with some findings of the IPCC, the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC's main conclusions.

Climate model projections summarized by the IPCC indicate that average global surface temperature will likely rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century.

This range of values results from the use of differing scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions as well as models with differing climate sensitivity."

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