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Secret Science Reform Act of 2014: a step towards transparency

An effort to eliminate shamans and would-be scientific pressure groups possessing no verifiable evidence from the EPA decisions

President Obama has threatened to employ dictatorial strategies and completely circumvent the lawmakers during his divine personal mission to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal our planet.

If hired by the government as a researcher, a shaman is enough to serve as an "adviser" and the basis of the EPA decisions as of today.

After all, isn't it enough to control the EPA and to borrow a Michael Mann from the Penn State [I know that the überjerk is elsewhere now] and a Peter Gleick from the State Penn and use this administrator to cripple whole sectors of the economy – while saying that this is what has healed the planet?

Well, it seems that the newly elected GOP-led Congress is aware of this blackmailing and it could have some tools at least to slow down this plan of Obama, after all. Or at least tools to try to do so.

The House has passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 penned by David Schweikert, R-Arizona, and importantly backed e.g. by Lamar Smith, R-Texas. It's a very short bill that fits one screen of your Internet browser so you are invited to click at the hyperlink in this paragraph and read the whole thing! Technically, the few sentences amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to demand clarity of the documents used to support the decisions.

To say the least, the lawmakers' intent seems completely clear and desirable to me: it's nothing else than the transparency behind the EPA decisions. The EPA – The Environmental Protection Agency – should be an administrator that is deciding according to the scientific results and scientific results are those that are based on the empirical, mathematical, and logical evidence that actually exists and survives verification. In recent years, many decisions were based on testimonies claimed to be scientific but in reality, they were referring to personal and collective feelings of various people and activist organizations and their would-be authority not backed by anything tangible.

This widespread practice should be stopped. So if the EPA wants to act and be covered and requires some scientific evidence for the action, it has to refer to specific, identified documents that must contain the data needed to reproduce the conclusions. It's as simple as that. A random Hayhoe who arrives as a witness and says that she feels in some way and 97 out of her friends, not to mention Jesus Christ, agree with her – that should no longer be enough.

It's not "too much to ask". The CMS and ATLAS are two experiments that produce the largest amount of data in the world and they have no practical implications. Still, for some reasons, the public may get all the data, at least from certain runs.

The EPA has already made some insane decisions in the past that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and so on. It's not clear to me whether such distortions of the political discourse that were based on pseudoscience could be undone retroactively. But my understanding is that in principle, if this bill ever came to force, no extra new action by the EPA based on the idea that "CO2 is harmful" should be possible unless an actual paper containing some reproducible evidence that CO2 is harmful emerges. Being promised all kinds of things, we've been waiting for such a paper but it hasn't materialized yet.

"Secret" scientific results – the kind of evidence that crackpots often provide us with to defend their wrong claims – should no longer be enough, much like mysterious claims about the "power of consensus" or research known to be flawed.

So you should have no doubts that the activist and political organizations whose whole power is based on fraudulent claims and science that isn't really covered by any reproducible evidence are angry and doing their best to misinterpret what the bill actually wants to achieve. See e.g. this text at Think Progress,, and one by Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, three left-wing political websites.

These authors and others defend the usage of "secret science" by saying that "secret science" is OK because scientists may be afraid that their discoveries will be stolen. Well, these authors or scientists deserve 10 extra points in the crackpot index, rule 12. You may have various reasons to hide your research – and you may even subjectively know that the research is robust and correct – but as long as your measurements or derivations are inaccessible to the external world, the external world (e.g. the EPA) cannot consider it science (yet)! Scientific results behind a paywall are somewhere in between. If a result is important enough to determine a policy, the proponent of the policy should surely pay to make the result available to the U.S. citizens, shouldn't he? Easy enough verification by the scientific (if not general) public should be demanded to be possible if billions of dollars are at stake.

There's some sense in which the text of the bill is "obvious" and "tautological" – decades ago, it wouldn't have been necessary to write these things explicitly because people would understand that references to (someone's or someone else's) authority or consensus were not science. But many people have become completely deluded, brainwashed, or degenerated, so in 2014, the obvious thing has to be said explicitly. And the hysterical reactions are clear proofs that the "obvious thing" isn't really obvious at all.

The bill may be vetoed by the president. But it's still right for the lawmakers to try to make the right changes.

NASA's new (simulated) video showing the diffusion of CO2 (and CO) within a year (2006). The colors show the interval 370-400 ppm or so. You may see the sources and sinks and the ability of CO2 to get "almost anywhere" within weeks. The motion of the excess/surplus CO2 islands is affected by the wind etc.

The climate-panic-related comments by the narrator were mandatory.

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snail feedback (17) :

reader Gene Day said...

I don’t think the EPA has yet declared CO2 to be a pollutant. The Supreme Court has simply affirmed that the law, which gives the EPA the authority to do so, is constitutional. Restricting the EPA’s authority, a noble end, in my view, will require new legislation but the Secrete Science Reform Act will not, in itself, do so.
I am solidly in favor of the intent of the Act but it will result in a great deal of litigation initiated by all sorts of groups and interests. The authors of the Act are fully aware that it would never be signed into law by Obama. Their purpose, of course, is mainly political.
The real problem here is, indeed, political and the answer is political. I would love to see a simple legislative initiative that specifically prohibits certain EPA actions, including the declaration of CO2 to be a pollutant but that is improbable.
Our weakened President is unlikely to do very much more damage in this area; he just does not have the political capital to do so and other things are more important in his attempts to establish a positive legacy for his lame-duck administration.
The important thing is to be sure that his successor has (much) improved science advisors.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, thanks for your comment. I am probably confused but I thought that the EPA has formally declared CO2 a pollutant in 2009, didn't it? See

reader MikeNov said...

Have you looked at the EPA's decision on second hand smoke. My understanding is they selected a level of statistical significance other than 95% to make their claims.

reader John Archer said...

Dear Dr Motl,

I don't wish to intrude on your private conversation but...

Whenever I approach my dog he racks back his cheeks, shows me his canines and growls. He won't let me near him.

Do you think he wants me to brush his teeth?

I love my doggy. I want the best for him.

Please advise.

reader Gene Day said...

You are absolutely right and I should have known better. I knew that the the EPA had already established standards for tailpipe CO2 emissions, standards that are just absurd, in my view. As a car enthusiast, I am pissed!
But it really is up to Congress to fix the problem. And up to us to fix Congress.

reader Tony said...

I would rather a series of introductory blog posts regarding the string theory. No, not starting from Veneziano's formula, that's already old stuff and can be found everywhere. Topics like D-branes, CFT/ADS, black hole entropy and anything string related to cosmology.

reader kashyap vasavada said...

Thanks for your comments.I will try to digest these issues gradually! I see that lack of unitary representations would be a serious issue. Hopefully physicists like you and Lubos will keep us informed about advances in this area.

reader John Archer said...

Lightly OT:

I don't know what is is about dogs. They're either fawning over you or attacking you. It's difficult to treat them as equals.

Much like wogs, come to think of it. But in their case there are no upsides to the relationship.

We need more flights back to india and cesspitistan, or wherever it is they crawled out from.

Hey! Here's a fun quiz. [Pakis need not apply.]

Datum [Quibblers, please feel free to indulge yourselves]:
Height of the British Raj: approx 150,000 Britons in India, most of whom had no particular desire (and most of them, much less) to be there but who, poor sods, had effectively fuck all choice in the matter.

Q1. What percentage did they (whitey) constitute of the then subcontinent's population?

Q2. What percentage of the current inhabitants of the UK are an excrescence from the subcontinent? [TOP TIP: Data: Tesco estimated UK population at 80+million in 2007; govt census 2011 says 61 million; govt is full of shit. Corroborative Datum: Current official UK decennial census is total bollocks.]

Q3. Did these intruders come to the UK after india's independence in 19fortyfuckingeight*?
[Hint: Oh yes. There was fuck all sign of the bleeders here before then. I know. I was here. In fact, in most places there was fuck all sign up to about the 1990s. Now the place looks like calfuckingcutta.]

Q4. Who the let them in? [Hint: It wasn't me.]

Q5. Why? Weren't they happy with their independence? Did they have any feelings for Britons' desire not to have to look at them ever again?

Q6. Would you think better of me if I spelt 'fuck' with a q?

Q7. When are they going back? [Do the sums: When do the total "life-years lived there/here" cut equal per capita blah blah? [Retribution Accounting Standards — these apply irrespective of the retributees' non-involvlement. AKA 'blood payback' - progressives please note.]

Q8. Hello, Gene. Some more questions for you not to answer. [Was that a question? No, but that is.]

Q9. Hello, Gene. I have a question for you: do you want to guess what it is?

Q10. What is it?

Q11. Bonus question. Lost your tongue up some diversity's arsehole again?

* If tempted, answer the fucking questions first. Please. Very kind. Thank you.

P.S. I don't go drinking much these days because I found things used to get out of hand. The test I ran today indicates that nothing has changed.

reader John Archer said...

OT: Newsflash

Real McCoy UK Conservative Party by-election blurt:

"Don't let UKIP privatise the NHS*. Vote Conservative on Thursday."

I repeat THAT was a Conservative Party turdsquirt. Britain today.

* NHS — National Health Service, the state-run maternity unit for pakis and other alien filth [where's Sigourney Weaver and her flame-thrower when you need her?]. Occasionally treats Britons — but is particularly proficient in speeding up the death of the elderly among us. Neglect and dehydration is a speciality. I know. That's how they got my Dad, who died with all his teeth in place and never had a filling. He should have gone private. But I guess he figured he'd paid his whack of tax—unlike the filthy wogs who just turn up here—and thought maybe he'd avail himself of the service he 'contracted'* for. Dumbarse thing to do.

In case you're wondering: the coroner rejected his death certificate and his GP said "I had no choice but that hospital ... yadda yadda"

Yadda yadda indeed.

Hello, Gene. The politicos tell us how marvellous it is that so many marvellously marvellous immigrants "help[WTF?] to keep our NHS running". But I guess you'd have no opinion on that either — at least none you'd care to divulge, eh straight-talker?


Incidentally, from what I can tell your 'conservatives' are just as full of shit as ours. A special CORrelation for a change?

* I think even the mafia is happy to call it what it is: extortion. At least they surely do when they're tired and fed up working the dots on those menacing monosyllabic ellipses of theirs ...


reader Ramanujan said...

I believe that KKLT needs only one anti-D3 to work. What can be the problem with a single anti-D3 in a weak field? The backreaction is O(g) at distances larger than the string scale, so any divergence can show up only at shorter distances. But at shorter distances (higher momenta) the correct description is string theory, not sugra. Finding a divergence at short distance in sugra seems no more physically relevant than finding a divergence at high energy in sugra loops, one should be using string theory in either case. And I do not see how string perturbation theory can produce any sort of large result, since short distances are cut off. In particular, where you say "The D3 charges in the fluxes are being pulled towards the anti-D3 branes where they pile up" in string perturbation theory there could be at most an O(g) effect, not enough to make a qualitative effect.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, good luck to that. It's worse over here in Europe and the tailpipe regulations are just a tiny glimpse or demo of what these folks actually plan to do.

reader anna v said...

If we consider the delay, expect 2012 data open in 2016.

Two reasons for not immediate opening, both valid in my opinion:

1) the 3000+ people in each experiment want to squeeze out any reasonable publications , and certainly new physics as recompense for the 10+ years of slaving over the detectors and the programs

2)By the time the publications come out of a data set the probability that there are no bugs in the system is high (remember the cables in the faster than light neutrinos)

Otherwise people not familiar with the data might be coming out with a lot of new physics from bugs :)

reader mmanu_F said...

looking again in polyakov's "beyond spacetime"(arxiv:0602011) i find this:
"An interesting unsolved problem is to find the wave equation satisfied by $\Psi$ (the wavefunction of everything). It is not the Wheeler-deWitt equation. The experience with the loop equations of QCD tells us that the general structure of the wave equation must be as following $H \Psi = \Psi * \Psi$"

it seems to be a very important relation, and that's the first time i saw it (shame on me). could someone tell me more about it?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Your dollar-based LaTeX displayed as correct mathematics in my Gmail! I was looking forward that you found a cool trick to make Mathjax work in DISQUS, but it was probably due to a Gmail Chrome extension I have. ;-)

reader Thomas Van Riet said...

Thanks Nikolay, I will check what it is about. But at first sight these papers define non-gravitational field theories on de Sitter. No dynamical gravity (no supergravity). I was claiming that supergravity theories based on de Sitter superalgebras have ghosts.

reader Giotis said...

Thanks for this analysis Thomas.

Any thoughts on this possibility? :

Accelerated Expansion from Negative Λ

reader Gene Day said...

Things are worse in California, too. We actually have a carbon tax, which will be applied to oil and gasoline next January.

Elon Musk will sell even more Teslas, which get a $7500 federal tax credit.
These people seem to want an existence tax; that is, a tax on your existence. Any excuse will do.