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we have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever can masquerade as science.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Memory Leaks

All of us have had the same problem; we can’t recall a memory that we know we have. Sometimes we have an image of a thing, but can’t put a word to it. Sometimes the memory feels like an echo in our mind but the connection is lost. In the programming of computer software, that’s called a memory leak. Typically, in order to store information, a programmer creates a glob of memory to insert the requisite data and then creates a pointer to allow retrieval. If the pointer is lost, the memory doesn’t go away, just the ability to retrieve it. Memory fills up, while usefulness decays away. If that sounds like old age, join the group. The real question in education is how to enhance retrieval in order to promote mastery. And a different look at subject in a paper by Karpicke and Roediger1 offers a clue.

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Enter The Burrow

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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Lindzen Petition

Prof. Richard Lindzen, MIT

Dear Mr. President:

Citizens of the USA and America’s admirers everywhere support of your campaign promises to place a common-sense focus on international environmental agreements, either enacted or proposed. In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below, urging you to withdraw from the ill-advised United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). More are signing on every day.

We petition the American and other governments to change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases, primarily Carbon Dioxide, CO2 for harsh regulation. Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm—with no environmental benefits. While we support effective, affordable, reasonable and direct controls on conventional environmental pollutants, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. To the contrary, there is clear evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful to food crops and other plants that nourish all life. It is plant food, not poison.

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Climate Models Reviewed

The use of climate models is difficult for many people to understand, yet the results are important to the economy. Using these models, politicians make demands on energy restrictions and cost. In Connecticut, we pay a premium on electricity to install “clean” energy. Recently, Professor Judith Curry released a paper at the Global Warming Policy Foundation discussing the formation and use of climate models. Professor Curry is the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology after numerous attacks on her scientific work as she has discussed here.

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The Magic Wand

As a physicist, I am frequently asked about global warming and climate change. Global warming has been on again, and off again, for the last 160 years coming out of the Little Ice Age. The increase in temperature has been largely beneficial allowing for greater food production and more livable land.

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Science in the Service of Politics

Prof. Richard Lindzen, MIT

On November 26, 2008, the United Kingdom became the first nation to set legally binding carbon budgets when they passed the Climate Change Act. This is not a carbon credit system, that is, cap and trade, which is already operative in the European Union and dragging down their economies. This is a foolhardy plan to forcibly reduce carbon emissions, primarily energy, by 80 % of its 1990 value by the year, 2050. Already, following a particularly cold winter, the cost of energy has energized an effort to Repeal the Climate Change Act. In a presentation before Parliament on February 22, 2012, climate scientist and MIT professor Richard Lindzen debunked the climate models used by the UN by simply considering the science or lack thereof produced by these climate alarmists.

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The Value Added of Teaching

By John Mauer

The education of our children is an important local priority. Yet we currently measure its effectiveness using yearly standardized tests, as mandated by the federal government. In fact, Connecticut had such tests a decade prior to the intervention of the federal government. But do these tests actually aid in evaluating our schools? How do they measure the value added by our teachers?

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With Reverse English

By John Mauer

Reverse English is a billards shot whereby side spin is imparted to the cue ball to cause to carom off a cushion in a slightly backward direction. However, it is also the misuse of words to cause their meaning to be the opposite of the normally intended meaning. Part of reading the news is the discovery that some politicians use the side spin of reverse English to harpoon their opponents. (What, you’ve never called a cue stick a harpoon?)  Continue Reading

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Anti-War Who?

By John Mauer

War is a disease. War is not the people who fight each other, nor the people who started the action or responded to it, nor the people who oppose it. War infects the human mind, reaching emotional peaks well past reason. Yet, the body of mankind is not at fault any more than one person is at fault for the common cold. A prayer for peace is a prayer for health of the human body, not a usurpation of human actions.

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Global Warming Is Cool

By John Mauer

For those of us who like numbers, picking apart past predictions by experts is sheer fun. In 1975, the world was cooling from peak temperatures in the 1940s. The predictions of climate scientists were cataclysmic: a new ice age was upon us. Sure feels like it today. Have you ever considered melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot?

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