Patterico's Pontifications


I Could Have Painted That!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. I am not an art major. I am not an art critic. I am not married to an artist, although I once dated an art major. And surprisingly, that was not all in vain. Aside from the college-age Herculean disaster of love that it was, I also became exposed to the world of art in a focused way.

I became immersed in art movements, Impressionism, Surrealism, Expressionism, and other “isms”, as well as learning gouache painting techniques, the tedious process of stippling, and much more. I developed a love-hate relationship with Kandinsky, a lifelong passion for the Ukiyo-e artists and Calder’s mobiles, and still remain entranced by the romanticism of Waterhouse. And unbeknownst to me in that time of my youth, not only was the visual being absorbed, but what drove it was as well. I even built a pseudo-philosophy around art: What one feels must be truth.

Art: It is seriously powerful stuff. And anything powerful enough to simultaneously reflect and deeply influence the individual, or society at large, has the potential to become a bit too big for its colorful britches and self-assured in its relevance. Hence, the birth of sacred cows.

In artist and comedy writer Miriam Elia’s recently released book, We Go to the Gallery, the not so subtle poke at the world of art rings true.

In the author’s words,

“I thought it would be humorous to see Mummy, Peter and Jane going to a really nihilistic modern art exhibition”, she says. Among the works confronted by the trio on their cultural outing are pastiches of Emin, Creed and Koons, through which they learn about sex, death, nothingness “and all of the debilitating, middle-class self-hatred contained in the artworks.”




(pictures via American Digest)


Anthony Weiner’s New Column at Business Insider: To Hell With the Free Market in Selling Cars!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:05 pm

Anthony Weiner now has a column at Business Insider. (!) His first effort is a broadside against Tesla for having the nerve to suggest that they should be allowed to sell cars on the free market, rather than be subject to absurd state laws that mandate cars be sold by licensed dealers with state-created monopolies within their prescribed territories.

The whole thing is ridiculous from start to finish, but I don’t have the time or energy to fisk it line by line. Basically, Weiner’s take is: this is how it’s been forever — and this is how it should be, assuming that we take it for granted that there should be overbearing regulations in this area.

I’ll pick one section to show how cloistered Weiner’s view is:

Now let me stipulate to the fact that, during my time in Congress, like many other politicians, I received donations from car dealers. I should also note you could fill a book with what I don’t know about New Jersey and I certainly don’t know who promised what to whom in this case. Of course, I’ve also got plenty of problems with Christie and his policies. Still, I think the simplistic shouts of “let the market decide!” that we’re hearing from Tesla and their supporters minimizes the legitimacy of the regulations that have been passed over the years.

Why would you want to have laws that require a car be purchased through a local dealer? Perhaps to protect a purchaser’s rights to easily enforce the warranty. To ensure the state’s ability to enforce the reams of unique state legal requirements that govern automobile sales, service and even disposal maybe. Or, it might just be a run-of-the-mill instinct for local rather than federal regulations to govern what, for many Americans, is the biggest purchase of their lives. You may not agree with these conclusions, but these are longstanding laws and there was a robust back-and-forth about them well before Tesla drove onto the scene.

The “robust back and forth” is not an exchange of ideas and arguments, of course, but rather an exchange of car dealer money in return for the passage of protectionist laws. Look at his arguments: without these protectionist laws, buyers can’t easily enforce a warranty? Why would that be the case for car warranties and not thousands of other types of warranties? Without these protectionist laws, states could not enforce reams of state legal requirements? Then repeal the reams of legal requirements! Without these protectionist laws, we would be left with federal instead of local regulations? Why not have no regulations at all?

Weiner’s argument just takes it for granted that we are going to have a crushing set of regulations and legal requirements for selling cars, and asks: what is the best way to implement the reams of laws and regulations that we all know must exist? The idea that they should be repealed is not even considered, even though economists will tell you that is the most efficient way to handle car sales.

The whole column is silly. Watching a guy who passed laws because he was handed money try to justify doing so, with zero intellectual firepower to back it up, is kind of amusing. Go watch him try. C’mon, it’s fun!

My Request for a Correction of That L.A. Times Piece That Misstates Research on Scientific Views of Global Warming

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:16 am

I have just sent the following email to Scott Martelle of the Los Angeles Times, with a cc to the Readers’ Representative:

Mr. Martelle,

You recently wrote a piece that states:

“Here’s a statistic for you. Out of 10,855 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals last year that dealt with some aspect of global warming, all but two accepted human behavior as the primary cause.”

This is not accurate. Your source never said all but two “accepted” human behavior as the “primary cause.” He said only two “rejected” it. That’s not the same thing.

For an article to “accept” the premise that humans are the primary cause of global warming, an article would have to actively address the topic, and affirmatively agree in some fashion with the premise. For an article to “not reject” the premise, all the article need do is fail to address the topic at all.

Any article that mentions global warming in passing, without discussing in any form or fashion the cause, gets listed by your source as an article that “did not reject” the theory that humans are primarily responsible for global warming. That does not mean the article “accepted” that thesis.

This is Logic 101.

The distinction is important, because many of the articles do not concern themselves at all with the primary cause of global warming. The collection of articles includes such global warming classics as “Life Cycle Assessment in Switchgears for Primary Electrical Distribution” (#1234) or “Larval development of the feline lungworm Aelurostrongylus abstrusus in Helix aspersa” (#1217) or “Life cycle assessment of a waste lubricant oil management system,” (#1239) or “An investigation into the usability of straight light-pipes in Istanbul” (#142) or “Assessment of weed establishment risk in a changing European climate” (#212).

The fact that an article on the larval development of an obscure lungworm might mention the concept of global warming in passing, but fails to address and refute the theory of human-created global warming, does not impress any rational person as “acceptance” of human-created global warming.

I have far more detail on all this in this blog post.

The first sentence of your article is false. It is absolutely not the case that all but two of these articles “accepted human behavior as the primary cause” of global warming. You owe your readers a correction.

Patrick Frey

I will let you know what, if anything, I hear in response.

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