Articles to 2012-06-09

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

Concerning the various papers by McIntyre & McKitrick and McShane & Wyner I note:
- In no way do they invalidate climate reconstruction from proxies as such, their issues are solely with methods used in aggregating a huge number of proxies.
- As the models are trained on a short time span exhibiting two steep rises, they favour high-frequency proxies like tree rings catching changes from one year to the next and deemphasise low frequency ones, that only react slowly to change. One illustrative problem with this is the adaptation of forests. Over longer time spans trees will grow more or less densely according to the longer term climate and ring widths will regress to the mean. Thus any model disproportionally built on them will display a spurious stability in the long term, i.e. the straight handle of a hockey stick. (Loehle)
- To my knowledge Moberg (2005) and Loehle (2011) are the only ones using not just linear combinations of all proxies but incorporating their frequency and time-scale properties.

Dezileau confirms an older result for the Caribbean by Donnelly 2007 although Mann 2009 doesn’t consent. What all seem to agree on is the first half of the 20th century being an exceptionally calm time so that the recent rise, if it exists and is not just an artefact of risen vulnerability, is at least partially just a reversion to the mean.

I wonder how Bamforth’s result would have looked, had he used the CalPal algorithm for his simulation. Unfortunately I don’t know how to perform the calendar- to carbon-date step or I could have done it myself.

Dietrich is a nice concise review of the current state of Göbekli, but its main quality are the numerous and wonderful photographs.

There is one side result in Legare, that’s not discussed there. The result itself, that a society used to strawberries in January, Christmas cookies in September, and observing neither Lent nor a weekly day of rest has lost all sense for the meaning of time, is unsurprising. Seeing that all known cultures all over the world and way back in time traditionally used to structure the secular domain that way, it is possible we may have lost something important.

The core problem of multicultural societies seems to be perceptible and easily identified groups containing sizeable radical, violent, or criminal subgroups.
As Ellemers explains:
„When the group self is under threat, people may also decide to stand up for the group (Fig. 2, row e). They will fight to improve their group’s outcomes or image when sufficiently committed to the group. This may be the case either because they care for the group or because they realize they cannot easily escape being associated with the group (46). Different strategies are available to harness the group self. People adapt their efforts to the situation and its likely opportunities for change.
Specific patterns of change in heart rate and blood pressure can be used to distinguish between the emergence of positive versus negative arousal. Negative arousal indicates a state of threat, whereas positive arousal indicates a state of challenge and confidence in the ability to adequately cope with the situation. These autonomic responses reveal that belonging to a group with low status is threatening as long as differences between groups seem stable. However, the group’s unfavorable position becomes a source of positive challenge when there is a possibility for change.”
And Atran & Ginges add:
„While sacralization of initially secular issues blocks standard “business-like” negotiation tactics, strong symbolic gestures (sincere apologies, demonstrating respect for the other’s values) generate surprising flexibility, even among militants and political leaders, and may enable subsequent material negotiations. Moreover, as with religious beliefs generally, sacred values may be reframed through novel, context-sensitive interpretation without compromising their absolute “truth”.”

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