… This Blog …
… is devoted to opposing, as best as I can, “… that most natural of human tendencies: the triumph of hope over evidence” . It is also an ecomodernist response to the climate emergency.
“Optimism,” said Cacambo, “what is that?”
“Alas!” replied Candide, “it is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”
— Voltaire, “Candide“
Rules Regarding Posting Comments on this Blog
- I will not tolerate climate denial comments.
- I will not tolerate creationist comments.
- I will not tolerate insults or anything like slander against cultural groups, or groups based upon sexual preference or sexual identity.
- This is primarily a technical blog. While friendly discussion and humor is welcome, positions and proclamations or arguments are expected to be accompanied by evidence or citations of evidence, whether as links or as figures or equations. is available. Authors of long derivations or similar contributions might want to consider using Overleaf/ShareLaTeX for their pieces.
- Commenters who articulate extended interesting positions pertinent to the blog’s purpose may be asked to rewrite their comment as a guest post instead. If this happens, the comment will be held for moderation and the commenter contacted.
- Commenters are expected to use unique handles, that is, they oughtn’t use multiple pseudonyms or email addresses for the same person. This is not only a rule of this blog, but is a stipulation of the TOS for
- I am happy to fix syntactic mistakes in comments. I find WordPress really ought to provide a way for commenters to revise their postings, and, in the absence of such, am happy to help.
- I will never delete a comment without first simply holding it for moderation, and approaching the commenter, asking them to revise it, or explaining why I am holding it. In the absence of a reply, the comment may be held in moderation indefinitely.
- Comments may be deleted if the change is virulently opposed, or if the commenter has engaged in a series of violations of rules. Ultimately, as has happened, a commenter who abuses the rules will be banned from participation.
- In the end, I reserve the right to determine what’s appropriate here or not. This is my blog. I pay for it. There is no subsidy or advertising that helps pay for it.
This blog has “667-per-cm.net” in it WordPress URL, and is titled 667 per cm, that corresponding to the frequency of a big spectral line for carbon dioxide (see below) which happens to line close to the peak blackbody emissions region for Earth at nominal temperatures. These physical facts and the proximity of that line to Earth’s blackbody emissions mode is a key element in the reason why climate change due to excess atmospheric carbon dioxide occurs.
Eli Rabett of Rabett Run has a good deal more information about the fine structure of the CO2 band at .
Eli Rabett has posted a fine series of deep tutorials about the spectroscopic basis for CO2‘s absorption. This is in connection with an answer to questions posed by Judge Alsup regarding the physical science basis of climate change. Here are links to Eli’s posts:
- Dear Judge Alsup: The Spectroscopic Basis
- Dear Judge Alsup: The Quantum Interlude
- Dear Judge Alsup: Putting on the Pressure
Eli has once again posted an excellent tutorial. This is an illustration of how “the presence of a colder body can limit the rate at which a warmer one emits energy”, and it exists to parry silly — and probably disingenuous — climate denier remarks about how global warming somehow violates basic physics, most frequently citing the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and various misstatements of it which confuse the inexperienced.
And, in a second installment, Eli addresses energy balance throughout the atmosphere and implications for warming and radiative forcing, including the effects of convection.
The header sometimes bears the quote
… [I]t is noteworthy that the principle of unbiasedness in estimation is currently held in low esteem by the consensus of statisticians.
This is from L. J. Savage’s “The theory of statistical decision“, Journal of the American Statistical Association, 1951, 46(253), 55-67. What’s notable is that it implies that research in Statistics was anticipating the earthshaking discovery and publication of Stein’s example in 1955. It is subtle, but that result has, along with the availability of prodigious computational resources, transformed statistical science since its full-fledged appearance in the 1960s with James-Stein estimators. There are now many explanations:
- P. Everson, “Stein’s paradox revisited“, CHANCE, 20(3), 49-56.
- S. S. Qian, C. A. Stow, Y. K. Cha, “Implications of Stein’s Paradox for environmental standard compliance assessment“, Environmental Science and Technology, 2015.
- K. H. Yung, “Explaining the Stein Paradox“, 1999-06-10, CS, New York University
- O. Vassend, E. Sober, B. Fitelson, “The philosophical significance of Stein’s Paradox“, European Journal of Philosophy of Science (2017), 7:411–433
- P. K. Sen, T. Kubokawa, A. K. M. E. Saleh, “The Stein Paradox in the sense of the Pitman measure of closeness“, The Annals of Statistics, 1989, 17(3), 1375-1386.
Jan Galkowski is a data scientist, computational statistician, and quantitative engineer. See his profile at:
Jan is a member of the Azimuth Project, and that page has some more information about my interests and views, although it is not up-to-date.
He has an S.M. degree in EE & Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”), and a B.S. degree in Physics from Providence College. He has taken additional graduate level courses in mathematics, signal processing, geology, geophysics, statistics, computer science, and history of science from Cornell University, Binghamton University, Syracuse University, University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, MIT, Colorado State University, West Point Military Academy, Naval Postgraduate School–Monterey, AFCEA, and Harvard University. Some of these were sponsored by DARPA.
Mr Galkowski served as a statistician and data scientist for Akamai Technologies, a position he held for 13 years, a data warehouse developer, test engineer, advisory software engineer, and entrepreneur for Cornell University, Sensis, Westinghouse Nuclear Automation, Loral Federal Systems, IBM Federal Systems, and Aetna U.S. Healthcare. He has a deep interest in science, especially oceanography, ecology, quantitative biology, and dynamical systems models pertaining to these, and especially those related to climate science.
Mr Galkowski’s portfolio of highlighted work is available here.
Mr Galkowski’s areas of interest are:
- Methods of computation, primarily for statistical problems, including stochastic search, search and optimization using genetic algorithms, and deep analogs of well-wrought algorithms like Markov Chain Monte Carlo and Slice Sampling.
- Population ecology, quantitative biology, and methods from genomics.
- Tree-based Bayesian methods like Bayesian Regression and Classification Trees.
- Bayesian computation and analysis.
- Keen interest in self-documenting calculations, backed by and R.
As of mid-March 2020, I am semi-retired, but still seek interesting problems and analyses to pursue for compensation. As this blog shows, however, I have a lot to keep myself busy without that.
Jan is a member of:
- the International Society for Bayesian Analysis
- the American Statistical Association and an active member of its Boston Chapter
- the New England Statistical Society
- the Ecological Society of America
- the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- the 1930 Society of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- the Fye Society of the Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution
Some things to which Jan has contributed which are publicly available:
- “Warming slowdown?” (in 2 parts), at the Azimuth blog: here and here
- (Acknowledgement only) “Monte Carlo methods in climate science“, J. C. Baez, D. Tweed.
- The entries of this blog, including The zero-crossings trick for JAGS: Finding roots stochastically
… Technical Interests
… Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
… Westwood Statistical Studios
Mr Galkowski also provides statistical advice to individuals, groups, towns, and companies through his pro bono statistical consultancy, Westwood Statistical Studios, specializing in applications of statistical inference to environmental and municipal management problems. Contact him below if you are interested in a preliminary session.
Contact Westwood Statistical Studios below:
Jan is broadly interested in questions of statistical practice, based upon
- the guidelines of the American Statistical Association,
- those pertaining especially to statistical consultants,
- and those pertaining to questions of careful data stewardship in a world which values data more than knowledge.
- Reproducible research, including full release of data and computer programs (“codes”) which were used to derive results and, accordingly,
- Open access to research publications without paywalls and a critical consideration of the role of peer review in the 21st century.
… Politically Speaking …
While I continue to be a climate hawk and a Hermann Scheer solar revolutionary, our collective failure to make progress on climate change mitigation and the ineffectiveness of progressive environmentalists has, upon reflection, converted me to ecomodernism and ecopragmatism, fully accepting the Ecomodernist Manifesto.
Solar photovoltaic technology is a revolutionary energy source for the reasons Professor Tony Seba details, and because it is a democratically empowering development, returning control of energy to the people and public at large, denying central concentrators of such power the influence they presently enjoy. Thus, it heralds the oncoming of a green century and the return of electrical power to the people.
In 2020, Mr Galkowski is studying the proposals of Professor Mark Z Jacobson’s team for 100% wind, water, storage, and solar energy for 140 countries, including the United States, and planning to co-author an adult education course based upon Professor Jacobson’s forthcoming book on the plan. (See also, and a presentation, and a lecture.) This is, in my opinion, our best hope forward. It does something. It doesn’t sit around, agonizing.
 This is a quote from Howard Wainer, in an article which appeared in CHANCE magazine, a publication of the American Statistical Association. The article was entitled “Defeating Deception: Escaping the Shackles of Truthiness by Learning to Think like a Data Scientist“, 29(1), 2016, 61-64.