… 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.
As of 29th November 2020, Mr Galkowski is retired.
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.
Ratings have been disabled in all places, simply because voting, as a means of assessing content, no longer works. As an objective means of assessing goodness, it probably never did. Whether or not this has any connection with the fate of representative democracy, I do not know, but I suspect it does.
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.
And as to why and how CO2 is increasing, I punt to Doug Robbins “The Keeling Curve and CO2”.
The American Institute of Physics has a nice page describing simple models of climate change. It also features a prescient quote from Guy Stewart Callander:
This is a difficult subject: by long tradition the happy hunting ground for robust speculation, it suffers much because so few can separate fact from fancy.
This is from:
Callendar, G. S. (1961). Temperature fluctuations and trends over the earth. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 87(371), 1–12. doi:10.1002/qj.49708737102
Jan Galkowski is a retired data scientist, statistician, and quantitative engineer.
Jan is a member of the Azimuth Project.
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 is a member of no social media platforms. However, he is also a diligent reader of The Financial Times, and of The New York Times, an his comments can often be found there. Other favorites are The London Review of Books, The Economist, and Goodreads.
Mr Galkowski’s areas of interest are:
- Quantitative ecology and phenology of bryophytes and lichens, and field work supporting these, especially macrophotography and microphotography. Particular interest in use of mosses as phenological indicators .
- Population ecology, quantitative biology, and methods from genomics.
- Tree-based Bayesian methods like Bayesian Regression and Classification Trees.
- Keen interest in self-documenting calculations, backed by and R.
Jan is a member of:
- the International Society for Bayesian Analysis
- the American Statistical Association
- the New England Statistical Society
- 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
… Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Mr Galkowski and his beautiful and clever wife, Claire, Director of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, are strong supporters of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
… 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.
 After L. D. Gignac, “Bryophytes as indicators of climate change“, The Bryologist, Autumn 2001, 104(3), 410-420.
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One thing I thought I should include here as a comment is that we no longer own points in the Disney Vacation Club time share. I’m mentioning that because once upon a time, I “hawked” their availability for rental here.
Our decision to sell has little to do with Disney, or the DVC itself. We always had a grand time there, and Disney, as a company, is wonderful and responsible, including including in a way which we most care about. And they continue to change, too, adding a solar array.
But we have had a hard look on our personal impacts upon Carbon emissions and lifestyle, and we could not justify flying to Florida and back for fun, even if we always offset our emissions with credits. There is, too, our portion of owning the indirect emissions from operating a project like Walt Disney World. It isn’t, I think, that Disney would not do more than they do. It’s that they are in the business of entertaining and, judging from what I’ve observed, many Americans are quite intolerant of inconveniences which, while they might improve sustainability, aren’t aligned with the life styles to which they are accustomed.
I, too, hoped that Disney might return to the educational platform it once was at Disney World, principally through Epcot. But, Americans being who they are, seem less interested than ever in being presented with academic material and scholarship while on holiday. While that does not bode well for the future of the United States, it’s really not Disney’s fault, although it makes Epcot less interesting to me than it otherwise might be.
And, so, after consulting with my kids, who might have been interested in going in the future, we decided to sell, and no longer have points, for rental or any other purpose.
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Since’s there’s a general discussion here, I should point out a new paper, by Frances Moore and Delavane Diaz of Stanford University, “Temperature impacts on economic growth warrant a stringent mitigation policy“, Nature Climate Change, 12th January 2015. The principal result from this investigation is that the social cost of Carbon (“SCC”) is estimated at US$220/ton of CO2 emitted in 2015 rather than the range of US$30/ton-US$40/ton adopted for planning purposes by the U.S. federal government. The corresponding cost for Carbon itself, then, is US$60/ton.
See my most recent view on how Carbon should be priced.
Odd coincidence. I clicked on your link after I read your response to my question on Azimuth re periodization. Then I clicked on your bio. I’m a former electrical engineer, which isn’t pertinent, really, but my ph.d is from MIT! (though not in ee). I had some fine meetings with Tom Kuhn in graduate school. Small world. I even own Akamai stock. Anyway, I’ve added your blog to my climate change folder. Thanks again for your answer on Azimuth. I still have more questions, but that’s neither here nor there. I didn’t mind getting my ears boxed on Azimuth. Maybe had it coming. I do think, though, that attempts to discuss the issue of climate change in ways that implacably divorce such discussions from politics are a stretch. I know of no other issue in the history of science where you can decode a person’s political views from his or her position on the science, i.e., people toward center and right are skeptical; people moving left from center are CAGW supporters. You couldn’t do that with quantum theory, or f = ma. There may be some electrons hopping both ways @ the middle, but every liberal I know is a firm supporter and every conservative I know is not. Again, thanks.
Thanks for writing, George.
“Ears boxed”? I always thought the place was pretty friendly, at least compared with others, e.g., Tamino’s. (I have nothing against Tamino. It’s a matter of tone and style. I’ve been told I’m not particularly friendly on this site.)
I do wonder why you are surprised at being able to “decode a person’s political views” based upon this issue. Seems to me pretty simple to understand. For the set of people who “get it”, governmental action is seen as essential. Even people like me, a fiscal conservative, don’t believe that getting to zero emissions can be accomplished completely via free market initiatives. (I do think the failure of the U.S. Congress and executive to properly deal with the issue leaves the private sector in charge, even if they aren’t capable of solving the entire thing. I think that will end in litigation.) On the other hand, there’s former Senator Bob Inglis of South Carolina, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Kerry Emanuel of MIT, conservative politically, and James Hansen, at least middle of the road. Also, on the other side, I find people like Senator Elizabeth Warren and 350MA don’t take the problem seriously enough. Senator Warren supported the deferral or delay of FEMA’s schedule of increased flood insurance for South Shore (Massachusetts) coastal property owners. And there’s a group of Massachusetts environmentalists (and perhaps others outside) who feel that the climate change emergency can be fixed by replanting forests and “sustainable agriculture practices”, as well as believing CO2 concentrations can readily be returned to 350 ppm from where they are. These people don’t take the problem seriously either.
And, as you’ve read at Azimuth, there’s the entire matter of nuclear energy which I think any and every citizen really concerned about climate change needs to embrace. That’s engineering, not ideology.