Garbage In…

I have to confess, taking a deep dive into the comment sections of some conservative blogs over the last few days as part of following the Heartland story has been educational, if fairly off-putting. It brings home to me something I already knew, but had tended to wall off from my day-to-day existence: The more-rabid parts of the conservative blogosphere are a pretty horrific place. I’m sure the rabid lefties are bad, too, but man, it’s ugly out there.

I realize it’s not just the blogs; this is a phenomenon that cuts across all media. Case in point: Fox News, where the willingness to just outright lie without shame is fairly striking. Take this example: Fox News apparently ran a segment about how rising gas prices represent a political problem for Obama. They wanted to illustrate the segment with a chart of gas prices, so they consulted the dataset represented by the following graph:

Gas prices are certainly rising, but the visual impact of the image, with last year’s bump prominently above the current price, wasn’t quite punchy enough for them. No problem: They just cherry-picked their way around the troublesome datapoints, and displayed the information via this graph:

There you go; much better. Also, completely misleading. More at Media Matters: Fox Still Struggling With Basic Chart Concepts: Gas Price Edition.

Given the tendency of modern Republicans to trust and obtain their information only from Fox, is it any wonder that their view of things like climate science is completely FUBAR?

Oh, while we’re on the topic of gas prices, Stuart Staniford’s take on this is informative. See: Life on the Plateau.

I can confidently predict that any resulting political debate will have very little to do with the actual causes – the plateauing of global crude oil production since 2005. But none the less the story does vindicate those of us who’ve been saying for a number of years that this would be an effect of the plateau – whenever the economy starts to improve – as it has in the last quarter – oil prices would have a tendency to increase and start to choke off the improvement.

In particular, this means that future growth in the US economy is highly contingent on it becoming more oil efficient.

Reading Staniford is like a breath of fresh — depressing, but fresh — air after being down in the fever swamp for a few days. God, I’m glad I spend most of my time in the reality-based community.

12 Responses to “Garbage In…”

  1. jbc Says:

    Haha. It’s mean, I know, but that picture of Santorum’s daughter crying at the concession speech still cracks me up. That photographer earned his pay that night.

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    The boy on the rhs of the picture – I can’t quite picture his destiny but whatever it is it seems scary.

  3. enkidu Says:

    I’m not saying Iran will close the Straight of Hormuz, rather that they have threatened to try. I doubt they could do more than throw some mines out (we’ve got dolphins w lasers man!) and annoy container ships with machine gun armed speed boats. Maybe a few torpedo boats will attempt to sink something (and then be sunk). A nice stockpile of Chinese land based anti-ship missiles might make for a few weeks of bated breath headlines (and of course the all-important excuse that they attacked us). But an invasion by US forces just isn’t going to happen (w already broke that toy).

    Interesting factoid over at CNN from John Hoeven writing in support of the keystone xl pipeline: ” …increasing our access to energy from our own nation and our closest ally, Canada, along with some oil from Mexico — to 75% of our daily consumption, compared with 70% now.

    So we now get 70% of our consumption from North America? And we really need this 2000 mile boondoggle of a oil spill waiting to happen so we can goose that up to 75%? How about energy efficiency projects? Too ‘green’? Fracking not dirty enough for you? Can we at least try buying into Thorium nuclear reactor research? too star trek for you?

  4. NorthernLite Says:

    Or cold fusion? Apparently an energy game-changer, but there are many doubters.

    It’s actually a good topic for this site…

    And don’t feel bad enk, Canada has the second largest oil deposit on Earth and it doesn’t shelter us from oil speculators and gas gouging. Gas prices are up about 10% since Jan. 1 and we’re being told to expect another 20% increase by April due to “tensions in the Middle East” and “refinery shutdowns for maintenance.

    This is hilarious, because the main argument from our Conservative government for building the KXL pipeline is that we can’t refine it here and can’t build new refineries because there is excess refining capacity in Texas.

    Everyone all together now: bend over and grab your ankles. Oh, and enjoy your summer.

  5. NorthernLite Says:

    This is actually the better link:

    Cold Fusion is soooo 80s… lol

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