Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht

Friday, December 23, 2022

Today’s Global Warming Insight

Here is a United Press International (UPI) article on global warming: Matt Bernardini, More than half of Antarctica’s plant and animals could disappear due to climate change,United Press International (Dec. 22, 2022, 7:00 PM), <>. 

This article was labelled “Science News.” Subsequently, it was picked up on MSN <>, across Twitter, and elsewhere.

The UPI story leads with a picture. You can see the (licensed) photograph at the link to the original UPI article above and also here: <>. The label under the picture in the original UPI article states: “A new study shows that Antarctica is at risk of losing 65% of its plant and animal life by the end of the century if fossil fuel emissions are not reigned [sic] in. Photo from NASA/UPI | License Photo”. (bold added)

The photograph has two problems. 

First, it is a plain ice sheet. It shows no obvious signs of lifeanimal or vegetable. There is not a lot there—at least, not a lot visible to the human eye—for global warming to harm or destroy. Second, it is—apparently—a picture from the Arctic region of the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, not Antarctica. The picture is from the wrong continent. 

Why do these people think it is their role to educate us? Why?

Seth Barrett Tillman, Today’s Global Warming Insight,New Reform Club (Dec. 23, 2022, 3:35 AM), <>; 

Roger & Me (responding to Beschloss)


Roger & Me (responding to Beschloss),’ New Reform Club (Dec. 23, 2022, 2:43 AM), <>; 

Twitter: <>

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

On Afghanistan


Seth Barrett Tillman, 'On Afghanistan,' New Reform Club (Dec. 13,2022, 1:53 AM), <>; 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Is social science more social than science?

A decision theorist was struggling whether to accept an offer from a rival university or to stay. His colleague took him aside and said, “Just maximize your expected utility – you always write about doing this.” Exasperated, the decision theorist responded, “Come on, this is serious.”

The joke works because, unlike the hard sciences, the social sciences have served up too little nourishment to satisfy a critical mind. Years ago, a researcher proved – using commonly-accepted practices – that eating chocolate makes you lose weight. The social and pop scientists can prove anything if they are only ever required to produce a theory, rather than actual results.

Theirs is the legacy of the magicians, who proved not by results or common sense, but by fantastic-sounding theories. This was the fount of Twain's humor in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court where, in but one comical example, the yankee set out to investigate what evil spell had been cast on the town's well, declared magical by the town's monks, only to find – simply by looking with his own two eyes – the water had escaped through a simple fissure:

"He did everything by incantations; he never worked his intellect. If he had stepped in there and used his eyes, instead of his disordered mind, he could have cured the well by natural means, and then turned it into a miracle in the customary way; but no, he was an old numskull, a magician who believed in his own magic; and no magician can thrive who is handicapped with a superstition like that."

Plus ├ža change. Even today, a social problem may be defined as a situation in which the real world differs from the theories of intellectuals. And how often do theories stray from the real world? Social psychologist Phillip Tetlock's famous study proved that when grouped together, experts' predictions were worse even than those of dart-throwing monkeys!

The number of the world's social problems, then, bears a curious relationship to the number of social theories.

Fortunately, the social sciences supply the antidote to their own folly, and that is through the humility supplied by the study of history. The distinguished British historian Paul Johnson put it well:

"The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false."

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

New Article(s)

Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘East Wall and the Plantations: Ireland and Its New Migrants,’ The American Spectator (Dec. 6, 2022, 10:48 PM), <>, <>, <>;

Next up:

Andrew Hirsch and Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘More War or EU Expansion?,’ Copenhagen Post (forth. circa Dec. 8, 2022) (print), Copenhagen Post Online (forth. circa Dec. 10, 2022), <> (English-speaking newspaper in a Danish venue); 


Seth Barrett Tillman, What Court (if any) Decided Ex parte Merryman?—A Correction for Justice Sotomayor (and others), 13(1) Br. J. Am. Leg. Studies (forth. circa Mar. 2024) (peer review), <>; 


Seth Barrett Tillman, ‘New Article(s),’ New Reform Club (Dec. 7, 2022, 8:32 AM), <>;

Thursday, December 01, 2022

2022 Elections: State Legislatures, Governorships, and Changes in Control


State Legislatures and Governorships: before and after 2022 election

National Conference of State Legislatures, <>; and, <>. 


50 State Legislatures:         Senate Dems: -9 seats

                                            House Dems: +21 seats

                                            Net: +12 seats


50 State Legislatures:          Senate Repubs: +20 seats

                                             House Repubs: +35 seats

                                             Net: +55 seats


50 States Legislatures:         Senate Independents/Vacancies/Other: -10 seats

                                             House Independents/Vacancies/Other: -54 seats

                                             Net: -64 seats


*Nebraska is unicameral and (formally) non-partisan

**3 seats added across 50 state legislatures


Republican net pickup: 43 seats.


Dems pickup AZ governorship: AZ government shifts from Repub to Divided control.

Dems pickup MD governorship: MD government shifts from Divided control to Dem control. (But already under effective Dem control: so little potential for any U.S. House redistricting.)

Dems pickup MASS governorship: MASS government shifts from Divided control to Dem control. (But already under effective Dem control: so little potential for U.S. House redistricting.)

Dems pickup both MICH state legislative houses: MICH government shifts from Divided control to Dem control. (Potential for Dem-favored redistricting of U.S. House seats. Post-2022 election: U.S. House from Mich: 6 R / 7 D.)

Dems pickup MINN state house and control of legislature. MINN shifting from Divided control to Dem control. (Potential for Dem-favored redistricting of U.S. House seats. Post-2022 election: U.S. House from Minn: 4 R / 4 D.)

Repubs pickup Nevada governorship: Nevada government shifting from Dem control to Divided control. Only Repub pickup leading to change in control. But no potential for U.S. House redistricting. 

Penn: Dems pickup State House. Control remains Divided.

Control in many state legislative houses remains narrow. So all results remain tentative. Eg: A single state legislative seat--in the NH state house--resulted in a tie. In 3 state Houses, the majority is 1 or 2 seats. (And, the NH state House maybe 2 or 3 seats apart depending on how the single tied seat is finally determined.) In 5 state Senates, the majority is 1 or 2 seats. Redistricting in Michigan and Minnesota based on changes in control could be consequential given the Rs 9-seat majority in the U.S. House.


Seth Barrett Tillman, 2022 Elections: State Legislatures, Governorships, and Changes in Control, New Reform Club (Dec. 1, 2022, 12:03 PM), <>;