Friday, June 15, 2007

Dust to Dust to Dumb and Dumber

I swear every day I believe that organizations, government, and marketing firms think I get more stupid. The new one is the "Dust to Dust Automotive Energy Report." You can read a little about this here:

  • Hummer versus Prius:
    “Dust to Dust” Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science

  • The anti-hybrid “dust-to-dust” cost study that just won’t die

    While there are a million blogs debunking the bad science, the bad methodology, the motives of the research organization CNW Research; there is a critical piece missing. The following statements are taken straight from CNW Researches website:

  • "To put the data into understandable terms for consumers, it was translated into a “dollars per lifetime mile” figure. That is, the Energy Cost per mile driven. This is a general-consumer report, not a technical document per se. It includes breakdowns of each vehicle’s total energy requirements from Dust to Dust but does not include issues of gigajuelles, kW hours or other unfriendly (to consumers) terms. Perhaps, in time, we will release our data in such technical terms. First, however, we will only look at the energy consumption cost."

    Gee thanks! I don't think my feeble mind could even comprehend such complicated concepts as kW hours or gigajuelles, especially if I am interested in comparing environmental issues like, oh,... ENERGY CONSUMPTION! This has to be the worst cover for saying, "we have bad methodology and so we won't disclose it." No where is the methodology of the study offered or the data (something that is considered required for ANY academic or research publication.) This "report" is great example of how information can be created in a social context and justified by feeble logical fallacies, specifically Ad Verecundiam in this case.

    It is amazing how article headlines, short tag lines, and buzz phrases have replaced (or is attempting to replace) actual critical thought that requires information to be digested and analyzed.

    I ask nicely of my government and research organizations:


  • Monday, June 11, 2007

    When one faces death......

    Recently, I went to the ER because I didn't feel "right". Nothing more, nothing less. No extreme pain. No specific symptom. My expectation was that I had some infection or something and they would give me some medication. I ended up having an aneurysm and needed open heart surgery to replace my ascending aorta and my aortic valve. Reduced down, I accepted in a very brief amount of time (a couple of days) that I could very well die and that I had lived my life. Having a three month year old daughter, this was very hard to come to grips with. I have survived, I am recovering (physically); but there is a residue of this acceptance of my death continues to permeate my being in some ominous fashion. The only escape seems to be irrational grasps at normalcy: eating breakfast at a local diner, seeing friends, watching the NHL Stanley Cup games, playing a board game, posting on a blog. In the end, escape doesn't seem to be possible; nor wise. At some point life and death will both need to become part of my existence, I just don't know how it will be at this point.