Thursday, 21 October 2010
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society.
Anthony Watts describes it thus:
"This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science".
It’s so utterly damning that I’m also, like others have done, going to run it in full without further comment ...
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well). I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate.
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.
APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Does the fundamental design of the banking system automatically lead to an unstable, unproductive, unfair and unsustainable economy and society ...?
If the answer to the above question is yes, then the logical next question to ask is will society take the opportunity to truly fix the problem now...? or will it resort to superficial changes and start saving up for the next bailout ...?
If the best minds in the world were to get together to design a new banking system now ... could they create something better than what we've got ...? could they create something fair (the current system throws millions into debt unnecessarily) ...? could they create something stable? (the current system triggers a recession every few years) ...? could they create something sustainable (the current system requires infinite economic growth) ...? could they create something productive (the financial crisis is throwing millions of people into unemployment) ...?
More and more people are starting to believe money & banking is the root of most of our social and economic problems. For instance, due to outdated/flawed banking laws, Fractional Reserve Banking currently allows private banks to legally generate 'money out of thin air' from debt, and use it to drive individuals, economies and nations further into debt (and debt slavery). Is this true? ... Can this be right ...? Is there a better way ...?
Well the latest Zeitgeist movie starts to address such issues, and there are many groups now also demanding change ... e.g. one such group, Positive Money, is holding a conference next month in London (entitled "Banking Shapes the World"), on the 13th and 14th November 2010.
Monday, 18 October 2010
Almost one million jobs could be lost in the UK because of government cuts in public spending, a report suggests. The knock on effect of public sector cuts upon private sector firms is rarely mentioned or taken into account, but this report does attempt to do so.
Accountancy firm PwC said that about 500,000 of those job losses may be in the private sector due to the impact on firms supplying the public sector, with business services and construction would be among the industries hardest hit.
The impact of this is in fact already starting to be seen, with contracts not being renewed, renegotiated or withdrawn altogether (e.g. the building schools for the future programme), and the PwC report puts the total number of job losses arising from the public sector spending cuts - including the knock-on effects in the private sector - at about 943,000.
It also suggests the output of private firms may well fall by £46bn per year by 2014-15. PwC chief economist John Hawksworth said the predicted levels of job losses would be a drag on the pace of the economic recovery "but should not derail it altogether".
The report said that in absolute terms, the areas worst hit would be the south east of England, the north west and Scotland. But PwC added that in percentage terms, Northern Ireland would suffer most with one in every 20 jobs set to go.
A Treasury spokesman said "a decisive plan" was needed to "reduce the UK's unprecedented deficit and restore confidence in the UK economy ... and not taking action to tackle this problem would put the economic recovery at risk," they added, saying this was a view shared by many organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Bank of England.
The question that's never asked (or answered) is where new jobs are going to come from for the economy to start to recover. For a more prosperous and sustainable future, levels of untapped talent need to reduce (not increase), and creativity needs to increase to create growth, reduce the deficit and pay back the debt ... and releasing staff without any plan of action for this could make matters worse, not better, with more people without any work and wholly dependent on the state.
The application of a simple, effective and more holistic 'economic' test (of overall 'well-being'), known as "BUTS" test, where:
B = Borrowing
U = Untapped talent
T = Trade deficit
S = Stress
rapidly highlights how well-being in the UK in the future is likely to get much worse, with any reduction in borrowing likely to be at the expense of increased taxes and reduced public services ... as well as growing levels of untapped talent (e.g. unemployment) and increasing levels of stress.
There is growing concern about unemployment, not just from a financial perspective, but from an individual point of view too, as more people lose self-confidence, belief and self-worth. People's natural ability/desire to help others, add value, and make a difference to other people's lives reduces ... reducing the overall well-being of the community, as well as the nation's economy too. There is also the risk of growing frustration & anger, particularly from younger generations, as youth unemployment rates are much higher, they have been saddled further with debt (e.g. due to tuition fees) and given little prospect of a job, house prices still being expensive to rent/buy and they are also the ones who'll have to pay most of the Government current borrowing back (through future tax rises).
Shockingly, the official figures of 2.4 million unemployed are a gross underestimate, as there are in fact over 8 million people of working age able to work but classified as 'economically inactive' ... and even this figures represents just the tip of the iceberg, as levels of untapped talent within the workplace lies at around 90%, due to outdated management practices failing to harness the talents of those in work too! No economy will ever be successful with such shockingly poor foundations, and outdated leadership and management practices are also generating further unnecessary stress too.
Outdated leadership and management practices (19th/20th century) primarily rely upon extrinsic motivation, self interest and personal gain ... where management primarily involves managing budgets, telling staff what to do and ensuring they meet internal/arbitrary targets ... rather than going to the front line, listening to customers actually want and supporting front-line staff in their quest to continually improve how value can be provided to customers (nb this is what 21st century leadership and management practice is all about - take a look at my book for instance) ...
The former systematically generates frustration and stress, for customers and front line staff alike. It also drives people to manipulate 'the system' in order to meet their targets & goals; deflecting people away from the real purpose of the enterprise (i.e. to create value for customers) which destroys teamwork, morale, and the future of the enterprise too. Such practices have also been shown to systematically generate between 40-90% waste in terms of both time and resources as well - i.e. traditional enterprises spend most of their time (and resources) wasting time, effort and money, for their customers ... whilst stressing them out in the process too ...
... and the traditional response to this ... "it's just the way work is" ... and "let's send everyone on a 'stress management' course - to help them to process stress" (and to also reduce the risk of being sued!) ...
The problem with the traditional management statements above is that they are both wrong - and flawed. 21st century management practices do not involve helping people to 'process stress' - they focus on systematically 'eliminating stress'! ... so there is no need for stress management courses at all ... (i.e. such courses are a 'cost of failure', and they do not reduce the risk of leaders/managers being sued either).
Enterprises applying 21st century leadership and management practices do not just transform the performance of the enterprise, they transform the lives of people - forever, and for the better. Most enterprises applying such practices quickly transform their capability (e.g. improvements of between 40-1000%) and change out of all recognition. Staff moral is positively transformed and stress is systematically reduced. People are naturally motivated to innovate, to add value and to help others. They are also more than capable of finding new ways to improve current products/services and to find new products/services that would allow even more value to be created too (given the opportunity). All they need is clear direction, as well as trustworthy leaders & managers who support them on the front line, who listen, learn, and help them to systematically improve how value is provided. Again not rocket science - just rarely practiced in traditional enterprises.
Stress, and the impact of stress, on people is heavily responsible for the 'eighth waste' in 21st century management practice ('untapped talent') - as it destroys people's desire/ability to contribute, to be creative or to think rationally (e.g. take a look at Ch. 8 of my book). It also impacts on people's overall well-being, as well as the well-being of those around them ... which impacts on communities/nations as a whole too (NB hence it's inclusion in the 'BUTS' test).
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has said the cost of work related mental illness was £28bn - a quarter of the UK's total sick bill, and it also made clear that the stress created as a result of bad management/managers was the single biggest cause of problem. The 'economic loss' of stress goes way beyond the £28bn referred to here too ... this is literally just the tip of the iceberg, with actual figures more likely to be around 80-90% (and growing).
Those leaders who believe stress management courses will 'protect them' from 'being sued' are I'm afraid also sadly wrong ... as 'ignorance' is 'not bliss' (or a defence - nb landmark cases are already occurring - but are mostly settled out of court to avoid publicity). The writing is on the wall now that 21st century leaders & managers have demonstrated the capability/outcomes created from applying 21st century practices ... which highlight the way forward, as well as the fundamental flaws in traditional practices ...
21st century leadership/management practice and examples will no doubt be used in evidence against those continuing to apply outdated traditional 19th/20th century practices ... and as millions of law suits start to get filed, yet more traditional private enterprises will go bankrupt ... and yet more taxpayers money will be diverted away from providing front line services (to pay for millions of out-of-court settlements) ... joining all the taxpayers money already being diverted to service Government debt, as well as the colossal (and unfunded) civil service pension liability ...
A 'Double Dip" is on the way I'm afraid ... and a 'triple dip', and a 'quadruple dip', may well follow too I'm afraid ... unless current leaders/managers change course quickly ... as it's also the adoption of 21st Century leadership/management practices that will harness and unleash the untapped potential within our society, and systematically uncover the plethora of world-class solutions people around the globe are looking for and more than willing to pay a premium for ...
A 'political response' which goes ahead and slashes millions of jobs, without any clear understanding or robust plan to harness untapped talent/potential to systematically provide the future product/services the world needs, is in fact not a 'solution' at all, but a short-sighted and flawed act, which will have a huge, negative and corrosive impact on individual/community well-being ... and will not provide any robust foundation for reducing borrowing (or reversing the massive trade-deficit) in any sustainable way either. It is a systematic change the UK now requires, not a political one.