Monday, December 28, 2009

My Predictions for Major World Events in 2010

Just for fun, here are some speculative predictions, along with their probability ranges:

- Iran's government is overtaken by events, possibly including by air strikes made by Israel. 60-65%

- China openly breaks with North Korea. 50-70%

- N. Korea undergoes a leadership crisis due to Kim's medical incapacitation or death. 60-75%

- The PLA masses along the border with N. Korea, prepared to move in if complete collapse becomes imminent -- a strong possibility -- with international backing and blessings. 50-55%

- Mexico request American military intervention in its drug wars. 50-60%

_ America responds by heavily fortifying the border, ratcheting up material aid several orders of magnitude, and shares much more intelligence; lending covert units through the back door and stationing of attack and observation drons possible to likely. 50-60% (wider spread for some possibilities)

- Venezuela's Chavez makes a military move against at least one other country. 65-75%

- U.S. gives serious consideration to ending the Cuban embargo, but doesn't in 2010. 60-65%

- Pakistan gets far more hostile towards the U.S. than it already is. 70-80%

- China beefs up its South China Sea forces in direct response to Vietnam's just-announced purchase of primarily aircraft and naval equipment from Russia, including six submarines. 75-90%

- Cap-and-trade is defeated in U.S. Congress. 50-60%

Of course, in a year, I'll be reaching for a towel to wipe the egg off my face!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Allowing Coments: To Let, or Not To Let; That Is the Question

When I first started this blog some seven weeks ago, I struggled with the question, "Should I allow feedback in the form of reader commentary -- or not?"

For those who might not routinely read readers' comments sometimes allowed at blogs, news stories, columns, etc., let me explain.

Sometimes, I learn as much or more from what readers say about a particular topic than I did from the original story. But much more often, discussion threads -- the string of comments following a story -- are overwhelmed by people who fall into one, several, or -- may the gods help us -- all these catagories (in no particular order):

     (1.) Unwilling or unable to use logic.
     (2.) Unwilling or unable even to entertain another reader's logic.
     (3.) Has a particular agenda to push -- and does so even when it has nothing to do with the story.
     (4.) Is rude to another reader or other readers, resorting to name-calling and the like.
     (5.) Is rude to or about third parties.
     (6.) Refuses to stay on-topic -- i.e., to talk about the story at hand.
     (7.) Posts an commercial advertisement. ("Make YOUR boobs bigger today!")

Well, you get the idea.

Some topics seem to lend themselves to these sorts of abuses than others. Here's a partial list of examples of such topics:

- Where was President Obama born?
- Is President Obama an American citizen?
- What is President Obama's religion?
- "Renditions": are they legal or illegal?
- Who's responsible for the exploding U.S. national debt?
- What should our view of China be, and what should our relationship with it be?
- What is the nature of Islam?
- What should we do about illegal immigration in the U.S.? (Works with other countries, too.)
- Should we have public health care?
- What is the nature of climate change?
- What should the goals of our [U.S.] space program be?

Anyone who hasn't been isolated deep in a cave the past year or two will be at least somewhat aware that discussions centered on these topics (and any that equally excite passions and debate) often get out of control and become the verbal equivalent of what military folks call "total war": completely destroy "the enemy, by any means possible, with no quarter shown."

Perhaps my own personal most "unfavorite" approach is when someone simply refuses to use reason in his argument, or refuses to acknowledge the reason in another person's argument, or, worse still, both. I remember one time I spent about a week gathering a ton of data, including links to the sources (which were from all over the world and included public and private organizations) to refute another reader's completely illogical assertions on a certain topic. After I posted it, the person whose argument I was refuting responded something like this: "I'm not going to bother looking at all that junk. Obviously, you agree with them -- and if they support you, then they're fools, liars, or both."

Back to my conundrum: Should I allow comments -- or should I not?

My natural inclinations are biased towards free speech, despite the concerns I have about some people abusing that freedom, people who apparently don't grasp the plot when it comes to understanding that with freedom come responsibilities.

Therefore, I'm going to open up *this* entry -- only, for now -- and ask, "What do you think? Should I open all my blog entries to feedback and cross-discussion between and among readers?"

I've not advertised this blog at all, so I may not get a single reply. Will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

China to Rule the World Anytime Soon? Not.

China's extraordinary development since the late Deng Xiao Ping declared the "Open Policy," as it's called in Chinese (better known in English as the "Open Door Policy") has led a great many people to assume (or fear, in some instances) that China will be a major global military power in the next one to two decades and that it will increasingly flex its muscle on a global scale.

These predictions are based, in part, on the fact that China's economic development has bordered on the unbelievable-if-you-didn't-see-it.

The apples and oranges model is useful here. Though those two fruits are distinct fruits, they both are, after all, fruits. Similarly, a strong military requires buckets of money, money that won't be there unless the economy is strong.

But a strong economy doesn't mean a strong military is an automatic result. Consider Germany, for example (ignoring the current economic crisis; I'm looking at a longer time stretch). Over the years, Germany has had an essentially strong economy, yet does not have a major military in the global sense.

Consider naval forces. China is building "rapidly," but that's a relative term. For instance, the USS Carl Vinson, has just completed a refitting -- it was already built. And just to get it refitted took four years. Building a modern aircraft carrier takes much longer than that.

Even if they could snap their fingers and have a complete fleet identical to that the U.S. has, they still wouldn't be able to project globally anytime soon. Why? Because of the human factor. It takes many years to develop qualified, experienced personnel, which in terms of projecting globally, or even just in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean, they have little of. Yes, they're participating in anti-piracy patrols off Somalia, but that's about as far as they've projected so far.

Another factor is their nuclear capability. China famously hides its military expenditures (but then we have our own black budget), making it impossible to know the precise number of nuclear weapons they possess, but the numerous expert sources I've read say they have somewhere around 200 operational warheads. In contrast, the U.S. and Russia have somewhere in the range of 20,000 nuclear weapons, counting tactical and stockpiled ones. That's 100 times as many as China has.

Not that 200 weapons is anything to shrug off, especially since some of those are ICBM's with global reach. But it would be suicide for China to launch -- and they're not stupid. Also, just how many of its nuclear weapons are ready to fire is unknown. I remember reading that when the U.S. spy aircraft and a Chinese fighter collided, leading the the Chinese forcing our plane down on Hainan Island, China was estimated to have only about 18 ready-to-launch ICBM's. (I think I read that at Jane's Information Group, the world's leading source of military information such as this. That's an active link to it, by the way.)

My point isn't that China has plenty of economic muscle to flex; it does. But that's simply not the same thing as being able to sail fleets into San Francisco and New York at will.

Some analysts point to the U.S.'s swift ascent in every sphere between 1914 and 1945. True enough -- but that was helped along by those two dustups, WW I and WW II. That buildup was incredibly rapid, but still we're talking about 31 years -- fewer, really, since the U.S. was a late entrant into WW I. If China develops that quickly, we're talking 2040, not 2020, as I've read some claim.

And I flat don't think they can pull it off that fast, not with their huge population and myriad social issues they're going to have to address, whether they like it or not.

Look, I'm not a China-basher; after all, I lived there about eight years (in three hitches, and if you count four years in Macau before Portugal returned the colony back to China -- I do count it, since it's essentially a Chinese city). I could happily live there again in the right circumstances, and very nearly returned there to teach last year.

But these within-a-decade-or-so predictions strike me as fantasy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"The Knights Carbonic"

For copyright reasons, I can't simply copy and paste a wonderful piece in The Guardian I just read. It addresses the climate debate, and takes aim squarely at skeptics and deniers -- but I believe the writer means to be criticizing those who refuse to apply reason, not to those who do use reason but still stand fast.

Anyway, here's the link:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Copenhagen 2009, or, "We Started a Joke"

Well the climate conference held in Copenhagen the past two weeks has whimpered to its miserable end. Even those trying to find something good have to settle for a handful of straw.

Let me tell a little parable.

Two guys shared a house, although they quarreled all the time. One day Joe turned on a burner on their gas stove and made a pot of stew, which he then put on to simmer. Joe didn't know the gas pipe in the kitchen had a tiny leak.

Sometime later, as Joe and Sam, his housemate, sat in the living room watching TV, there was an explosion in the kitchen. They rushed to see what happened, and found the kitchen burning mightily. Joe called the fire department, though the station was at least half an hour away, even for a fire truck using its lights and siren. Then he told Sam they needed to get outside and turn on two water hoses they had so they could stand outside and spray water inside to try to impede or put out the fire.

Sam snarled, "No. You started it, so you put it out yourself."

Startled and angered, Joe retorted, "But I didn't start it on purpose, and this is your home, too!"

Sam still refused, angering Joe further, to the point he shouted, "Fine! I'M not doing anything, either!"

They went outside as the fire spread.

By the time the firemen arrived, the house was pretty much destroyed. The firemen squirted their hoses until the remains were completely extinguished and cooled. Once it was safe, the fire captain walked around the outside of the house, and we he returned, he exclaimed, "I saw two hoses already hooked up, long enough to have reached the kitchen! You could have maybe kept the fire contained to the kitchen and still have someplace to live. True, you might have to go out to eat, or maybe buy a camp stove until your kitchen could be rebuilt, but to just let the house burn to the ground makes no sense!"

Joe and Sam began hurling accusations at each other, each saying the other was responsible for the destruction of their home.

Finally, the firemen left in disgust.

This parable isn't a perfect one for Copenhagen, but it'll do. Joe is the U.S., and Sam is China.  More broadly, Joe is the developed world and Sam is the Third World together with the developing world.

It's true that the developed world is historically responsible for damaging the environment more than the rest of the world, if we go back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution or so, though in the latter half of the 20th century some Third World countries began rising, increasing their own contributions. The one defense of the developed world is that when people began burning coal and oil in the early part of the 19th century, no one had any idea that way down the road this would lead to trouble, potentially catastrophic trouble, for the climate.

But for the countries outside the currently accepted "developed world" to say, "You guys blew it for nearly two centuries, but that provided the engine for your economic growth, so you have no right to tell us we have to cut our emissions drastically. It's OUR turn to 'drill, baby, drill' and 'burn, baby, burn' is downright stupid.

On the other hand, it's equally stupid of countries that are developed to childishly say, "Okay! I'm taking my dolly and going home! So there!"

But that's essentially what happened at Copenhagen.

Complicating matters was the attitude of the "Group of 77," a loose coalition on the world's poorest and less-developed nations. Their spokesman, a gentleman from Sudan, led the charge for rich nations to promise far more financial aid than they've tentatively agreed to provide (and there is considerable justification for that complaint) -- but without any accountability or transparency.

Yeah, right. We've been down Boondoggle Road before, giving foreign aid to some banana republic's central government only to discover later it ended up in Swiss bank accounts and the like, with little, if any, of the jackpot reaching the intended recipients. I don't mind my tax money going for foreign aid -- but I mind immensely when it's stolen.

Then there's the whole debate about what, if any, role humans play in climate change. Those in the debate fall into one of two basic groups, each of those further divided into two sub-groups:

1. Believes humans play a significant role in climate change
     (A.) Those who have a political agenda
     (B.) Those who believe, based on science, we do play a role

2. Questions whether human-induced climate change is real
     (A.) Skeptics who say "it's not clear"
     (B.) Deniers

I have no time for 1. (A.) and 2. (B.) The first includes, among others, scientists on the payrolls of companies in the fossil fuel industry. They're about as trustworthy as the scientists on the payrolls of the tobacco industry who some years back swore up and down tobacco at the very least was harmless to health, and arguably (they claimed) actually good for it. Again: yeah, right. The second is a bit more complex. There are people in it who have listened to the arguments and sincerely concluded the evidence of a human role simply isn't there -- but the weakness of their position is they start with the intent to reach that conclusion, though they're loathe to admit it. Then there are those who come up with nonsensical arguments, such as "Look! Podunk, Somewhere had a record cold winter!" and "The climate's changing all the time and has been since the beginning of the planet!"

To argue that such-and-such a place had a record-cold winter is pointless, as undoubtedly some other place had a record-hot summer. Climate change doesn't say that every single square inch of the planet will be warming (or, in earlier ages and undoubtedly in future ones, cooling). It says the global average is now increasing, and doing so at an alarming rate, and that it's doing so because of human activity.

As for the argument that the climate is always changing, no one disputes that. The several Ice Ages and the warmer periods in between them prove that the climate is in a constant state of flux. However, there's a difference between change over millenia and change over decades.

Now, someone's going to pop up and point out, for instance, the Mini Ice Age that lasted from about 1500 to around 1800 (estimates vary a bit) and the preceding Medieval Warm Period. Those events absolutely occurred, and evidence is available in many places around the world. And they had significant regional effects. They also were relatively short-lived.

And someone's going to pop up and mention Climategate. The scientists involved claimed they were just blowing off steam in the ridicule they heaped on other scientists in their e-mails; I don't know. But it's clear that while a number of scientists were involved in this episode -- and it was an episode, not a global conspiracy involving countless tens of thousands of scientists -- the number involved was relatively tiny. Nor does it in anyway detract from the underlying science, including much derived using other data and other software, nor many other studies involving none of the scientists in Climategate.

This leaves us with 1. (B.), those who believe humans are making a significant contribution to global change, and 2. (A.), those who are, we might say, straddling the fence, if leaning a bit towards disbelief in any role for humans.

Both these groups include thoughtful people, including trained scientists, though there are far fewer scientists in the skeptical group than in the group that does believe we play a significant role. Still, they merit attention. After all, climate science remains very inexact; for instance, just a few years ago, the best estimate for when the Arctic would become basically ice-free during the summer was sometime around 2100. Now, the worst-case scenario is in the next five or six years, while the most "rosy" is about 20 years.

Back to Copenhagen. China and the U.S. together produce about 40% of the world's greenhouse gases. If just those two countries were to join hands and actually do something truly significant, they would accomplish two things: (1.) start along the road towards significant efforts, and, (2.) shame other countries into following suit.

But what have they done? China has promised to reduce it's emissions relative to each unit of production. What does that mean? It means that China's increased emissions by 2050 will be "only" around 80% (according to articles citing scientific estimates I've read) higher than now -- instead of several times that. As for the U.S., we're promising a 14%-17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. But consider what Japan has put on offer: to reduce its emissions by 25%-35% from 1990 levels -- not the much higher 2005 levels -- by 2020.

Kind of puts China and the U.S. to shame.

But let's step away from the whole contentious climate change business and consider simple environmental pleasantness.

Anyone who has been to any of the world's major largest cities knows that smog is a huge problem. It affects people's health -- even China doesn't deny that (and China has more of the worst-polluted cities than any other country on Earth). Bangkok is no paradise when it comes to this, especially in central Bangkok, where on some days when the weather is itself clear, the smog is so bad you can barely see the Sun. The air stinks. And the smog contributes to polluting the soil and water. Even if climate change is an Al Gore myth or lie, I plain would like to have clean air.

Wouldn't you?

By the way, what are we going to say to the citizens of island nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu as the last of their islands disappear beneath the waves? What are we going to say to people forced to move inland as the sea encroaches into the world's great coastal cities (as is happening right here in Bangkok -- I've seen it)?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Islam's Cyberwar

Well-respected New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has an Op-Ed column in Wednesday's edition of the paper which he titled "" It's an interesting -- if controversial -- piece, drawing 232 readers' comments in a matter of hours (and the comments section is now closed).

Friedman's basic thesis is that the cyberwar Islamic extremists are waging is more important than the "real" war in Afghanistan, and countless terrorist groups use the Internet to spread their poisonous ideas and to recruit new members. He then goes a step further and says this is about a war of ideas within Islam and as such can be waged only internally.

I am surprised at this column, coming, as it does, from a columnist I respect and often agree with. But he's dropped the ball to considerable degree this time, a view shared by many of the other readers commenting on the column.

First, he reduces the situation to a simplistic "us-against-them" construction. One need not be a scholar of Islam to recognize that not only is this simplistic, but dangerously overly so.

Second, he ignores the fact that there have been numerous calls by moderate Islamic religious leaders to resist extremists.

Third, he omits reference to the role we in the non-Islamic West have played in fanning the flames of extreme Islam.

On the plus side, I think he's right that there needs to be more leadership from leaders in Islam, and not just religious ones but also secular ones, such as Afghanistan's President Karzai. He needs to clean up his government's act -- and his own. In other words, Islamic religious leaders' words will fall on deaf ears if their secular counterparts don't strive more to provide whatever it is their populous want -- and that will vary from place to place, though the underlying principles are the same everywhere: food, clothing, shelter, some measure of individual freedom (if not necessarily democracy per se), peace and stability, and opportunity.

Does that mean the West, particularly the U.S., has no role to play, as Friedman seems to be saying? I believe he has missed the mark and that it does have an important role to play.

For starters, while President Obama is as constrained as any President by diplomatic demands, perhaps he could speak a little more than he apparently has been, maybe speak behind closed doors.

Second, we have some capability to wage our own cyberwar aimed at those extremist web sites. Because of alleged excesses committed in the fairly recent past by our intelligence agencies, this is a rather hard sell, but that doesn't mean it isn't necessary.

I'm not forgetting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But I'm not sure what more we can do there. After all, we and others have brought pressure to bear for decades, with little to show for it. But I have an idea that isn't popular: make two points crystal-clear to everyone in the Middle East, namely, (1.) that a direct attack on Israel by another nation (Syria, Iran, etc.) will ensure that we give Israel full backing, including militarily, and, (2.) make clear to Israel that if it doesn't make an accommodation with the Palestinians they can swallow, it risks seeing us reduce our support, both materially and diplomatically. (This second includes making clear to the Israeli leaders that attacks on the Palestinians that aren't clearly warranted will also carry a heavy price for their country, though not an attack by us.)

Friedman doesn't discuss that, either. It's an extraordinary omission.

A point about some of the readers comments: they call for us to withdraw to our own shores and, in essence, shut out the world. That would be an unmitigated disaster. I don't want to live in a "Fortress America." That would be about the same as living in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Mao's China, and the like.

Friedman got a lot of criticism over this particular column, and much of it is thoughtful and, I believe, correct.

But read it for yourself:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When Scientists Lie

You might want to read this New York Times editorial before reading on here: "E-mail Fracas Shows Peril of Trying to Spin Science."

Here's the short version: a group of British and American scientists engaged in what charitably can be called "dubious scientific practices" in seeking to promote their thesis that the planet is warming dangerously and we are contributing to it. Less charitably -- more more accurately, in my view -- they lied, primarily by omission. Further, and compounding their intellectual sin, they disparaged skeptics and sought revenge on journals and editors who gave skeptics any time and space at all.

Naturally, those who argue that global warming is a lie are reacting with glee, announcing that this episode proves it and that it further proves that the Earth has in fact been cooling since the late 1990's.

Well, in brief -- no, it doesn't. To say it does is akin to the "logic" critics of the Iraq war used in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, in which some U.S. military personnel grossly mistreated prisoners. That is, war critics said the scandal "proved" that all U.S. armed forces in the country wee abusive and so on. And that's patent nonsense. Further, it in no way addresses the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the war.

However, it does prove this: because one group of scientists have manipulated the data with which they were working, cherry-picking from a buffet of data sources, mixing those sources, so now the entire data set needs re-checking, at least by sampling if not exhaustively.

What these scientists did is this: they were assembling data to make a chart to show a sharp rise in temperatures over the last century or so, but their chart went further back than the temperature records, so they were using indirect temperature records, in this case, tree rings. However, they came to a time period covering recent years where the tree rings stubbornly indicated a different trend. So, they simply substituted direct temperature records -- but (1.) only for that part of the chart for which the tree-ring record was contradictory, and did so (2.) without indicating they had done so.

This is reprehensible. We all know that no one climate model is perfect, and that all of them need constant tweaking. Ignoring -- even suppressing -- inconvenient contradictory data flies in the face of solid (and honest) science.

Policy makers around the globe are struggling with just how to approach climate change. Not much of anyone disputes there is a change in climate occurring; the only arguments are (1.) is it warming or cooling, (2.) what, if any, role people play in climate change, and, (3.) if people play a role, how great that role is.

If policy makers are convinced that we do play a role, a significant one we can try to correct, then they will consider what to do. And whatever they decide is bound to be expensive, so they need the best, most accurate information and recommendations science can provide.

I can understand select use of data by non-scientists, whichever side of the argument they support. For instance, the temperature in London yesterday got up to about 6 degrees C/43 degrees F, which a person who says global warming is a myth and the planet is cooling, citing the London temperature, might say. But a person who believes in global warming could snort and point at the temperature in Moscow yesterday -- which was about 12 degrees C/53 degrees F. But both are extremely localized and for a single day, so alone are worthless in trying to determine long-term, global trends.

Though the editorial I linked above doesn't mention this next point, it needs consideration. On some of the websites that seek to prove global warming is at best a myth and at worst a lie I've read that the software used to crunch the data is also flawed. It's not clear to me if that software was used only by this group of scientists or if it is widely used. In any case, now that the allegation has been made, that software needs to be examined to see if it is, indeed, faulty. And if how widely it is used isn't known, that needs to be established as well.

There are three groups of scientists, generally, involved in this debate. On one side is that group under the sway of industry and who therefore help promote industry's political agenda. On the other side is that group with the opposing political agenda. Both these groups manipulate and massage the data dishonestly, so can be -- and deserve to be -- dismissed. The third group is made up of the vast majority of scientists who are conducting honest scientific research to determine what's going on -- indeed, if anything is going on.

I feel I should say where I stand on climate change. I believe it's occurring, that it involves warming, and that humans play a significant role in that warming. This scandal alone has not changed my views. But I do hope that many teams of scientists from the third group I mentioned, i.e., those with no political agenda, re-examine the data -- and if they decide their best call is either that there is no climate change occurring or that cooling is occurring, then fine -- I will gladly accept solid, honest science.

I bet that a re-examination will show that on a global scale warming is occurring and that we play a significant role in it. That doesn't mean I dismiss natural changes; after all, there have been numerous ice ages interspersed with much warmer periods since long before humans arose on the planet. Since I'm acknowledging that, you might reasonably wonder why I still suggest humans are playing a role, a significant one.

Basically, it has to do with time scales. Scientists tell us the last Ice Age took on the order of 4,000 years to end. Yet the changes we've seen just since the start of the Industrial Revolution have been on the same order as the changes that gradually came about as the last Ice Age ended. And the Industrial Revolution began under 200 years ago. In other words, same change but over 20 times faster.

There have been anomalies.

For example, there was what is called the "Little Ice Age." There is some disagreement about just when this began and ended, but a rule of thumb is from about the mid-16th century to the mid-19th century, with some overall minor temperature shifts.

This followed a somewhat warmer stretch known as the "Medieval Warm Period" that covered the time span 800-1300 AD, roughly speaking. Scientists disagree over whether this and the Little Ice Age were global events or a great many regional ones. There is evidence of anomalies in different places in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Another example is "The Year with No Summer," i.e., 1816, which followed a massive explosion of the Tambora volcano in present-day Indonesia in 1815. On  the Volcano Explosivity Index, which is a scale of 0-8 similar to the Richter Scale for earthquakes, Tambora ranked 7; only five such explosions are known to have occurred in the past 10,000 years, though two more are suspected. Tambora is estimated to have ejected about 160 cubic kilometers/64 cubic miles of material -- about four times as powerful as the later Krakatoa explosion late in the 19th century. To make it easier to visualize just how much ejecta we're talking about, formed into a cube with all three sides of equal length, it would measure about 12.65 kilometers/8 miles per side.

[Note: the source I'm looking at is internally contradictory. They say 160 cubic km/38 cubic miles -- but if the kilometer measurement is correct, then that's 64 cubic miles, not 38. And if the 38 cubic miles is correct, then the kilometer dimensions are correspondingly less. However, I'm going with the 160/64 numbers because they work out more accurately than starting with the 38 number across the sources I'm reading.]

Anyway, in parts of the world, in the northern hemisphere in 1816 in the northern hemisphere summer, there was frost. Crops were lost, especially in Europe. But again, the effects, while widespread, were not truly global. By the way, some scientists, but not many, suggest Tambora was in fact an 8 -- a once-in-10,000-years blast. As I said, the VEI works the same way as the Richter Scale, i.e., a 1 is 10 times more powerful than a 0, a 2 is 10 times more powerful than a 1 (and 100 times a 0), and so on. So, whether Tambora was "just" a 7 or actually and 8, it was a major explosion.

Clearly, nature plays a role, and likely one more significant than we play.

Back to the scientists at the heart of this scandal. It's too bad there's no equivalent of a court martial in the scientific world!