By on September 25, 2013

firstworld

Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off.

Well alright then!

In the kind of bitter rant that rarely makes it past the edtors at major media outlets, PopSci’s Suzanne LaBarre announced yesterday that the magazine’s website would no longer allow readers to discuss their articles on their website.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

I know what you’re wondering. What is TTAC’s position on evolution? It’s simple: we think the Evo IX was the best of the series, mostly because the variable valve timing was nice and the current car is kinda chunk-ayyyy. But if you want to argue for that double-clutched, overheating pig, you’re free to do so in our comments section.

We’re a few years now into “Web 2.0″ and there’s still no overarching consensus on what to do with reader comments. Should they be prohibited? Edited? Monetized? Sold? Republished? What about the commenters themselves? When your humble E-I-C pro tem took the reins, we un-banned everyone and we’ve yet to hand out a single red card since that day. There’s been some pretty rough-and-tumble stuff between our readers, but I’d like to think that so far nobody has had their feelings hurt beyond the possibility of repair.

I’m deeply suspicious of any website that doesn’t allow its readers a chance to discuss its claims/assertions/comparison tests/bizarre stories of press-trip liaisons/whatevs. While I can understand the concerns that the editors at Popular Science might be having, surely the answer is not to enforce monologue on their pages. When you won’t let your readers criticize you, there always has to be the sneaky suspicion that it’s because you’re lying or misrepresenting something and you don’t want to have your pants pulled down on your own website.

But even if that is the answer for PopSci, it’s not the answer for us. We believe in the power and the voice of the Best&Brightest. And while we’re at it, now’s a good time to reiterate that the current editorial team considers commenter and reader data to be sacred. We will not share or disclose your identifying or personal information on these pages or anywhere else, now or in the future. We’re working to earn and justify your trust.

As always, we ask that you treat fellow TTACers with dignity and respect, even if they are, like, totally wrong about the longevity of General Motors ZZ4 crate motors or the wheelbase of the Peugeot 505 SW8 Estate. In exchange, we’ll continue to leave the banhammer in the recycle bin. (The “dunce cap” was taken out back and burned to ashes.) And, as always, we’re grateful for your participation and opinions, even (especially?) where they disagree with ours.

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214 Comments on “Housekeeping: Popular Science Closes The Book On Reader Comments...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    looks like you scared away all of the bloggers with a topic about science ;)

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    Well, la-te-da. I never considered Popular Science to be of much value anyway. Their lack of scientific knowledge shows through the the rant. Science is NEVER settled; it is always subject to further testing and change. The addition of “climate change” tips me off to yet another liberal rag that isn’t worth the paper used in what is probably its small circulation.

    • 0 avatar
      SteelyMoose

      This, a hundred times over. What yanked my chain, as I’m sure did yours, was her use of the phrase “scientific certainty.” Anyone who participates in formal, academic scientific research has it drilled into them that nothing is ever “proven”; a hypothesis is either “supported” or “not supported” by the evidence. Every topic under study is fair game for further research and investigation. LaBarre is just taking her ball and going home because people dare to question her editorial agenda. If they had any integrity at all they would change the name of the mag to “Popular Opinion.”

      • 0 avatar
        skakillers

        ‘Certainty’ is just shorthand for ‘supported by an overwhelming preponderance of evidence’. In that sense, we’re ‘certain’ about things like evolution, gravity, electromagnetism, and so on, existing. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t debate and disagreement about certain details of each of those things, simply that there is very little disagreement about the big picture view of such.

        So when she talks about the media eroding scientific ‘certainty’, she’s referring to stories about ‘disagreement’ within the study of evolution or climate change or whatever that are distorted in the public view to mean that evolution or climate change as a whole isn’t well-supported, when in fact there’s just a disagreement about a particular detail, such as the current debates in evolutionary biology over the evolution of sex, parapatric vs sympatric speciation, cis-regulation vs changes in protein coding sequence, etc. These disagreements are a healthy part of good science being conducted, and should be encouraged because they encourage us to throw out old and no longer relevant ideas, but the public misperception of this debate has been repeatedly misused to cast doubt or uncertainty on the validity of many of the most well supported findings of science. I think it is this public misperception that the author is trying to combat.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          She is not going to make much progress combating public misperception by shutting down reader comments.

          • 0 avatar
            skakillers

            Don’t get me wrong, Popular Science is a joke as a magazine. The last time I read one it was more of an advertising platform for expensive and useless gadgets and poorly written popsci books than a magazine translating recent progress in science for popular consumption. I don’t really agree with the actions of the editor, I just wanted to respond to people here who don’t seem to understand why she might have wanted to do this, or have a thorough understanding of how science as an investigatory process actually works.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          I agree. Let me sum up: an overwhelming preponderance of evidence is indeed enough to accept a scientific theory as fact, until new measurements or tools come along to change the consensus. We can confidently proceed with nearly-perfect knowledge of a phenomenon (like wing design and flight).

          Yes, science is always evolving, but today’s psuedoscientists are so dug into their untenable/unsupported positions that they’re endangering human life. GMOs, vaccines, climate change, etc… the evolution of these fields may be fair game, but certain fundamental conclusions have been replicated enough that they’re not really up for debate any more.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            These are the sort of comments she she is banning.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            The kinds of comments she’s presumably sick of would be “climate change tips me off to yet another liberal rag that isn’t worth the paper used in what is probably its small circulation, ” when, in fact, climate change science is well established.

            I’ve never seen a Climate Denialist post in an on-line forum like PS that didn’t involve gross errors of fact or complete misinterpretation or an outright lie.

            In upscale venues like the WSJ Op-Ed page (what’s “OP” about that page, anyway?), reputable scientists are routinely misquoted or misinterpreted by people who get paid for their writing; professionals shouldn’t be making rookie mistakes.

            There’s little “Climate Science” in the popular press and blog comments, there’s far more BS. I can understand PS’s lack of patience.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            By the way, here’s your “cooling” trend:

            http://www.realclimate.org/images//heat_content2000m.png

            And here’s your “Arctic Ice Recovery” in context:

            http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2013/09/a-real-hole-near-the-pole/

            Look for the chart, “August 2013 Compared to Previous Years.”

          • 0 avatar
            Aleister Crowley

            As a physicist, I never liked Popular Science, and I’m afraid I don’t particularly agree with your comments either. If science cannot withstand the rigors of the scientific method it is not science by definition. Their is no consensus in science only truth by experimentation and observation. If too many variables are involved, climate change etc., one can make educated guesses or estimates, and these guesses are always open to debate. Science by definition is always open to debate.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            There’s scientific debate and then there’s belief- or agenda-centered “debate” masquerading as “scientific debate.”

            At what point do we declare that a branch of science which is highly complex and uncertain is useful enough to use as a guide? We’re there now, except for the agenda-driven fake debate.

            There’s a reason most of the people who study this agree we’re in for some serious and relatively near-term warming, it’s because that’s where the data has taken their opinions. It’s not because there’s some grand conspiracy among climate scientists to make a fortune selling wind turbines and solar panels or simply destroy the US economy in favor of a Chinese or Third World economy that they don’t have any connection to.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            The scientific debate over catastrophic global warming theory is as lively as ever, and growing.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            I suppose you have some examples of this “scientific” debate that is “lively” and “growing?”

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            It is endless, but you are so arrogant, the effort is wasted. It takes seconds to discover this fact. You are not interested. Just because you have made up your mind does not mean there is no legitimate debate. The debate is raging.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Kix,
            You are setting up the other side as loons so you an then win your argument. There are plenty of credible attacks against the “consensus” on both warming and evolution. The leap of faith against evolution is hardly any larger than that taken by the cli ate guys, and evangelicals are more inviting to those who disagree than the climate guys when it comes to an honest debate.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            thelaine,

            Do you think no one’s seen your lame lists? Lists are not “scientific debate.”

            Where’s the research? Where’s the model that excludes CO2-induced heating yet explains the last several decades of warming better than the models that do account for CO2-induced warming?

            This isn’t arrogance, this is expecting your ACC-Denialist science to win only if it’s actually better than ACC science.

            landcrusher,

            It is certainly possible to criticize aspects of Evolution or ACC. However, unless you have a better explanation for either, you lose the scientific debate.

            When someone comes up with theories that fit the facts better, the people that actually do the work in these fields will pay attention.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            All of those scientists have written on the topic and are involved in the debate. There are many others as well. You are the one who is in denial, since you will not even admit that the subject is being debated in the scientific community.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “All” of those scientists? Several were listed as retired. And is their work actually any good?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

            Caution! It’s boring! But the bottom line is, for some of them, the answer is, “no, it’s not very good.” Lindzen, perhaps the most respected name in climate research on your list, has pulled papers after errors were pointed out. His “iris” theory seems to be going exactly nowhere.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            I’m just glad you have finally acknowledged the existence of a scientific debate on the issue. It’s more than Popular Science is willing to do.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It was the term “scientific doctrine” that got me. It sounds like some of PopSci’s science article contributors got a little huffy at some of the comments. Commenters can be a little rough on article authors, not that that happens here.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      “Science is NEVER settled”

      Precisely. That editor is a philistine – even the term “climate change” is a political, not scientific construct.

      The tools of the Ethanol industry are celebrating PS.

      So she reads the NYTimes:”A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics.”

      Too bad she can’t think:

      “….I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

      Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

      There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

      In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of. Let’s review a few cases….”
      http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/Aliens_Cause_Global_Warming_by_Michael_Crichton.html

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I understand where you are coming from but I think we can say that gravity is settled and has a consensus. What has obviously annoyed these people is that some basic scientific constructs, like evolution, which had been settled for decades are now being attacked, for political reasons, and causes false uncertainty.
        Discussion is always necessary but it is hard if some people dispute verifiable facts. I work in Big Pharma and the people that disagree with vaccines can fall into this category.

        • 0 avatar

          Does PopSci really run a lot of articles about gravity? I feel like articles about gravity would fall flat.

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          No, there is value in this as well. Are vaccines 100% safe? Are vaccines always the best choice? Do you KNOW evolution is correct? Even if the answer to these questions are yes, answering doubters increases understanding and depth of knowledge, and is educational to those following the conversation. If you refuse to allow the conversation it looks like you have something to hide or an ideological axe to grind.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            And how are we going to answer doubters about evolution? What’s the nature of their doubt? Is there some sort of actual scientific evidence that there’s something wrong with the theory?

            Did they read some book of mythology and decide that the science must be wrong because it interferes with their absolutist belief systems?

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            You have a noble aim, but allowing false equivalencies means equal time to those people panicking about a conclusion four standard deviations away from likely. At some point it’s time to move on and let people get on with their work.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Do you KNOW evolution is correct?”

            Pretty much, yeah.

            Science isn’t politics. There are right and wrong answers in science. More specifically, there is a scientific method that needs to be used when performing research and developing conclusions, and there’s no reason to change positions if that methodology hasn’t been used to develop the alternative claim.

            It’s a complete waste of time for scientists to address every lame, baseless anti-scientific argument that invariably shows up on the internet. That’s especially true given that these “rebuttals” invariably come from those with a political or religious ax to grind, and who have little or no knowledge of science.

            If the lowest common denominators can’t figure it out, then they can pay for their own bandwidth. The right to expression should not be confused with an obligation to listen to nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Asking about Evolution is like asking if adding one and one equals two in all instances. Yes, yes it does, except in instances where you are adding 1.001 and 1.002, or where cosmic radiation causes spontaneous decay of one of the numbers… :p

            The Vaccine debate is particularly irksome to me. While it is possible that some vaccines are harmful, the sheer amount of pseudoscientific hogwash attached to anti-vaccine rhetoric makes vaccine drives for non-profit organizations like ours much more difficult. The recent Italian court case doesn’t help, either. (but this is the same court system that convicted seismologists for failing to be psychic…._

          • 0 avatar
            lando

            Personally, I think the earth was populated as per Douglas Adams’ theory. It would explain many internet comments. Frankly, unless you were there, you don’t KNOW, you believe and there is room for doubt. I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it as it does little to effect my life. As for vaccines… there are dangers to them. They should be discussed. But on the whole, the benefits far out weight the drawbacks. I have had the vaccines, get the boosters, and my kids get them as well. But when people insist there are NO dangers and will not allow discussion, the less factual theories have room to flourish. If you think people should be vaccinated explain why. People get a little crazy when you explain, “Shut-up.” Especially when there ARE dangers.

          • 0 avatar

            @niky>

            1+1=10, right? That is what my Comp Sci. teacher taught me….

            /tounge-in-cheek.

            The real problems is that EVERYTHING has been politicized.

            I often yearn for the “Universal truths” of my youth.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      I understand Suzan’s point but this is Popular Science, a science FICTION magazine highlighting ideas for the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      “Science is NEVER settled; it is always subject to further testing and change.”

      Precisely my response to their post; you beat me to it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “While I can understand the concerns that the editors at Popular Science might be having, surely the answer is not to enforce monologue on their pages.”

    They probably don’t have the staff to handle it. Most readers of websites will never post a comment, and very few will post regularly, so it may not be worth it for them to bother. And a site like that is bound to be filled with reactionaries who type a lot but who know very little, so they may not see the point.

    Speaking of bother, can you please get me out of the spam system, once and for all? I’m really not a fan of fake meat. I have my suspicions that Herr Schmitt devoted some extra special attention to the handling of my account.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Yes, I know, sorry (sort of).

    But some comments are really out there :-) The ones that irk me are the ones from the seemingly more intelligent people.

    The best way to be is black and white, with logic.

    The problem is with vehicles and science its well, all science and maths. One joule of energy is one joule of energy.

    But paradigms are what we perceive the world to be. That’s how we exist. Without our paradigms we would be nothing.

    It’s just some paradigms aren’t correct :-)

    But the worst is when paradigms distort the truth.

    That is how I view this site. This site should exist to unlock untruths. If we can’t do that then why have TTAC?

    The truth does inflame and incite debate, even aggressive debate.

    One thing, how does one become a phan boi? I really don’t understand how someone can idolise a pile of plastic and metals.

    I can understand the admiration of engineering and design. But who cares who makes it. If it’s good, then it’s good.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    This site is one of very few I visit where I bother to read the comments. Many popular websites have comments filled with ignorant rants, name calling, and other forms of idiocy that drown out any useful discussion.

    As my grandmother liked to say, it’s the empty cans that make the most noise.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The quality of comments, debate & discussion here on TTAC has improved by a factor of 20 fold since the new, clearly articulated and much more liberal (in terms of freedom of expression, not in the political sense) commentators policy went into effect.

    Of course there are a few insults, ad hominems and juvenile comments flung about from time to time (I aim for a 1 ridonkulous for every 5 mature comment ratio, myself) still, but the new freedom has seemed to really revitalize TTAC and add a vibrant dynamic to it that was utterly lacking prior.

    Just yesterday I learned that Norm has a fleet of FI, 42mpg+, 280hp – 700hp, subcompact wagons to Xtra large SUVs, that are the product of $129.99 eBay turbo kits (that take an average of 22 minutes to install, including plumbing and all ancillary gear), and come with a 500,000 mile unconditional engine replacement guarantee, and I would have not thought this possible without our newfound freedom of discourse.

    Popular Science is doing it wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree. I hate to say it, but I liked the comments under the older leadership better. I never thought I’d actually say that….

      There is too much juvenile/troll stuff here that isn’t cleaned up.

      It would help greatly if ttac added an “ignore poster” to our profile, where we could ignore certain posts of known trolls/people who throw around personal insults. I use this extensively on another bulletin board & it makes the site so much more enjoyable.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I disagree, the comments are certainly no worse now then in the past. You can argue if they are better but certainly no worse. Some good, previously banned commentators are now back who add value. Some of the more intransigent commentators now post less since BS was fired.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m actually finding the site less enjoyable with less moderation. YMMV of course.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I like it better now. More comment diversity is a good thing, even if it includes a few jerks and jack wagons. I have to deal with people like that IRL every day, so not a big deal for me.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t deal with jerks & jackwagons everyday, nor do I want to in my minimal spare time here.

          I honestly have been reading ttac less and another website by a former contributor more for that very reason.

          I suppose all things are circular. If it ever gets popular it becomes annoying. Mathematically large # of users of a website = more jackholes.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Sorry, they lost any claim to scientific certainty somewhere between the second and twenty second story on the Moller Sky Car.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Considering the sort of flame-bait PS’s writers would post as they trolled for the big hits in the past decade and a half, I’m not surprised. A little over a decade ago one of their less civil writers was so staunchly anti-PV, he turned an article about fuel cell powered houses into an anti-PV rant by the 3rd sentence of the 1st paragraph. I guess being forced to admit the 1 demonstration fuel cell home had been shut down by the time they went to press, while PV-powered houses numbered in the 100,000s by that point did not sit well with his world view.

    It was shortly after that I met Ben Kocivar’s niece in a random encounter welcoming some new guests to the islands, and she gave me her uncle’s phone number along with the encouraging “don’t forget to call him; he loves chatting with his fans!” For those who don’t remember, Ben Kocivar was one of PS’s writers through the 70s and 80s. After a couple of wonderful hours talking with my childhood idol I made a note to cancel what I had already come to consider a pointless PS subscription and have never looked back.

    I also noticed that the once excellent Scientific American has since become Popular Scientific American for all its flashy pages and lack of substance. From detailed, fascinating analysis of puzzle cubes and how they relate to set theory more than 3 decades ago, to today’s incessant climate alarmism articles, it seems science in print is no longer worth following.

    I’m glad to see formerly banned faces and names back; it’s nice to have someone to kick around again.

    And yes, opinions themselves are entirely subjective – but you’re all still horribly wrong.

  • avatar
    PBubel

    Science by consensus is garbage and their appeal to authority is disheartening. It’s such a shame.

  • avatar
    wsn

    A web forum is a very suitable medium for car chats, because most of such chat can be opinion based. Everyone can have a good time.

    However, scientific research is not for the mass. It’s not meant to be “popular”. The so called “Popular Science” is just an entertainment publication, not that different from “Penthouse”.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    Continue the comments and create a section on the website something like “Best Of TTAC Comments” ala Craigslist. Their Best Of section is some of the funniest material on the web.

    Back to my sippin’ Whiskey…

  • avatar
    ajla

    “We will not share or disclose your identifying or personal information on these pages or anywhere else, now or in the future. We’re working to earn and justify your trust.”

    So, how do you feel about some of the recent goings-on of the former TTAC editors then?

  • avatar

    I will never respect any poster who hides behind a pseudonym and dispenses opinions without the courage to write under their real names. I dismiss their opinions based upon this basic test of true character and courage of conviction-whether I agree with them or not. Maybe it’s the fact that I have write op-eds under my real name and photo in daily newspapers since 1985. No real name simply means no guts to me.

    • 0 avatar
      E46M3_333

      Or using a pseudonym might mean that the poster works for, and would like to continue working for, a high profile company, and doesn’t want his comments as being construed to speak for his employer.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Yeah, I would be happy to write under my own name if I were not afraid of the economic consequences. If you are a left wing radical, spewing bile gets you a raise. If you are libertarian leaning,half the Republicans and all the liberals are happy to go to extremes to hurt your career, income, and even dating prospects. It’s a shame that modern times has the nice, live and let live people have to hide from the nut bags arrayed against us while we just aren’t the sort to go after people who disagree with us even though those people are constantly trying to invade our homes and wallets.

      • 0 avatar

        Landcrusher++.

        My opinions aren’t often the same as colleagues which is why I don’t make my opinion known in most cases as it causes too many political consequences & doesn’t really accomplish much. On the other hand, voting is (supposed to be anonymous) and has actual ability to effect change.

        This is the same reason why there are no political bumper stickers on my car, either.

        • 0 avatar
          wstarvingteacher

          Try being a libertarian who is a public school teacher. Being able to remember back to Truman’s presidency, I seldom agreed with management. I seldom used my name anywhere until I retired for these reasons. When I taught science I subscribed to Popular Science. Grew to dislike it for many of the reasons cited. Don’t read it now.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        +1

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          @Jim Sutherland:

          As you sit high & mighty, and cast moral judgment upon the lower dregs of pseudonym bearing posters from your lofty perch, you may want to realize that there are about at least a dozen reasons why many don’t wish to follow your holier-than-thou lead by using their real identification, having absolutely nothing to do with anything you babbled on about in your rush of judgment to the head.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        I’m pretty sure “spewing bile”, no matter where you are on the political spectrum, doesn’t get you a raise anywhere unless you happen to work for an organization in which that’s a selling point (like Greenpeace or Glenn Beck.) Censorious douchebaggery isn’t confined to the right or left.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Saying Mr. Beck spews bile is akin to saying Miley Cyrus was proper and formal at her recent event.

          You can twist what actually happens to any deluded form you wish, but for the people that watch the actions, there’s no denying the truth.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            Glenn Beck:

            http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/24/glenn-beck-threatens-to-fire-employees-who-save-energy/

            http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/13/glenn-beck-mitt-romney-was-just-another-progressive/

            http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/26/glenn-beck-tells-the-fascinating-history-of-world-war-ii-like-youve-never-heard-it-before/

            http://www.charismanews.com/us/40823-glenn-beck-bible-shows-us-among-lost-10-tribes-of-israel

            http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/04/beck-historian-david-barton-illiteracy-rates-higher-because-students-lack-fear-of-the-lord/

            Nah, no bile spewing here at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I really hope you don’t expect anyone to take you seriously with those links as “proof”

            The first link takes you to some far left site with liberals having a bash fest.
            In fact I remember that radio transcript very well, its this thing called a joke. Lordy if only you could hear it right now…. I mean posting that as proof he’s spewing bile is proof liberals have no dirt on the man. Definately takes away any credibility I gave you.
            The second link, another far left website that gets the facts wrong within the first paragraph, beck never championed Romney, anyone with enough common sense to do some research would know he was a progressive, the fact of the matter is, he’s the lesser of two evils
            Strike 2
            3rd one makes me wonder if you just believe everything your told, its an article that mirrors what you would see in any history book.
            4th link again, no sort of evidence is presented, quite the opposite
            5th link is from the same site as another, you must really hate the guy, I can’t see why, if you were open minded enough to listen to him you would be much better off in the real world.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Well, one man’s bile…

          But yes, that was hyperbole. There is, however, an uneven playing field here. While extreme leftism can have consequences for business people in certain situations, it has none in the ever growing non business parts of the economy. OTOH, those opposing the left are rightly afraid. Not as afraid as they were under the threat of global red and pink domination efforts but its better not to make yourself a target on the web.

          I do support issues and candidates at polling places, and will speak in public at proper forums, but I find the response is more civil in those environments and feel less likely to have my comments make me a target. Also, I am a much better speaker than writer.

          Furthermore, if ideas are going to be judged on merit, then the source is unimportant.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Source if very important, primary sources are infinitely better than secondary, how one person interprets an idea is affected by many things, by and large a big motivator is publicity, which equals money.
            Besides why know the facts when you can instead be entertained? That’s half of comedy central now.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            I have listened to Glenn Beck. I consider him to be just as biased and laughable as Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann.

            But what do I know, I consider David Frum (former speechwriter for GW Bush) to be one of the best political opinion writers out there.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            My wife is employed in the “ever growing non business parts of the economy,” which is to say, a public school, and they’ve got plenty of right-wingers there whose careers don’t seem to have been impeded by their politics.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Kix,
            Are you sure? Have they ever been promoted?

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Landcrusher,

            Promoted to what? To get on the Principal and senior administration track requires some effort beyond hanging around and whining about – or lauding – the Obama administration. Otherwise, teachers get increases on a schedule and many are satisfied with that. The Principal doesn’t get the whole Summer off, either.

            On the other hand, here in Private Industry, I was treated to a spontaneous twenty minute lecture on how Climate Change was bogus science foisted on us by a liberal conspiracy to take away our freedoms by someone who has a great deal of influence over my prospects. There was no obvious reason for it, as I keep my opinions to myself inthe workplace.

            I’ve had shorter but more frequent lectures on the evils of the Affordable Health Care Act. As it happens, the physicians I happen to know are all in favor of Obamacare and are looking forward to it. They think it’s going to help them keep people healthy. These physicians are not all Democrats.

            Neither ACC nor AHCA have anything to do with my actual job.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Kix,
            There are all sorts of jobs in school districts beyond teacher. Many districts are run like mini mafias where you have to be part of the same caste to get ahead. Your response more or less answered my question and made my point. You don’t know if their beliefs are hurting their careers, and think they are inferior anyway.

            Yes, in private industry it’s often the opposite ideology than the faculty room. So what. Same everywhere only I never saw rivals try to get the other guy put in jail except in government. In industry, there are plenty of places to chance jobs to if you are competent. I know happy libs at oil companies.

            Doctors no diddly about business for the most part. Most of them exist in the non profit world in reality. They don’t get micro Econ and normal business and they are famous for being suckers on investments. I apparently know a larger spectrum of doctors than you, and I have never had one leave a conversation over OC with me anything but worried. Of course, I actually no how socialized medicine works having nearly died from it. I have the totally ridiculous and scars from it too.

      • 0 avatar
        Brad2971

        I would seriously recommend you stay away from Twitchy.com, then. It’s Michelle Malkin’s answer to Twitter bullying, and as befitting such a person with a very bad “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” vibe, it’s become disturbingly effective.

        So yeah, I can see why folks want to keep their real names hidden.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        I’m been fired several times for supporting John Kerry, Hillary and begrudgingly at first but eventually wholeheartedly supporting Obama.

        A few months ago this rather attractive woman kept flirting with me several times at the local bar and grille and we finally had a real conversation and when I said how much I like “Prairie Home Companion”, she exclaimed loudly ” You’re a Democrat” and proceeded to lecture me for a hour until I had to beg off and leave.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …..If you are a left wing radical, spewing bile gets you a raise. If you are libertarian leaning,half the Republicans and all the liberals are happy to go to extremes to hurt your career, income, and even dating prospects….

        I guess it depends where you live. Take a Prius with gun control stickers on it, and maybe a few pro choice, and climate change stickers for good measure and park it in areas populated by narrow minded rednecks and see what happens to it. We don’t have free speech in this country. It is a sad day when one can’t freely express their opinions when they differ from the majority.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          G2H,
          That’s an amazing post. Just about everything you need to show the ridiculousness of statism and gun control is RIGHT THERE!

          No amount of laws will ultimately protect you and your property. Especially not from your own stupidity, nor from violent thugs. OTOH, an armed populace can protect your right to free speech against a tyrannical state.

          Laws aren’t magic. Lets have a practical approach to laws and guns and things will work out.

    • 0 avatar
      lando

      Sure. That is your job. However, there are jobs (military) in which a person is NOT free to express their option and can be forced out of their career which provides for their family. You can argue that such a person is lacking in true character and courage of conviction, but that is a lot to lose for an internet post. I don’t remember where I saw it, but “A coward is a hero with kids and a mortgage.” What are the true consequences you face for your act of heroism?

    • 0 avatar
      Piqutchi

      I am troubled by your statement.

      Anonymity and the ability to use pseudonyms helps keep drama (online or in real life) outside of comment sections. It forces people to address only the current post, rather than relying on attacking one’s identity or their previous activity.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Maybe I have something to hide. Take what you want or don’t. No sweat off me.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Mr. Sutherland, you are not the only Jim Sutherland in the world. How would we know which one you are? Your name here is every bit as much as the pseudonym the rest of us dream up…

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I used to read Popular Science as a kid. I think by the time I was 10 or 12 my knowledge of science had surpassed the level of what was being discussed there.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Why am I not surprised this decision was made by a woman?

    “Suzanne LaBarre is the online content director of Popular Science. Email suzanne.labarre at popsci dot com.”

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Like she doesn’t have male bosses?

    • 0 avatar

      Are you surprised that she has a B.A. in Women’s Studies?

      That makes her better qualified than us to write about the hard sciences, right?

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> That makes her better qualified than us to write about the hard sciences, right?

        Her title is online content director. She doesn’t necessarily write about hard (or popular) sciences. She certainly doesn’t do scientific research. Rather, she organizes, schedules, and probably edits content to make it more readable for the masses. A BA in women’s studies does not disqualify her for the job.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      What difference does that make?

      Truth is, the comments sections of most online publications is filled with hateful trash like your bit of sexism here. Look at the comments after pretty much any story on a local news station’s website if you want to read some disgustingly racist or otherwise vile things. And these are people presumably posting under their actual names!

      Surely if we’re to be the “best & brightest” (an insulting load of pandering at best) then we can dispense with acting like 12 year old pigs who think “get in the kitchen and make me a sammich” is just the funniest thing in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Actually, having a degree in Women’s Studies IS informative. A person who spends at least 4 years and considerable expense to get a degree in sociological/political pseudoscience generally has a political and social world view that is relatively far from the mainstream. Women’s Studies requires no knowledge of hard sciences, but lots of left wing politics and social theory. That a person with this academic background wants to eliminate dissenting commentary should not be surprising.

        Hiring a women’s studies major is essentially hiring a political activist. Popular Science should be able to do better.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          I was responding to this part:

          “Why am I not surprised this decision was made by a woman?”

          Which is nothing more than sexist garbage.

          yours is little better, falling back on the “people who study things I don’t find important are automatically wrong” nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            Piqutchi

            To give him a tad bit of credit, having a degree in one subject does not help very much with an occupation in the field of a completely different subject.

            (For instance, how much would a degree in Biblical Studies help a professor teach calculus?)

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “To give him a tad bit of credit, having a degree in one subject does not help very much with an occupation in the field of a completely different subject.”

            bull. the first f***ing sentence in his post was “why am I not surprised this decision was made by a woman?” It’s sexist filth, pure and simple.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This. Excellent thoughts Toad.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “Why am I not surprised this decision was made by a woman? ”

            This is what you’re supporting. grow up.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            And the tone for comments like this was set by JB’s choice of a graphic that invites us to laugh at a crying woman.

            “What’s that ditzy ho cryin’ about now?”

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Of course, as a side effect of pursuing a degree in (name your most despised subject ehre), one might learn how to look things up and to write clearly and effectively and perhaps gain some other useful skills.

  • avatar
    niky

    Comments sections are a mixed bag. On one hand, you’ve got comments sections like TTAC’s, which are full of mostly knowledgeable, mostly polite people with a good knowledge base… and on the other hand, you have every other comments section everywhere, spammed by shills, pimply twelve-year olds posing as thirteen-year olds to get past COPPA and trolls of every shape, color and stripe.

    Scratch color… that’s racist. All trolls are created equal in the eyes of Dog.

    This is why I stopped commenting on AutoblogGreen. Too much fanatical drivel on how “If it ain’t electric, it’s pure garbage.” I find forums like Ecomodder and CleanMPG much more down-to-earth. I also don’t Jalop much, since it’s a game of Cracked-style one-upmanship to make the wittiest and funniest comment. Fun once in a while, but not always intellectually stimulating.

    TTAC walks a fine line. The shills are easy to spot. Most posters appear to be valid, upright people.

    If the comments section of a science website is filled with pseudoscientific drivel and spam about GMOs, then I can understand that decision. If there is intelligent debate and valid criticism… it deserves to be up there.

    Anonymity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s protection for people with something to lose. On the other hand, it gives trolls free rein. Personally, I don’t mind not having it. I’ve never hidden behind a pseudonym, and I’m pretty upfront about my politics. In my job as moderator on other sites, I would like the ability to know who I’m banning and why, but even with IP anonymizers, the job is not impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      lando

      Your post assumes readers can’t make decisions themselves. If the comment section is full of garbage, they won’t read it. But by shutting down the conversation completely, it looks like, well, you want to stop the conversation about something.

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Like I said… in some cases, the shills are easy to spot. If the readership is as educated as here, they’re not a problem.

        But I moderate several sites. And yes, many, many, many readers can’t tell the difference between pseudoscientific alarmism (GMO hysteria, anti-vaccine rhetoric) and scientific fact.

        Mind you… I said I can understand that decision. I didn’t say I agree with it. On the sites I moderate, the contributors and moderators are active enough to neutralize trolling. But if the site is large and unwieldy, a lot of garbage falls through the cracks.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Alright, dammit, here’s my real name:

    110 86581100 65811

  • avatar
    JD321

    It’s “Popular Science” and not “Physical Reality Science”…so why not?

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    Comment sections are like car wrecks, only in that I don’t want to look but I can’t help myself.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    OK, so the author, Labarre, has a degree in “women’s studies”.

    Not long ago a woman threatened to sue or did try to sue NYU for her tuition , w/ the claim they should have told her that her major – Women’s Studies – was essentially a worthless degree to prospective employers, that it qualified her for nothing other than general unemployability.

    That was in the NYTimes. Is this the same woman or just a validation of the other’s claim?

    Popular Science, now written by the uninformed, for the illiterate.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Have a link regarding the women’s lawsuit? Personally I’d like to see more of these to hold colleges accountable.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Screw that, the person who pays many thousands to receive a masters in genital self-manipulation gets what they have coming.

        “Do what you love” isn’t always good advice, folks need to learn that. Colleges will offer what people demand. People wanted easy liberal arts courses, and they got them.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          So you see it as business meeting market demand? Interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            Try as I might I’m struggling to find another perspective. Knowledge is a commodity that people pay to receive, and when money is involved I don’t believe altruism counts for much.

            Someone here mentioned that we’ll probably start seeing the effects of an over correction as the people who thought an engineering degree was the ticket among all these unemployed floral psychology majors start graduating and entering the job market. I’ll be interested in seeing if that comes to pass. Maybe some shit’ll get done.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I’ve learned that there are a lot of people who “love” to do nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            The flip side of this is that if you’re not a total schmuck, just having a piece of paper that says you committed to something for a few years can get you opportunities you wouldn’t receive otherwise. Education is what you make of it, I’m certainly not the first to say that.

            But to feign (or honestly claim, which is much worse) ignorance of the utility of your chosen degree is distressingly pathetic.

          • 0 avatar
            lando

            We will see what happens with the college model, but I think it will change fairly drastically in the near future. For one thing, I don’t think there is a lot of value added by the majority of degrees. If you want the knowledge, go online and/or read a book. I would be willing to bet that most of the “benefits” from going to college is simply the result of the people who go to college were going to be successful anyway. To address another comment, I doubt you will ever see a glut of unemployed engineers. Engineering is one of the few groups of majors which is actually difficult and doesn’t just take time. There are a lot of people who can not finish an engineering degree. Which makes is it an accurate signal of quality, which in turn results in employment; even outside of engineering.

            I think what happens is parents push 18 year old kids into going to college and the kids are not equipped to make decisions which will effect the rest of their lives. As a result of this, they choose courses/degrees which maximizes current enjoyment. This is great up to the point they graduate with a worthless degree and a mountain of debt. I would be interested to see a study in which degree choices were compared between recent high school graduates and those who go back to school after maturing for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I remember reading that story, but I never followed it long enough to learn about the “suing” part. Last I heard, she followed up with a letter explaining the NY Times journalist misrepresented her situation a little bit. She agrees that the NYU guidance counselor failed her, but she accepts her lot. She rents an apartment in one of the outer boroughs and shares it with 3 roommates. She makes ends meet with a couple of part time jobs.

  • avatar
    Trauto

    If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      “If you can’t make ends meet, stay out of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.”

      Scrolling-speedreading down the page, I mixed up your post and the one above it.

      (And, hey, you _do_ actually have to make ends — of particle’s trajectories — meet for a collider to work. Heh…)

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Now, if we can somehow close the books on the issue of false advertising in reader comment sections. I have a belief that the auto industry is one of the worst offenders where posters are paid to post fake positive reviews to trick unsuspecting consumers into purchasing a product. In my opinion, there appear to be too many professionally written comments in sites such as cars.com, Edmunds.com, motortrend.com, and caranddriver.com. Many of these comments seem to follow point for point highlights in automaker glossy brochures. Recently, when consumers and professional car reviewers began pointing fingers at several automakers for inflated EPA numbers, large numbers of posters claiming they had matched and even bested EPA numbers drowned out any real discussion on many blog sites. Such comments even went so far as to claim it was all the driving style in an attempt to lure suspecting consumers to ignore inflated EPA numbers. Such comments appear to be a violation under “false advertising” laws.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Agreed, if I recall correctly Edmunds sued a company successfully for posting false reports. So this does happen, but I don`t think it drowns out everyone else, especially on well visited sites.

  • avatar
    afflo

    “After reading YouTube comments, I feel better about humanity,” said nobody, ever.

    (not my quote, but I don’t remember who penned it!)

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    That magazine I sometimes buy at airports has a website?

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    I tend to agree with Popular Science. Hear me out.

    Let’s say on this website, on every story, a group of folks came along and brought up the argument against the car and for bicycles.

    Or on a Catholic website a group of people, regardless of subject matter, started stating how Catholics are followoing the wrong God.

    In both cases, the comments section becomes a billboard against the very item or items the site is serving. I don’t know if eliminating comments was the right way to go or not. I do know that while I am against everything the KKK or Nazi Americans represent, I see it of little use to go to their website and comment negatively everytime the post a story or article.

    I think more acceptable, both for their board and, for that matter, this one; is to disable comments on the board itself and instead link to the stories on your Facebook presence and allow the commentary to take place there. It’s amazing how civil people become when they have to reveal who they are and open their own online existance to commentary. Furthermore, it’s a helluva lot easier to moderate.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      +1. You’ve pretty much nailed my thoughts on this as well.

      > Let’s say on this website, on every story, a group of folks came along and brought up the argument against the car and for bicycles.

      Or what if the comments following every review a pickup truck or fullsize SUV degraded into disparaging comments about the brand (regardless of how favorable the review was) and about pickup truck and SUV owners. Or if every review of a hybrid, or one of the reader comments, pointed out the typical time before the hybrid system “paid for itself” which was promptly shot-down by hybrid fanboys as being irrelevant, even though statistics show most people do buy hybrids to try to save money, not for altruistic reasons… Wait, those things do happen. ;)

      > I think more acceptable, both for their board and, for that matter, this one; is to disable comments on the board itself and instead link to the stories on your Facebook presence and allow the commentary to take place there.

      I was wondering how long it was going to take for someone to point out that they can just direct people to their facebook page to comment. Their stated reason for disabling comments is the poor quality of the comments, but I bet it’s a lot cheaper and easier for PS to “outsource” user comments and not have to maintain their own user database and all their comments.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Lots of us don’t have Facebook accounts. We don’t need hourly updates on restaurant meals, kids sports, self portraits, links to cat videos, political rants, or other peoples take on reality TV.

        Glad it makes other people happy, but I’ll pass.

        • 0 avatar

          Toad> I understand the reasoning behind not having one, but these days many employers check your FB account before hiring.

          The last thing you want is someone impersonating you & putting crap up on that site.

          I’d create one & leave it blank if I were you.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            Fortunately I am self employed and have a name so common that if you Google it or look it up on Facebook you get 1000′s of hits. Hiding in plain sight, so to speak.

            Good advice nonetheless.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Same with me about my last name. Although Portuguese in origin, it is such a common name in both North America, Portugal and Brazil, that coupled with my also too-familiar first name, you’d drum up a ton of people on a look-up or Google inquiry, none of which who would be me.

            Maybe my parents were unimaginative. Maybe they were just ahead of their time in 1947 when they named me, to where I can hide in plain sight in this day and age of social media.

            Highdesertcat has a nice ring to it. I’ll stick with that since it pretty well sums up everything about me and what I want people to know about me.

        • 0 avatar
          BigOldChryslers

          Toad: I’m guessing you don’t have a user account at PopSci either, so you don’t count. (Just for the record, neither do I.) There’s probably a very high correlation of people that commented at PopSci also having a facebook account though.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “Let’s say on this website, on every story, a group of folks came along and brought up the argument against the car and for bicycles.”

      It’s more like:

      First of all, internal combustion is a lie. Fuel/air mixtures don’t oxidize and “explode”, God just smiles on the piston top, causing it to go down (Ephesians 6:16). Secondly, God invented cars 5,000 years ago, but the liberal media won’t tell you that. Also, turbocharging isn’t mentioned in the bible, so its obviously a scam cooked up by socialists/Jews/immigrants/NOW/African Americans/gay marriage advocates. It’s easy to see how science is wrong now that I’ve shared these unassailable truths with you, providing helpful bible citations along the way. (Etc. ad infinitum)

      We’re kind of lucky that the biggest comment “problems” we have on TTAC is fanboys, axe grinders and a few loudmouths. I may not agree with certain posts, but at least they aren’t trying to demonstrate with absolute certainty that suspension tuning is an abomination, because the bible says so (Proverbs 26:25).

      As far as Facebook identities go, it may tone down some of the insane rants of kooks, racists, bigots and other assorted knuckle heads, but from what I’ve seen, there are plenty of dummies happy to associate their “real name” with idiotic statements of every variety.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “God invented cars 5,000 years ago”

        This is true, it was a Plymouth. They first refer to it in Genesis…

        “In his Fury, God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden”

        … Hey, it is written

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I’ve always have been deeply suspicious of Peter De Lorenzo of Autoextremist.com for his reasoning behind moderating comments by only accepting “letters to the editor” as feedback from the comentariat.

    Maybe he doesn’t appreciate run-on sentences.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      he’s not under any obligation to publish feedback, and certainly not in a manner you approve of.

      • 0 avatar
        troyohchatter

        I have had some incredibly spirited back and forth with Peter, the better percentage of which was never put on his feedback page because it made him look like an ass. I do agree with some of his opinions, but some of them, he’s woefully off. One thing he sure doesn’t like is being told he’s wrong, and he gets explosive when facts indicate same.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Of course he isn’t, that’s what makes me so suspicious of him.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Arguing with folks who have the exact opposite opinion is pointless. If it gets too much I just click the unsubscribe box.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Website comments are HARD to get right. I’m not sure what the “magic formula” is for attracting thoughtful discussion; some publications achieve it, others don’t.

    Some websites seem to attract posters that somehow work “[Other political group/person] sucks!” into every last story. (No joke: My local TV news station had somebody work “[Politician] is a moron and sucks!” into a comment on a routine daily weather report on a beautiful day.)

    Other sites attract posters that make insightful and on-topic comments, and engender thoughtful debate. There doesn’t seem to be a great pattern, and it doesn’t appear related to the quality (or lack thereof) of the content.)

    There exist moderation systems that can be helpful, but they have the drawback of encouraging groupthink.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    They’re not a scientific journal, or at best they’re the National Enquirer of scientific journals.

    To be fair, them’s big words coming from something I wouldn’t bother skimming through even if bored out of my skull on a transcontinental flight.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      My dad had a subscription to PS from before I was born right up into the 1990′s. He saved every issue, and I enjoyed pulling out the back issues and looking through them.

      As I got older, new issues of the magazine got thinner and thinner, and the What’s New (showcase of new gadgets) section took up progressively more of what was left. There was so little worth reading that I recommended that he cancel his subscription (which he did). If one wanted to keep up with scientific developments, there were better publications and websites.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        PS may be obsolete, now that we have GizMag.

        I’m pretty sure I read an article about a Moller invention on GizMag within the last 12 months. Every time I do read a Moller article, I pray it will be the last.

  • avatar
    shelvis

    Some of you guys may want to go back to watching Ancient Aliens and crafting more effective tin foil hats.
    Global Warming is a conspiracy theory that accomplishes what exactly?
    Teaching evolution and science in schools is a conspiracy theory that accomplishes what exactly?
    All you internet Fox Mulders keep up the good work. Maybe you can have your own “The Truth About _______” website to spread the holy word.
    I want to believe.

    • 0 avatar
      lando

      “Global Warming is a conspiracy theory that accomplishes what exactly?”

      Well, conspiracy theory or not it has been successfully used as a tool to transfer wealth and power. Take a hard look at a lot of the “green” projects and it isn’t hard to see corruption and political payoffs. Relevant to this website is the ethanol business. If they really wanted to stop carbon emissions they would progressively raise the tax on the carbon emissions over time and allow the market take care of the rest. The fact that they do not is proof it is about wealth and power transfer and not global warming.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        Please let me know when you can find any concern that is not influenced by corruption and “wealth transfer” once commerce is introduced. People are crooked everywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Corruption and wealth transfer is certainly not restricted to commerce. It exists wherever there are people interacting. The beauty of free markets and limited government is that it limits the bad behavior more effectively than an other system. The problem is that people not knowing better then fall for the illusion that the government can’t easily be more corrupted than businesses.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            Free markets are a hoax, anything that can be fixed will be fixed. The biggest fraud out there is that economics is a science, actaully it’s more like a religion. An excerpt from those communists over at Bloomberg.

            “Is Economics a Science or a Religion?

            Take, for example, free trade. In judging its desirability, economists weigh projected costs and benefits, an approach that superficially seems objective. Yet economists decide what enters the analysis and what gets ignored. Such things as savings in wages or transport lend themselves easily to measurement in monetary terms, while others, such as the social disruption of a community, do not. The mathematical calculations give the analysis a scientific wrapping, even when the content is just an expression of values.
            Similar biases influence policy considerations on everything from labor laws to climate change. As Nelson put it, “the priesthood of a modern secular religion of economic progress” has pushed a narrow vision of economic “efficiency,” wholly undeterred by a history of disastrous outcomes.”

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-17/is-economics-a-science-or-a-religion-.html

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          An exercise tax and a systems of subsidies and tariffs are not the same nor do they have the same potential for corruption.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Take a hard look at a lot of the “green” projects and it isn’t hard to see corruption and political payoffs.”

        A small amount of wealth and a microscopic amount of political power. Even so, the things we spend money on to promote a shift to sustainability, actually do produce power, ideas and technological advance.

        Unfortunately, these things aren’t “inexpensive” enough to overcome cheap coal (it turns out that ripping the top off a mountain to get to a coal seam is not at all costly) or cheap gas (if you don’t have to set aside money to cover the potential for groundwater pollution or other adverse consequences, fracking for gas pays off pretty handsomely).

        Considering the potential for planetary calamity (I an not being alarmist, that’s just a fact), it’s shocking how little traction any green initiatives get.

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          So if it is small relative to the mammoth budget of the federal government, it doesn’t matter? Again, if they really cared about carbon emissions they would gradually raise the cost of carbon emissions until alternatives became economically viable on their own. But then that would take away the ability to gift mandates, subsidies and tariffs. I feel a lot of the green initiatives don’t get traction because of the whiff of corruption. Again, look at ethanol. Why not just directly raise the tax on oil derived fuels and call it a day?

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Most every “green” I know would like to see a C tax. It’s one of Krugman’s favorite taxes. Any other economist will tell you it’s a sensible way to allocate the otherwise ignored costs back to fossil fuels.

            Good luck with that.

            Don’t equate the political response with the validity of the science or the interest in acheiving some real reductions in C emissions. If we can’t get the most sensible policy enacted, we’re left with inadequate supply-side incentives that get the ball rolling but little else. If we can’t get something better, we’ll take that.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        The only man-made climate change I believe in takes place within my sturdy, insulated cabinet.

        Oh, and within the beautiful home where I reside. My buddy Trane 2TTBA1000AA keeps this place *crisp*.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          Speaking of, does a crisper actually do anything? You seem like the right guy to ask.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Crispers are just compartments isolated from the airflow in the rest of the fresh food space with crude sliding vents usually labeled “humidity control” that progressively permit or block mixing the air between the two.

            I prefer to call them “soggers” as the max airflow through the vents is usually too dinky to remove the excess moisture from the store’s sprayers trapped in the plastic bags we dump our produce into.

            I’ve seen commercial units that actively bypass a small volume of freezer air directly into the crisper compartment, kind of like a sub freezer, but never in a home unit.

          • 0 avatar
            BigOldChryslers

            LOL! One of my classmates in university referred to it as a “rotter”. By the time you remembered to check what was in it, the food was rotten.

    • 0 avatar
      Piqutchi

      Your comment is no better than those of the “internet Fox Mulders” you speak of: full of presumptuous thinking, lacking in actual argumentation.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        Why do I need to defend the concept that some folks here have beliefs that are bordering on wingnut? The proof is in the pudding.
        If the Fox Mulder characterization doesn’t apply to you and your belief system, move on. If it chafes, maybe your tin foil hat is too tight.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I gotta say, the whole thing — considering the source — is absolutely risible. And, if true, the author being a holder of a “Women’s Studies” degree is the cherry on top. And before I get pounced on for being sexist, gender has nothing to do with it. The essence of her argument is what’s called an “argument from authority,” where she’s the authority. If you make an argument from authority, then the source of that authority is fair game.

    If memory serves, PopSci used to carry ads for the “tungsten hyrdro catalyst” a little screen-like gadget that was bolted between your carburetor and intake manifold. This was said to increase power and fuel economy . . . all for $29.99 (which was bigger money then than now).

  • avatar
    athoswhite

    …but let’s not pretend that this isn’t a backhanded swipe at Mr. Schmitt and Niedermeyer’s new venture. Not that I disagree with Jack, mind you…

    • 0 avatar
      Frillo

      So then, did GM leave a few thousand comments on TTAC, or did they not? Inquiring minds and all that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      New venture?

      • 0 avatar
        athoswhite

        I guess we’re not supposed to talk about it, so I won’t mention the name. And it’s really not worth seeking out, but remember your least favorite soapboxes from the Schmitt and Niedermeyer years here. Then remove the ability to comment on said soapboxes…

        I will say, however, that watching Ed yell at Matt Hardigree to “look at me!” in his Twitter feed is hilarious, though…

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    The problem is real. There may be a dynamic at work where slightly deranged nutjobs are typically more motivated to comment than mainstream people.

    The solution is not to shut it. The solution is to create an environment where fringe beliefs are called for what they are, and not allowed to dominate the discussion.

    You know, TTAC style.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I can’t say I blame them, I think MSN has removed comments too. TTAC is definitely an exception, for the most part the comments here are insightful and interesting, and add to the content. At 99% of the other websites out there, the comments are useless idiotic banter by uneducated blowhards. Mostly the detract from the content, and at worst disseminate bad information.

    Its funny though, occasionally I will find myself reading a newspaper or magazine and looking to the bottom for the comments!

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I was an avid reader and subscriber to PopSci since I was a kid. But they fell out of favor with me several years ago because their interpretation of science wasn’t always what I found it to be in the real world.

    No wonder the more expressive among us readers will pipe up and publish a comment based on life as they have found it here on planet earth.

    I’m glad that ttac has continued its policy of allowing commentary from the great unwashed masses because many comments shed a light on how others are thinking and interpreting the automotive world around them.

    How people are thinking also determines how people will spend their money in search of their own nirvana. And that, after all, determines the economic cycle.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Isn’t it funny how scared people are about certain scientific theories being questioned?

    It’s no different than when Galileo was locked up for questioning the “fact” that the Sun did not rotate around the Earth.

    If these people had their way, they would lock people up that didn’t tow the line. With the power they do have, they make damn sure people’s careers are ruined in Academia if they ever question certain dogmas.

    Certain disciplines of science have become nothing more than political activism, which is why you see over the top reactions to any criticism.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    She BLINDED ME, with SCIENCE! Doo doo beeee dooo.

    • 0 avatar

      At least she didn’t choose acid.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Well, Jim, it pains me to come clean, but the real reason I’m not using my real name is because…

        …there’s no easy way to say this.

        I’m your father.

        I regret walking out on you & your mother, but I was going through a tramatic period, a d then hoi came along, reading Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and Science&Mechanics, and constantly peppering me with nerdy questions & craving attention 24/7.

        It was too much for me to handle at that time, and I decided to leave before snapped.

        I’m sorry, son.

  • avatar

    Sorry Dead, I stand by my belief that anonymity is a gutless form of opinion, even if you had listed all of your compelling reasons to protect a writer’s identity.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Why would any of us care who the others *really* are?

      Guts are great for meatspace confrontations but this is an inconsequential playland. Trivial or profound, nothing posted here will influence anything in the real world. No TTAC commenter has ever struck me as that weak minded.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Yeah, Jim, you’re totally right! All those dissidents living under repressive regimes are wimps! You criticize the dictator publicly, then you take your lumps. If he arrests you then you “die in custody” or you get a cool show trial followed by a well deserved execution, so be it, but at least you’ll die like a real tough guy.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Hiding and gutless? Nice. You may have made our point. I could now respond that you are a righteous jerk, put your name in the sentence, and it gets stuck there on the Internet forever. That’s only a desirable outcome for a few types of people.

      At any rate, what difference does it make to the importance of the words? Should they not stand on their own merit?

      By the way, I don’t recommend you put your contact info on a forum like this, and given that your name is supposedly Jim Sutherland, do we now really know even which one of those you really are? Would we even if you put name address and cell phone on here? You could be Jim’s angry neighbor trying to get revenge for some slight. Will you soon threaten one of us physically so we have the police show up to arrest you while your neighbor laughs from his window?

      I think the whole anti anonymous thing is mostly used by people for whom the benefits outweigh the costs to raise the supposed value of their own opinions over their opponents and competitors. And, of course, pedophiles.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        When my business sponsored a forum that I was actively involved in, I would get regular, uninvited, post 10PM calls from guys that wanted to discuss posts I had made. A few were less sober than others.
        I also got some crazed and positively frightening emails from nuts through my business website that wanted to fight about whatever wacky thing I had said that day. And we’re not talking politics or religion here. This was Star Trek nerd level enthusiast minutiae.
        I quickly stopped participating and distanced myself.
        When you open your doors to the public, you get them, for better or worse. And there are a lot of crazies out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I stand by my belief that anonymity is a gutless form of opinion”

      In that case, I can think of at least three abject cowards in American history: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.

      When they published The Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution, they wrote under the collective pen name of “Publius”. If only they had had the strength of Jim Sutherland’s convictions…

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Kudos! TTAC has improved and now borders on even being intellectual

    Politicising science is so..so………… 1930′s totalitarian like Lysenko and Stalin or the Fueher and that darn “Jewish physics”. It’s been said that today’s Tea Party/rightwing are anti-science because they are really sort of an “inverted totalitarianism”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

    At least in the automotive industry, anyone paying attention knows it’s all “government motors” from the beginning from the first roads and first contracts for military vehicles

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Eh, I prefer Popular Mechanics anyway, they’ll always have my heart for this article. http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?241020-Popular-Mechanics-article-1993-Buick-Roadmaster-Wagon I remember sitting in the dentists office in 1993 and looking at that article. That really got my blood pumping and made a Roadmaster one of my fantasy vehicles.

    Thank You Popular Science!

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    I think PopSci would love meaningful debate in their comments section questioning the science. Quantum vs String Theory. Discuss! Tesla vs Edison. Go! Climate Change vs Global Warming vs Neither. Begin!

    But the scientific learning (which as has been already pointed out, is never hard and fast, but continuously evolving) isn’t what gets discussed in the comments section at PopSci.

    It’s that science gets attacked as not real at all. A false god. A trick by the devil. As something that stands in contrast to a fundamentalist interpretation of the bible.

    Things degrade quickly in science comment sections into an Us vs Them insultfest. Believers and Non-Believers.

    Nothing constructive comes of a comments section that comes unhinged from every story’s actual content and becomes a faith and/or political debate. It would be like 100s of anti-car extremists coming to TTAC and to pounce on every article espousing their beliefs that cars are bad and public transit is the only means by which we move about our cities and country.

    It would get old. Fast.

    At least here, for the most part, the comments section stays on task — we write about the story. Is the new Cherokee any good? Is it fair to remark on pre-production faults? Is it the purpose of this site to reveal warts and all, and what are the ramifications of that? Ready, set, go! And we do. Things get spirited. But nowhere did someone pop up telling us that Cherokee destroys the planet, wastes valuable resources, takes food out of the mouths of starving children, contributes to a global petro-economy which relies on war to maintain itself. If such an army of commenters did show up here, I think Jack would finally wield the ban hammer.

    BTW, I keep getting email requests from Bertel to follow him on social sites. I don’t know him personally, so he must’ve skated with the TTAC commenter file copied to a thumb drive.

    • 0 avatar
      lando

      I think you just set up a straw man and provided the answer to the straw man in the same comment. If they have posters dragging down the quality of the discussion, why not just ban them and keep the ability to comment?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I get the feeling that if she were in a debate, her rebuttal would be, “YOU’RE WRONG!! JUST WRONG!!11!”.

    That’s essentially what she’s doing here, trying to get the last word before slamming the door. Pathetic.

  • avatar
    Styles79

    The Evo IV was definitely the best, followed by the VI. Just because.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    You Tube is now changing their posting policy

    “If you ever wanted to find a place on the Internet that’s full of unashamed hatred, anger, idiocy, illogical thought, sexism, racism, jingoism, ageism, and any other kind of –ism, then you could browse through the comments on almost any YouTube video, preferably one with a controversial topic. Notice the past tense in that sentence, though, because Google just made a big fix to the comments that could change everything.

    In one fell swoop, Google has abolished the free–for–all that used to be YouTube’s comments section, and which may have encouraged the openly abusive nature of many comments. From now on, to comment on a YouTube clip, you’ll need a Google+ account, and your name will be fixed to your words. That hopefully should limit the amount of nastiness.”

    http://www.salon.com/2013/09/25/youtube_wants_to_get_rid_of_nasty_comments_with_google_integration_newscred/

  • avatar

    I read all of these magazines in the 60s: Popular Science, Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and Science&Mechanics. The strength of Popular Science was its in-depth look at space exploration as we went from Shephard to Armstrong in the 60s. I always felt like I was in the loop as a kid because Pop Sci was readable for kids and provided enough easily digestible information about how we got to the moon, primarily though Werner Von Braun’s contributions to the magazine.

    I have no idea about the 2013 version of the magazine because I have not read it in years, but I do know it meant a lot to me every month when I was a kid riding the giant wave of rockets to the moon and new cars from the Big 3 with completely new sheet metal every year. That was the pure magic of Popular Science magazine.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Someone needs to let Suzy Q know we’re in 2013. Reddit exists. Comments will be made, on her site, or off, whether she likes it or not, and if she were acting in the best interests of the magazine, she would welcome comments as that tends to create a regular and loyal userbase.

  • avatar

    Came in as comment 155 just to say that I think you’d _very much_ like to have your pants pulled down on your own website, Jack, but VerticalScope (probably) wouldn’t allow it.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I would rather see TTAC ban commenters than see it stop comments… It’s a truly great part of this site!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Interesting, very interesting.

    The whole “you are a coward if you chose to be anonymous” stance of Mr. Whutzhisname is interesting.
    The big advantage of using your personal name is if a blogger gets too aggressive and spirited in their reply, you can cry slander since you are allegedly a real person with a real reputation.

    With that being said, employers are starting to look at blogs and sites like Facebook to see what kind of person you are. Making comments that may go against work policies like privacy rules can get you canned. It can prevent you from getting a job.

    The debate as to censoring blogs is an interesting one. If people are obviously trolling and only ever post sh!t, then what is the point of allowing that person the privilege to access one’s site?

    The bloggers on here seem to be mature enough to ignore or tactfully shoot down the inane.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think TTAC do have more control over comments than meets the eye.

    It appears every time I have been trying to respond to a particular blogger on this site, it doesn’t post in a particular article.

    But yet I can blog in that article to another blogger. TTAC does have a degree of control. Maybe they could also use it fairly. The person can respond to my comments but I had access denied to respond to him.

    I re-post the blog several times then all of a sudden the posts appeared a considerable time later. This has happened on a couple of occasions.

    I even tried using the Contact TTAC ‘help desk’ to send them a message and find out what went wrong. I couldn’t use there contact. So if you are going to have a contact, make sure it works.

    It seems to occur when a debate could become heated or abusive.

    The problem is there are some very clever bloggers who appear to be posting politically correct blogs. But in fact if you read the blogs they are trolling.

    Because it appears they are blogging politely doesn’t mean they are not trolling.

    But, they are not stopped, and when you do become assertive you become the ‘bad guy’.

    I do realise there is etiquette when conversing, but when this style of blogger appears I do think it’s appropriate to assert yourself.

    This isn’t a good debating technique, this is to those particular style of blogger.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Big Al – I do think that there are glitches in the system. I’ve made a post and it vanished and then typed a separate post and have it get accepted then later have the other post show up.

      This site at least has some checks and balances with a log in system requiring a valid email address and entries do get screened.

      PUTC needs to get things in order. I did get a reply from their fraud specialist and they have been having a lot of problems with one troll using multiple IP addresses. The guy has been incredibly hard to shut down.

  • avatar
    niky

    The answer to employers checking the net to check your opinions?

    Think before you post.

    It’s that simple. You can disagree with someone. You can vigorously disagree with someone. You can make it clear, in no uncertain terms that you disagree wholeheartedly with someone. But you can do it in a manner that is polite, well thought-out and open-minded.

    No one will fire you for saying: “I wonder if Cash for Clunkers” was worth it… or “Maybe the Iraq war was not just.” Though they might react negatively if you post “President ObamaDubya can suck my ****s, the ****ing (bundle of wood).”

    If you come across as opinionated yet intelligent and open-minded in your online persona, it should mean nothing much to your employers, or even come across as a positive. If you come across as a stubborn arse, then maybe the lack of anonymity will convince you to rethink your mode of communication.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @niky
      I tell my young guys at work not to use facebook and definitely not to discuss work. That’s taboo.

      The young guys respond by saying its a free country and then try and tell me what they deem their rights are.

      My reply is “freedom is great, until your freedom impinges onto another”. They to have a problem understanding that concept. Until they come to me complaining about an issue they are encountering with a workmate.

      I generally tell them it’s a free country and I don’t want to interfere with their freedom. They look at me confused. I tell them that was the view they expressed to me concerning their concept of freedom.

      It’s called respect. You become an adult when you have this quality. Kids don’t comprehend respect, then fear must be used. Hence, giving a kid a clip under the ear after several attempts to correct their behaviour.

    • 0 avatar

      Niky> The problem is you have the most well reasoned, polite argument, but your OPINION makes you a black sheep at a current or future employer. “Not a team player” comes to mind…

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        +1 Robstar. Everything is political now, even science. (Maybe it has always been the case.) Take an unpopular or minority stance and out come the “tinfoil hat” comments. No one who would label you as insane for questioning catastrophic global warming theory, for example, is likely to consider you for their “team.” Anonymity has purposes beyond shielding abusive commenters.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      The point, to me, at least, is that I have a life outside of work. In fact, I have a number of different facets to my life that I don’t necessarily feel the need to reveal to everyone in the world. If I like to post on forums about dressing up like a unicorn with other like-minded people, why should my employer at the widget factory need to know that? The one has nothing to do with the other, and by exposing that particular interest, I do nothing but supply ammo to someone who may have a bias against my particular beliefs or interests.

      This comes up with people who work with the public, like teachers, too. There’s nothing wrong with having a dating or sex life online, but clearly you can see how that getting out to the public could have negative consequences, can’t you?

      Anonymous posting may promote posting garbage, but it’ll still clearly be seen as garbage. On the other hand, anonymity may encourage posting controversial, but insightful, commentary. As has already been said, shouldn’t the ideas in the post stand by themselves, regardless of what name is behind them?

  • avatar

    June Bug, my stance obviously bothers you and many others more than it should in my opinion. I had no idea how sensitive you and the other members of the alias club are about your cloak of anonymity in the new world of nameless posters. Many reasons were given in defense of the idea we should be able to post under fake names and personal shots were taken at me in an attempt to belittle me and my stance. The only valid reason might be that many of these posts are done on company time.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Jim Sutherland – If one looks at the “date stamps” on these blogs, many of the posts are on “company time”.
    There are many that DO need to separate work from public life. When I started my new job, I had a long conversation about blogs and sites like Facebook with the “head” Privacy Lawyer of my organization. He had a lot of interesting things to say. I’ve had conversations with members of law enforcement (my brother-in-law is a sergeant with the RCMP). It is creepy as to what does happen to people when they open up their lives to the internet.
    My privacy is something that I like to protect and what I say or do or post on the net may interfere with the professional relationships that I have to enter into with people.
    I think that people are more upset with your smug indignation directed towards those who are members of the “alias club”.
    As another poster said, it is much more important to judge the quality of the post as opposed to the name or pseudonym attached to that post.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a young online editor at a daily newspaper trumpet the new age of candor found in online posts on their articles and how it freed up the posters to reach a heretofore unseen level of honesty in their comments. I told him to give it some time and watch it degenerate into an ugly and anonymous war zone.

      He was treated to an un-civll war within a year and now the posters have to provide identity through their FB account or other network means that at least provide a semblance of accountability for their comments. It is not a perfect system, but it makes the posters stick to the topic more and not broad-side other posters with cheap shots and insults.

      Incidentally, do you think it is ok for people to spend time on the Net instead of fulfilling their job responsibilities? Your lawyer might call that theft of time.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I’m beginning to see why Popular Science deemed it necessary to ax the comments.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Looks like the LA Times agrees with you WhiskeyRiver.

      The Los Angeles Times is giving the cold shoulder to global warming skeptics.

      Paul Thornton, editor of the paper’s letters section, recently wrote a letter of his own, stating flatly that he won’t publish some letters from those skeptical of man’s role in our planet’s warming climate. In Thornton’s eyes, those people are often wrong — and he doesn’t print obviously wrong statements.

      “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published,” Thornton wrote. “Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

      What amounts to a ban on discourse about climate change stirred outrage among scientists who have written exactly that sort of letter.

      “In a word, the LA Times should be ashamed of itself,” William Happer, a physics professor at Princeton, told FoxNews.com.

      “There was an effective embargo on alternative opinions, so making it official really does not change things,” said Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University in New York.

      “The free press in the U.S. is trying to move the likelihood of presenting evidence on this issue from very low to impossible,” J. Scott Armstrong, co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting and a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told FoxNews.com.

      Happer, Breslow and Armstrong are among 38 climate scientists that wrote a widely discussed letter titled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming,” which was published in The Wall Street Journal in Jan. 2012.

      The letter argued that there was no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to “decarbonize” the world’s economy. It generated such extensive public debate about man’s role in global warming that the Journal published a second letter from the group a few weeks later.

      Reached at his home on Friday, Thornton told FoxNews.com his policy was being misinterpreted.

      “This is not a blanket ban on ‘skeptics.’ What it does ban is factual inaccuracy,” Thornton said. “I’ll put it this way: It’s fine to say that the Lakers are a terrible basketball team, but it would be factually inaccurate to say they’re bad because they put four guys out on the court every night instead of five. The latter ‘perspective’ also happen to be objectively false, so a letter containing it wouldn’t be considered for publication.”

      “To say that no evidence exists when scientists have produced evidence is asserting a factual inaccuracy, and we try to keep errors of fact out of the paper,” he told FoxNews.com.

      Thornton said he has already rejected letters that have argued that there is no evidence that human activity is driving climate change.

      Other papers took up the LA Times cause, arguing that climate skeptics are too often kooks best kept off the pages and out of sight.

      Citing a letter printed in an Australian newspaper, blogger Graham Readfearn of the Guardian suggested that he supported the ban.

      “Wrongheaded and simplistic views like this are a regular feature on … no doubt hundreds of other newspapers around the world where readers respond to stories about climate change,” Readfearn wrote. “Thornton’s decision could well leave a few editors wondering if they should follow suit.”

      Some climate skeptics said the move was an intentional effort to eliminate debate.

      “My research on persuasion shows that persuasiveness of messages is higher when both sides of an issue are presented, but only when one has good arguments to defeat the other side,” Armstrong told FoxNews.com. “If not, it is best to try to prevent the other side from being heard.”

      The Poynter Institute, a journalism school in St. Petersburgh, Fl., took quizzical note of the policy in a post on its website on Wednesday. But editors for the school’s website did not acknowledge FoxNews.com questions about the ethics of such a policy, and Thornton himself did not respond to FoxNews.com in time for this article.

      The writers of the Journal letter left no doubt about their feelings.

      “The religion of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) does not tolerate non-believers,” Breslow told FoxNews.com.

      http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/10/18/la-times-bans-letters-from-climate-skeptics/

  • avatar
    Power6

    Jack I think you draw parallels where none exist at all. Comments are great here but the tone of the site is not the same and subjects are typically not those that really fire people up.

    I can see how comments are totally irrelevant to what PopSci is doing. You don’t have to go far on the Internets to see that tribal knowledge has made a real comeback with the rise of Internet commentary. A bunch of idiots with a “consensus” does not pass for actual knowledge or moving the conversation on to a higher level. Good for PopSci for choosing not promote that, however imperfect shutting the comments down will be.

    I myself have chosen to limit my reading and writing of Internet Commentary. Today everyone has an opinion or thought that needs to be spewed out for everyone to see. You can waste your whole day on that, and start again tomorrow. Or you could actually do something productive with your time.


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