- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Global ‘proof’

“[T]he high priests of the Global Warming religion … decided that global warming reduces the frequency of hurricanes, Ken Kaye of the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale reported.

“He quoted Chunzai Wang, a physical oceanographer and climate scientist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami.

“ ’Using data extending back to the middle 19th century, we found a gentle decrease in the trend of U.S. land-falling hurricanes when the global ocean is warmed up,’ Wang said.

“Someone might want to tell Grammy-winning, Nobel Prize-winning, Pillsbury Bake-Off-winning Al Gore.

“Just remember, dear readers, everything ‘proves’ global warming, just as everything proves September 11 was an inside job, John F. Kennedy was killed by the CIA and aliens landed at Roswell, N.M., in 1947.”

Don Surber, writing on “And now, an era of irrational pessimism,” Thursday in the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail

Ignorant opinions

“Many young people now end a discussion with the supposedly definitive and unanswerable statement that such is their opinion, and their opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s. The fact is that our opinion on an infinitely large number of questions is not worth having, because everyone is infinitely ignorant.

“My opinion of the parasitic diseases of polar bears is not worth having for the simple reason that I know nothing about them, though I have a right to an opinion in the sense that I should not receive a knock on the door from the secret police if I express such a worthless opinion.

“The right to an opinion is often confused (no doubt for reasons of misplaced democratic sentiment) for the validity of an opinion, just as the validity of an argument is often mistaken for the truth of a conclusion.”

Theodore Dalrymple, author of “In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas,” interviewed by Bernard Chapin, Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Runners up

“In one of the most memorable scenes in the movie ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ — a classic among salespeople on commission — the sales manager played by Alec Baldwin announces a new motivational plan: ‘As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. … Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.’

“Reward structures like this exist in reality as well as fiction. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch famously used a ‘20-70-10’ system, promoting the top 20 percent of GE employees, keeping the middle 70, and firing the bottom 10 percent. …

“Can strong competition actually undermine a reward structure? A new study by Jennifer Brown of Berkeley provides an answer to this question by looking at the world of professional golf, with Tiger Woods playing the role of the strong competitor. …

“Analyzing data from round-by-round scores from all PGA tournaments between 2002 and 2006 (over 20,000 player-rounds of golf), Brown finds that competitors fare less well — about an extra stroke per tournament — when Tiger is playing. How can we be sure this is because of Tiger? … When Tiger is on, his competitors’ scores were elevated by nearly two strokes when he entered a tournament”

Joel Waldfogel, writing on “The Tiger Woods Effect,” Wednesday at Slate.com

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