首页
  • k彩平台登陆
  • AZ Parks Proposal
  • Archive for the ‘Coyote’s Law’ Category.

    Coyote's Law and 9/11

    I am just amazed at how much bad science and ignorance gets pored into current 9/11 conspiracy theories.  For example, someone apparently did a small bit of research and found that structural steel melts at a higher temperature than aviation fuel burns.  From these two facts, each correct in the right context, comes the whole theory that the WTC towers came down in a controlled demolition rather than a collapse of fire-weakened structural members.  Of course, this is stupid. 

    I did piping and boiler design for several years at a refinery.  Carbon steel, while it may not actually melt until you get it up to thousands of degrees, loses most of its structural strength between 700 and 1000 degrees(F), well below the temperatures in the WTC fires.  I lived with this frustrating fact every day, since many refinery processes crave higher temperatures.  Not only does steel's strength drop with higher temperatures, but it falls exponentially once it passes a certain threshold.  Some day soon I will post my refinery fire pictures, and show huge steel I-beam structures that collapsed from the heat of petroleum fires.  But here is a good reality check:  If skyscraper I-beams really won't fail at jet-fuel-fire temperatures, why do skyscraper builders waste millions of dollars insulating all the structural steel against building fires, which I can assure you burn much cooler than aviation fuel fires?

    Beyond the basic science, most 9/11 conspiracy theories violate a couple of smell-tests.  The first and most obvious is Occam's razor.  Any theory that uses as a starting point a few small, minor uncertainties in events and explains these uncertainties with theories that have new, massive uncertainties in them is not necessarily wrong, but one has to treat it with huge dollops of skepticism.  As described 9/11 cospiracy folks in Reason's Hit and Run, "They're the sort of people who will question whether a plane actually
    hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, but won't question a theory
    that can't explain just where the hijacked aircraft landed instead."

    The other smell-test I use is a law I have dubbed Coyote's Law, and it goes like this:

    When the same set of facts can be explained equally well by

    1. A massive conspiracy coordinated without a single leak between hundreds or even thousands of people    -OR -
    2. Sustained stupidity, confusion and/or incompetence

    Assume stupidity.

    Does anyone really believe that a Bush administration that can't keep a program involving a dozen people secret could keep the lid on a conspiracy this massive involving hundreds of people from any number of government agencies?  Isn't incompetence a more compelling answer here?

    thinks so, as quoted in :

    One characteristic of the nuts is that they have a devout, albeit
    preposterous belief in American efficiency, thus many of them start
    with the racist premise that "Arabs in caves" weren't capable of the
    mission. They believe that military systems work the way Pentagon press
    flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should work. They believe that
    at 8.14 am, when AA flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder,
    an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military
    Command center and NORAD. They believe, citing reverently (this is from
    high priest Griffin) "the US Air Force's own website," that an F-15
    could have intercepted AA flight 11 "by 8.24, and certainly no later
    than 8.30."

    They appear to have read no military history, which is too bad
    because if they did they'd know that minutely planned operations -- let
    alone responses to an unprecedented emergency -- screw up with
    monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality,
    weather and all the other whims of providence....

    August Bebel said anti-Semitism is the socialism of the fools. These
    days the 9/11 conspiracy fever threatens to become the "socialism" of
    the left, and the passe-partout of many libertarians.

    By the way, can anyone tell me why the so called "reality-based" community, that so often criticizes the Right for theocratic attacks on science, is so quick to fall for this pseudo-scientific junk?

    Update:  In case anyone cares, here is the temperature curve for the strength of carbon steel.

    k彩平台登陆Steel

    Update 2:  I am told by email that I will now be added to the long and growing list of those who are part of the conspiracy.  Cool!  Please make sure the CIA spells my name right on my payoff check.

    Update3: And don't miss here.

    In every single case, we found that the
    very facts used by conspiracy theorists to support their fantasies are
    mistaken, misunderstood or deliberately falsified.

    Here's one
    example: Meyssan and hundreds of Web sites cite an eyewitness who said
    the craft that hit the Pentagon looked "like a cruise missile with
    wings." Here's what that witness, a Washington, D.C., broadcaster named
    Mike Walter, actually told CNN: "I looked out my window and I
    saw this plane, this jet, an American Airlines jet, coming. And I
    thought, 'This doesn't add up. It's really low.' And I saw it. I mean,
    it was like a cruise missile with wings. It went right there and
    slammed right into the Pentagon."

    We talked to Walter and,
    like so many of the experts and witnesses widely quoted by conspiracy
    theorists, he told us he is heartsick to see the way his words have
    been twisted: "I struggle with the fact that my comments will forever
    be taken out of context."

     

    Two of My Favorite Topics

    Tim Harford at Marginal Revolution touches on two of my favorite topics in one short post.  I have written a number of times about how frequant flyer mile holders seem to come out whole from airline bankrupcies when every other creditor has to take a major hair cut.  Even pensions are cut before frequant flyer mile obligations. .

    What really caught my attention was when he discussed whether difficulties in getting any airline help in actually cashin in the miles was a stealthy way of repudiating the miles.  In his analysis, he has this nice restatement of Coyote's Law:

    Never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by
    incompetence.

    Coyote's Law and WMD

    Coyote's Law states:

    When the same set of facts can be explained equally well by

    1. A massive conspiracy coordinated without a single leak between hundreds or even thousands of people    -OR -
    2. Sustained stupidity, confusion and/or incompetence

    Assume stupidity and incompetence

    Conspiracy theories have swarmed around the Internet on how the administration may have systematically lied about WMD to create the outcome (invasion) that it wanted in Iraq.  Today, however, the bipartisan presidential commission set to look into these issues - it was incompetence!

    In a scathing report, a presidential commission said Thursday that
    America's spy agencies were "dead wrong" in most of their judgments
    about 's
    weapons of mass destruction before the war and that the United States
    knows "disturbingly little" about nuclear threats posed by many of its
    most dangerous adversaries...

    The report implicitly absolves the
    administration of manipulating the intelligence used to launch the 2003
    Iraq war, putting the blame for bad intelligence directly on the
    intelligence community.

    "The daily intelligence briefings given
    to you before the Iraq war were flawed," it said. "Through
    attention-grabbing headlines and repetition of questionable data, these
    briefings overstated the case that Iraq was rebuilding its WMD
    programs."

    Hat tip to for the link.  By the way, this may take Bush off the hook to some extent for past failures, but the responsibility for reform sits squarely in his lap, and so far we have seen little progress in cleaning up the mess.

    Applying Coyote's Law to King County

    Professor Bainbridge posted:

    it's starting to look like the folks who ran the election in King County either (1) really did emulate old man Daley's Cook County elections or (2) are among the most incompetent morons in government.

    Wow, the perfect application to test Coyote's Law in real time.  Coyote's law states:

    When the same set of facts can be explained equally well by

    1. A massive conspiracy coordinated without a single leak between hundreds or even thousands of people    -OR -
    2. Sustained stupidity, confusion and/or incompetence

    Assume stupidity.

    Applying this to King County, I will assume stupidity.  I must say that having lived in King County, this is not the first time Meyer's Law has come up.  The city has made so many colossal blunders, including having a when someone accidental left the stopcocks open (that bridge, ironically, had been named after the State Highway director on whose watch was built the , which tore itself apart famously).  There have for years been rumors that the ridiculous constriction created in downtown Seattle on Interstate 5 by the building of the convention center (and which is almost impossible to fix) was made on purpose by anti-growth planners.

    Update on Coyote's Law

    Given all of the conspiracy theories bouncing around the net nowadays, I thought it would be timely to revisit Coyote's Law.  Coyote's Law states:

    When the same set of facts can be explained equally well by

    1. A massive conspiracy coordinated without a single leak between hundreds or even thousands of people    -OR -
    2. Sustained stupidity, confusion and/or incompetence

    Assume stupidity.

    To some extent, Coyote's Law is a logical extension of .  However, it seems to have consistent and frequent application in modern politics.  Here are a couple of examples, but I am sure the reader can think of more:

  • There are a number of revisionist historians that make the argument that to overcome domestic isolationism and bring the US into the war.  They point to the many missed intelligence clues, the incredible unreadiness of the defenses at Pearl Harbor, and the missing US carriers as evidence of a conspiracy.  However, most historians have concluded that Coyote's Law holds, that our failure at Pearl Harbor we the result of mistakes and incompetence, not conspiracy.
  • The mother of all conspiracy theory subjects is, of course, .  Many people simply refuse to believe that a lone gunman, and a fairly unimpressive one at that, could have pulled off such a killing.  He , or whatever.  Despite all the millions of hours of research into these theories, Coyote's Law still holds - it is much more likely that JFK was killed due to poor protection and the vulnerability of any one man to a sufficiently dedicated gunman who is not committed to getting away after the assassination (which, by the way, is still true).
  • To some extent, in both these cases it is a bit unfair to use the word "stupidity".  I am reminded of a quote by Frank Borman (as portrayed in the awesome mini-series "", I have not been able to find out if it was his actual words) in a committee hearing on the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts.  Under intense scrutiny for a set of conditions that in retrospect seemed ridiculously unsafe, Borman described the problem as "a failure of imagination".  To some extent, that is what happened both at Pearl Harbor and with the JFK assassination, and, essentially, with the 9/11 attacks.  What occurred was so new, so unprecedented, that no one could really make themselves believe in advance that it would happen.  But, none-the-less, it resulted in incompetence, not conspiracy.

    Which brings us to the 2004 election.  Certainly, in this case, no one can claim a failure of imagination, as just about everyone half anticipated vote-tally screw-ups after Florida in 2000.  However, in their review of conspiracy charges regarding election counts, this has a fantastic restatement of Coyote's Law:

    Well, I don't want to write off legitimate questions about the integrity of the voting system. But turn the question around: Which is more likely -- that an exit polling system that has been consistently wrong and troubled turned out to be wrong and troubled again, or that a vast conspiracy carried out by scores and scores of county and state election officials was successfully carried off to distort millions of American votes?

    UPDATE

    EEEK!  Frank Borman is the astronaut.  I had Martin Borman, the Nazi.  Sorry.  (and yes, this mistake was due to my STUPIDITY and INCOMPETENCE, and not a conspiracy.

    Coyote's Law at Work!

    Coyote's Law states:

    When the same set of facts can be explained equally well by

    1. A massive conspiracy coodinated without a single leak between hundreds or even thousands of people    -OR -
    2. Sustained stupidity, confusion and/or incompetance

    Assume stupidity.

    links to Caltec/MIT report debunking a lot of the recent voter fraud accusations.  Here is the money quote that is a dead-on reformulation of Coyote's Law:

    Well, I don't want to write off legitimate questions about the integrity of the voting system. But turn the question around: Which is more likely -- that an exit polling system that has been consistently wrong and troubled turned out to be wrong and troubled again, or that a vast conspiracy carried out by scores and scores of county and state election officials was successfully carried off to distort millions of American votes?

  • Recent Posts

  • George Floyd, A Memo to Conservatives
  • George Floyd, A Memo to Progressives
  • Another Climate-COVID Computer Modelling Similarity
  • Parallels Between COVID-19 Alarm and Global Warming Alarm
  • For the Left, Excess Hospital Beds Were "Too Many Deoderants" ... Until This Month
  • Archives

  • May k彩平台登陆
  • April k彩平台登陆
  • March k彩平台登陆
  • February k彩平台登陆
  • January k彩平台登陆
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • October 2019
  • September 2019
  • August 2019
  • July 2019
  • June 2019
  • May 2019
  • April 2019
  • March 2019
  • February 2019
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • November 2018
  • October 2018
  • September 2018
  • August 2018
  • July 2018
  • June 2018
  • May 2018
  • April 2018
  • March 2018
  • February 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • October 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006
  • June 2006
  • May 2006
  • April 2006
  • March 2006
  • February 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005
  • December 2004
  • November 2004
  • October 2004
  • September 2004
  • Categories

  • 2013 Shutdown
  • Accountability
  • ACME and Loony Toons
  • Arizona
  • Art
  • Banking and Finance
  • Blogging, Computers & the Internet
  • Books
  • Camping and Outdoors
  • Capitalism & Libertarian Philospohy
  • Climate
  • COVID-19
  • Coyote's Law
  • Crime
  • Data Analysis
  • Drug war
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equal Marriage Arizona
  • Financial Markets
  • Gaming
  • Gender
  • Gender & Race
  • General Business
  • Good News
  • Government
  • Health Care
  • History
  • Hobbies
  • k彩平台登陆 Theater
  • Humor
  • Immigration
  • Incentives
  • Individual Rights
  • International Affairs
  • International Trade
  • Investing
  • Labor Law
  • Liability / Lawsuits / Insurance
  • Media and the Press
  • Military and War
  • model railroading
  • Movies & Entertainment
  • Music
  • Numbers and Statistics
  • Organizations and Incentives
  • Other
  • photography
  • Police and Prosecutorial Abuse
  • Politics
  • Privacy
  • Private Recreation Management
  • Property Rights
  • Public v. Private
  • Race
  • Rail and Mass Transit
  • Regulation
  • Scams
  • Science
  • Second Ammendment
  • Small Business
  • Sports
  • Taxes
  • Technology
  • The Corporate State
  • Trade Policy
  • Trans-partisan Plans
  • Travel
  • Trend That Is Not A Trend
  • Trends from Single Data Points
  • Tripartisan Plans
  • Uncategorized
  • War on Drugs
  • Search


    WWW Coyote Blog
  • Statistics

  • Site Admin