Lomborg is too scientific for his own good?

After reading "The Skeptical Environmentalist" I was astonished at how effectively Lomborg challenged many of the ideas about the environment I'd been holding dear for so long. I was especially impressed by the case he makes for allocating resources based on analysis of the lives saved and a cost benefit approach rather than the often irrational, politically motivated spending that saves only a few but costs a lot.

This led me to a fascinating email exchange with the editor of Scientific American, which had blasted Lomborg in a very long critique of the book. The SA critique was written by four internationally recognized experts, but in my view they'd done little more than attack Lomborg personally and suggest – speciously – that his objective was to disparage a scientific approach to problem solving.

What consistently impresses me the most about Lomborg is his willingness to take on his critics point by point, addressing their concerns with citations and what only appear to be legitimate personal criticisms. (Such as noting that climatologist Schneider used to warn about potentially catastrophic global cooling but now warns of potentially catastrophic global warming).

I suggest that Lomborg is thinking very clearly and applying science appropriately, but has challenged his critics effectively and aggresssively enough that they've responded in an emotional fashion rather than a scientific one.

The enthusiasm many scientists seem to show for Al Gore's excellent but misguided propaganda film "An Inconvenient Truth" reflects poorly on the state of scientific thinking. I think it reveals the limitations we primates, even those primates high on the scientific food chain, have with mathematical constructs and allocation of risks, costs, and benefits.

Later: Wadard does NOT agree with me or Lomborg – the debate continues over at Global Warming Watch:

Here's a clear thinking piece by Lomborg

Kayak vs Sidestep = $200 Savings!

After gushing over Kayak's great flight search I realized I had not used Sidestep in some time and should give it a try.   In my opinion Sidestep used to really suck, requiring download of software to your browser and in my limited experience did not deliver good rates. 

Now, like Orbitz and Kayak, Sidestep allows easy browser based searching.  However for the 2-3 legged cross country flight I'm currently researching (MFR to BWI), Kayak blows away Sidestep and Orbitz with an American Airlines flight that is a whopping $200 less.  

This could be a quirk due to my rural Oregon location but I'm impressed nonetheless.  I also REALLY like Kayak's intuitive interface and the ease of selecting your previous searches very quickly.    Rates from the big systems are updated three times per day and availability can change even more frequently, so it's a good idea to search using the same criteria several times before you "give up" on a good rate.  Persistence pays in the bookings game and Kayak makes it easier to stay on task. 

Eventually I'll try to do a better more  balanced comparison where I'll pick a bunch of routes and run them on the different consolidation systems to see who wins, but first I'll do a few more of these quickie comparisons such as Kayak vs Yahoo's fairly new offering "FareChase".