I've already exhausted my allotted time for blogging in answering interesting comments related to the post on Silver's climate change wisdom. I invite others to weigh in (but not on whether Mann is a great climate scientist; see my post update on that).
In particular, I'd like help (Larry has provided a ton, but I'm greedy) on what is right/wrong/incisive/incomplete/provocative/troubling/paradoxical/inherently contradictory etc. about my statement, "Gaps between prediction and reality are not evidence of a deficiency in method. They are just evidence--information that is reprocessed as part of the method of generating increasingly precise and accurate probabilistic estimates." Also the questions of (a) how forecasting model imprecision or imperfection should affect policymaking proposals & even more interesting (given the orientation of this blog) (b) how to communicate or talk about this practical dilemma. (Contributions should be added to that comment thread.)
Two more things to think about, complements of Maggie Wittlin:
1. Who is afraid of obesity & why? Maggie notes "A new meta-analysis finds that overweight people (and, with less confidence, people with grade 1 obesity) have a lower risk of mortality than people with BMIs in the 'normal' range" and wonders, as do I, how cultural outlooks or other sources of motivated reasoning affect reactions to evidence like this -- or of the health consequences of obesity generally.
2. Forget terrorism; we're all going to die from an asteroid. Maggie also puts my anxiety about magnitude 7-8-9 terrorism into context by pointing out that the size/energy-releasing-potential of asteroid impacts on earth also follow a power-law distribution. Given the impact (so to speak) of civilization-destroying asteroid collision, isn't preparing to protect earth from such a fate (however improbable) yet another thing that we need to do but are being distracted from doing by OHS's rules on removing shoes at airport security-screening stations?! I could do some research but Aaron Clauset's spontaneous & generous supply of references for the likelihood of "large" terrorism attacks makes me hope that some other generous person who knows the literature here will point us to useful sources.