Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Borepatch and Dr. Floyd Ferris

Posted by Lissa on August 31, 2010


“May”. “Might”. “Could”. Scandalously, these are the coin of the realm in Climate Science today – at least the Climate Science that makes the headlines.

Does everyone remember this part of the story?

“The State Science Institute,” he said quietly, when they were alone in her office, “has issued a statement warning people against the use of Rearden Metal.” He added, “It was on the radio. It’s in the afternoon papers.”

“What did they say?”

“Dagny, they didn’t say it! . . . They haven’t really said it, yet it’s there—and it—isn’t. That’s what’s monstrous about it.”

His effort was focused on keeping his voice quiet; he could not control his words. The words were forced out of him by the unbelieving, bewildered indignation of a child screaming in denial at his first encounter with evil.

“What did they say, Eddie?”

“They . . . You’d have to read it.” He pointed to the newspaper he had left on her desk. “They haven’t said that Rearden Metal is bad. They haven’t said that it’s unsafe. What they’ve done is . . .” His hands spread and dropped in a gesture of futility.

She saw at a glance what they had done. She saw the sentences: “It may be possible that after a period of heavy usage, a sudden fissure may appear, though the length of this period cannot be predicted. . . . The possibility of a molecular reaction, at present unknown, cannot be entirely discounted. . . . Although the tensile strength of the metal is obviously demonstrable, certain questions in regard to its behavior under unusual stress are not to be ruled out. . . . Although there is no evidence to support the contention that the use of the metal should be prohibited, a further study of its properties would be of value.”

“We can’t fight it. It can’t be answered,” Eddie was saying slowly. “We can’t demand a retraction. We can’t show them our tests or prove anything. They’ve said nothing. They haven’t said a thing that could be refuted and embarrass them professionally. It’s the job of a coward. You’d expect it from some con-man or blackmailer. But, Dagny! It’s the State Science Institute!”

3 Responses to “Borepatch and Dr. Floyd Ferris”

  1. Borepatch said


  2. Linoge said

    Nicely drawn connections.

    As Joe is fond of saying, if you cannot express it definitively in numbers, it is not science. It might be founded in science, but that is not the same…

  3. bluesun said

    That book is dang scary with its predictions.

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