The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Are Air Filters a Magic Boost for School Test Scores?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

From Vox:

Installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits
$1,000 can raise a class’s test scores by as much as cutting class size by a third.

By Matthew Yglesias @[email protected] Jan 8, 2020, 1:30pm EST

An emergency situation that turned out to be mostly a false alarm led a lot of schools in Los Angeles to install air filters, and something strange happened: Test scores went up. By a lot. And the gains were sustained in the subsequent year rather than fading away.

That’s what NYU’s Michael Gilraine finds in a new working paper titled “Air Filters, Pollution, and Student Achievement” that looks at the surprising consequences of the Aliso Canyon gas leak in 2015.

The impact of the air filters is strikingly large given what a simple change we’re talking about. The school district didn’t reengineer the school buildings or make dramatic education reforms; they just installed $700 commercially available filters that you could plug into any room in the country. But it’s consistent with a growing literature on the cognitive impact of air pollution, which finds that everyone from chess players to baseball umpires to workers in a pear-packing factory suffer deteriorations in performance when the air is more polluted.

Statistician Andrew Gelman, however, is not impressed:

No, I don’t think that this study offers good evidence that installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits.
Posted by Andrew on 9 January 2020, 10:01 am

That reminds me of a gigantic event in the history of air pollution that has almost never been studied to see what its effects on test scores, life spans, and so forth were: the conquest of Southern California’s smog:

Southern California engaged in a vast natural experiment between about 1965 and 2000 in the near virtual elimination of severe smog:

Around 1966, there were 75 days per year with bad stage 2 smog alerts (red line). After the late 1980s there were close to zero.

Lesser Stage 1 smog alerts (orange line) declined from about 180 per year in the mid-1960s to single digits annually by the late 1990s.

The catalytic converter became standard equipment on many cars around 1975, which led to the introduction of unleaded gasoline, because leaded gasoline destroyed catalytic converters. So the war on smog also reduced lead in the environment.

Has anybody ever analyzed the effects of this huge environmental improvement on school test scores?

That reminds me of another question I’ve never seen researched: the impact of room temperature on test scores. In the past, most classrooms were not air conditioned. Did hot and/or humid weather drive down performance on tests? For example, the SAT is administered in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. Were test scores in Florida lower on the August and June tests than in the winter relative to Maine?

Has anybody examined the impact of adding air conditioning to classrooms upon test scores? Generally speaking, few interventions do much for test scores, but air conditioning in, say, Houston sounds like it would matter.

 
Hide 86 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. My best teachers always kept the air slightly cold to make sure their students (otherwise dressed for perfect Southern California weather) would stay awake during class.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  2. Off topic, sort of, but Andrew Gelman is one of those intelligent guys who have little grounding in reality but who nevertheless are really smart, so I have read his blog off and on for years.

    About ten years ago his main shtick was to look at things that could be looked at in a statistical way, and to say, hey I AM A STATISTICS MAVEN so I will explain this to you, and by some statistical miracle every time he found a fault with statistics the fault made the conservatives point of view look bad and the liberal point of view look good.

    I mean what are the odds, that some guy who is liberal and fancied himself to be an impartial observer of the world with a solid foundation in statistical theory would, EVERY SINGLE TIME, discover that any statistical issue he looked into turned out to be something that made liberals look smart and conservatives ignorant?

    He has been a lot better in the last few years.

    Just saying. To be clear, I am not saying that he ever impressed me as being all that bright, but I do think he is getting more intelligent as the years go by.

  3. Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity? It might have been employees somewhere, who magically got more done when they knew somebody was paying attention to them.

    Kinda like installing air filtration equipment in every classroom (assuming the kids are aware of said equipment and realize something is going on that raises their profile.)

    Regarding classroom temperature, here is another vacuous, unsubstantiated anecdote that this commenter may be confabulating:

    Our town voted to spend a few hundred thousand dollars to modify a practically brand new HVAC system in our practically new elementary school — because the original contractors of the multi-gazillion-dollar kiddie school had failed to properly balance the system. (This is a typical problem I have encountered in office buildings of smaller size with overly complex systems where I happened to be in charge of people who were supposed to be productive.)

    My wife and I attended the town meeting in which the problem and proposed solution (expenditure $$$) were debated. One mother stood up and told us all how her poor little one had trouble concentrating because the temperature in the school cycled a couple of degrees. Her daughter needed a perfectly balanced system, held to an exact temperature, in order to learn. So there you go. The Mothers of Fairfield Country say it’s true, so it must be.

  4. eee says:

    If every student got eight hours of sleep the night before the test then scores would probably significantly improve.

    • Agree: Paleo Liberal
  5. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    A variation on The Hawthorne Effect:

    “ is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.This can undermine the integrity of research, particularly the relationships between variables.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  6. danand says:

    China, at least economically, has been racing forward as its sky have become unbearably polluted over the past couple of decades. Maybe China won’t rule the world after all! On the other hand:

  7. Were test scores in Florida lower on the August and June tests than in the winter relative to Maine?

    Summer temperatures don’t vary that much around the state. The real difference would be in the humidity– brutal in the Panhandle and interior, less so on the breezy coasts.

    In the past, most classrooms were not air conditioned. Did hot and/or humid weather drive down performance on tests?

    The U.S. Constitution was written by heavily overdressed men crammed into a small chamber during one of the hottest summers of that century.

    That reminds me of another question I’ve never seen researched: the impact of room temperature on test scores.

    Huh? I’ve heard a lot of people compare others’ IQs to room temperature. As if their own was a sauna’s…

  8. @Reg Cæsar

    Reg, with a couple of exceptions, every one of those guys working on getting the Constitution written were rich, had servants, had continuous access to cold beer (porter in the morning, lager in the afternoon, and stout toward supper time) , and their clothes might look uncomfortable in the surviving paintings of their convivial meetings, but were exceedingly comfortable in a way that the Walmart shoppers of today would consider to be heavenly compared to the Chinese versions of cotton and polyester most people wear today, and in sum no they did not suffer from discomfort because of their clothes.

    The Puritan meetings back in Boston a generation before that were another story.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  9. anon[242] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity? It might have been employees somewhere, who magically got more done when they knew somebody was paying attention to them.

    Management studies from before WW II suggested this. Case studies from various factories. Changing something in the environment affects people positively. Giving control over the lighting, changing hours, etc.

    Some sort of variation on a theme seems to make a difference.

    • Replies: @anon
  10. black sea says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity?

    Widely known as “The Hawthorne Effect,” though the original conclusions have been disputed somewhat by subsequent researchers.

  11. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner food, cleaner clothes, cleaner floors, clean everything are all good.

    But it’s not a fix for the gap.

    Btw, it seems Diversity and Libertinism make the world less clean. Blacks ruin cities, Mexicans throw trash everywhere. And permissive lifestyle led to broken families, drug abuse, and homelessness.

  12. Lot says:

    Wrong wrong wrong!

    The evidence is overwhelmingly that air pollution leads to higher test scores.

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
    • LOL: Pincher Martin
    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  13. The Mothers of Fairfield Country

    When the state de-erects your county, you become a country? That’s showing them! You’re twice the size of Singapore, Bahrain, or Tonga!

    …say it’s true, so it must be.

    Disconnecticut.

  14. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    If clean air is good, maybe it’s not a good idea to promote pot-smoking among young ones.

    • Agree: Coemgen
  15. @Lot

    Now now, Lot. Haven’t you been reading around here? China is clean and better than us. They don’t have air pollution anymore. We need to cut our consumption over here so we can spread our resources across a billion friendly neighbors, the way they do. That’ll raise our future little brown children’s scores.

  16. @Buzz Mohawk

    Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity? It might have been employees somewhere, who magically got more done when they knew somebody was paying attention to them.

    Hawthorne effect is what I’m suspecting, too.

  17. Anonymous[292] • Disclaimer says:

    Named after the Western Electric Hawthorne plant in Chicago. Not Hawthorne,CA, home of a poppy rock band and a bleach blonde actress, or Hawthorne, NJ, home of a bleach blonde actress who fronted a poppy rock band.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  18. Dtbb says:

    I have tried to find a consensus on the web about how the whole ozone issue played out and what the causes and effects and if our efforts did anything. I am more confused than enlightened. Anyone have any thoughts out there? Is the accepted story true? Are things better now?

  19. @Dtbb

    Smog in L.A. is way, way down since my youth.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
    , @Dtbb
    , @Desiderius
  20. Dtbb says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The water in Tampa Bay and the Gulf is way cleaner than in my youth too. When I was a kid I never saw an osprey either. Now they are ubiquitous and I hear their wimpy cries constantly.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  21. anon[242] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    Hawthorne effect is what I was recalling. Thanks to all who named the name.

  22. @Anonymous

    The “Hawthorne Effect” sounds like just a variation on the good old Placebo Effect. If the kids were all issued magic feathers and told they improved concentration, test scores would also probably go up.

    They could also stop smoking all that legal California pot, or actually do their homework. But we don’t want to go overboard with any unreasonable interventions.

    • Agree: Old Prude
  23. Dtbb says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Sorry, I wasn’t very clear. My comment and questions were more in reference to the ozone layer and CFCs.

  24. Anon[221] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dtbb

    When I was little during the early 90s, the ozone layer hole and acid rain were the big environmental dangers we were taught about in school. I remember watching educational/propaganda cartoons about that in class and being mildly fearful for a spell afterwards every time it rained, worried that the acid rain would physically damage my head or something. I don’t remember hearing about global warming/climate change. I think that started being heavily promoted in earnest to kids shortly after in the late 90s. I can’t remember the last time I heard about the hole in the ozone layer and acid rain. Is that not a thing anymore? Or is everything just subsumed under global warming/climate change now?

  25. danand says:
    @Dtbb

    Dtbb, the main man made contributor to the ozone “hole” were the refrigerants used in air conditioning units. For automotive AC this refrigerant was type R-12, which hasn’t been manufactured in the US for roughly three decades, roughly two decades for the third world. (The offending refrigerant compounds were “banned” by 1987’s Montreal Protocol treaty.)

    What is referred to as the ozone hole has been getting smaller on average: not static, it’s seasonal.

    • Replies: @Leo D
  26. Another thing I bet has never been studied (not that I’d know, I’m not an IQ/testing nerd) is the relation of frequency and strength of dopamine hits to testing, in young brains which are not yet fully neurologically developed. And specifically, since pop music has become both omnipresent and inescapable here in Current Year, we’d be talking about the frequency and dosage strength of dopamine hits delivered by pop music, especially by ubiquitous hip-hop.

    Here’s my theory (disclosure: I am a classically trained pianist, and also a guy who started playing blues and honky-tonk piano in bars as a teenager).

    First, a field observation: syncopated music makes people happier, more quickly. Because the beats and rhythmic changes give people instant pleasure, more immediate than the tonic developments (chord changes, key changes), which give stronger emotional/dopamine pleasure but less frequently. I used to sit in a bar and play a Chopin prelude, and everyone would nod along gravely then applaud at the end. Then I’d switch to a broad, honky tonk sort of thing with a lot of glissandos and fills, and people would cheer up noticeably.

    So here is the theory. European-style music is based on tonic and harmonic theory, African-style music is based on beats and rhythmic theory. And beats and rhythms deliver small doses of dopamine pleasure at a steady, regular pace, whereas tonic and harmonic resolutions deliver a much stronger dopamine pleasure dose, but at a reduced and irregular pace: often the full dosage is not delivered until the end, when the tonic tension is finally resolved for good, which is rather like an orgasm. Afro-beat music is a bit like constant foreplay, Euro-tonic music is more like final climax.

    Here’s a thought experiment. Listen to a track like Lennon/Beatles “In My Life” or Wilson/Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and count how many times you get a noticeable pleasure response, and try to chart those as to where they occur in the composition, and how often. Now do the same thing with Run-DMC’s “King of Rock” or a modern-day hit hip-hop track.

    I have to wonder if the present-day exposure to constant nonstop miniature dopamine hits, as opposed to delayed, infrequent but major dopamine hits, has anything to do with intellectual development and achievement in the young.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  27. @Stephen Dodge

    Reg, with a couple of exceptions, every one of those guys working on getting the Constitution written were … exceedingly comfortable

    I fear you missed this missive of yore:

    GREAT GOD . THE STENCHE .

    By Nathaniel Parker, of the State of New Jersey.

    CHRIST on His golden Throne above, it does smell.

    All around us, throughout the Width, and Breadth, and Girth, of this our great new Republick, from every Hill and Dale, from the spring of the tiniest River-crick, to the Mouth of the mighty Atlantic Ocean Her self, from the most lowly Ditch, to the upper-most Branche of the tallest Oak tree, the very Aire we breathe, is at its best, a sick’ning Vapour & at its worst a poisonous Fume.

    Great God, the STENCHE of it. The rotting and putrid ODOUR, of this en-tire Society, emanating in cease-less Wafts, from every Home, be it rich or poore, and from every publick Street-corner, of every Towne is, in truth, as unto a veritable Punishment from Hell, assailing as it does our NOSTRILES, without respite, un-mercifully.

    At night, a Man and Wife, however virtuous in Morality and Piety, can barely manage to sleepe, due to the constant and overpowering CLOUDES of vilest stenche, which permeate their bed-room, and in fact every Nooke and Crannye of their House. Yet despite this prolonged AGONEY, in the day-time they will find them selves no better! for to greet the Dawn is an awakening to fresh HORRORS, as the FOULE-NESS of the Aire will only worsen.

    Heaven’s Hosts, help me & all of us.

    The mal-ignant Aromas, of every Type, be they those of Sweate; or chamber-Pot; or Toothe Decaye; or Live-Stock; or Disease; or Infectktion; of rotting Cabbage; of gangrenous Amputations of the Battle field during the recent Contest with England; or of every bodily Orifice, human or animal, that God in His mercy has seen fit to endow Creation, do saturate the Atmo-sphere, at all Times. So terrifick is this un-ceasing Stenche, that where-ever one might meet another, the presence of the Living, from the Perspecktive of either Citizen’s NOSE, should be almost indistinguishable, from that of the recent DEAD, so great is their number.

    It is as if the Skinne, of ev’ry Man, Woman, and Childe, were crawling with an Army of tiny loathsome Creatures, too small to be seen, but cov’ring ev’ry square Inche, in a breeding-ground of FILTHE and CONTAGION, so that ev’ry Disease and Sick-ness, that a Person has ever had, can be quite easily smelt, when near him, or even at a considerable Distance.

    Mother of Our LORD, it stinkes to high HEAVEN.

    Yet these sentiments of COMPLAINT, offered here in these pages, are utterly use-less, because however loudly I might declaim my Protestations against these Indignities, the sad’ning Fact remains, that nothing may well be done. There is no Solution, to provide Relief from this constant ASSAULT on our olfactory SENSE, for it is our great Mis-fortune, each of us all, to have been borne in an Age, before the discovery of some sort of Physick, or Cleanser, or other REMEDY, as yet to be invented, that can eliminate such fetid and repellent SMELLES.

    Therefore, we must all of us none-the-less bear this SUFF’RING, and continue to be o’er-whelmed by ODOUR, for as long as we shall live by Grace of GOD, until the end of our days shall deliver us unto the GRAVE.

    We have no Choice, then, but to praye God & His Son for some glorious future Day in a more hygienic era, when our Descendants will, having achieved Technologickal PROGRESS, be blessed, by the innovations of man-kind, to live in a Nation that is free of Man’s BEFOULMENTS for ever.

    In the mean-time, will not someone, for the sake of Christ, crack a Windowe?

    • Thanks: Haruto Rat
  28. @Anon

    Two distinct ozone problems: smog and hole in ozone layer over the antarctic. Both largely fixed.

  29. Anonymous[192] • Disclaimer says:

    So, the the white anti-fairy, Tinker-Bad, is sprinkling her tragic pixie dust through the windows of the blameless minority students.

  30. Old Prude says:
    @WowJustWow

    The heat in our factory failed for a week of Maine winter. I can assure you that quality thinking is not possible when your freezing your balls off.

  31. @Dtbb

    Then there are the gators, in the Gator Country, and well north. Through the 1970s, they were endangered. Americans left them alone for a little while, and now they are everywhere.

    “There’s a gator in the bushes, he’s callin’ my name.
    He says ‘come on boy, better make it back home again.’
    Many roads I’ve travelled. They all kinda look the same.
    There’s a gator in the bushes, Lord, he’s callin’ my name.”

    ” … a little bit of that chomp, chomp …”

    • Replies: @Hemid
  32. Maven says:

    Effect of classroom temperature on test scores in China:

    https://www.nber.org/papers/w24821.pdf

    But the authors may just be picking up the effects of higher-IQ people living at higher latitudes.

  33. @Anon

    Acid rain was greatly reduced by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment. It set up a cap and trade system for the pollutants which caused acid rain.
    OTOH, it increased the size of “dead zones” in bodies of water. Less acidic soil and water release more nutrients which feed algae which cause dead zones.

  34. No Iranian called this white person “air cleaner”.

  35. eugyppius says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity? It might have been employees somewhere, who magically got more done when they knew somebody was paying attention to them.

    Don’t even have to go to (what others have identified as) the Hawthorne Effect to throw this one in the dustbin.

    There was a gas leak in 2015. Schools within 5 miles of the gas leak got air filters. Schools outside the five-mile mark did not get air filters. 2015/2016 Math and English test improvements over prior 2014/2015 scores are plotted on the y axis against distance from the gas leak on the x axis. Improvements among radius (filtered) schools can thus be compared to beyond-radius (unfiltered) schools.

    This exercise yields noise both within and beyond the five-mile radius. When you draw trend lines through this noise, you appear to get bigger improvements, the further away from the leak you are. The math test scores within the radius (filters) rise more than than the math test scores outside the radius (no filters). For English it is more nearly a wash. The rise gets a lot smaller if you remove outliers. But, whatever, it is really just noise — dots all over the graph.

    But that is not the worst of it. As Gelman notes, the filters were installed out of an abundance of caution and even before their installation, no gas was detected anywhere inside the schools. The paper itself claims that gas was not at issue and that it was the removal of other pollutants that caused the greater improvements. But then, there is no reason that improvements should increase linearly with distance from the leak inside the radius (filters) and outside the radius (no filters), but that is exactly what their trend lines drawn through noise show: linear improvement with distance from leak.

    So, noise.

  36. Dan Smith says:

    The control group should be adjacent schools where technicians install dummy air filters. Then maybe I’ll believe it.

  37. @Stephen Dodge

    Sounds like those Freakanomics guys.

    Publication bias at minimum.

  38. Realist says:

    Just for information electronic air filters create ozone.

  39. This is – completely credible to me.
    Snotty nosed kids are fighting an uphill battle to learn.

    Here’s another one I wonder at a lot – how’s the optical health of Hispanic and African-American students? Is their eyesight being well corrected? Are they wearing their prescriptions? How about a double-blind of test scores for those who do those who don’t?

  40. @Reg Cæsar

    The U.S. Constitution was written by heavily overdressed men crammed into a small chamber during one of the hottest summers of that century.

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of Constitution idolators, I’m not sure that’s much support for the idea that overheated people turn out good stuff. There’s the poor grammar (2nd Amendment, anyone?), on top of the fundamental contradictions: if the central government’s powers are really strictly limited to those explicitly enumerated in your document, then you certainly neither need nor want a “bill of rights,” which is at best redundant and has actually been a fertile source of mischief at the hands of those who have so greatly empowered the Federal monster. Under a proper constitutional system, the rights of the people and the states aren’t enumerated, because they are presumptively universal, limited only by the explicitly-enumerated federal powers.

    Lysander Spooner was spot-on: the Constitution has either authorized the police state we live under, or has failed to prevent it. Either way, it’s not much good.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Anonymous
    , @bomag
  41. Anon[344] • Disclaimer says:

    There was a study a while back at an east coast university where some dorms have air conditioning and some don’t. Subjects installed an app and were prompted from time to time to answer cognitive test questions. The sweaty guys did worse than the cool guys. I can’t find it on the net, but it was from maybe last summer … fairly recent.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  42. FredR says:

    Or what about storms? In the Mainsprings of Civilization, Ellsworth Huntington points out that stormy weather increases test scores…

  43. I’m for the air filters. Regardless what it does for test scores, if we are going to keep children imprisoned by psychotic cat ladies for 8 hours a day we at least owe them clean air.

  44. Leo D says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Smog is an ‘ozone’ related pollution problem, no doubt.

    The ozone ‘hole’ over the antarctic was, and is, a totally natural seasonal reduction in the concentration of ozone caused by sub-zero temperatures and polar stratospheric clouds (It appears in the winter, and goes away in the summer). It is not a hole so much as a thinning. The attribution of this phenominon to CFCs was one of the first climate hoaxes…

    First, ask yourself how would CFCs proliferate at the South Pole? Everything does not fall to the bottom (You would be surprised as how many people actually think that is how it works…well, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised). In fact, stratospheric air currents move from the Equator to the poles, with very little crossing from the northern and southern hemispheres at the Equator. With the vast majority of all industrial production and use of CFCs in the northern hemisphere, how is there a ‘hole’ over Antarctica, and not one over the North Pole?

    There actually is a seasonal ‘thinning’ in the arctic, just not near as pronounced as in the antarctic. If truly caused by CFCs, the opposite should be the case.

    Second, just how do the CFCs get into the upper atmosphere? CFCs are heavier than air, not lighter.

    Finally, CFC stands for chlorofluorocarbon. The argument is that chlorine in the CFC reacts with ozone (O3), and strips away one of the oxygen molecules. Maybe in a lab this can occur, but if occurring in nature, there would be a ‘Fluorocarbon’ molecule left over, and it has never been demonstrated that there are any fluorocarbons floating around in that ‘hole’.

    The entire CFC/ozone hole issue was BS from day 1. In fact, CFCs were relatively benign compared with the highly toxic hydrochlorofluorcarbons (HCFCs) that replaced them…entirely due to the campaign against CFCs because…muh-ozone hole.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @Anonymous
  45. Hemid says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    That’s the gap I remember from school, the one between Molly Hatchet’s epic death man album covers and their light, imitation Lindsey Buckingham take on Southern rock.

    It’s how the first generation of metal kids learned about false advertising.

  46. Leo D says:
    @danand

    The ozone ‘hole’ over the antarctic was, and is, a totally natural seasonal reduction in the concentration of ozone caused by sub-zero temperatures and polar stratospheric clouds (It appears in the winter, and goes away in the summer). It is not a hole so much as a thinning. The attribution of this phenominon to CFCs was one of the first climate hoaxes…

    First, ask yourself how would CFCs proliferate at the South Pole? Everything does not fall to the bottom (You would be surprised as how many people actually think that is how it works…well, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised). In fact, stratospheric air currents move from the Equator to the poles, with very little crossing from the northern and southern hemispheres at the Equator. With the vast majority of all industrial production and use of CFCs in the northern hemisphere, how is there a ‘hole’ over Antarctica, and not one over the North Pole?

    There actually is a seasonal ‘thinning’ in the arctic, just not near as pronounced as in the antarctic. If truly caused by CFCs, the opposite should be the case.

    Second, just how do the CFCs get into the upper atmosphere? CFCs are heavier than air, not lighter.

    Finally, CFC stands for chlorofluorocarbon. The argument is that chlorine in the CFC reacts with ozone (O3), and strips away one of the oxygen molecules. Maybe in a lab this can occur, but if occurring in nature, there would be a ‘Fluorocarbon’ molecule left over, and it has never been demonstrated that there are any fluorocarbons floating around in that ‘hole’.

    The entire CFC/ozone hole issue was BS from day 1. In fact, CFCs were relatively benign compared with the highly toxic hydrochlorofluorcarbons (HCFCs) that replaced them…entirely due to the campaign against CFCs because…muh-ozone hole.

    • Replies: @Peterike
  47. @Steve Sailer

    Then clearly smog = racism juice

  48. Anon[150] • Disclaimer says:

    My high school was in an area with 3 overlapping biozones, and during the height of the pollen season, about half the class would be in a state of extreme misery. Heck yes, we would have benefited from air filters.

  49. Anon[150] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Much of the legal groundwork for the Constitution was written earlier than that summer, and besides, it was still the Little Ice Age back then.

  50. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    On a related note, I remember reading long ago (in a college psych class) about research that compared the mental performance of students who studied with different kinds of music playing in the background, and with silence.

    The outcome was that the only kind of music that either didn’t reduce performance or perhaps even enhanced it was chamber music. Everything else, orchestral, jazz, rock, easy listening, served as distraction and resulted in lower recall and reduced test scores.

    … Afro-beat music is a bit like constant foreplay, Euro-tonic music is more like final climax.

    The role of porn is probably much higher now too, in the development of the teenage brain. Who knows what THAT is doing.

  51. @Steve Sailer

    Concise and correct, Steve. I briefly did some research into the latter issue. Smog blocks sunlight, and thus causes local cooling. Global warming would be even worse were it not for toxic smog.

    These days the problems of smog have been pretty much solved in the US, but are getting far worse in other parts of the world, such as China.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jimbo
  52. Joemac says:

    Steve.

    Do you maintain a list of studies and investigations you are interesting in having done? You often bring up such ideas but it would be useful to have a central repository.

    Joe

  53. Just eyeballing the scatter plots from the original study, which are provided by Andrew Gellman, I can see a high degree of heteroscedasticity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteroscedasticity) in the data. This is an immediate violation of a basic assumption behind regression analysis. The original study could literally be a textbook example of the inappropriate use of regression analysis.

  54. Anonymous[435] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stephen Dodge

    I noticed the same setup in an Atlantic magazine issue on how the US could avert a civil war. Every solution was framed to favor the Democrats or leftists in someway. Every problem, of course, caused by Republicans or Whites simply not doing enough for others ie., allow more integration of school districts, pay more tax dollars for more Section 8 housing, count more illegals in the census make it easier for them to vote, etc., get rid of lifetime Supreme Court Justices (now that the court are finally becoming more conservative let’s make them irrelevant) because that’s the way to avoid a civil war…

  55. res says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Interesting idea. Thanks! Here is a paper looking at dopamine release and music, but in a quick skim I did not see discussion of variation by type of music.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.2726
    Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music
    Full text at https://labs.la.utexas.edu/gilden/files/2016/04/musicdopamine.pdf

    P.S. Really interesting post, Steve. I don’t have time to engage properly right now, but hopefully will be back later.

  56. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    To what extent were the smog and related problems “solved” by simply offshoring industry? LA used to have a lot of defense and aerospace related industry, but with the end of the Cold War and the early 90s recession, it declined a lot and LA reverted to the real estate and showbiz/services based economy it had been before the postwar manufacturing boom. There’s that famous Larry Summers memo when he was at the World Bank in which offshoring dirty industry is explicitly discussed:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summers_memo

    ‘Dirty’ Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:

    1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

    2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.

    3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate[sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate[sic] cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  57. Jimbo says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    A lot of environmental issues have been getting better, at least in the U.S. In Boston where I am, the harbor used to be a fetid nightmare – now it’s sparkling. The Charles is cleaner, the air is cleaner, etc. etc.

    But because both liberals (because they think it will cause complacence, and because they really just push for environmental issues as a backdoor to communism) and conservatives (who don’t want to admit that regulation can actually accomplish anything) don’t want to talk about it, all we hear is that things are getting worse…

  58. @Anonymous

    A lot of the crackdown on smokestack industries was done in the 1960s, with cars the focus in the 1970s.

  59. J.Ross says:
    @Dtbb

    Some industrialization makes pollution, but if you keep going, that same industrialization will give you the technology to clean it up. It’s like business debt. And consistent with business experience, there are people whose answer is to just stop, or try to go backwards.

  60. J.Ross says:

    Maximally irrelevant, except in illustrating why God should punish us the with the especially harsh asteroids:
    Something Awful used to be an internet forum which, in cooperation with the Russian hacker known as 4chan, crowdsourced and then presented jokes and images which were consistently much funnier or more interesting than anything in conventional entertainment. They once did a set of movie posters photoshopped to replace the star with the guy who was originally supposed to play the role (eg, The Matrix, starring Will Smith). And they got beaten up away from keyboard by an internationally famous German doctor.
    Then SJWs arrived.
    This was an especially egregious purge because the humor at SA (as can be inferred from their partners) was as appropriate for girls as a Yorkie.
    Below, a self-described boring lesbian objects to public displays of sexuality and extreme fetishism, and is called out — for racism. You see, per tabula tasa, there’s actually nothing inherently disgusting about urine. People are acting like urine is gross as a dog whistle to oppress minorities.
    https://postimg.cc/D4kxVJPw

  61. @Hemid

    What? They had at least 2 guitars, they were from Jacksonville, FL (still part of the South, even today) and Ronnie Van Zant produced their first album . Sounds like Southern Rock (scroll down) to me.

  62. As usual, you buried the lede.

    SMALLER CLASSROOM SIZES increase learning, and by extension “test scores.”

    Conservatives always hate the smaller classroom size argument. They spew out the “throwing money at it” meme. What chumps.

    Take it from me. Smaller classroom sizes works better than anything else. One on one, just by the way, in case you were wondering, which you were not, is best. And not as impracticable as you would think. But smaller classroom sizes is definitely eminently practicable. Period.

  63. Peterike says:
    @Leo D

    “The entire CFC/ozone hole issue was BS from day 1. “

    Exactly. They “discovered” the ozone hole in 1985 but nobody seemed to ask “was it always there?” They just assume that hole= bad. Much of the rest was the usual bad faith and moral posturing we are now so used to.

    People really err when they assume that Science! is so noble. Scientists for the most part are just as status and politically driven as anthropologists or sociologists and just as motivated to manipulate data or shape outcomes.

    They are also stubborn fools — witness the massive resistance to the germ theory for ulcers. Totally correct yet the establishment fought it, mocked it and attacked the team that proposed it.

    Scientists have no shortage of bums. Question everything. And when anything is loudly touted as a “consensus,” it’s probably not true. You don’t have to constantly scream at people that something is true when it’s actually true.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  64. @Leo D

    Well said.

    But back in the good old days, freon was a buck a can and any shade tree mechanic could refill his car’s AC. Who was making any money on that?

    Now the HCFC is about $14/lb. (IIRC), you have to have special equipment to recover the old gas, the HCFC is corrosive to AC systems, etc.

    It’s like breaking windows to stimulate economic activity. We are still, so far, a rich enough country that we can afford stupidity like this, plastic straws, no lead based paint, etc.

  65. @Peterike

    Scientists have no shortage of bums. Question everything. And when anything is loudly touted as a “consensus,” it’s probably not true. You don’t have to constantly scream at people that something is true when it’s actually true.

    Scientists follow consensus, but they also follow the money. Back when the DoD was promoting Reagan’s Star Wars, every proposal they got mentioned Star Wars in the first paragraph.

  66. I have little to contribute other than to note that being in an un-airconditioned school in Ohio in early September when we were not allowed to wear shorts was not at all conducive to scholarly discourse. It made kids throw erasers and squirt mucilage on the teacher’s chair.

  67. @Buzz Mohawk

    Wasn’t there a case long ago in which it became evident that just doing any kind of change or study yielded increases in productivity?

    The Hockey Stick Effect.

  68. @Reactionary Utopian

    Lysander Spooner was spot-on: the Constitution has either authorized the police state we live under, or has failed to prevent it. Either way, it’s not much good.

    I’m a fan of John Lansing and Robert Yates myself. They stormed out, leaving Hamilton the only New York representative when he returned. Hamilton refused to cast a vote on principle, as he knew he couldn’t honestly speak for a state which sent those two.

  69. @Anon

    Is that why the kids in summer school seen dumber? I thought it was selection bias…

  70. @obwandiyag

    Smaller classroom sizes works better than anything else.

    Which makes one-room schools and homeschooling ideal, doesn’t it?

    I suspect the unions would disagree.

  71. @Hemid

    Mac was for the uptown girls who couldn’t admit anything so plebian as Hatchet.

  72. We’ve gone to fancy pants filters on our furnace and no more snot nose/allergies/sinus headaches, etc… Hard to quantify how important that would be, but as someone who has taught some primary grades I can say it sure ain’t nothing.

  73. @obwandiyag

    I have a class size of two right now. Works great! What “conservatives” object to is a legitimate issue. What should my school district spend in excess of $30,000 per child when I can do it for $500? Smaller class sizes are a recent phenomenon. We had 30 kids in a class back in 1985 and we learned more. Historically and financially, the “small class” argument doesn’t hold water.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  74. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reactionary Utopian

    In a real educational system, Spooner would be required reading, along with Smedley Butler and a half dozen other dissident writers.

  75. @Homeschooling Mom in NY

    You know nothing. Congratulations to your “students.”

  76. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Leo D

    The entire CFC/ozone hole issue was BS from day 1. In fact, CFCs were relatively benign compared with the highly toxic hydrochlorofluorcarbons (HCFCs) that replaced them…entirely due to the campaign against CFCs because…muh-ozone hole.

    It was openly acknowledged that it was because duPont. Freon was a buck a can and widely used as an aerosol propellant, and going to HCFC-134 made duPont billions because they had the patents. Then when patent protection went away they suddenly found they had to go to a third patented sauce. This had the disadvantage that it is flammable-the reason they went to Freon over good old LPG or gasoline in the first place! It is not AS flammable, but in the proper proportions in an enclosed car it could blow people up from the inside out like Viet Cong in an ethane gassed tunnel.

    The Germans, particularly Daimler Benz, were so pissed they decided they would go to a CO2 based system instead, despite the considerable issues in doing so.

    I asked my congressshithead (former congressshithead Kevin Yoder) if the new refrigerant is so nondestructive why it still had to be recovered instead of vented, and of course, he said he’d get back to me on that. He never did, of course.

  77. @Stephen Dodge

    Gelman is a deceitful scum. I read a paper by him about household income in each of the 50 states. He provided graphs with trend lines for each state.

    The graphs used a logarithmic scale but the axes were unlabeled.

    atrocious

  78. MEH 0910 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    NYT:

    Ozone Fading Fast, Thatcher Tells World Experts
    By Malcolm W. Browne, Special To the New York Times
    June 28, 1990

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher warned representatives of more than 100 nations today that destruction of the earth’s ozone layer was proceeding even faster than scientists had feared.

    As a result, she said, efforts to reduce ozone-destroying chemicals must be hastened.

    ******
    The process is accelerating, Mrs. Thatcher said. Last week, she said, Joseph Farman of the British Antarctic Survey told her of evidence of a 6 percent reduction in the ozone layer in northern latitudes during winter.

    Mrs. Thatcher, a chemist by training, added: ”His message was clear, and I quote: The rapid development of the Antarctic ozone hole took us by surprise. We should be warned by that experience that the Northern Hemisphere trends could also accelerate, this time affecting heavily populated areas of the world.”

    ******
    Margaret Thatcher Foundation: Speech to Ozone Layer Conference

  79. @obwandiyag

    Well disciplined kids learn better, too. As do those who get more exercise especially in the form of useful work.

  80. Factorize says:

    A fifth of a standard deviation? Is that a joke? The total deficits that accumulate due to all of the deficiencies of physical schools add up to multiple standard deviations (and several grade levels). How will physical schools ever compete with online education and/or homeschooling?

    After taking many online courses, I have overwhelming evidence for the superiority of online education. It is not a photo-finish– not even close. I remember with my bricks and mortar educational institutions that after a year of study, the final exam would need to be written at one sitting on one day. There can be innumerable problems related to scheduling etc. that can (and did) interfere with my peak exam performance. I invested an enormous amount of financial resources and study time to develop my cognitive capital, though schools can all too easily do defraud students of what is rightly theirs by various oversights (deliberate or otherwise). It is very difficult for students to protect their self-interests within this arrangement after they have already pre-paid their entire year’s tuition on the first day of class. Online schools only collect student tuition on a course by course basis, thus allowing students to retain considerable financial leverage.

    My online education has been completely different. Exams can be written at the time of my choosing. On nearly every exam that I have written with my online school I have been close to a maximal performance without the feeling of exam stress. Recently, online proctoring has been introduced making online universities even more competitive. This gives students almost total control of their exam environment (air quality, temperature, humidity, noise, access to refreshments, etc.). In a consumer educational environment, students retain considerable power to influence policies in order that they can demonstrate maximal performance on exams etc.. Clearly the university knows that if they do not offer students the most competitive learning experience, then students will simply click their mouse to another cyber-school somewhere else in the world. What might the Chinese be able to offer me for an online learning experience?

    With a traditional bricks and mortar school I would not have even bothered asking for an accommodation that would have improved my performance on an assessment; such accommodations would have been rejected without consideration. Many of my bricks and mortar exams did not result in maximal performances.

    In fact, within a physical school learning environment there are almost too many factors of modern reality to mention that could decrease academic performance. It is such an overwhelming relief that as a home schooler, none of them apply to me. In a typical high school, you would expect that drugs, chronic behavioral problems (resulting from unstable families, academic stress, …), teaching to the mid kid, financial resource constraints etc. etc. would all bring down academic performance.
    The list is almost endless. You just have no idea what might arise from moment to moment. With home schooling I have been able to plan forward months into the future.

    While the schools would respond that these are not really their problems to solve, the only solution that they suggest is that they need yet more resources. Strangely, even though as a home schooler I receive no financial funding whatsoever, none of these problems have applied. My school sends me a textbook and I am expected to study it with very little extra guidance. This has worked out very very well for me. Throwing endless amounts of money at problems does not mean that they will magically be solved; often what seems to happen is that more money only causes more problems.

    Physical schools simply are no longer competitive. After a heat wave, one city decided to investigate installing central air conditioners city-wide. Class room temperatures hit 100 degrees F. The cost was estimated to be ~ $1 billion. Considering that such heat waves only occurred occasionally, it was decided that it wasn’t worth the expense. With a home school the solution is extremely simple: dismiss the class and wait for cooler weather. School hours can be whatever you want them to be; you do not need to follow a rigid and unhealthy fixed schedule.

    An online learning revolution is now in progress. The virtual lifestyles that this will enable will transform 21st Century society and politics and provide a much healthier and educationally enriching environment for students.

  81. bomag says:
    @Reactionary Utopian

    No matter how well thought-out and written, a constitution requires men of good will to carry it out.

    Our politics have devolved into various forms of looting, so any document would be taking a beating.

  82. @obwandiyag

    Hahaha… Seriously? That’s you response? The public school paradigm is a relic of the industrial age. That’s why it doesn’t work. It should be dismantled. Current justifications for it are all about money, not actual education. My two adult children are doing well in the real world, so congratulation are in order. I have a few more to go.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments are moderated by iSteve, at whim.


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS
PastClassics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings