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Comment: Re:The Real Lie - faking statistics (Score 2) 379

by BCGlorfindel (#49140711) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

The old appeal to authority. Nice. Well, Dyson is a physicist and mathematician, so his opinion on this matters exactly the same as yours - not a jot.

You're doing a great job of discrediting yourself - no one else needs to even bother.

You are grossly overstepping in your zeal to disprove your opponent. Unless of course you really do think physics and math aren't relevant to computer modelling of... statistical estimates for changes in radiation absorption based on multiple variables. You know, the very heart and soul most important component of the greenhouse effect.

Dyson's opinions as portrayed in the linked article include:
Question: ...was that article substantially accurate about your views?
Dyson:
He had his agenda. Obviously he wanted to write a piece about global warming and I was just the instrument for that, and I am not so much interested in global warming. He portrayed me as sort of obsessed with the subject, which I am definitely not. To me it is a very small part of my life. I don’t claim to be an expert. I never did.

Later he makes his position on various items known:

I was involved in climate studies seriously about 30 years ago. That’s how I got interested. There was an outfit called the Institute for Energy Analysis at Oak Ridge. I visited Oak Ridge many times, and worked with those people, and I thought they were excellent. And the beauty of it was that it was multi-disciplinary. There were experts not just on hydrodynamics of the atmosphere, which of course is important, but also experts on vegetation, on soil, on trees, and so it was sort of half biological and half physics. And I felt that was a very good balance.

After describing the work at Oak Ridge and a general assessment by everyone about the interconnectedness of the climate across disciplines:

It’s a problem of very complicated ecology, and to isolate the atmosphere and the ocean just as a hydrodynamics problem makes no sense.

Thirty years ago, there was a sort of a political split between the Oak Ridge community, which included biology, and people who were doing these fluid dynamics models, which don’t include biology. They got the lion’s share of money and attention. And since then, this group of pure modeling experts has become dominant. I got out of the field then. I didn’t like the way it was going. It left me with a bad taste.


What’s wrong with the models. I mean, I haven’t examined them in detail, (but) I know roughly what’s in them. And the basic problem is that in the case of climate, very small structures, like clouds, dominate. And you cannot model them in any realistic way. They are far too small and too diverse.

So they say, ‘We represent cloudiness by a parameter,’ but I call it a fudge factor. So then you have a formula, which tells you if you have so much cloudiness and so much humidity, and so much temperature, and so much pressure, what will be the result... But if you are using it for a different climate, when you have twice as much carbon dioxide, there is no guarantee that that’s right. There is no way to test it.

Dyson doesn't seem particularly overstepping his knowledge. He doesn't seem to be 'denying' things. He's just putting forward some pretty reasonable skepticism. Notably, the IPCC repeatedly observes as well that the impact of clouds is the single biggest unknown in current modelling, largely because it's so very, very hard to model accurately.

Comment: Re: Inquisition (Score 1) 379

by BCGlorfindel (#49139879) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

Same as we did on the "lead in gasoline isn't harmful", "asbestos is safe to breathe" and "smoking tobacco doesn't cause cancer" instances, yes.

Industry runs the same playbook over and over, and reasonable people counter it the same way each time...

Make rats breath asbestos for 10 years, witness proof it's a problem.
Make rats breath tobacco smoke for 10 years, witness proof it's a problem.

With climate, what's the equivalent metric to make the degree of danger clear?

We have instrumental temperature records that are only about 100 years old. Those records show clear and steady warming.
We have records showing CO2 increasing drastically over that same time frame. We have easy and clear physics to show that CO2 traps radiation and contributes to warming.
The consensus though tapers off hard after these basic facts. The overwhelming majority of the remaining evidence is computer models of processes that act over centuries and millenia. How much confidence and weight should our policy decisions place on modelling of long term processes, when we lack really good long term data to even calibrate against?

My point isn't we should be filled with doubt and uncertainty, but merely to observe that claiming climate change is as scientifically proven to be deadly as smoking is just, false. You shouldn't be doing it, as the science doesn't support it, which if I recall is the entire basis of the concern and complaint in the first place.

Comment: Consensus OR Science (Score 1) 379

by BCGlorfindel (#49139079) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

I'm afraid this is just a sad statement on society. People are either unable or unwilling to rely upon the scientific method, evidence and testable, provable facts. Instead an appeal to experts and human authority are still the order of the day. We are all taught in modern education about the dark ages when secret religious texts were a central source of wisdom, and only a select few well educated scholars were deemed worthy of accurately interpreting those texts. We are taught about how terrible the impact of human corruption was on that time.

Fast forward to today though, and we now have advanced to holding scientific journals as a central source of wisdom, and only a select few well educated scholars are deemed worthy of accurately interpreting them. Is nobody else disturbed by how little difference we have made between the priesthood of old and the scientific consensus today?

Comment: Re:The Liars (Score 2) 379

by BCGlorfindel (#49137847) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

The problem is the politicization of science. When the majority look for truth, and base their assessment foremost upon the credentials of men with the title of scientist rather than the evidence and results produced by science, we have already failed. We have done little more than replace religious texts that are only to be read and interpreted by scholars, with scientific journals that are only to be read and interpreted by scholars.

The entire point and improvement that the scientific method is to bring is removing the reliance on authority and corruptible humans and replacing it with subjective, testable and provable evidence instead.

Comment: Re:Why Not? (Score 1) 318

by BCGlorfindel (#49127287) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

They borrowed it from Republican Mitt Romney who referenced Republican Newt Gingrich.

Which makes sense when one considers the voodoo Republicans have with trickle down economics (witness the wonderful state Kansas is in) or that swallowing a small camera can somehow lead to being able to perform a gynecological exam.

Well the trickle down isn't voodoo, it's just that, a trickle. Only a small benefit making it down to the lower layers. If you take a second to count America as symbolic of trickle down capitalism and the USSR as symbolic of socialism then in practice capitalism has left the lower end better off than socialism. Of course those are terribly flawed analogies, but there is more to the notion of trickle down economics than 'voodoo'. The one thing capitalism undeniably has in it's favour is that it 'works' when the metric is economic growth, and without economic growth, everyone is sharing pieces from a smaller pie.

Comment: Re:There is no legitimate reason to show it. (Score 1) 645

by BCGlorfindel (#49042057) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

I suspect I can be far more stupid than you can imagine. For a start, I can't find anything in your response that addresses my questions...

Your first question regarding the Dresden and Tokyo firebombings in WW2:

The calculus here seems to be that the indiscriminate killing of civilians is justified if it, ultimately, saves lives by shortening the war. Is that right?

Your second question immediately follows as:

So, if the 9/11 attacks had saved some number of lives, would they have been justified?

You can forgive me if I 'failed' to answer what was clearly put forward as a rhetorical question. I DID however very directly respond to them. Your underlying premise supposes that the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo not be compared against the costs of abandoning Europe to the Nazi's or a land invasion of Japan, but instead be judged in a vacuum of killing people is bad. You then setup the notion that when considering the morality of the 9/11 attacks we consider, what, the cost in lives of an Al Qaida landing on the beaches of Florida?

I'm not sure what "moral equivalence" means.

I thought my context had been clear.
You ask us to consider the actions taken during the waging of WW2 in the context of Allies and Axis powers being morally equivalent. Considered in a sense where the Allies cause for waging war was no more moral than that of the Axis.
You ask us to consider the actions taken in Al Qaida's jihad in the context of Al Qaida and Infidels as being Considered in a sense where Al Qaida's cause for waging war is no less moral than the defenses raised by the rest of us.

You then pretend to be looking for complexity...

is there a more sophisticated way to decide than "my side is good...

The reality is that our world is far more complex than you are willing to accept from the outset. The reality is that there are men and powers in our world that WILL wage wars of conquest solely and only for their own benefit and no amount of good nature and moral superiority will slow them. The reality is that when those men and powers are not confronted with force and violence they simply kill more people and take more for themselves. In a situation like WW2, it needs to be understood that the Nazi party was demonstrably 'evil'. That coexisting with them was unpalatable. So far that, fighting back was morally a 'good' thing. More complex still, fighting back meant, yes, fire bombings of places like Dresden. I am GLAD the allies won, and I can hardly state with any confidence that if they'd been more gentle in their prosecution of the war that they would have triumphed.

As for you, how about providing your own answer to any of your questions. If you're given control of allied forces, do you wage war against the Nazis in Europe? Do you fight hard, or do you risk losing by being soft handed in your campaign?

You act like you are seeking complexity, but failing to try and answer some of the most difficulty questions of war you are in reality hiding from that complexity you pretend to be seeking.

Comment: Re:Literally? (Score 1) 645

by BCGlorfindel (#49033713) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

That's a good summary, but you left out the part where the US was supporting Saddam Hussein through that whole period, playing the "offshore balancer" between Saddam, Friend of America, against Iran, Designated Enemy of America.

I was comparing living conditions and the atrocities suffered by the Iraqi people. I didn't class American approval/disapproval as a noteworthy concern to them.

Also omitted is mention that life for most people in Iraq was better in 1990 than at any time since then.

Maybe you skimmed my summary too quickly then. The worst of the abuses to and genocide of the Iraq's Shia majority took place after 1990.

People in Iraq were harmed by Saddam Hussein, definitely. People in Iraq were also harmed by the US-supported sanctions and by the US invasion and its consequences.

I think it's most enlightening to hear your belief that the sanctions on Iraq were the fault and blame of America, rather than Saddam's steadfast refusal to abide by his obligations to allow inspections of the WMD programs dismantled in the first Gulf war. You remember, when Saddam attempted to reduce the number of UN member states by 1.

You seem to be labouring under a mistaken belief that condemning Saddam and observing the extent of his atrocities is in anyway a defense of American policy and action. It is not, but when discussing the state of Iraq today, it is a hugely important consideration and failure to recognize the extent of those decades of brutality and the impact on its people makes assessing the country impossible. It just makes it easier to say America bad, if you prefer a good/bad check mark for your assessments...

Comment: Carbon emission reduction (Score 1) 309

by BCGlorfindel (#49021503) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

As I means of shortening discussions and ruling out having stupid ones it's easy to follow a simple rule. If anyone is urging a reduction in CO2 emissions, but is NOT pushing hard for more nuclear power, they aren't really interested in a solution and can be ignored.

Disappointing that the IPCC is flirting with failing such a basic litmus test.

Comment: Re:There is no legitimate reason to show it. (Score 1) 645

"My side" in the WWII didn't invade France.

But the US did invade Afghanistan and Iraq. So where does the logic lead us?

Yes,. the bombings of Dresden and Tokyo were horrible, but if the purpose was demoralization of failing military powers to bring the two theaters to a faster conclusion, then so be it.

The calculus here seems to be that the indiscriminate killing of civilians is justified if it, ultimately, saves lives by shortening the war. Is that right? So, if the 9/11 attacks had saved some number of lives, would they have been justified? Can morality be determined only in hindsight? Or is the winning side always right?

If you are stupid and idiotic enough to accept the premise that Al Qaida and the US are morally equivalent actors in some Islamic holy war then you have a point. If the Nazi's were morally equivalent to the allies, then you have a point.

If you accept either of those premises though, you are an idiot, a fool, or a deliberately malicious and hateful person. Your entire POV and argument is based upon an assumption that both parties in any war are morally equal.

Comment: Re:There is no legitimate reason to show it. (Score 1) 645

but if the purpose was demoralization of failing military powers to bring the two theaters to a faster conclusion, then so be it.

That's my point exactly -- you're trying to find excuses for the indiscriminate civilian bombings. You're thinking exactly like the ideologues of radical Islam, who could repeat your statement word for word. 'You know what, we didn't bomb Iraq out of spite, we didn't destroy Syria for no reason, we didn't support the slaughter of Kurds by Turkey, and if it takes a burned body or two to make our point, so be it.' And so on.

There is little difference between one war criminal and another, and even less of a difference between one kind of war crime apologist and another.

Enough of your moral equivalence masturbation already. Do you honestly believe that in WW2 there was no morally preferable party between the axis or allied forces? That's the only question to be discussed.

Hitler and Nazi Germany had in essence seized control of and conquered the entirety of Europe. The option was simply let Hitler and the Nazi's have it, and likely Britain as well, or fight back. Fighting back meant committing horrific acts like the fire bombing of Dresden. Without such horrific tactics of targeting civilians and the means of your enemies production, victory wasn't going to happen. The choices were taking on horrible, horrible acts like Dresden, or standing aside and watching as Hitler and the Nazis made their concentration camps across all of Europe a long standing policy of a long lived Third Reich.

I'm glad our fore fathers chose as they did, and you should be too. Instead your just sniveling like a child unhappy that the world doesn't exist in the way they wish it would.

Comment: Re:Literally? (Score 2) 645

yikes!!! i don't even know where to begin with this drivel. and you got modded up, that scares me even more. you are playing the very tired moral equivalency game.

you need to learn to distinguish between pure evil depravity by those who'd kill us for not submitting and converting to their will, and the effects of war. war is not pretty or fun. it should only be used as a last resort. i submit that ISIS/ISIL/Islam is worthy of fighting a war against. it's that or we can all expect to be losing our heads.

And I beg the mods, why is this sitting at zero and the parent is +5 insightful for saying ISIS murdering civilians is no different than nations trying to stop them, as though those going on a murdering rampage are entirely equivalent and equally morally just as those trying to stop them. Sad, sad world.

Comment: Re:There is no legitimate reason to show it. (Score 1) 645

Yes. For exampe, people on slashdot have, by and large, seen the horrific pictures of the US war crimes in Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and yet there is a metric assload of apologists every single time the topic comes up. The normal people that are horrified of the cruelty are few and far between.

"Apologists"?

Have your read what Japan did to China long before America ever got involved? Did Japan have any legitimate claim to self defense in it's campaign of slaughter against the mainland? Meanwhile, the American's have Pearl Harbor, and a rather clear picture of who started the fight. That's why you see people 'apologizing' for the war. Most historians though note very accurately that we killed massive numbers of people, very brutally but efficiently. They also note that it was in the context of a defensive and existential war, were the options were be the winner and do it to their people, or be the loser and have it done to you as the Japense already had in China.

Comment: Re:Literally? (Score 1) 645

Fine, if we have to see what they other side is up to, perhaps we should see what we are up to as well. Do you have any idea how many Iraqis were killed during our invasion? I have heard some crazy numbers, but no real death other than a few leaked military videos. How many bombs have we drops, how many families have we burned?

The Jordanian Pilot was shot down, dropping bombs on ISIS/ISIL. He a lot of people in the process. Correction, he probably murdered several people. When you drop bombs on people, I am quite certain they don't instantly die. Many of the people bombed suffer in the process.

Not to say that ISIS is a nice group of people that deserve to be left alone, but if we are going to show horrific videos, let's show both sides instead of just the horrors of what they do. I am tired of seeing our bombs take off, only to have to go over to Al Jazeera to find out where our bombs dropped.

I dearly do wish people posting drivel like yours would spend more of their time reading and watching what's on Al Jazeera. You speak the popular party line out west of how many people died in Iraq because of overthrowing Saddam. You talk about how horrible the sectarian violence is that followed his ouster. Al Jazeera at least has the competence to take a longer view. Specifically that the sectarian violence in Iraq was NOT created by the ouster of Saddam, nor by the war and occupation of western forces.

Saddam spent decades brutalizing the population of Iraq, and intentionally seeding sectarian division and hatred. He didn't just gas Kurdish Iraqi's, he used the gas to round up as many of them as he could. He moved them into concentration camps where he slaughtered the fighting age males, and systematically raped the women with the intention of impregnating them with half Arab children. He made a very well documented and thorough effort to essentially breed the Kurdish Iraqi's out of existence. It seems unsurprising then that the Kurd's aren't enamoured with the Sunni Iraqi's that were Saddam's power base.

Saddam waged a similarly genocidal campaign against Iraqi Shia, estimates run as high as 200 thousand Shia Iraqi's killed. Not soldiers on soldiers though, nor as a consequence of some civil war, but as a campaign of extermination where the women children were every bit the intended targets of his campaign as anyone else. He then followed that genocide up with a campaing of divide and conquer of the surviving Shia Iraqi's. He spent years catering to and even officially supporting the Shia clerics that remained in Iraq and registered themselves. This created a wonderful rift between the 'brave' Shia who'd remained Iraq from the refugees who'd fled largely to Iran during the genocide. Once the domestic Shia movement was large enough and had sufficiently distanced itself from the refugees, he then pulled out the party registration list and slaughtered everyone leading or involved with the internal Shia movement.

That's just two examples of the Stalinesque playbook that was the entirety of Saddam's rule. Yet, ignorant 'sympathetic' western suckers still stand around here making comments like yours about how much damage the west did to Iraq by removing Saddam. Some even compound the folly by noting that however bad Saddam was, at least he maintained a semblance of order.

If you followed Al Jazeera's coverage of the war, the occupation, and the ensuing violence and chaos you wouldn't be spewsing such ignorance, because they at least covered the root cause of the anger decently. Far better than any of the media out west here who have absolute blinders on to any influences but that directly attributable to us, as though the world is some manner of vacuum solely and only alterable by western action.

Comment: Re:More ambiguous cruft (Score 1) 514

by BCGlorfindel (#48949005) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

Speaking as a lawyer, which I am not and never will be, you can't state what his motivations were, only his actions. He may have been spraying the Roundup for other reasons, then noticed some surviving plants ad decided he had something there, regardless of how it got into his fields.
In any event, if Monsanto's product should deliver itself to him in the absolutely normal and predictable process of its being used as specified by Monsanto, is he forbidden from making use of it? Monsanto did not suffer a loss of product or profit, the plants did not "fall off a truck" and have to be taken as a loss by the company.
And, in connection with the first point, the farmer has no certain knowledge the plants were Monsanto product, not normal mutants. He is under no requirement to have them genetically tested before use, nor is he likely to have the kind of genetic knowledge that lets him calculate what the odds would be against Roundup resistance; even I don't know that.
Basically, he is the beneficiary of an event which he may have made preparations to make use of (or may not), but did not cause to happen; which represents no actual loss to his neighbor or Monsanto, this is not a runaway livestock or some such; is he required to forswear the benefits of this event on the grounds that it might be the result of the practices of said neighbor and/or Monsanto, which he himself did not cause, request, or contribute to?

As you say, you are not a lawyer. If you don't know the odds of spontaneous or random resistance to round-up then you early never worked on a farm either. The courts in Canada, with actual lawyers, and with actual Ag experts decided against Percy. There's also not a farmer around that would ever even consider spraying their seed crop with roundup, as they know without doubt they have just as much success setting it aflame in hopes of gaining a flame tolerant seed. Percy absolutely set out with the intent to acquire Monsanto seed and knew without any doubt the seed he planted, grew and went to sell was the same seed patented to them. In the opinion of Canadian courts he clearly had violated patents and was charged. What's more relevant is that nobody's normal farming practices in any way were threatened or chilled or even worried by his case.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux

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