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Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 3, Insightful) 401

by Bongo (#47415577) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Whoever asked for 100%? The errors on the models are so far rather huge.

As for testing, yes, science is tested and challenged. But here's the rub: that process takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. Like 50 years.

Both the scenarios and the time to correct are running into the decades, which is much longer than the window inside which we're supposed to act to avert catastrophe. In other words, both the prediction and the correction haven't come about yet, so anything we do now is based on faith and best guesses.

You can't magic away the risk with a supercomputer and lots of clever people.

Ideally science would be an ever gradual fine grained improvement, but as soon as you deal with complex systems, like human bodies, or diet, or climate, there is just no magic answer. Like you say, we don't have ten planets to run as experiments. As you say, it is not the scientific method as famous for testing things to death repeatedly that is being used. It is guesswork. Educated guesswork carries risks and unintended consequences.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 2) 401

by Bongo (#47415453) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

I think it was Sam Harris who said that something strange happens when an issue becomes a moral issue. Reason and questioning are no longer allowed. Another weird thing is that people are easily affected to become irrational, when it is being done by the oil lobby, but environmentalists are immune to anything which might corrupt their judgement in a groupthink way. Enviros deconstruct other's hidden motives and agendas, but they themselves are immune. Weird no? To just happen to be in the right? (Real post-modern deconstruction as someone put it, is when you can deconstruct your own cultural groupthink biases before you try to deconstruct someone else's. Most people just use it as a way to attack others, whilst never questioning their own views.)

Personally I am all for a truly global world free of inequality, of the unfairness of being born accidentally in a poor area, and think a global system that integrates development and environment and clean technology with high education and intelligence and happiness and creativity and purposeful existence for all is where humanity and the planet needs to keep striving for. All too often though the mass movements around this sort of thing fall back to old methods, like groupthink and moralistic judgements, forsaking critical discernment. Then when they don't get good results, they blame the big bad oil lobby.

Comment: Re:Two things (Score 1) 85

by Bongo (#47270341) Attached to: The Game Theory of Life

Phenomena manifest in many ways, many perspectives.

The colour "red" is a human phenomena, and the notion of "wavelengths" and "energy" are also something humans see/have/experience as phenomena. You can then use signifiers, signified, words, sounds, etc. to say "red" for what you see in your vision as "red" whilst noting on some instrument the "wavelength".

There is no really real reality beyond your experience of sights, sounds, concepts, etc. -- reality which we can speak of, IF we can't observe it. In this sense, you don't create reality, but likewise, hallucinations are "real" for you. There is basically no firm ground to stand on, hence phenomena are "empty". But that doesn't mean YOU are creating "reality", what you are is a phenomena experiencing machine, which has a set of senses. The point is, we can't ask is the equation "real", because we can't access the truly real reality directly anyway. Whatever the "sun" is, we know it rises and sets, as experienced by all human beings and animals. Your sight of the sun is as real as the mathematical formula describing its motion and vice versa.

Whether you're experiencing a mathematical abstract idea or a colour in your vision, that's what you have and it is co-created perception, just like you need a lens to focus light. That doesn't mean we create reality, rather we create our dream implicitly by being an instrument which can experience.

It is a lot easier if you think of the mind as just another sense organ. So sight is a sense organ, and mathematics is a sense organ. Thoughts are a sense organ. Just because you see red doesn't mean reality is made of redness. Your senses manifest that particular representation/perspective.

What I think most people mean by "reality" in the everyday sense of the word is that this stuff over here correlates with that stuff over there. A real car correlates with death if you stand in the middle of the road. A hallucinatory car (which looks as real as the real one) doesn't. Your math equation is "real" if it correlates with the stuff you're modelling.

So to try to answer the question, the math equation is "created" in the sense that a human thought of it, but it is no more separate from reality than the phenomena you're trying to study, because that phenomena is itself something your perceptual senses are "creating" also. We never see the really real directly. Seeing is an activity. Not that it makes much difference. Trouble is we are sentient and so sentience is always part of whatever it is you're "seeing out there".

Comment: Re:Not the right way anyway (Score 1) 583

by Bongo (#47106189) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

As a bus person, I would agree, but in the end, they are really not a great technology. It is like the train system, eventually, after privatisation was supposed to make it more efficient, and ticket prices kept going up and up, you come to wonder that its problem isn't mismanagement, inefficient government, greedy corporations, nor old tech, it is just that it is a Victorian technology and concept.

The city I'm in used to have a big tram network, and you have to wonder why they got rid of it all those years ago.

Anyway, I imagine a a vast taxi network, cheaper because there is no driver, and like public transport in that you only pay for what you use, no need to buy the machine, and with so many available in a city that there is often one just 5 minutes away from you, and can be used for long and short journeys, door to door, or with a changeover somewhere for intercity routes. Each car is in use like a jet airliner is used to maximise its cost, rather than it sitting parked for most of its life.

When I'm 80, I want an app for that.

Comment: Re:I am ready! (Score 1) 583

by Bongo (#47106123) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

It needs something like the FAA to investigate crashes openly and come down hard on companies. I flew in a helicopter the other day, and googling its registration brought up its accident history. There has to be a lot of process and money put into making this stuff, which nobody would spend on normal software. And that might be a good thing for the industry overall, as too many health and safety critical devices are not well tested. Robot killer car crashes on the other hand generate headlines.

Comment: Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (Score 1) 583

by Bongo (#47106099) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Indeed, and in one sense it focusses the scrutiny and energy of the law and of the safety bodies, from millions of drivers down to a few companies. I hope this means the authorities can then afford to spend nearly as much time investigating crashes as say, when an airliner goes down.

Comment: Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (Score 1) 583

by Bongo (#47106067) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Open the pod bay doors HAL. Yes, that needed an off button. It is difficult though because many malfunctions will kill very quickly. Even without a computer. Mechanical failure in a helicopter? Software means more things can go wrong. But I trust Google ius so highly motivated to track our every move, that they will take safety very seriously. **cough** It'll need some kind of official accident investigation authority to come down hard and fast and demand all logs and investigate openly and with high technical acumen each accident, and laws which say the companies have to turn over all their source code and specs.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer