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Comment: Re:What can you do? (Score 1) 359

by HiThere (#46796173) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I think you're wrong. Both sides go in for regulation, regardless of their rhetoric. (Cicero originally formalized rhetoric as a way of lying in a convincing manner, and taught it in a school for Roman politicians.)

They do tend to regulate different things, but neither side ever seems to undo the other sides regulations, no matter how adversely they may affect the citizenry. After all, they need something to vilify their opponents about.

Comment: Re:So - who's in love with the government again? (Score 2) 359

by HiThere (#46796023) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I think you overstate the inefficiency of ethanol as a fuel...though perhaps you need to tune your engine differently to take advantage of it.

OTOH, it is a remarkably poor fuel when one considers the costs of originally producing it. Sugar cane is much more plausible, but doesn't grow in the same areas. The best argument for corn derived ethanol fuel that I can see is that any corn used as fuel won't be turned into fructose syrup. AFAIKT, this is basically a government subsidy to the large growers. A very inefficient one, too.

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 339

by HiThere (#46792799) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

IIUC, his lawyers requested that certain materials not be produced, and in doing so quoted a section of the state law which exhempted a particular category of material from being required to be produced. If you don't like the phrasing, talk to the people who wrote the law. His lawyers were just doing their job, and making it easy for the judge.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 339

by HiThere (#46792773) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

I don't think they count as science...until the make predictions that match the later observed results. Then they do.

Unfortunately, as you pointed out actually recreating the simulation can be absurdly difficult. And if it's not reproducable, then it's not science.

That said, when I worked at a transportation study commission, we used models all the time. We never deceived ourselves that they were correct, but they were a lot better than just guessing. Policies were built based around their 20-year projections. Often we'd have several very different 20-year projections based on different assumptions about what would be done in between. (Would this transit project be successful? Would that bridge be built? What effect would building the other highway have on journey-to-work times?) The results were never accurate. They were subject to political manipulation...but so was what projects would be built. It was a lot better than just guessing, but it sure was a lot short of science.

I think of this frequently when I read about the models, and the problems that people have with accepting their projections. Usually the problems aren't based in plausibility, but rather in what beliefs make them comfortable. And in those cases I tend to believe the models. But I sure don't think of them as "sound science".

OTOH: Do you trust the "Four Color Theorum"? It's a mathematical proof that any map can be colored with four colors, with no two adjacent patches having the same color except at a single point. The proof is so complex that no human can follow it. Do you trust it? Would you trust it if a lot of money was riding on the result?

Even math is less than certain. Complex proofs are only as trustworthy as every step in them multiplied, and both people and computers make mistakes. There are lots of illusions that prove that people will frequently dependably make the same mistake. So you can't really trust math. But just try to find something more trustworthy. You need to learn to live with less than certainty, because certainty is always an illusion.

Comment: Re:Is it even legal for a judge to sign a warrant. (Score 1) 154

by HiThere (#46792705) Attached to: Peoria Mayor Sends Police To Track Down Twitter Parodist

Who's going to tell the judge no? Who's going to enforce it?

Sometimes a judge will be so egregiously corrupt that the higher courts will discipline them, but it's quite infrequent, and I've never heard of it happening when he was acting to support the local politicos. (And even then the "discipline" is generally trivial in comparison to the offense.)

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 5, Insightful) 98

by HiThere (#46792535) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

The Republicans who were responsible for emancipation (as an act of war against the rebellious South) is only vaguely related to the current Republican party. The Democrats have a closer link, and again, the civil rights movement was a political attack against the Dixiecrats, who pretended to be Democrats, but actually had an independent agenda.

P.S.: Given what the Federal Govt. has become, are you so sure states' rights was a bad idea? You can trace the current Federal Govt. back to the centralization imposed (by both sides!) during the Civil War.

P.P.S.: Under privitization, prisons have become defacto sources of slave labor. So don't claim that slavery has been eliminated. It's nature has been changed, but it isn't gone.

Comment: Re:Not the same, but tangentially related... (Score 1) 92

by Lumpy (#46792529) Attached to: How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

It needs a gps so it can rat on them if they are speeders. People who speed in residential areas need to have Progressive send someone out to punch them in the taint over and over until they understand that only scumbags speed in residential areas.

It's just one of the perks of Progressive.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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