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Comment Just memorize them [Re:I hate hieroglyphics] (Score 2) 135 135

Except many Chinese can't read (or write) a significant fraction of Chinese characters, and no one knows all of them.

My point exactly.

The whole reason we abandoned hieroglyphic representations of language was so that we wouldn't have to learn 80,000 hanzi.

Comment Do it in Kanji [Re:I hate hieroglyphics] (Score 5, Insightful) 135 135

Simple. When you're in Germany, write it it German. If you're in China, write it in Chinese.

Did I mention I hate hieroglyphics?

The idea that we can create a universal language that everybody will understand by abandoning language and simply making a recognizable symbol for every single concept that anybody might ever want to communicate is stupid.

However, if that actually is your proposal, there is a simple solution: let's write everything in Chinese characters. They already did that. And if you don't think that Chinese characters work as universally recognizable symbols, well, that's just your western-centric prejudice. They've evolved those characters for thousands of years; you're pretty arrogant to think you can do better in a decade or two.

Comment you have to be right [Re:Wrong, and wrong.] (Score 1) 243 243

That argument would have a lot more weight if we didn't see how Professor Peter L. Hagelstein has been treated by M.I.T. for even taking an interest in the process called "cold fusion" (also called low-energy nuclear reactions) and trying to determine where the excess heat was coming from.

As I said.

Scientists get kudos from getting the right answer.

In 25 years of trying, cold fusion researchers haven't managed to have demonstrate a reproducible phenomenon.

You don't get kudos merely because you're working on something that isn't popular. You also have to be right.

Comment Wrong, and wrong [Re: How do you...] (Score 3, Informative) 243 243

Don't climate "scientists" have a personal bias invested in a certain outcome?

No. That's the argument made over and over again, but it isn't actually the way science works. In the long run, scientists gain kudos by getting the right answer. Despite the arguments of deniers, scientists aren't idiots.

And in the scientific community, the standard is: the more sensational the claim, the more evidence is required. And climate "science" has made some pretty sensational claims

Again, wrong. In some ways, the problem with actual climate science (not what's in the press, real science) is that the effect isn't sensational. The climate scientists are claiming that anthropogenic carbon dioxide has warmed the planet by on the order of one degree-- far too little for anybody to actually personally notice, although well measurable on a statistical basis. That's only a few percent of the natural greenhouse warming (which is well understood, and not at all controversial, even though it's exactly the same physics).

The reason that denial is so easy is that the effect is so small. Over the long term, of course, it does built up-- but that's brings in the argument "why should we do anything for posterity? What has posterity ever done for us?"

that have a history if not coming true.

Again, wrong. I've been tracking the predictions to data for several years now, and climate modelling still seems to be pretty good; tracking to well within statistical error. The only people who say it isn't are saying so by cherry-picking data that isn't statistically significant.

But we knew that: if the greenhouse effect didn't exist, the Earth would be a frozen snowball.

Comment One small step... [Re:How do you...] (Score 2) 243 243

The whole idea that cow burps could produce enough carbon to destroy the planet is why so many people deny even the possibility that emitting industrial quantities of carbon can change the climate. It just makes the whole issue sound ridiculous. Methane may be 20 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as CO2, but because of its reactivity it does not persist in the atmosphere in the same way.

There's some insight in that comment-- compared to the 40 trillion kilograms of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by combustion of coal, the amount of warming by cows is small. However, although it is smaller effect, it is not negligible contributes. According to the original article:

Each year worldwide, the methane produced by cud-chewing livestock warms Earth’s climate by the same amount as 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide, a little more than 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity.

So, here's a way to affect 4% of the problem (not solve, but affect), with no effect on standard of living whatsoever-- it's a small step, but with essentially no cost: cow methane production is of no economically value.

What bothers me, however, is that the article is talking about burps, while the problem is cow emissions. Not all cow methane emissions are burps.

Comment Re:What about privacy? (Score 2) 483 483

A link in the article linked lists the problematical parts of the Microsoft privacy policy and user agreement:

"The Privacy Statement and Services Agreements combined come to 45 pages. Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez wrote that they are'“straightforward terms and polices that people can clearly understand'.”

Comment Summary is inaccurate (Score 5, Informative) 118 118

The summary is inaccurate, or at least confusing. The summary says "lasers that can shine light over the full spectrum of visible colors", but the article says that this is three monochromatic spikes, red, green, blue, which together appear white. It also says that the choice of colors is tunable... but tunable lasers aren't new.

The summary also implies that it is "a" laser, but the article makes it clear that what they did is make three separate lasers on the same substrate (specifically "three parallel segments, each supporting laser action in one of three elementary colors.")

Comment Re:My Pet Peeves (recent Windows laptop keyboards) (Score 1) 687 687

Not having it would be worse. Nearly all engineering drawing (as well as some additional technical writing) standards require the use of all caps to minimize ambiguity. In those cases holding down the shift key is ridiculous.

Worse for your specific case that most people will never hit. A simple shortcut or custom keyboard could fill that role if needed.

Or chose "all caps" font.

Comment We still can't analyze data we don't have (Score 1) 249 249

We can't analyze data we don't have.

I think this conversation has pretty much reached a dead end.

You're right: when you assume that scientists are all biased, and all the actual analysis and results and data and models can be dismissed without the effort of paying any attention to them because you have already decided they're biased, you can indeed draw any conclusion you like.

Comment Re:they made the planes the bombed pearl harbor (Score 2) 85 85

And then a million people (men, women, children, civilians all) died when the only atomic weapons used in combat were dropped on them. I'd say that balances out Pearl Harbor a bit. I don't think they "got away" with anything.

First, your death count is wrong-- it's high by roughly a factor of five. Second, the deaths from the nuclear weapons were small compared to the deaths from conventional bombings. War kills people. If you're complaining about bombing, complain about that. Third, the estimated death count from the nuclear weapons was about equal to the death rate from five weeks of the war: if the bombing shortened the war by five weeks, it saved lives. Fourth, the Japanese put every man they had into the war effort-- even the farmers. If they war hadn't ended, the number of Japanese starving would have been millions: there was not enough manpower in the form of women and children left to harvest the fields.

Comment We can't analyze data we don't have [Re:Bias] (Score 1) 249 249

But the solar variation is not ten times as much. We measure the solar output. We know that this is not responsible for the current warming because we measure it.

Nobody measured solar output during the Maunder minimum.

You are confusing two different things.

Solar variation is not the cause of the current warming. Got that? Good.

The climate in 1700 is somewhat harder to model. You quoted what I already said, and I see no reason not to just repeat it:

Well, except nobody knowns whether the Maunder minimum even had anything to do with the little ice age, except for the coincidence of timing. The best understanding at the moment is that the little ice age was due to volcanic eruptions:

That seems straightforward. Nobody knows if there's a connection.

  Your comment on that post is

We see here a willingness by researchers to rule out conflating factors despite having insufficient evidence. That is IMHO evidence for the bias I referred to.

I don't understand your logic here. Those "conflating factors" in analyzing climate of the 14-19 centuries don't have anything to do with current climate. For that we have measurements of solar activity.

People have been looking for a solar activity/climate connection for literally hundreds of years*. They haven't found it yet. Understanding the connection between the Maunder minimum and the little ice age, if one exists, would be a huge advance in climate science. But it's not really possible to do science on the basis of "here's something we don't know because the data is poor or non-existent. Maybe there is something we don't understand, but we don't even know if there's anything there."

However, here is something to think about. If it were discovered that the solar variation during the Maunder minimum caused the temperature drop of the Little Ice Age, that would make the climate scientists say "oh my god, the highest estimates of warming due to the greenhouse effect are the right ones; it's a lot worse that the conservative estimates."

Because if the Maunder minimum actually did cause the little ice age, that implies that there must be a big positive feedback loop between radiative forcing and climate. The exact size of the feedback look is the main uncertainty in climate. The short term feedbacks are getting to be well understood. But if there's a large long-term feedback-- one that hasn't really kicked in yet-- then the greenhouse effect is really much worse than the average of current estimates.

But, in either case, whether the Maunder minimum does or doesn't explain all or part of the little ice age isn't really relevant to the question of whether we understand current climate, because we don't need proxies for solar activity to understand current climate: we have measurements. Saying "we haven't found a connection between the Maunder minimum and the climate" isn't bias-- it's just a statement of what we don't know.


*mostly in the century-long series of studies trying to understand the cause of ice-age cycles.

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