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Comment: Re:Oh ffs (Score 1) 622 622

"Now lets hear what you think of Apple stealing everything from Xerox. The foundation of Apple is on blatant theft. If you want to throw shit at others, make sure you are not sitting on pile of it yourself."

We need to get Myth Busters on this one. Apple was given a tour of PARC, they didn't break in and steal the secrets. They hired some of PARC's engineers over time and those engineers brought some gestating ideas with them, ideas which NEVER materialized in Xerox products at the time or even shortly thereafter. But rather than look back at fuzzy heresay long since gone, ask if Xerox filed IP suits against Apple. If Xerox didn't defend their own intellectual property against infringement, then the argument is both legally, and for all intents and purposes publicly moot. Personally, I haven't dug around to see if law suits were filed, how they were settled if they were even filed, and none of my friends from PARC have ever even mentioned "theft by Apple of IP".

Can someone with some actual facts shed some light on this ongoing, unsubstantiated, controversy?!

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"...Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods."

I think we are in agreement that "Climate" is "Weather measured over time" - I don't recall saying anything different. Other than personal disdain for something so utterly reliant on statistical prognosis, I don't recall making any claim that Climatology does not make use of statistics - I would think that data gathered over time naturally becomes subject to statistical analysis. The point you are missing is that whether or not you are using statistical methods or empirical observations, you have to stay true to the level of accuracy of your data, in which case you cannot state decimal point precision greater than your worst piece of data. There's no credibility or integrity in conclusions drawn outside of the level of accuracy in the data collected.

"Climate science is entirely statistical."

Sure, and so is American Idol - doesn't mean I rush off and buy the music.

"it's your problem, not mine."

Is it?

"so your claim sounds a little bogus to me."

Glad you're willing to question something,... anything. In fact, however, my claim is true, but at least there's a breath of skepticism rising from your corpse. Maybe now you can apply a healthy dose to the hogwash being fed to you by mainstream media and state-run schools.

"So I was wrong, it's not millimeters per year, it's meters per year."

I'm not going to harass you about being wrong, because that's the chance you take with science, either in research or in digesting said research. I laud you for making the correction. However, I point out that the error range of 1000X is more easily avoided when you observe the convention of properly stating the least significant digit. Measurements in millimeters are beyond the resolving power of instruments that measure kilometers in the thousands. Computers can calculate with thousands of decimal places, but it's no better than processor errata if the input data didn't start with the same level of precision.

I earlier referenced Lorenz (famous for "strange attractors"). Back in the days of the Eniac, he entered some data and ran some weather prediction models. This was before flash drives, hard discs, or even tape backup, so when he finally got some more time on the main frame, he had to re-enter the data. One of his undergrad assistants did it this time, however. When he compared the resulting output, he was shocked that further into the future, the results weren't just slightly off, but were actually trending out of phase (inverted slopes). He had the data re-entered, double-checked the values, but it wasn't until he noticed that the second person entering the data took short cuts of truncating decimal places (e.g. "1.30" entered as just "1.3") that he realized that processor errata had introduced significant variances which when incorporated into ongoing calculations, created chaotic divergences. This was recognized as "high sensitivity to initial conditions". In this example, it was the understatement of precision, but it would fail both ways, giving false results for improperly encapsulated data entry.

"But, we're just talking past each other. No doubt a waste of our time.

I've never considered an honest debate a waste of time. I'm sorry you feel that way.

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"Climate is a statistical science."

No, climate is the temperature, pressure, and humidity measurable to the degree of the precision of our instruments and how accurately the instrumentation can be read and results recorded. Imposing imaginary decimal point precision upon pronouncing a conclusion was never in the cards. But if you are looking for "Statistical Sciences", you want to head on over to politics and religion, or perhaps omphaloskepsis if you're the quieter type. Sorry if I sound skeptical of things commonly espoused by an intellectually handicapped media and other dogmatic institutions, but you'll get taken for a ride if you believe everything they tell you. The public has a rather short termed memory, but I still vividly remember the "bad science" of Ponns & Fleishmann, how quickly the Russians and French duplicated their results and then quietly retracted those proclamations when poor methods and misstated precision cast doubt on the "reality" of cold fusion.

"You're not going to search the individual records for that variance, you're going to use statistical methods."

And then one day you find out that the custodians for said records destroyed all of the original data, wrote programs to filter the remaining data to fit a proposed model, and in spite of emails informing their colleagues of their wholesale abandonment of empirical methods, the pre-destined conclusions were made and agenda driven sycophants and legions of the naive and bewildered cheered on an extreme agenda that was not only misplaced, but maligned at best. I'm not sure how you can find room for "science" in such flurry of activity, so it's probably moot to ask for properly stated decimal point precision other than to see it as a red flag for detecting bad "science".

But to address the larger topic, "Global Warming 'Confirmed' by Independent Study", I would have to assume that the "new" study re-collected the old data from uncompromised sources or preferably generated an entirely new set of untainted data, and upon conclusion, stated results fitting the actual data instead of the proposed model, and did so with decimal point accuracy no greater than the accuracy of the worst of the data points. This is how "scientists" earn their pedigree and engender the trust of the greater community. Once someone has blown that trust, their research is tainted and there's very little worth salvaging. It's kind of a Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker moment.

"If a study such as BEST which had two statistical scientists on its team and two known climate skeptics (Muller and Curry) is willing to express their results in fractions of a degree then I accept that they know what they are doing and the results are valid."

False assertion. I judge the results not based by who made them (other than wholesale disregarding exposed charlatans), but on the rigor of the means by which the data was gathered, the integrity of methodology by which results were synthesized, and a peer review. Prior research tainted by bad actors isn't made whole simply by a peer review, even by skeptics. Individually, I don't want to look over a million data points to draw personal conclusions about the state of the world, but upon discovery that the research is contaminated, it needs to be tossed wholesale and started again. It's like when someone pees in the pool, there's no way to sequester the urine, separating it from the good water. Rather, you drain the pool and start again. Yah, it spoils the party but at least no one ends up in the ER with urinary tract infection.

"Events like the raising of the Isthmus of Panama leave clues to their age that geologists can interpret."

Again with the omphaloskepsis.

"Cutting off the currents between the Atlantic and Pacific as the Isthmus did leads to evolutionary divergence of the species in the area."

Oh, so we're going to use one unproven science ("evolutionism") to provide the foundation upon which to support another science? But wait a minute, the "evolutionists" use the age of the rocks and the land formations to support their conclusions. Sounds a bit circular,... I wouldn't think you could get away with that in a high school debate class. I hope there's something more substantive and logical than that upon which you base your belief in the age and formation of the isthmus (or more important things in life), because I could get quicker readings from a circus gypsy or television evangelist and save a lot of taxpayer money.

"Radiometric dating can tell you how long ago a particular formation was formed."

I don't have time to get into the problems inherent to radiometric dating techniques here, but suffice to say that AR-AR or AR-K doesn't tell you the age of the geological formation, it tells you the age of the composite material (igneous rock) under presumed conditions, and as recent as 2009, the effect of pressure, temperature, and cavitation on nuclear half-life calculations has thrown any portended accuracy into question. But, the beauty of science isn't in its conclusions, but the willingness to discard prior conclusions when facts point in a new direction. It's a critical facet of promoting discovery over settling into stagnation, apparently an enigma to many. Somehow, outside of material and practical sciences, this concept has been lost in the last 100 years, turning what should otherwise be pillars of discipline into smarmy and dogmatic ideologies in the pattern of Lysenko.

"I guess you don't believe the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago either."

I don't know that I really care, but the key word here is "guess", and what I believe is of no import on whether or not it was 60 million years or 70 million years (again, with your false assertions of precision!), a million years or a billion years, or just a couple of thousand. I accept as fact that there are calcified (or "siliconized") remnants, but to venture further than that, guessing their age or how they came to being, or how they ceased to be, or that they are in fact extinct (I refer to the Coelacanth as an example of a dinosaur that was once heralded as being "wiped out") is no more profitable than navel gazing until such time as conclusions cease to rely on statistical conjectures, outlandish extrapolations, and circular reasoning. I welcome those that wish to study such things (and are self-funded) as it gives for interesting conversation if not controversy, but those earnestly seeking truth would be prudent to set aside pre-conceived notions and allow the jury to deliberate before making conclusions.

True, we may not be able to draw any meaningful conclusions in this generation or the next, but no conclusion is better than a false one. Posing great danger, a false conclusion can stubbornly prevail because of individuals and groups that have invested heavily into the fallacy. Piltdown man, "discovered" in 1912, wasn't discredited until the 1950's, but along the way, had over 250 thesis quality peer review papers supporting it. But the real travesty is that "he" remained in the collection of the London Museum of Natural Sciences until the 1970s. Aside from the obvious tainting of "evolutionism", how much were other fields of study distorted through citations of said "evolutionary divergence of the species in the area"?

"Science isn't about TRVTH."

You don't have to convince me that "evolutionism" and "climatology" isn't about "truth" (any reason why you're spelling that out in Greek?), but you speak out of place in referring to science on the whole.

"You're asking for a level of exactness that seldom if ever exists in science."

You need to stop hanging out in the "soft" sciences (or perhaps give up on sciences entirely and find a section of town to "occupy" with some hippies) and look at the "hard" sciences, like physics, chemistry, and biology (biological physics and genetic biology, staying clear of "evolutionary biology" and "population genetics" that, by creep*, have inserted statistical fallacies into the fold). For example, over 10 years ago, IBM wrote out their logo in atoms on a Silicon substrate. Both the formation and observation (by electron microscope) required exactitude that persists throughout material and practical sciences that would (should) make a "climatologist" blush.

* Gould, in responding to Phyletic Gradualists jesting that Punctuated Equilibrium was forwarded by "jerks", retorted that it was a better explanation of life than the one forwarded by "creeps".

"24 hours in a day is a useful average but it's not exact."

Which is why we don't misrepresent the accuracy by saying 24.0 hours in a day, or rather 24.00000 hours in a day. We are always free to understate the precision, but it's tantamount to fraud to state accuracy beyond that which you can measure precisely.

"The earthquake in Chile changed the length of a day by nanoseconds. Should we all go out and get new clocks because of that?"

Short answer is yes. But I actually have experience with this one, so I'll elaborate. In the 1990's, while working for Motorola, a software program we sold for "personal information management" had to be re-calibrated because of a leap "second" that through accumulation of microseconds over the decades, needed to be addressed for synching with external services. Of course, computer science is a bonafide "science" and we pay attention to those sorts of nuanced details.

"The tilt of the Earth varies over time. Should we get new maps every year because the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and the Arctic and Antarctic Circles are constantly changing by millimeters per year?"

Where to begin with this one...

First, to get it out of the way, if the earth is tilting, then maybe AGW isn't the elephant in the room we think it is, other than as a political albatross. If the earth is tilting, what we can change in our limited influence over the troposphere is negligible compared to what the earth is doing that we can't change. Second, there's no reason why, especially with digital mapping technology, dynamic storage, computational speed, on-demand delivery, update our maps. To question either our ability or the need to do that smacks of naivete and misplaced priorities. Every time a Croat or Serbian farts in Sarajevo we reposition thin red lines on our political maps, but we're not going to account for gross geological changes?!

But, in conclusion, I want to address your final words, asserting "millimetres". Again, pardon my skepticism, but until I see otherwise with my own eyes, I don't believe that in the midst of a tilting earth shaken by Chilean earthquakes, that we have the ability to measure with millimeter precision a 1.4 Billion hectare area of land that spans 3250 km (3 x 10^9 mm) and at some points is covered by ice over 1 km (1 million mms) thick.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that Climatology (or Evolutionism, or Environmental Disorders) are pure or objective sciences any more than Sociology and Religion are. Understanding their limitations is key to deciding their usefulness, and something as insignificant (or significant) as decimal point precision as stated in the results can be a key indicator of how seriously to take these things. For my part, it's not worth a dime of my taxes to fund someone else's political enterprise void of any scientific integrity and I profoundly object to the insertion of fiat dictates of an enlarged government based on any findings pushed by such politically motivated bodies.

To quote Greenday, "Question everything or be a victim of authority."

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"Statistically speaking when you combine a large number of measurements it's justified to use a higher precision than the original measurements."

Statistics and anecdotes are not sound substitutes for empirical data, and if we are going to make decisions such as burning up corn as fuel or sequestering bovine flatulence, I first want some "beef" between my patties, not a bunch of hot air based on statistics. To quote d'Israeli (something frequently and falsely attributed to Clemens), there's "lies, damn lies, and statistics". Using higher precision than the original measurements is never justified in the realm of science, as the mathematician Lorenz discovered.

"For example if you had 3 measurements: 62, 63, 64 the average is 63. If instead you measure 62, 63, 65 the average is 63.33... If you limit yourself to the precision of the original measurement the average for both is 63 and you would never know that something had changed. I think even chemical engineers would accept that."

I like your example, but your conclusion is flawed. The data itself shows the variance, and a standard deviation is the way to express that. The average should not be stated as other than a whole number unless your data points were 62.0, 63.0, 64.0, in which case you could show the average as 63.3.

side note - If your objective is to show that something had changed and make a big deal out of it, I guess the time-honored convention of least significant digits would really get in the way, but at that point, we're not really talking science anymore, that would be more like freedom of religion that would allow you to get away with that.

To explain, (I don't pretend to be very good at statistical analysis, but I give you sound reason here...), what if the standard deviation of the example is +/- 0.5, then the collected data could possibly be rounded 61.5 to 62, 62.5 to 63, and 65.4 to 65, giving a true average of 63.1. However, the measurements were not stated with that level of precision, so they may have actually been 62.4 to 62, 63.4 to 63, and 65.4 to 65 which produces an average of 63.7, again, with no certainty because the measurements were made without that level of accuracy. If the two numbers were rounded, the first result would be the whole number 63, and the second, 64, a difference more significant than the accuracy of our instruments.

Worse, however, is the real life debate that "over a decade, the temperature will rise 1/10 of F". If the data was collected with accuracy of +- 0.5F, then you can see the spread in your (modified) example far exceeds the stated conclusion. If we measure 63.5F on a certain occasion, should we become alarmed at an increase of 1/10th F? It is smaller than the standard deviation, and this becomes obvious if more accurate instrumentation reveals that the average is actually 63.7 F and not 63.1 F. In this hypothetical, we're actually seeing temperatures drop. It might not fit the desired model, but that's how it would play out and a faithful scientist would allow the facts to prevail, or would refrain from faulty or premature conclusions unsupported by the data or the precision of the data. Otherwise you get Ponns & Fleishmann Redux.

"BTW, I did a little research and I was wrong about 2.5 million years. The Isthmus of Panama arose more like 3 million years ago (+/- some number). And just for the record, 3 million years isn't all that precise. An example of precise would be 2,956,210 years, a precision that isn't possible for events in prehistory.

I can't even begin to imagine the data sources by which geologists are contriving these age numbers, but if some number happens to be, say 3 x 10^6, the Isthmus of Panama may not even exist yet. Of course it, in fact, does exist, so we can limit our observation to that fact without succumbing to the temptation to prognosticate on the age, something for which we have no sure knowledge. I have more faith in the guy who guesses your weight at the county fair. If you trust his scale, he's consistently within a pound or two.

The key to good science, science that leads to discovery rather than stagnation, is critical thinking, and it would do us well to remain critical, even to a fault, at the expense of nitpicking on decimal point accuracy and relegating title of "charlatan" to those* that can't even follow a simple and immutably logical convention.

*I'm not calling you a "charlatan" (I don't know you from Adam), but your original comment betrayed an acceptance of bad science substituting for truth, when there really is nothing conclusive that couldn't change 10 more times before settling on yet another fallaciously derived number before the ink is even dry. Point is, sometimes it's better to do nothing and wait for the dust to settle rather than let your bloomers get bunched up in a panic.

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"Should I have written "2.5 million years ago +/- 0.5 million years"? Would that have made you happy? I don't think that kind of precision is called for here."

If you are going to suggest a questionable number with certain decimal point accuracy, you should be certain that the measurements taken by which said number is derived are all equally precise. Right here, in this forum, maybe you don't have to, but I was using your assumption that something happened not 2 Million, not 3 Million, not 1 Million but 2.5 million years ago to demonstrate the sloppiness of Climate Scientology that makes outlandish decimal point claims in such things as the tides rising or coastlines receding in mm's, temperature risings in 1/10ths of C, when the PPM measurements for CO2 or the temperature measurements at diverse weather stations not only have less than a single decimal level of precision, but that precision has varied wildly over a period of 100+ years upon which data they rely.

If the 1911 thermometer was +/- 1C, then in order to use that data point, you simply can't draw conclusions with greater stated accuracy. Of course removing the data point (what the hell, the climatologists routinely ignore data points that don't fit their models, anyway) that then encumbers the High Priests of Climatology with the problem of extrapolating their results from an even more finite range which is a bad practice at best, but a conversation for another thread. The climatologists should hire themselves some hard core chemical engineers if they wanted to pronounce scientifically convincing results, but they'd likely find their models fit reality even less than the grant monies require.

Aside from the obvious political demagoguery, the hurdles causing Climatology credibility to suffer are precision, accuracy, poor and insufficient data quality, and a dependency upon wild extrapolation thereof. It may be a great political cause, but a poor occupational choice for the serious scientist or the technically inclined.

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"When the Isthmus of Panama arose 2.5 million years ago..."

Are you sure it wasn't 2.6 million years ago? Maybe it was only 2.4 million years ago? The point is, like most conclusions made in the field of climate science, you lose credibility when you conclude precision in your results greater than the precision of your measurements.

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"I wonder if such an enormous volume of [water] could play a role in our climate....

Nope, must be that trace gas in the air.

Don't sit there wondering, run the calculations. What is the calorimetric capacity of the oceans? What is the absorption rate of UV, the emission rate of black body radiation of the oceans? What is the same for CO2 and other atmospheric gases? I think you will find the answer to your query, Grasshopper.

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"Are there any credible suspects other than "atmospheric composition" at the moment?

It can't be just the atmosphere. Whatever heat (energy in the form of specific spectral EMR) is trapped would have been blocked initially, so it's safe to conclude, if not at least hypothecate, that any warming (or cooling) is a complex of atmospheric and surface and even subterranean attributes of the planet. Blaming atmospheric CO2 is far too simplistic and inconclusive, so as to give unintended consequences if we treat it as a root cause. The jury is out and we ought not do anything, especially doing something just for the sake of doing something (a.k.a. "looking busy").

Comment: Re:Beside the point? (Score 1) 967 967

"will have to rely on information coming from climate science... and pretty much the entire Republican party, have decided is incompetent or corrupt.

Climate "Science", so glad there's no political undertones... and that it's kept safe under the guidance of Democrats.

RepubliGOON or DemocRAT, only an idiot would tie up his identity with others simply because of a letter in parentheses.

Comment: Re:US. vs China (Score 1) 386 386

"between two sovereign nations, and equal partnership based on mutual interest and mutual respect"

Whether it's the US and China or the US and Iraq, there is the definition equal partnership. Neither respects the US (Hell, most Americans have no respect for the US) and the feeling is mutual.

Comment: Re:meaning of three new blades... (Score 1) 175 175

Does that mean three racks of blade servers, or three blade units into a single enclosure?

Neither, it was a typo. Should have said "Glade Servers", referring to the little room deodorizers you can plug into wall outlets. The BOFH at rarely bothers to shower and combined with the heat generated from their 2 UNIVACS (on loan from the Census Bureau that no longer computes, just estimates populations) the odor makes almost the entire floor of DOL Computing Services unbearable. I would expect that with the biohazard semi-contained, some other programmers might be able to get on the VT-100s across the hall and fix some bugs. Ain't Gov-ment great!

Comment: Re:Failed to launch a monkey? (Score 1) 272 272

Even the US space program, with a pretty darn good track record, still loses the occasionaly probe or shuttle.

Or the Apollo 11 telemetry tapes, and apparently the Apollo 14 lunar module. Although we can thank a woeful workplace ethics for the recovery of the Apollo 14 LM camera from one of the aging pilots with strange taste for souvenirs.

The computing field is always in need of new cliches. -- Alan Perlis