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Comment: Re:But can we believe them? (Score 3, Insightful) 97

Initially I thought we could probably believe that they believed it. But then TFA said this:

...we are conscious that [they] have ... legal support that go[es] far beyond that ... typical. And, we are concerned that they[NSA, GCHQ et al] could be involved in such indiscriminate operations against private companies with no grounds for suspicion....

This seems to be a bit more than simply "you can't prove a negative"; it seems to be a warning carrying overtones of much that's been left unsaid. The reference to legal support seems to suggest that Gemalto have been on the receiving end of a visit from the men in dark glasses. "No grounds for suspicion" sounds like a ominous reference to suppressed truth, rather than just Russell's teapot

Comment: Re:Dang! (Score 1) 97

Also the Gemalto internal network is not a series of tubes!:

It is important to understand that our network architecture is designed like a cross between an onion and an orange; it has multiple layers and segments which help to cluster and isolate data.

I'll definitely be filing that one on the list of creative computing analogies!

Comment: Dang! (Score 1) 97

From TFA:

We immediately informed the customer and also notified the relevant authorities both of the incident itself and the type of malware used.

A lot of good "informing the relevant authorities" turned out to be (unless the customer was in China or Russia or somewhere, I suppose). They were just like "dang, we'll have to try harder next time". Or perhaps "yay!, they bought the distraction!".

Comment: Re:Bill Nye, the Dogma Guy! (Score 1) 672

by GoddersUK (#49110045) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

From TFA:

We have this top tier [of scientists] in the U.S., the people who graduated from Stanford, from Berkeley, from MIT, Cornell. Those people are still exceptional and really good. But we have this enormous gap between that and just regular software writers and farmers and people that need to be scientifically literate.

I don't think what I said is an inaccurate representation of the article under discussion. Now that article may not be representative of his usual, or actual, views. If he was put on the spot by the interviewer he may have given a less well planned answer than in other situations. And that's fine, I can forgive him for that.

But it didn't take me much scrolling through his twitter feed to find some incredibly bad science. I would have hoped that "one of the foremost scientific communicators of our day" would know that science does not and cannot tell you what your rights are. Or here. One snow storm in Boston is as consistent with no climate change as it is with climate change, one would hope that "one of the foremost scientific communicators of our day" would understand the dangers of taking individual datapoints in isolation.*

*The fact that he may well know this, and know the rigorous statistics that support climate change, does not change the fact his job is to help people embrace scientific thinking. This means not tweeting blatantly erroneous logic, no matter how correct the conclusion may be.

Comment: Re:Bill Nye, the Dogma Guy! (Score 1) 672

by GoddersUK (#49109175) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

You originally said that to be consistent, if I shout down someone who says X is true, I should also shout down someone who says X is false. I didn't need to bring up "authority" at all to point out what a dumb statement that was.

OK, I should have written my comment from Nye's perspective not mine. If these "farmers" and "programmers" aren't qualified to speak then neither are democrat politicians nor green campaigners, regardless what opinion they hold. Only the high priests of science should be allowed to say anything. If Nye is going to apply appeal to authority then he should, at least, apply it consistently. You are making the mistake of assuming that a conclusion is all there is to an argument.

Consensus is part of the scientific method. You come up with a theory, test it with an experiment, publish your conclusion, and subject it to peer review where it may or may not gain consensus

No, consensus is part of the way science is done today (and not part of (formal) peer review, btw). The essential scientific method is observation > (falsifiable) hypothesis > experiment to test > review hypothesis > repeat. Now there is a LOT of research published today, no individual could ever review all the data and hypotheses and form their own conclusions on everything: that's where scientific consensus comes in - it's a shortcut made of pragmatic necessity.

As for the peer review process the reviewers are assessing your paper for scientific integrity, reasonableness and originality (and whether it meets the journals standards of "importance"), nothing more. Now, in utopia, there exists an informal review process where others try and repeat your experiments, add to your conclusions, test your reasoning and so on; ultimately your work will be discarded or accepted. The reality is that this never happens for most papers, but even when it does that process in itself does not lend validity to the conclusions, only the additional data and reasoning provided do so.

Comment: Re:Evidence based, reasoned arguments don't work (Score 1) 672

by GoddersUK (#49109089) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

I often hear people say things like this. It's hard for this to come across as anything other than a lazy "we failed to win the argument so lets just call them names" approach. Of course you don't think their arguments are correct, otherwise you'd (presumably) agree with them. Describing anyone with whose arguments you disagree, or who fails to come round to your position, as irrational and unworthy of engagement is a very dangerous form of arrogance that will quickly lead you into cognitive echo chambers - indeed your argument seems to display the very behaviour it purports to condemn. Sooner or later you will do it to the next Galileo.

If someone wants to believe something, your reasoned arguments and evidence based defence of your facts will never persuade them otherwise. Instead, they just end up believing even harder in what you challenged them on.

Certainly the fact that some people are irrational is not an argument against maintaining logical argument. I don't think anyone benefits from widespread use of fallacious arguments. Not only do I not think that ends justify means, but I don't think the ends of such behaviour are positive. Say I'm a high profile science communicator and I call climate change deniers or creationists "idiots who are clearly wrong and I have a PhD, so you can trust me": it may very well be the case that reasoned logical arguments wouldn't have convinced that group of people, but what I've done is I've taught a whole load more people (including the school kids who are learning about science, what it is and how it works; who should be the next generation of scientists and reasoners) that argument from authority is an acceptable approach. I've done untold damage to the worldviews of people that were, or could have been, rational individuals.

Comment: Re:Bill Nye, the Dogma Guy! (Score 1) 672

by GoddersUK (#49109021) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge
Yes. If I attack you for bad reasoning, say an appeal to authority, I should do so whether your conclusion happens to be valid or not. Now, if I were to say that that disproves your conclusion I would be guilty of argument from fallacy; but I don't need to say that. And certainly poor reasoning does nothing to help the cause of science.

Comment: Bill Nye, the Dogma Guy! (Score 5, Insightful) 672

by GoddersUK (#49108703) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

Well, this is the world’s most technically advanced society, and we have people denying climate change. These guys are still in deep denial, and future generations, what few of them will be alive, are just going to go, “What were you freaking people doing? What was wrong with you?”

No. This is why Nye, and people like him, are not "the foremost science educators" anywhere. This is not science. Science is not about being correct, science is not about deferring to authorities; science is a process for understanding our world, for explaining and predicting. It's a philosophy, not a set of facts. People in the future will be saying “What were you freaking people doing? What was wrong with you?”, but they won't be saying it to climate change "deniers" or "sceptics" - they will be saying it to the "science educators" who thought levelling charges of heresy was a better course than providing a reasoned, evidence based argument.

You see if you truly believe in the scientific method, and the wider philosophy of rationality, you provide a reasoned, evidence based defence of your position and attack on your opponents position. You don't tell them that they're not qualified to speak because they don't have a PhD from Harvard, or because they disagree with the "consensus". Science does not rely on qualification or authority or consensus and the myth that it does is the biggest threat to scientific literacy today.

And show some f***ing consistency, please. If you're going to shout down "conservatives" for being unqualified to talk about climate change please shout down "liberals" and "greens" that talk about, and accept, climate change as being unqualified to talk about it too.

Comment: Re: No! (Score 1) 148

If you just write the occasional letter, yes. If you're a heavy user of general purpose office software then you will notice the benefits of moving off anything pre-2007. While the 2007-2010 and 2010-2013 changes are more incremental I think the 2007-2013 change is definitely worth it for heavy users. I always get the impression people who say things like you probably haven't used a more recent version of Office than 2003 because the changes are substantial and worthwhile. People always go on about how wonderful LibreOffice (or whatever they're calling it these days) and Google Docs are. They're not. They can do the basics but they can't take the semi-pro market like Office can. Sure, if you're typsetting a book use Latex and if you're plotting publication quality scientific graphs use Origin/Sigma Plot/etc. But for everything in between MS Office has no competition.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?