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Comment: Re:Underestimate. (Score 1) 42

37% of wives and girlfriends are likely to cheat on you too. But what you gonna do about it? Dump your cheating girlfriend and just end up with another cheating girlfriend? What's the point of that? So most people just stay with their lousy operating system or girlfriend. Really it is all pointless anyway.

Er... presuming that the cheating is important to you, you have a 100% chance of having a cheating girlfriend if you stay with the current one but only a 37% chance if you switch to a new, randomly chosen girlfriend.

But... if you don't instinctively see that, then I have to conclude that on some level you want abuse from your girlfriend/software vendor. In fact given your track record of past choices it seems likely that your choice will perform worse than chance, although a probably bad new choice remains a better strategy than staying with the devil you know.

If you don't have the confidence in your discretion to improve upon chance, a randomly chosen girlfriend/OS is a reasonable next step. You should try *anything* that meets the obvious superficial criteria (e.g., is biologically female, has companies providing professional support services). In fact studies suggest that while attractiveness makes a huge difference in who people ask out on a date, it has no effect on their satisfaction with that date once it takes place. What we think we want and what will make us happy are often two different things.

Comment: Re:Confused (Score 1) 173

by hey! (#49618529) Attached to: Single Verizon IP Address Used For Hundreds of Windows 7 Activations

There is no key generator. It's Microsoft own fault if they keys were stolen.

Which does not make using a stolen key legal, any more than a broken window lock in our house makes that fair game for burglars. Nor is using a stolen key ethical (at least in most situations); the principled response to not approving of proprietary software is to use open source software with a license you can live with.

Comment: Re:Would anyone deny? (Score 1) 270

You can bet that if a theory of gravity came out and it threatened the political or economic status quo, it would provoke a political response. When Edwin Armstrong's invention of FM radio started to gain market traction, RCA used it's political influence to have the FCC take the frequency band Armstrong's radios worked on shifted, making all the radios he'd sold useless. And if that had been done today, the next thing you'd have is is an army of PR flacks and FOX selling the public on the idea that FM radio was "tainted engineering".

Climate science isn't politically tainted. That's only PR BS. If you want to see for yourself, use Google Scholar to search for climate science paper abstracts from the early 50s to the 80s -- well before anyone outside the field heard the term "global warming". You'll be able to actually see the scientific consensus shift from global cooling to warming over the course of thirty years, completely outside the public spotlight.

Comment: Re:Would anyone deny? (Score 1) 270

I would.

I've worked in a physics lab (fusion). I've worked in a geophysics lab. Here's the thing about experimental Earth science: you're not working with a idealized, simplified object under controlled laboratory conditions. You are working with something that is immense and messy and which inherently generates a lot of contradictory data. It doesn't make the big picture impossible to put together, it just means it takes a lot of hard to obtain data to shift the consensus one way or the other. It took forty years for anthropogenic global warming to become the scientific consensus; the first papers were published in the fifties and the idea that the world was warming was hotly contested for at least three decades

Contradictory data is something fundamental to empirical science. Empirical science generalizes from contradictory evidence.

When I was in college, "conservative" meant someone who was cautiously pragmatic. Now it refers to someone who adheres to certain conservative axioms -- a radical in other words (radical == "root"). Radicals by their nature prefer deduction from known truths to induction from messy evidence. This is evident in your citing mathematics as the gold standard, despite the utter inapplicability of its methods to geoscience. Mathematics doesn't deal in messy, mutually contradicting truths. Nor does political orthodoxy of any stripe.

That's why "conservatives" latch on to local phenomena -- like the snow outside their door -- that seem to confirm their preconception that the globe is not currently warming. In mathematics the number 9 disproves the assertion that all odd counting numbers are prime. In climate science the medieval warming period in Europe doesn't disprove that the globe as a whole was cooler at that time. To radicals the existence of contradictions in the supporting data is corrupt. To scientists the lack of contradictions in data is fishy.

Left-wing radicals are equally confused by apparently contradictory data points, and likewise seize on the ones that "prove" their universal truths (e.g. that vaccines cause autism).

Comment: Re:Tolkien saw realistic trees in his imagination. (Score 1) 167

by hey! (#49614859) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

I'm not sure your information on general psychology is accurate, or appropriate.

I've taught tree identification to scouts and scout leaders. I can say from experience that people do not consciously see details, even if they're looking at a specimen right in front of them. It's as if their conscious perception stops as soon as their brain dredges up the word "tree". You can tell a typical person to look at a tree for a minute, then have them turn their back and describe it. What you get, even after you instructed them to look *carefully* at the tree, isn't much more specific than "green blob on a brown stick", and sometimes the stick is is really gray, not brown.

The power of verbal labels to shut down observation is profound. Anything that isn't broadleaf tends to be a "pine", even though pine, fir, spruce, etc. look a heck of a lot less like each other than a oak and Norway maple. It's like someone could't tell the difference between an opossum and a house cat. Most peoples' sense for the shape of a tree is extremely crude; they'll recall extreme shape like an arbor vitae, but they won't see the shape difference between a red maple (globular) and a Japanese maple (spreading).

You have to train yourself to actually see things. It takes conscious effort at first. Sketching or writing detailed verbal descriptions helps.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll

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