Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Comment Re:Climate science, consistently misleading (Score 1) 191

there is no consensus on what the level of warming will be

nor is there consensus on the idea that the changes are harmful/damaging to our interests

There is an enormous amount of disagreement here, scientific disagreement

honest truth is we do not know what impacts are likely to be

None of the above is true - except about the precise numbers involved. The IPCC AR5 report widely surveyed the published studies to date, and shows very clearly and with "high confidence" that business-as-usual emissions will result in a temperature rise of 2 to 4 degrees. This conclusion is not disputed by any scientific organisation, nor are there any studies showing anything short of broad agreement among climatologists about this.

Likewise, the WG2 section shows with "high confidence" that many unique and threatened ecosystems are at "very high risk" once warming reaches 2 degrees, that heat waves and coastal flooding will increase further, that we risk extensive biodiversity loss and economic damage at 3 degrees as well as risking large-scale tipping points, plus high risks of decreasing crop yields and water availability with particular impact for disadvantaged communities. Again, there are no large scientific groups disputing these results, as it is merely a summary of their own published work.

Climate science discussion is so slippery, constantly confusing

That I agree with, if you're talking about the political and layman's discussion. But that is not relevant to the science, where the evidence has been piling up and the debate has long since reached agreement on "will it be bad" and moved on to "exactly how bad will it get?"

Comment Re:Anarchy in Science (Score 1) 191

That statement is logically incorrect.

It's actually mostly correct - which is my entire point. Few things are so black & white.

They already state why incorrectness matters

Limitations and assumptions do matter of course, but misleading usage of the term "incorrect" is the issue I'm referring to. Unless if by "incorrectness" you mean "the degree to which this differs from perfectly correct in all cases", in which case you could maybe try out the term "accuracy" instead.

To the contrary, it is more often a valid, scientific reason for rejecting the model in question.

I still feel you're arguing about something I'm not. To restate, declaring something to be "incorrect" because it's not 100% perfect in every way is not a valid, scientific reason to reject a model.

a universal problem with climate modelling is the lack of empirical testing of these models

Well, except their predictions are empirically tested against new observations constantly. Of course no scientist expects them to match perfectly, since they are of course simply approximations that make well-understood assumptions like "short-term weather and cyclical patterns such as ENSO and PDO by their nature do not affect long-term trends". That does not make them useless for predicting long-term trends, which is why said empirical testing usually leads to further refinement instead of rejection due to not being 100% perfectly correct.

You may even find that actual, practising climatologists understand the limitations of their own models far better than you do. So you may have to come up with a more accurate reason than "your models are incorrect because you don't test them empirically" to be convincing.

Comment Re:Anarchy in Science (Score 1) 191

Newton's model of gravity was incorrect

This is not a useful assertion, as you could say that about everything outside of pure mathematics. Newton's model of gravity turns out to be still quite useful, as it is mostly correct - good enough for most terrestrial uses. Likewise, we already know General Relativity isn't perfect either, but it's a better approximation, sufficient for most non-terrestrial uses too.

Most people are well aware that there no absolutes in reality (certainly most scientists), so declaring commonly-used models to be "incorrect" or "disproven" does not advance the discussion - rather, it seems to more often be used in attempts to undermine the scientific case against the declarator's beliefs.

Comment Re:Anarchy in Science (Score 1) 191

Models aren't "proven or disproven", they're not found to be 100% correct or 0% correct, they're approximations. They can of course be tested by making predictions - which will also not be 100% or 0% correct. The only relevant question is, are the predictions accurate enough to be useful?

Your model of how science works appears to be a poor approximation, as science has indeed turned out to be useful.

Comment Re: I'm sure they are right.... (Score 1) 248

The point of subsidising a new technology is to kick start adoption while the market is still small. You won't see the real gains and benefits until the market scales up (which is clearly well underway with solar, and at an earlier stage with EVs). Try to take a longer view.

Comment Re:Cops shouldn't be allowed to take control (Score 1) 236

manually drive

If you ask me, that right there is a huge hole in the security - for everyone else.

Way too many people are unfit to be in control of that much inertia, most people at least occasionally. And since cars have so far killed over 3.5 million people in the US alone, it's past time we did something about that.

Comment Re:Dumb Idea (Score 2) 111

All these points apply to PCs as well.

And while all-in-one integrated machines are popular, and tablets etc are taking on the low end of usage, the familiar modular PC is still massively useful and very necessary for a large part of the market. There are extra challenges in doing this in a mobile device, but none of what you said is a dealbreaker.

There has certainly been interest in modular phones, and while they will inevitably require tradeoffs, whether those are insurmountable or how much they reduce its potential market still remains to be seen. History has seen many cases where niche products have grown in popularity as their engineering gets refined. Personally I'm glad to see someone trying something very different, rather than just tiny refinements to what we already have.

Comment Re:Beijing is not China (Score 5, Informative) 182

Not that I expect anyone to RTFA of course, but the article is actually a report on Berkeley Earth's study on the 1500-site national air-reporting system, and most of the figures given are for all of China. The only specific Beijing reference is the "40 packs a day" metaphor.

Comment Re:Good for experiments, not powerplant ready (Score 2) 337

Then there's other potential-energy solutions like lumps of concrete on inclined rails (if you have hills but no water), kinetic storage flywheels on magnetic bearings, flow batteries with arbitrary-sized tanks of electrolyte, compressed-air storage, reversible hydrogen fuel cells, UltraBatteries.. the list goes on.

Nearly all of these are well-established technologies. All have an efficiency cost, of course, but the cheaper the solar/wind input gets the less this matters. Renewable + storage is absolutely an effective and reliable baseload solution, and already competitive with coal in many cases (even before you factor in coal's huge external costs).

Comment Re: Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 1) 480

Let's see, gasoline costs 3 times as much, eggs cost double, bread is almost double.

At a rough 3% CPI index, it'd take 24 years for consumer prices to double. If that's the sort of time frame you're referring to, and your wages have risen only 25%, then yeah - you're getting screwed - but we already knew that.

shouldn't that be going after the upper class instead of the middle class?

There's certainly a good argument for that, yeah. Many feel upper-class incomes should be reducing, while lower & middle incomes should increase - but you'd still expect lower-class incomes to increase more than your own. It's notable that concerns about minimum-wage increases often come from slightly higher incomes who are afraid of ending up on minimum wage themselves as a result, even if their own wage doesn't decrease.

That said, there's a lot of evidence behind your views, so you're not alone, but perhaps minimum-wage earners aren't the ones deserving of complaints.

Comment Re: Those making more than new minimum salary (Score 1) 480

It's fine to want a good wage for yourself, of course. It's less fine to grumble about how people on minimum wage have managed a higher percentage gain than you have.

Their income != your buying power. How much has inflation gone up over that same period?

US income inequality is a hot topic these days. It's good to see the people struggling at the bottom doing a little better - but if all the higher income jobs also saw the same gains, that wouldn't be addressing the inequality at all.

Comment Re:Wind (Score 1) 35

Turns out, high up in the stratosphere the winds are predictable and have just the patterns they need. They did simulations using real-world wind data and found it was quite feasible to navigate balloons effectively to maintain coverage using only prevailing winds.

Since 2012 they've been trialling in New Zealand, Brazil and other places, they've increased balloon flight times from 50 days to over 6 months (despite expert scepticism), and now they're close to ready to roll out a commercial service. Pretty sure they've done their research by now.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.