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Comment: Wake me when the discussion gets interesting (Score 2) 963

by Nathaniel (#39866869) Attached to: Last Bastion For Climate Dissenters Crumbling

'The climate' is a complex system. Of course it's changing. Constantly. And of course there are trends in those changes. We get hung up arguing about how much the numbers are changing, when that's not even the interesting question.

The reason people take this issue so seriously is the idea that the system will run out of control if/when things get 'bad enough'.... That there's some sort of tipping point, after which things will somehow run wildly out of control. This is what we ought to be discussing. Instead we're yelling at one another about how much change we've seen and what it might mean.

We ought to be discussing things like positive vs negative feedback loops.

Instead, we've bickering over the numbers that people have seen on various gauges.

Comment: Re:Cause You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd (Score 1) 1091

by Nathaniel (#39437843) Attached to: Why Linux Can't 'Sell' On the Desktop
Linux runs on nearly everything, from micro controllers to super computers. The only place it isn't dominating the landscape is on the PC desktop, which is becoming less relevant with ubiquitous computing everywhere. People are carrying around multiple devices that each have more computing power than a desktop from 10 years ago, and this pattern is likely to continue. Linux doesn't appear to be in any danger of going away. Why should we be concerned if people want to keep using the same old operating systems that they've grown used to?

I meant it to be a real question. How does it impact your life if the people around you are using Windows, or Mac, or Linux operating systems? What options are closed to you because of their choices?

Comment: Why does this matter? (Score 1) 1091

by Nathaniel (#39426291) Attached to: Why Linux Can't 'Sell' On the Desktop
You might as well ask what it would take to get people to switch from religion A to religion B. You could point out all the similar features, and all the potential advantages to having more people use the same religious services, but it wouldn't help, and it's simply not going to happen.

People prefer the things they know, and regardless of everything else, change involves effort, so if there's not a really clear and significant benefit, why would anyone bother, just so you can be happier? Why do you care what religion or operating system someone else uses? How does it impact your life? Why does it matter to you?

Figure that out, and you can focus on the issues that are important to you.

Comment: Doubt is understandable (Score 1) 701

by Nathaniel (#32882530) Attached to: Climategate and the Need For Greater Scientific Openness

Climatology has a bad reputation in part because there is the appearance of secrecy and insufficiently rigorous methodology, but also because there is self-evident inconsistent behaviour. We're told that there is a world-wide consensus among climatologists about how horrible this problem is, how we're all doomed, and how urgent it is to take immediate action. However, it's clear that they don't think it's serious enough to justify showing their work, warts and all. This leads people to conclude that they aren't all that serious about their soothsaying. They are still putting their own interests first, just like everyone else.

The world is full of people who say false things, why should we believe these claims? If their actions are inconsistent with their words, so much more reason to dismiss them. It's easy to dismiss climatologists as yet another false voice screaming for our attention. This is the age of scepticism.

If there were really a true consensus among tens of thousands of scientists, all in agreement that this was the single most important issue facing humanity, if they really all thought it needed immediate attention, they could pool their money, and walk us through the data on national television, graphs and all, like Ross Perot. If they were sure of their data, they could offer it up for free, beg us to look at it, and hold workshops every week at the public library to explain it, all in a selfless effort to bring climate literacy to the world. That's not happening, so it's natural to doubt the sincerity of their alleged consensus, and the claims that immediate action must be taken. Yeah yeah, we've heard it all before. Next?

Also, nature is full of self-regulating systems. Negative feedback cycles dominate all around us. Claims about runaway climate change or tipping points are extraordinary. Where is the extraordinary proof? If it is possible for the sky to fall, why didn't it happen some time millions of years ago? What makes right now so damned special?

Then there's all the abuse heaped on sceptics. If the climatologists are so damned sure of their science, why do they respond with such hate?

If the climatologists want to be taken seriously, they need to understand that doubt is natural, and act accordingly. This means they would need to hold themselves to a higher standard then those they disagree with, and avoid the damned shouting matches. If the issue is important to them, that's the cost of entry. We aren't going to retool the world economy overnight without getting massive bye-in, and that's not happening with the methods that have been attempted so far. What they propose would require widespread culture shift, which cannot be force.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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