Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Science! (Score 1) 737

I know there's a lot of alarmism in the media, and I also know how to read scientific publications. I haven't been an active scientist for about 5 years, but in the 10 years before that I have done my share in writing papers and peer-reviewing the dribble that generally passes for science. However. Are you for real? Everything is normal? Arctic ice recovering? We've just been seeing the lowest extent on record. Greenland had its shortest warm season in a decade as proof that there's nothing going on? A sub under the East Antartic Ice? You know that the East-Antarctic Ice sheet rest on land, with the sea ice disappearing each summer, and that we haven't found a way to run a sub under land just yet? Glaciers melting, yes, but after a lull between 1950-1980 in the Northern hemisphere, we're seeing a rapid global decline.

Yes, we are coming out of the 1850 ice age, but that does not refute the fact that we're pouring tremendous amounts of a known climate forcing term in the atmosphere. Both can be going on at the same time. Why is it you're ignoring this?

Comment Re: Science! (Score 1) 737

I agree that credit trading is probably not the best way to tackle this. Unfortunately, a rational debate about more effective measures is continuously derailed by people not accepting there is an issue at all. How can you make rational policy when the political elite shows up in their house with a snowball, thinking to conclusively prove that global warming is a hoax. The first step to remediation is acceptance of a problem. We're not even there yet, but we're passing the point of no return.

Comment Re:Science! (Score 1) 737

Temperatures have not been steady for 18+ years, but given that it is hard to put a number on the average global temperature in a year over the globe, it might be wise to stay away from such synthetic numbers and look at some facts. Glaciers are disappearing over the globe, North Pole ice is at its lowest in a long time, Greenland ice-loss is increasing, and the Western Antartic has become unstable. All measured, all pointing directly to the same thing. It is getting warmer, and we're not in control.

This is not about theory, this is not about models, this is about data, gathered all over the globe. After being warned about this happening for 4 decades, we're seeing measurable results. No, they're not perfectly predicted by theory, but who cares. The data is there, it's warming up, and the fact that our models are not 100% predictive is not something that should make you complacent, it should scare the shit out of you. It means that we're fucked, but don't yet know how badly exactly.

Comment Re:How patriotic! Criminalizing decent (Score 1) 737

Let's update your comment with a similar 'dialogue' that was hot a decade ago (and is still going on).

I see this as a blatant heresy law. The Church of Evolution Theory wants to make it illegal to publically disagree with the Received Doctrine. Humanity has been there before, with state-mandated religions, and parts of there world are there now, and it's a dark and ugly place we should never again go.

Think the above is trolling, because evolution theory is so obviously correct? Remember, almost every religion in history has declared that it is obviously correct, and anyone disagreeing is obviously a political troublemaker out to subvert the legitimate authority of the church, or worse, to do the devil's work. Clearly no one intelligent could actually disagree with the Received Doctrine, right?

Even if you agree fully with the hypothesis of common descent, that's not the question here. The question is not who's right, the question is: do you respect the humanity of people who disagree with you on something you believe (and believe to be important)? Are you willing to compete in the marketplace of ideas to convince the non-believers? Or are you really willing to use force to squash all dissent? We know just how ugly that road gets, how it leads through some of humanity's most appalling history, and that road was walked by people who were also utterly convinced they were right!

Like with Evolution Theory vs. Creationism, the dialogue on climate change has been poisoned by fabrications, debunked stories, outright lies and political machinations. It is yet another front in the war against science that has been raging for quite some time now.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 1) 1291

Prices will go up because that's what the market will bear? What are you, a communist? A competitive market will make sure that the prices will be at the level that will sustain the business. If the business asks more than it needs, another business will come in and undercut it. I know that in the so-called 'capitalist' United States the notion of a competitive market has been replaced by cartels and barriers to entry, but I wasn't aware that even ideologically the notion of competition was abandoned.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 1) 1291

So we're going into a situation were machines can make everything, but no-one will create machines because there will be no-one to buy the products. Hence we will all starve, the rich last. Or we will have basic income and keep the economy going.

Comment Re:Theory (Score 2) 591

Technically, fitness is defined as "the expected number of offspring that reach reproductive age". Survival of the fittest thus means that the individuals that create most offspring that can reproduce, tend to survive. This is almost tautological, so not believing in that is, how shall I say it, a bit weird. It's not about having some objective measure of being on top of something, or being 'better'. It's solely about the ability to reproduce more efficiently than others.

Evolution as mere change, although a valid use in the English language, has nothing to do with the theory of Evolution that governs biological life. Not stars, not planets.

Comment Re:The "pause" has been mighty convinient (Score 1) 248

Why do you think climate scientists predict the price of milk or gas? You're confusing disciplines here. (Or, more likely, you listen to the news for your predictions. Here's a hint: only the crazies make the news. The guys doing the real work seldom do.)

Comment Re:That would be... (Score 1) 257

Double-blind experiments are not an integral part of science. Do you think Alain Aspect blindfolded himself when he shot photons through a tube? Did Einstein, Newton, Bohr, Dijkstra, Turing, von Neumann, Darwin, Wallace, Knuth, Dirac, Schrodinger, etc, etc, etc. Yes, double-blind experiments have been developed for doing research on human subjects to avoid influencing the subjects. Is it an integral part of science? It's a part, that's for sure. Integral? Hell no.

Comment Re:Yes, you've increased the precision (Score 1) 89

Although technically what you state is true (closer to perfect leads to further out predictions), there is a catch here. The rate between increases in precision and increases in accuracy is itself non-linear. Non-linear dynamical systems are governed by things called Lyapunov exponents. These define the relationship between the precision of your measurement and the accuracy of your prediction over time. Unfortunately, in the case of Earth's atmospheres the Lyapunov exponents are such that you would need an exponential increase in precision to reach linear increase in accuracy. That's what defines a chaotic system. This gives a limit on how far you can predict in the future, as at some point, you hit Planck lengths for your measurements, and you would need to increase precision in the quantum world, which is considered to be impossible as modeled by Heisenberg's inequality. The exponential nature of the relationship makes this happen sooner than you would like.

I'm not sure where that boundary exactly lies in the case of Earth's atmosphere, but it can very well be that a ten-fold increase in precision leads to a 1.1 increase in accuracy, with another ten fold increase in precision adding just 1.01 (just making the numbers up). This issue of exponentially diminishing returns is well-known in the weather modeling world, so they typically use ensemble models. Instead of running one simulation and trying to increase the precision of that one, they run a few hundred with random perturbances of the initial conditions. This gives a good overview of what the future could bring. I think that's a more principled way to use computational resources than increasing precision of a single model (though, if the payoff in accuracy is good enough for the ensemble, it might be worth it).

How come everyone's going so slow if it's called rush hour?