Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 1) 422

by Orgasmatron (#49696887) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

Science is a tool that we use. The concept of "wrong" doesn't apply to it.

To use science, we compare an idea to reality by making a prediction. If the prediction doesn't come out, the idea is wrong.

You may notice that the credentials of the people that support the idea are not a factor. The Royal Society took "Nullius in verba" for their motto. It means "on the word of no one", an explicit rejection of authority, and a reminder to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.

My field is operational. It is tested against reality daily. When I get things wrong, which happens, everyone knows. There are no boogeymen to blame it on, and no one would doubt the plain evidence of their own eyes if I started saying that it was just laymen and conmen telling them that things were broken while I, the expert, say that things are fine.

Comment: Ban plea deals (Score 4, Interesting) 245

No one should be coerced to plead guilty against the threat of huge sanctions.

Prosecutions are stacked against the defendant, particularly federal prosecutions. They are alone with their own resources against buildings full of government lawyers drawing a salary, with no incentive to seek justice, just convictions to pad their stats.

By forcing him to plead guilty to a lesser charge (to avoid something silly like 18 consecutive death sentences, or whatever they came up with), the rest of us are duped into believing that he actually did something wrong. Pleas should only be allowed on all charges, or none. Anything in between is institutional coercion, a corruption of justice.

Further, there should be a very, very high bar against charging someone for going about their ordinary business. If his business isn't illegal in general, it shouldn't be illegal when government agents lie to him.

If you pre-pay at a gas station and tell the cashier that you are filling up because you like your getaway car to be in top condition before you rob a bank, is that guy now a felon for not refusing your business? By the logic of this case, if you are an undercover cop he is.

We should be pissed about this. But we aren't. Why not?

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 1) 422

by Orgasmatron (#49687565) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

You can't tell if a prediction came true or not? Not even when that prediction was blasted from every rooftop and television on the planet for 25 years?

I'm pro-science, but only when science is the method for deciding if an idea is good or not. I have no care for science-that-falls-out-of-the-mouths-of-authority.

The predictions failed. The models are wrong. Not inaccurate, wrong. Inaccurate would be if they were off by a few percent. Wrong is when they are off by x2 or x3 or x10. Science has spoken clearly here.

And my views are anti-intellectual? :(

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 1) 422

by Orgasmatron (#49685487) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

You could be the honest man, if you wanted to be. Pick a model, and compare the prediction for 2014 with the "data" from 2014.

Note that this has already been done for various ensembles of models. You can see the chart for yourself, on page 3 of the paper that gives you badfeels.

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 0) 422

by Orgasmatron (#49673703) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

What's really funny about this is that the climate debate really picked up when people with actual statistics skills showed up and started looking around.

Essentially, you have it backwards. The professionals showed up and started talking about the Excel macro-level work they were finding.

Not that they needed to. When the model is wrong, it doesn't matter how skillfully it was written. It only takes an honest man to say what everyone can see.

Comment: Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 0, Troll) 422

by Orgasmatron (#49672101) Attached to: Ice Loss In West Antarctica Is Speeding Up

Considering that the current conditions are well outside the prediction envelopes of all of the models, despite the same team cooking both sets of books, I think the logical conclusion is that the current state of climate research is somewhere between phlogiston and N-rays on the wrongness scale.

I think a lot of us skeptics would be thrilled if they managed to catch up to Aristotle. That, at least, would put them on the right track towards Newton and Einstein.

Comment: Re:Deniers (Score 0) 525

Measurements show no such thing. Average temperature of the globe isn't something you can measure. The best you can do is define something arbitrary. The problem comes in when you forget that your definition is something that you made up and start thinking that it is something real.

However, even according to those models, we are now well outside of the error bars of ALL of the prediction.

Now, if the speedometer in your car said something between 100 and 300 when you were only at 55, would you consider that to be imperfect, or inaccurate, or useless?

Comment: Re:Embassi in Laos (Score 1) 509

by Orgasmatron (#49641551) Attached to: What To Say When the Police Tell You To Stop Filming Them

I have no idea what the laws are in Laos, or how far past the foundation the US soil extends, but photography is a serious security threat in some circumstances. For example, one of Sean Smith's last messages to the outside world was "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

The catch is that it isn't really stoppable, or even necessarily chargeable in most places. About the best they can do usually is to estimate the threat by ordering the photographer to stop and seeing how that conversation goes. You'll notice that in your encounter, the worst that happened to you is that you got annoyed.

(For the record, I'm 100% against laws that prohibit photography of any one or any thing, in the public, in the US.)

Comment: Re:The Curve on Academic Courses (Score 2) 425

by Orgasmatron (#49620061) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

One of my friends (who now has a masters in CS) was asking me why his programming 101 course was so heavy on pointers when nearly everything in the 200+ range was taught using pointerless, or nearly pointerless, languages.

The reason, of course, is to figure out as early as possible which camp each student was in.

I've used a similar technique with cousins and nephews who have come to me, as the adult in the family that works with computers, for advice when trying to decide to start (or sometimes quit) a CS course.

Comment: Easy to fix (Score 3, Interesting) 173

Fixing this is simple. Just make misprosecution punishable on parity with the charges being prosecuted.

Willfully hide exculpatory evidence in a capital murder trial? Death penalty.

Lie about evidence in a life imprisonment case? Life in prison.

Etc.

For that matter, this works on false rape charges too, but there you need more filtering. Honest false charges (disagreements, mistakes, etc) should be safe, so much so that no victim should even remotely fear coming forward. And amusingly, the prosecutor thing would guard against abuse of that too...

Comment: a safe (Score 1) 446

You need a safe.

To be more specific, you need a water-resistant fire safe rated for digital media. Check the certifications and endorsements.

Talk to your local fire department. The temperature and duration ratings differ by safe, and you'll want to make sure that your house fire scenario matches the safe you are getting.

Also pay attention to water. Your safe may end up in the basement, and the basement may be full of water. You may decide to place the safe in the basement now, so that it doesn't experience a few hundred Gs getting there on its own.

Expect to pay $300 minimum for one. You'll be astonished by how big and heavy it is, and yet so small on the inside.

Oh, and from then on, you will have operational issues. You need to air it out from time to time, but you can't leave it open. Oh, and you can open it with a butter knife, or a stern glance, so don't put anything valuable in it.

E = MC ** 2 +- 3db

Working...