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Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 451

by ShakaUVM (#48022903) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

>False equivalence. Although equal airtime for all views is silly, Fox intentionally distorts facts and dialog to fit their agenda. WMD's in Iraq? A certainty, well after all the other news outlets have given up on that

This is a meme that unfortunately puts you on the wrong side of the truth. WMDs were found in Iraq - their old chemical weapons stores were not all destroyed, as promised.

'On June 21, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released key points from a classified report from the National Ground Intelligence Center on the recovery of a small number of degraded chemical munitions in Iraq. The report stated that "Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent." All are thought to be pre-Gulf War munitions.

These munitions meet the technical definition of weapons of mass destruction, according to the commander of the National Ground Intelligence Center. "These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee. The munitions addressed in the report were produced in the 1980s, according to Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples. Badly corroded, they could not currently be used as originally intended, though agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents, Maples said.' -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Chemical_Weapons_Recovered

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 451

by ShakaUVM (#48022791) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

> Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.

Sure, there was no fraud or scientific misconduct.

However, the commission findings did confirm a lot of shitty things they were doing, such as coming up with arguably illegal tricks to avoid having to complete FOIA requests, strongarming journals that publish dissenting views in climate science, and a general lack of transparency in a field that requires data openness.

Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 421

>This is effectively Google's response to OEMs (especially Samsung) putting on atrocious crapware that was ruining the Android experience for many users. e.g. "this is why OEMs can't have nice things".

You have it backwards. The Samsung bloatware is a response to Google's strong-arming vendors on their apps.

Ever wonder why Samsung installs a fucking duplicate app on your device for everything Google does? Samsung Calendar, Samsung memo, Samsung voice, Samsung Apps Store, Samsung Translator, etc?

It's so that they have leverage over Google when Google threatens to remove their apps and force a vendor to use the stone age equivalents. Having duplicate apps means that the threat carries a lot less teeth.

The only people hurt by this conflict are the customers, who have to deal with the shitty situation of two sets of competing apps on the same device.

Comment: Re:STEM =! Convergent Thinking (Score 1) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47842469) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

>STEM was never, is never, and will never be a product of "convergent thinking"

Which is what I said, if you go back and re-parse my sentence.

>And I have a problem with your description of art being the source of "divergent thinking"

I never said it was, merely that art *trains* divergent thinking.

>Take the so-called "art" that we have, for example - Music ... these days you listen to one song you listen to all songs --- all of them sound so similar as everybody tries to sound like everybody else --- the beats, the rhythm, who the fuck cares anymore who sings what since they all sound just so much alike

We're not talking about listening to the radio, but art classes in school. Art classes are about the creation of new art, or sometimes the active critique of existing art, but is never the passive garbage you claim it is.

Comment: Arts in Education (Score 5, Insightful) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47832679) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

While (correlation != causation) and all that, there really is a pretty extensive research base showing the benefits of music (and the arts in general) for students.

Education these days has been very, very focused on something called convergent thinking - basically, being able to choose the right answer from a short list. We've bought into the myth that all you need to succeed in STEM fields is convergent thinking, so that's what's taught.

The arts, by contrast, develop divergent thinking. Creativity, and the ability to generate multiple possibilities for the same problem. ("Should I lay out my artwork this way or that way? What if I try improvising a new melody in this part?")

In reality, we need both. Students who are "Masters of STEM" in K-12 often run into trouble when they realize the world isn't full of convenient lists from which we have to pick the right answer.

Think about the job of the guy who has to build a bridge over a river. He isn't handed a list of four bridges, conveniently labelled A through D, and has to pick between them. No, he first needs to generate a variety of possible bridges (divergent thinking) and then sort through them to find which one is most optimal for his constraints (convergent thinking). There's often not a clear "right answer" - one bridge might be 20% more expensive, but 2% less likely to collapse in a major earthquake.

So even if you don't use the arts directly, they can be very useful for cultivating a different mindset from what we're beating into our students these days.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787239) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Long discredited?

Yep. There's no inherent conflict, and the conflicts that did take place, are usually portrayed in a way that would make historians cry.

For example -

Galileo was opposed by other scientists (if we can use the term), who basically took Aristotle to be an indisputable authority. Galileo's model of the world required there to be only one tide a day, and when he measured two tides a day, he forged the data so that there'd only be one. It was what Einstein called his "greatest mistake" - forging data to match a mathematical model, instead of matching a model to the data.

But he wasn't prohibited from researching or teaching his model at first. The result of his first trial was simply to rule that he couldn't hold it out as indisputable fact, since the evidence was in appearance and reality against his model.

It was only when he deliberately flaunted that ruling and called the Pope an idiot that he really got into trouble. Good luck saying that to any ruler in Europe at the time - it had nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with Galileo being an asshole to a (former) friend of his who happened to also be the temporal authority in the area he was in.

But when this gets spun by Conflict Thesisers to be "The Church hates science! They threw him in jail and tortured him because he disagreed with the Bible!" (He wasn't thrown in jail, or tortured, incidentally.)

>Finally most religions require one to accept truths on faith, that is without objective reproducible proof. That's the anti-thesis of the scientific method.

That's not a proper definition of faith, which means trust, but in any event, no it is not the antithesis of the scientific method. The opposite of science is pseudoscience, or believing in things despite empirical evidence to the contrary (which no mainstream Christian church I'm aware of does). Science is simply one method of finding truth. (For a definition of truth that doesn't actually mean truth.) It does not have a monopoly on it. To claim such is the case would make you guilty of the fallacy of Scientism.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 2) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787179) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?

I'm guessing you're Canadian by your name.

The fact that neither you nor the authors of the study know that in a relativistic framework this question is meaningless, makes their conclusion not just meaningless but paradoxical.

I strongly suspect the science museum "scientist" who wrote the study never got past Newtonian physics.

It's like giving all the OECD a math test, and then only marking right the students who define Pi to be exactly 3. And then announcing that fundamentalist Christians "Rank #1 in mathematical literacy!"

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787137) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Is when he misrepresented a stastic favorable to the authors point by not providing context, then following it with a fully qualified negative statistic in context.

I didn't misrepresent any statistic. 58% of people not being able to understand science out of a fucking newspaper (which is written for 5th graders) does not make Canada a, quote, "Nation of Science Geeks".

The fact that this terrible number is not more terrible than other countries still doesn't let you claim it's a country of geeks when the stats show the majority of the population are scientifically illiterate.

The fact that the authors of the study don't even understand relativity - when they ask the question of which object rotates around the other as if there was a right answer - in conjunction with a highly biased study with terrible methodology tells us all we need to know about them.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787115) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>>For the purposes of the study, science-literate is a new term which means tops in those criteria studied.

Actually I work in education. Scientific literacy is a concept that has been around for a long time, and is generally defined to mean scientific concepts that everyone should understand.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_literacy

>For the matter of however it correlates to whatever way you define literacy is not the author's problem. They collected the data and Canada is at the top in the data they collected. Science-literacy is not laid out, well defined term so you go

It is, actually.

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 221

by ShakaUVM (#47787091) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

The report says nothing of the kind. Did you read it? GMOs and nuclear power are mentioned as divisive issues, but there is no data on the ranking of people against them.

Did you read the PDF? They're ranked #1.

but they have far less influence than you might think despite the vast amounts of noise (and I do mean "noise" in the information theoretic sense) they generate.

It's not what *I* think. It's their data. I'm just criticizing the report for being sloppy and biased.

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