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Comment: Re:Regular People (Score 1) 586

by Spazmania (#47437503) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

No approach to "programming" for normal people ever has allowed normal people to go beyond the canned capabilities. Excel macros are as far out of reach.

But why would this be surprising or unreasonable? Most people can't change the oil in their car either, or replace the stereo. And most of those who can can't make engine repairs. It'd be absurd to suggest this reflects faulty thinking on the part of car manufacturers.

Comment: Re:Stop throwing good money after bad. (Score 1) 354

by davecb (#47423377) Attached to: The Pentagon's $399 Billion Plane To Nowhere
Canada's government of the day is using it as a money-sink. Our requirements are for a twin-engine, long-range, non-stealthy aircraft with a moderate ground-support capability, such as the F-18 Hornet we now use. They rejected the newer super hornet, and so I fear the entire programme exists only to soak up money they don't want to spend on the priorities of the other parties...

Comment: Re:The Future's So Bright (Score 1) 412

by jafac (#47411795) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

The only bad programmers I've ever encountered, are programmers that are inconsiderate.
Those who do not consider that the purpose of a computing language is to communicate with other developers, not just the computer. That's really the main common-factor I've found among "bad programmers". It's a skill, that can be learned, but it's an emotional skill. Some people can be very intelligent, brilliant even, and still not want to learn that one crucial skill.

Comment: Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (Score 1) 376

WE don't lack the will.

We lack the power.

The ones with the power lack the will (or desire) - because their power depends on control of generation of energy through resources they control; namely fossil fuels. They're not going to give up that power while they have it. Not voluntarily.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 710

by Spazmania (#47394201) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Can I get you to concede that there are scientists unworthy of the title? And that many scientists belive that consensus with no serious contending alternative explanations is effectively settled?

Yes and yes. But I would suggest that those who fall into the latter category generally also fall into the former.

A theory has to coherently explain all of the evidence and make correct predictions about experiments not yet performed. Epicycles had no contenders for quite a while. But anyone who considered the orbits of the planets a settled matter was a fool -- each time data collection improved, epicycles' prediction was a little bit off yet again.

Put another way: I don't have to know the truth to know when someone is full of bull. I merely need recognize the characteristics of BS. It could still be the truth, but the guy BSing me is ruled out as a credible source for that knowledge.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 710

by Spazmania (#47393741) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

How else can you convince a layperson at all?

How do you make other people do what you think they should do? You don't.

You tell them what you're sure is true with a simplified explanation of why using the language of certainty. Then you tell them what you believe to be true and why, using the language of uncertainty. Then you acknowledge any competing theories that haven't been strictly disproven, again with the language of uncertainty, and briefly discuss the merits behind those points of view.

Anyone who needs to make a decision on that information will then ask their personal subject matter expert to spot check you -- do any of your certain claims appear questionable? Does any of the uncertainty in your beliefs appear to be mere wishful thinking? Did you deliberately omit the competition?

Folks won't make their decision on the facts. They'll make their decision based on whether they believe you're honest. Behaving like a used car salesman, using the language of certainty for everything you believe and ridiculing that which you don't, dissuades folks from finding you credible. The hard sell sometimes achieves a single result but it never achieves sustainable results over time.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 710

by Spazmania (#47393605) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

I don't suggest doing nothing. I suggest more research and more experimentation. I suggest public policy that encourages more nuclear power and addresses the dangerous build up of temporary storage for spent nuclear fuel, trading a risk of local toxicity for the proven regional air pollution and possible global impact.

What I -don't- suggest is that we rush it. Let change evolve slowly on a low-cost vector until the science is good enough to support more radical action.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 710

by Spazmania (#47393477) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

The only reason this whole thing is political (or a debate in the first place) is because there are people who stand to lose significantly from environmentally friendly measures and a move away from hydrocarbons.

And you and I are among them. The kind of massive economic shift needed to materially reduce the use of fossil fuels will seriously undermine your standard of living, as will the war with China necessary to stop them from burning coal.

Before we undertake such a massive and costly effort, we'd better be damn sure we're right. Something more than 97% of published abstracts declining to reject human activity as a major cause of global warming. Like maybe a model that can be shown to have been solidly predictive a decade or two after its publication. With numbers far enough outside the error band to lend the model credibility.

The universe is all a spin-off of the Big Bang.