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Comment: Re:Good grief... (Score 1) 677

by Stephan Schulz (#49109909) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

You may not know every detail of every computer, but if you can't build your own computer at home, then you should figure out how. It's doable in less than a semester, and you'll be happy you did.

Well, I can order an iMac from Apple, plug in the keyboard and the mouse, and say "I build a computer". Or I start with a shovel of sand and make my own silicon. I don't know how many computer users understand flip-flops, or nand-gates, or FETs. I think some of that should be in the general understanding of science. And for computer scientists, knowing about things like cache size and organisation, register set, and ALU capabilities does make a significant difference if coding for performance. I was once bitten during the transition from SPARC to Intel when I found out that SPARC's fantastically thought out register windows (meant to sped up function calls) actually slowed down function calls once your calling depth became great enough that you ran through the register file and had to start putting those large register windows on the stack. Register-starved Intel did better in that case. So benchmarking on SPARC indicated "no recursion", while in Intel recursion was actually faster than iteration with a dedicated stack in software.

Comment: Re:About time. (Score 1) 309

by Stephan Schulz (#49021667) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

Additionally, most of these approaches most naturally generate DC rather than AC, so you may need to replace large amounts of equipment. (OTOH, solar cells generate DC, so you can probably just feed it into whatever converter you are already using.)

That particular converter is called an inverter, and is pretty standard today. There are some good reasons for using more DC (in particular high-voltage DC for long-distance transmission).

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 2) 297

We either see the change over a generation or two and watch the rich lose some land or we take action right now to ptotect the mega corporate farms and the rich's land holding and see the costs increase in a decade of less.

While the Dutch people may be on the rich side world-wide (and by median maybe even by US standards), I'm no so sure about the Bangladeshi. But hey, there only 150000000 of them, and most of them are on the brown side...

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 667

by Stephan Schulz (#48870397) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

We have determined that to a very high level of consensus in the scientific community.

In other words, there's less validation on a potentially world-changing theory than on the validity of a single bitcoin.

Absolute certainty is only available in the realm of pure maths and logic. Well-programmed computers come quite close to that, but most systems cannot be perfectly understood even in principle - see The Matrix and Descarte's evil demon. The level of certainty of AGW is much better than the level of certainty we accept to send people to prison (which is supposed to be "beyond reasonable doubt").

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 667

by Stephan Schulz (#48869801) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

How about we get politics out of science and rely on the scientific method to determine if "Global Warming" is real or not.

We have determined that to a very high level of consensus in the scientific community. The result is politically and economically unwelcome, which is why some people and organisation deny the consensus. You don't need to get the politics out of science, you need to get the science into politics.

That said, the vote very much reminds me of Indiana in 1897 and some thing with square circles ;-).

Comment: Re:Cue the Deniers (Score 1) 360

by Stephan Schulz (#48837601) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record
"They" (both NOAA and Berkley Earth independently) have done that. Berkley Earth found no significant difference when using only the best locations (but then their automated method is designed to compensate spurious jumps in temperature) (here) and NOAA found a slight low bias for badly sited stations (here). IIRC, there also is a similar NASA study coming to the same results, but I don't remember the authors or title.

Comment: Re:Biased Institutions FTW (Score 1) 784

CPS is so competent here in Florida that they leave a 5 year old girl in the custody of a man they were told would harm her, giving him the opportunity to throw her off a bridge, killing her.

Anecdotes are not data. You cannot expect perfection - if you have a sufficiently large organisation, someone will fuck up sometimes.The question is if the organisation is doing an ok job overall, and if it there are ways to address errors of judgement.

Also, there is the perennial problem of adequate funding. A decent service of any kind is not free, nor usually cheap. Either we need to pay sufficient taxes, or we must do without certain services provided by the state (and/or live with crappy services). If a CPS worker has to handle 8 cases per day, they can spend a grand total of one hour per case (assuming no overhead -ha!) - and if a team of to spends half a day on one visit, that means the other 15 cases get only about half an hour.

We can whine one way or the other, but whining both ways (less taxes and more/better services) is not a sign of much maturity.

Comment: Re:I guess that means ... (Score 2) 340

by Stephan Schulz (#48773319) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player
Here is a question: Does it matter if I know the strategy of the opposing player? Looking at the researchers website, the algorithm seems to be deterministic. So I could use the meta-knowledge about how Cepheus would play with any possible hand (that is compatible with my hand and the public cards), and could bet accordingly. From what I've read so far, I don't know if that effect is modelled in the paper.

Comment: Re:How perfectly appropriate - (Score 1) 341

by Stephan Schulz (#48715393) Attached to: Pope Francis To Issue Encyclical On Global Warming

I believe you have bought into the MMGW or CAGW talking points to uphold the faith.

ALL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS are scientists of different fields.

Your ignorance of that fact just shows how little you know about the field, or how hard you work at making the debate one sided.

Climate scientists are made up of:

- Physicists - Astrophysicists - Meteorologists - Geologists - Geophysicists - Hydrologists (engineering) - Environmental sciences - Mathematicians - Statisticians - Economists - Atmospheric scientists

You will find plenty in each of those fields who have written papers on each side of the debate.

A classical case of both abductive reasoning and confirmation bias. Some climate scientists are geologists, but not all geologists are climate scientists. Some climate scientists are mathematicians, but not all mathematicians are climate scientists. And so on. Yes, if you water down the definition to include more and more people, you will get a few more dissenting voices. But its still minuscule compared to your base. Nearly all professional scientific organisations accept man's influence on the climate. None is known to maintain the dissenting opinion. And while some of the dissenters have written "papers", most of these "papers" have not been published by the scientific press, but by so-called think-tanks or web blogs. Even so, finding "plenty" is a far stretch - it's a small group of deniers with maybe three or four people with some credibility left.

Comment: Re:From Jack Brennan's response (Score 1) 772

by Stephan Schulz (#48563469) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

It's not something within the remit of voters to approve or disprove.

Of course it is. They can stop reelecting crooks to the office. Or free will does not exist.. Take your pick

Sure they can do something about it, and they are welcome to it. But any approval is morally void by the most basic natural laws, at least according to my morality compass. There is no process that justifies subjecting anybody to this treatment. And whoever is affected has an absolute right to self-defence against such treatment - and I'm hard-pressed not to argue that there even is a right, if not a duty, for others to intervene. If we go there, all claims of moral superiority of the west evaporate, and most "terrorists" suddenly have a valid moral claim. It seems to work fine the other way round - see classics like Rambo 2 or Red Dawn.

Comment: Re:The sheer stupidity bothers me... (Score 2) 772

by Stephan Schulz (#48560507) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

Question: If it's necessary to extract information,[...]

How do you know it's necessary? In all those ticking bomb scenarios, how do you ever know 100% that there is a ticking bomb, and that you have the one person that can tell you where it is, but miss any other useful information?

Apart from the immorality of torture, and the ineffectiveness of it, it also leads to the deterioration of proper police and intelligence work. Why infiltrate organisations, keep your ear on the ground, talk to people, maintain contacts, observe, when you can just grab some schmuck of the street and torture him (or her)? You'll get a lot of information you can sell as a success, wether true or false...

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 1) 355

by Stephan Schulz (#48506305) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

There must be a way of telling smart people from dumb people... .

  • There must be a way to travel faster than then the speed of light!
  • There must be 3 integers a,b,c, such that a^3+b^3=c^3 and there certainly must be a way to get superscript in Slashdot!
  • There must be a way to determine if an arbitrary computer program halts for a given input!

...and so on. Maybe there is a way of telling smart people from dumb people (Forrest Gump comes to mind), but there is no guarantee that we can always reasonably measure a vaguely defined property like "intelligence".

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