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Comment: Re:Hmm? (Score 2, Interesting) 55

by Zarquil (#33215748) Attached to: Sharing the Perseids With #Meteorwatch

So would I.

However, we're going to have partly cloudy skies and it's not dark 24 hours a day - at least not where I'm at.

I do spend a lot of time encouraging people to get out there. My kids are older, and it's very special to take them out of the city and looking up at the full panoply of stars. I've seen thousands of meteors myself, but last year I saw dozens of people online who had just seen the first meteor of their lives thanks to our encouragement to go look up.

Seriously - go spend your time watching for them. If you are going to tweet you saw one, don't just say, "I saw one." Post it so that it can be counted and we can do some real science with it. http://meteorwatch.org/meteor-map/

Comment: Re:Global Warming eh? (Score 1) 1657

by Zarquil (#33075074) Attached to: Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says

On average, we are observing global temperatures rise. Strictly speaking, that is Global Warming.

The effects of global warming exhibit themselves in the form of a new pattern of energy distribution around the globe. Energy distribution occurs in the form of day to day weather, but the change in long term patterns is what we observe as Climate Change.

Raising the temperature one degree at the poles is expected to have a significantly different effect than raising temperature one degree in a desert. After that, it's all about how the energy flows adapt to the new conditions.

Very simplistically, if we add potential energy to the oceans, it melts polar ice and converts it to kinetic energy, creating changes in current flows.

Comment: Re:More Info & Dashboard (Score 1) 1657

by Zarquil (#33074860) Attached to: Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says

No, you are wrong. More data will only make better predictions if all data is equally valid and all the data carries equal weight.

You have presented one data point that must be integrated into the final model, but you're going to have to explain how a measurement of 2 degrees from a 5 million year sedimentary core is the equivalent measurement of 2.00 degrees today with a calibrated thermometer.

Comment: Re:More Info & Dashboard (Score 1) 1657

by Zarquil (#33074624) Attached to: Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says

And show them the faults in the system that collected the evidence, and the proponents deny that.

Which proponents? Are you talking proponents on the "peer review" level or are we talking proponents on the "populous" level?

Rest assured, debate over the veracity of evidence put forward can be a lot more heated in journals than it is in the media. It also tends to be much more subtle where focus is put on methodologies or efficacy.

Sadly, when popularized it gets oversimplified to the point it becomes sweeping broad strokes which are rebuffed. If you want to carry a meaningful debate you simply have to get to the level of understanding the data presented and not accept being spoon-fed generalized summary reports.

The report is a summary report that takes a very hard look at the data level and provides very firm conclusions as an answer. This report doesn't ignore any faults, it looks at the preponderance of evidence. It should be accepted as credible - not necessarily 100% correct, but absolutely credible.

What I found most fascinating in the summary was the statement "it's been a scorcher for all of us" (or words to that effect), which is both untrue (we've had a few hot days here, mostly cool) and refers to WEATHER and not CLIMATE. So, when WEATHER supports the global warming argument, WEATHER is proof. When WEATHER doesn't support the global warming argument, we're told that "WEATHER ISN'T CLIMATE, YOU MOUTH BREATHING KNUCKLE DRAGGER."

Here you must understand the subtlety between climate and weather. You are absolutely correct in saying that present weather is not evidence for or against climate change. Weather is not climate, but the subtlety is that climate is composed of long-term weather patterns. We are not debating that it is a scorcher outside the window, we're noticing that the weather patterns outside the window have been changing year after year in predictable and unpredictable ways. Polar ice caps are shrinking, glaciers are retreating, Antarctic ice flows are increasing - but they are composed of thinner ice more easily broken up during the summer months. The debate of "is it or isn't it changing?" is over, the attempt to fully describe a functional model is well under way.

Which Earth was used to conduct these experiments that provided the evidence? Are we confusing "the scientific method" with "correlation" again?

Our Earth. Which is concerning because for now it's the only one we've got. We have been in the middle of a 200 year experiment where we've been pumping more CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than have been removed naturally. This is the phase where we're studying the results of that experiment.

Perhaps you need to review what is being tested through the scientific method and not confuse it with the difference between causation and correlation.

Observations have been noted, hypotheses were postulated, experiments are performed (and repeated) and theories are made. In this case, the theories that are made are a generalized model which tries to encompass all the observations which were taken. We do not have a completed, coherent model, but attempts to find one does not equal correlation.

The provable facts are as simple as looking at the absorption spectrum of CO2. It's testable, it's repeatable, it's accepted. Get closer to the data.

But, as with so many other things, reasonable voices are drowned out by the extremists--

You mean the ones who keep shouting down anyone who dares question the science behind global warming, calling them mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers, even when some of those people doing the questioning are climate scientists? Yes, I agree. Reasonable voices are drowned out, on purpose.

Especially anyone resorting to a strawman argument when the underlying data is accepted as sound. And particularly anyone who argues that the underlying data is infallible because we know we don't have a complete model put together.

Oh, but that whole thing about anthropogenic climate change going on? Yeah, that is on particularly solid ground, at least according to this study which reviews very compelling evidence based on data collected from 10 varied, global indicators. This is good science, subject to good review and based on good data.

Comment: Messier Objects (Score 1) 377

by Zarquil (#31090648) Attached to: What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?

There's a whole bunch of ways to approach it, but my favorite is to dig up the Messier objects - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_object - visible in your sky and just run down what you have available. Tried and true, fairly well known, and they're tough enough you have to actually look for them, but mostly easily enough to find that the students can find success. Another bonus: There are fantastic images available online and you can dig up a pile of photos that will help them see what they're looking for. Side topics up for discussion could be photo manipulation, wavelengths of light, and why the photos don't look the same as we can see through a microscope. It's important in case you think you can put a camera at the end of a telescope and just snap off equivalent photos.

Personal recommendation: If you're just starting yourself take a look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ to see what kinds of interesting objects are in the sky at that particular time of year. They give great talking points there targeted towards interested amateurs like me.

Comment: Stories from a non-recovering System Administrator (Score 2, Interesting) 902

by Zarquil (#28276053) Attached to: How Do IT Guys Get Respect and Not Become BOFHs?

I'm a sysadmin by day, computer consultant by night.

I started this path because I kept getting stuck as "The Computer Guy." I set everyone up with email. I kept everything in the office running. I was the guy that knew what hardware to get next. I got a LAN up and running.

I became a known quantity and all kinds of people started coming to me to fix the stupid problems. My friend talked me into starting a business on the side after fixing her computer. If nothing else I'd get a tax writeoff and at the very best my goal was to get into IT professionally and double my income.

I burnt out. I got tired of doing the same stupid fixes for different (l)users. I got sick of working on someone's weird ass-hardware. I questioned why I ever wanted into the field in the first place. Then I got in with a company that wasn't stingy on getting standardized hardware and my job got easier (even possible). Things were great, I was excited and connected with my job, and then I ran into a lead programmer who dumped the impossible on my lap and expected immediate return. I burnt out again.

Most of the company respected what I did, a few powerful people didn't. I got out, landed with a company I feel more comfortable with, and brought all my strengths with me without the baggage of a programmer dumping me in the middle of a problem and expecting me to fix it while he looked over my shoulder.

My guru is a BoFH. I am not. It just doesn't work for me, I don't enjoy being grumpy all day (even though I secretly wish that I could be..) The people that respect what I do like me because I'm positive and helpful. When I'm not, I don't like myself. I'm most important, if I can't deal with the demands something outside me has to change, I can't live with the BoFH attitude.

On the other hand, you're not a carpet to be walked on. If you have liberal policies that are getting dumped on, well, you have no policies at all. Defend and enforce your policies - you may need to explain your rationale. I'm really liberal on my network, I'm dealing with about 20 users, but my blanket policies are stupid easy to defend. (ie "Surf porn at home - our schtick is we're fast and our customers need ever bit of bandwidth we can give them." If they don't buy that, there's a dozen more excuses in my bag. If I can't get through after that, I have to decide if it's a hill I want to die on.)

I completely agree with those who say, "Look at your work / life balance." Balance is everything. You don't have to do all your planning by the Scotty principle, but do pad your estimates and give yourself reasonable deadlines plus a bit. If you finish early, fill in that extra time you've given yourself with interesting projects. If you are enthusiastic and engaged in your work, your attitude spreads to your coworkers.

Go get Thomas Limoncelli's "Time Management for System Administrators." http://www.amazon.com/Management-System-Administrators-Thomas-Limoncelli/dp/0596007833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244613832&sr=8-1 I found it infinitely worthwhile and read it every few months when I start to feel overwhelmed again.

A last side note, I don't have to do the consulting gig on the side any longer, but I choose to because I find it most rewarding now. I do a lot of simple stuff these days and it's pleasant to have people at the end of their rope so grateful to have a professional look at their system. Treating coworkers as regular customers has helped me not bog down in the abyss of cynicism.

And congratulate yourself. The very notion that you asked the question is a pretty good indication that you will find your own solution.

Comment: Re:Hyperic (Score 2, Insightful) 130

Slow. It's Java based, I didn't expect it to be lightning fast. Really bloody easy to add in and configure modules. Pathetically simple to add in a new server to monitor. Navigation takes a while to adapt to.

Great for me on my servers with head space. It's not for everyone and it wasn't my first choice, but after I used it a bit I liked it a lot.

If you've evaluated it and found it lacking, good for you. Tell me what you prefer and I'll look at it. If you're one of the thousands of drones babbling, "What the fuck is Hyperic?" you at least have a basic answer.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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