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Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 1) 223

by foreverdisillusioned (#49368997) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected
As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, a key thing to realize is that many internally consistent and mathematically correct models have been built in physics, only to be discarded because they don't match reality. There are an infinite number of universes that don't exist, but math lets us describe then perfectly.

Einstein himself identified the need for a cosmological constant quite early on.

But he quickly realized that this "need" (as it was originally conceived) was entirely psychological/emotional in nature--the effect it was supposed to explain didn't exist and so the term became useless. Einstein himself called it a mistake.

Some people are now disagreeing and saying that he was so brilliant that he solved a problem no one knew existed, but I am highly skeptical of this sort of freewheeling approach. Even if the Cosmological Constant can be made to worth mathematically to describe Dark Energy, you're on very shaky ground trying to re-purpose it to describe a totally different phenomenon from the thing Einstein was originally envisioning when he created that term.

Tying together the above two points results in the key thesis I was dancing around in my original post: "Explaining" an unexpected observation by shoehorning it into a term in an existing equation--taking a superfluous term and making it important again by flipping the sign and allowing it to refer to a different phenomenon--is a very weak and queasy "win". This kind of re-purposing strikes me as a very shady way of recycling a bit of trash that should have been tossed out many decades ago. Let me put it another way: the cosmological constant term should have never been in there to begin with. These aren't my words; they are (more or less) Einstein's words. If Hubble had made his discoveries sooner, Einstein would not have put the constant in there. So, in a universe where the cosmological constant term doesn't exist, what do we do when we see dark energy? Do we create the cosmological constant exactly as it is now? Would it make intuitive sense to create that term out of whole cloth and add it to alternate-universe Einstein's equations?

Anyhow, it's as you've said: GR has serious unresolved issues at universal scales, but also at galactic scales (rotational issues, Dark Matter.) Additionally, it has issues at the QM level, which makes it the primary thing standing in the way of a GUT. Just consider for a moment how gravity stands alone, unconnected to the rest of physics... and it has significant mysteries (dark energy, dark matter, galactic rotational behavior, closed timelike curves, singularities), and it also has important questions that we think we already know the answer to but we haven't verified (gravity waves, gravitational behavior of antimatter and other uncommonly seen particles, the existence and properties of negative mass / negative energy)

Conclusion via Occam's razor: GR is wrong. Not toss-it-in-the-garbage wrong, but wrong in the way that Newton's equations predicting the orbit of Mercury were wrong.

Comment: Re:Spies vs Comm Monitoring (Score 1) 65

by SuricouRaven (#49368661) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

There is one thing that Sun Tzu stressed above all else in The Art of War: War is very, very expensive. Only start a war if you are confident not only of victory, but of a rapid victory - for if you win after ten years of fighting, you'll have emptied the treasury and destroyed your own economy. A lot of his instruction isn't about how to fight, but about when not to fight.

Comment: Re:Oh For Crying Out Loud (Score 2, Insightful) 65

by SuricouRaven (#49368655) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

Encryption isn't new, but tansparent on-by-default encryption is. Remember just how tech-dumb the average person is - you'd be lucky if you could get them to realise a web browser and the internet are not the same thing. Most governments weren't too worried (US aside) when encryption was something available only to the moderately skilled, especially in communications where the lowest standard has to rule*. After the NSA scandal though, companies are starting to design encryption into their products at a lower level, such that the user benefits without even having to know what encryption is.

*Would you like to explain to your mother how to use gnupg to encrypt emails?

Comment: Spies vs Comm Monitoring (Score 1) 65

by BoRegardless (#49368537) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

Sun Tzu almost 3000 years ago said he'd rather have 1 good spy than 10,000 good soldiers.

So what yields better results, spies you hire or machines who take no pay? Yeah, I know, spies are difficult, messy, and must be paid in cash.

My guess is what you catch with machines is bad guy wannabees. Real terrorists are probably already using unbreakable steganography. The chance of getting 500 bytes of info out of a 500 KB image, if you can figure out which image has hidden data in it, is next to none.

Comment: Re:Complete article (Score 1) 274

by MightyMartian (#49367331) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

You may not say I'm guilty of a fallacy, I'm saying you are. It's almost as if you think simply stringing long lines of words together in some semblance of a sentence somehow represents a critique. I hesitate to call what you're line of argument has devolved to a game of semantics. More like a game of alphabet soup.

Comment: Re:Complete article (Score 2, Interesting) 274

by MightyMartian (#49367213) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Are you trying for the Logical Fallacy of the Year Award here? The point of AGW theory is that the changes we are seeing are not natural in origin. Instead of playing semantics, deal with what the theory states. Invoking private definitions is probably the lowest form of debate, because it's useless and accomplishes nothing.

Comment: Re:Complete article (Score 2) 274

by MightyMartian (#49366985) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

I'm sure it's the same down in Washington State as it is up here in coastal British Columbia. Low snow pack means lower river levels, which means potential problems for irrigation in areas under cultivation, harm to fish stocks, and the potential for severe water restrictions in some areas.

I own some property out in a rural area of Central Vancouver Island, and while my house is on a civic water system, my kid and her partner live on the property in a house that gets its water from a creek that flows beside the property. They also raise pigs, using my water license. The creek swells up during rainstorms (like the one we had over the last day or so), but all in all, it's very low compared to other years this time, and I'm seriously worried that we may have to put everything on the civic system, or dig a well, and both cost $$$.

It also brings to mind the previous winter, when we had to put a new water line from the creek into the kids' house in the middle of December. First of all, it was about six or seven degrees celsius (42.8F), and I was literally clearing out the trench in jeans and a t-shirt. The soil itself, a sandy loam common in our area, was damned near bone dry a foot down. The back hoe operator was pretty amazed, and it demonstrated how the 2013-14 winter was very dry (though it did have longer cold spells).

The final anecdote to my story is that I grew up on the property, and when I was a kid back in the 1970s and 1980s, we used to skate at least two to three weeks every winter on the big pond, but now, even in the hardest cold snap, I'd be very nervous about walking far out on that ice. It just doesn't simply get as cold on Vancouver Island as it used to, and all that precipitation that should be hitting the coastal mountains and forming a good snowpack that lasts well into summer is just falling as rain.

Comment: Re:Complete article (Score 5, Informative) 274

by MightyMartian (#49366617) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

No kidding. Here on Vancouver Island, other than perhaps a four or five day stretch back in December with sub-zero degrees celsius temperatures, and the odd day here and there of frosty mornings, we literally did not have a winter.

There seems to be this popular attack of AGW that involves "Look outside, if it isn't a desert, all those scientists are evil liars!"

Comment: Re:Complete article (Score 5, Informative) 274

by MightyMartian (#49366607) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Because the changes in this case are not natural at all?

Saying "climate always changes" is like saying "water always flows", and then promptly putting a firehose in your living room and then turning it on. I realize you think this is a great rhetorical trick, but that's all it is.

Comment: Tired of Consensus = Fact (Score 4, Informative) 274

by BoRegardless (#49366215) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

These stories are tiring as there is no chance for "settled science fact" in climate change.

All of these estimates are based on elaborate math models and yet the Earth's long term climate ON ITS OWN, has swung widely over recorded history.

And from the geologic history, we know we will again go into another ice age based on the history of the change in the Earth-Sun orbit & precession changes on a regular 110,000 year cycle. And without human intervention, the ice age ends.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.