Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: What probably really happened (Score 1) 366

Boss: "Sheesh - you guys blame climate change for EVERYTHING. Tone it down a bit. Just use it when it actually applies. No, you weren't late for work because of climate change."

Department Head: "Do not refer to climate change in in official document unless it pertains to the actual science, and not just to fill in a dull paragraph in a press release."

Assistant to the Department Head: "I hear the Boss doesn't want us to talk about climate change."

Low-level Flunky: "OHMIGOD! They're banning any reference to climate change or global warming!"

Reporter: "So it's an official policy, but it's not written down, and you can't tell me who came up with the policy? And we can only find four people who say this is true, without evidence or documentation? CONSPIRACY!"

Comment: Re:Statistical Magic (Score 1) 328

by cirby (#49074439) Attached to: Federal Study: Marijuana Use Doesn't Increase Auto Crash Rates

"The data showed that 7.6% of crash-involved drivers tested positive for marijuana or THC, versus 6.1% of the control group. In raw terms, that would suggest that marijuana was associated with a 25% increased chance of crashing. But it's not that simple: the figures have to be adjusted for other factors possibly contributing to crash risk, including the driver's gender and age."

So their control group wasn't representative of the "young male" population.

Their "young male" correlation is also subject to a VERY large p-value (0.65), which is a problem in itself. The chart showing the "Adjusted Odds Ratios Between Drug Class Use and Crash Risk (Adjusted for Demographic Variables: Age, Gender And Race/Ethnicity)" is notable for some VERY high p-values.

The rest of the paper considers a p-value of 0.05 to be significant: a value of 0.65 falls into "we don't even believe this ourselves" territory.

Comment: Re:Denying Catastrophism, not Science (Score 1) 719

by cirby (#48635873) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Yes. Every year or two, the models get better - because they keep lowering their predicted effects to match reality.

By the time 2100 rolls around, we'll have a whole batch of "corrected" models showing how the in-progress ice age was caused by CO2!

They've already pretty much had to admit that the sea level increases they predicted were made up out of whole cloth. Instead of several meters, the oceans will be about a foot deeper by 2100. Maybe. Could be less - the error bars are bigger than the observed effects so far.

Comment: Re:Denying Catastrophism, not Science (Score 1) 719

by cirby (#48634787) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

The problem is that when they first came up with CAGW as a theory, they needed big results to make it more dramatic - so they tossed out pretty much all of the negative feedbacks, and emphasized the positive ones.

They assumed a huge positive feedback from water vapor, literally tripling the observed effect of CO2. Due to that, we should have seen a big increase in relative AND absolute humidity over the last two decades. Didn't happen.

There's one "buffer."

They also used a very, very weak cloud model, which would have given them a big negative feedback.

There's another.

Those two account for a lot of the discrepancies between models and real-world effects, but there are other "buffers" we keep finding out about.

Comment: Re:Global Warming Skeptics??? (Score 2, Informative) 719

by cirby (#48634523) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

They dont account for the sun?
Son, that the was among the first things they looked at.
And theyve looked at it several times since.
It's not the sun, son.
If it was the sun, we would be cooling right now.

The 11yr cycle bit is also misleading: there is some periodicity, but there is a lot of noise in that signal, as shown in this graph (which also conventiently shows that temperatures, and solar output have been moving in opposite directions for the past 35 years):

It's the sun. And no, according to the guys who actually study this sort of thing, we're not far enough into the solar minimum to be in an actual cooling phase yet. Give it a couple more years.

No, the CAGW fans didn't look at the sun "first" - and they keep looking everywhere else. I had a climate scientist angrily tell me that "insolation is a constant!" Not according to the astronomers, it isn't.

What's even more fun is that, even if you treat total solar irradiance as a (very wobbly) constant, you have moderate variations in the frequencies of light that make up that "constant." On big variable is the amount of UV light that makes up sunlight - and (again, oddly enough), that variation has a strong match to global warming.

Some of the CAGW folks looked at the number of sunspots (after the skeptics pointed out the Sun as a possible driver) - but that's not the cycle to look for. It's actually a combination of several cycles, and the 11 year cycle is pretty much the least of those.

One more thing: if you're interested in following the ACTUAL debate over CAGW, stay away from skepticalscience. They're deeply dishonest, and have a strong tendency to delete any posts that argue against CAGW in any way.

Comment: Re:Denying Catastrophism, not Science (Score 1) 719

by cirby (#48634413) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Actually, over the last few years, you haven't seen more typhoons, in the numbers that would be necessary to make the predictions correct. There were going to be a LOT of tropical cyclones, and a lot stronger, worldwide. They're trying to find excuses, but they were still wrong.

The kicker is that, in "total cyclone energy," the planet as a whole is well off the peak of the 1990s - more than 1/3 lower in total energy.

We're also well off the mark in total number of major storms - about 25% below what we saw per year in 1997, for example.

No, North America isn't being missed because of the jet stream, that's just silly. The jet stream has been all over the place, and even the meteorologists were surprised by the lack of storms, give that we had good conditions for them in several years.

"Many droughts around the world," yes, but not as many as there have been historically. We've actually seen a DECREASE in drought impact, worldwide, since the middle of the century. Again, the opposite of CAGW predictions.

The ice cap is NOT shrinking. You're a few years out of date on that one.

The Antarctic isn't gaining ice because of "fresh water" - it's gaining ice because it's COLD. Again, in the face of CAGW predictions. They "found" some warming - which, oddly enough, only showed up right next to the bases, where the thermometer readings were skewed by the humans in the area. Once you get a couple of miles away from the airfields and heated buildings, the warming isn't there.

Comment: Denying Catastrophism, not Science (Score 4, Insightful) 719

by cirby (#48633325) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

When you actually look at the science itself, it's pretty clear. And nowhere near what the proponents claim.

For that matter, when you look at the history of AGW catastrophism, you see a lot of, well, denial. By the people whose predictions failed miserably.

So far we have NOT seen an increase in the number and size of hurricanes. We have also NOT seen an increase in droughts, an increase in tornado numbers or strength, a decrease in winter snow, or a number of other things. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of events that were predicted as part of CAGW that have not happened (and in many cases, the reverse has come to pass).

We still have a fairly icy polar ice cap (the "sciency" prediction from just a few years back was that it would effectively be gone by now).

We're also about 0.1 C below the low-end value of over 95% of predictions for global temperatures (and 0.5 C below the "most probable" number). That in itself invalidates CAGW as a scientific theory.

Yes, the Earth has warmed. Yes, some of it has been due to CO2 increases by humans.

But the amount - and the results - are both badly blown predictions. That means that the followers of CAGW are, by and large, denying science because it didn't give them the result they wanted.

Comment: Re:RTG (Score 2) 523

by cirby (#48423657) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

RTGs only lose about one percent per year (less than that, usually). With the power bonus you get from RTGs (more power per weight when compared to solar panels at that distance from the Sun), you still end up with a large bonus of generated power, even when using the smallest types of RTGs that have been deployed.

A SNAP-3B would have started with about 52 watts, and after twelve years would have about 45 watts of power - compared to the 32 watts worth of solar power available from panels - for a total weight of about five pounds, and a much, much less complex system (versus solar cell deployment/pointing and batteries).

Comment: Re:With a RTG, it couldn't have got to the comet. (Score 2) 523

by cirby (#48423625) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

The SNAP-9A RTGs put out over 500 watts of power - about 16 times what the solar panels on Philae would produce at the time it intercepted the comet.

Those RTGs weighed only about 25 pounds each - much less than a set of solar panels + batteries. That power increase would have allowed a lot of extra options (such as a higher quality datalink) for about the same overall weight.

A SNAP-3B RTG could have put out about 50 watts - a bonus of about 50% power - and weighed less than FIVE pounds.

Comment: ...and Greenpeace... (Score 2, Insightful) 110

by cirby (#48422033) Attached to: The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses To "Convert Average Citizens"

Does the same. They hire the same sort of people, pay the same sort of money, and use the same tactics (and many worse ones).

Except they're getting all whiny because it's not working for them on the Keystone XL thing, so they're trying the old "those evil, mind-controlling oil companies" story on a different class of public relations targets.

Comment: The Highway Trust Fund (Score 4, Interesting) 554

by cirby (#48391221) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices "broke" because we're funding a lot of things out of it that aren't highways.

If the money was used as originally intended - to fund building and maintenance of the Interstate highway system - it would be brimming with cash. Instead, it's also being used for lots of other projects, like mass transit, bicycle paths, and landscaping for roads. About a quarter of the income from the HTF goes to non-highway projects.

Oddly enough, if you moved the non-highway spending out of the Highway Trust Fund, it would be completely solvent, with a decent surplus for more highway spending on things like bridge repair.

Comment: Re:Is that like...? (Score 2) 41

by cirby (#48389745) Attached to: How To Mathematically Predict Lightning Strikes

Do you ignore the recent extreme temperature records on purpose, or what exactly do you consider "severe weather"?

I consider actual severe weather as predicted, not the supposed "extreme" temperature records (which aren't that far out of normal).

We were told that hurricanes, for example, would be increasing dramatically in the short term. The incidence of hurricanes - and hurricane severity - has gone down, for much the same reason as the article gives for increased lightning strikes.

We were told that snow would be a "thing of the past" in many parts of the world (such as the United Kingdom) by now. Nope.

Tornadoes increasing in frequency and power? For the same reason, AGAIN? Not so much.

The only straw you have to grasp at is "temperature extremes" - which aren't that extreme, and which are mostly showing up in urban centers, due to the Urban Heat Island effect. They're having some severe issues with measurement. For example, they set a new high temperature record for May (102 F) in Wichita, Kansas - but that "record" was at a thermometer surrounded by asphalt, in the middle of an airport, which has been surrounded by developments since the original record was set in 1933...

You should note, by the way, that the "scientific" global warming prediction wasn't for high temperature records, but for higher low temperatures at night and at higher latitudes.

Comment: Re:Is that like...? (Score 1, Insightful) 41

by cirby (#48389701) Attached to: How To Mathematically Predict Lightning Strikes

An article about a study predicting increased lightning strikes due to global warming has nothing to do with all of the other (failed) studies predicting increased hazards due to global warming?

"All [models] in our ensemble predict that [the United State's] mean CAPE will increase over the 21st century, with a mean increase of 11.2 percent per degree Celsius of global warming,"

Do tell. How is this different?

Or is there some sort of rule about how things can be mentioned in stories, but not mentioned in the comments here?

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.