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Comment: Re:Well, that's bad news... (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47733147) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

What do you think the scientific method is? What we have here is a theory that says that the planet is warming up at a certain place. We find that air temperatures are not rising as fast as expected, so if the theory's correct there has to be another place the heat is going. So, people look for the other place. If they find one, they can incorporate that into the general science. If they can't find one, it casts doubt on the theory. In the meantime, everybody's free to look for some other theory that fits as well.

Think about the Newtonian model of gravitation. Consider that Uranus wasn't behaving the way the theory predicted, so some scientists tried to make the data fit the hypothesis by postulating another planet beyond Uranus. Are you saying that the search for Neptune was unscientific? (And, of course, the anomalies in the orbit of Mercury turned out not to be due to another planet, but were explained by relativity. This can go both ways, but I do claim that the search for Vulcan was good science.)

Comment: Re:Well, that's bad news... (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47733113) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Would you know a fallacy-filled rebuttal if it bit you on the ass? I don't know anything about the people at realclimate, but bashing journal and authors and issuing a rebuttal seems reasonable if the paper is crap science.

My personal theory is that most climate scientists are honest, most anti-AGW papers are crap, and that there's a big smear campaign going on by people who stand to lose money if somebody does something constructive. It fits the facts that I've seen very nicely.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732991) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Would you care to name skeptics that are labeled deniers? I'd like to see evidence that they're skeptics, not deniers, and that they were labeled deniers by sufficiently many people to make a difference.

I've started asking about all these mythical people, since I don't see them myself.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732927) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

We're not necessarily going to be better off following policies advocated by scientists, since scientists tend to be lousy politicians. We're almost certainly going to be a lot worse off if we ignore scientists talking about what will happen under certain circumstances.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732869) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Okay, so why would you think the whole scientific field would be fraudulent? What, aside from the fact that you don't like their conclusions, would give you that idea? What evidence do the accusers have that the problem is with a whole group of scientists?

Something like 97% of peer-reviewed papers agree with AGW, which suggests that 3% don't, so any scientists in the field who disagree can still publish. Now, if some scientist comes up with something that overthrows a major part of a field of science, that scientist is going to be famous, so there's a big incentive to refute AGW if possible.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732815) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Sure you get to question Einstein. The question is whether anybody should listen to you, and that depends entirely on what you've got for evidence and competing theories. If you can come up with a competing theory that explains the observations we've already got, and predicts other observations we haven't made yet to be different from what relativity predicts, great!

Similarly, you get to question global warming. However, unless you have some sort of evidence, as opposed to mass character attacks on scientists, nobody should pay attention to you.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732781) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

I'm going to suggest that scientists are better at this science thing than other people, and that decision makers should listen to them. What to do about global warming is a political and economic decision, not a scientific one, but if you want to make actual good decisions (as opposed to decisions that will keep the Koch campaign donations coming in), you need to know what's happening.

Comment: Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (Score 1) 370

by david_thornley (#47732757) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

The models were doing pretty well until the 21st-century slowdown. At that point, we have two possible explanations: that the warming of the planet has slowed considerably (since it's still been getting warmer), or the heat is going somewhere else. If the total warming has slowed, that's good news (although hard to explain). If the heat's just going somewhere else, that heat sink is likely to become less accessible (as it apparently was during the 1990s), or fill up, and the atmospheric temperatures are going to go up fast again.

Comment: Re:Thirty minutes is ridiculous. Swap out the pack (Score 1) 177

by david_thornley (#47732717) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Hydrogen fuel cells aren't going to be good for vehicles ever, as far as I can figure.

Let's build some hydrogen stations. Gotta bring that hydrogen in somehow, or I suppose electrolyze it on site (and that sounds expensive). How do you store it? Those molecules are awfully small, and they will harm any metal tank that tries to hold it. Further, they're awfully light. While the energy per kilogram is very good, energy per liter isn't.

So, you pull in and exchange fuel cells. How big is the tank on that fuel cell? If I go to Wikipedia's energy density page, I find that, at 70 MPa pressure, it's 5.6 Mj/liter, as opposed to gasoline's 36 or so. Now, 70 million pascals is about 690 atmospheres, so there's going to be significant costs in pressurizing it and significant dangers in mishandling it. I don't know how heavy the tank would have to be, but I imagine substantial. Figure 9 Mj/liter for gasoline at 25% efficiency (probably the minimum for modern cars), and even if a hydrogen fuel cell has absolutely perfect efficiency in converting hydrogen to motion, the hydrogen vehicle is going to have 2/3 the range of the gasoline one for equal-sized tanks (and that seems unlikely).

Comment: Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (Score 1) 148

No-one takes Slashdot seriously enough to bother shilling for it anymore.

Are you sure? Whenever there's an article on the situation in Ukraine recently, it is flooded by people with Russian-looking names who spout what really looks like Russian propaganda. It surprised me. I really didn't think Putin cared about us.

Comment: Re:Microsoft cannot compete in the marketplace... (Score 1) 148

It's a network effect. If you use a certain OS, it's more valuable the more other people who use it. It becomes a point of congregation for software, knowledge, and support.

The single biggest advantage Windows has is that it can run Windows-compatible software better than any other OS around. As long as people get Windows to run whatever software they want, software vendors will write Windows versions. As long as there's more Windows versions of important software than anything else, people are going to want to buy Windows computers so they can run the software they want. When the first Linux-based netbooks came out, they faced opposition from purchasers who found they couldn't run their software on them.

It's also practical for a large number of people to get extremely knowledgeable about how to get around Windows' failings, since it has relatively few versions and a really big number of installations. If you've tried to find information on how to do something on Windows, and how to do something on Fedora or Ubuntu, you'll notice it's usually easier to find it on Windows. Similarly, it's easier to hire people with Windows experience in a whole lot of fields than to hire people with some form of Linux experience.

There's also the advantages of major corporate backing. Microsoft will go to great lengths to make sure their software is good enough, so it's the safe choice. Managers often vastly overestimate their ability to sue over software that doesn't work, but Microsoft wants to make sure that if you go all-Microsoft your systems will work well enough. IT is becoming more strategic in business, but it's frequently a cost center, meaning it's something the business needs but isn't making money on, so there's much to be said for paying the Microgeld to keep things running.

Comment: Re:Publicly Funded Governments (Score 1) 148

You do realize that very few people share RMS's opinions, right? I flatly don't agree that proprietary software is unethical, and I have put a lot of thought into software ethics. People who aren't familiar with the philosophy are in general not going to think it's unethical, any more than a copyrighted book or song is unethical. (Yes, I know, some people think copyright itself is unethical, but again they're in a small minority.)

There is some really good F/OS software, but it's not always higher quality than proprietary. In terms of a UI that most people can handle, it generally lags Apple and Microsoft and Google. It's also a lot easier for a company to write software for Windows and maybe Mac OSX, rather than all the different Linux and *BSD distros people might use, so there's lots of vital software that is available only on proprietary OSes. F/OS software is very erratic in covering various needs, tending not to cover big business needs and the like, so there's lots of vital software functionality that's only available in proprietary software.

F/OS software does not prevent monetary kickbacks. Software license fees are only a small part of most projects, and a government project will have all sorts of other expenses. There's plenty of room for monetary kickbacks, perhaps more so if nobody has to pay for software licenses.

License fees are an annoyance, but evil in themselves? To produce large-scale software, people have to be paid somehow. People are paid to work on F/OS software because their business thinks it a net benefit. Either they benefit from the publicity, or they benefit from having better software to use, or something like that. Paying license fees is something like paying royalties: it's a very efficient method to pay creators.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

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