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Comment: Re:I am SHOCKED! (Score 1) 323

by dewatf (#48146809) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science
Yes the abandonment of Latin as part of the progressivism was a mistake.

German may have lost out to English as a result of WWI, but English was second and it was inevitable that it would take over. The US, UK, and all its colonies and Commonwealth (Australia, India, NZ, South Africa) made up a very large language block and became the wealthiest and most industrialised nations of the first half of 20th Century, as another wave of globalisation was taking off. They were stable free nations were scholars, business people and those seeking opportunity migrated to in times of trouble. English became the lingua franca of not only science but trade, the humanities, pop culture and the internet. It's also good for crosswords.

Comment: Re:A lot of you are missing the real problem (Score 1) 372

by dewatf (#45241787) Attached to: Wikipedia's Participation Problem
It's not a problem, its just the Wikipedia. It is what it is and is actually working surprising well. When it doesn't something else will come along.

There is little point in investing in writing anything worthwhile though because anybody can ruin it, especially the well meaning. The only way to stop that is to spend the rest of your life fighting other people, blocking all change and thus entire point of it being openly editable i.e. becoming an editor.

The policy on only tertiary facts mean that you have to a lot of your time removing all the stuff that contributors actually want to write and people want to read. Pop culture is what will drive a lot of people to contribute. There is no problem with people writing lots of trivia or fans stuff, you just need a way to keep it out of the way of serious stuff.

The idea that citations would solve the problems was flawed. You can always spin anything and then selectively quote citations so it often just provides more stuff for people to argue about. And half of peer reviewed science papers are wrong these days so what use are citations off the web or media? They are just one opinion no more valid than the contributors.

The thing to do is not to try and make Wikipedia perfect but to learn from it. A one size fits all approach that insists on a single correct version of everything is always going to cause problems for controversial topics. And It needs to be lot less labour intensive to fight entropy and save the good stuff, without locking in one viewpoint or out-dated information forever.

Comment: Re:Don't worry, Romney... (Score 1) 836

by dewatf (#41257239) Attached to: Secret Service Investigating Romney Tax Hack Claim
In what countries are tax returns public information?
The US is the only country where politicians are forced to turn over tax return details in order to run for election. In any other country that would laughed at and regarded as a serious breach of individual privacy.

The SSN may not have been intended to be secret, but it also comes with no security protections other than DOB which can be found on most facebook accounts.
So you only security is to keep it as private a possible.

Comment: Re:Google What? (Score 2) 286

by dewatf (#40720099) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Write Off Google+ Just Yet
All the usenet groups I read disappeared under the deluge of spam and trolling once Google took it over and allowed anyone to post via the web. It became totally pointless so I read Slashdot instead. Google+ is technically much environment for with dealing with the real world where there are malicious and stupid people. However, it lacks the connections to get things organised from scratch.

Not that the interface is particularly important in a social networks. People happily put up with Facebook's unfriendly interface, bugs, random changes and data harvesting. It is the network that matters and Facebook did that really well. That is why it took out My Space and why Google+ will remain confined to niche applications.

Hah! BMO. I hacked into someone else's account and downloaded all my porn through an anonymiser. So you know nothing about my furry fetish.

Comment: Re:Scientists and "skeptics" (Score 2) 786

by dewatf (#40624151) Attached to: Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
Whatever you choose to call them, it is clear that there are a group of people who like to style themselves "anti-skeptics". These people have very little understanding of Earth Sciences and believe that other people's beliefs should be determined solely by National Science Association press releases. They lump anyone who disagrees with them in one group, call them names and then dismiss them as stupid pawns in some great conspiracy. They hold dodgie polls where they claim 70% of scientists say there is some degree AGW since 1950 and the problem is serious. Then claim anyone who doesn't believe that climate is solely determined by C02 emissions has no right to speak because they are violating a consensus.

There are people who are skeptical of the computer modelling predictions, people who are skeptical of whether you can model such a complex system accurately at all, people who are skeptical about the forcing values, people who are skeptical about the amount natural variation, people who are skeptical about the weightings given to solar fluctuation all the way through to people who are skeptical that the Earth hasn't warmed and believe it is actually cooling.

As far funding and conspiracies go the fossil fuel industry is fairly trivial. Heartland spent $18,000 fund air fares and accommodation for one skeptic's lecture tour and this apparently is a scandal. Yet a professional scientist whose salary, research, conference and traveling expenses are all funded by pro AGW, most of it levied on taxpayers who aren't supposed to have a say in it, manufactures fraudulent documents about a Heartland conspiracy and you believe that. WFF and WCF are now billion dollars businesses funded by Government and corportaitons pushing their agendas but skeptics can't question what effects that has.

It was Jones at the CRU who did block the publication and work of other scientists trying to publish temperature records that showed the cooling since Roman times and the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age actually existed. And they managed to get them dismissed as inconsequential local variations in the IPCC report. It was the IPCC that purported to rely on peer reviewed data when over a third of its references weren't including the Himalaya glacier melting figures quoted from a mates article in WCF propaganda and put it in the report and executive summary as scientific fact.

Actually what we know is that the warming is caused by C02, methane, soot, hydrocarbons, decline in S04 in the atmosphere. Along with feedbacks involving changes in water vapour with ice sheets. There there are the primary drivers of fluctuations in solar radiation intensity and electro-magnetic spectrum shifts and cosmic rays. And whole pile of other factors like land use and vegetation chances, evapouration changes, global dimming and its decline, ocean currents and atmospheric systems, the siting of weather stations and the heat island effect.

All those factors are interconnected it is the tiny precise values and errors of all them all that matter. And anyone who approaches analysing such complex system where changes cycle over hours, days, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia and eras, there are large errors and no way to control variables or replicate experiments without a healthy amount of skepticism is an idiot.

Comment: Re:Simple Explanation: (Score 5, Insightful) 786

by dewatf (#40623925) Attached to: Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
The planet has been cooling for the last 55 millions years and we are in an ice age that is getting colder in the long term. In the medium term we are in a warm interglacial and the temperature is cooling towards the next Milankovitch minimum in about 23,000 years. That is the trend you are seeing since Roman times. Without humans the planet would be cooling not warming.

Over the last century and half the climate has warmed as the the planet comes out of the Little Ice Age.
Over the last half a century you have AGW on top of the natural variations due to forcing by C02, Methane, Soot, reduction in SO4 and feedback from changes in water vapour in the atmosphere.
Over the last decade and a half the planet hasn't warmed because due to low solar radiation and less El Nino events.

No Nature doesn't care about us and will most likely freeze us to death. In the short term we may cook ourselves first though.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 131

by dewatf (#40623617) Attached to: Earliest Americans Arrived In Waves, DNA Study Finds
The log houses are the same because that is the best way to make a log house out of those type of trees with an axe.

When the Clovis people settled the sea level was lower so the coast areas they may have lived in the North are now on the sea floor. That has always been part of the Clovis theory.

Comment: Re: iGoogle will be missed... definitely!!!! (Score 2) 329

by dewatf (#40539565) Attached to: Google Killing Off Mini, Video, and iGoogle
I have found iGoogle very useful. Having one tab where I can quickly check email, calendar, weather, docs, to do list etc.and then launch from there only if needed has been very efficient. It means I don't have to use notifications so can ignore stuff when until I quickly want to check then see everything with one click. It is the same on my desktop, laptop and all the different Windows, MacOs and Linux computers in different browsers at work with no hassles or involvement from IT. And it is launched when ever you start the browser or click on the home page icon.

The thing is that not enough people used it for Google to be bothered supporting it and the current trend is to stand alone apps because there is no point in doing anything else on phones and tablets. Sure I can stick a lot of different applications in shortcuts on desktops or run apps in multiple tabs but it will be much less inconvenient. Having everything automatically open in one tab with a sensible layout was the whole point.

Interestingly I tried changing my homepage from iGoogle to Google Search to see what life will be like without iGoogle, but when you try to automatically open search as your homepage it still defaults to iGoogle, part of Google's attempts to promote the service.

Comment: Re:Media consumption and the use of free time (Score 1) 515

by dewatf (#40163451) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment
Posting about the actual article. That will never do!

The poor are just using social media for what they enjoy. If you aren't brought up in a culture where education is highly important and you need sacrifice in order to spend a lot of time learning and collecting extracurricular activities for college entrance why wouldn't you? This study isn't showing anything but that social media is used the same way as other media by different socioeconomic classes.

There will be social media jobs in marketing, PR and media. However, they will displace other jobs in traditional media and it is uncertain how many of them there will be Facebook's float hasn't been a terrific success. And the jobs won't go to people who just spent time mucking about on social media. The jobs will go to people with degrees from top universities who know how to use social media effectively.

Comment: Re:No surprise there (Score 1) 515

by dewatf (#40163121) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment
Investing $110 is a business isn't exactly going to get you rich these days. It may have worked like that in the past but it doesn't anymore. The US has the lowest social mobility in the OECD these days. To get rich in the US these days the minimum you need is a degree from a top university and connections so you can get a very high paying job. In many cases you need multiple degrees. The only way you can get those is by having rich parents.

If you go to school is some poor areas of the US you aren't even going to learn basic literacy or numeracy skills, let alone complete High School.

Comment: Re:How DARE they! (Score 1) 515

by dewatf (#40163001) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment
<quote>
No-one seems to understand that the Industrial Revolution was a TRANSITION from feudalism to freedom which brought the world out of poverty and CREATED wealth for everyone.
  </quote>

Feudalism ended in England with The Black Death. It killed enough of the serfs to give them bargaining power for their labour. Instead of killing run-away serfs from rival farms land-owners paid them to harvest crops which were rotting in the field.

The industrial revolution happened much later and was a transition from cottage industries and small tenant farms to factories and broad acre farming. It brought a large increase in national GDP and standards of living eventually. But also created shift work, industrial diseases and accidents, slums and epidemics.

Comment: Re:How DARE they! (Score 1) 515

by dewatf (#40162825) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment
The minimum wage stops those with little bargaining being exploited, but also stops them competing on price and sets a floor for what work is economic to do.

In the US where the minimum wage is low it probably doesn't do much harm and raising it would bring enforced productivity gains.

In Australia where the minimum wage is $16/hr it has a large effect. Low skilled workers can't be economically employed full time. As a result we have 30% of private sector workers as casuals and 30% as contractors. Many of the contractors make less than minimum wage.

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