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Comment: Most Compelling Reason to Doubt "Consensus" (Score 1, Flamebait) 31

by fygment (#47879303) Attached to: The Exoplanets That Never Were

Science is full of stories like this.
Someone presents a result that catches the imagination. They achieve "great scientific stature".
Someone else quesions the result. They are pilloried while the "consensus" sides with the person of "great scientific stature".
But if there is persistence, sometimes the person of "great scientific stature", and by extension, the "consensus" is proven wrong.

The lesson: "consensus" is meaningless in science. It is desctructive, politically-driven artifact that inhibits the discovery of truth.

Sad fact: Stories like this have happened over and over and over again in science. And we never learn.
Other sad fact: Almost nobody in this forum will recognize the import of this article.

Comment: Finally biologists have some 'first principles' .. (Score 1) 211

by fygment (#47879155) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

Yeah, finally biology (the 'butterfly collecting' adventure labeled as a science) has something like a 'first principle' to hang on to.

Nothing shows biology to be more a 'butterfly collecting' venture than the repeated surprise biologists express when they find life in environments where they never expected to. You would think they had learned by now. Regardless, a theory with bona fide first principles clearly lays out that finding life supporting environments is the norm.

Comment: Ultimate Argument for Reproducibility (Score 1) 74

by fygment (#47879121) Attached to: Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

There have been recent cries for reproducible results in science.
The scope is too limited.
There should be a cry for reproducible results in any research prior to its publication.
Long and short of it for researchers: if only you can get the results and conclusions, then the results and conclusions are not publishable.

Comment: Crichton Was Right; Consensus ALWAYS Political (Score 1) 765

by fygment (#47860963) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

If a hypothesis is proven, reproduceably, there can be no denial. It is a fact.

If a hypothesis is not able to be proven reproduceably, it is an opinion.

People back opinions for self-serving reasons, and a consensus is when a majority of people see the most personal advantage in taking up a particular opinion.

Scientific consensus, is a political consensus. No more, no less. Doubt it? Look at the history of tectonic plates to name but one valid hypothesis that was, at times savagely, repressed by those whose academic careers had been made on another hypothesis (the consensus). Look at the history of neural network theory.

Comment: Validate the Model first _then_ call it conclusive (Score 1) 302

by fygment (#47806179) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

The models were chosen to support their beliefs, and conclusion.

That's a problem because a model can be tuned to a desired outcome.

If the opposite had been true, say that model after model had predicted a rise, and then they went out and found the model to be true, there might be more credibility.

As it was, they had a measurements first, they had a belief/hypothesis first (naturally), and they found a model they could make fit. That's not a proof, not conclusive. They should take the model, and see if it tells them something they didn't know/expect, and then try and see if they can find it in nature. Validate the model beyond the very very narrow conclusion you are trying to justify.

Comment: Re:Don't worry... only a computer model (Score 1) 121

by fygment (#47806065) Attached to: New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

".. extremely general to be at all accurate ..." Just think about that and what it means. Now think a bit harder.

You also have to know what assumptions are made in the model to 'generalise' it.

And you have to know just how 'fragile' the mode is, how does it hold up to deviations, perturbations.

And then after you've run the model a hundred times and it matches closely the training data (there has to be some), you really have no idea of how it performs as a predictive model.

No shame in that because that is the nature of scientific exploration. BUT you are the fool if you bet your money or your life on it.

Comment: Wireless Charging = The Problem (Score 1) 49

Think about wireless charging: convert energy to RF, transmit, convert RF to energy. Each conversion is not perfect. The transmission loses energy density according to a power law. Just that simple transfer is inefficient. And for what reason? Convenience. Nothing more.

Our impact on the planet is what it is. There are a lot of humans. But we are so staggeringly wasterful it is obscene. We net tens of thousands of fish in one catch, to get the thousand we really want. We run air conditioners and pool circulation pumps 24/7 for months, for literally hours of comfort or pleasure. We leave cars running unoccupied for tens of minutes rather than feel the minutes of discomfort of a too cold (or hot) vehicle. All for convenience.

Fact is, we don't need to geo-engineer our planet (in virtual ignorance of potential side effects). We just have to begin using our resources as efficiently as possible.

Comment: Climate Whiz (et al) are all knowing, right? (Score 0) 140

by fygment (#47764533) Attached to: Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

Because climate is part of the global system, clearly one must understand the interaction of all the components.
Which means the Climate Whiz (et al) know what all the components are.
And naturally, the Climate Whiz (et al) know what all the components do and how they work.
And, of course, how all the components interact.
With such knowledge one supposes that what 'they' say is true, there is nothing left to discover.

Oh, hey look here, was this already known? Hope there's nothing else hidden out there. How catastrophic could that be :-p

Comment: Don't be fooled. (Score 1) 273

by fygment (#47755767) Attached to: Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

Really?
No it isn't the vents that were just discovered that contribute to climate change?
No no ...
It is climate change that caused the vents ?!
Can you spin things more blatantly?

In any case, yet more evidence of how little we know about our planet.
And more reason not to screw with it.
Adapt and accept that things change for reasons we cannot yet comprehend.
Laying blame and grandiose geoengineering 'cures', are the stuff of politicians and profiteers.
Don't be fooled.

Comment: Poorly Phrased Question (Score 2) 511

by fygment (#47747273) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

When I read "_how_ C strings work...", I began to think of what I knew about how the C language is actually implemented. And frankly, I don't know how C is implemented (eg. what happens after parsing, how things get converted to CPU instructions). Even though I've spent a fair bit of time writing in the language, I would have stumbled on that question and perhaps have asked you to clarify (something a younger person is less likely to do).

When I read your answer, I realized you were asking "how are strings defined in C" or "how do you use C with string types".

See the difference? On that alone, I guess you may have screened out a lot of good people.

Tangentially, this is also a good reason to not pay too much attention to survey results unless you have actually read the questions that were asked in the survey.

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson

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