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Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 4, Insightful) 332

by Bongo (#47415577) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Whoever asked for 100%? The errors on the models are so far rather huge.

As for testing, yes, science is tested and challenged. But here's the rub: that process takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. Like 50 years.

Both the scenarios and the time to correct are running into the decades, which is much longer than the window inside which we're supposed to act to avert catastrophe. In other words, both the prediction and the correction haven't come about yet, so anything we do now is based on faith and best guesses.

You can't magic away the risk with a supercomputer and lots of clever people.

Ideally science would be an ever gradual fine grained improvement, but as soon as you deal with complex systems, like human bodies, or diet, or climate, there is just no magic answer. Like you say, we don't have ten planets to run as experiments. As you say, it is not the scientific method as famous for testing things to death repeatedly that is being used. It is guesswork. Educated guesswork carries risks and unintended consequences.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 2) 332

by Bongo (#47415453) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

I think it was Sam Harris who said that something strange happens when an issue becomes a moral issue. Reason and questioning are no longer allowed. Another weird thing is that people are easily affected to become irrational, when it is being done by the oil lobby, but environmentalists are immune to anything which might corrupt their judgement in a groupthink way. Enviros deconstruct other's hidden motives and agendas, but they themselves are immune. Weird no? To just happen to be in the right? (Real post-modern deconstruction as someone put it, is when you can deconstruct your own cultural groupthink biases before you try to deconstruct someone else's. Most people just use it as a way to attack others, whilst never questioning their own views.)

Personally I am all for a truly global world free of inequality, of the unfairness of being born accidentally in a poor area, and think a global system that integrates development and environment and clean technology with high education and intelligence and happiness and creativity and purposeful existence for all is where humanity and the planet needs to keep striving for. All too often though the mass movements around this sort of thing fall back to old methods, like groupthink and moralistic judgements, forsaking critical discernment. Then when they don't get good results, they blame the big bad oil lobby.

Comment: Re:Normal humans exlcuded from practicing law/medi (Score 1) 497

by swb (#47415249) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

How much of the grueling training is done simply to be grueling and exclude people based on their lack of stamina? Think of law school assignments where they throw a 100 page brief at you Friday to be handed in Monday that requires analyzing dozens of circuit, appeals and Supreme Court decisions, maybe a few hundred pages of congressional record to determine intent and then some history for context? Or the marathon race of medical residency where 100 hours is a normal week and 36 hours straight is a standard shift?

I think in some sense these kinds of things are done not because they make the profession any better but because they are exclusionary and keep the pool of competitors smaller. If you look at less exclusive jobs that need to be done right in organizations that depend on them being done right you see training done for results in a saner fashion vs. some kind of weird torture test.

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 392

by MikeBabcock (#47412377) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

What problem have you ever had with indent-based parsing?

Many many people have a problem reading other peoples' C and C++ code because of how it is not always enforced and allows some incredibly poor legibility.

You may not personally have this problem *writing* code but you've almost certainly had it when reading code.

Not all Python is readable, but forcing programmers to use good style is one of the first problems in a braces-based parsing environment. Python just formalized it.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.