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Comment: Because it doesn't matter ... (Score 1) 821

by fayd (#37391704) Attached to: Of Diamond Planets, Climate Change, and the Scientific Method

Climate scientists are saying we have a controllable/modifiable effect on our climate. Certain politicians are using those claims justify numerous changes to our society (both national and global).

Like any science (including astronomy), climate science has had it's missteps. It happens, it's part of science (yes, it is science) to be wrong. When you're wrong as a scientist, generally, you figure out where you went wrong, figure out what's right and move on. The fact is that politics is now heavily involved in "climate science". The problem isn't necessarily that politics is involved, it's that money is involved. The fact that politics is involved is a prime indicator that an extremely large amount of money is involved. Once you get to that stage, it's very difficult for the current state of climate science (the real stuff) to be wrong anymore. It has to be right, whether or not it is. Climate scientists claim to be vilified, treated like pariahs. Yet, at every turn, any of their skeptics are equally vilified.

It's become too hard for most of us (including some of the loudest proponents of climate science's current state) to see where the money ends, and the science begins. If that gargantuan obstacle weren't enough, we have some obvious problems. First and foremost, the climate changes on its own. It does, really. We've had (at least) two full-on ice ages, plus a mini ice age only a 150-ish years ago. Any guesses on what happens between ice ages? Wait for it ... global warming. Ice melts, oceans rise, species die out, mass hysteria. Except no people were around to cause it, or hell, even care.

Oh yeah, Mars is warming too. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

These are huge obstacles to proving the veracity of the science itself. And while claiming they're being marginalized, they in turn are marginalizing any and all skeptics. Just watch, if any "climate science" proponent actually reads this far, just for bringing up already "refuted/explained" facts, I'll be shouted down, insulted, and asked for my "proof", or described as an ignoramus for not knowing/believing the existing "proof". And thus the public arena of this science has devolved into a global shouting match. Which only really benefits the people set to reap huge profits from legislation being proposed.

Climate science has some valid points, and getting the research done right is hugely important. But, if it's no longer possible (politically) for climate science's current state to be wrong, then almost assuredly, it will never be (scientifically) right. And, for the last 15 years (probably more), it doesn't look (to me) like it's allowed to be wrong anymore. I tend to rebel against that, simply on principle.

Now, back to the problem at hand. Astronomers don't appear to have hordes of women (or worse, the De Beers corporation) demanding we increase taxes and fund mining expeditions to this diamond planet. So, my reaction to their claim is a random "cool", and I'm done with it.

I've already seen numerous ways that $3.50+/gallon gas affects my life (besides filling up my car). My food costs have gone up, my honey-do list costs have gone up, anything that relies somehow on petroleum products anywhere in the pipeline sees a larger number out of my wallet. Now, based on "massive accumulated scientific evidence", which corporate greed, via politics, has _nothing_ to do with, legislation is being proposed that can increase my electric bill substantially (most notably, cap-and-trade). Yet, based on what I've seen of gas prices (oooh, a real trickle down effect), my electric bill isn't the only hit my wallet is going to take.

Discover something, that may or may not be true, but nobody else really cares about? Whatever. Discover something (again, may or may not be exactly as stated) that creates a vast legion of (nearly religious) believers, a vast potential source of income for certain corporations (at everyone else's expense, of course) and (via the first two) a significant power base for political players. Expect a few skeptics.

Comment: Re:Before we start the flame wars (Score 2) 962

by fayd (#35407366) Attached to: The Encroachment of Fact-Free Science

But the reverse logic works for you?

Executing an unborn (or partially born, which is legal in some states) child because someone doesn't want to accept the responsibility for their choices is ok, but aborting a grown human who has committed atrocious crimes, and undergone due process, isn't. That's good logic?

Perhaps you should employ a little consistency in your own thought process, before yammering about someone else's.

Comment: Re:Before we start the flame wars (Score 1) 962

by fayd (#35406590) Attached to: The Encroachment of Fact-Free Science

First of all, how can you have a scientific position on abortion? It's a moral issue, not a scientific one.

Second, Abortion is pretty much a clear-cut case: the vast majority of abortions take place while the foetus is several millimeters long. They are not human beings, don't even have a brain let alone pain centers, and don't even remotely look like a child. You may still be against abortion -- and I am even willing to admit there is a moral component to this -- but it definitely require a bit more than the fuzzy statement given above.

"First" and "Second" are basically the same point. Except "Second" manages to provide the lone counter example to "First". There is science in this argument. When, exactly, does a pregnancy change from "blob of cells with potential" to "human child". Strip out the media, the politicians, the religiously opinionated .. hell, strip out you and me for that matter. At some point that question can (and should) be answered objectively. We know without a doubt, it happens during pregnancy. There's no valid (read: scientific) argument that says an otherwise-random blob of cells is human. But, conversely, babies can be born weeks, even month, prematurely and (with assistance) survive and lead useful lives. At some point between those two points the semi-random cells become human.

In my view, semi-random cells are a scientific curiosity. Do as you please. A human being already has multiple laws protecting his/her life; I don't care if it's still inside your body.

Third, evolution is also pretty much a clear-cut case: we have evidence of evolution happening right now, under our very noses. Evolution has been proven true, again and again, since Darmin formulated it in the 19th century, and only the brainwashed religious masses still contest it. There are even 'sophisticated' theologians who are perfectly willing to admit that evolution and the existence of God are perfectly compatible, for Pete sake!

As opposed to the brainwashed nonreligious masses? Blindly believing in a scientific theory is little better than believing in a fairy tale (religious, or otherwise). Yes, small scale experiments readily demonstrate adaptation. I just watched a show yesterday where a guy showed us the "evolution" from shark to ray, using recently caught specimens. (how did he know rays evolved from sharks, and not the other way around?).

Anyway, my biggest problem with evolution is "the jump". You know the one. The part about humans are able to make microprocessors and argue about whether or not we evolved from apes, while every other species (including every other primate) on the planet (at best) can use a rock to smash something to eat or a stick to get bugs to crawl on it to eat (see a pattern?) and could give a shit about what it evolved from?

There's nothing in between. There's nothing even trying to be in between. Every fossil record we can find of something that might have been in between has two glaring problems: 1) we just guessing, and 2) nothing has risen to take it's place. There's nothing, nowhere, where another species is trying to figure out the secret of indoor plumbing.

Now, before you start going bonkers on me, I'm not interested in fairy tales. Regardless if they're a matter of "faith" or branded "scientific". I think biologists have a long way to go before they'll be able tell us what really happened. In the mean time, evolution is a long (very long) way from being a clear cut case.

Fourth, pretty much everything I said about evolution is also true about global warming: this is not a scientific problem: it is a political problem and a problem of corporate propaganda (meaning: there are some very very rich, powerful and influential people who still want to pollute unhindered by rules and regulations). Period.

Again, it shouldn't be a policital or media, or corporate propaganda problem. It _should_ be a scientific problem. But there's too much money at stake now. Yes, some companies (and generally rich republicans) have profit margins resting on being able to pollute willy-nilly. But, on the other side of the coin, there's a bunch of companies (and generally rich democrats) who have huge investments and potential profits depending on getting laws passed to mandate "ecological responsibility". These are the people arguing laws, you know the stuff that actually affects your life and your pocket book? Neither of these groups really give a crap about why the climate is changing. Yes, it's changing. That's what the climate does, it changes. It's changed long before we became an industrialized people and it'll change long after it's killed us off. The question isn't are we having an impact (because we are). The question is how much (or how little).

Generally I choose respected scientists, but its still faith on my part because I haven't done the research myself.

And that's the problem: respected by whom? None of this is "settled science", it's all theory. All of it. To claim it's settled science and want to debate from that point of view is disingenuous. Communities like "climate science" and "evolutionary science" that allow very little internal debate don't impress me. The physics communities with a great deal of internal debate are much more interesting to me.

Comment: Re:I can kinda confirm this. (Score 1) 597

by fayd (#24616609) Attached to: Where Has All My Spam Gone?

I can confirm this too:

--- Report for: Aug 14 ---
16034 Total email handled

262 stopped by Postfix rules
14969 stopped by Spamhaus block-list
398 stopped by SpamAssassin
0 stopped by Anti-Virus

405 emails delivered to users

A month ago, Total email handled was over 30K, every day. The email delivered to users remains relatively unchanged.

Robotics

Balancing Robot Can Take a Kicking 207

Posted by Zonk
from the soon-they'll-be-doing-judo dept.
BotKicker writes "A Japanese team has created the first full-size humanoid robot that won't fall over if you push it. A video shows it staggering and regaining balance after blows from a researcher. Being able to withstand shoves and kicks is essential if robots are to truly be our buddies, they reckon. 'The robot's balancing ability depends on its joints. For one thing they are never kept rigid, even when standing still, meaning they yield slightly when the robot is pushed. Force sensors within each joint also work out the position and velocity of the robot's centre mass as it moves around. Control software rapidly figures out what forces the robot's feet need to exert on the ground to bring it back into balance, and tells the joints how to act.'"
Biotech

+ - Anti-Matter's Potential in Treating Cancer

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "The BBC is taking a look at how atomic physicists are developing cancer treatments. A step past radiotherapy, the CERN institute is publishing interesting results: "Cancer cells were successfully targeted with anti-matter subatomic particles, causing intense biological damage leading to cell death." The press release from last year is finally sparking interest in the medical community."
Programming

+ - Good Beginner's Book for Object Oriented Design?

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "What are the best books for someone new to object oriented programming and design? I have a decent amount of experience in structured programming. Is there a good language neutral book, and are there any good books specific to C++, C#, and/or Java? I want something that focuses on real world design issues, not just the particulars of a language."

Comment: Barometer for Friendship (Score 1) 326

by helver (#17899926) Attached to: Personality Secrets in Your MP3 Player
I'm convinced that the single most important factor in defining your relationship with another person is shared experiences. The intensity and timeliness of those experiences determine how good a friend that person is at a particular moment in time. I think this explains why your High School friends are so vitally important to you in High School, but so meaningless ten years later. Or why war buddies from Vietnam or Korea still feel incredibly strong friendships for people they haven't seen or talked to in twenty five years.

The point of this is that the experiment is flawed. The way you build a friendship with someone is by doing the things you do. That shared experience is what the friendship is based on. Attempting to use conversation to build a relationship with someone else is a fundamentally flawed. You can never have a real friendship because you haven't had any shared experience that carries any significance or weight. The shared experience in this case is "I'm stuck in a room talking with this person that I don't know." Hardly the stuff of a meaningful friendship.

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