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Comment: Re: noooo (Score 5, Insightful) 560

by ideonexus (#48719681) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record

Interesting. No global warming in 17 years... what a funny number, 17. It's a prime number. Why not 10 years, 20, or even 100? Why are "skeptics" always so hung up on 1997 as the baseline for all global warming trends? Does it have anything to do with the fact that the 1997-1998 El Nino event generated a record year for high temperatures? I was just getting interested in the science of global warming when this phenomenon hit, and I remember NASA scientists warning everyone that we could not blame rising carbon dioxide levels for the anomalously hot temperatures of those two years.

Ironic that 17 years later, the 1997-1998 El Nino event is now the holy grail baseline year to which all skeptics cling like a polar bear to a melting iceberg. In 2008 the skeptics were using this baseline to claim that global cooling was taking place. Then, as yearly record high temperatures kept happening, they used this baseline to claim that global warming had flatlined. Now, just eight years later, the trend from 1997 is on an incline, but the skeptic story is that temperatures aren't warming as fast as predicted. Keep clinging to 1997, you are just one El Nino event away from looking really really silly.

As for the WattsUpWithThat blog, I used to respect it until Anthony Watts pulled a 180 on accepting the findings of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. Originally he said he would accept the findings whatever they may be because it was funded by the Koch Brother's, but when the independent research led by a prominent skeptic further confirmed Global Warming was real, Watt's rejected it. The man has zero credibility at this point.

+ - Google Sues Mississippi Attorney General for Conspiring with Movie Industry

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has called for a "time out" in his perpetual fight with Google in response to the company filing a lawsuit against him for conspiring with the movie industry to persecute the search giant. Leaked Sony Pictures Entertainment emails and documents obtained under FOIA requests this week have exposed how the Motion Picture Association of America was colluding with and lobbying state prosecutors to go after Google, even going so far as to "assigned a team of lawyers to prepare draft subpoenas and legal briefs for the attorneys general" to make it easier for them to persecute the company."

+ - Civil Rights Groups Divided on Net Neutrality

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Edward Wyatt reports at the NYT that the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition have sent representatives, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, to tell Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, that they think Obama’s call to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility would harm minority communities by stifling investment in underserved areas and entrenching already dominant Internet companies. Jackson "was unequivocal in voicing his opposition to Title II because of its effects on investment in broadband and because of the ultimate impact on minority communities and job creation," said Berin Szoka, another participant in the meeting with Wheeler who has also argued for Section 706. "We got a lot of poor folks who don't have broadband," said Jackson. "If you create something where, for the poor, the lane is slower and the cost is more, you can't survive." “I think we’re all on board with the values embedded in what President Obama said, things like accelerating broadband deployment and adoption,” says Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and a member of the group including Mr. Jackson that met with the F.C.C. chairman. “The question is, will we be able to solve these issues by going so far with stringent regulation?”

Some of the groups that oppose Title II designation, like the Urban League and the League of United Latin American Citizens, have received contributions from organizations affiliated with Internet service providers, like the Comcast Foundation, the charitable organization endowed by Comcast. But those organizations say that the donations or sponsorships do not influence their positions. “We get support from people on all sides of the issue, including Google and Facebook,” says Brent A. Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “We don’t let any of them influence our position.” For it's part, the NAACP says its formal policy position is that the NAACP neither endorses, nor opposes the formally defined concept of net neutrality but supports the need to particularly focus on underserved racial and ethnic minority and poor communities, while highlighting the importance of protecting an open internet."

+ - Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas? 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the Isaac Asimov, writes that he recently rediscovered an unpublished essay by Asimov written in 1959 while cleaning out some old files that is "as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity." Some excerpts from Asimov's essay which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others. Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display."

+ - Emma Watson Nude Photo Threat a Plot to Censor 4chan

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "After Emma Watson gave a speech on the need for feminism to the United Nations, 4chan users threatened to release nude photos of the "Harry Potter" star in retaliation, setting up the website with a countdown clock. Now it has been revealed that the site was an elaborate hoax intended publicize a movement to shut down 4chan."

+ - Satanists dramatize distribution of religious materials at schools

Submitted by tylikcat
tylikcat (1578365) writes "In response to a ruling allowing Christian groups to distribute bibles and other Christian oriented materials in schools, the Satanic Temple has decided to distributed their own The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities. Let the games begin!

To be fair, the Satanic Temple is is forthright in stating that they would not have sought the right to distibute such materials on their own, but point out that most children will already be aware of Christianity, but this might be the first time they encounter to the practice of Satanism."

Comment: Re:Great news (Score 1) 269

by ideonexus (#47888189) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

I've read the The Bell Curve, and I think it was a fair analysis for it's time, but--unfortunately for Murray--it was written right before the genetics revolution made all his speculation about race seem naive. The assumption at the time was that people of the same race were genetically similar; therefore, you could lump people of the same race together and make assumptions about their genes influencing their intelligence.

Then the Human Genome Project came along, followed by cheap genetic testing, and scientists like Craig Venter found that the genetic similarities between people of the same race are nothing compared to the genetic variations between any two humans.

In other words, The Bell Curve's conclusions were based entirely on phenotypic analysis, which was fair at the time, but the advent of genotypic analysis has rendered the book pretty much irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Answer: They mostly can, but is it economical? (Score 5, Interesting) 444

by ideonexus (#47888101) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?
I would add (6) Many states have regulations making it impossible to do what Musk is doing. I live in Republican-Controlled Virginia, where I can't buy solar panels from Musk's SolaryCity, which has a location 20 minutes away from me in Washington DC and more locations in Maryland, because my state has pretty much given Dominion Power a monopoly on supplying electricity here, giving them exclusive rights to net-metering--which they have made cost-prohibitive to implement, and the company has actually successfully sued organizations that install solar panels.

+ - Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny in Gamer Culture-> 1

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "2490 gamers, developers and journalists have signed an open letter supporting inclusion in the gaming community after indie game developer Zoe Quinn received backlash and harassment when her ex-boyfriend posted false accusations that she traded sex for favorable reviews of her game and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home after receiving death and rape threats for her videos illustrating the way some mainstream games encourage the commodification of and violence against women. The harassment has prompted geek-dating advice columnist Harris O’Malley to declare the backlash the "Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture", the last reactionary gasp before the culture shifts to become more inclusionary."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Confusing Weather and Climate (Score 1) 143

by ideonexus (#47665327) Attached to: NASA's Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures 'First Light'

You might be misunderstanding the difference between short-term forecasts and longterm projections. I know I failed to understand the scientific nuance until recently.

You see, "global average temperatures are going to rise X by 2100" is a projection. It's based on pretty basic thermodynamics (ie. this much carbon increases the greenhouse effect by such-and-such). This science, because it's so basic, is pretty solid.

At the same time "global average temperatures are going to rise by Y by 2025" is a forecast. It's based on computer models that are perpetually being refined to more accurately predict the short-term trend. Most recently, these models were found to be missing el-nino/la-nina cycles which is why they have lagged over the last decade.

This is why people get confused when I tell them the science of global warming is actually extremely basic. It's just thermodynamics, but then they confuse projections with forecasts and wonder why the models haven't accurately predicted the last 10 years. It's the "weather versus climate" debate all over again.

Why do scientists even publish forecasts when they know they are still very much a work in progress? Politics. You see, your local representative couldn't give a damn if your children's children suffer from today's lack of leadership a century from now. So scientists are tasked to find out what the short-term effect will be on the constituency to inform politicians whether or not they might suffer some voter backlash on the issue.

In other words, our children's children are doomed to shell out billions to fix this mess.

Comment: Re:Hmm? (Score 1) 84

by ideonexus (#47662671) Attached to: Twitter Reports 23 Million Users Are Actually Bots

I was wondering the same thing. I've never been that interested in engaging twitter, but everyone else was, so I wrote a bot to post random daily science quotes to my account for the next several years. I put a lot of effort into this bot (content-wise, the programming is elementary), and I think I should count as a real user because of that. I'm up-front about the fact that I am a bot, and it's mostly bots that follow me. All the meat-space people should just leave us alone. Don't let some bad bots ruin it for the rest of us.

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 2) 541

by ideonexus (#47647937) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

You might want to take some time to actually read the criticisms. Jerry Coyne has a good write-up on his blog that delves deeper. You see, the researchers aren't saying the conclusions in the book are wrong they are saying, as the originators of said research, you cannot draw these conclusions from their work.

But please, don't let the nuanced comments of 140 published researchers dissuade you from shrieking "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" like a poop-flinging howler monkey.

Comment: Re:And what they did not publish (Score 4, Insightful) 227

by ideonexus (#47647897) Attached to: About Half of Kids' Learning Ability Is In Their DNA

That omission has wasted millions of dollars for higher education for those that can't learn. Not to mention the money wasted on "equal opportunity" and "head start" programs.

What a mind-boggling conclusion to draw from the article. If a human-being's intelligence is only 50% influenced by their environment, you think we should deny them the environment to develop that 50%? If that's you're reasoning, I suspect you would be one of the people being denied these social benefits.

Comment: Re:Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 1, Interesting) 497

by ideonexus (#47414489) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann
That's a fair argument, and that's also why I used the word "faith" to describe my opinion. I would love to continue having a constructive dialog on this... but unfortunately, we can't move the conversation on Climate Change to a discussion of what, if anything, we should do about it until we get the public to accept the scientific consensus on it. This is how the Skeptics are winning, by preventing the dialog from moving forward.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania