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Comment Re:Its always been like this (Score 1) 295

Poverty is a huge driver of overpopulation. Poor people tend to have more kids to provide for them in their later years. Countries with prosperous economies that are broadly shared tend to have much lower birth rates than poorer countries. That's because raising new humans is a lot of work; if people don't feel like they need to do that, they won't. China, of course, is an exception due to their one-child policy.

And often combined with poor access to contraception, a patriarchy where you want sons to get married not daughters to marry away and a shoddy health care system which means not all your kids might grow up. Even when those things are no longer true it takes time for culture to change and in the meantime you get a huge population bump. That's why we've gone from 2 billion people in 1927 to 7+ billion and counting.

Comment Re:Smart! (Score 1) 183

IF there was an actual store that did that I would go in there once a week, fill my cart up, have the cashier ring me up, bag the groceries and then flip out and storm out when they refused to take the cash

And you could do that once. The second time you'll get banned from the store. The third time they call the cops on you for trespassing.

Comment Autonomous robots, guns and duct tape (Score 4, Interesting) 213

What's the difference between a search-and-rescue bot and a kill bot? The function is going to pretty much identical right up to the point the target is located, just duct tape a gun to point in same direction as the camera and wire the "person located" signal to pull the trigger. It's one thing to ban ABC weapons because they're very specific technologies, but this is way too generic to work. And it's not like the military is going to avoid developing it for intelligence gathering and decision support systems, even if you keep a human in the loop it's literally going to be one flip of the switch to full automatic where the computer's recommendations are implemented by itself.

The primary reason to keep soldiers in the loop today is because you're trying to fight a "good war" and avoid antagonizing the civilians so you want manual confirmation of each target, if you take the gloves off and say if you're found outside after curfew we'll shoot to kill and live with the collateral you could automate much more. And don't get up on the high horse, when the US nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki they knew there's be about 100-200k civilian casualties. In a real war nobody's going to give a fuck if the robots are just 99% or 95% right, if it can save our troops and civilians and end the war for sure we're going to let them fight for us.

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 2) 571

Hate to break it to you guys, but the GPS will more reliably find you an optimum route than you can find yourself. That is because the GPS "knows" more than you do: current traffic conditions, road closures, etc. I know people pooh pooh GPS directions and say "I know a faster way" but they really don't 90% of the time.

Maybe your navigation system does, but GPS knows absolutely nothing. Unless your maps are up to date it doesn't even know where the road leads, much less how the current conditions are.

Comment Re:Tugging (Score 2) 291

I am not surprised that requests are not followed up on when a female calls for them, nor am I surprised that their responses are more often responded to when the gender is hidden/neutral. What I am surprised is that female pull requests are "larger and less likely to serve an immediate project need". Does this mean that female developers are concentrating on "big picture features" more often ?

Would that be so astonishing? We come from a hunter-gatherer society where those out hunting had to think on their feet and seize the opportunities where they presented themselves. Gathering is a lot more about planning and organization, those berries won't run away but you have to harvest when they're ripe. And the women were also taking care of the children, sick and elderly for the long term survival and passing on knowledge of the tribe. We've had many thousands years of selection pressure to that effect, there's no need to exaggerate the differences and it's not like one is always better than the other but statistically we are different.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 220

I'm suggesting if Google is driving, and the passengers are passengers, then why the hell would anybody pay for things like liability insurance for an AI?

Same reason I can lend my car to someone with a driver's license but no car and thus no insurance of his own. Google's driving but it's still your property and that makes you liable. Say you walk into a store and a light fixture falls on your head. Maybe it's a manufacturing error, maybe it's shoddy work in construction, maybe it's sabotage (unlikely) or whatever. It doesn't matter to you because you sue the store, the store manager can't just pass the buck. Even if they find it was a manufacturing error and the manufacturer is bankrupt he still can't pass the buck. I'm guessing they'll keep it as an insurance because then they can also set the conditions of insurance, like if the car is out of spec in any way it can refuse to drive, it might demand to be kept up to date with the latest driving logic, traffic regulations, road maps and whatnot. A product liability is just that the product was in a normal condition on delivery, not beyond.

Comment Re:Predictions, so far, have been accurate (Score 1) 555

"The problem I have with critiques of climate models like yours is they are non-sequiturs and born from ignorance, they don't make any sense because they are sourced from MSM articles that (for political reasons) aim to convince you that modeling physical phenomena is some kind of scam that scientists are using to make money."

Woah, that is a number of rather fantastic leaps.

First you claim my argument is a non-sequitur. My argument is that the model is not accurate enough to qualify as hard science. My premises are that the sample size of 50 years is not a statistically significant sample of billions of years of behavior. That premise does indeed seem to relate to my conclusion in that demonstrates the evidence supporting the model is not statistically significant. My next premise is that the model proved to be accurate to only a single decimal place meaning there was a 10% chance of having reached an equally correct answer by purely random number generation or guessing. That premise also supports my conclusion. My final premise was that the answer the model predicted, 7, is also statistically the answer most likely to be guessed by random laymen meaning an actual human being making a guess had a far greater than 10% chance of giving a result as accurate as this model. Now, you may attack my premises but the argument present is valid and of correct structure therefore not a non-sequitur.

"Hindcasting is the standard method to test any FEA model, doesn't matter if you are modeling the casting of an engine block or the earth's climate."

Indeed, and in the case of climate what you lack is a sound statistically significant sample of reliable historical data. Your examples of other areas of science where massive variance is still considered an accurate result share this common problem they all lack a statistically significant set of reliable data upon which to base their models. Just because it's the best you can do with what you have to work with and can be better than nothing or even useful for some purposes doesn't mean you start pretending the results of those models or any model in those fields shouldn't be taken with greater skepticism than more exact sciences. Some fields are vast enough that there are both flavors of science within them with certain types of models providing very exact results and other models being best effort so far but you shouldn't exactly go killing your child to prevent a more horrible consequence predicted by one.

Your own argument is a non-sequitor. I have no idea what "MSM articles" refers to. I have not stated any sort of political agenda in this thread although in others I've stated that rather than trying to convince everyone to behave differently climate models indicate it is too late for this to resolve the issue whether humans are the cause or not. So elsewhere I have suggested this should be treated as an engineering problem and we need not only combat the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions (which are natural) for the biggest bang for the buck but we must engineer mass scale sequestering technologies which likely means GMOs. Introducing methane processing GMO gut bacteria in livestock also seems like a reasonable action to me. Why do I suggest taking these actions when I think our climate models lack a high degree of certainty? Because they still remain the best guess we have and the risks of heeding it are low while the consequences of failing to do and it proving to be any level of correct are devastating.

"If you want to critique the models then write a paper explaining why you need "eight nines" to convincingly demonstrate to others that the north pole is melting."

Why would I do that? That is a strawman, I'm arguing you need greater precision to demonstrate the validity of your model before it can be trusted with a reasonable degree of certainty. Climate models aren't needed to show the poles are melting or that the earth is getting warmer.

Demonstrating that the Earth's climate is changing and the poles are melting are demonstrable with measurements taken that are built on classic physics models that have met 8 digits of precision predictions thousands of times over again. These are simple facts. They hardly prove that any climate model is an exact science, the failure of the model to predict the result of those measurements with an equal level of precision merely demonstrates it is less sound than the models used to build the instruments which are used to test it. Even the more classic physical models used to build such instrumentation, they are well proven to behave as expect on or near Earth today but lack the proof over time to show the same results and physical constants behind them were valid a billion years ago or will be valid a billion years from now.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 564

The point isn't that one gets into an exotic car and sees something different. I've been in a few card with strange controls for the handbrake, but they are obviously different with pull shafts or foot pedals and releases. This is a case where they made the operation completely different, while looking like a standard control. So someone gets in, looks around, thinks "yep this all looks familiar I can go now" and only finds out later that it is different. Even if they do know, the muscle memory associated with decades of having it work a certain way mean that unless you are paying close attention, it's easy to forget and do the old movement.

E.g., in my Dad's Volvo, I often start the wipers when going for the indicator. It's annoying, but after a few minutes of driving, my brain has adjusted and I'm OK with it. But I make that mistake a few times every time I drive that car, which is only a few times a year. Luckily, that mistake isn't something that can result in a dangerous situation. The worst is that turning on the indicator signal is delayed by a second or two, and I get laughed at by my Dad.

Key operational controls should either work the same, or look and feel completely different to ensure that users' muscle memory doesn't result in inadvertent operation.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 564

So do you read the manual cover to cover every time you drive a friend's car or rental car which is a make and model that you've never driven before, just to be sure that all pedals, control sticks, steering wheel, and other parts function the same way?

I can tell you that I don't. When I get into a car, I look to check if it's manual or automatic, and that's the end of it. Occasionally the indicator and wiper controls may be switched, but that's about as different as I've ever seen. I'd probably make the same mistake. This gear shifter looks like a standard AT stick, but operates totally differently. They should have made it LOOK different too, to avoid these mishaps.

Besides, do you really want to live in a world where a car's basic operation is as capriciously different as the design of the controls on the stereo and heating/cooling system? I for one sure as hell do not, and you are inviting a world of pain by justifying what Jeep has done here.

Comment Re:Everyone's phone, DSL and copper (Score 1) 177

"Oh, I've paid some serious taxes. I've paid more in taxes than many people will earn in their lifetime. But, what's reasonable? Where is that line drawn?

I ask because I don't really know. Buggered if I know. I'm sure there's a reasonable and unreasonable point (fiber is expensive and it's really expensive to maintain it up here) and I'm not quite sure if I'm past the unreasonable point or not. I am not even the most remote. There are people, in my State, who are more remote than I am with *miles* of phone line that may have not been really touched in 50 years except to do repairs. What does unreasonable look like?"

There IS a point where unreasonable does become a thing and it sounds like you are taking about a location where people have moved because they don't want to be connected to the world. Internet has reached the point where it is essentially a utility. If you don't have fast access you don't access to a full compliment of education resources for your children. When you ask questions about the world you just continue not knowing the answers. When politicians rile people up about issues only the uneducated and uninformed could possibly believe people don't have access to information and remain uninformed when they vote for those people. In the modern age there is no excuse for people who might well vote getting their information from blatantly misleading and bias sources like CNN and Fox News.

Like it or not internet is a utility. I agree there is a reasonable line, some parts of Maine and most certain other remote mountain areas are likely unreasonable for any sort of "wired" connection. But fiber isn't more expensive than copper, it's actually less expensive. Copper is a semi-precious metal worth too much to make pennies from and all the copper pulled down can be recycled. Fiber is made from the second most common element in the earths crust. Fiber doesn't suffer from electromagnetic interference so no "noisy" lines and it be put in runs up to 1500 miles whereas copper requests powered junctions on the order of yards. Fiber is much cheaper than copper and much cheaper to maintain. The cost is just putting it in to begin with. And will be the medium for future technologies for the foreseeable future, trying to squeeze something more out of copper a magical dance that has been impressive but is definitely at it's end. So, if it is reasonable to run any sort of utility line out to you, I see no reason it isn't reasonable to run fiber lines. Especially when you and other americans have already paid for it. I'd say so long as there is a place we've already paid them to run fiber to that they haven't run it, then it's more reasonable to run that fiber than for them to pocket the money. And no, it's not just tax cuts on profits from phone bills, the telcos were given over twenty billion dollars in tax credits not just deductions.

There are places where even that isn't reasonable. At that point yes there are sat links, they suck but they work. But there are also designs for tough blimps that are a little closer to earth and efficient enough to float for 6 months at a time. A good sized network of those flying all over the place and they get crazy line of sight.

Comment Re:Ignore the hype, pay attention to the science (Score 1) 555

So now it's the scientists who are manipulating journalists into sensationalizing the stories, rather than journalists being incentivized by their editorial managers who demand attention grabbing headlines?

Next you're going to blame scientists for manipulating species into extincting themselves in order to support their wild unbelievable hypotheses.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 1) 555

The models suck, their accuracy level wouldn't pass muster in even a Christian private schools high school science class and that is definitely a low bar. The sample they are drawing on is, and this is stretching it, less than 200 years of any form of record. The ice cores and sedimentary layers they look at make a very bold assumption of consistent deposition and conditions over billions of years which we assume look more or like what we've seen during that 200 year period we've been looking. 200 is not a statistically significant sample out of billions.

There is a strong correlation between increased human activity and increased temperature, unfortunately our entire measured sample period also correlates with increased human activity. This makes arguments attempting to claim the correlation is causation the weakest possible arguments. What we definitely know is that human activity is a drop in the bucket next to the natural release of green house gases into the atmosphere.

Those are some of the biggest problems I see. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to improve our sample size relative to the timescales we need to know about. We have no way to gather a sample that doesn't correlate to human activity either, so there is no better evidence to be had here.

What we do know, with a fairly strong degree of certainty is that climate change is happening. The Earth is getting warming, the most probable cause is changes in atmospheric composition, and if it gets too warm our ecosystem is pretty much screwed our weather can and will go crazy (how fast and to what degree are debatable but it will definitely happen) and if unchecked anything ranging from a serious disaster for our quality of life to our extinction is on the reasonable probable list.

Given that information, it doesn't hurt to switch to an electric car but even if everyone goes 100% CO2 neutral tomorrow there is nothing predicating that will stop climate change anymore. We need to drop this holy war on terror engagement in the crusade and conduct in a war on greenhouse gas. This means a hell of a lot more than changing human activity. We need to engineer large scale solutions to sequester these gases immediately. Some ultra blooming CO2 eating algae deployed in the ocean and methane processing gut bacteria spread far and wide will be a good start.

No ladies and gentlemen. The time for being gentle keepers and avoiding tampering with the ecosystem are past. If we want to live we need utilize our human intelligence and engineer some very large scale and intentional changes to the ecosystem because the worst thing that happens is we fuck up and wipe ourselves out and that is what is going to happen if we fail anyway.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 1) 555

"If climate change is a serious problem, and human activity is responsible for it"

It actually doesn't matter if human activity is responsible for it. Human activity may or may not be what has tipped the scale but relative to natural processes human contributions to greenhouse gases are a drop in the bucket. Assuming human activity did indeed tip the scale that doesn't make correcting human activity the most efficient and effective way to solve the problem. From my understanding if we all stopped and went 100% greenhouse gas free tomorrow it is already too late to reverse climate change.

This area IS an utter waste of time. The only thing worth doing now is accepting that climate change is occurring and that it would be bad for us. We now need to focus not on whether human activity contributes to climate change but rather on whether or not we can engineer a solution to the problem. If we are going to try to reduce emissions it would be the far more massive natural sources of greenhouse gases we need to take care of. We could take advantage of massive open space that is the ocean and engineer a rapidly reproducing algae highly optimized to consume carbon and grow massive natural blooms. Something we can gather up, barrel, and sink to the ocean floor. We could engineer gut bacteria that processes methane has some sort of natural advantage spreads rapidly and effectively and possibly begin by intentionally giving our cows e-coli enimas.

We need to start focusing on the solution and not the problem. And no, that solution need not produce some sort of saleable or useful byproduct. If you can have your sequestering technology produce little carbon flakes we can start using in cement so be it but otherwise we just need them to be relatively stable and sinkable in an ocean trench.

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