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Comment: Hostility to debate (Score 4, Informative) 179

by ralphbecket (#49643877) Attached to: Is Facebook Keeping You In a Political Bubble?

My politics, such as they are, are slightly to the other side of the line than most of the people in my Facebook contacts. A good number of those contacts are prone to posting what seem to me to be quite biased, divisive articles essentially preaching the moral superiority of the choir to the choir. My preferred style of engagement is to ask questions rather than assert "truths" and I try to steer clear of speculation on motive, appeals to authority, and all those rhetorical cop-outs. When I try to engage people on this stuff, the result is often quite hostile and sometimes personal. This makes me suspect that many people posting these things aren't really looking for debate, they're just looking for approval from their group. It would save me a lot of grief if Facebook provided a flag so people could indicate what kind of responses they're looking for when they post these things.

Having said all that, I find pretty much the same thing here on Slashdot and on most on-line fora. I just don't get the impression that many people see debate as a constructive way of testing one's beliefs and ideas.

Comment: Re:It produces performance like C++ (Score 4, Insightful) 217

by ralphbecket (#46655603) Attached to: .NET Native Compilation Preview Released

"After all, the chief advantages of C# isn't really C#, but the .NET libraries."

You can't be serious! C is *substantially* lower-level than C#; you should only use C as a portable assembly language. I've spent decades writing assembly, C, and higher level languages and I'd pick C# over C in an eyeblink for anything that doesn't require access to the bare metal (well, personally I'd pick a functional language, but these days I work in industry...)

Comment: Re: Impossible! (Score 1) 182

by ralphbecket (#45409311) Attached to: Weak Statistical Standards Implicated In Scientific Irreproducibility

Climate models are currently, at best, when treated as an ensemble (if you buy that as legitimate), skirting along the p 0.05 level of significance in the validation period.

Pointing this out is considered trolling -- it probably offends some religious sensibilities.

Tightening the threshold as the article suggests would mean the model results are not "significant" (i.e., not reasonably distinguishable from natural variation -- note that I am not a "denier" and that I do accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas etc. etc.; I am however hugely skeptical of most climate and environmental science that I have investigated).

Comment: Re:the difference (Score 2, Insightful) 473

by ralphbecket (#44945209) Attached to: Popular Science Is Getting Rid of Comments

Let me precis this argument:

(1) The moderation scheme here essentially filters out postings that disagree with the "group-think."

(2) Commenters here are "unusually intelligent" and they define the group-think.

(3) Therefore if you disagree with the group-think, you are probably not "unusually intelligent" (and hence your opinion is probably not worthy of consideration; you belong with the trolls and drunkards).

The problem is step (2), which is a lot of self-serving bollocks. I think the suggestion that Slashdot moderation fosters group-think is on the money.

Comment: Re: Wrong objective. (Score 4, Insightful) 115

by ralphbecket (#44945131) Attached to: Mozilla Plan Seeks To Debug Scientific Code

I have to disagree. Before I go to a heap of effort reproducing your experiment, I want to check that the analysis you ran was the one you described in your paper. After I've convinced myself that you haven't made a mistake here, I may then go and try your experiment on new data, hopefully thereby confirming or invalidating your claims. Indeed, by giving me access to your code you can't then claim that I have misunderstood you if I do obtain an invalidating result.

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