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Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Informative) 121

by sg_oneill (#46796745) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Because often, what you can't see is as important as what you can. Imagination is important. Composition is important, and emotion is important.

Right, the thing is though theres more going on to depth of field than just "This part of the image in focus, and that part out of focus". I mean its definately a useful effect because it pretty much defines what part of the photo your supposed to be looking at, but good shallow DOF really is quite an amazing effect down well and terrible when done bad.

On my 50mm lens (I recomend a 50mm to ANYONE whos playing with SLRs. Its a cheap lens, handles great in low light and very easy to take attractive photos with) the depth of field also interacts with light so you see these great specks of light all through the background and other esoteric effects that really enhance the effect. If I just put the background out of focus with a blur, it'd be just.... well blury.
Finally its not a linear blur either. Some parts are more in focus than others and this adds to the effect because its how your eye does it too.

The test photo in the article just makes it look like someones put a lasso tool on the model, inverted it, then just done some sort of blur on the background. Its just not the same as the DOF on a real wide apearature camera.

Comment: Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (Score 1) 267

by sg_oneill (#46785569) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

Centron, what am I talking about. I mean crestron.

This was back in the 1990s, so my memory is a bit hazy. Thing is, the screens where pretty damn good.

That said, I dug up an old one I had lying around (Pulled it out of a clients place during an update in around 2000 and said I could have it) and plugged it in recently, not quite as responsive as I remembered it being. I guess the ipads spoilt me a bit.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 5, Funny) 290

by sg_oneill (#46777603) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

Back when I worked as a web administrator at my local university back in the early 2000s, the admin make-work types decided to bash out a web policy , mostly to keep standards up and guard against legal liability (Admittedly we had students setting up websites on chemistry lab pcs turned webserver with novel meth recipes and all sorts of shenanigans before that). All good and fine, I asked to be on the committee as an advisor, and so I was.

Then the whole thing went off the rails, every page needed to be approved by a department head, 10,000+ pages of previously existing data had to be retrofitted with full dublin core metadata descriptions, and so on and so on for about 400 pages of rules and policy that despite my best efforts I could not stop. These people had no fucking idea.

The crown was an insane rule that every new hyperlink had to be aproved not just by a department head but by the vice chancellor himself.

And so thats what I did, and I made sure it was done good and proper. I wrote a perl script that took all new pages on the webserver network (about 50-100 new pages a day) and then whenever a hyperlink appeared it spat out a 1 page document for approval *per link* requiring the vice chancellor and a lawyer to co-sign off on. All with witnesses. All in all about 400 pages a day of paperwork for the vice chancellor and a lawyer.

The policy lasted 3 days before I was dragged into the admin building to be ordered to stop producing the reports. I went in with my union rep. I said "Sorry , no , thats the official policy as passed by the university senate and the website will need to be shut down if this isn't done.". Since the next senate meeting was two weeks away, I made sure every god damn day that stack of paperwork was done by the vice chancellor for a glorious fortnight before the senate could revoke the whole damn policy.

It was a magical and golden time to be a union protected government (Universities are mostly run by the state in australia) employee.

For some reason later that year I was passed over for a promotion though. I wonder why, lol.

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? (Score 2) 341

* Carbon dioxide is the only important variable; it is more significant than variations in solar output.

No climate model of note considers CO2 to be the only variable of note. However variations in solar output are very well understood and no, they are not particularly significant at all. Yes, there is broad consensus on this.

* Feedbacks will make even small increases in temperature "run away" with dire consequences.

Well we know it certainly is possible because we have previous examples of it, including the 4c rise that triggered a further 6c rise in the permian extinction event when the siberian traps melted last time. That was 4c over about a good thousand years that triggered that. The current rate of rise is much more dramatic and we're in uncharted waters here.

Whilst it doesn't have the same full consensus that it WILL happen, its generally held that it COULD happen, and if it does we're turning the predicted 4c rise (Dramatic enough on its own) into something drastically worse.

* The computer models are sufficiently trustworthy that we need to spend trillions of dollars based on their outputs.

As I said, the current models include proper statistical modelling that lets us have a probability of being correct. They are getting quite accurate and the error bars are steadily going down. As I said, its not sigma-5 type stuff yet, but its certainly accurate enough to start making precautionary policy on.

* Geoengineering must never be considered as a solution; only controlling carbon may be considered.

Geoengineering is a MUCH more poorly understood solution, and the current ones we know of with a possible exception of water tower seeding all have pretty unpleasant side effects ranging from widespread acid rain to completely crashing the ocean ecosystem. We might have to go there eventually but its a bit like refusing to quit smoking because its unpleasant to quit and anyway we've got chemotherapy, something that will probably be a bloody horrible experience and might not even work.

Now I'll give you 20:1 odds that there is far from a "consensus" on these points.

I wouldn't risk your finances on those odds. Regardless you can actually look up the weightings of consenus in the IPCC reports which look at all these things (except perhaps the geoengineering stuff) and assigns specifically controlled descriptors based on the results of research and how widely accepted various things are amongst researchers.

* Warming due to carbon dioxide is not linear. Doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere does not double the warming, and in fact there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere already that almost all the possible warming is already occurring. In other words, adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will not significantly add to the warming.

This is obsfucation based on the fact that the effects of CO2 are measured in kelvins, not celcius. Within the ranges of temperatures required to maintain human life however, the effect is extremely dramatic.

* The computer models have completely failed to predict the past 15 years of non-warming.

We havent had 15 years of non-warming. That is a trope that is constantly repeated by denialists that has no basis in reality. In fact we've had significant warming. Please actually read scientific research on this matter instead of garbage from denialists.

We are now outside the "95% confidence" interval of the predictions. There is more CO2 in the atmosphere than ever, yet warming did not increase over the past 15 years. (See above point)


The CAGW position, as I understand it:

* Global warming will be catastrophic

It might be. It might not be. Try and not strawman science, thats creationist tactics.

* The computer models predict it correctly

Nobody claims that. They are however getting much more accurate.

* CO2 is the main driver

The main driver of significance. Correct

* "feedbacks" will cause the warming to "run away"

MAY cause warming to run away

It doesn't take your sarcastic suggestions about the laws of physics no longer working to invalidate any or all of the above.

It wasn't a sarcastic suggestion. If you can find out why the IR banding is somehow lying and a mechanism exists that makes CO2 only pretend to follow the understood laws of physics, then theres a Nobel prize in it for you.

In short, there are non-insane reasons why intelligent and informed people can doubt CAGW, and your straw men cannot change that.

They might be intelligent. But they appear to be wrong, and thats why amongst experts in the field denialism is held to be on par with creationis and "ufo research". Its a giant silly conspiracy theory with no scientific validity.

Oh like hell. The planned "interventions" would cost trillions of dollars. No serious economist thinks this will have beneficial effects on the economy...

If you actually read any of the literature, again not the stuff by blogs and untrustworthy think tanks, but by working academics, I can assure you you are dead wrong on this.

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? (Score 1) 341

My concern with iron seeding is that you might end up causing anoxia in the lower stratas of the ocean which could have somewhat undefined effects (We really dont know much about whats happening down there. Its a wild frontier down that way!) but it wouldn't be good and depending on how vertically interconnected the ocean biosphere is it might have catastrophic effects. Also it seems that overfertilization causes Pseudo-nitzschia algae to start producing some pretty nasty toxins in the ocean, notably domic acid which is an extremely dangerous neurotoxin in humans.

Argh, its a big mess really. Sulphur Cloud seeding creates sulphuric acid rain too.

Comment: Re:I am against any climate engineering (Score 1) 341

Lets suppose, we just exclude the U.S., and then we have the consensus that GW is human caused.

I wish this where true. Here in australia, our new conservative government is in the process of shocking the locals by attempting to recreate the american GOP dream in a country that neither wants it or even understands what the hell the new government is doing.

Hey lets dismantle the UHC so we can have a complete screw-up of a system like the americans. Lets defund science because our science advisor thinks the world is 6000 years old and the CSIRO professors keeps saying embarassing things about climate change like "We should move to renewables" so we'll just fire them instead. Wheeeeeeeee!

Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? (Score 5, Insightful) 341

1) where can we find a completely accurate (or even reasonably accurate) climate model? Even pro-AGW climatologists would shy away from claiming that they have one. Point is, the science is not "settled", unless everyone is agreeing on the mere fact that climate does change over time (which, seriously, no one credibly argues against).

Lets be clear here. "Pro-AGW climatologists" is a redundant phrase. In the *scientific* community (Ie not in the blogger peanut gallery), theres no more "ANTI-AGW" climatologists then there are "Creationist biologists". A very very tiny minority of mostly unqualified right-wing think tank employees at best. But actually nobody is "Pro AGW". Nobody wants this. My sister has been working on the hydrological parts of the modelling for the past decade and she utterly hates the science because the implications are so dismal. But its what needs to be done. Its like saying Oncologists are "pro cancer".

That humans are causing climate change isn't a debate anymore. Hasn't been for a long time, the science is fundamental and would require major revisions to fundamental science that we'd have to throw away 50+ years of scientific progress across the board. A whole new system of chemistry, a whole new physics going back to the 1800s (When scientists first started warning about the 'greenhouse effect' after discovering CO2's infra-red properties in the lab) , a whole new system of optics to account for why CO2 appears to be creating banding in the infra-red spectrum, it just goes on and on.

There are two things required for AGW to be false.
1) A mechanism that is stopping the CO2 humans are putting in from following the laws of physics by trapping IR light and introducing energy into the atmosphere.
2) A mechanism that is making measuring devices pretend that physics is still working as expected.

Perhaps when man makes CO2 its different to natural CO2 and instead of creating heat it creates some sort of strange particle that causes physicsts to lie, like orgone energy.

Does this sound strange? Well it exactly how strange science needs to get for AGW to be false. At this stage, scientists are happy to use the standard scientific model that says if you have a theory that predicts an effect and then the effect turns up in the observation, its a good bet the effect is true.

As for models, well yes, they are not without peril, however certain things can be predicted with certainty.Namely If you introduce x amount of CO2, it will trap in y percent of Infra red (and certain other spectra) light that is passing throught the atmosphere at the time. Since we have a good understanding of how much CO2 is in the air (We've more or less doubled it), we can do a back of the napkin calculation to work out how much energy is being added to the climate system. Remember, this is 1870s science here, nothing is controversial about this, and it can be verified in a high school laboratory.

The question then is how this energy manifests. The options are by heat (Warming) , by kinetic manifestations such as increased winds, cyclones, hurricanes, etc, by increased pressure gradients, such as the one that caused the huge chill over winter in the US, and so on.

Thats what the models are trying to work out. Whatever the case is, we know that the very minimal baseline is still pretty bad.

More to the point, the state of the art in modelling is that our models can attach error bands to the predictions. So "We think this is 80% likely to happen, give or take 5-10%" Currently we're pushing close to 100% certainty give or take a few percent. Not quite the sigma-5 type certainty of 'we've proven it" (Although we *HAVE* proven AGW), but pretty damn close.

At this stage its highly unlikely that the least-bad models will turn out over-done, and we can safely say with certainty that SOMETHING is going to happen.

Thus the precautionary principle states that even taking into account the small likelyhood we are wrong about it, we've got to do something, as long as the something isn't worse. Climate engineering might be worse, much worse even. Economic intervention however definately won't be (In fact most academic economists think climate intervention would have beneficial effects on the economy)

Comment: Re:Time to add another layer of BS indirection: (Score 2) 469

Theres also the psychoaccoustic nature of instrument familiarity.

Any experienced guitarist will tell you that if you pick up an unfamiliar guitar two things happen
1) They wont be quite as adept on it as they are on their own guitars.
2) The guitar will tend to "suggest" to them what sort of things might sounds good on it. This can be a pretty creative thing. I've written tonnes of lines just by picking up a new guitar and then blammo my hands just do something great.

Its a combination of the effects of muscle memory, and psychoaccoustics. The muscle memory isn't working quite as well forcing the guitarist to consciously think a bit more about what hes playing, and various attributes of the guitar will be suggesting to him things like "Hey this low strung strat wants me to play FAST" or "This soulful old girl wants me to play some blues on her", for instance.

The real magic happens after you've played that guitar for a few weeks and your muscle memory is automatic again and your head is completely around the personality quirks of it. Then and only then will the guitar truly sing in its own voice. The guitarist now knows things like "She's a bit buzzy around 7th fret" and "She performs beautifully around the second octave" and so on.

I would argue that violins must be the same. And if this is so how are we supposed to compare instruments not played to their true potential , even by master violinists, especially when stradovarius violins are renowned as eccentric violins that play best when the player has learned its ups and downs. Preferably in their prefered tuning (somewhat lower than modern concert tuning).

Comment: Now try this with an old Martin Guitar. (Score 1) 469

Now try this same test with a pre-war Martin D-28 and the best modern guitar you can find.

The modern guitar wouldn't stand a goddam chance.

Its frightening how good those old martins sounded. Why they can't get them to sound like that anymore is beyond me (Even martins re-issue D-28s dont stack up, despite being exceptional guitars).

Comment: Re:Op Out Knowledge? (Score 2) 157

by sg_oneill (#46637185) Attached to: Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?

Theres a lot of DNA conditions that are straight up "You wont live to 50 and theres nothing you can do to make it better" type things. Frankly for a young person, its better to just not know and go and live a healthy and normal life until the bloody thing reveals itself, than living a life in misery under a death sentence.

Living in ignorance isn't living a lie, knowing the truth and going on like its not real , however is.

Frankly, I'd take the ignorance.

Comment: Re:So far away (Score 1) 400

The star trek replicator is still firmly in the realm of science fiction, because it straight up can replicate almost *anything* (Except , of course ,latinum, whatever the heck latinum is).

THAT would be the technology that would straight up have people arguing about capitalism vs socialism as arcane as arguing about feudalism vs agrarianism seems to us.

Post scarcity, particularly if we can sort out some of our growing environmental issues, would make for an amazing society.

Throw in the warp drive, and mastery of genetic manipulation, and you've more or less got the world of star trek. Minus the pointy eared aliens.

Time is an illusion perpetrated by the manufacturers of space.