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Comment: Re:In all seriousness... (Score 4, Informative) 126

by ESR (#46400439) Attached to: Interview: Ask Eric Raymond What You Will

OK, let's squash some of this nonsense right now.

I never believed the 2010 Haiti Erthquake was caused by a voodoo curse, and I'm astonished that anyone interpreted that post in that way. What I found anthropologically interesting is that something like Robertson's "satanic" invocation seems actually to have taken place. Not actually "satanic", but within Robertson's impoverished terms of reference that's about the only way he could describe an invocation of the loa.

I believe, and have repeatedly said, that the supposed "scientific consensus" on CAGW is not a conspiracy but an error cascade. I think most scientists are honestly trying to do right, but have been overly credulous about data and models that have been (and continue to be) fraudulently manipulated by a tiny minority of them. Those of you who think this makes me some sort of nut are going to have some explaining to do when measured GAT drops out of the bottom of the IPCC's 95% confidence band, which looks set to happen before the end of 2014.

I might reply to some of these other questions at more length, but these two deserved to be dispatched immediately

Comment: Yes, Kuhn was almost perfectly wrong (Score 1) 265

by ESR (#42523863) Attached to: Does All of Science Really Move In 'Paradigm Shifts'?

Yes, Kuhn was full of horse puckey. Not only doesn't his book describe science outside of physics at all well, it doesn't even correctly describe 20th-century physics, its ostensible paradigm (using the word correctly now) case.

Years ago I wrote a more detailed takedown in Brother, can you Paradigm?

The only amplification I'd write today is that the shifts between large theoretical models generally (and contrary to Kuhn's claims) go smoothly in physics because test by correct prediction of experimental results is so difficult to argue with. The soft sciences have more trouble setting up repeatable experiments, so it's easier for people to hold on to broken theoretical models.

Math

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

Posted by samzenpus
from the less-math-more-social-science dept.
artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Comment: Because It's the State of Our Union (Score 1) 664

by spack (#15810054) Attached to: Why Have Movies Been So Bad Lately?
Someone is paying for this crap (watching it) because it's still being funded and shoved in our faces all over the television sets and banner ad space on the web. Hollywood hasn't crumbled yet due to lack of patrons. I think they are pushers and the mindless public are sitcom junkies looking for an escape. Hollywood could make a feature length movie out of Friends and it would probably get rave reviews like "the funniest film of the summer," "the best comedy of the year," and (my one of my favorites) "a roller-coaster ride of laughs and guffaws that will leave you breathless and in tears." The Filthy Critic loves to quote the "quote whores" that just spout off meaningless drivel because it makes them sound like movie critics worthy of getting paid for their "professional" reviews. By the way, I didn't see anyone else paying homage to old Filthy, so make sure you check out his page. http://www.bigempire.com/filthy/ He's had a string of one finger movies lately. No surprise there. Overall, movie theatre attendance is on the decline and has been for years. I remember a few years back hearing a lengthy report on NPR talking about this. I learned a lot from the report, including things like how theatres are renting movies from distrubutors and the majority of ticket prices for the first few months go straight to distributors. This is why theatres charge so bloody much for concessions, it's the main place they make their revenue. I swear they'd sell three times as much if they'd cut the prices by two-thirds, but that would be too logical. It's no different than what Hollywood is doing with declining movies. Movie attendance is down, so they jack up prices to compensate on the revenues. Again, someone is paying, so they have incentive to keep up the status quo. (Why does the image of beating an aged and nearly dead, overburdened cart horse come to mind?)

As someone who has worked in the fan based science-fiction convention scene now for many years, I see the written word on the decline. No, I don't think books will die, but it simply reflects out society. Most of the people I see attending reading panels (where the author reads their own works), or writing panels, or anything else to do with actual written science/fantasy fiction, are an older crowd. This simply correlates to the rest of society. We are a media oriented society now. X-boxes, mindless movies, flashy cartoons on television that move at warp speed and don't even give a chance for the audience to revel in a good laugh (think Bugs Bunny and compare to Power Puff Girls), and MTV. Oh lords of Hollywood, let us not forget MTV, which has completed it's de-evolution into the "Shiny Things Network." Hey kids, try some books. Go slow at first, your brain needs to come up to speed. On yet another side note, as my post is full of them, I love Harry Potter stories. It's gotten so many teens and young adults to actually read and not even be phased at the thought of 500 pages or more.

It's a safe bet that the majority of Slashdot readers are going to be fans of Science Fiction. I myself enjoy the Stargates on Sci-Fi channel. I watch them because there's not a lot else to watch and it's a fun, affordable, relaxing and safe way to spend a Friday evening. I also watch them because they preceed Battlestar Galactica and like any good headliner band, your are going to sit through the opening act to watch what you really came to see. (More on this in a moment.) This Atlantis scene that captured the "emotion and emergency" I just don't get. I find the Stargates to be a franchise that Sci-Fi channel is milking and the writing to be lacking. I find the characters to be exceptionally two dimensional with zero depth and development in the last many seasons. Yes, I realize that Atlantis isn't that old. I stand by my statement. I think the writers are too comfortable in their characters. Perhaps they think we wish to see David Hewitt become the most supreme smart ass of all times. I'm just watching Rachel Luttrel's curves anyway, so who cares, right? Claudia Black on SG1? Hey, let's pull a "Seven of Nine" tactic and add some eye candy. Works for me as long as we are being honest about it. She needs some character development that's plausible. I'm not seeing it. But again, she's hot in black "pleather" so who cares? Like I said, it's a headliner for the real show, and that is Battlestar Galactica.

Sci-Fi channel has hit pay dirt with Battlestar Galactica and thankfully I think they know it. This show is indeed (as the quote whores deemed it) the best show on television. It's smart, it's dirty and dark, it's got fantastic writing. I love characters that I hate to love and love to hate. I hate Baltar, yet every so often he's show a spine, or do something spontaneously out of character and I'd just smile because I see real writing in action there. The show has great drama, believable politics, a sexy cast that actually is required to act and isn't getting the luxury of settling into typecast roles (unlike Stargates.)

On another note, check out the new summer show, Eureka, on Sci-Fi channel. It's pretty good. Most of the characters are refreshingly unique. The premise of the show is certainly unique. It's no rare gem that was Firefly, but it's something fun to watch none the less. Also, is anyone else as sick of "monster movie of the week" shows on Sci-Fi?

Question to the audience here: Why does Hollywood assume that those that watch Sci-Fi channel love horror? Or perhaps it's Sci-Fi channel itself? I can't recall the number of times last Friday night I saw trailers for Pulse, Descent (with lot's of BLOOD), and their own monster movie of the week. Ninety percent of everyone I know that is a fan of sci-fi is not a fan of horror. Again, someone is paying money to support this crap.

Lastly, I saw a post where someone suggested trying Anime out because you never know what you are going to get. I find this to be true to a certain degree. Steer clear of the typical "romantic comedy" genres where a boy with no spine that happens to be surrounded by gorgeous girls constantly that kick his ass when he sees them nearly naked as they prance around. Especially the one girl that really likes him but won't admit it. It's far to easy to simply drop kick him (literally) out of the room as a sign of her true feelings. (Love Hina comes to mind.) Stick with something more sci-fi oriented. Yeah, the Japanese come up with some really wacked out shit. Most of it's pretty good.

Long post, I know. Bounces around, yeah. I just have a lot on my mind when it comes to the crap that hollywood puts out both on the big screen and what's on TV. The subject of the decline in reading and the rise in media junkies has been a hot one in my own back yard with how to ensure that a long standing Science Fiction convention continues to thrive and doesn't wither up. In my book though, the bottom line is simple. If you think it's crap, don't settle for it. Send a message by not buying it. And speak up when you do see something good (like BSG.)

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer

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