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Comment Re:Well, that explains things. (Score 1) 1268

Actually, the students are demonstrating profound depth. They recognize that 4+3+2 is an expression, 7+2 is an expression, and the two may evaluate to the same number in Peano arithmetic, but they are not identical expressions, i.e. don't satisfy a deep equality test. They resolved the confusion by inventing a novel inflationary Fibonacci algebra, where by definition x + y = (x + y) + y = (x + 2y) + y = ... They ran out of room on the test, so terminated the series and reverted to the boring conventional notion of equality. I ran the numbers and discovered that inflationary equality in fact is the missing piece of a GUT that describes the fundamental structure of the universe.

Comment But is it science? (Score 2, Insightful) 1747

Climatology is a mixed bag: part chemistry, part model-building and, now, part politics. Watts, Mann et al. are engaged in the latter two. They build questionable mathematical models from cherry-picked data to push a political agenda. The problem with model-building is that it does not result in a p-value for a controlled experiment with reproducible data which tests a defeasible hypothesis, i.e. it is not science. The molecular effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is confirmed science. The buffering effect of oceanic CO2 is unconfirmed science. The effect of industrialization on past temperature is 50% science. A 10-year prediction of global warming is 10% science. A 100-year prediction of global warming is 100% fantasy. The damage of climategate is not that it calls into question science as a whole, but that it is confused with science in the first place.

Comment Re:Professional Trolls (Score 1) 293

The loan is only partially to develop the family car. The WSJ article did not neglect to mention this, but reported: Fisker said most of its DOE loan will be used to finance U.S. production of a $40,000 family sedan that has yet to be designed. NYT reported substantially the same story as the WSJ article ( The first $169.3 million to be used for what Mr. Fisker called âoefinal testing and certificationâ of the Karma at the companyâ(TM)s Pontiac, Mich., plant (with support from company headquarters in Irvine, Calif.). The second stage, $359.36 million, is to gear up for manufacture of the Nina in the United States. WSJ distortion pales in comparison to Fox-basher distortion.

Comment Re:Prior art? (Score 3, Informative) 307

Patents are both an inducement to innovation and a barrier to entry. Hybrid motors are a case in point. I have an investment in Capstone Turbine, a promising low-emission microturbine venture. They lack the marketing clout or production efficiencies to stave off a larger company that could freely copy their innovations. I would not invest in Capstone Turbine unless they held patents. It is easy to document how patents are used as a weapon to curtail competition. However, the burden of a patent reform proposal is to answer a simple question: why would a small investor like me risk capital on a small innovator like Capstone Turbine if they couldn't hold a patent?

Comment Re:Let me be the first one to say it ... (Score 1) 1870

In here own words, Rosa Parks was 'tired of mistreatment'; cf., e.g, This in no way diminishes her achievement. More to the point, isn't it a bit silly to compare sharing bootleg media with the civil rights movement? True, illegal downloading ranks down there with jaywalking, but it's hardly a noble cause. I attended a talk by a TPB founder and he made the case that TPB per se is not liable since they only provide the envelope which others use to transmit content. But that conjecture is a far cry from a legacy of slavery and racism.

Comment Re:Erm (Score 1) 616

The professorial mill is unfortunate, but is chiefly the vestige of a medieval academic system. Many tenured professors put in fewer hours than their part-time TAs. Ironically, true reform is anathema to this privileged liberal elite because it entails noxious principles like accountability. Parental flexibility is the norm in the STEM private sector. Albeit at a cost: despite generous subsidies, less effort => less reward remains the rule, much to the dismay of many beneficiaries of this corporate largesse.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington