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Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 3, Interesting) 83

by TapeCutter (#48643195) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

[Animals are] FAR more accurate than any weather forecast I've seen.

You see ants moving eggs, maybe it will rain in the next day or two, but how much rain? How much wind? Any hail, tornados? King tide?

You see humans boarding up windows, sandbagging shops, anchoring boats away from the dock, etc, you know a destructive storm is on it's way.

Weather forecasts are pretty accurate to 5 days out even here in Melbourne which (like NYC) is notoriously fickle, but you don't need doppler radar and a supercomputer to match the forecasting skill of ants. With a bit of practice mentally tracking wind direction, looking at clouds and feeling/smelling the (fresh) air will give you a fair idea of tomorrow's weather.

Natural disasters happen to both species, by all reasonable standards humans are much better at predicting severe weather than animals since (at worst) we have the capacity to simultaneously observe many diverse species to make a statistically combined animal/plant forecast. Having said that, even the humble ants will have buried their dead and rebuilt their city in under a week.

Comment: Re:So the question is... (Score 3, Interesting) 83

by TapeCutter (#48643009) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

so why don't we start listening for it with our warning systems?

That's what I was thinking, also how can a tornado make any type of noise 2 days before it forms? I can understand animals picking up things we can't, deer may hear the rumble of a quake that causes a tsunami, my dog routinely hears thunder 15-20 minutes before I do and looks for a hiding spot, but how the hell does any animal "hear" something that won't exist for another two days?

Having said that the animal kingdom is full of "mysterious knowledge", for example crocodiles in Northern Australia can somehow "calculate" when a king tide will occur, about an hour before the event they gather at a particular ford across a river where the unusually high tide spills over the ford leaving a bonanza of fish stranded on the rocks. Even Attenborough admits he doesn't have a clue how the crocodiles "know" when to gather at the ford.

Comment: Re:This synopsis (Score 1) 129

by TapeCutter (#48624559) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At
There are exceptions - Calculus is a good example, That's why everyone knows the name Newton more than three centuries after his death, calculus and his laws of motion enabled the leap called the industrial revolution and inspired the social leap known as the enlightenment.

Comment: Re:This synopsis (Score 1) 129

by TapeCutter (#48624527) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

It's like expecting Google search to suddenly gain sentience

Meet Watson, it beat the best humans in the open ended problem domain of "game show trivia" using natural language processing. When it won the Jeopardy championship it had 20 tons of air-conditioning and a room full of servers. Today it runs on a "pizza box" server and you can try it out yourself. After Jeopardy it went back to working with various medical institutes where it was trained and fed on a steady diet of medical journals, it's now well past the point where it became knowledgeable enough to pass the test for a US GP's license.

True Watson is blind, but I suspect the problems with visual input is more about the human teacher's failure to provide the right context and experience than it is about the artificial students ability to learn.

Comment: Re:Duh. (Score 3, Interesting) 210

by TapeCutter (#48604989) Attached to: Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do

Isn't this something everyone already knew, radical warmists and evil deniers alike?

Maybe, but statistical thinking doesn't come naturally. People cheat at gambling by loading dice so that they come up snake eyes (say) 1 in 20 throws. They get away with it because even if you know the dice are loaded there is no way to link any particular snake eye event to the hidden weights. The victims simply subscribe it to luck, but the longer you play the more suspicious they will become of your "lucky streak". Same deal with storms, floods, and droughts.


by TapeCutter (#48596197) Attached to: The Shale Boom Won't Stop Climate Change; It Could Make It Worse


If we are being 'serious', nobody has claimed there is such a thing, however the climate our civilization has experienced in the last 10k yrs has been in a very stable "dynamic equilibrium". That is set to change because humans are kicking the crap out of the climate system, it will fuck up our agriculture, flood our coastal cities, and cause mass migration. How much worse it gets is depends on how we behave, if continue on our current course then the laws of physics say the ocean will become acidic in the 2100's - the last time such an event happened naturally, it coincided with the worst ever extinction event known to man.

We have already got a taste of how climatic changes can cause social disruption in Syria. The "arab spring" was preceded by the worst drought in the 10ky history of the fertile crescent (the birthplace of agriculture). The 'unprecedented' drought caused people to abandon their farms and set off food riots in major cities such as Cairo and Aleppo. In Syria agriculture totally collapsed, a full 10% of the population (2M people) simply walked off their "dust bowl" farms just prior to the civil war, coincidence?

Comment: Re:Out with the old... or not? (Score 5, Insightful) 295

by TapeCutter (#48595917) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber
I drove a cab in Australia for 3yrs, it's not the worst job I've had but it's certainly the worst paid job, think fruit picking money. Most cabbies don't own the cab or the plates (medallion). The cab owners are the ones who are understandably getting upset since if uber is legal the plates they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for suddenly become worthless.

Uber drivers are desperate for work and silly enough to run their own car into the ground for little more than petrol money, when it's dead they can't afford a new one and walk away in a worse situation than they started. Courier companies do the same thing here in Melbourne, they call you a "sub-contractor" get you to stick a "courier" sign on your own car then you drive it at your own expense until it falls apart. And if you're unlucky enough to fuck up without the right insurance, you will be paying for it the rest of your life.

From my experience with real cabs, sticking with a regulated taxi industry is the best thing any of us can do to stop uber exploiting desperate people in a race to the bottom.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"