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Comment Re:More choices! (Score 2) 249

Yeah, which Bible? Which Koran?

Actually, there *are* no alternate versions of the Koran -- or at least there's not supposed to be. Any translation of the Koran is not considered an actual "Koran" for purposes of Islamic law or worship. Anyone who wants to read or recite from the Koran is obliged to learn seventh century Arabic.

So there are no disputes in Islam equivalent to Christian disputes over whether the King James or the Revised Standard Version are more accurate; whether 1 Maccabees or the Epistles of Clement are divinely inspired; on whether to base the Old Testament on Hebrew sources or the Septuagint (the 2nd Cenury BCE Koine Greek translation that Jesus himself would have used). There's just one version of the Koran, the one authorized by Caliph Uthman in 650 CE, and believed to be compiled by Abu Bakr two years following the Prophet's death.

Yet oddly this has not prevented radically different versions of Islam from arising. The cheerful liberal Sufi imam at the local mosque has about as much in common with Wahabbist firebrands recruiting for Al Qaeda as the local gay Congregational minister has with the Aryan Nation affiliated Christian churches. There might even be *less* in common.

Comment Re:Comparative advantage is BS (Score 1) 522

When dragons belch and hippos flee
My thoughts, Ankh-Morpork, are of thee
Let others boast of martial dash
For we have boldly fought with cash
We own all your helmets, we own all your shoes
We own all your generals - touch us and you'll lose.

Morporkia! Morporkia!
Morporkia owns the day!
We can rule you wholesale
Touch us and you'll pay.

Fortuntely, Russia is run by humorless, dead-eyed authoritarians who are about as likely to have read the Discworld novels as the average American is to have read Russel and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica

Comment Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

The Slashdot population leans heavy on the tech and science geek side, people who are generally pretty good at finding reliable websites like the National Academy of Science, and secondary websites that reasonably reflect reliable mainstream science.


Except when it comes to fucking climate change, when suddenly a substantial portion of our population buy into some wacky conspiracy theory that the entire mainstream science community is in on some conspiracy to publish lies, and they start actively rejecting the fucking United States National Academy of Science as presumptively unreliable, and instead start digging up random blatantly trash websites that gain "reliable" status when they see that the info supports the "right" side of the issue. And you start running into "climate" papers cited to support a point - papers filled with blatant errors - and when you google the author's name to try to figure out what sort of idiot wrote it, it turns out the author wasn't a climate scientists at all..... no... the author was a "combustion engineer".... and then you think "WTF is a combustion engineer" and you find the link to his professional page you see (drumroll please) he's a combustion engineer specializing in how to burn coal better. And you can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. Because the otherwise competent geek you were debating with fell into paranoid conspiracy nonsense throwing out everything he knows about reliable science, and rejecting sites like the National Academy of science as "unreliable".... and instead found himself a "reliable" junksite that said what he wanted to hear.

You can use reliable sites to figure out what to believe, or you can use what you believe to determine which websites are reliable. One of those two options doesn't work so well.


Comment Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

I could point out that in 20 years of tracking the climate you'd EXPECT typically one result breaking the 95% confidence band on the high side and one result breaking the 95% confidence band on the low side.... and that I'm pretty sure we broke the 95% confidence band on the high side in 1998... but never mind that....

The whole warming thing is basic undeniable laws of physics. Sunlight shines down, hits the ground or ocean, and turns into heat. And basic laws of physics, CO2 blocks thermal infrared energy from leaving. Heat energy is trapped, Q.E.D. the basic principal and basic fact of global warming is an absolute undeniable result of basic laws of physics. The only complicated part is exactly what will happen with that trapped thermal energy. Where will it go and what will it do.

Surface temperatures have been rising slightly slower than predicted for the last few years, however the ocean temperatures have been rising faster than predicted for the last few years. That means the total warming balances out right just as expected. As I said, basic laws of physics, a pretty well predictable amount of heat energy was trapped, exactly as predicted.

The complicated part is how that heat energy will flow in the climate system and what abnormal effects it will produce in climate system. And just as we (in general) expected, it resulted in random anomalies in climate circulation - there was anomalously high rate of ocean mixing carrying more of the heat energy into the deep ocean.

The earth is warming exactly as expected, and weird random shit is starting to crop up in climate circulation patterns, just as anticipated. (I believe Donald Rumsfield would call these "Known Unknowns. We can predict that the climate is going to start doing weird shit we've never seen before, even if we can't predict exactly what that random shit is going to be. The overall heating of the Earth is a pretty well Known Known.)

Changes in ocean circulation is a core expected "unknown". The slight increase in vertical mixing we got is pretty insignificant, it gives a temporary slowing in the land-temperature rise. But another very possible change in ocean circulation patterns would be a shift or shutoff of one of the north-south circulation loops. If that happens.... well.... then they're going to start saying the "Alarmists" were overly optimistic. No one can even guess at the odds of that, so scientists focus on the known-knowns of the total amount of warming and sea level rise.


Comment Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

I suspect a lot of AGW denialists are also Evolution deniers

Indeed, there is a heavy overlap. Furthermore there's a well established correlation between conspiracy theories in general. Someone who believes in one conspiracy theory is more likely to believe in others. Anti-vaxxers and moon-landing deniers are more likely to be warming-deniers or creationists, creationists and warming-deniers are more likely to be anti-vaxxers or moon-landing deniers. Oh... and toss in 9/11 Truthers of course.

Once you start believing NASA/Doctors/Biologists/Climatologists/Geologists or whoever are in on some vast global conspiracy of deception, it's easy to expand and merge the conspiracies.


Comment Re:Autoimmune disorder... (Score 1) 350

Not really. In fact not even close. The ability to spoof caller id has nothing whatsoever to do with number portability. People were spoofing caller id long before number portability. I don't know what specifically led to the phone companies adopting a more abstract architecture, but it goes way back; possibly predating the breakup of the Bell System.

Comment Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

I don't like societies transformed by government mandate
never been a society successfully "transformed by science"

Lead was eliminated from gasoline (and our air) by government mandate. The same goes for keeping mercury and other crap out of our water.

So either agree that it is reasonable and appropriate for the government to restrict/prohibit the usage of the atmosphere/waterways as an unlimited dumping ground for industrial waste, or go move to some communist country toxic hellhole city in China or Russia where society polluting HASN'T transformed by government mandate.


Comment Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 1) 661

Here, you use the old tired fallacy of Argumentum ad populum (appeal to widespread belief, bandwagon argument, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people) - where a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because many people believe it to be so.

No, he wasn't using Argumentum ad populum.
An example of Argumentum ad populum fallacy would be "Most of the general public believe global warming is scientifically controversial, therefore global warming is scientifically controversial".

He was using Argument from Authority, and as he was citing expert climatologists on an issue of climatology, he was using it in a non-fallacious manner.

The "bandwagon" says eating lead paint chips causes brain damage in children. And if you think effectively unanimous agreement of experts in a field and decades of research and thousands of peer reviewed papers and an entire planet of scientific evidence "bandwagon" is a SANE justification to reject something, then clearly your parents actively avoided the lead-paint-chip-bandwagon when you were a child.



Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts 784

mdsolar (1045926) writes "The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday. The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis."

Comment Re:Lol... (Score 3, Insightful) 329

BF2 64 man Karkand Infantry Only probably the best PVP game ever, and I doubt it will ever be topped on the sick trajectory PVP shooters are on.

Sad to see it go, though there is only one server left. Big E, and the Big E admins suck so it was effectively dead already anyway.

All of EA's lame COD knock offs since simply don't capture what makes multiplayer PVP intense and fun, nor does COD:

A. Teams need to be evenly balanced
B. Teams need to be in a confined space so there is immediate contact
C. Needs to be some tactics and strategy but not a lot, versus aimless COD styling circling, killing and being killed
C. Weapons need to be equal, simple, skill based. No air, no armor
D. No stupid gimmicks
E. No excessively dense, expensive graphics. Simple graphics is actually better and you aren't forced in to a constant hardware upgrade just to play games that are immensly fun even if the graphics are simple. Excessive graphics also drive up costs needlessly.

If EA had just kept fixing the bugs in BF2, spent more effort controlling hacks, did new maps occassionaly, did minimal refinements, someone like Twitch promoted a competition system around it, someone provided some professionally admin'ed servers to get away from clan based bias, it would've gone on forever like Starcraft.

Comment Re:Big problems ahead (Score 1) 283

The young will be piggy banks for so long before getting tired of it.


Let's imagine for a moment a world where 50% of what a young person makes goes to support the non-working elderly. Sounds horrible, right? But lets imagine in that world in which those young people are 4x as productive as they are now. Would they have a legitimate beef supporting an older generation that bequeathed them a world whose technology, infrastructure and educational institutions allow them to take home twice as much pay as they did?

This is not just sci-fi conjecture; in many ways this resembles the situation we have today. If the current work force had 19th C technology, education, and infrastructure, then we'd only be able to support a fraction of the retirees who don't want to work. The modern working class enjoys a lifestyle that is considerably more comfortable than they did a hundred years ago, while supporting many, many more non-working retirees.

If you want to live a long and comfortable retirement, you'd better be committed to progress. But I question whether progress is a common American value anymore. With respect to education, I hear a lot of people who voice what amounts to this argument: if it was good enough for *me* then kids today ought to make due with it. After all *I* didn't understand algebra or chemistry when I got out of school and *I* did alright.

The problem with that argument is that todays's students are going to be the workers keeping your investments productive in your retirement years. They'll be the doctors taking care of you; the civic leaders making the laws and keeping the peace when you leave your home. It's not rational to want to limit the educational opportunities of the next generation to what worked for you; enlightened self-interest would support producing a next generation that's better educated than the world has yet seen.

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