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Submission + - Anthony Watt's responds to Economist (wattsupwiththat.com) 1

cluge writes: Anthony Watts, author of the Watt's Up With That blog has posted an open reply by Willis Eschenbach in response to the Economist. You may recall that the Economist recently had an blog post titled "Scepticism's limits" covered by Slashdot. That post was extremely critical of Mr. Eschenbach and Eschenbach fires back finding errors in logic and fact that undercuts the Economist's arguments. The entire affair is yet another reminder of the power of the Internet and the diminishing bully pulpit of traditional media outlets. 20 years ago Eschenbach would have had a hard time getting a reply out there.

Comment Wait a second? (Score 3, Interesting) 135

>Owners of a jailbroken iPhone with a default root password are advised to flash
>to the latest Apple firmware in order to ensure no malware is present."

If they flash to the latest apple firmware, will they be able to

  • 1. Use the network of their choice
  • 2. Run non apple allowed apps (skype)
  • 3. Play their music without DRM

Most importantly - will they be able to jailbreak the device after the update?

I see a future where Apple, the RIAA, and others might wish to write worms to help prevent people from hacking their devices or brick devices that have been "hacked".

Comment Re:So, maybe you missed the memo? (Score 1) 271

>The one over a year ago where the Bush Administration confirmed that man-mad global warming was a real threat?

I'm not sure why you would think that I would care about what a US administration thinks. Perhaps you think former President Bush is a good diviner of scientific truth? Personally I think such an attitude is a bit crazy, but if you love the ex President that much, good for you.

You're much more likely to get my attention by backing up your opinion with specifics, like scientists, studies, and actual data. If you think that a Government regulatory agency that won't follow it's own rules and squashes dissent combined with a legal system is a good arbiter of how science should be conducted, then I can't help you. Mind you I'm not saying that AGW isn't real, only that the state of the current theory is so poor that it makes little sense to base a bet worth a few trillion on it at this point.

>The one where every nation in the world is meeting in Copenhagen in two months to draft a replacement to the
>Kyoto protocol, because ten years on the climate threat is considered more dangerous than ever?

How did that Kyoto protocol go? It didn't work, and it didn't have the desired affect. When evidence is mounting that theory is broken, why would the "world" rush to enforce rules that are based on a models that don't work? Hardly seems "scientific", but traditionally patience and a clear understanding of a problem has never been a politicians strong suit, on the other hand lemming like following is traditionally a trait found in the political class (ie those going to Copenhagen)

>How about the one where the several thousand scientists who contributed to the last IPCC
>report don't care much for your baseless, non-scientific opinions that denigrate decades of
>careful research and observations?

Biffa was one of the IPCC leads. Here is a person that REFUSED to release his data or methodology until forced to by a publication several years after the fact. This also meant that studies that followed using his data in their conclusions still had the original problems replicated compounding the problem. Why would any research not release both data and methodology after they've been published? That in and of itself strikes me as "non-scientific".

If a researcher wishes to publish papers where his little black box/book holds the methods and data for his fancy graphs and no one is allowed to look inside, then we should change their title from Researcher or Scientist to Vicar. If you choose to follow said Vicar, that is your business.

Comment Expect to see more stunts (Score 2, Insightful) 271

As evidence mounts that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming isn't the disaster the chicken littles have been preaching for the last 2 decades, the more dramatic, outlandish, and shrill the commentary will become. Expect to see more of these stunts from both countries and entities expecting to receive a big pay day from the industrialized nations, while the evidence points to a theory that needs serious revising and models that aren't very accurate at the most basic of predictions.

To date a lot of the proxy data used to bolster the claim that the observed warming trend was "unprecedented" turns out to be extremely poorly put together. The recent Briffa revelations are so bad and Briffa so resistant to releasing his data (which is contrary to scientific methodology) that one has to wonder if there was deliberate fraud. In climate research this has happened before. The original, discredited Mann hockey stick was another example where a researcher refused to release both data and methodology, and when forced to told the world that data was lost (until it was found by accident on his FTP server). Both examples are indications that peer review in some fields is nothing more than a cliquish acceptance of a forgone conclusion.

Perhaps this stunt will bring attention to the matter that current understanding of AGW is poor at best and that current climate models are woafully inadequate (and perhaps a tad overly dramatic). More research is needed and more importantly the people conducting that research need to strictly adhere to scientific method if we are to have a clear view of the mechanisms that shape our climate and what the human population effect on it.

Final Thought : Having researchers act like a group of 14 year old girls that decide who is "in" and who is "out" isn't science - it's dogma. It does little to advance the course of science - but it makes great reading. Better drama than day time TV.

Comment Thoughts (Score 4, Insightful) 776

As the government pumps more money into the economy - it looks for more items/services to tax to try to make up for the insane amount of deficit spending. This cycle is a bit part of the reason the great depression lasted so long (ie until WWII). This tax is partly driven by "health" concerns and partly driven by a need for funds to cover the massive amount of deficit spending. A happy coincidence - win win for everyone (Notice the position of tongue and cheek)

Here is the irony of this sort of taxation behavior. If you are successful and get people to stop buying soda - your tax revenue goes away. This creates another problem because the revenue starts being counted on (see cigarette and alcohol taxes for example) and the vicious cycle continues with the government looking for other things to tax (all in the name of your well being mind you) to make up for the loss of the revenue which should have been expected. When the taxation goes too far you start to create an underground economy in the taxed product and enforcement of taxation starts to take up a signifigant amount of the revenue. A quote from the DOJ budget

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requests $1,120,772,000 for FY 2010, including $1,114,772,000 in Direct Salaries and Expenses and 5,025 full time equivalents (FTE) and $6,000,000 for construction of explosives ranges at the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR). Specifically, ATF requests $1,077,783,000 and 4,979 FTE for current services, $17,989,000 and 46 FTE for Southwest Border enforcement efforts, and $19,000,000 for operations and infrastructure costs associated with the NCETR."

Can you imagine what the Bureau of healthy food enforcement budget will look like in 20 years? Considering all the hyperbole that we have to suffer through regarding foods (first it's good for you, then it's bad, then it steals your wife, then it's a miracle diet food, etc, etc, etc) who has any faith that the regulations dreamed up with the contradictory drivers of increasing tax revenue and eating healthy compounded by several special interest groups will produce anything but a mess?

These are hard times and the government needs to SHRINK just like every other sector of the economy. Why should the government not feel the same pain and be forced to make hard decisions that every other entity is? It shouldn't. Here is a simple rule - does the law proposed increase or decrease liberty? If it decreases liberty it probably is a bad law and should not be passed.


Comment Re:Yep... (Score 1) 179

>the per-port cost of 10Gb ethernet is astronomical compared to something that would go in a consumer device

That is what was said abot ethernet. Now it's so ubiquitous that my blue ray player has an ethernet port. Why intel isn't just pushing to lower the cost of ethernet which is already well understood. With the advent if Isata and I scsi do we really need a different layer 2 protocol?

Comment Agile, Scrum and fashion sense (Score 1) 434

What is amazing to me is that some folks actually think that applying one methodology over another is the be all fix all for a bad development team, poor work habits, and/or poor management. The lack of a plan can't be fixed with Agile practices, although agile can overcome a poor plan. Agile is hot right now, just like capri pants were a few years ago. It's fashionable.

A lot of developers love it because they hate writing documentation and think anyone that looks at their code should be immediately enlightened as to what they were thinking at that moment in time. These folks point to agile manifesto and scream "Working software over comprehensive documentation". Sorry - sometimes you have to write documentation.

Writing good code involves some planning, some thinking, and with teams LOTS of GOOD communication. It's a creative process as much as it is a engineering or scientific one. If you have a strong management team, good people, and dedication you will quite probably produce good code. It doesn't matter if your a scrum master, agile devotee, or a guy that still starts out with a flow chart. Agile is not the be all end all of coding, and even properly implemented won't make a project successful.


Comment Re:News Flash! Civil Servants Corrupt! News @ 11:0 (Score 2, Insightful) 1057

This is pretty much how it works in every discipline

Yes and no. There is this idear of "competing theories" and the evidence used to be the arbiter. Science is supposed to be about more than belonging to the right clique. Skepticism is a prerequisite to good science - I don't give a flying hyena what you think, I care about what you can prove. Research "Null Hypothesis".

You've never heard of anyone having trouble publishing something that goes against current thinking?

Why yes I have but in general when a competing theory explains the observables as well or better than the current theory it's published. That's the way it's supposed to work, I'm sorry you missed the point.


Comment Re:News Flash! Civil Servants Corrupt! News @ 11:0 (Score 3, Insightful) 1057

"The guy had a physics degree, and an economics degree. Neither which fully qualifies him to report on Global Warming."

I call paskahousut.

ANYONE with a physics degree can certainly comment on the physics of AGW theory.

[flame thrower on]An ecology degree or a degree in meteorology is what you you get when you can't do the math for your physics.[flame thrower off]

The problem with current AGW theory is that the data doesn't always match the theory as well as would be expected. Generally for people trained in the basic sciences this means that one needs to re-examine the original hypothesis or perhaps the models. Not for people that truly believe in AGW. These folks, scientists or not, can be pretty dogmatic. In today's climate that means that work is either censored, ignored, or the researchers attacked. I find it odd that people who publish works that don't follow the prevailing wisdom that writes the pay checks for AGW researchers are called skeptics or crackpots or are accused of being paid off by "Big Oil" (While money in the form of government grants and/or "green" organizations isn't tainted, ever)

The laws of physics change for no person. They just get occasionally refined (hat tip Einstein). If the basic physics upon which the theory is based doesn't work, then the theory is wrong. Period.

I suspect he was speaking more from his economics degree. If one is to make a decision as to what is better for the world, with a limited supply of resources (ie money) wouldn't having someone with an economics background help do the cost benefit analysis? -cluge

Comment Censorship NE WireTapping (Score 1) 197

They highlight the roles of the two biggest carriers: Great Britain, which actively censors internet traffic, and the US, which allows warrantless wiretapping of international traffic

Wire tapping isn't censorship last I checked. Censorship requires active suppression. Perhaps wiretapping may cause self censorship because one could think that they shouldn't say something?

That being said - the fact that traffic is monitored should be a given. Thus the raison detre for encryption. Anyone that worked in the ISP world in the early 90's will know that several of their upstream providers had rogue sniffers on their network. Why do you think telnet died and SSH came to be?

My reaction - use encryption as often as possible, assume everything is "wiretapped". Fight unwarranted active suppression wherever you find it. (FYI - I often black hole IP's that I see scan my network. I guess I'm censoring it ;)



Submission + - Congress hacked - again, botnets on the rise

cluge writes: Once again the computers used by the US congress have been compromised. This has happened before, and the attacks are thought to come from either China or Russia. Some industries aren't much better, 60% of the computers at multiservice businesses that serve the immigrant community in the United States are actively infected with malware according to one study. The shadowserver foundation says the number of machines that are part of botnets has quadrupled in 2008. Is 2009 going to be the year of the compromised PC?

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