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Comment Re:Climate skeptics caught manipulating temp data (Score 1) 1011

That's a rather loaded way to look at this controversy. The skeptics pointed out that the overall the raw data was flat and only showed warming after adjustments. The believers responded that all the adjustments were reasonable and produced their rationale for the adjustments to the Wellington series as an example.

Both of these positions can be true, or may be spin. Without knowing the basis of all the adjustments (not just those at one station) can we be sure which is which. That said, it's not an insignificant issue if a trend is only apparent in the data after adjustments are made because those adjustments are often just educated guesses which introduces a larger margin for error and the possibility that subtle biases affect which way and how far that educated guess goes.

In their explanation of the adjustments to Wellington they used the differential between the Airport and Kelburn to calculate the differential between Thorndon and Kelburn because they are at the same elevation. But is it really likely that elevation is the *only* factor causing the temperature difference between Kelburn and the Airport? The bits of Kelburn above 125 meters look like relatively leafy hillside suburb of Wellington, while the Airport is a pretty vast expanse of concrete. Is it really a good proxy for the Thorndon waterfront of the 1930's just on the basis that they're at the same elevation? What if we decided to make a cooling adjustment over time to account for the increasing heat-island effects of increasing urbanization?

Comment Re:Oh, hey, (Score 1) 1011

NIWA explanation for what is going on for the temperature adjustments.

For a single station out of many that were adjusted. I suspect they picked one of the most reasonable adjustments out of the many that were made to present their strongest case.

But even the adjustments for this single station are at least a little problematic. There's no overlapping data between Thorndon and Kelborn so the adjustment is a guess. They took the newest station at the airport for which they have overlapping data with the old station at Kelborn (so that adjustment is not a guess) and applied the same differential to Thorndon because it was at the same elevation. Not a bad basis for a guess, but is it likely that elevation is the only variable between a modern airport and the Thorndon of 100 years ago? Is this one station really representative of all the other stations that have been adjusted? (was there a mid-century trend to move weather stations to higher elevations?)

Heat-island effects will generally be getting worse over time as suburbs and urban centers grow up around weather stations. When this is brought up as a reason for skepticism we're informed that this is a known problem and that the raw data is being adjusted for such affects. Instead when we compare the raw data to the adjusted data we're seeing a general upward adjustment rather than the generally downward one you'd expect because of the increasing heat-island effects. When asked why the trend is generally upward data for a single station which saw an altitude change is trotted out as a justification. Tellingly while adjustments for changes in elevation were made as this station moved around there were no adjustments for the fact that the city is significantly larger than 100 years ago and that the newest station is sitting amidst acres of paved runway.

Let me be clear that I don't think there's any kind of conspiracy. But I do suspect there's a subtle bias towards warming adjustments and away from equally necessary cooling adjustments. Because scientists now expect to see a warming trend if one doesn't show up in their data they're more likely to look for reasons why it didn't and account for them ("Hmm... that's funny this station data exhibits no warming trend. Ahh I see... the elevation changed in the 1920's") while similar factors causing an artificial warming trend in the data are less likely to be accounted for because the data looks like what is expected ("The warming trend for this station is in line with the global trend, I think we can safely assume there's no significant heat island effect in this case").

Science

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment Re:125 MORE years until the US gets time... (Score 1) 429

Funnily, "get over" and "get across" always made sense to me (I'm Bulgarian). There's the timeline of your life, and a bulge on it, meaning a problem. You need to climb over the bulge to continue, so, "get over". Conversely, the brains of people are (still) separated by two auditory systems, two speech systems, and an amount of empty space. So, it seems right to say that getting your thoughts across those boundaries is called, well, "get your point across".

Comment Re:Faster... (Score 1) 377

You don't actually know what you're talking about do you? For starters, this would make the XUL overlay extensibility model impossible. The big gain of XUL is being able to control all aspects of behavior and look at runtime, which in Mozilla products manifests as extensions, themes, userChrome.css...

Comment Re:And you can save even more (Score 2, Informative) 275

Canonical:
Revenue: $30 Million
Owner(s): Mark Shuttleworth
Employees: 200+

Red Hat:
Type: Public (NYSE: RHT)
Revenue: $652.57 million USD (2009)
Net income: 78.72 million USD (2009)
Employees: 2800 (2009)

Yeah, you see, having a business model helps. Someone's gotta actually write that software that Canonical gives away for free, you know...

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