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Comment Re:so its not global warming? (Score 2) 111

I'd take AGW arguments more seriously if they weren't so dependent on rhetorical fallacies.

You've already amply demonstrated that no amount of evidence will ever make you take a scientific analysis of climate change seriously.

Ad hominem attacks such as the above ("shrieking denialists") and appeals to authority ("97% of scientists") are ridiculously common.

"Ridiculously common" is an apt description of the denalist tendency to shriek "ad hominem!" every time somewhat accurately identifies them, and their constant pretense that appeal to authority is at the basis of scientifically based climatological arguments.

Comment Re:so its not global warming? (Score 4, Informative) 111

Trees, over their life span, may sequester carbon. But forests do not. They are carbon neutral.

This is true over the very long term--in the extreme case of Carboniferous forests, 300 million years or so; we're only now getting around to releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere by burning coal. Obviously in most cases dead trees rot and release their carbon faster than that, but "fast" is relative, and it's still a very slow process by human standards. And most of the carbon from a dead tree doesn't go straight back into the atmosphere; it's taken up by other organisms, and ultimately goes back into the soil as part of the organic waste that makes forest floors into fertile ground for the next generation of trees. Rotted wood, bits of smaller plants, bug poop ... it all looks like a buffet to a sapling.

Comment Re:so its not global warming? (Score 5, Informative) 111

It's a combination of factors, of which warming is one. Probably the best summation from TFA:

"When you look at the long record, you see fire and climate moving together over decades, over centuries, over thousands of years," said pyrogeographer Jennifer Marlon of Yale University, who earlier this year co-authored a study of long-term fire patterns in the American West.

"Then, when you look at the last century, you see the climate getting warmer and drier, but until the last couple decades the amount of fire was really low. We've pushed fire in the opposite direction you'd expect from climate," Marlon said.

The fire debt is finally coming due.

This is pretty much what you'd expect. Leaving aside the question of the human contribution to warming and what we can do about it, the fact of global warming is established to all but the shrieking denialists; it's also a fact that under normal circumstances, ecosystems adapt to any change in climate--sometimes better than others, but they do adapt. Our fire suppression policies for the last century or so have prevented what would have been the normal adaptation from taking place. So now we're getting it all at once.

Comment Re:Ideas are a Dime a Dozen (Score 1) 140

Without getting into details, it's biology with a popular genetic model organism.

Yes, I could see how that would be a problem. My dissertation depended heavily on data from model organisms (D. melanogaster and S. cerevisiae) but that was a matter of using them as well-vetted data sources as test cases for algorithm development, not really trying to learn new things about the biology of the organisms themselves. Now, when I apply my methods to human data, I can make a case for credibility by saying, "Well, we know it works in flies and yeast ..."

FWIW, bioinformatics can always use more biologists; too many of us come from the CS/math side and really need collaborators who can keep us grounded in the reality of living organisms rather than running away with "hey, look at this cool algorithm!" So if you're interested in moving over, there's an opportunity there. In any case, I really do hope things get better soon.

What's really annoying, however, is when someone picks it before you, does a shitty job, and gets their paper published somewhere high profile.

My program director once said that the best way to get a highly cited paper was to be the first to do something and do it wrong. He wasn't recommending it, though.

Comment Re:So Al Gore is a slimy politician? (Score 2) 216

Yes, the city-county of Nashville/Davidson County is one the two blue spots in a red state. But the people I knew and worked with, and the people who staff the radio stations, and the people you talk to on the street, don't all live in the Blue Hole known as Davidson County.

You must be getting tired from moving those goalposts. Sit down, take a rest.

I see that you're not from there, and have probably never set foot on the ground there, so I'll give you a hint: check the "doughnut" counties.

Never said I was. I'm familiar with that kind of political geography, though. Let me introduce you to these fascinating concepts known as "data" and "logic" that allow us to ... oh, wait, I'm talking to a right-winger. Never mind.

Comment Re:Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. (Score 1) 140

So your call sounds much like ... unattractive people saying that attractive people should be forced to smile at them.

Where did you get the idea from my post that people should be forced to do anything? If you want to keep your preciousss ideas secret, go right ahead. Just don't expect the rest of us to pat you on the head for doing it.

Oh yeah, and those attractive people who don't smile at ugly people? I guarantee you a lot of them aren't nearly as good-looking as they think they are.

Comment Re:So Al Gore is a slimy politician? (Score 5, Insightful) 216

Yeah, Al Gore is basically the Town Joke around Nashville, TN. During the three years I lived there, I never once heard his name mentioned in a respectful manner, and that includes on the local radio stations.

Most of the time you could get a laugh just by dropping his name into a conversation.

In the 2000 election, in Davidson County, which shares its boundaries with the city of Nashville, Gore received 120508 votes to Bush's 84117. (Source; scroll down to get the Tennessee data set.) So I suspect your observations say a lot more about the kind of people you choose to associate with than they do about Gore or anyone else.

Comment Re:Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. (Score 1) 140

The thing is, the only way to find out if your idea is good or not is to implement it. Some ideas that sound good turn out to be bad, and vice versa--and if someone else does something good with an idea similar to one you had, that doesn't mean you could have done the same. In the App Store example, it seems to me this is more a matter of developers copying each other's implementations, which is a very different matter.

Comment Re:Ideas are a Dime a Dozen (Score 1) 140

Ideas are only a dime a dozen if you have obvious ideas.

Every artist, every scientist, everyone who does anything that requires any creativity at all has more ideas per day--per hour, per minute--than they can possibly bring to fruition. Most of them are silly, but some of them are very good. And there's really only one way to find out which is which (hint: suing someone else for "stealing" them isn't it).

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