Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:It's a cheat. (Score 1) 186

Actually, although the guy doesn't mention it, this looks a lot like an expanded version of Richard Dawkins' "WEASEL" experiment.

As such, it does have some educational purpose: by its success (which would be impossible with an actual million monkeys experiment), it shows that evolution by natural selection (that's what the guy is doing) is very different from, and much more powerful than, simple random search. Simply because it's selective (duh), and more importantly, cumulative: you don't start from scratch at every new phenotype, you keep the good stuff you've found so far.

I wish he had highlighted this bit. That would have made his experiment much more valuable.


Gnome 2.30 Released 138

Hypoon writes "The GNOME project is proud to release this new version of the GNOME desktop environment and developer platform. Among the hundreds of bug fixes and user-requested improvements, GNOME 2.30 has several highly visible changes: new features for advanced file management, better remote desktop experience, easier notes synchronization and a generally smoother user experience. Learn more about GNOME 2.30 through the detailed release notes and the press release."

Comment Re:Very Strange (Score 2, Informative) 650

If he did it the standard way, then he simply took the data and calculated the probability of obtaining the same trend, or a more extreme one, if there was no warming - i.e. if temperatures really did follow a random walk. That's called a p-value. He found that if you only consider the last 14 data points, a completely unbiased process would have a bit more than 5% probability of producing a similar (or more extreme) increase. Ergo, the trend is not significant "at the 95% level" (the professor misspoke a bit here, people would rather say "at the p=0.05 level", but presumably that's what he meant).

Of course, the doubters understood this as "Phil Jones sez warming has stopped OMG!", when what he really said was that the observed data had a bit more than 5% chance of occuring if there was no warming. Tellingly, the more educated "skeptics", who could easily have corrected this misperception, did not.

Comment Re:Science or Religion? (Score 1) 1136

Remember when 1998 was supposed to be the hottest ever? Then that was debunked and it was 1934.

1934 is (almost) the hottest year on record in the (contiguous) USA .

The hottest year on record globally is 2005. 2009 is a statistical tie with 1998 (and a couple others in the noughties) as second-warmest. 1934 doesn't come close. The last decade is the warmest on record.

All relevant graphs are conveniently located there.

Well if ol' Phil is right and we haven't seen any statistically significant warming for fifteen years....

Then it has crap all to do with the existence of trends that can only be detected over more than 20-30 years, as Phil himself points out in the bit that you blanked out of your mind, right?

and the proposed solution (seizing most of the world's wealth, eliminating most of the current industrial base, etc.)

Hm. OK. Never mind.

We both know the difference between science and arguments to win points in the mass media and influence the electorate, right?

Apparently not.

Comment Re:Science or Religion? (Score 2, Insightful) 1136

"There has been an uptrend that is not significant" is more properly interpretable as "there has been no warming" than anything else.

Actually, no. "There has been no warming" is a positive statement, one that would need its own significance test. "No significant trend" means "the data over the last 14 years, taken in isolation, cannot provide conclusive evidence for or against warming." Which is quite different.

Now if you look in the previous record, you see that 14 years is simply too short a range to reliably detect significant trends, even when they are really there (as verified by using longer timespans). That's what Jones says in the bits you conveniently left out.

If the record was such that 14 years trend could predictably detect trends, then the absence of a significant trend in the last 14 years would be evidence against GW. Since they can't, it isn't. OK?

Now if the last 14 years' data cannot speak conclusively for or against GW, we need to ask the second best question, namely relative likelihood: given the recent record, even though no hypothesis reaches significance level, which is more likely than the other - warming, or no warming ? The "nearly-significant uptrend" is a coded way of saying that, even over the last 14 years alone, warming is "more likely" than non-warming, in the sense that if there was no warming going on, there would only be about 1 chance in 9 of getting similar or more extreme results.

If we add in prior knowledge, the overall long-term data says that warming is going on. The last 14 years of data, alone, cannot prove it, but they support previous data, rather than contradicting it, as you seem to imply.

tl;dr: "no significant trend over last 14 years" doesn't mean "no warming", it means "14 data points is not enough to establish significance in trends for noisy timeseries" (duh!).

Comment Re:stop feeding the trolls (Score 1) 297

From my perspective, taking a longer range view of technology and society and business, you are encouraging them to keep trying to get 10,000% (whatever, some huge amount way over real production and delivery costs) markup prices for digital copies of stuff. I think that's shortsighted.

Once again, a /.er fails to notice the distiction between production costs and reproduction costs.

Hint: if there is virtually no cost/scarcity in the creation of new desirable books (as opposed to the reproduction of existing ones), then why isn't everybody a best-selling author?

Comment Re:A little ignorance never hurt anyone, eh? (Score 1) 161

He's demonstrated the ability to deal with concepts in varying degrees, and to understand the difference between a *political* objection, and a doctrinal one.

From Galileo's recantation letter:

I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture [...] I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves:

Also, for some reason you fail to discuss the prelude to the whole debacle, when the Church officially condemned the Copernician doctrine, and notified Galileo of the fact.

Does the Church suppress science?

They explicitly threatened to burn him alive if he did not recant, specifically because his theories contradicted the official interpretation of scripture (that's the official justification as set out in the documents, including the letter above). Under what definition of "suppress" does this not count as "suppressing science"?

Even though he may publicly laud free inquiry and study, he simply dismisses any source which disagrees with his predisposed notions of the world.

That describes you to a T.

Comment Re:The most intriguing paragraph... (Score 1) 233

I would like to point to a similar story. In France the town of Rochechouart [] sits on a meteor crater. The name of the town, dating back centuries, literally means 'Fallen rock'.

Actually it doesn't. There is no plausible etymology from choir ("to fall", from latin cadere) to "chouart". Rather, the term "Rochechouart" comes from "Cavardus' rock", referring to the man who built a fort in the area.

Comment Re:Why Are We Deferring to an Economic Organizatio (Score 1) 715

When an editor broke with the unwritten rule the warmers had the offending editor removed. Another journal allowed a few doubting papers in, the warmers are writing about organizing to not publish in, cite from and generally shun the heretical journal.

It's difficult to be sure since you don't provide any references, but apparently you are referring to the publication of a bogus review paper by the Climate Research journal, and the resulting debacle.

Just to let you know, in the real world, no editor was "removed". Half the editors, including the hastily appointed editor-in-chief, resigned in disgust. The reason why people were upset is that an obviously flawed paper was published by exploiting a non-standard review process. If the Time Cube guy managed to publish an article in some journal, you bet people would become wary of being associated with it. Wait, no, actually you would regard this as an obvious conspiracy by the entire scientific community to suppress the very real cubicity of the universe.

See, that's one reason why people call you "denialists" instead of "skeptics". When faced with a difficult problem that they don't fully understand, real skeptics will look for more information, rather than just confabulate their conspiracy fantasies into an alternate reality.

Slashdot Top Deals

Promptness is its own reward, if one lives by the clock instead of the sword.