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Comment Re:Drug test the final standard? (Score 5, Informative) 482

What are the 3 common points between Jan Ullrich, David Millar, Bjarne Riis and Richard Virenque?

- All of them wore the Tour de France yellow jersey at some point (Riis and Ullrich won the tour outright, Virenque won the mountains classification several times).

- All of them eventually admitted to doping.

- None of them were ever caught by the so-called "drug tests". They were found out through other evidence (drug transport interception, raid on clinic, etc.)

The simple fact is that the drug tests in the 90s were a joke. They got a bit better in the 2000s, and that's how many of the later crop of dopers were caught (Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, etc.) They're still nowhere near 100%. Extraneous evidence is still a major factor in catching dopers.

Is Lance Armstrong one of the greatest cyclists of all times ? Yes he is - he won 7 Tours while all his competitors were loaded with drugs too!

Did he do it without doping? If you believe that, either you don't follow cycling much or you're 12.

Comment Re:ALSO: No Snow In the UK (Score 4, Informative) 572

Yeah, when I'm looking for a careful assessment of scientifice evidence, my first source is always uncommondescent.com (actual byline: "serving the intelligent design community").

As for your first link, it quotes one actual climate scientist saying that in the future, snowfalls in parts of England are going to be rare and exciting (the "in a few years" is from the journalist, not the scientist). Apparently you regard this statement as absolutely ridiculous on its face?

Well, global warming is expected to warm global temperatures by 2degC or more by 2100. More so on land (as compared to oceans) and more so in the Northern hemisphere. Now let's compare the average minimum winter temperatures of two cities:

London, UK: 2.7 (Dec), 2.3 (Jan) 2.1 (Feb).
Marseille, France: 4.1 (Dec), 3.0 (Jan), 3.9 (Feb).

Guess what? Snowfalls are rare and exciting events in Marseille, right now! What do you think will happen in London when daily temperatures increase by two degrees?

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

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!).

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