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Journal Journal: The Museum of Slashdot Ignorance

This post will hold links to the most aggressively ignorant comments I run across. It's just a petty way of venting my frustration.

Comments may be modified for formatting or to include context, but all quoted text is from the original threads.

Supernovae May Not Be Standard Candles; Is Dark Energy All Wrong?
Re: Dark Energy

We've got the hubble expansion and cosmic background. Both of which point strongly towards an expanding universe with a point-like origin. Cosmologists hotly debate a lot of the details, but their agreement on the fundamentals is near-unanimous.

the expansion we see is simply a local phenomenon ("local" being many billions of light years across) like the crest and trough of waves on the open ocean. the CBE is a phenomenon that happened a long time ago "locally", and delineates the edge of what we can see

that's just a theory

but it's no worse of a theory than the idea that there is a big bang that encompasses the entire universe, not just what we can see

why is the edge of what we can see = to the edge of everything, period?

proof? the "proof" is a residual prejudice from abrahamic religion in our recent history

i'm not a quack. i am well aware of the history of science and the quackery that has come and gone. i listed such quackery in my comment above

i ask you to conform rigidly to the scientific method and tell me why, with proof, that you are certain that the edge of what we can see = the edge of all that exists

you can't

i am asking you to accept this: it's a deficit of human ego to posit that all we know is all there is

if you are aware of the history of science, note that this is an assumption that has driven discarded beliefs and failed theories constantly overturned in the history of science, geography, and especially astronomy

based on that simple failure time and again in the history of science, i think it's pretty safe to say that the edge of what we know does not equal the edge of everything, period. the big bang is yet the latest iteration of this human weakness, this bias of ego, this assumption that has failed time and time again

[Yes, it's really eleven separate paragraphs in the original.]

How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought
There's only three plants. (+2, Interesting/Informative)

These people - and their politicians - idiots. They're sitting right next to the Pacific ocean. The majority of them are running around like headless chickens, fulminating about "sea level rise" while shouting "Agua! Agua!" at the top of their metaphorical lungs. What they should do (should have done long since) is put in a series of desalination plants and some pipes, pumps. Maybe not even that much plumbing. They do have a reasonable watershed that will do the distribution for them if they put the water in at the normal source locations.

Even ignoring the environmental impact, desalination is extremely energetically expensive.

You mean the "environmental impact" of lowering the sea level in the Pacific and thus offsetting the sea level rise due to global warming? That' a pretty stupid definition of "environmental impact"...

What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?
Re:Philae will wake again

The team fully expects Philae to get more light early next year. [link]

Yes and they fully expected it to work in the first place. I can no longer tolerate missions that fail on such basic functions, it shows a lack of understanding.

[Philae is the first probe to successfully land on a comet -- hardly a failure!]

Latin America Exhausts IPv4 Addresses

Y2K was never a legitimate problem. Computers have no problem going from Dec 31st, 1999 to Jan 1st 2000. The only problems are constructs of human representation of time, like seeing "1/1/00". Is that 1900 or 2000!? We have no clue! But we do, actually, just like we knew '99' meant "1999" and not "1899". It was sensationalist bullshit that only caused headaches in the tech industry because stupid people were making a big stink out of it, so we had to go around slapping "Y2K Ready" stickers on everything to assure them the world wouldn't end. The *real* legitimate problem with time will occur in 2038, and we've already made the solution to that. Computers that are old enough to suffer that problem will hopefully not be maintaining some necessary piece of infrastructure.

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence
Re:Things are a lot more complicated

For example, suppose there is a car full of 5 kids stuck on a railroad track. Should your robotic car push the kids off the track, endangering it's own two occupants? Or should the car back away and let a third car, on the other side containing just one person attempt to move the trapped car? These are all questions real life people have to solve - and the owner of the car should have some say in what value the car places on their own life.

If robots are ever remotely competent enough to realize any of these situations, they will never get into these situations to begin with. A robot approching a railroad track would scan for the train then roll across with enough momentum to make it to the other side should the engine fail. Do not sacrifice a roder to save two -- follow the rule of "tough shit" and let engineers do a post mortem. Seriously, the people are stuck on the track for a reason -- some engineering or manufacturing flaw, or being lazy about car mainetnance. They are guiltier for their own situation than someone else who happens along. How dare there be a simple-minded numerical analysis. This is why I am opposed to the law busses must stop to check for a train. Has anyonr bothered to check if a bis stopping, then stalling as it pulled ahead, increased the rate of hits rather than decrease it? Ironically, this exact law is the bill in question in "I'm just a bill". People pass a law and damned be any outcomes change analysis.

[Naivete, judgemental sociopathy, assumption of expert ignorance, and spelling errors aside, the Schoolhouse Rock segment "I'm Just a Bill" describes a federal law that was never passed.]

Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"
Re:Standard practice...

Correct. But I suspect the hurdle here was to isolate the allergenic factor and administering it correctly. It is not as simple as splitting a peanut in 70 parts: you have to find the right protein, isolate it and dose it. It can be a bitch to do. The results prove that the protein was the right one and that the doses were ok. Finally, the treatment does not work with any substance: there are things that will remain lethal whatever happens as our immune system just cannot catch them. So that is another good news.

No you don't. You could just use ground peanuts.

Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics
Nobody reads the classics (+2, Informative/Interesting)

"Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality. 'This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,' said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work. The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like "amplituhedron," which yields an equivalent one-term expression."

These things come up every so often and it always makes me facepalm in a RTFM moment. It is as if none of these advanced physics and mathematics people have ever read or understood why mathematics and physics was invented in the first place. The Greeks invented it to study forms, geometric at first, learning quickly that so much of our human perception is illusion based on these forms. Only later did abstraction of these forms come to be through a great many expressive number systems that have never stopped increasing in complexity to think that analytical quantitative thought has become bloated and inefficient compared to its forgotten origins.

Another excellent example is ignorance on Descartes. Mathematicians and physicists use Cartesian coordinate systems so frequently but have completely neglected the rest of the work by the man that invented it. Temporal relativity, the atomic idea of time later 'pioneered' by Planck, and time itself as merely a manifestation of the flow of consciousness within it can all be attributed to Descartes, but all that Oxford cares of him is his pretty graphs.

If people so high would have taken the time to learn why these thoughts and tools came to be instead merely how to use them, human understanding could be centuries more advanced. Instead we have to reinvent and rediscover ancient issues over and over with new tools designed to solve different problems in ways that require different efficiencies.

Researchers Develop the Most Detailed Map of Gravitational Variations Ever
Don't know their science (+2, Informative)

From the article: That means a 100kg person weighs 700g more near the North Pole, where gravity is 9.83ms-2, than at Peru's Nevado Huascaran summit, where gravity is 9.76ms-2.

They are implying that mass is a function of gravity. Everybody who has had the most basic fundamentals of physics knows that mass doesn't change, only weight(measured in newtons)

Ocean Plastics Host Surprising Microbial Array

"A surprising suite of microbial species colonizes plastic waste floating in the ocean, according to a new study. The bacteria appeared to burrow pits into the plastic. One possible explanation is that bacteria eat into the polymers, weakening the pieces enough to cause them to break down more quickly and eventually sink to the sea floor. While the microbes could speed the plastic's decay, they might also cause their own ecological problems, the researchers say."

And if anyone needed a reason that people don't take eco-nuts seriously, here it is. Here we have a nice sign that some crappy thing we're doing to the environment might be mitigated in some small way by Mother Nature, and the response is what? Not "great! let's spend time working on other problems!" it's "oh noes, we think there are just other problems we haven't discovered yet". Just be happy, once, that something is a good thing without always trying to find the lining of doom and gloom and people might not just treat you like the gloomy harbingers you are.

Another Study Confirms Hands-Free Texting While Driving Is Unsafe
Re:No shit

All of the [automobile crash safety] technologies you mention would increase rather than decrease accident rates. Something like anti-lock brakes would decrease it.

What??? In what insane, backwards form of reality do you exist, where airbags and crash-testing cause accidents???

I live in actual reality. In actual reality people modify their behaviors based on risk. Airbags, seat belts, crumple zones, more resilient car frames, etc. do nothing to prevent accidents. They make accidents safer. When accidents are safer people are more willing to risk them. When people are more willing to risk them, they act in ways that cause more of them. It's likewise true for technologies like ABS that do help avoid accidents, but at least there the riskier behavior is offset by the technology.

Linus Torvalds Promises Profanity Over Linux 3.10-rc5

Everyone has to have a hobby, right? Seriously though, who the hell cares if the RC is bigger than the one before it, or whether the changes are scattered everywhere? If there were any number of concerns that needed to be addressed before the next release then it wasn't ready to go in the first place. Just test the hell out of everything, make sure nothing is broken, and make sure that each change was necessary and correct. In short calm your tits and keep coding.

India's ICBM Will Carry Multiple Nuclear Warheads
bad idea?

Oh boy, 4 nukes that you only have to shoot down one time because they're all on the same missile. What a great tactical advantage...for the enemy. Sounds like a cost-saving measure to me, not an amazing advanced weapon.

Scientists Recover Wooly Mammoth Blood
Half life of DNA is 521 years...

The half life of all DNA is 521 years []. What kind of 2-bit "scientists" are these that think they can clone an animal that died 10,000 years ago?

[The Nature link doesn't even support his statement.]

Google and NASA Snap Up D-Wave Quantum Computer
Re:Awesome (+3, Insightful)

"Quantum computer", "Google, NASA", "Artificial Intelligence", "Lab" Man, there's nothing in this story that doesn't sound awesome.

Except what they obviously intend to use it for - large scale decryption of SSL traffic so the data can be mined by Google (for profit) and the Government (to oppress).

[Paranoia aside, the article is about an adiabatic quantum computer, which cannot be used to break encryption.]

Mystery Meteorite May Not Be From Mercury After All
How did they come to that anyhow?

Seriously, why would they think they have any idea at all where it came from? Space is massive. There are chucks of rocks flying all over the place left over from the formation of our solar system. Not to mention other systems. We are blasted every single day with tons of space rocks. I am sure that there is a pretty high chance that none of it is coming from a planet but is rather coming from the millions of asteroids flying about. What, do they say, hey! this planet is also kinda that color, it must be from there since nothing else could possibly be that color also?

Modelling Reveals Likely Spread of New H7N9 Avian Flu
What happened to the last pandemic?

With all the crying wolf lately it's a wonder we still see these articles. What happened to SARS, did all five victims of the "pandemic" die without passing it on? H1N1 caused some sniffles. Donald Rumsfeld made a killing with his quack medicine while GSK fleeced the Brits out of a healthy chunk of their health budget during the swine flu hoax. Every year there's a new fake pandemic. Almost makes you hope the promised pandemic finally arrives to take out the idiots who keep pump-and-dumping their antiviral stocks.

Global Warming Shifts the Earth's Poles
All Just a SWAG

This about like predicting the direction an elephant is walking by calculating the effect of the mass of it's tail swishing back and forth on the overall mass of its body. Really, any calculations they attempt would be swamped by the chaotic nature of the earth. Just imagine all the variables they would have to account for. Now, multiply that by a few billion and you would still be clueless. They can write down all the numbers and formulas they want but it's still all nothing but a Scientific Wild Ass Guess. A guess with a built in bias to boot.

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