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Comment Re:Common for Cranks (Score 1) 211

This is a very good point, but it needs to be sharpened.

Evidence, can be contradictory, because it is what it is. Explanations and interpretations, however, cannot be contradictory, or they don't really explain anything.

So if the climate is getting hotter in one part of the Earth but cooler in another, that's just the nature of evidence; reality is complex. But you can't simultaneously believe that the Earth is getting hotter (but it's OK) and that it's getting cooler. People sometimes do argue both ways, simply ignoring the inconsistency. What really matters to them is that we should not have to do anything about it; how we justify that end is secondary.

Comment Re:I'm just guessing they won't study the fraud (Score 1) 211

One of the hallmarks of conspiracy theories is that they imagine huge numbers of people to act in ways that contradict their own interests, and for them to all do it with perfect (or near-perfect) levels of secrecy.

The idea that there's more money to be made shilling against burning petroleum than there is shilling for it is simply farfetched. And leaving that aspect out of it for the moment, what scientists want more than anything is to see the scientific consensus overturned. When that happens it's like a gold strike: everyone rushes to the new fields and tries to stake his claim.

Once upon a time there was something called the "Central Dogma of Molecular Biology" (it was actually called the "central dogma"): DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. Except then Howard Temin and David Baltimore discovered reverse transcriptase, which explained how RNA from retroviruses were able to alter host DNA. Their reward for finding an exception to the dogma? A Nobel Prize, and a brand new area for research and technological development. Reverse transcriptase made the highly sensitive and accurate PCR test possible.

Any scientist who can conclusively disprove AGW would be able to dine out on that for the rest of his life. He would go down in history as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race. Most importantly, everyone would think he was waaay smarter than the other scientists.

People don't understand the function of scientific consensus. It doesn't represent a final version of the Truth; it represents a division between things statements that can be stipulated for the time being without recapitulating the entire lie of evidence (e.g. that matter is made up of atoms) and things that require citation of specific evidence (e.g. that there are stable elements with atomic numbers > 118).

Comment Re:boring (Score 1) 20

Yeah, it's a giant radio control toy. Nothing cool about that at all.

In general extremes of anything are cool. Along those lines the real problem is that the robot needs to be bigger. That said, what would be even cooler is to go the other direction: make a toy that does this transformation, but which would fit on the nail of your pinkie finger. That would actually be awesome.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 239

I'm not bragging, because as you point out anyone can join as an associate. The point is that you can meet people with more technical qualifications than you have even though you work with a bunch of low-grade code monkeys.

The overall point is that your anecdotal experience of what a college education does for people is dependent upon how you sample.

Comment Re:The blame can be shared (Score 2) 211

Life: Record lows in winter

e.g. If the three months of winter on average way above normal, but I can find one day over the three month period that was unusually cold, I am going to pretend the entire winter was record cold.

Actually, it's more like "if it's cold outside my door, then the whole world must be cooler than normal".

It's worth noting that the "greenhouse effect" is much less pronounced in the winter than the summer, because in the winter there's less energy to be trapped. In fact in the polar regions there's practically none. So expect winters to still be cold, in fact you may get record cold as weather patterns are disrupted (e.g., 2014) by latitude gradients in energy trapped.

In fact models have predicted a pattern of both extreme highs and lows for twentyyears now. It's only when you integrate over the entire surface of the globe that you see "global warming". Consider this quote from a 1995 New York Times article:

A four-degree warming, some scientists say, could cause ice at the poles to melt, resulting in rising sea levels. It would also shift climatic zones and make floods, droughts, storms and cold and heat waves more extreme, violent and frequent

This idea that global warming is disproved by local cold snaps is just a straw man argument.

Comment Re:so... (Score 1) 211

when a scientist who initially buys into a theory that seems reasonable on its face, and then changes his mind after being confronted by new information, you presume he is SENILE????

Professor Lewis' senility is not connected to his opinions regarding scientific theories.

Are you a physician? Have you examined the professor before rendering your diagnosis?

His impairment is well-known in the UCSB and APS communities.

Comment Open source version of siri / echo (Score 1) 124

The answer is MyCroft

I plan on buying one of these the very soonest I can once they are actually shipping the hardware. Echo is crippled by the many limitations Amazon coded in on purpose -- it's basically something that looks up text matches and does something if it finds one. No language parsing worth a damn. Even so, it's very useful, and within those limits, you can make stuff for it, Amazon's pretty open about it as long as you can set up a secure server (ugh) or use their cloud (double-ugh.) Siri, as per usual for Apple, is a much more closed system, and frankly, it's of no interest at all to me because of that.

Mycroft is completely open source. I have very high hopes for it because of that. I have reams of my own natural language processing code I should be able to plug right in the moment there is a speech-to-text engine I can use directly. Others do as well. Custom apps in the home space, that are actually somewhat smarter than...

[if string == "turn on light" then TurnOnLight]

I suggest everyone check MyCroft out. Perhaps you'll be as enthused as I. I can hope. ;)

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 239

Not exactly rocket science working that out, given that the phrase "the best technical people I've met" appeared in his post.

You stupid Belgian twat.

Which would normally be .. where? You know I worked for a number of years without a degree, before going back to school, and I joined IEEE (as an associate member) and ACM. The best technical people I met were through there, not work.

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