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Science

Can Science Ever Be "Settled?" 497

StartsWithABang writes "From physics to biology, from health and medicine to environmental and climate science, you'll frequently hear claims that the science is settled. Meanwhile, those who disagree with the conclusions will clamor that science can never be 'settled,' and then the name-calling from 'alarmist' to 'denier' ensues. But can science legitimately ever be considered settled, and if so, what does that mean? We consider gravitation, evolution, the Big Bang, germ theory, and global warming in an effort to find out."
Education

Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense? 689

An anonymous reader writes "'Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities,' President Obama explained to the nation Tuesday in his pitch for immigration reform. 'They are earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science...We are giving them the skills to figure that out, but then we are going to turn around and tell them to start the business and create those jobs in China, or India, or Mexico, or someplace else. That is not how you grow new industries in America. That is how you give new industries to our competitors. That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform." If the President truly fears that international students will use skills learned at U.S. colleges and universities to the detriment of the United States if they return home (isn't a rising tide supposed to lift all boats?) — an argument NYC Mayor Bloomberg advanced in 2011 ('we are investing millions of dollars [actually billions] to educate these students at our leading universities, and then giving the economic dividends back to our competitors – for free') — then wouldn't another option be not providing them with the skills in the first place?"
Earth

'Gaia' Scientist Admits Mispredicting Rate of Climate Change 744

DesScorp writes "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the 'Gaia Theory' and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.' Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says: '"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said. "The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said. "The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that," he added.' Lovelock still believes the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."
Government

Recovery.gov Not Very Transparent 222

Bob the Super Hamste writes "CNN is reporting that the page recovery.gov is not as transparent as it claims to be. The examples pointed out are: 1. The user is greeted by a large pie chart that show the breakdown of money spent by 2 categories, state government distributions and local government distributions. 2. Finding projects involves a complicated search, information on projects is not actually hosted on recovery.gov 3. The format of the information available is of poor quality (the article specifically mentions a PDF document that was created from a scanned sideways copy of roadwork projects from New York state). Given that this site was meant to make the spending of the new stimulus money more transparent to the citizens of the Unites States of America it seems oddly opaque. CNN does seem to praise the ability for government agencies to be able to exchange HTML based information between systems, which for government I would call a massive accomplishment. I tried to find information for my state and searched for Minnesota. I got 4 matches, 2 of which were generic ones: one was the Minnesota state certification that is required for a state to receive funds and one that lays out public transportation spending for all states of which Minnesota gets $94,093,115."

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