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Comment Re:This isn't a war within science (Score 2) 235

Practitioners of a scientific discipline know that the first mistake outsiders often make is a failure to familiarize ones self with the often quite large body of peer reviewed published research in that field. The economists who authored the original article have fallen into that common blunder here.

When two disciplines come into conflict it is often a good idea to pay heed to the discipline whose field of expertise and history of research best covers the bone of contention. The central conflict here is over two variables - genetic diversity, and population density at various times in history and prehistory. Anthropologists have a long established, peer reviewed record of research into genetic diversity and human migration; economists do not. Anthropologists (specifically, archaeologists) have a long established, peer reviewed record of research on population estimation throughout history and prehistory across the globe; economists do not.

As a result, the economists who wrote the original paper got both their genetic diversity AND population density estimates wrong, so their work is essentially worthless. The rebuttal by the anthropologists goes ino great detail on these errors often resulting from long outdated sources or complete lack of awareness of published literature in the relevant areas of research.

N.B. dupe since I unintentionally wasn't logged in originally

Comment Re:I speak Spanish, you insensitive clod! (Score 1) 800

English is an indo-european language, a germanic/romance hybrid to be precise (old english is the germanic bit, norman french and latin are the romance parts).

It is common for non-native speakers of english to think that the relative paucity of inflected endings means that english grammar is "simple." This is why such people speak english so poorly. ;^)

There's a world of difference between being minimally intelligible in english (which is admittedly easy compared to other languages with more inflected word endings), and speaking english grammatically correctly. Deriving the correct meaning from colloquial english speech is harder still than speaking grammatically correctly, and this is what Siri manages to do remarkably well.

Comment Re:Wrong (Score 2) 1271

Banks failing isn't the problem.

Actually firms failing, such as Lehman, is the problem because in a modern economy these financial institutions are all deeply interconnected. When one fails, it brings down the others like a house of cards.

So the usual naive pure free market booster solution of "just let it fail" only "works" if by "works" you mean the entire global financial system ceases to function and we are reduced to barter. Kind of a productivity and wealth killer though.

Comment Re:No One (Score 2) 482

Only if zero energy using economic modes come to completely dominate the economy. Read tfa; if economic growth continues but energy use levels off (as it must eventually lest the 2nd law of thermodynamics mandated waste heat from energy use boil the oceans), then the non-energy consuming portion of the economy must eventually come to be far larger than the energy consuming part. This implies an economy where the overwhelming majority of wealth is generated by activities that consume no energy at all. That seems absurdly unlikely.

Comment Re:LOL (Score 2, Informative) 334

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

iow, "In God We Trust" is both an establishment of deist religion, and an establishment of monotheism, and makes atheists, non-deists, and polytheists, second class citizens - i.e., they are explicitly, and of necessity excluded from the "We" of "In God We Trust." That motto labels anyone who doesn't believe in the monotheist deist god effectively un-american.

Comment Re:Dr. Roy Spencer... (Score 1) 954

I call BS. The falsifiable hypothesis is that if anthropogenic CO2 causes temperature rise there should be a direct relationship between anthropogenic CO2 levels on the one hand and global temperature on the other. Guess what - this falsifiable hypothesis has not been falsified. We can show that the increased CO2 is anthropogenic - it has the carbon isotopic signature of fossil plant material - it comes from fossil fuels, and global temperature rise directly tracks this recent increase in CO2 from our use of fossil fuels.

You think you can fool naive lay people by throwing around the word "alarmist." Real climate scientists eat, drink, and breathe falsifiable hypotheses - their entire careers are governed by them, and they can't get into peer reviewed journals unless they're both talking the talk, and walking the walk of falsifiable hypotheses. You just don't like the fact that the consensus falsifiable hypothesis - that we, by our use of fossil fuels, are causing significant rise in global temperature and the attendant climate change - is not falsified by the actual data.

Comment Re:Dr. Roy Spencer... (Score 5, Insightful) 954

We don't live in an ideal world where all scientists treat data objectively. We live in a world where some scientists have a religious and political agenda. In this real world, not all ad hominem arguments are ad hominem fallacies.

When someone has a history of publishing peer reviewed articles that do not make very bold or striking claims, and then making press releases that do make bold and unsubstantiated claims, it is necessary to point that history out, lest uninformed readers conclude that the unsubstantiated claims are what has been peer reviewed.

Any claim that CO2 is not causing global temperature increase is an unsubstantiated claim and is not what has been peer reviewed here.

Comment Re:"...they all follow a I-III-IV chord progressio (Score 1) 243

Please mod AC parent up - I - IV - V (not I - III - IV) is and has been the standard pop/rock harmony progression since the 1950s, with roots that go back to turn of the 20th century 12 bar blues from the Mississippi delta.

I - III - IV is practically unknown among pop songs (though I - III - IV- IVminor is a common enough phrase in some songs, but rarely if ever the main progression)

Comment Re:I have the RIAA approved answer... (Score 1) 758

The standard for civil cases is "preponderance of evidence" which is a weaker standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt," but possession is still considered "preponderance of evidence." IOW, having something in your possession means that the burden of proof is on the other side to show that you possess it illegally. The burden of proof is not on you to show that it is in your possession legally.

Comment Re:Depends on who is hiring (Score 1) 444

And a sufficiently complex railroad network is a turing complete programming system, but you can't ride a turing machine tape to work...

Just because we can show that programming languages have equivalences to mathematical formalisms (such as the lambda calculus, or a turing machine) does not mean these things are the same

To repeat "mathematically equivalent" /= "the same."

Programming is writing because programming languages exist for the purpose of communicating with other people not for the purpose of communicating with machines; ones and zeros would do just fine for the latter.

Machines do not care how they are communicated with - all mathematically equivalent means are identical to a machine; all mathematically equivalent means are not the same to people. We have cognitive strengths and weaknesses; we have existing domain concepts, terms, and solutions; being able to program easily in the existing domain language, concepts, and solutions is a huge win for programming.

Comment Re:Depends on who is hiring (Score 1) 444

My current theory is that programming is quite literally writing.

I agree to a very large extent.

A corollary of your insight is that programming languages should be designed more like natural languages and less like mathematical or logical formalisms. Programming languages are primarily for people to communicate with people, since machines don't care if we communicate with them in Java, brainf*ck, Haskel, or machine code. It is an argument for programming languages that allow the easy construction of domain specific languages, for programming languages that allow easy metaprogramming. This way, we write programs in the language of the problem domain, the language in which people already have experience solving the problem, usually for a number of person-years, rather than being forced to re-cast the problem in the concepts of the particular formalism beloved of the programming language's author.

Comment Re:paranoid nonsense (Score 1) 577

That's precisely the analogy Jobs himself used at D8 in his interview with Walt Mossberg:

Mossberg: "Is the tablet going to eventually replace the laptop do you think? There's a lot of people who say 'you'll never do content creation on it' for instance. Tell us where you think the tablet is going, not just the iPad but the tablet itself."

Jobs: "Let me think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, and America started to move into those urban and then suburban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. And now, probably, I don't know what the statistics are, probably one out of every 25 vehicles, 30 vehicles is a truck, where it used to be 100%. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people."

Mossberg: "Just to be clear, when you say PCs you mean PCs and Macs, and you're including laptops and desktops.

Jobs: "Yeah."

Comment Re:Where's the DOJ (Score 4, Informative) 577

You need to read up on the legal definition of a monopoly. What MS was dinged for was using its monopoly in OS and Office software to drive out competition in the web browser software market. Apple doesn't have a monopoly in mobile OS software (iOS is actually losing ground to android); Apple doesn't have a monopoly in desktop/laptop OS software (Windows still accounts for 90+%); Apple doesn't have a monopoly in anything (no, "monopoly in software that runs on macs" is not a legal monopoly, otherwise every single company would have a "monopoly" in some arbitrarily defined, meaningless, sliver "market").

A monopoly is the market power to price your offerings without regard to the price of competitors offerings. Apple doesn't have one, so they can't be accused of leveraging a monopoly they don't have.

Comment Re:Unconstitutional? (Score 1) 363

To be more precise, the usual argument made is that enacting such a law would constitute a barrier to interstate trade, and the US Constitution gives sole power to regulate interstate trade to the Federal Government.

IOW, such a law would likely be constitutional, but it may well require Congress and the President to enact it, not the California legislature and Governor Brown.

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