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Comment Re:Scott Adams answered. (Score 1) 15

At any rate, you're welcome to believe what you want to believe but if you want me to commit my hard earned money to the cause you'll have to do better than Trump's "believe me" line.

If you can't boil it down to something credible to a non-expert then you don't understand it well enough yourself. I know that to be true in fields where I'm the expert and I'm willing to assume it to be true in fields where I'm not.

Comment Re:Scott Adams answered. (Score 1) 15

There are a couple of meanings that get applied to the word "consensus."

Not when you are talking about a scientific consensus.

You're right. Scientific consensus means that an undefined super-majority of vocal researchers in the particular field believe something to be true. Anywhere from 51% to 100%. Though the belief is putatively based on evidence, such a connection is not necessary to the consensus.

This is more commonly "spun" as: The Scientific Consensus represents the position generally (but not necessarily unanimously) agreed upon at a given time by most scientists specialized in a given field. Nice slippery words which boil down to: "I know it when I see it and you'll just have to trust me."

There is nothing scientific about scientific consensus. And as with consensuses like medical bloodletting, the prevailing view is often not only wrong but later found to be based on unreasonably thin evidence.

Comment Re:Scott Adams answered. (Score 1) 15

Are you talking about assertion #3?

I wasn't but I accept #3 as responsive and concede the point.

On the other hand he basically says, "Why yes, we do use human intuition to tune the models every year rather than let the math rule." For a system that's novel and investigatory I'd be inclined to let that slide, but for a system being used to justify trillions of dollars in economic change, I find the models' slipperiness concerning.

scientific consensus arises naturally

There are a couple of meanings that get applied to the word "consensus." One of them is "general agreement," as in no participant objects. Another is "the judgement arrived at by most of those concerned" which is a slippery version of majority vote. There are even variants like "strong consensus" meaning explicitly 100% concur and "rough consensus" meaning that the remaining holdouts can like it or lump it.

Which is your version of "scientific consensus"? My version is that if you have to prove that consensus has been attained then it hasn't. Because actual consensus is just that obvious.

Comment Re:Scott Adams answered. (Score 1) 15

Well I did read it, and let me tell you what I read. I read a claim that the models continue to be adjusted to fit the new data and I read a response that no, the data is not being adjusted to fit the models. That's what's called a straw man argument. Instead of refuting the claim that's made, pick a claim that sounds vaguely similar and refute it instead.

Now, you say the AR4 model has been good. And you link to a graphic which does not say "AR4" anywhere on it and instead lists predictions from several models. And more importantly, doesn't demonstrate any controls.

Where's the chart that says, "the AR4 model predicted this line for 20% more emissions than we had and it predicted that line for 20% less emissions than we had, it predicted this line for the upper bound of the error band on the emissions we measured, and it predicted that line for the lower bound on the emissions we measured. Oh look, the actual prediction tracks the measured results while the test predictions clearly miss as expected."

I'm not just being rhetorical here. I've waited years to see a chart that said, "here's what happened, and here's what would have happened if we'd done X instead." With a change in result that's outside the error bands. I'm still waiting.

As for "consensus," you can dress it up as a survey of scientists deemed credible but in the end it's just a vote with a sloppy tally.

Comment Scott Adams is right. (Score 0) 15

Scott Adams is right.

A model isn't predictive until it demonstrates predictions which are confirmed. That doesn't happen until the model is stable, that is until it no longer has to be adjusted to fit new data. You don't have to be an expert in any particular science to know this because it's true in every science, part of the basic methodology of science.

Moreover, the old saw about Congress repealing the law of gravity reveals a basic truth about the operation of science. Voting is politics not science. When scientists resort to voting about something, the result has left the realm of science.

Finally, the fastest way to prove something is to vigorously attempt to disprove it... and fail. A political climate in which such experiments are impossible to rationally discuss (denier! denier!) and impossible to fund is inimical to science.

Comment Re:Let me tell you a story about NIPRnet (Score 1) 314

Just the fact it isn't on a government network is a fail on the audit itself. BTW I do audit networks.

As a member of the bureaucracy she bucked, I can understand you being annoyed but good God man, your vitriol is off the scale.

And for the record, I said the state department's email system was audited and implied (correctly) that it routinely receives poor grades for security. I made no statement about Clinton's server being audited let alone by government auditors or using any particular government standard. Before calling someone a liar, try to understand what they actually said.

You may cause me to retract part of what I said... not because of any misinformation about Clinton and her server but because your disrespect for fact in your position as a federal auditor implies that government servers receive improperly poor grades.

Comment Re:Let me tell you a story about NIPRnet (Score 4, Interesting) 314

Auditors grade the state department's unclassified email system every year. By all reports, Clinton's email server was substantially more secure.

She was careless with classified information, I don't cheer that, but I absolutely cheer her choice to use her own, better secured email server for routine unclassified communication. And I roar with delight that she was willing to buck the bureaucracy doing it when nearly every other politician knuckles under to what the bureaucrats tell them they must do.

Comment Let me tell you a story about NIPRnet (Score 4, Interesting) 314

I was called in to help debug a problem with a server running on the NIPR. It seemed several out of every 100 TCP connections it made to the Internet failed inexplicably. An application level retry would immediately succeed but if you let the original TCP socket retry it kept on failing to connect.

So I investigated and it turned out about 2% of TCP -source- ports in the ephemeral range were blocked. Any TCP packet using those originating ports simply failed to arrive at the other side.

So, tracked down the firewall admin at Pearl and she explained that yes, they blocked those ports because they were commonly used by malware. Ports like 1234.

Okay, so even if I buy that that's reasonable, it would only apply to TCP -destination- ports, not TCP source ports. Went back and forth, back and forth. Eventually gave up and hacked the server to avoid the filtered TCP source ports.

And that level of incompetence is why I totally understand anyone who wants a direct Internet connection.

Then again, as someone involved in the Intelligence community he might just have wanted a commercial connection whose IP address wasn't associated with the military for some of his communications. You know, basic opsec.

Comment Re:Risk (Score 1) 15

Of course we can manage chaos. That's what business is all about.

Any particular software impacts specific processes within the business. We can know those impacts and place an upper bound on the cost of failures without having to know anything at all about how well the software is programmed.

If any of those impacts is a critical business failure they yeah, we'd better deal with the technical debt. But not every piece of software sits in a business critical path where it's capable of failing in a manner which does severe damage.

Comment Re:Moving to another star? (Score 1) 522

My bet is on no FTL or time travel

In my life I experienced pre-cognitive clairvoyance twice. Once with a time span of about a few minutes and once with a time span of a couple years. Each episode gave me several seconds of what future-me was seeing.

The first time I saw a disturbed camping storage pile on my family's mountain vacation property near Berkley Springs, West Virginia. Thieves had found the disguised storage and looted it. I saw it in a vision while out of sight several hundred yards away. A few minutes of walking later I saw it in person, -exactly- as the vision showed. I was around 7 years old at the time. And no, my parents did not believe me when I told them.

In my college years while in my bedroom in Virginia I saw a vision of a concrete ramp to the left of a short set of concrete stairs. I had no idea what it was. The closest I could come up with was the drainage ramps where I'd lived as a teenager. But I knew that was wrong - it was too wide and too shallow and the stairs where I lived before had iron railings which this did not.

A few years later at the University of Delaware I walked a sidewalk from a cafeteria back to the marine studies building. I'd walked the same path during a visit the prior year, but in the intervening span the school had decided to replace the worn dirt bike bypass beside the stairs with a concrete ramp. The ramp from my vision. I only later realized that in my surprise I looked down at it as I walked past tracking the very same view I remembered from my vision.

I can't prove it. I can't replicate it. I don't know how it works. I have no control over when or if it ever happens again. But as a personal matter, I'm satisfied that -something- pierces time.

Comment Risk (Score 2) 15

Respectfully, I don't think you've done a good job assessing or presenting the risk posed by the code.

Is this Internet-facing code? If not, there may not be a security risk.

Is this business-critical code? If not, there may not be any business risk.

How often does the code get used? If it generates a report twice a year consuming 8 hours of staff time, how much time should really be spent resolving technical debt?

Technical debt should be avoided, but once you have it, it should be resolved either when it poses some legitimate risk to the organization or when the manpower needed to use or improve the code is impacted enough to merit the cost of refactoring.

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"And remember: Evil will always prevail, because Good is dumb." -- Spaceballs