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Comment Re:Wonderful news ... (Score 5, Informative) 177

This is a city in Sweden, so it's safe to assume that health insurance comes from the national health insurance program, the city would not be buying private coverage for their employees. Thus, even if it the 6 hour days save money overall for the government at all levels, it costs the city money they don't have.

This is only half correct. First, in Sweden, employees salaries are paid by the employer (i.e. the city) for the first 14 days of every sickness period. Secondly, while Sweden has a national health care system, it's largely financed on the local level and by local taxes.

Comment Re:Populist Call (Score 1) 903

As long as taxes are non-zero the populist call will be taxes are too high. No matter how benefit, army, police, roads, civil structure, (health care in advanced nations), laws people get out of it, there will always be some who call for lower taxes.

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Or, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society..."

Comment Re:Not a plan (Score 1) 620

And your plan as I said has no impact on what other people will do, or have been doing. China does not give a shit about your position, they care about economic power and growth (as well as protecting that power with Military).

China coal consumption declines for third straight year, and solar capacity grew 81.6 per cent, wind capacity grew 13.2 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015. The China excuse has lost its lustre.

Comment Re:I wish I could trust "academic experts". (Score 1) 620

I wish I could trust "academic experts". I really do. But all my experiences with academia and academics have been very disappointing.

Failed too many exams?

The first problem can be summed up with the old saying, "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, research.". That's exactly what we see in academia: those who couldn't cut it outside of academia with their bachelor's degree end up back in academic circles, often for the rest of their lives. Academia provides a safe playpen for those who were below the standards of the real world.

LOL. Any given tenure track position has typically 30-100 applicants - and all of these are, of course, already PhDs. Grant applications have 5-30% acceptance rates, depending on the agency and program. There are few fields that are as competitive as academia.

The second problem, which is somewhat related to the first, is that many academics are completely out of touch with reality, and full of, for a lack of a better term, total bullshit. My background is in computer systems design.

Then you may have heard about, e.g. BSD Unix, RISC, SUN-1, X11, TCP/IP - all products of "useless academics".


The fourth problem is when you take all of the above and add money into the mix. That's when everything really goes to hell. This is a sure-fire way for even the sciences, which are generally among the least-inept of the academic subjects, to become highly politicized. It's no longer just about inept people doing inept research. Now it's about inept people doing inept research but always finding the "correct" results for politicians who need to legitimize otherwise illegitimate practices like carbon taxes and excessive and costly regulation.

So when such a flawed system provides results or information for my consideration, I have to take what they're saying with a very, very, very big spoonful of salt grains. None of it can be trusted, from the individual level all the way through to entire fields of study.

Pray tell us, what is your secret source of wisdom? How do you "know" these things about academia? Why do you trust these sources and what is their motivation? Who paid Fourier for nefariously discovering the greenhouse effect in 1824, or Arrhenius, who first quantified its effect on the atmospheric temperature in 1896 (and got close to current estimates on the climate sensitivity, but completely underestimated our release of CO2)?

Comment Re: Sounds great! (Score 1) 422

If Prof. Beaker publishes an unexpected result with large implications, a lot of other scientist will try to refute, refine, or reaffirm that result, without the EPA ever stepping in.

And where do these scientists get their funding? Prof. Beaker might have been funded by, let's say, very big pharmaceutical industries with a direct interest in the outcome, and Prof. Beaker might be depending for 90% on that kind of funds. Now, who is going to pay the independent scientists to reproduce the research? In other words: dream on, 'science' doesn't work the way you describe it. Maybe it should, I agree, but it doesn't.

If Prof. Beaker is Prof. Beaker, he will be paid by a university, and he will most likely have tenure, so his personal income is safe - this is what the tenure system is all about. And his additional research funding will come from a large number of different sources - from the NSF, from NASA or ESA, from the European Union or the Chinese Academy of Sciences. And, of course, potentially also from industry partners. But not all Beakers get their money from the same sources. See e.g. the sad Andrew Wakefield story - which eventually got corrected, just as expected.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 2) 422

We have this story right on the frontpage where an average biology graduate makes $31,000 a year.

If you follow your article to it's source, you can see that US$ 31000 is the salary of the average fresh biology bachelor. To work as a scientist in biology and the life sciences, a Ph.D. is essentially a requirement. A bachelor degree is a start, but hardly something that enables you to evaluate serious scientific reports. And biology is not the only subject - statisticians with a bachelor make around US$50000, . And those salaries do not include employer payroll taxes and benefits.

In words, that is One Million Dollars [], or, with overheads, maybe around 5 qualified employees.

If the EPA's overhead is 84.5% for paperwork, not even novel science, it's time to end the program.

As pointed about, your salary costs are way off. And then you need to figure in office space and equipment, potentially lab space (and equipment), and yes, administrative and managerial overhead. For desk jobs, a factor of between 2 and 3 seems to be normal in the US - more in countries with a substantive social security system. For lab jobs, the factor is certainly a lot higher. So I doubt that "around 5 qualified employees" is far off even for a reasonably efficient organisation.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 3, Informative) 422

That is not what the bill does (read it here). [...]Nothing to see here.

What can be seen is “(5) The Administrator shall carry out this subsection in a manner that does not exceed $1,000,000 per fiscal year, to be derived from amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated." In words, that is One Million Dollars, or, with overheads, maybe around 5 qualified employees. How much vetting of science and handling of NDAs do you think 5 people can do? Assuming you get someone qualified for such a mind-numbing job...

Comment Re: Sounds great! (Score 5, Insightful) 422

What you quoted is only about works *created* by US government employees. It does not apply to works CITED by US government employees.

No, it applies to data used by government employees.

No, it does not. "It", i.e. the copyright clause cited upstream, refers to work created by US government employees. But only a small part of science is done by US government employees.

If the EPA rules based on results from the literature, it should be able to independently reproduce it, either by conducting its own observations or using the data from that paper. If the EPA can do neither, it should not be allowed to act.

Sure, it should be able to do that. If that possibility becomes a requirement, it means that either EPA would need funding on about the order of magnitude of all the universities and institutes that produce science relevant to its job. Who do you think will provide that funding? A Republican congress?

You seem to think that if Prof. Beaker publishes a paper in the scientific literature reaching some conclusion or other and the EPA cites it, that should be enough for the EPA to take away people's houses, land, and other property, without any recourse or any ability to check his data.

You seem to have no idea abut how science or the EPA work. If Prof. Beaker publishes an unexpected result with large implications, a lot of other scientist will try to refute, refine, or reaffirm that result, without the EPA ever stepping in.

That is not acceptable, and that is precisely why we need this bill.

Your view that we should take whatever result is in the scientific literature as truth, without the ability to verify it independently, is unscientific and proto-fascist. It's unacceptable.

This is not "Big Science" out to get you and control your life - science is an enterprise with many many independent researchers and opinions. It is not perfect, but pretty always self-correcting. Requiring actual reproduction instead of reproducibility from an agency that is not given the resources to perform this reproduction just means that EPA cannot use science anymore - which is just what some lawmakers have in mind.

Comment Re:"Resources"? (Score 1) 165

If somebody called me a "resource", my professionalism would also be less than stellar.

If you do not want to be known as a "useful resource" you have no place on any team. Branch out on your own. You'll do better for yourself, and the team you would have been on wouldn't suffer from your need to be known as a "special snowflake"

I'd rather been known as a useful employee, or a useful expert, or even a useful human.

Comment Re:seems cheap (Score 5, Insightful) 138

considering the scale of this project I am surprised the cost is only US$272 million, has technology to do this advanced that far or are the Norwegians just very efficient. hell a lot of large buildings cost considerable more than this

Maybe they are good at doing this stuff, but maybe they use the by now "normal" process for public works: You lowball the cost to get the project going and then argue with the sunk money that you need to finish it at 3 times the expected price. If the tunnel is worth 272 million, it should still be worth 272 million to finish it after the first 200 million have been spent. After all, the money is gone, but the tunnel will still be the same, and half a tunnel has very limited use cases. Lather and repeat...

Compare the F-35 development or Germany's Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

Comment Re:Alternative Facts Again? (Score 1) 321

Whenever the surface of a sphere is represented as a plane in two dimensions, there must be distortions. The school has chosen its preferred distortion, Afrocentrism (Africa is the center of the map, which is projected in such a fashion as to maximize Africa's size).

That is wrong (as stated in the article). The Gall-Peters projection is area-preserving, i.e. it shows all continents in their true (relative) area. It also preserves the relative orientation with respect to North/South/East/West. The price it pays is distortion of linear measurements East/West vs. North/South (the farther out you get from 45 degrees, the flatter and wider areas become, and the closer you get to the equator, the higher and narrower they get). The areas least distorted include Europe and the Northern US. The Wikipedia article contains a nice visualisation of the distortions.

You can whine about "Afrocentrism", but Africa just happens to straddle both the equator and the null meridian. The second is an arbitrary choice, but no other choice would change the relative size of the continents (or any defined area).

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