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Comment Re:Use the tags, Luke (Score 1) 219

And the problem with that is, that on Chromium on Linux, if you double-click on the URL to highlight it, and then right-click to open in a new tab, then it appends 'Reply to this' with percent encoding to the end of the link, which does not result in a valid HTML document. Additionally, as I said, this is not a luddite forum. If you can't manage a minimal level of markup, kindly fuck off.

Comment Wikipedia, not Facebook (Score 1) 82

Or they can learn how to plant trees, purify water, and generate electricity. Do you know how I know that you've never lived without clean water and electricity? Because you seem to think that you can live without these things and not have that be a bigger priority than Facebook.

I did at one point live in some jungle shack that had a pathetic wifi signal, sometimes dropping to tens of bytes per second. It did have electricity of some sort, and as for water, well, there was definitely a tap, but whether you considered the output water was a matter of opinion. When you have shitty Internet, you make the most of it -- I downloaded programming documentation. Facebook would be a non-starter, it's just too bandwidth-heavy even if it were in some sense useful.

Comment Intolerance (Score 1) 122

You seem to be one of my fellow citizens, which means you're probably a pretty good person. Posting a message this results in nothing good, and I don't believe that you would say such a thing if we were in company together. I'm pretty concerned at this point that we're going to reach levels of partisanship that will result in civil war, and I don't think that's a thing any good citizen could desire. Please consider carefully what you write.

Comment Housework (Score 1) 202

As it happens, the US government collects statistics by gender of how much time is spent on which activities in the home. The relevant table is on page 9. I'll reproduce the relevant bits on housework here.

Hours per day, Average
Total: 1.84
Men: 1.43
Women: 2.23

Average percent engaged in the activity per day
Total: 76.4
Men: 67.0
Women: 85.2

Average hours per day for persons who engaged in the activity
Total: 2.41
Men: 2.13
Women: 2.61

I end up with the majority of the cooking and cleaning tasks; the girlfriend's ability to cook is pretty minimal. We're working on it. Anyway, for the average person it's not anything like a full-time job, but 2-3 hours per day, six days per week is definitely one of the larger components of human activity -- looks like the list goes sleeping, leisure, working, housework, eating.

Comment Re:Not about the free market (Score 1) 913

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that a "truly free" market has a well-known definition. The ideal free market would be characterized by perfect competition, which requires perfect information and no externalities. I think you have a point there somewhere, but you should probably revise your argument.

Comment Re:Death To All Jews (Score 1) 913

Muhammad was a political leader as well as a religious leader. He and his successors conquered a fair amount of territory. On what sort of basis could you say that Mecca and Medina are not the "Muslim homeland"? It's the birthplace of the community of Islam. Muslims pray towards Mecca five times a day, and yeah maybe "homeland" isn't a great word for that, but to say that it's not tied to a particular place is a bizarre contradiction of fact.

Comment Voting Methods (Score 1) 240

Choosing in the affirmative is a ranking only in the degenerate sense of the term. In the same sense you could say that a dictatorship is a voting system of one. If that is the only choice you want to make, that's fine, but that's not an argument against trying to capture more information from voters.

The Electoral College doesn't need to change. Please don't argue against positions I haven't taken. I am not a Democrat and do not see this as a partisan issue, and the DNC is likely to view this idea as an existential threat.

Multiple-choice methods of voting have nothing to do with any particular form of government. They are associated with larger numbers of political parties simply in reflection of the fact that people have a broad range of political views. The idea that there should be only two political parties is clearly nonsense, and you yourself can point to many factions and divisions not only within the major political parties but in all walks of life. We have the voting method that we have simply because there wasn't another to choose from in 1780. The fundamental goal of election science is to represent voter preference in as fair and accurate a manner as possible. Unfortunately, it's been mathematically proven that there is no perfect voting method, but the one that we have is one of the worst, and various groups in various countries have been campaigning to end it for years.

Please stop talking about Trump. I have not based any part of my argument on his election. You may not have looked into election science very deeply, but this has been the only political issue I have cared about for just about the last two decades. I think that all options this cycle were bad, and that that represents a failure of our system, but that's also not what's driving my concerns.

America has made itself impenetrable to everything but information warfare, and is an information war there can be no higher target than a major political party headquarters, especially during an election cycle. It takes minimal skill and technology to attempt to hack someone. There is minimal risk of detection. And now someone has shown that it is possible, and that there is very little to fear in the way of repercussions. Getting hacked is going to be massively destabilizing for any organization of any kind, political or not, and I do not see a particularly good reason to let hackers of whatever stripe hijack American politics at their whim.

The nation is in unmatched turmoil because our leaders have to keep splitting us apart with social wedge issues in order to make sure that we vote for the right teams. We are not on opposite teams, we are both citizens who want to make our country better. Across the US people have more in common with each other than that divides them, because that's what it means to be a citizen of a country. We're allowing ourselves to be split into warring camps, but it doesn't have to be that way. This is a way to resolve it. It's not a perfect solution, but I do see this as a vital existential issue for our democracy, and an extremely urgent one. But, all that said, I'm not necessarily enjoying feeling compelled to try to talk the entire country into going with me on this one, and I would be grateful for a better opposing argument, so rest assured that I am giving your opinions their due consideration.

Please also excuse any lack of copyediting in the above, I'm running late for an appointment.

Comment Re:but I have the authority to kick you in the bal (Score 1) 209

I understand what you're saying, but I think that a more literal interpretation will prove to be more correct. There are a great many people in this country whose belief in free market principles is absolute. I don't consider that to be a particularly sensible position, but many do, and his public statement aligns quite well with that viewpoint. I mean, call it a character flaw if you will, but I think he means what he says, in the sense that he will only use his statutory authority if compelled to. I don't necessarily think it's a bad managerial style, I just think that you have overstated the level of implied threat somewhat. I don't agree with his principles, but I do think that he has taken a principled stand on this issue and respect him for doing so. In point of fact, I would rather believe that he is doing this because he thinks it's the right thing to do and the right way to do it, and that people will go along with it because it makes sense and he's asking nicely, at least until some further hint of ill intent comes along. I mean, I'm sure I'm a terrible person, but surely everyone else can't be as bad as all that, right? :)

Comment Re:Fallacious (Score 1) 325

I was making a general observation of your character, not that comment specifically. However, I do appreciate that your response was cogent and (given my provocation) respectful, and I am certainly willing to modify my opinions, although I believe we may differ more than agree politically. However, while I believe I could agree with you in your ideas about accountability, I find myself currently more concerned with other aspects of our political system. You seem like an ideal critic, so if you wouldn't mind giving me the benefit of your opinion on my ideas as developed here, I would be gratified.

Comment Re:Infrastructure (Score 1) 240

It definitely seems like politicians don't keep many of their campaign promises, especially because it tends to get thrown in their faces when they don't, but it turns out that most politicians keep their election promises. Given the extravagance of many of his campaign promises, it seems like there will be an exceedingly good chance that he will have the highest rate of broken promises in modern history. Politifact seems to be keeping score here, and they mark some accomplished goals already.

You have quite mistaken your argument. But you're also mistaken in trying to focus this discussion on Trump, and this issue is actually more important than any given candidate. If he's successful, great, but that's not an argument for the process that put him there, which was stupid. Election science did not exist when we designed our system. I'm not trying to argue anything but some basic facts. Tell me why, absent any considerations of the present officeholder, a simple measure of popularity is preferable to rating or ranking candidates. Do you not consider it better that voters should express their opinion about each candidate? Do you not have an opinion of each candidate? Would you, given the opportunity, not choose to express those opinions?

Again, to me this is pretty clear-cut, but since nobody else seems to think so I'm left searching for the problem with the reasoning. Frankly I'd have thought the anti-Establishment crowd would be all over it, and for that matter the Libertarians too. I would certainly think it highly likely that both factions would enjoy greater representation, and think that's a good thing. To the degree that I have political opinions, they run pretty much directly counter to Libertarianism, but millions of our fellow citizens feel differently, so I feel they should be heard. I think this needs to be done not to further some partisan principle, but to preserve our democracy, and while I am certainly crazy, I do not believe I am wrong.

Comment Re:Evidence (Score 1) 401

The so called science you are referring to was in a sense settled in late 19th century when the first greenhouses were built.

I assume you must be referring to the work of Tyndall in 1859 on the thermal properties of atmospheric gases.

It is very likely that an increase in CO2 will cause a rise in planetary temperatures (global warming)

Thermodynamics dictates that it must, and the no-feedback forcing can be more-or-less directly calculated. The standard figure for a doubling of CO2 is 3.7 W/m^2, which is considered equivalent to ~1 degree global temperature rise. Beyond that, as you say, there is a bit more uncertainty.

Also we cannot be 100% sure that the 100ppm rise in CO2 in the past century was caused by human activity.

Actually we can. We've measured volcanic outgassings all over the globe, and we know from the C14 ratios that this is very old carbon. Additionally, oil is the most traded commodity and we're pretty clear on what is being burned where, and how much. That level of trade leaves quite a paper trail.

So far, in the past 100 years, the 100ppm change has clearly not been catastrophic.

Catastrophe is exactly the term that comes to mind about the Arctic. I'm from Alaska, and the changes up there are jaw-dropping. All of the glaciers are in rapid retreat, especially the lower alpine and tidewater glaciers (the more visible and accessible ones). One glacier near my house lost twenty cubic miles of ice in ten years. Not square miles, cubic miles. Now of that certain facts must be mentioned. That particular glacier is not suspected of melting due to climate change, but that is the scale of the changes. It was shocking to see all of that go all at once, but literally everywhere you look there is less ice year by year. Alaska has lost 75 billion tons of ice every year for the last 30 years, as compared with about ~3.5 billion tons of oil burned annually during that period. Now, that may not be a catastrophe to you, but the real bad news is that we're only getting started: the warming signal from the CO2 rise has only been considered clearly detectable since the 90s.

Humans aren't good at predicting the future. I am not smart enough for it. I am definitely not better at predicting things than thousands of scientists working together around the world. You're suggesting that we know nothing about the future and couldn't possibly guess what might happen tomorrow by using physics. In point of fact, you have no idea what is known or how good of a guess we might have. Yes, there is uncertainty in this as in all other empirical fields, but there are very little physical grounds to speculate about non-catastrophic scenarios. As I mentioned in another post here, our current rate of CO2 production is equivalent to one or more Yellowstone-sized supervolcano eruptions per year (source: Gerlach 2011). What does that suggest to you about what's going to happen?

So firstly, any argument against science needs to be made in the language of science, and on this subject you don't know enough to participate. Neither do I -- neither of us has earned a doctorate in a related field. But more fundamentally you don't understand what science is. That the science could be wrong is not a possibility, but a fact: science is empirical, and cannot avoid experimental or measurement error. However, within those constraints, scientific truths represent repeatable observations about how the world works, and any further theories will need to describe the exact same behavior. If science says that an apple falls to Earth, that will be true forever no matter what. If the science says that the Earth is warming due to carbon from anthropogenic sources, then there is not going to be another theory that comes along that says something different. And while I respect your right to an opinion, in this specific case I will say that if you can argue with the science, you haven't understood it, and in your place I would be ashamed to speak about any subject where I had so little knowledge.

I sympathize with you; I also do not want this to be true. It's a complete shit sandwich, and the political consequences are also generally pretty crap. I'm not pushing for any particular action on this for a number of reasons. Mostly I trust that you and the rest of our fellow citizens can make good decisions when you have accurate information. However, before you do that, you're going to have to give up your own ego, and your motivated reasoning, and face the actual facts. Reason is a powerful tool, but you don't get to reason away empirical observations when you don't like them. There's not any perspectives here, or any partisanship. Thermometers don't have political motivations. If you have a problem with this science you have a problem with objective reality. (Which frankly isn't everyone's cup of tea and I'd at least consider it intellectually honest for you to take that position.) My advice is not to argue with reality, and correspondingly it's not a good idea to argue with scientists unless you are one.

To further your education, I would recommend starting here for a good overview of the science from a historical perspective, taking note of the various discoveries that were made. Most of the papers it references are available freely online, and in particular I'll note that the papers published before 1950 are a small enough crowd that you can pretty much read all of them in an afternoon or two. Google Scholar will be useful, but you may have to go to a university library to get access to the journals. If you'd rather do your own investigation, you might review Tyndall 1859, Arrhenius 1896, Callendar 1949, Keeling 1960, Hansen 1988, and of course the IPCC reports for anything more recent. I will freely admit however that I have not one iota of belief that you have the intellectual integrity to actually do any of this.

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