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Comment "This is Perfectly Rational" (Score 5, Interesting) 609

...according to someone who many or may not actually be rational about any given subject.

I've met a lot of high-reputation scientists and academics over the years, and far too many of them are pretty useless outside of their chosen profession. A significant number of them are pretty useless INSIDE their chosen profession, too - and those are the ones who would be talking the loudest about whatever government policies were in question. You wouldn't be getting Richard Feynman advising you about physics. You'd be getting that sociology professor who blathered their way to a doctorate setting everyone's social policy, with no way of stopping them.

Until we can figure out a way to rationally measure rational thinking, we'd be falling into the trap of believing "experts" who actually let their own self-interest control them.

Comment Re:Except it's not actual sea level rise... (Score 2) 287

No, Roviana is mostly handwaved - and the five islands that eroded away did just that: eroded. They didn't submerge to due the sea rising, they just disappeared due to wave action because of normal changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (which has not been tied to AGW in the real world), along with a few big hurricanes.

Roviana didn't experience as much loss because they're sheltered from the worst of the wave action. The islands that "disappeared" were on the side with both greatly increased wave action and a steep dropoff into deeper water (so the sand washed off of the shores would go away, rather than collecting in shallow water to be redeposited).

In pretty much the whole paper, when they talk about sea level increase, they really mean "relative" sea level increase, not absolute. Which really means subsidence in that region. In the islands with "low" tectonic uplift, the rate is claimed to be 1 mm per year - with an _error bar_ of 1.4 mm/year.

Comment Except it's not actual sea level rise... (Score 5, Informative) 287

Not climate change.

"Ten houses from one island were washed away at sea between 2011 and 2014"

Oddly enough, the Solomon Islands were struck by Tropical Cyclone Freda in 2012. What a coincidence. And they've lost five low-lying reef islands in the last 70 or so years. Out of ten THOUSAND islands in the Solomons.

Here's part of the paper's abstract:555

"Using time series aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014 of 33 islands, along with historical insight from local
knowledge, we have identified five vegetated reef islands that have vanished over this time period and a
further six islands experiencing severe shoreline recession. Shoreline recession at two sites has
destroyed villages that have existed since at least 1935, leading to community relocations. Rates of
shoreline recession are substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a
synergistic interaction between sea-level rise and waves. Understanding these local factors that
increase the susceptibility of islands to coastal erosion is critical to guide adaptation responses for these
remote Pacific communities."

Actual story: "People built houses near the beach on islands that were being washed away in the first place, and we're going to blame it on the SIX INCHES of global sea level rise since the mid-1930s."

They also casually toss in the fact that the Solomons are very geologically active, and a lot of the sea level rise they refer to is RELATIVE sea level rise - in other words, the water didn't rise, the land sank - often by as much as three times the amount of actual sea level rise over time.

Comment Re:So, 3 parts per billion of ozone is a crisis... (Score 1) 84

Actually, what you claim isn't really true. They try to make it seem scary in the article, but there's a helluva lot of handwaving to get from "the ethane releases are causing big ozone issues."

The normal ozone concentration at ground level - worldwide - is about 50 parts per billion.

They make a big deal (the red color in the scale in the article) of THREE parts per billion from the Bakken area.

Do the math.

Comment Re:ethane + air + sunlight = ozone (Score 5, Informative) 84

The source is the article linked above. As in, the article you should have read before commenting.

"Ethane reacts with sunlight and other molecules in the atmosphere to form ozone, which at the surface can cause respiratory problems, eye irritation and other ailments and damage crops."

Comment Re:Except... (Score 1) 702

No, they don't. They're pretending they do, but it's really just an excuse to block wins by People They Don't Like.

While Vox did urge people to vote for his recommendations, he did it like this:

"What follows is the list of Hugo recommendations known as Rabid Puppies. They are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are."

The only difference between this and "business as usual" is the suggestion to nominate his favorites en bloc. Generally, it's just "here's my list of people I think should be nominated." No real practical difference, there.

On the other hand, when the anti-Puppies decided to fight back, they did it by voting "No Award," which is very much a worse thing to do.

Comment Except... (Score 3, Informative) 702

...that's wrong.

While some of the folks behind the Sad Puppies movement are definitely right-wing, or Libertarian, or something similar, their nominations are all over the map, because they didn't run their nominations through a political filter before putting them up.

On the other hand, the left-wing types who have been running the Hugos process for a long time have been... less honest about it. They whine about the Puppies "promoting" books for the award, while people like John Scalzi have been doing it for years. For that matter, touting books for the Hugo has been a part of the process as far back as I can remember (and I've been in and around fandom most of my life).

Comment Or... (Score 2, Informative) 702

Maybe it shows that the people who have BEEN gaming the awards for the last couple of decades are finally being outnumbered by people who actually vote for good writing, instead of politically-acceptable dross. Up until a year or so ago, there was a huge amount of campaigning for Hugo awards. Now, the same people who used to get nominated regularly by doing so are whining because someone else is also campaigning - and getting nominated instead of one of their friends.

The people running the Hugos whine about ""Republicans" - but go and actually LOOK at the nominees from the Sad Puppies. There's actual political diversity there, not the progressive sameness of a typical Hugo ballot.

Comment Re:"Heavily Processed" (Score 1) 221

Why bitch about simple statements of facts? The study finds that 90% of added sugars come from so-called heavily or ultra processed foods, which is enormous and something sgnificant to know.

...except that it becomes a circular definition.

When you say that adding sugar MAKES it a "heavily processed" food, then the fact that 90% of added sugar comes from that food is a given.

You cited one source for definitions for "heavily" and "ultra" processed food - but when you read other sources, you get different definitions. That's the problem - you don't get to pick one you sort of agree with and pretend that it covers everything else.

Comment "Heavily Processed" (Score 4, Insightful) 221

Yeah, when you see a doom-and-gloom article like this one, and one of the phrases is "heavily processed" or the new catchphrase "ultra-processed," you can safely ignore it.

"Heavily processed" is such a wide definition that it's effectively meaningless. Anything that contains extra sugar (in any amount), white flour (or any other refined grains), anything that has "artificial" coloring (even if the color comes from natural sources), refined oils (like soybean oil, which was a "health food" twenty years ago), or even low-fat foods (whether or not they're naturally low in fats).

When you get right down to it, these sorts of articles are trying to get you worked up about processed foods - in other words, ANYTHING that comes in a package. "So buy our Cool New Healthy Food, at only three times the price!"

Of course, the people who are worked up about processed foods are just the spiritual descendants of the people who used to tell you to switch to processed food because the older, natural foods were supposed to be bad for you. I remember when the health nuts told us to switch from butter to margarine because butter was bad - and now we know that margarine is immensely worse for cardiovascular health.

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