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Comment Re:Poor Math Education Hits Close To Home (Score 1) 680

I believe you should be careful about this gifted label. It alters expectations and can lead to difficulty. I think you need to worry less about which box your child fits into and more about how to keep him interested and engaged, healthy and happy -- though, a little rain, a few cloudy days, some bumps and scrapes, seem to be important as well. School can be a bit mind numbing for some people but the alternative, presumably home education, has issues as well. I recommend continuing to engage his mind, when he shows interest, at home. At school talk to the teacher about additional opportunities. Perhaps he can be a peer tutor though it might be a bit early for that. Perhaps he can skip some math classes to do some other activity that engages his attention. Also, remember that at his age, six or seven years presumably, he has a lot of development yet remaining. The difference between six years old and, say, twelve or sixteen years old, is quite substantial. Try some music lessons and, say, soccer but don't over schedule. Don't ever forget that labels really are not necessarily meaningful. Don't allow the label to separate him too much from others. That's not healthy either. I think that there should be less emphasis on labeling and more cherishing and nurturing the _child_. Don't forget to leave him alone sometimes to just let him play.

I have no training in child education or anything like that. I am, however, field certified in child care having helped to raise two such creatures to the ages of nineteen and sixteen. So far they are still alive, mostly unharmed by injuries along the way, mostly sane and stable, and on their way to self-sufficiency, which is, ultimately, the goal of all of this crazy parenting stuff.

Finally, LEGO is the best toy ever.*

  *Applies to some children only.

Comment Re:Permanently modified? (Score 1) 426

As far as I can tell everyone else uses acronym for true acronyms and for initialisms like SD. Then they write "a SD card" or some similar variant. Though it hurts you just have to let it go. It's not worth even pointing it out. Just make sure that you use the terms correctly. Maybe that way you can have a positive impact.

Comment Re:Serious question? Here's a serious answer (Score 1, Redundant) 582

One example: raise the temperature, and you get more water vapor. More water vapor yields more clouds, which have a *massive* cooling effect. In short: it is entirely possible that CO2 has a negligible effect on the temperature.

Some clouds warm and some cool. Clouds are complicated.

Set the temperature question aside for a moment: is a higher CO2 level a bad thing? CO2's primary effect on the planet is "plant food". Commercial greenhouses deliberately increase CO2 in order to increase their crop yields. If we could magically reduce CO2 to 19th century levels, we would see crop yields fall substantially.

You're forgetting that plants need water, nutrients and light as well. Not enough water? Extra CO2 makes no difference. And so on.

Back to temperature. If the earth's temperature does rise, is this a bad thing? Historically, warmer periods have been times of prosperity. Most of the earth is in the temperate zone, and warmer temperatures improve the climate, lengthen growing seasons, etc. Imagine frozen Siberia as the bread basket of Asia. It is not clear that a warmer earth is bad.

Warming temperatures means that the distribution of temperatures is shifting higher. If the width of the distribution doesn't change at all it will mean more extreme temperatures and therefore more stress on people and places. If the width also changes, say it gets wider, we could have more cold events and more even warmer events.

Finally, how do we measure the temperature of the earth? There are many temperature stations scattered about, but the majority of them do not comply with the guidelines set up to ensure accurate measurement. Many are at airports (lots of tarmac), others - especially in very cold climates - are placed conveniently near buildings. These and other siting issues make the temperature measurements inaccurate. Satellite measurements have their own difficulties. The more you read about these issues, the clearer it becomes that we do not currently have reliable temperature measurements.

This is baloney. Instruments work fine. Collectively, and processed thoughtfully and methodically, the data sets from historical and current instruments is, on the whole, extremely reliable and damning. The Earth is warming. Ocean based instruments confirm it. Atmospheric instruments confirm it. Tree rings confirm it. Radio isotopes confirm it. Seriously, the data is consistent across a wide variety of disciplines.

So: on the basis of inaccurate temperature data and ineffective models, what should we do? Should we commit trillions of dollars to drastic policies based on questionable science? Or should we, maybe, invest in a decent network of weather stations, invest in climate science, and *understand* what is going on?

We have done this and are continuing to do this.

Climate is complex, and the one thing certain about all of the climate models developed to date is that they fail to model climate. If a model is to be useful, it must make falsifiable predictions of future events. To date, no model has done better than a random-number generator. Tropical storms were supposed to increase, but did not. Sea level was supposed to rise faster that ever. In fact, the sea level has been rising steadily since the last ice age,, but the rise has actually slowed in recent times. If one thing is clear, it is that our understanding of climate is woefully inadequate.

Do you actually know anything about this? What do you suppose climate models model? Models are complex and computing resources are limited. Models are doing a great job of simulating changes in climate since the industrial revolution. Really. Forecasting is difficult work. Obviously we can't tell precisely what the future climate will look like until we are there looking back at the record.

Comment Re:Reality's well-known biases (Score 1) 277

At universities in Canada some grants can be used to pay salaries of research associates, post-docs and technicians. After all expensive complex equipment needs trained staff to operate it. Also grad students can get part or all of their pay from various grants. It depends on the type of grant.

Comment Re:People use Bing? (Score 1) 297

I didn't know about this but just tried it. The interface change faked me out for a moment but it does indeed have good images from different points of view for the area around my house. These are several years old (2005 I think) aerial photos that are also available from a local government mapping site.

Comment Re:It's always refreshing (Score 3, Informative) 1090

See Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" written in 1729.

"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout."


"The constant breeders, beside the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year."

Clearly this is an old idea. What's the delay in getting this wholesome food into the grocery stores?

Comment Re:Charge for support (Score 1) 635

In British Columbia people are always surprised to find out that they have to pay for a ride in the ambulance. The fee is $80. At first it bugged me (we have called for help once late at night) but after a bit of thought I decided it was OK. When my wife had to be sent from one hospital to another during a series of tests they used a taxi and the "system" paid for it. That was nice.

Comment A database ... (Score 1) 235

You need to start using a database. You don't have to actually put the data in a database but all of the meta data needs to go into one. Store your data files in one file system using whatever naming scheme you want and never move the files again. At the same time record the file system location along with all other meta data that is relevant. Then some simple database queries, e.g. embedded in some web pages can retrieve the location and even the data. You can of course also store the data in a database as well if you wish. I personally find it more practical to do it this way.

Comment I got sucked in by the hype ... (Score 1) 196

I got sucked in by the hype that there is a spectacular surprise twist at the end. There isn't. Some of the special effects are quite interesting. Otherwise, this is a very conventional action movie. Not a bad movie, but certainly not anything special.

This has been my opinion which, to most of you, won't be worth much.

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For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken