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Comment Re:Politically driven pseudo-science garbage (Score 1) 164

Solar output in fact has decreased since the early 60s.

Also according to the Milankovitch cycles we should be in the middle of a cooling period, although the actual effect is quite complex (e.g. it makes a difference whether perihelion occurs in the austral or boreal summer). So it is also possible that we might be in for slight warming over the next twenty thousand years. But even if we were in for dramatic warming due to orbital resonance, that would be on the order of 0.1C/century, much lower than the changes we've observed.

You left out volcanoes, which are a natural source of CO2 (as well as cooling particulates).

If you add up all the known sources of natural climate variation you end up with no warming trend since 1900 (source).

Comment Re:Where are the error bars? (Score 3, Informative) 164

What Geoffrey said. It's easy enough to pull the instrumental record global average data into a spreadsheet and plot it; I've done it several times myself.

Also be aware of what error bars can and cannot tell you. You can't tell about the statistical significance of trends just by comparing adjacent years with error bars. It's the wrong statistical test to talk about decades-long tends. You might never ever see a year which is statistically significantly warmer than a prior year at some level of confidence, yet have a trend which over a decade or more hits that confidence level.

Comment People have a crude form of telepathy. (Score 1) 122

Not actual radio-like telepathy like in sci-fi stories, but an inbuilt capacity to actually experience what our brains think other people are experiencing.

One of the classic experiments like this is to get a subject wearing goggles to identify with a mannequin. Of course this is artificially induced; we didn't evolve in a world with 3D goggles and cameras. But there is a condition called "mirror-touch synesthesia" in which this occurs naturally, in which people spontaneously experience what someone else is experiencing.

The parallel element I see is the brain somehow generates a sensation without an appropriate physical input, and the phenomenon of mirror touch synesthesia suggests to me this isn't just a curious bug in our brain architecture. The 1.6% of people who report spontaneous mirror synesthesia also score higher than the general population on measures of empathy. I suspect it may also be linked in some way to our ability to learn by copying what others do.

This is a really exciting time in neuroscience, and synesthesia seems like an interesting target for DIY brain hackers. Mirror-type synesthesia particularly so because it's easy to induce. The rubber hand illusion is probably the easiest dramatic effect to produce at home.

Comment New senses? (Score 1) 122

Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University and the study's lead author, said: "A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognise."

It seems to me more like a short circuit between regions of the brain than a different sense. I wouldn't like to hear things that aren't there just because I'm seeing things. It's well known that there are substantial interactions between different regions of the brain, which is why for example we turn down the stereo while trying to find an address.

Comment Re:Some places are impossible. (Score 1) 51

Sounds like an awesome idea.

In the presence of a working public transportation system that actually met the needs of inhabitants, it might be. But we have that in maybe one or two cities in the USA, and actually, if you took the cars away the systems couldn't handle the load. Toll roads are harmful to business and individuals alike. We make use of the road network free to enable commerce and free travel.

I am an outspoken proponent of PRT and of ordinary rail for longer distances, but barring their existence, I'm extremely opposed to placing more restrictions on people's ability to travel. What year is it? Let's figure out how to let people travel efficiently.

Comment Re:Just what we need (Score 1) 109

For every (likely made up) story you have about how your father's uncle's brother's first cousin's roommate had a union job and it was full of lazy people

I had a student job with a community college while I went there only about a decade ago, while I uh, pivoted. And what I saw in the IT department was tragic. The primary system upon which the school depended was a HP-SUX quad Alpha, because that's what their software runs on. Then they replaced it with some ridiculously expensive many-way itanic box because that's what the vendor told them to do. On the old system, I got paid to implement ssh tunneling (with putty, naturally) to stop them from sending SSNs and other private student information across internet links in cleartext, because the sysadmin they were paying to do this stuff couldn't figure it out. Then I got paid to figure out how to implement ipsec on the new machine because the guy whose job that is couldn't manage that either. I was hoping to slide into that job but that guy bought a second Harley, and he had to stick around to pay for it. Or more to the point, so that the students and taxpayer could pay for it. He certainly didn't earn the money. My boss was quite competent, that was nice. My two coworkers were also competent, but lazy. I wound up doing job after job that they were supposed to do, because they didn't bother. One of them had severe short-timer's syndrome for the entire two-year span we were both there, with a countdown clock to retirement. He was a pro at stretching jobs out and making them take forever. He probably should have had a 75% pay cut.

Meanwhile, administrators have a different union from educators. This results in administrators and their favored assistants being paid dramatically more than the educators... you know, education? The point of the whole place?

I don't know if unions are as toxic in other industries as they are in education, but they're definitely a massive part of the problem with education today.

Comment Re:Progressive (Score 1) 746

You should watch the Netflix series about the 80s. For every awesome thing reagan did, he did a dozen bad ones and they point every one of them out.

I am left of left around this sideshow but look, that doesn't invalidate his point any more than his citations invalidate yours. Can't we just agree that Obama was a shit president, and that Reagan was also a shit president, and move on?

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 746

The fact is that there are some people here who sit some distance along the autism spectrum, probably more than a few people with Asperger's, who are neurologically wired to view the world in very narrow and rigid ways. They need to define gender in the simplest form possible, it's just the way their brains work.

They don't have to have any condition to feel that way except stupidity, which makes simple things seem complex, and which also leads to oversimplication of complex things.

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