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Comment Re:Common for Cranks (Score 1) 325

This is a very good point, but it needs to be sharpened.

Evidence, can be contradictory, because it is what it is. Explanations and interpretations, however, cannot be contradictory, or they don't really explain anything.

So if the climate is getting hotter in one part of the Earth but cooler in another, that's just the nature of evidence; reality is complex. But you can't simultaneously believe that the Earth is getting hotter (but it's OK) and that it's getting cooler. People sometimes do argue both ways, simply ignoring the inconsistency. What really matters to them is that we should not have to do anything about it; how we justify that end is secondary.

Comment Re:I'm just guessing they won't study the fraud (Score 5, Insightful) 325

One of the hallmarks of conspiracy theories is that they imagine huge numbers of people to act in ways that contradict their own interests, and for them to all do it with perfect (or near-perfect) levels of secrecy.

The idea that there's more money to be made shilling against burning petroleum than there is shilling for it is simply farfetched. And leaving that aspect out of it for the moment, what scientists want more than anything is to see the scientific consensus overturned. When that happens it's like a gold strike: everyone rushes to the new fields and tries to stake his claim.

Once upon a time there was something called the "Central Dogma of Molecular Biology" (it was actually called the "central dogma"): DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. Except then Howard Temin and David Baltimore discovered reverse transcriptase, which explained how RNA from retroviruses were able to alter host DNA. Their reward for finding an exception to the dogma? A Nobel Prize, and a brand new area for research and technological development. Reverse transcriptase made the highly sensitive and accurate PCR test possible.

Any scientist who can conclusively disprove AGW would be able to dine out on that for the rest of his life. He would go down in history as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race. Most importantly, everyone would think he was waaay smarter than the other scientists.

People don't understand the function of scientific consensus. It doesn't represent a final version of the Truth; it represents a division between things statements that can be stipulated for the time being without recapitulating the entire lie of evidence (e.g. that matter is made up of atoms) and things that require citation of specific evidence (e.g. that there are stable elements with atomic numbers > 118).

Comment Re:boring (Score 1) 30

Yeah, it's a giant radio control toy. Nothing cool about that at all.

In general extremes of anything are cool. Along those lines the real problem is that the robot needs to be bigger. That said, what would be even cooler is to go the other direction: make a toy that does this transformation, but which would fit on the nail of your pinkie finger. That would actually be awesome.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 255

I'm not bragging, because as you point out anyone can join as an associate. The point is that you can meet people with more technical qualifications than you have even though you work with a bunch of low-grade code monkeys.

The overall point is that your anecdotal experience of what a college education does for people is dependent upon how you sample.

Comment Re:The blame can be shared (Score 2) 325

Life: Record lows in winter

e.g. If the three months of winter on average way above normal, but I can find one day over the three month period that was unusually cold, I am going to pretend the entire winter was record cold.

Actually, it's more like "if it's cold outside my door, then the whole world must be cooler than normal".

It's worth noting that the "greenhouse effect" is much less pronounced in the winter than the summer, because in the winter there's less energy to be trapped. In fact in the polar regions there's practically none. So expect winters to still be cold, in fact you may get record cold as weather patterns are disrupted (e.g., 2014) by latitude gradients in energy trapped.

In fact models have predicted a pattern of both extreme highs and lows for twentyyears now. It's only when you integrate over the entire surface of the globe that you see "global warming". Consider this quote from a 1995 New York Times article:

A four-degree warming, some scientists say, could cause ice at the poles to melt, resulting in rising sea levels. It would also shift climatic zones and make floods, droughts, storms and cold and heat waves more extreme, violent and frequent

This idea that global warming is disproved by local cold snaps is just a straw man argument.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 255

Not exactly rocket science working that out, given that the phrase "the best technical people I've met" appeared in his post.

You stupid Belgian twat.

Which would normally be .. where? You know I worked for a number of years without a degree, before going back to school, and I joined IEEE (as an associate member) and ACM. The best technical people I met were through there, not work.

Comment Re:I knew some scientists are shameless (Score 4, Insightful) 325

It is a debate on how much data were fabricated to draw the conclusions on climate change in the first place

No, that is just people who've been duped by propaganda demanding that scientists pick sense out their nonsense.

If you've been following Earth science since the 70s (as I have), you'll realize that there was a decades-long, vigorous debate that has gone on that was largely decisively finished by the late 90s. That said indivividual results continue to be debated vigorously, simply because the nature of evidence in a complex system like climate is always contradictory. Some places will warm while others cool. Sometimes will be cooler in places that are generally warmer. Some consequences will not appear when expected and other, unexpected things will happen.

Some misunderstanding of this complexity of course was inevitable when this first became a public issue, but by now it's clear that misunderstanding is supported by a conscious program of propaganda. Like the claim that the world "hasn't warmed since 1998", which was later modified to "the world hasn't warmed *significantly* since 1998," and which will soon become "the world has actually cooled since 2016". The problem with those 1998 comparisons is that they picked the hottest year ever by far as their *baseline*. This doesn't happen by accident; it happens as a result of a conscious and sophisticated attempt to mislead.

So yeah, it's beyond the point where these kinds of objections are worth taking seriously. Science is hard, but you can manufacture bullshit out of thin air. If you don't like the fact that people are ignoring you, join the flat-Earthers and perpetual motionists.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 255

Reallly, the best people? Like Linus Torvalds (U of Helsinki), Guido van Rossum (U of Amsterdam), Larry Wall (UC Berkeley grad school), Ken Thompson (UC Berkeley too), James Gosling (Carnegie Mellon),or Dennis Ritchie (Harvard)? Those kind of "best technical people"?

I expect by "best technical people" you mean "best at the places I've worked", and I'm guessing they draw from the middle of the deck: people with a university degree and mediocre talent, and talented people with a partial university degree. Someone with two or three years of college and real talent is bound to trump someone with no talent and as many years of schooling as you care to.

There are real problems with the university education system, no question. One of them is that it's slanted toward people with lots of money. Even with financial aids and many tens of thousands of dollars of loans, that doesn't help nearly as much as having enough money to pay for an extra semester, which is why many working class people I know found themselves in a position where they weren't quite able to finish their degree. Kids who were just like them, except they had well-heeled professional parents, finished much more often because their parents kept pouring money into their education.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 1) 255

We need people who have been exposed to different ideas and know how to think critically and express themselves.

We also need advanced vocational training (e.g. in engineering, business, and applied art)..

These are two different needs that are not always both (or either) satisfied by college. But it's safe to say it works for some people. It is still theoretically possible to become an architect in some states through a ten year apprenticeship, but the paths to most advanced professions include a bachelor's degree somewhere along the way: engineer, physician, lawyer, teacher, accountant. The kind of person who successfully becomes a well-rounded autodidact will do even better if he can find a school that caters to his type of thinker.

The fundamental problem with higher education is the model is medieval. Five hundred years ago a gentlemen could go school for a few years as a young man, purchase a library on his way back home and spend the rest of his life surrounded by as close an approximation of the sum total of human knowledge as one can wish for. Modern higher education should probably be life-long.

A lot of what they try to teach you in a liberal arts education is wasted on the young anyway. Trust me, when you're forty you'll be able to appreciate what a great book has to say about the human condition a lot more when you're forty than when you're twenty. Think of it as something to look forward to.

Vocational knowledge needs continual touching up too, but beyond that people should strive to become ever better-educated in general throughout their lives, a task that universities aren't particularly engaged in. It seems to me a foolish oversight, since once you graduate as a 23 year-old they spend the rest of their lives trying to finagle their way into your will.

Comment It's not just speech recognition. (Score 1) 152

It's semantic recognition. Like what "it" in the prior sentence means -- in this case it's mainly a grammatical placeholder, but note how the various uses of "it" in *this* sentence are different.

The really impressive thing about Siri is how well (although still not human-well) it divines intent, not just phonemes. Add to that a massive scale attempt to get the phonetic recognition part right, and it's a bit like trying to launch a competitor to Google Maps.

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