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Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Namarrgon Re:Time for new terminology (480 comments)

1937 was the hottest year in US records, not globally. Please don't confuse the issue.

8 hours ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Namarrgon Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (762 comments)

A) CO2 accumulates. Plants absorb it, they also release it. So does the ocean. And even though the ocean is absorbing more than it releases (making it more acidic), the amount we have been releasing into the atmosphere is still pushing CO2 levels higher and higher. This is easily measured.

B) CO2 historically has not driven temperatures, it's acted as a feedback, making warming temperatures even warmer. Orbital cycles or other factors cause some initial warming, which triggers higher CO2 concentrations, which causes further warming. This is also easily measured in a lab, and shows up in countless lines of observations. CO2 and temperatures have both been higher in the past, but now we're the ones releasing CO2, and we'll have to deal with the results. "Runaway" warming effects are unlikely, but what we expect is going to be plenty expensive enough.

C) Climate models are intended to predict trends, not short-term variation. Longer term trends are easier to predict than random fluctuations, as the random cycles all average out. Only those who don't understand the models (e.g. they're not "all feedback-based models") claim that they're not "working".

D) The effects are already here, you just haven't been looking. They're showing up, not in dramatic unheard-of catastrophes, but in increased likelihood of heat waves, droughts, and fires (in some areas), floods (in other areas), melting glaciers, reduced ice mass (arctic and antarctic). These things aren't new, but they're getting steadily more common, and the costs are already adding up.

Increased CO2 means global average temperatures rise, both on the surface and (more significantly) in the oceans. This has been happening for 150 years, as predicted. More rainfall in some areas, less in others.

There are many studies about the feedback effects of CO2 on plant growth. The overall conclusions are that this will affect the climate, but not very much.

The predictions have been made for decades and longer. They're coming true all around us. Only the deniers refuse to look and see for themselves, insisting that this or that one little thing hasn't changed yet, so nothing could possibly be happening. But a glance at the bigger picture shows overwhelming evidence, which is precisely why there is such a strong consensus among climatologists.

about a week ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Namarrgon Re:Scientific Consensus is: (762 comments)

The *climatologists* see very little of that funding - they get a job with a moderate wage. Their scientific reputation, track record of published papers, is their biggest asset. If they could *solidly* show that AGW wasn't significant, with evidence such that a majority agreed with them - they'd be famous world-wide. The talk-show circuit alone would dwarf their wages. OTOH, deliberately fudging evidence to show something that wasn't the case is virtually guaranteed to kill their career stone dead.

Compare that to the vast amounts of money being made by the fossil fuel industry, all those jobs, and the trillions remaining in potential future assets. All that is threatened if climate change is politically accepted. There is a huge amount at stake for those people, and intense motivation to ensure the industry's survival, at any cost. We've seen that same scenario before too many times, more recently with the tobacco industry.

about a week ago
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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Namarrgon Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (762 comments)

A) But water vapour doesn't accumulate over centuries like CO2 does (it rains out), so the long-term effect isn't there
B) Not true. CO2 has historically had a powerful positive feedback effect on temperature.
C) Climate models have only missed recent short term temperature fluctuations (as expected). Still important for long-term predictions.
D) So? We're concerned about how current levels will affect us.

about a week ago
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Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

Namarrgon Re: As much as I hate Apple (187 comments)

The obvious answer is that Apple was farsighted enough to diversify its product line, and came up with some innovative music players and phones.

My monoculture comment was more aimed at the iPhone line specifically. It's been very successful but lost market share anyway, because many people want something different. Apple itself will likely continue to do well, as long as it can create entirely new product lines as the old ones fail (as the iPod is doing now).

about two weeks ago
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Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

Namarrgon Re: As much as I hate Apple (187 comments)

Monocultures can be very successful. They do have associated risks though. Diversity usually wins in the end.

Apple of course are in no immediate danger, they're doing just fine. Though I do wonder why Apple fans point to their huge profits as a good thing.. Good for Apple, certainly; not quite so much for their customers.

about two weeks ago
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Grand Ayatollah Says High Speed Internet Is "Against Moral Standards"

Namarrgon UNCENSORED high-speed internet (542 comments)

I accidentally RTFA'd and realised the fatwa is actually against high-speed internet that isn't government controlled and censored:

All third generation [3G] and high-speed internet services, prior to realization of the required conditions for the National Information Network [Iran’s government-controlled and censored Internet which is under development], is against Sharia [and] against moral and human standards.

Thus I conclude that internet porn is just fine, so long as it's consumed slowly, scanline by scanline. He clearly wants you to enjoy the anticipation.

about two weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

I think you're missing my point too. The models are only inaccurate temporarily. They're still quite valid for predicting longer-term trends.

The reason for this is because of the cyclic nature of the ocean warming. ENSO, AMO, PDO etc are all natural cycles that shift heat between the ocean and surface. While heat is being transferred to the ocean (as currently), the models will over-predict surface temperatures. When the cycle reverses, heat is transferred from the ocean back to the surface - and the models will under-predict surface temperatures.

Because heat isn't created or destroyed, only moved around, the net effect of these cycles is zero, and does not affect the longer-term warming trend that the models show. If you take a longer-term running average of surface temperatures, they still come very close to the models' predictions.

Climate scientists already know that the models won't match the short-term noise created by these currently-unpredictable cycles - but that's OK, because they're not intended to. It's only uninformed laymen that insist that any short-term mismatch is a "failure" of the models, rather than simply using them for longer-term predictions only, as designed.

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

Luckily, the detailed impact of natural ocean cycles like this one (and ENSO, PDO, AMO etc) is not required to be known.

Because they are cyclical, any contributions they make to surface temperatures are by their nature temporary; at the other end of the cycle, the process and temperature contributions are reversed, and the net impact is zero. For the purposes of long-term forecasting, short-term natural cycles are irrelevant.

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

Global CO2 emissions are tightly locked to economic development

This is only assumed to be true, and only if fossil fuels are your sole source of energy. Investment in other sources of energy creates economic development in itself, as well decoupling this assumption.

it certainly seems insufficient to advocate massive global political and economic reforms.

Luckily we have many thousands of informed individuals in dozens of countries who have studied the matter in depth, and they're telling us very clearly that there is more than enough certainty to warrant reforming our energy sector.

If you don't feel there's enough to go on, perhaps the problem is that you don't have all the information?

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

We really don't care much what the temperature was 300M years ago - we care what it is now, while we're here to experience it. And particularly, we care when it changes suddenly and drastically.

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

That would be news, yes. While it's quite true that surface temperatures haven't increased much recently, ocean temperatures are still warming at least as fast as ever. Which is exactly what TFA describes - the extra surface heat is being moved into the oceans. All other examples of this effect have been cyclical - in the near future, the process will reverse, moving heat from the oceans to the surface. When that happens, surface temperatures will jump - as they have in the past.

The only observation that would seriously challenge our understanding of anthropogenic global warming would be to see a sustained cooling phase, both surface and ocean, which would indicate that the previous rises were merely part of a larger natural cycle. However, no such cooling has been seen - the opposite is expected, given our calculations of the greenhouse effect.

about three weeks ago
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NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

Namarrgon Re:In other news... (216 comments)

That seems highly excessive, even allowing for fuel and Canadian winter heating costs. I find it hard to believe that energy costs outweigh food and/or housing.

By comparison, in 2012:

Australian households' average expenditure on energy represented 5.3% of total gross weekly household income (2.0% for dwelling energy and 3.2% for fuel for vehicles).

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

Well, if everyone could see it, it wouldn't be a study lol

The novel part is they present data to confirm it, and their analysis is peer-reviewed - that's the difference between a real study and something that "everyone can see".

What I was actually referring to was the models being incomplete, which isn't news to anyone. Fyfe et al 2013 just demonstrate this, and suggest some of the likely missing factors. TFA goes further, and gives data on a new factor (the deep-ocean current).

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

If this paper were to turn out to be correct, current climate models are useless and will need to be completely reworked.

No model, in any branch of science or engineering, is complete and perfect; that doesn't mean they're useless.

I'm curious to see which fundamental assumptions made by current models you believe to be contradicted by this paper. To me it looks like they're simply pointing out a deep-ocean cycle that could soak up heat from the surface - not unlike the well-known ENSO, PDO and AMO cycles, which most models don't attempt to predict. Unless you think that "incomplete" means "fundamentally assumes that no other factors can exist"?

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

Your linked study really just shows what everyone could already see - the climate models are missing something. This of course isn't a surprise; they're missing lots of things, many of which are called out in the study (ENSO, AMO, volcanic activity, unexpected stratospheric aerosol variation or solar variation, etc). There's a lot of details we can't predict, but climate models are still useful even when we know they're incomplete, just like every other kind of model.

Still, I appreciate the link, even if (as you say) it doesn't invalidate any "sketchy science".

about three weeks ago
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Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic

Namarrgon Re:Every week there's a new explanation of the hia (465 comments)

Do enlighten us - please link to an example of "sketchy science" that has been proved wrong by more solid, peer-reviewed science.

Strangely, all the examples I can find just support the consensus view.

about three weeks ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

Namarrgon Re: Elderly Nuclear Plants? (249 comments)

Only if you're in a nuclear family.

about a month ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

Namarrgon Re:Space Drive or Global Warming? (315 comments)

It's worth noting that Roger Shawyer (the original inventor) maintains that this effect does not violate Conservation of Momentum.

about a month ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

Namarrgon Re:Space Drive or Global Warming? (315 comments)

The verification is crucial though. What happens when two scientists claim they can verify a hypothesis, and two thousand scientists say they cannot?

Either two thousand scientists have screwed up badly, or just two have. Which is more likely? Lacking the skills, time & equipment to verify it yourself, who are you going to believe?

A single person can come up with a major paradigm shift that overturns our old models - but not when their results can't be reliably verified, and certainly not when their claims require simply ignoring decades of observations to the contrary.

about a month ago

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