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Comments

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NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

TapeCutter Re:that's sorta the problem (188 comments)

Perhaps they should make sure that their products work in the first place.

That's exactly what they are doing, making sure you get the functionality you pay for. I buy my stuff from reputable dealers, in 25yrs I've had exactly one Nvidia card and one ATI card blow up, every other video problem I've ever had has been software related. Both cards were cheerfully replaced under warranty.

AFAIK from personal experience the practice of downgrading faulty chips to a lower spec has been around since the days of maths co-processors, probably longer. And no they don't exhaustively test every chip, the grading is done via random sampling at the batch level because, like science, "statistical analysis works".

2 days ago
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Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

TapeCutter Re:Scientific testing? (87 comments)

"Tracking the RNG" would help you win the game, but it doesn't tell you anything about how to play the game. This AI learns to play the game, it then wins the game using experience it gains in the same way a human does - feedback from the game score. There' nothing really "new" in any of this, if you want a really impressive demo of what this kind of AI can do then pop over to youtube and watch the videos of IBM's "Watson" beating the snot out of the best human players in the TV game show "Jeopardy ". When it won Jeopardy the hardware filled a large room, nowadays Watson is available commercially and runs of two rack mounted servers. Their ultimate goal is to shrink it down to fit in a mobile phone.

I've found that Watson is actually a good way to test a person's understanding of AI - If you don't find the Jeopardy demo impressive (and a little scary), then you clearly don't understand the problem they have solved.

4 days ago
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Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

TapeCutter Re:Opensource remake (87 comments)

Twelve years on all I remember are the basic concepts at a high level.

I formally studied AI and neural nets 25yrs ago, I recently came across this series of video lectures on YT. I started watching to refresh my memory and ended up learning quite a bit of new stuff that was unknown when I did my degree. It took me about a month or so to watch the whole series, definitely worth the effort if you already have the basics, but forget it if statistical maths or matrices scare you.

Peal/Python - A toy AI doesn't need to be fast, it's purpose is to play with ideas, scripts are much more flexible than binaries for this purpose.

4 days ago
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Artificial General Intelligence That Plays Video Games: How Did DeepMind Do It?

TapeCutter Re:I've googled DeepMind (87 comments)

they are a part of (ahem!) team Googie, not team IBM. Sorry article.

Both the summary and article say "google".

4 days ago
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Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

TapeCutter Re:Another terrible article courtesy of samzenpus (383 comments)

Of course it's a tax by a different name, you live under three tiers of governments, local governments are the bottom tier and have the right to charge property owners rates and fees and issue fines for by-law infringements such as parking tickets, etc. A good local government can make a huge difference to the local economy by improving the general appearance and amenities of the town. A shitty one will do nothing and charge extra for that level of "freedom".

5 days ago
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Seattle Passes Laws To Keep Residents From Wasting Food

TapeCutter Re:Another terrible article courtesy of samzenpus (383 comments)

Your "revenge" sounds like the actions of a crank to me. It has successfully pissed off all your neighbours, but the garbo, even if he notices the rubbish, doesn't give a flying fuck what your street looks like.

As for political labels - My 80yo parents are "conservatives", they would never dream of littering any street let alone their own. I'm not sure the english language has a general label for the political opinions you post but the majority of them are much too radical to be labeled "conservative".

5 days ago
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Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit

TapeCutter Re:Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (173 comments)

India has the tenth largest economy on the planet FFS!

Yet the number of Indians without electricity or plumbing is still greater than the entire population of the US.

about a week ago
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South Australia Hits 33% Renewal Energy Target 6 Years Early

TapeCutter Re:Works particularly well in SA/Victoria (169 comments)

Large scale grid storage doesn't exist in a cheap and efficient manner.

That's what hydro dams are for. They already use them as "batteries" for coal plants because the demand curve of a city is not flat like the output curve of a coal plant. The buffer provided by the dam doesn't stop working just because you swap out the coal plant for a solar/wind farm.

about a week ago
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"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

TapeCutter Re:Nova on Catholic scientists (133 comments)

The big bang theory was the brain child of a Catholic priest who was employed by the vatican as an astronomer. The priest's theory was sarcastically coined "BBT" by a well known astronomer who dismissed the idea as nonsense. The name stuck, and the priest's evidence eventually forced the astronomer to change his mind. The names escape me, I think the astronomer was Patrick Moore but can't be bothered googling.

about a week ago
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"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

TapeCutter Re:But... (133 comments)

Sort of, it's star dust, so there's a chance that five billion years from now it will have evolved to the point where it will be looking at the remnants of our solar system with its own telescopes.

about a week ago
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"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

TapeCutter Re:Dust? (133 comments)

evitaleR si emiT

Pro Tip: Turn your keyboard around.

about a week ago
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"Big Bang Signal" Could All Be Dust

TapeCutter Re: Dust? tsarkon reports (133 comments)

Dr Seuss makes more sense than the comment thread.

about a week ago
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Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City

TapeCutter Re:I went (200 comments)

Nice post, and brave too considering the hostility and derision in the comments above. Good on you for standing up and being counted.

about a week ago
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Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City

TapeCutter Frank Luntz (200 comments)

The terminology "climate change" goes back to at least the 1950's in the literature, "global warming" first appears in the 70's. There was no confusion until the early 2000's when this silly terminology argument was started by the brain fart of "public opinion guru" Frank Luntz, a GWB advisor who penned a memo advising the Bush administration to use the term "climate change" in preference to "global warming" because...I don't recall why...it "sounded less threatening"......or something equally inane and deceitful.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

TapeCutter Re:Here's why (275 comments)

there's a good chance that people problems become more interesting that software problems

I'm 55, this is true, but it hasn't diminished my interest in software, it's just something else that fascinates me and just happens to be the root cause as to why "work sucks" sometimes. My Dad is 80, a retired mechanical engineer, last we spoke about programming he had got one of his games he wrote in Delphi running on android and was playing with the python graphics library.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

TapeCutter Nobody has solved the "work" problem. (275 comments)

Solving coding problems the fun part. The work part is getting the solution to the customer, ironically few engineers are willing to tackle the work problem, or accept other people's solutions to it. So what you generally end up with is an imposed solution from above that doesn't work because the people who wrote the process haven't got a clue how the engineers are currently keeping it together. Rather than tackling the problem by demonstrating a superior answer, the engineers do their best to pretend the work problem doesn't exist.

BTW: If you're solving the "same [coding?] problem over and over again", you're doing it wrong

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

TapeCutter Re:For many it's not burnout but disillusion (275 comments)

I mostly agree but I would say that a good engineer provides (and meets) a deadline of his own making. Good managers have clear business plans but they can't create them if software systems randomly pop out of the basement shouting "surprise". The most overlooked and underrated skill for a "professional" engineer is business administration skills (and vica-versa with PHB's). Someone who speaks both languages is far more useful than someone who speaks only his native tongue.

Yeah it's easy to become disillusioned, if you don't have the political clout to organise your own work and "lead by example" to meet their vague goals, then get it or get out. If you do have some influence then vague, numerous, and ever changing management goals are your best weapon against the idiocracy, simply pick the brain farts that give you license to do TheRightThing(tm) and politely deflect the others.

*you - the royal version.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

TapeCutter Re:Recent claims by whom? (222 comments)

Whom? - A suprising number of well educated people are still unwilling to give Jane Goodall's pioneering work the recognition it deserves. These same people tend to belive animals are little more than automata, some even refuse to belive chimps have a mind of their own.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

TapeCutter Re:No surprise (222 comments)

Most animals fight for mates.

Fighting for mates is always one vs one, winner take all, and yes they are trying to kill their opponent. War as practised by humans and chimps is fundementally different, it is a coordinated social activity most animals simply don't comprehend let alone practice.

about two weeks ago
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Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise

TapeCutter Re:When doing anything involving the ocean (198 comments)

Actually there are a few tiny natural islands in the region where the shoreline is buried under a couple of meters of junk, mostly driftwood and large bits of plastic.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Scientific Heresy

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 3 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes "Gavin Schmidt from realclimate has published an excellent opinion piece on the narrative of the scientific heretic and it's appeal to journalists and the general public.

Quoth TFA — "This idea of knowledge sitting on a knife edge ready to flip whenever some new observation or insight arrives, is the reason why science is so exciting and fascinating. That is the reason why science deserves to be the story, and why journalists should be continuously searching for the 'front page' thought that will allow this story to be told to a wide audience. But all too often the real story is neglected in favour of a familiar well-worn, but inappropriate, trope.""

Link to Original Source
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Universe closer to heat death than once thought?

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 4 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes "In a paper soon to be published in the Astrophisical journal Australian researchers have estimated the entrophy of the universe is about 30 times higher than current estimates. For those of us who like their science in the form of a car analogy Dr. Lineweaver compared their results to a car's gas tank. He states, "It's a bit like looking at your gas gauge and saying `I thought I had half a gas tank, but I only have a quarter of a tank.""
Link to Original Source
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Does climate change affect bushfires?

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 5 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes "After the devastating firestorm in Australia, there has been a lot of speculation in the press about the role of climate change. For the 'pro' argument the BBC article points to reaseach by the CSIRO. For the 'con' argument they quote David Packham of Monash university who is not alone in thinking "...excluding prescribed burning and fuel management has led to the highest fuel concentrations we have ever had...". However the DSE's 2008 annual report states; "[The DSE] achieved a planned burning program of more than 156,000 hectares, the best result for more than a decade. The planned burning of forest undergrowth is by far the most powerful management tool available... ".

I drove through Kilmore on the evening of the firestorm and in my 50yrs of living with fire have never seen a smoke plume anything like it. It was reported to be 15km high and creating it's own lightning, there were also reports of car windscreens and engine blocks melting. So what was it that made such an unusual firestorm possible and will it happen again?"
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TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 7 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes "A recent slashdot story reported on an article by the ex-editor of New Scientist, Nigel Calder. RealClimate have taken issue with what they call "bizarre calculus that takes evidence for solar forcing of climate as evidence against greenhouse gases for current climate change". They have posted a rebuttal to Calder's article that basically concludes: "No trend = no explanation for current changes".

It should also be noted that Calder's article ended with an advertisment for his new book "The Chilling Stars"."
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TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 7 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes "M. Mann and co. over at RealClimate have started a disscussion analysing the contents of the recently released IPCC SPM. They intend to write a series of articles going over the report chapter by chapter and answer readers comments. So for the dwindling army of "skeptics" and those who want to know more, fire away, but please respect the "dinner coversation" atmosphere."
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TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 7 years ago

TapeCutter (624760) writes " Australia's ABC reports — "The Nine Network is taking a small newcomer to court, alleging a breach of copyright for producing its own TV guide that allows people to record programs and watch them later. It's a case of David and Goliath." — Not so long ago ( before a certain free trade agreement ), Australians had the right to record TV for personal use and other "fair use rights", the laws have now been harmonised in accordance with the FTA. For those interested in Australian politics it will come as no surprise that Ruddock is handling the copyright angle in the government's current push for media reform."

Journals

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Continuation of climate disscussion with robinjo

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 4 years ago I've tried to answer you main points below, let me know if you think I missed anything.

Sea Levels:
Two years ago I bought a half a million dollar house that is a couple of hundred meters from the beach and a few meters above sea level. The beach is part of Port Philip Bay in Melbourne Australia, since I'm already in my 50's I figure I will be safe.
This is a good summary of expected sea level impacts.

Authoritive Names:
Chris Landsea: His science on Hurricanes simply didin't stand up to scutiny but rather than accept critisisim he quit. I'm not going to deny that scientists have an ego and that sometimes it gets in the way.
Freeman Dyson: Quote: "One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas."

Why didn't Mann and Jones explain tree rings?:
Here is an article from M. Mann's website that talks about the CRU hack and the tree rings. I belive Jones became frustraed at having to reply to over 50 simultaneous FOI requests for data, (most of wich was available in the litrature), the people making the requests were not interested in science they were interested in obstructing his work. Burrying someone under FOI requests is a well known delaying tatic of political hacks. AFAIK Mann has not obstructed requests for data and does not work for the CRU.

Harry:
I have skimmed the infamous HARRY_README, I hold a degree in computer science and have been making a good living from software development for 20yrs now. To me it sounds like every programmer I have ever met when confronted with a large project. The stuff he is complaining about are errors from the raw data, this is exactly what Jones has spent his entire carrer trying to clean up.

The myriad of problems in the raw data actually don't make a very big difference to the end results. I'm sure you have heard of Anthony Watts and his claims about how the instrumental record is worse than useless. Well after ignoring the crank for quite some time NOAA shot his whole theory to pieces with a single experiment. They took 70 stations that Watts himself had rated as "good" or "best" and ran the same analysis on those stations as thay had had run on all 1200+ US stations, lo and behold the curves were vistually identical. There's a nice sarcastic video about it on youtube that Watts attempted to remove with a DCMA takedown notice (climate crock is actually a very infromative series and I highly recommend you watch a few of them). The same principle applies to the global record, you can pick 100 stations at random and a simple least squares fit will give you a trend very close to the more pedantic analysis of Jones, Mann and eveyone else. I know this because I've done it myself! If you want to try it these data links will help.

Artic Ice:
There is a big problem with the Arctic sea ice, here is a NASA video of the NSIDC data from my own youtube channel. Here is another climate crock video on the subject.

Confessions:
Your last paragraph is basically an unfounded ad-hom, the only IPCC error I am aware of that is trully an IPCC error is the Himalayan date. The error was not picked up by "skeptics" it was picked up by IPCC scientists and as soon as it was realised to be a problem the IPCC put a prominent link to a statement about it directly above the links to the reports on their website. I think you a vastly underestimating the efforts that have gone into the IPCC reports and the robustness of their process. I also think you are vastly overestimating the honesty of your sources whatever they may be.

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A promise kept

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 5 years ago This rather long entry is the delivery of a promise I made to slashbart when he asked me to read a paper by Nir Shaviv in this thread. I invite slashbart (Bart), his collegue Bas van Geel (Professor of Paleo-Ecology of the University of Amsterdam), or anyone else to comment but I ask that the conversation be kept civil as was the case in the linked thread.

To use Bart's words, Bart and Bas are "completely unconvinced about CO2 being such an important factor [in climate change]". There are quite a few good links in the thread but the main thrust of this post is centered around the Shaviv paper and the cosmic ray theory which Bart believes supports his stance, I will also take Bart to task over some other bits and pieces mentioned in the thread. But first of all let's state a few points I belive we have agreed on, the majority of which are based on Bart's words in the original thread.

1.The three of us are all genuine skeptics who belive the philosphy and practice of science trumps all other "ways of knowing" such as religion, intuition, etc. We believe that questioning our own assumptions and assertions is a crucial ingredient of any self respecting skeptic. Without this understanding there is no basis for reasoned debate and thus no point in debating.
2. Sugar in the petrol tank does not harm one's engine...
3.Climatologists have (correctly) discounted the change of TSI as the cause of the warm late 20th century.
4.Clouds and solar forcing have a "very low LOSU" as defined in the IPCC reports.
5.There are awfully complicated feedback mechanisms (plant growth, albedo changes, clouds, aerosols,...) ie: there is a low-very low LOSU of these feedbacks.
6.It's an excellent idea to start living more energy efficient lives, but we don't need to get all panicky, and we really shouldn't begin geo-engineering efforts when we really don't know what we're messing with. I further assume this includes our current uncontrolled geo-engineering in the form of GHG emmissions and other nastier chemicals which are relesed as a result of burning fossil fuels, in particular coal.
7.Science is not in the business of "proof" and is never "settled".
8.We all have scientific training and a keen interest in climate but none of us are climatologists. Bart is a Physicist, Bas is a Proffesor of paleo-ecology and I have a BSc with majors in computer science and operations research.
9.There exists what I call psuedo-skeptics, people who deliberatly misinform and mislead the public for political or financial gain in much the same way as tabacco companies did prior to the 1990's and for pretty much the same reason. None of us are psuedo-skeptics, none of us are totally immune from their carefully constructed bullshit. Andrew Bolt from Australia and George Will from the US are two fine examples of what a psuedo-skeptic is under my definition.
10.A large part of the IPCC work has to do with collecting climate change data, and not with the causes of that change. I agree in fact it is more than a large part your statement nicely sums up it's stated goals, of course that data is peer-revived to a very stringent criteria and the cases and likely effects from those papers goes into the SPM.

Bart, Bas, please activate your bullshit detectors if you have not already done so and I will breifly describe my understanding of (and problems with) the Shaviv paper, the cosmic ray theory and some related topics, please don't take anything I say as personal criticisim I am simply trying to appeal to your skepticisim and capacity for introspection. Why? - Because I think it is important to my grandchildren that scientifically minded people understand the issue of climate change to the best of their abilities and communicate their knowledge and understanding to the public as both Bart and I have done here on slashdot.

I read the paper quite dillegently but I admit I skimmed over the maths, it's no use going down to that level of detail because in all likelihood it is correct as most papers are if you accept their assumptions. So let's examine the assumptions. They make quite a few explicitly stated assumptions there is one thay make repeatedly that is at the heart of the matter ie: "that the CRF is indeed a climate driver".

They state this assumption even more strongly as: "We will not dwell here on the actual mechanism responsible for CRF link with cloud behavior. We will simply assume henceforth that this link exists, as supported by empirical and experimental data, even though it is still an issue of debate. This point has to be kept in mind since the conclusions we shall reach, will only be valid if this assumption is correct." (My emphasis).

Now as you have pointed out this effect has been observed in the laboratory and I am not disputing that. However in our intial debate you state: "I know about the laboratory scale effect of CO2. However, what is far from [certain] is how far this effect is actually influencing climate, because of the awfully complicated feedback mechanisms (plant growth, albedo changes, clouds, aerosols,...) ". Correct me if I'm wrong but this statement seems to indicate that a lab result is not enough because you think that in the real world other (agreed) problems make it impossible to apply the results from the lab. I think you need to look at that argument with some self-skeptical introspection, ie: why are you so willing to apply the (observed in the lab) cosmic ray effect to the 'real world' but dismiss the much more robust (observed in the lab) greenhouse effect in the 'real world'?

Let's get back to the basic assumption that is: "CRF is linked with cloud behavior". I had a quick look around for some cites of Shaviv's paper, those that I found were brief and unflattering A recent paper in Nature serves as an exapmple (more complete free version here ). A much better paper that directly tests Shaviv's basic assumption is titled Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover.

Papers that actually do some testing of Shaviv's assumption seem to be quite rare, (note I only have access to free pubs and abstracts on the net). However there is a plethora of papers that attempt to test and quantify the CO2 causal link in the real world such as the one I linked to above or this simplistic search

Let's move out a bit from examining the trees and look at the cosmic ray idea in more general terms. As I understand it basically goes something like this: The debateable link between cloud cover and cosmic rays says that an increase in CRF will create more (longer lasting?) clouds, clouds reflect the Sun's rays ( ie: higher albido ) and thus the Earth cools, I belive it has been refered to as the Iris effect. I checked out your claim of increased CRF over the last decade and it seems my assertion of no trend was (slightly) out of date although I was speaking of the pre-2000 ground based observations I did not state that clearly, here is the evidence at NASA

It basically says the Ulysees spacecraft has recorded a drop in solar wind, it is now 13% cooler and 20% less dense than a decade ago, this in turn means that it's ability to deflect the CRF been reduced and therefore a higher CRF should be observed on Earth (as you have claimed). It also goes on to say a 30% drop in the Sun's magnetic field strength has also been observed and that this further enhances the CRF reaching the Earth. This certainly is very interesting but I don't think it means what you think it does...

First of all the reduced solar wind should have some cooling effect, secondly according to the CR theory increased CRF should add to that cooling. However as I stated in the original debate the hottest 10yrs on record have all occurred within the last 12yrs, the evidence for this is found at the Hadley Center and is backed by the WMO and NASA amoung others. Ignoring the CRF for the moment the expected cooling from the reduced solar wind should by itself have been observed as a cooler Earth but since this is not the case it's lends some credence to my claim that the IPCC reports err on the side of caution (ie: they are conservative estimates).

Now in the original debate you dismissed M. Mann as being an activist. You also accused him of intolerance of opposing views with the line "You will not find information that disagrees with Michael Mann [at realclimate], unless he has managed to really stomp the counter arguments into the ground". This is simply false as I demontrated in the original debate and can be seen by actually reading any of his posts. Personally I would have thought stomping on counter arguments as I am doing here would be a good trait for a scientist and skeptic provided the boots you use avoid ad-homs and are intellectually honest.

ALL the IPCC reports are written soley by scientists and are generally accepted to represent the "best science available" on the issue, ie: they analogous to a text book written by 2500 scienists representing the vast majority of the world's scientific bodies who review all the litrature over a four year cycle. Your stated reason for dimmising the IPCC out of hand was "Also the politicised nature of the IPCC where its chairman calls Svensmark 'irresponsible' because his ideas don't fit in the consensus is insane, and thoroughly discredits its summary for policymakers."

I tend to agree with the chairman but not with the words you put in his mouth, I cannot see calling Svensmark 'irresponsible' discredits the entire IPCC or anyone else, a thorough stomping of Svensmark's CR ideas can be found at physicsworld. It's interesting to note that Svensmark decided to use a ghost authour to write his book "The Chilling Stars" in which he praises himself heavily in the third person.

I do not know why you choose to believe Svensmark and Shaviv or why you choose to dismiss the mountain of evidence collected by the IPCC and the large body of work that preceded them that streaches all the way back to Fourier in the early 1800's. There is certainly no scientific reason for that attitude and again I think you need to look at that with a healthy dose self-skeptical introspection.

The last major beef I have with our debate was your off-hand dissmisal of models with this comment: "As far as the modelling goes. I have built too many models to trust them when the basic science is not understood in detail. It's dead easy to model something that models the past, just put in enough parameters." First of all it's is not "dead easy" to reconstruct climate since you first have to get yourself tens of millions of dollars to buy the hardware as a number of institutions around the world have done, not the least of these is Japan's Earth Simulator.

Your comment seem to indicate you believe that this is all about twiddling statistcal parameters until it looks good, this is not the case and if that is how you build your numerical models I can tell you with a great deal certainty you are doing it wrong. I pointed to what I consider an exceptional demonstration of the power of these models in the original debate, if you did look at the site the fact of the matter is the computer you used to do so would have been impossible to build without the use of computer models. Again I think you need to look at your reasons for dismissing models that have proved their worth time and again in a vast array of endevours with a healthy dose self-skeptical introspection. One last tip: "G'day mate" means hello not goodbye.

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Cosmic Rays and Climate Change

TapeCutter TapeCutter writes  |  more than 7 years ago A recent slashdot story reported on an article by the ex-editor of New Scientist, Nigel Calder. RealClimate have taken issue with what they call "bizarre calculus that takes evidence for solar forcing of climate as evidence against greenhouse gases for current climate change". They have posted a rebuttal to Calder's article that basically concludes: "No trend = no explanation for current changes".

It should also be noted that Calder's article ended with an advertisment for his new book "The Chilling Stars".

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