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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

forand Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (768 comments)

That is a reasonable conclusion. That is not, however what the GP stated. The GP state the he wanted a text book written on anthropogenic climate change. That is very different than being able to explain it to a lay person that is being able to convince someone it is worth publishing. In the case of anthropogenic climate change the book would be rather short:

  • * A number of gases interact with the upper atmosphere is such a way as to trap heat within the atmosphere.
  • * Since the industrial revolution we have been releasing huge quantities of these gases that were previously sequestered within oil and gas deposits.
  • * The churn of the atmosphere allows for the passage of the newly released gases from the lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere.
  • * Some of these same gases also sublimate into the ocean where they dramatically affect the PH of the ocean which cause major problems for the top dwellers of the ocean where much of our oxygen is generated.

The issue isn't that there isn't a text book or a clear laymen description of the problem it comes when someone says: so prove to me that the churn of the lower atmosphere can carry these gasses to the upper atmosphere and the scientist starts talking about climate models which cannot predict any specific event with a high degree of accuracy but do tend to predict trends with great accuracy. To me this is like saying: what is the energy of a particle in a chamber at a defined pressure, temperature and density. The answer is very easy to give the average but essentially impossible to give the exact unless your model knows ALL of the inputs (i.e. every momentum vector and quantum state of every atom contain within the chamber).

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

forand Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (768 comments)

I am a physicist. I have explained the expansion of the universe to many lay people without trouble. I have also tried time and time again to explain it to my mother. All such explanations end with her asking "so where is it expanding into." The short answer to this is: nothing. And one can either accept that or learn metric differential geometry. The belief that whatever any given PhD is working on can "describe in laymen's terms what they are doing" does not mean a laymen has the knowledge to understand or even accept the details of the theory. Heck look at Quantum physics in the early 1900s and you see many very intelligent people thinking it is crazy because it is probabilistic. So in short a good scientist can explain to a laymen what they do but the laymen has to accept their expertise when it comes to many specifics.

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

forand Re: Anthropometrics (811 comments)

As stated by others many frequent flyers are not flying by choice but buy direction from work. That work also REQUIRES many of us to purchase the cheapest fare. I cannot upgrade my seat and get reimbursed for my ticket. Furthermore you are technically correct about United, however, unless you are flying major city to major city you are going to be one of United's local carriers which do not have Economy Plus. Spend a couple hours on one of the smaller "local" carrier planes which has neither leg nor headroom for ANYONE on the flight and it becomes quickly clear that United doesn't care about anything other then their immediate bottom line.

about two weeks ago
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The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

forand Re:stopping who? (322 comments)

Do you have any citation for your assertion?

about two weeks ago
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Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

forand Hope they think about it... (369 comments)

As others have stated most of the information doesn't seem to be any more harmful than a copy of The Cookbook. With regards to biological weapons: one would hope that whomever thought of this would keep on thinking to realize that poorer nations always fare worse when it comes to communicable diseases. They have fewer resources, longer response times, denser populations, etc.. If the biological isn't communicable it still doesn't make too much sense without some industrial scale dispersal methods which are generally easy to detect.

about three weeks ago
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

forand Re:Germany not responsible for call recordings (170 comments)

Redundant system for what exactly are you referring to? If the US isn't recording important calls made by their Secretary of State's then there is something wrong.

about a month ago
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Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

forand Re:why internet connected? (111 comments)

Why can't they us a VPN AT LEAST? The GP is not ignorant but perhaps too idealistic. Personally while I don't think it is a good idea to have health records available on the internet I think it is far worse that our electrical system REQUIRES internet access and communication between various points. This is a horrible national security risk while private health records are rather difficult to either monetize or use (financial records excluded).

about a month ago
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The Cost of Caring For Elderly Nuclear Plants Expected To Rise

forand Re:Failure of the 20th-Century Environmental Movem (249 comments)

I agree that there was a great failure in the US to build out newer nuclear plants in the latter years of the 20th century. Unfortunately it isn't as clear as you state. Energy produces were spreading mis-information if not lies about nuclear power while the Environmental people were crying about the waste. Nuclear power is NOT without its drawbacks. I remember vividly having a PG&E rep come into our class and go through her whole spiel which included numerous falsehoods. When I called her on it she was literally dumbfounded that anyone would know enough to question her falsehoods. It took me YEARS to realize that while PG&E wasn't being trustworthy about nuclear power the other options where worse (generally). So the energy companies themselves hold some of the responsibility for the failure to build new generation nuclear reactors. People do not like being lied to or mislead and often will assume your goals are suspect because of it.

about a month ago
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Online Tool Flagged Ebola Outbreak Before Formal WHO Announcement

forand WHO reports verified outbreaks (35 comments)

This App reports on symptoms and could be very useful to the WHO to determine where they need to look for outbreaks. It do NOT verify , as the WHO, does that a particular disease or strain.

about a month ago
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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

forand Actions speak louder than words (200 comments)

This might be reasonable if it was coming from a group who hadn't spent huge sums of money fighting to stop legislation that would have made it illegal for either netflix or comcast to charge for the specific route. That being said if Comcast, Time Warner, etc. make Netflix pay to be inside their networks now and in the future Netflix turns around and says "if you don't pay us to stay we will remove our servers from your networks and your customers will have to get Netflix through standard routing" then I have no sympathy for them but they may be right in worrying.

about 2 months ago
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Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

forand Re:You have this backwards. (749 comments)

I agree with everything you have stated. However, the situation is not one of Microsoft being required to produce their own documents, they are being required to produce other's documents. So the analogy would be that Microsoft has a rental storage facility in Ireland and the US wants them to riffle through a unit and send some documents they find. That is far less reasonable and clear cut as your summary.

about 2 months ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

forand Ethical Responsibility (130 comments)

This is quite interesting research that should never have been done. I am rather surprised that the National Academy published the results of a study which violated multiple ethical guidelines put in place to protect human subjects. Did Facebook track the number of suicides in the 700,000 sample? Was the rate of those given a sadder than average stream have a higher or lower rate? Do the Facebook researchers address the ethical questions posed by performing such an experiment at all?

about 3 months ago
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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

forand Bad summary/Theory Conflicts with data (347 comments)

The summary (and linked article) do a poor job of explaining the process and imply some change in the speed of light (there isn't one). The problem with the article (http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.6986) is that it ignores a bunch of more relevant data: Fermi-LAT observed photons from the same GRB over a very wide energy range placing an extremely good limit on effects like this proposed in the article (http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3463).

Furthermore this is NOT new; the original article was posted in 2011 and only recently published in the "New Journal of Physics" which has apparently only published 16 volumes and I believe has had its email permanently redirected to my spam box.

Finally why do people link to Medium and not the actual article for physic related news items? We have demanded open, free access to all our papers since the birth of the internet (I speak as a physicist). Do everyone a favor and find the arxiv link and include it in your summary when submitting physics stories to Slashdot.

about 3 months ago
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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

forand Very short time window (686 comments)

We have had the ability to send out communications to the cosmos roughly the same amount of time we have had weapons capable of killing us all if used improperly. What are the odds that we will have sent something to someone listening before we either kill ourselves or are thrown back into the stone ages by some natural event? Basically I do not find it hard to believe that intelligent life, over time, may not be so great at propagating itself for the time needed to communicate with other civilizations.

about 3 months ago
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Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Earns One Million Dollars In Less Than a Day

forand Re: Two Problems (164 comments)

Thanks to you both for being good reasonable people. Props to you both.

about 4 months ago
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The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy

forand Re:scientific consensus! (129 comments)

What is described in both the summary and article are not scientific consensus. Scientific consensus is NOT the "merely mobbing using peer reviews and grant committees." Scientific consensus is just that, you look at what researchers are concluding in their studies and you see if there is a mountain of evidence pointing to a similar conclusion: e.g. virtually everyone who throws up something sees it fall back down points to gravity. But there is almost always someone who sees something really odd: e.g. one person threw up something that floated away and never saw it again like a helium balloon. We, as scientists, do not conclude that gravity has a problem from this but that perhaps helium balloons are special. My point is that scientific consensus is an emergent phenomena: it appears when conditions are right from apparent randomness (like statistical mechanics). Peer reviewers do not get to kill papers because they don't like them, in fact they DO NOT GET TO KILL PAPERS. They get to criticize the work and ask for more evidence and clarification and the authors get to respond. So if your work is rejected it is generally for one of two reason: not good enough to warrant publication in the journal you chose (not everything is published in Science) or you failed to make your work compelling enough in the face of criticism.

about 4 months ago
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How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

forand Nest not selling data (93 comments)

The article is very misleading. Nest is working with some power companies which offer their customers financial incentives to allow the power company to dial back their AC units during high load times. Pepco in DC offers the same service but you have to pay for their thermostat. This isn't selling user information this is letting the power companies access their customers' thermostats if and only if that customer allows it. Nothing in the article says anything else is happening than this but states it in a very deceptive way. If the article actually had some evidence of something more nefarious it would be fine but as it is just doesn't stand up.

This is a link to the Nest program: https://nest.com/energy-partne...

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

forand Poor comments (673 comments)

The comments on this thread are saddening. People seem to have neither read nor understood even the short summary:

  • Google isn't paying students but paying teachers to encourage female students to use the Khan Academy web class.
  • Discrimination is not, not paying for someone else. Google is doing this as a charity. Should charities that focus on small immigrant communities be forced to spend their resources outside of their mandate?

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

forand Re:If ur not coding because you like it . . . (673 comments)

They are not bribing people to code. They are paying teachers to enlighten girls to resources that are available to them to learn to code. Finally I have a question for you: Is a well paid engineer being bribed to do their job? Paying someone to do something for you or for society is pretty far from a bribe.

about 5 months ago
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How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole

forand Re:The answer? (108 comments)

One cannot put a nuclear reactor on Antarctica at this point by international treaty: you can neither store nor dispose of waste there and taking it offsite costs too much. http://www.nsf.gov/geo/plr/ant...

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Netflix removing 'Add to DVD Queue'

forand forand writes  |  more than 3 years ago

forand (530402) writes "Netflix is removing the 'Add to DVD Queue' from streaming devices. Does this indicate a push towards a streaming only Netflix? Influence from the content owners? A poor business decision?"
Link to Original Source
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News Corp. Shuts off Hulu Access in Cable dispute.

forand forand writes  |  more than 3 years ago

forand (530402) writes "News Corp. has provided an excellent example of what can go wrong when corporations leverage their power in one market to affect another. By cutting off access to Hulu to Cablevision internet subscribers, News Corp. is making it clear to the market they they will use any means to get their desired outcome. In particular this brings up many questions relevant to net neutrality: is this evidence for the need for legal regulation? would regulation lead to a more dysfunctional marketplace? what recourse do consumers have when not offered any other providers of internet access nor traditional cable content?"
Link to Original Source
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US Calls for Investigation Into Google Intrusion

forand forand writes  |  more than 4 years ago

forand (530402) writes "US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has called for China to initiate a 'thorough' and 'transparent' investigation into the recent attacks on Google and other US companies."
Link to Original Source
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Google attackers identified

forand forand writes  |  more than 4 years ago

forand (530402) writes "Researchers, examining the attacks on Google and over 20 other companies in December, have determined "the source IPs and drop server of the attack correspond to a single foreign entity consisting either of agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof.""
Link to Original Source
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Copyright as National Security

forand forand writes  |  more than 5 years ago

forand (530402) writes "Both Arstechnica and Wired have called the Obama administrations recent dubbing of the specifics of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement as a 'National Security' issue, for what it is: the same old shenanigans. Wired's David Kravets further points out: "The national security claim is stunning, given that the treaty negotiations have included the 27 member states of the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand, all of whom presumably have access to the "classified" information.""
Link to Original Source

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