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Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

fygment Sea Ice? Climate Change? Who. Cares. (597 comments)

We will adapt.
We should adapt because anything else is bad both for us and for the planet.

2 days ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

fygment Call me a Cynic, but how long ... (74 comments)

... before we find out the results were made up? Is there some reproducibility happening here? Just sayin'

4 days ago
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The Exoplanets That Never Were

fygment Most Compelling Reason to Doubt "Consensus" (31 comments)

Science is full of stories like this.
Someone presents a result that catches the imagination. They achieve "great scientific stature".
Someone else quesions the result. They are pilloried while the "consensus" sides with the person of "great scientific stature".
But if there is persistence, sometimes the person of "great scientific stature", and by extension, the "consensus" is proven wrong.

The lesson: "consensus" is meaningless in science. It is desctructive, politically-driven artifact that inhibits the discovery of truth.

Sad fact: Stories like this have happened over and over and over again in science. And we never learn.
Other sad fact: Almost nobody in this forum will recognize the import of this article.

about a week ago
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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

fygment Finally biologists have some 'first principles' .. (211 comments)

Yeah, finally biology (the 'butterfly collecting' adventure labeled as a science) has something like a 'first principle' to hang on to.

Nothing shows biology to be more a 'butterfly collecting' venture than the repeated surprise biologists express when they find life in environments where they never expected to. You would think they had learned by now. Regardless, a theory with bona fide first principles clearly lays out that finding life supporting environments is the norm.

about a week ago
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Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

fygment Ultimate Argument for Reproducibility (74 comments)

There have been recent cries for reproducible results in science.
The scope is too limited.
There should be a cry for reproducible results in any research prior to its publication.
Long and short of it for researchers: if only you can get the results and conclusions, then the results and conclusions are not publishable.

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

fygment Crichton Was Right; Consensus ALWAYS Political (770 comments)

If a hypothesis is proven, reproduceably, there can be no denial. It is a fact.

If a hypothesis is not able to be proven reproduceably, it is an opinion.

People back opinions for self-serving reasons, and a consensus is when a majority of people see the most personal advantage in taking up a particular opinion.

Scientific consensus, is a political consensus. No more, no less. Doubt it? Look at the history of tectonic plates to name but one valid hypothesis that was, at times savagely, repressed by those whose academic careers had been made on another hypothesis (the consensus). Look at the history of neural network theory.

about a week ago
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Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

fygment Validate the Model first _then_ call it conclusive (302 comments)

The models were chosen to support their beliefs, and conclusion.

That's a problem because a model can be tuned to a desired outcome.

If the opposite had been true, say that model after model had predicted a rise, and then they went out and found the model to be true, there might be more credibility.

As it was, they had a measurements first, they had a belief/hypothesis first (naturally), and they found a model they could make fit. That's not a proof, not conclusive. They should take the model, and see if it tells them something they didn't know/expect, and then try and see if they can find it in nature. Validate the model beyond the very very narrow conclusion you are trying to justify.

about two weeks ago
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Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

fygment Like the beer in my glass ... (302 comments)

... the side nearer my lips is rising higher faster than the opposite side is lowering.

So my beer lasts longer.

about two weeks ago
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New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

fygment Re:Don't worry... only a computer model (121 comments)

".. extremely general to be at all accurate ..." Just think about that and what it means. Now think a bit harder.

You also have to know what assumptions are made in the model to 'generalise' it.

And you have to know just how 'fragile' the mode is, how does it hold up to deviations, perturbations.

And then after you've run the model a hundred times and it matches closely the training data (there has to be some), you really have no idea of how it performs as a predictive model.

No shame in that because that is the nature of scientific exploration. BUT you are the fool if you bet your money or your life on it.

about two weeks ago
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How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

fygment Wireless Charging = The Problem (49 comments)

Think about wireless charging: convert energy to RF, transmit, convert RF to energy. Each conversion is not perfect. The transmission loses energy density according to a power law. Just that simple transfer is inefficient. And for what reason? Convenience. Nothing more.

Our impact on the planet is what it is. There are a lot of humans. But we are so staggeringly wasterful it is obscene. We net tens of thousands of fish in one catch, to get the thousand we really want. We run air conditioners and pool circulation pumps 24/7 for months, for literally hours of comfort or pleasure. We leave cars running unoccupied for tens of minutes rather than feel the minutes of discomfort of a too cold (or hot) vehicle. All for convenience.

Fact is, we don't need to geo-engineer our planet (in virtual ignorance of potential side effects). We just have to begin using our resources as efficiently as possible.

about three weeks ago
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Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

fygment Climate Whiz (et al) are all knowing, right? (140 comments)

Because climate is part of the global system, clearly one must understand the interaction of all the components.
Which means the Climate Whiz (et al) know what all the components are.
And naturally, the Climate Whiz (et al) know what all the components do and how they work.
And, of course, how all the components interact.
With such knowledge one supposes that what 'they' say is true, there is nothing left to discover.

Oh, hey look here, was this already known? Hope there's nothing else hidden out there. How catastrophic could that be :-p

about three weeks ago
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Free Law Casebook Project Starts With IP Coursebook

fygment Nice initiative ... (22 comments)

... really!

about three weeks ago
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Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

fygment Don't be fooled. (273 comments)

Really?
No it isn't the vents that were just discovered that contribute to climate change?
No no ...
It is climate change that caused the vents ?!
Can you spin things more blatantly?

In any case, yet more evidence of how little we know about our planet.
And more reason not to screw with it.
Adapt and accept that things change for reasons we cannot yet comprehend.
Laying blame and grandiose geoengineering 'cures', are the stuff of politicians and profiteers.
Don't be fooled.

about three weeks ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

fygment Poorly Phrased Question (511 comments)

When I read "_how_ C strings work...", I began to think of what I knew about how the C language is actually implemented. And frankly, I don't know how C is implemented (eg. what happens after parsing, how things get converted to CPU instructions). Even though I've spent a fair bit of time writing in the language, I would have stumbled on that question and perhaps have asked you to clarify (something a younger person is less likely to do).

When I read your answer, I realized you were asking "how are strings defined in C" or "how do you use C with string types".

See the difference? On that alone, I guess you may have screened out a lot of good people.

Tangentially, this is also a good reason to not pay too much attention to survey results unless you have actually read the questions that were asked in the survey.

about three weeks ago
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Scientists Confirm Life Under Antarctic Ice

fygment Biology != Science (46 comments)

The "butterfly collectors" are surprised again ... well some are. The others are getting used to the idea that they really have no clue about where and how life can exist.

about a month ago
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Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

fygment They. Just. Don't. Know. Here's what that means.. (303 comments)

Some will blame humans.
Some will blame an unknown natural phenomenon.
Bottom line?
THEY DON'T KNOW.

And yet, despite yet another glaring example of the tenousness of our grasp of natural and human processes, people continue to think that the planet can be engineered to 'solve' climate change, etc.

Maybe the climate is changing, maybe it's not. Maybe it's human caused, maybe it's not. We just don't know. And maybe the wise person will hold off on acting in ignorance so they don't make things worse. The only reason not to wait is to profit from the fear mongering. And that's just wrong.

about a month ago
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Modular Hive Homes Win Mars Base Design Competition

fygment Above ground hexagons? Only circles are stupider (61 comments)

You're on Mars. You need to keep it simple, and keep resource requirements down. So why six walls instead of four? Why complicated join angles? Does the fact that all but the most artsy furniture is _square_, and hence fits best in a square/rectangular space, lost on the designers/judges? Does the fact that Mars dwellers might come from Earth, and hence long for something familiar, not suggest that a square/rectangular design might be better for the mental health of the colony?

We are not bees. We are human. Mars dwellers will not be 'artists', but people struggling to survive in an alien and hostile environment. Hexagon houses don't make any sense here on Earth, where they are easy to build and maintain. Why in heaven's name would they make sense on Mars?

You know what would make sense? Frickin' trailer parks of 'portables' like we use in hostile environments here on Earth! Worried about radiation? Put them underground dumbass!

about a month ago
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The Royal Society Proposes First Framework For Climate Engineering Experiments

fygment Beginning of the End due to lack of knowledge (174 comments)

We simply do not know enough about the planet to 'engineer' it.
Every past effort to 'engineer' nature, even the simplest, has discovered things it failed to take in to account eg. introduction of 'control' species that became 'invasive'.
On top of which, we don't have to engineer our way out of this. The clear solutions arepresent albeit mundane: more trees, less waste.
'Engineering' the planet simply means finding a way to allow us (humans) to continue to make inefficient or wasteful use of our resources.

So this is where I personally opt out.
        I will deny climate change simply in an effort to keep people from screwing with the planet and to encourage others to protest experiments.
        My next house will have two airconditioners, four cars (all SUV's), two pools, and as much 'always on' electronic gadgetry as I can stuff in it.
        All my future purchases will be quadruple wrapped in plastic, all my food processed, and I'll no longer recycle.

If you're going to engineer the planet, I'm going to make it worth your while.

about a month ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

fygment Re:Answer to headlines question is, again, "No" (442 comments)

You're wrong on all counts. Neat!

FTR:

a) _all_ forms of energy production need storage, simply because demand varies and production cannot be dynamically varied in sync. Therefore, energy produced that exceeds demand should, in the interest of efficient use of resources, be stored. Renewables _in particular_ require storage; and

b) the power usage of power-hungry industries _cannot_ be varied easily. Those industries respond to consumer demand and resource availability, neither of which is controlled "easily".

about a month ago

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