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Comments

top

Debunking a Climate-Change Skeptic

gkai Re:That's why he's so hated (807 comments)

Wow, just wow....

This is a very insightfull remark imho, something that should makes all sides pause and re-assert where they stand in the objective scientist - activist scale.

pity i am not a moderator now...

more than 4 years ago
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Debunking a Climate-Change Skeptic

gkai Re:Its All About Power and Money (807 comments)

If very small amounts of something aren't dangerous, you wouldn't mind drinking a glass containing the same INCREASE IN concentration of nerve toxin as the INCREASE IN concentration of CO2 from pre-industrial atmosphere, would you?

There, fixed your analogy for you.

I, for one, would accept to drink 1.5 times the amount of nerve toxin you drink, if you are fine after drinking it, and still fine after a few day. Sure, I will take a risk, but it will be small and not mainly linked to the increase in nerve toxin absorbed, but more to the fact that I may be more sensitive to this particular toxin than you are.

Now that I have fixed your analogy, maybe you want to try again and find another one?

more than 4 years ago
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The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans

gkai it's fashion baby... (945 comments)

Well, may I suggest another possibility:

4) designers, musicians, and other creative professionals are fashion whores worse than teenage girls or snowboarders.

Blind brand loyalty of apple worshipper is in the same ballpark as those of Vuiton or Oxbow

more than 4 years ago
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Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise

gkai Re:I'll stay in my sofa (376 comments)

Nope, as soon as you start practizing a sport competitively, you will get hurt. Professional athletes are followed by their own doctors, have tailored diets, and basically do little less than training. They get hurt. A lot. Basically, that's why I didn't said they train continuously: They can't, cause they also spend a lot of time in surgery and re-education. Then they have to stop around 40 at best, and, depending on the sport, are sometimes in bad health compared to general population in their 60...Care to check the average life expectancies for marathon runners? Bicycle champions? Not so great.

Basically, if you exercise only for your health, your doctors will advice walking/light running regularly, maybe 1h each day....and swimming, again long distance low intensity, and not in the sun and try to avoid chlorine....Yuck, booooooring!

I do sport (well, less so now, getting older ;-) ), but for fun....and I was injured a few times, mainly because falls and sometimes muscle injuries...

more than 4 years ago
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The Year of the E-Bicycle

gkai Re:It's because some car drivers are, frankly, mor (494 comments)

Bikes and cars do not share the road easily, it is dangerous and very annoying for the minority (bike or car).
Ever walked behing someone whose natual pace is half of yours, in a narrow corridor where simply passing him is difficult? Incredibly annoying and nervously tiring, most people simply can not slow down their pace and fall into a very nervous stop/go/stop/go....

Well, when you drive a car behind a cyclist (or another very slow car), it is exactly the same. Slowing down your natural pace is always annoying, within a car, on a cycle (these pedestrian ar soooo slow and imprevisible), or just walking. Making overtake manoeuvre difficult or dangerous is not a good idea for any shared way/track/sidewalk....

more than 4 years ago
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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

gkai Re:"Overestimate" WTF? (372 comments)

Could not have said it better myself! I addition, how much of active population trains as (professional or volunteer) firefighters? not so much. Does it happen that there are not enough firefighters to deal with a massive fire? Yes, sure....Clearly, we need more firefighters!!! time to raise salaries and enroll everyone that can carry a bucket!!!!...It does not matter that current staff is enough to deal with most fires, that the extra workforce will be usefull maybe once every 20 years, and that training all the time they will have no freetime nor can do other useful jobs...Nobody care about that, at least we will be 100% SAFE from FIRE (instead of 99%, but surely you do not want to have innocent victims on your hands, right? what do you wait to get join your local firefighting team? we can not accept less than 100% safety!!!)

more than 4 years ago
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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

gkai Re:Hello, think a little! (372 comments)

If it was a credible threat, I would agree with your analysis....However, it was not: The WHO has been issuing warning every last six years with the regularity of a swiss clock, globally, monopolizing media attention for weeks, without the fear materializing even once. This last one is probably the one too much, as it has cost a lot of money to governments in a period where it is scarce, and having a lot of unused vaccines is very bad PR.
It is clear that WHO have incentives to scaremonger continuously, it justify its own existence and can not hurt its budget allocation. However, they also continously become less and less relevant each time they shout "Wolf!". Their utility as a early warning system is thus already compromised, and I wonder if it is still worth it, and budget allocation has to be reviewed....
Now, rightfully, some investigations will occur to check if they are other incentive in the WHO alarmism, in form of accointance with vaccine producers. If it is the case, WHO higher staff has to be fired, the whole stuff reorganised, so that it regain some legitimity and start fresh without the accumulated industry/media links that kill any chance of objectivism and promote bribery...

more than 4 years ago
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Toyota Experimenting With Joystick Control For Cars

gkai A car is too small/fast for joystick control.... (609 comments)

If you look at various vehicles, the smaller it is, the more direct the control is, and there are good reasons for that:

In a small vehicle, there are a lot of feedbacks (vibration, inertial forces, sound) that help the driver control it, in fact it adds a lot of information above just vision and makes fine control possible.
If the vehicle is very small, there is also a direct influence on body position on the handling...This trend of "the smaller your vehicle is, the more direct the controls should be" is evident if you consider those few examples:

skateboard/rollers/ski/snowboard/...: direct control through your feets, huge influence of whole body, more like a different way of running than a vehicle : simulations sucks and are completely useless for mastering those sports

bicycle/motorcyle: direct control without multiplication of steering angle through handle bar, body position very important, need good balance, simulation very poor and almost useless for learning to drive.

quad: like a small car, but input is still direct and body position quite important. Balnaces skilss are not as vital as for 2-wheeled vehicles. Simulation stil not very usefull....

car: direct input with fixed demultiplication, body position mostly not relevant but still a lot of direct feedback. Simulation usefull, but not really for racedrivng or getting used to heavy traffic/different road conditions.

slow moving 4-wheeled vehicles, trucks: body position unimportant, few direct feedback (but still some),: Simulation quite usefull, except for traffic

planes, trains: body position unimportant, few direct feedback besides inertial forces (and approximating those with angling simulation cabins work good for large planes), no direct interraction with other vehicles. simualtion very usefull, you can really learn to pilot this way, because it is in a way a much more abstract and, yes, simpler control (hence the auto-pilot...)

Given that, extending stick driving to trucks may be feasible (but still, they are on the same roads as car)...

For car, it looks like a really really bad idea.

For motorcycles, it is simply suicide....

about 5 years ago
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Happiness May Be Catching

gkai Re:Have this explanantion been considered? (176 comments)

We emulate our peers, especially when their behavior has noticeable positive benefit to them individually. Obviously, the more peers in the network emulate positive behavior with evident benefit, the more likely more peers will follow the example.

If someone in your circle of friends started doing something new, which benefited them greatly, you'd probably be more likely to do it. Right? Compared to if someone in your group started an obviously self-harmful behavior (drug use, dropping out of school, smoking, watching NASCAR and eating bon bons all day). You might not excise the person from your network, but you probably wouldn't do what they do.

Well, my point was that the contagion effect is precisely because the change of lifestyle of this friend automatically remove him from your network, without this reflecting any kind of moral judgement. It is not systematic of course, but I think that the fact that being friend and spending a lot of time together in hobby activities is highly correlated is probably enough to explain in large part the contagion effect.

This is noticeable with the child factor, for example: Few people will look negatively at a friend because he is just having a baby, on the contrary. And few will consiously consider him less a friend because he is now a father (or she is a mother). However, the change of lifestyle are often considerable, and this is enough to either make him drift away from your circle of friend...or add some pressure to become yourself a father, if you want to be still able to spend time together....

  My "theory" predict that family status (married/non-married, with or without children), because they influence lifestyle tremendously, will be highly "contagious" when analyzing social networks...and they are:
Ever noticed the single friend that drifted away from your group of buddies when he got married and had children, but then came back naturally after his divorce?
I have, multiple times, so much that I now expect it...No imitation or change of metric for judging behaviors here, only the fact that lifestyles change in your life for all sort of reasons, and groups of friend/buddies are, with overwhelming majority, sharing lifestyles...
The article was nicely done and they examined multiple explanation for the phenomenon, but I feel they did not considered this "lifestyle" effect with the attention it desserves...

more than 5 years ago
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Happiness May Be Catching

gkai Have this explanantion been considered? (176 comments)

Based on my own behavior, I have an alternative explanation, somewhat between real contagion of social habits, and auto-clustering of people when they are more alike...

I think that we have to consider how the habit/behavior/new event would affect the main activities of the group of friends. For example, if you gain weight, it may means you have reduced your sport practice and changed your diet, i.e. some kind of lifestyle change. Then, the friend which stick around you will change their lifestyle and suffer the same effects, or just drift out of friendship just because of lack of common interrest/time spend together. People which were not going to be friend because they had zero desire to spend weekends running around a track suddenly may drift in your circle of friend because they shared your new interrest in home-made cookies...

All of those effect will have strong effect on apparent contagion of habits, but will not be based on change in what you consider "socially acceptable" or change your scales for evaluating body images (like the interpretation for obesity that was given in the article). It is not really contagious behavior either, but only linked to the fact the friendships are often linked to some shared lifestyle and shared activities.

It is a slight twist to the interpretations given in the article, but it may be interresting to look at the contagious effect in this way. For example, the fact that contagion is higher in same-sex friends is normal: identical lifestyle and shared activities are more important between same-sex friends than opposite sex friends of sexual partners. So is the difference between coworker and personal friends.

Under this interpretation, I would expect some behavior to be highly anti-correlated: the tendency to organise things for example (leadership). A group sharing an activity would be more enjoyable for everybody if one good organiser take responsability for organising stuffs while the other are happy following. So I guess that "tendency of organizing stuff" or "leadership" (it would have to be carefully worded to avoid positive/negative bias for lack of the characteristic) would not be contageous, while it should be if the explanantion was mainly through behavioral mimicking...

more than 5 years ago
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Maori Legend of Man-Eating Birds is True

gkai Re:Extinct (338 comments)

"giant man-eating birds... a raptor that became extinct just 500 years ago."

I guess it means that finally men won...

Yes, like always: big predator hunting homo sapiens means that the predator is on the fastlane to extinction....Except if it can retreat to a territory where human population is non-existent or very sparse (like polar bear for example), it is doomed....

more than 5 years ago
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Maori Legend of Man-Eating Birds is True

gkai Re:so... (338 comments)

You totally forgot New Zealand's only native land mammal, the bat. There's an amazing video of the native bat running, because it'd evolved to be flightless like the birds.

Haasts Eagle bones were identified in 1870 by Julius Von Haast. This thing preyed on the Moa, a 12-foot tall 500lb flightless bird. There is no question that a human would have been a much easier much more defenseless snack than a Moa. It would be unlikely that they didn't eat the occasional human.

A human much easier meal than a moa? The first humans before they knew about Haast eagle maybe, then the occasional child or woman, and then it was over for the easy meals, more likely encounter was full grown Maori males looking for a vengence and the high status of coming back in the tribe with Haast eagle beak, talons and feathers...

Imho it was the occasional human meal was what caused the extinction of Haast eagle, probably more than overhunting of the Moas: No easy meal after the first few unaware victims, and systematic destruction of nests, youngs and preying adults afterwards...just like all other predators meeting the homo sapiens and having the bad idea (well, more the natural idea not yet eradicated by darwinian evolution) of thinking "this naked monkey looks like easy meal".

And not only eat the good old homo sapiens, but also eating any of his food stock would turn a bad idea for long term survival: RIP wolves, american lions, lynx, ...: a top predator sharing territory with a sufficiently dense human population is doomed.

more than 5 years ago
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Alan Turing Gets an Apology From Prime Minister Brown

gkai Re:You do the crime, you do the time. (576 comments)

Exactly, and there are few cases that merit this kind of apology more than A. Turing. This guy was a great scientist, and has helped tremendously defeating the Axe during WWII, so UK should really be grateful. Typically the kind of guy that bring more that it takes from society....Yet he was judged under a disgusting law (one that condamned people for private action where all participants where willing and free), one law that lowered UK exactly to the same level as the Axe itself. State ingratitude and hypocrite morality at it's finest...
Imho apology is more than deserved, comes much too late (but better late than never), and is much too lenient as a mea culpa (but again, better too little than nothing...especially from governments, as they are notably reluctant to make any apologies... )

more than 5 years ago
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The "Copyright Black Hole" Swallowing Our Culture

gkai Re:Democratic? (278 comments)

No kidding.

French is largely stagnant - oddly enough, because the French actively try to keep "un-French" words OUT of their language. There was the idiocy a few years back when the French government actually outlawed the word "e-mail" in official gov't correspondence in favor of the longer "courier electronique" phrase, trying their damndest to keep that "eeevil" english wording out of their parlance. It didn't work well.

Well, you can not say that it didn't work well, and that french is largely stagnant: The fact that it didn't work well (I agree with you on that) proove that french is not stagnant (which is a fact, just look at the spoken form of it, it changes as much as English does).

The only difference is that the "academie francaise" is trying to centrally define an official version of it, but appart from that French and English languages are similar: Huge variation between Quebec french, French french (belgian french and swiss french being much smaller variants), and the various creole spoken in America/Africa...Just like American english, British ones (huge local variation there), Indian one, ...

English is maybe even more butchered, being spoken by so many non-native speakers, but that comes with its global dominance, it's not a feature of the language...

more than 5 years ago
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The "Copyright Black Hole" Swallowing Our Culture

gkai Re:Democratic? (278 comments)

If I wanted to communicate over Minitel I would speak French. N'est-ce pas?

I hope you don't really want to do that, do you? It was only proposed as a theoretical example, right? Please?

more than 5 years ago
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The "Copyright Black Hole" Swallowing Our Culture

gkai Re:Democratic? (278 comments)

They do, for simple business purpose. For detailed legal documents, they have interprets and lawyers. They are not fluent, and can not pretend to speak like local speakers (then, which ones? Indians? NY americans? Texas ones? Hip-Hop wannabee? Londoners? Scottish? Japanese with passable english may be more understandable than some of those ;-) ), and most of them could not care less...

That's what a second language is: if you can get yourself understood, and you understand it in your field of expertise, you speak it well enough....

more than 5 years ago
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The "Copyright Black Hole" Swallowing Our Culture

gkai Re:Democratic? (278 comments)

French is loosing ground fast, even in Africa.... And I doubt many people from Indochine (Vietnam, part of cambodge and Laos) still speak french. They mostly learn english nowadays, in addition to heir local language and the official language of their country (which is often different): Not so many people from colonial indochine still around...

Spanish is the only international language that still has some traction besides english imho, but it will not threaten english as the global lingua franca, except in south america maybe (they could have an easier time building a south america union that we have in Europe, the goal of a common language/culture is easier there).

So I believe simplified english will remain the true esperanto for quite a while...without threatening local languages to oblivion, many local cultures remains strong and so is the associated local language. Some cultures/langages are threatened, but in the modern world, this is to be expected, below a critical mass they can not resist national education and global communications/medias...

BTW, I am a native french speaker, so no french bashing in my comment at all, just realism: French culture/language has missed it's opportunity for global domination a few centuries ago...but is not under any threat of extinction ;-)

more than 5 years ago
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Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep

gkai Re:Age related? (272 comments)

Not really. 8h is, I feel, an average, and trying to sleep more than what you need will (at least for me) makes you feel worse and, paradoxically, kind of tired (like unhealthy tired).

5-6 hours is quite uncommon, but most people indeed need less sleep as they get older. I needed at least 8 h, preferably 9 hours in my twenties. Now that I am 37, 7-7.5 hour is my norm. It is what I do in the week, the week-end, and during long holidays. I also have a very good internal clock, I usually wake up just before my 8 am alarm (yes, my work is very close to my home ;-) ) in the week (nice), and not much later than 8:30 the week-ends (pity when I had some long parties before, then I can be below my 7h and need to get it back the next days or start to feel tired). No caffeine involved, I did not drink coffee up to last year, much later than my change in sleep hours needed (I started drinking cofee because I now like the taste - another thing that change with age, much more tolerance - even attraction - for bitterness).

There is a huge variation in how much people need to sleep, and how they sleep. This is not a new discovery, some of my friends need 9h still in their late thirties, and basically enjoy holidays partly because it allow them to sleep longer. Other just need 6:30 now....But the huge majority sleep less now that during their twenties, and not because of professional constraints.

Same with the internal clock: some are very regular (like me), some have almost no rythm at all (which, for modern life and given the ubiquitious presence of alarm clocks, is imho better, very flexible and they suffer much less from jetlag).

No sense in advising your sleep habits to someone that does not feel chronically tired: chances are he just does not sleep like you do but is perfectly fine with his own habits...

more than 5 years ago
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Green Cement Absorbs Carbon

gkai Re:No class at all. (213 comments)

You misunderstand. This has nothing to do with models or predictions.

Sorry, but I think I undertand quite well: you said that doubting the warming comes from human perturbation (release of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2) is not reasonable. To say that, you need to trust the current climate models, because it is using a model that you can discern between various contributions to global temperature change and identify the CO2 release from fossil fuel burning as the main cause. Without models, all you can say is that global temperature has risen (especially during the 1990-2000 decade) and that atmospheric CO2 concentration is rising too. Not too bad, but not enough to link the two by a causality relation and certainly not to make prediction about future global temperature...

And what is this "IPCC numerical model" that you speak of? Surely the IPCC relies on models external to it, such a GISS?

Mainly the models cited in the 4th IPCC report, section about numerical models. Global circulation models mainly. I know that it is summarized (even if it contains more details that the summary for policy makers), but as an example I do no like some phrasing of the vulgarisation. Telling it is manily based on basic physical eqution (like Navier Stokes for example) is misleading, N-S with a a grid size measured in tenth of kilometers and the air reynolds number? Mentioning N-S should not even be done....
In such simulations, subgrid models are the main stuff, and I am not convinced by the current ones...

It may have been beyond reasonable doubts until about 2005.

Unlike the OP you've got no class at all! No formal Truth, logical or empirical, just lies!

I mentioned 2005 because, from most the global temperature curves I have seen, the nice exponential or power curve that fit 1990-2000 data and is characteristic of IPCC-reviewed models does not seems to fit the data. Global temperature seems to become flat, or even go downward. Not time enough to be sure, as a running mean of 5 years is needed to get somwhat smooth curves, but the upward trend is much less convincing now that it was 5 years ago...

The Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007 found:

"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

My emphasis. "Very likely" is defined as >95% confidence. Perhaps you are arguing about the limits of "reasonability?"

I would not argue about a 95% confidence coming from experimental data (perhaps I should, but experiments are not my speciality). But my trust in 95% confidence is not so high when it comes from average of simulation. It could have if I trusted the models, and the variability came from unknown initial conditions and not from difference among models. But here different models produce different output with the same initial conditions. So it is the models that are uncertain, and performing an average on this is better than nothing, but will certainly not give me a 95% confidence. It would lead me to suspect models are not complete and investigate them much further and try to refine them to get some convergence, before trusting predictions...Especially for model that makes me think of turbulent modeling with a lot of averaging and huge grid size. Those are tricky, and climate models seems very optimistic compared to what people in fluid dynamic claims...

... the recent scientific advances and newest global data are not so supportive of the idea that man-produced CO2 is responsible for the bulk of global warming.

What "advances"? Which "global data"? Do you just make this stuff up as you go along, or is there some kind of denialist RSS feed that you rely on? [The link is to forstall someone trying to tell that I should call people who uncritically swallow this stuff ... cough ... 'skeptics,' not 'denialists.']

I would reserve the term denialist to flat earthers, creationist or adepts of crystal healing (ok, my cheap attack ;) : those last ones are certainly not doubting man-caused global warming, we have upset gaia, after all...).

Here I doubt global circulation models and their ability to meaningfully predict future climate change, and to identify the main cause of global temperature raise. Sorry, but I do not think that those doubts allows to tag me with any "-ist" thing...Those models are build by a process that looks like a comitee-driven stuff, with lot of discussion of feedbacks amplitude or even sign...Do you expect this not to be controversial? It HAS to be controversial, else it would not be scientific. Telling it is now beyond reasonable doubt is not really honest imho. Reserve that for darwinism, it is much more worth of your defense and it needs it, at least in the states ;-)

In any case the Fifth Assessment is now under preparation. So perhaps we should wait until the people who actually know what they are talking about and follow all the peer-reviewed literature (both good and bad) closely have had their say before we jump to conclusions about what the "recent" science has to say.

In any case I prefer to see ignorance being fostered with much greater skill than you have managed here. Sorry, you fail!

I am waiting for the 5th report too :-) I'd like to see it, especailly comparing it with the 4th, to see if confidence has risen or decreased. My prediction: more confidence, but a much more modest temperature increase and mention of alternative theories like clouds formation due to ionizing particles, shorter carbon cycles, iris effect, convective mixing,...

BTW, for reference, appart from the IPCC reports (which I consider the mainstraim view), I look at www.pensee-unique.fr...it's in french, sorry, but you will find references to articles (Lindzen and Svensmark are prominently featured). They are sometimes over the top, but raise many good points imho, in a way that often seems more sound than classic global circulation models to me...

more than 5 years ago
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Green Cement Absorbs Carbon

gkai Re:A short note to Moderators. (213 comments)

I am a "he" ;-), and thanks for that...

Not that I was deeply perturbed for being tagged as Troll (a first for me, though...Does it need some kind of celebration? ;-)), but i would have expected a troll to know he is trolling....being an involuntary troll kind of ruin the experience...

Also, I think that moderators should consider with extra care tagging a non-anonymous post as troll. I may be naive, but I would think that a real troll would post anonymously...At least, if I ever feel the irresistible urge to start trolling, I will do it as an AC...

more than 5 years ago

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