35,000 Walrus Come Ashore In Alaska
I just think we are too quick to conclude every little thing is AGW related.
I think the blame for this lies with those who have an interest in stirring up controversy and sensationalism. I can't imagine any scientist ever saying that "this is because of global warming"; what they would way is "this supports/doesn't support global warming" - or perhaps more likely, they will ask how these observations might fit into current theories.
The general public mostly get it completely wrong, expecting that scientists want to defend their theories against anything that might go against them; in reality it is quite the opposite way. I suppose scientist will always try to see if the existing theories work well enough to explain observations, but all of them secretly hope to find something that breaks the theory: 'new science'. That's why they were a little bit disappointed at CERN when they found a Higgs boson pretty much where theory said it should be. Being right is all well and good, but new discoveries is what we live and breathe for.
Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize
For years I have also advocated having a B52 full of cheap mesh cell phones and base stations to drop on any Arab Spring like event.
Really? And what would that achieve?
It is incredibly naive to think that the mere introduction of Western style democracy and -constitution would magically solve all problems. It didn't happen that way in the West - it took several generations, during which time people got educated to the new ideas via debates, protests, and later on, school, and that process is still ongoing. Democracy is worthless if people are not willing to play by the rules - the losers have to accept that they didn't win this time, and the winners have to understand that they must rule for the benefit of all, even their opponents. And enshrining rights and freedoms in law is worthless if people don't sincerely respect the rights of others, even when it is to their own disadvantage.
To return to the protesters in Hong Kong - the same applies here. That is not to say that democracy is not a good idea; I think even the Chinese government recognises that. But it has to be introduced the right way, gradually. Perhaps it would be a good idea if the state government came out in public and addressed the issue head on, and presented a long-term plan for how it should happen. Most people can accept that things can take time to achieve.
Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?
He discovered that from Baptists to Buddhists, from Catholics to Mormons, from Islam to the Anglican Communion, religious views on alien life differ widely.
Well, what'd you expect? However, I think the problem is of a deeper nature than 'what does so and so religion think about extra-terrestial life' - it is about the compatibility between religion and science. Science is fundamentally about facts and what follows from the facts: you make observations, then produce theory etc. In many religions, if not all, you try to start from the other end: you settle on some Ultimate Truth, then try to make your facts fit; that way it becomes a bit hit-or-miss whether your belief allows for a new discovery of any kind.
Another, potentially interesting question would be - is it possible to produce a religion that is strictly scientific in nature without it simply being science? Or IOW, can any form of religion add anything to science?
David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures
I think he's being an idiot.
I don't agree with his policies or his party ideology either, but I think it is incorrect to call him an idiot. He knows very well what he is doing, and I think he is leading the country competently, in the sense that he is not blundering around stupidly and making the overall situation significantly worse for the whole nation.
As you say, metric is eminently useful, not just because it makes it trivially easy to compare small quantities to large ones (just a matter of where to place to decimal point), but also because it ties together measures for length, area, volume, time, energy etc in a way that follows directly from physics.
We keep using imperial in our daily lives because they are easy when you don't need great precision or a deep understanding of the science behind; 1 pound is about the weight of a large handful of something - easy to relate to and precise enough for many purposes.
Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity
The whole story is. 4 years != climate. Not by anyone's measure. If skeptics tried to debunk AGW on this board with a 4 year trend, everyone would be all over them like white on rice. But 4 years in favor of AGW in the summary? A O K!
Not so. The scientific point of view is that the data speak for themselves; different theories try to make sense of the observed data. Theories are never perfect, but we can make theories better by using the scientific method - and this is where the debate invariably breaks down, not because a secretive conspiracy of climate scientists are suppressing facts, but because those suffering from 'skepticemia' are unwilling to accept reality.
Weather is what happens locally, in the short time span - the wind in your hair, the sun on your face - climate is the average of the weather over large areas and long periods of time. So, it is perfectly reasonable to observe that the weather has been unusually cold in Canada this summer, and then say that this goes against the idea of global warming, and the observation requires a theoretical explanation, of course. Climatologists have already given very plausible explanations; the problem is that climate deniers don't want to accept the explanation. But just as it is necessary to consider data that go against the theory, it is also necessary to accept the data that support the theory; hence it is reasonable to state that the loss of icemass in Antarctica supports the theory of global warming.
What I still haven't seen in is just 1 climate model that explains most of the observed current and historical data and doesn't end up concluding that climate change is happening and is caused by human activities. Produce just 1 theory that can stand up the critical efforts of more than a select group of handpicked believers; the truth is that the skeptics are unable to do so, and therefore talk about conspiracies instead. Meanwhile, I think the scientific consensus has moved on, because whether people like it or not, reality keeps happening.
New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise
I would tend to agree with you, but not for the reasons you list. Without having read the OP, I assume that it doesn't actually say that the 10K hour rule is always false (just like that rule say that you can never become an expert before 10K hours); it just says that it may not always be true. Listing a few examples does neither prove nor disprove a statement that is clearly statistical in nature.
Sometimes, though, you do see these very young experts; I think the most likely explanation is that they simply started very early; like in child prodigies - or the 11 year olds that play with computers and gadgets every day - just because they weren't paid for it or in formal education at the time, doesn't mean they didn't put in the hours. In other cases you see somebody change from one discipline, where they haven't made remarkable contributions to something where they suddenly shine, but then again, they have probably been working with things that were somehow closely related, and when they change focus, they bring a new, very useful perspective that makes them stand out.
The only phemomenon I can't explain is the way some people down my local pub always seem to be experts in subjects the very instant they hear about them ;-)
World's Smallest 3G Module Will Connect Everything To the Internet
I thought this debate was dead long ago - if ever there really was a debate, which I doubt. Every time the subject comes up, people more or less agree that it isn't something we want, although there may be some niches where it makes sense.
There are massive concerns about security, privacy etc - and that is just with IPv4. And although lots of people are now fascinated with the smartphone, I'm not sure it will last. Just for one thing - does everyone REALLY want to be connected all the time? Especially when it doesn't actually give you all that much in terms of benefit, combined with the fact that the more time you spend glaring at the small screen, the more are you missing out on the more substantial joys in real life.
It's a bit like the Borg:
Borg: "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated"
Us: "No actually, we don't think so"; and we shoot them down.
Borg: "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" ...
To me it sounds like somebody is being paid to simply spout this nonsense. Next time, please post a list of your sponsors.
Piracy Police Chief Calls For State Interference To Stop Internet "Anarchy"
This is where I always get so depressed. Not because some police chief wants more rules, but because of the way hordes of slashdotters once again start to spout shallow drivel about what they call "freedom" in an attempt to sound "deep".
First things first, though: when they talk about new rules and regulations, it is not because they imagine that everybody will suddenly be law-abiding, it is because it is not possible to prosecute people for breaking non-existent laws. That is why have sometimes seen people not being brought to justice for what everybody agrees were crimes: there was no law governing what they did. Why have the bank executives that brought about the financial crisis not been put in jail? Because their crimes were not covered by law. This is part of the price we pay for living in a society where the law protects us from random arrests etc.
Next, those who are shouting the loudest about grand principles are also the ones who are least likely to actually know what they are talking about. Anybody, who actually thinks about freedom, will know that freedom is self-limiting. If there were no rules, the strongest bullies will grab as much as they can for themselves and impose their will on others - and that's all the freedom you will ever see.
All in all, instead of talking immature nonsense, go out and take part in the democratic debate - that is where we try to reach the compromises that all laws and rules must be.
Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?
The rejections you got may not have been because you didn't know a specific answer to a very technical question. Nobody knows everything. You may have been rejected because of the answer that you gave, and let me explain.
No matter how much an expert anybody is, it will always be easy to catch them out; a competent interviewer knows that it is not actually essential if the candidate doesn't know by heart what all the port numbers in /etc/service are used for, or what packet headers you will expect to find in an HTML packet or whatever. It is not only the candidate that loses out because of stupid interviewers, the company also risks not getting the best person for the role.
Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop
This is especially true of UI design, because most people (even power users) really don't measure what they're spending time doing and get into unproductive patterns. The problem with GNOME was that they also didn't listen to usability experts.
I think most people are capable of finding their own of using their own computer - if the interface is not actually built to impose things on the user. I used to like GNOME in the beginning, and I stayed with it even when it began to annoy me and I had to reconfigure things in major way; but I decided to leave when they started removing genuinely useful features that I used (like the little pop-up that shows window geometry when you move or resize) and then hard-coded into the thing that you can't log on to a desktop as root.
I am well aware of the security issues involved, and one can discuss the wisdom in logging in as root, but that is beside the point. The decision about that kind of things is mine to make on my own system, it is not the prerogative of some smart-ass to dictate. Any desktop is just a tool, and a tool should not get in the way of what you are trying to do, it should enable you.
And that brings me back to UI design: a good user interface enables you to do the things you want, it may guide you towards doing things with a certain measure of discipline, but at the end of the day, the designer must respect the free choice of the user.
Popular Wi-Fi Thermostat Full of Security Holes
Well, there are some things that it could be handy to have remote access to - like parking spaces - which it is not practical to have with IP4, but the big danger is the endless idiocy and frivolous crap that is inevitable going to swamp us. We've seen it over and over - television, this great tool for mass communication, and now it is 99% worthless entertainment for those hard of thinking. Then the PC and the internet: same thing. And the "internet of things" is going to be mostly hideous idiocy as well, which is a shame, because it could be a good thing.
Mangalyaan Successfully Put Into Mars Orbit
Sometimes one gets the feeling that when the 'standing on the shoulders of giants' is rolled out like this, it actually means 'Standing on our toes'. We shouldn't begrudge them their success - I know you aren't, but others do.
It is great, in my opinion; space exploration has been stalled for too long, and if we can get to the point where everybody does it, I'm all for it. It would be great if going in to space was no more unusual than what flying out to China is now.
US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria
We have again landed in a situation where it is necessary to fight a war; and it IS necessary, much as I hate it. But war will never win us peace - unless we can completely eradicate everybody who opposes us, we will always create new enemies for ourselves. To win a lasting peace, we must convince at least the majority of our opponents that we are their friends. In this case the people who support "Islamic State" simply because they see us as their enemies.
Islamic State and other terrorists can attract young men and women from the West, simply because we make it so easy to hate us. History is one factor in this, but it's not the biggest part - Germany have managed to move past their history, so it is not impossible. Perhaps what we need to realise is that we seem to be so incredibly satisfied with ourselves - we have rolled crusades over the Middle East, we have dictated their rules and exploited them for their resources, we regard Islam with contempt and distrust, and so on. Are we not great enough to change our ways? It may not be easy, but it is a lot easier than making people like us by insulting them; and it mostly involves thinking a little before we speak - like, stop using the word 'crusade' like it was something to be proud of. 'Crusade' is just our word for 'Jihad'.
Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?
...if the Chinese government wanted to "close the loophole" investors could be out $20B+ in a day.
Here's a TLA for you: FUD. Most countries in the West could in principle do the same, and forbid foreign investors in national companies - and the reasons they don't do it are the same that tell us that China wouldn't do this either. They are, as I think I may have mentioned in the past, not idiots.
Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
But that is perhaps less likely - a farming culture is more sedentary, and therefore less like to go out on raids - although they could be looking for more farming land, of course. Interesting. Good point.
Scotland Votes No To Independence
While not a fan of homosexuality (I admit I find it strange and disgusting) I feel no particular hatred either. More like indifference. I definetly do not support persecution but the outright lies from proponents of that lifestyle are so fucking outrageous.
Lies are never acceptable, of course; but I think we have to give a little bit of leeway. It is a very emotionally charged issue for the victims of discrimination.
I expect most people's view on homosexuality is similar to yours; I used to think the same way, but as I have grown older, I have become better informed and less scared of it. What I find helpful is to keep in mind that people are gay, not because they make An Evil Choice, but because they are genuinely attracted to their own sex and digusted by the opposite - probably exactly the way heterosexuals feel attracted by the opposite and repulsed by their own. Gay men are no more ravening, sexual monsters than heterosexual men, and just like men and women can be friends in an un-sexual way, the same hold for gays and heterosexuals. Why would it be any other way?
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Steps Down
Just to represent another side to the argument, and because I like getting modded down for expressing my opinion - I don't think Oracle deserves ALL the flak it gets. Just to make it clear - I work for them as an engineer, so I may come with a certain bias, but I also have more actual insight than most on /.
Firstly, I don't think anybody can deny that Oracle RDBMS is top notch; I have worked with many other databases - MS SQL Server, Informix, DB2, MySQL, and I still prefer Oracle. The documentation is better than what you get from the competition. DB2 is the only one that comes close. Plus, you can legally download even Oracle Enterprise Edition for free and use it for development and testing. I think it is excellent.
Secondly, Oracle was amongst the first of the big companies to come out in support of Linux with version 8 of their database. I think that was before IBM came out with an official port of Linux to their mainframe. To me that counts for a lot in terms of street cred.
Thirdly, in my experience Oracle is a very decent company to work for. They are not hugely generous, but they have some good benefits and I feel valued as an employee. I don't whether Larry Ellison is good or bad; I don't expect to find out for myself, but so far I have no complaints.
Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector
The fact is that we have too little evidence to guide us, and we can all speculate to some extent. My favourite, based on nothing more than my own wishful thinking, really, is that dark matter consists of not just 1 kind of particle, but of a whole 'phylum' (to borrow a word from biology) of particles that interact with themselves much like the particles we know; there may be several phylums (or phyla, if you prefer). The reason I like the idea is simply that it allows me to fantasize about a kind of parallel universe that we can't see - even life; a sort of ghost universe. Wouldn't that be cool :-) ?
Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
Did you read the original article rather than just skim over it? One of the surprises is that there is a third component in European ancestry. Another surprise is that the blue eyes apparently came with dark skin and the lighter skin colour came with brown eyes.
The third interesting thing is that two of our lineages are very old, but a third contribution came in around 7000 years ago, just at the same time as agriculture. It makes sense, IMO - agriculture meant that this particular group became dominant and thus contributed disproportionately more to the gene pool in a relatively short time.
Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
If you want to post goatses as a surprise to people, don't do it in slashdot, because
1. We have all seen him enough times to find him a bit trivial,
2. The way slashdot presents links gives it away by attaching [goat.cx]