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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

presidenteloco Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (770 comments)

Look, there's nothing stopping anyone from studying the evidence from which the consensus arose.
Them saying there's a consensus so believe it is just their way of saying "I don't have time to explain all the myriad details to you until such time as you indicate sufficient interest and cognitive capability of grokking the general area of scientific inquiry, say, by getting an M.Sc. in it, then we'll talk about/debate the finer points."

Ok, I lied. There's scientific journal paywalls stopping you from studying the evidence in detail, but that's a whole other egregiously unacceptable story.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Takes Down Slideshow-Building Tool After Getty Images Lawsuit

presidenteloco Re:Did I miss an upgrade? (81 comments)

Just creating links to your image is not copying it.
Deep linking is legal or the entire WWW is illegal. Can't have it both ways.

Just organizing links to your images with my own text surrounding the links is not copying it.
Creating a program to programmatically present a sequence of links to your images over time to a web-browser-image-copying-program is not copying it.

Some else's web browser may indeed copy your image onto their computer, but you were definitely allowing that anyway by publishing the image on the open worldwide web.

about two weeks ago

How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

presidenteloco Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (770 comments)

People are innately wired for a tendency to social agreement, it's true. So all groups of people who share commonalities may tend to come to general consensus on many issues. But scientists, of any group, are likely to diverge from the group consensus if they can prove their case, because they will become leaders of a new consensus group. And their reasons for daring to promote a divergent theory or scientific conclusion, by and large, would be rational and because of strong evidence, because otherwise, they'd be shot down rapidly.
Scientists are more likely than other types of groups to be individually convinced to switch teams if the evidence starts leaning strongly the other way. They are governed by a process (scientific method, use of logic and mathematics, and peer review) which facilitates that.

So the presence of a PERSISTENT near total scientific consensus on an issue does tend to suggest that no strong opposing evidence has made it through the ringer of scientific peer scrutiny.

about two weeks ago

How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

presidenteloco Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (770 comments)

Talk about setting up a straw man to knock it down.

If you prefer, we can do it this way:

1. Set limit on total carbon budget into the atmosphere. Humans can net-emit 1 trillion tonnes and have a 50/50 chance of staying under 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise . We are a little over half way through the trillion tonnes now, but our pace of emitting is still increasing.

2. Set a function for carbon pricing (carbon tax, taxed at source) so that the price will increase exponentially so as to keep the emissions under the budget.
If you prefer, the revenue from the tax can be redistributed as corporate and personal income tax reductions. Some would advocate devoting a good portion of it to transition funding, split between job transitioning funding and alternative energy and transportation technology R&D acceleration.

3. Under those conditions, let the market take hold and determine the best solutions.

On the first and second points, to which you will object, remember that physics does not negotiate. It's the most extremist of them all. It's not just gravity. It's the law. It's not just differential absorption/reflection/transmission of EM radiation energy by the atmosphere with different chemical composition. It's the law.

about two weeks ago

Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

presidenteloco Re:The fix (463 comments)

No. The computer display should be blanked (from interaction screens - maybe a map screen with no controls is ok) when the car is in any gear other than P.

about three weeks ago

IEEE Guides Software Architects Toward Secure Design

presidenteloco Re:This initiative is futile (51 comments)

I'd say security failure is partly due to incentive alignment failure for developers.

Bad security design is a problem that's going to bite, but usually a little later, after version 1 is out the door and everyone's paid.

Not meeting the pretty much arbitrary and insanely optimistic delivery schedule is going to bite developers right now.

Corners will be cut, even if some of the developers know what SHOULD be done.

In general, almost every architectural aspect of software, including security, (well-factoredness, maintainabilty, scalability, extensiblity, low-coupling, you name it) is hidden, except to a few experts who aren't usually those in decision-making roles. That's why so much software delivered is a Potemkin village.

about three weeks ago

IEEE Guides Software Architects Toward Secure Design

presidenteloco Re:Fire the Architects (51 comments)

I don't know about you, but I'd say that someone who is creating architecture, is, oh, I don't know, an architect.
Who cares about the title. "Chief codemonkey with a clue" will do just fine.
There seems to be some mythology out there about software architects who don't come from coding.
Sort of like MBA managers.
Never seen one of those. If they're not still coding, they don't love the craft enough to be good architects.

To me, it's just someone who can model a complex system in different cross-cutting aspects, can understand big-picture and long-term concerns with the goals and evolution of the software, know and use many appropriate tried and true patterns, and pragmatically marry that with project realities.

about three weeks ago

IEEE Guides Software Architects Toward Secure Design

presidenteloco Re:Fire the Architects (51 comments)

I suspect that most programmers who don't see the need for software architecture work within the confines of already heavily architected frameworks, platforms, and network stacks.

Thus their comments are akin to saying "I don't think we need an architect to help us rearrange the furniture and paint on the walls".

about three weeks ago

Robot Printer Brings Documents To Your Desk

presidenteloco Completing our transformation into formless blobs (64 comments)

This plus facetime (and the lunchcart robot) now completely eliminates the need to get any exercise whatsoever during the work day (except finger jumpingjacks and stretches on the keyboard, of course).

Was this invented by a cabal of cardiologists?

about three weeks ago

Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

presidenteloco Re:Could have fooled me (221 comments)

"Only 42% able to understand ... scientific findings"

Ok, maybe that explains why Canadians keep electing a Prime Minister whose main policy is to pump all of the carbon from the tar sands into the sky.

In the immortal words of Pris: "Then we're stupid and we'll die."

about three weeks ago

Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

presidenteloco The Koch brothers don't use public roads (531 comments)

because there are too many marxists on them who will run you down and kill you (and also it's just the principle of the thing. Have you ever noticed that stop signs and stop lights are RED?

They use private helicopters almost exclusively, and as an extra defense of their property rights, they never let their pilot inform the marxist totalitarian air traffic controllers about where they will be flying next.

about three weeks ago

Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

presidenteloco Rating system (113 comments)

Wouldn't the rating system help hide the cheap knock-offs, or is the sad fact that people can't tell the difference?

Maybe the rating system should be like rottentomatoes, where there is the "audience rating" and "somehow accredited professional critics ratings", and the app's position in the store searches/listings could be a weighted sum of both of those, and the app store user could adjust their weighting toward more audience score or more critics score. (Before you patent that obvious concept, consider this post prior art)

about a month ago

Illinois University Restricts Access To Social Media, Online Political Content

presidenteloco Re:Link to Policy and University Clarification (130 comments)

Prohibited: "political activities, including organizing or participating in any political meeting, rally, demonstration, soliciting contributions or votes, distributing material, surveying or polling for information connected to a political campaign, completing political surveys or polling information"

Let's face it, this is fascist bullshit.

Screams to be ignored, and, of course subverted by surreptitiously using the accounts of university administrators to send out the political information.

And of course, there's always the good old pasting notices on lampposts and walls. Back in the day, we used a subversive communication system called a "phone tree" for organizing protest rallies.

about a month ago

New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

presidenteloco It's combinatorics (185 comments)

Human (and similar) bodies work by the continuing controlled boil of of n-billion chain-reactions among n-billion complex molecules. These reactions, though unbelievably complex, have been channelled into very narrow auto-catalytic reaction pathways by evolution. As well as the reactions that do happen in successful organism continuance, there are a vast combinatoric possible range of alternate, and ultimately counter-productive reaction chains that could take place with the same molecule combinations that are present. Luckily, almost all of these destructive alternative reaction chains are energetically infeasible, again, because evolution produces more and more precisely regulated catalyzed reaction chains, equivalent to fine-grained control of living structure formation and process, including metabolism, cell reproduction, and programmed cell death.

However, the combinatoric possibilities for alternate reactions, and alternate metastable structure and process formations, are huge, due to both the number of redundant instances of each type of structure and each type of (chemical) process, and the complexity of the number of different interacting structures and (chemical) processes.

Again luckily, most alternative structure and process that arises is self-lethal. Self-continuing reaction chains (in any given chemical/structural/thermodynamic context) are exceedingly rare, relative to the number of alternatives that might start out.

More fortunately, the viable chains of structure and process have become so sophisticated due to evolution that they actively work to destroy many altered forms. (The immune system.)

However, again, given the vast combinatoric opportunities for even just slightly alternative structure and process to begin as a slight error in a routine living structure and process, not every alternative is non-viable, and not every alternative can be overcome by the immune system.

Some alternative auto-catalyzing structures/processes, starting as minor variants of normal structures/processes, can be viable in their own right, and form a simpler-than-their-host-organism replicating system within the host organism's body, and using its material and energy, and, it must be said, using many of the host body's still perfectly functional structures/structure types/ and processes (e.g. blood vessel recruitment by tumours.)

In summary, viable life as any single type of organism is a matter of a self-reinforcing chain/cycle of viable structure formation and chemical process/reaction continuation within and with that structure. There are virtually unlimited kinds of minor variations in structure or process that could accidentally occur in such a complex physical/chemical/thermodynamic context.Most of those alternatives are self-lethal (not programmed chemically and structurally to continue to reproduce and grow their alternative form). Many other alternatives that might be successful at alternate-form growth and reproduction are killed off by a healthy immune system.
But some forms get through.
The biggest predictor of cancer formation is lifespan. As an organism ages, a) There have simply been more opportunities for structure/process accidental variation experiment within the body, and b) Probably the regulation of process by the body itself becomes weaker as subsystems reduce from their early-life capability levels, due no doubt to a whole range of entropic breakdown of the uniformity of structure and process.

Organism bodies (and their vast self-supporting network of constraining structures and autocatalytic reactions) have a design-life (by evolution, not a designer), and that design life is "enough to reproduce, and care for the offspring if applicable to the species".

A tough story to hear, but that's the story of life and cancer. It is not a hopeless story. Both immune function improvement and novel artificial interventions stand good chances of beating back these alternative lifeforms within us in particular cases. In general though, it is just part of our life process.


about a month ago

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

presidenteloco Re:Database? (371 comments)

Most, but not all, actual engineers were trained in general engineering, and in a specialty that was not software or computer science.

Most specialists tend to have a blind spot to the complexities, subtleties, lay of the landscape in other areas than their specialty (thinking that the problems over there are trivial and not worth much effort or expertise.) Come to think about it, this is very similar to bad managers' perceptions of software people or engineers and their work.

I recently worked on a multi-disciplinary project, and without fail, the power engineers thought the controls engineers' work (and need for testing) was trivial, and vice versa, and the mechanicals didn't understand any of the fuss over there at all, and all of them just furrowed their eyebrows quizzically at any mention of software development, testing, or communications networking protocol or security issues.

Get the properly trained people to work on each aspect of your system, and only get the ones that are wise enough to recognize that the other specialty's work is probably as deep, complex, important, and fraught as theirs is.


about 1 month ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Re: politicizing (409 comments)

The worst thing that has happened is that the republicans put partisan political games ahead of working to solve verified global crises.

A politician trying to show leadership and drive the necessary change is a great thing to happen.

I'm waiting for the criminal charges to be drawn up for obstruction of (climate) justice.

about a month and a half ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Natural gas plants do not reduce GHGs (409 comments)

Or not appreciably so, even compared to coal. That they do so is a myth being promoted for short-term economic gain.

A major problem with natural gas infrastructure is the leakage of methane (unburned) in the extraction and transport process. If that leakage rate reaches 3%, natural gas energy is about equivalent to coal on greenhouse gas effects on the atmosphere.

So increased natural gas energy is not an effective solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the global warming process.

about a month and a half ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Full costs are unlikely accounted for (409 comments)

Decommissioning a nuclear plant site (not counting proper long-term fuel-waste disposal) has estimated costs of $7 Billion per nuclear plant.

My experience with engineering projects tells me that "double it and add 30 (%)" ;=) is a good heuristic for determining how much it will really cost, since everything is usually low-balled to win contracts. So we could guess $15 billion per plant.

No one has really implemented a proper long-term high-grade nuclear waste storage facility yet, so capital and ongoing costs for that are unknown.

about a month and a half ago



software for home energy conservation

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 3 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "We have some development resources to prototype smart energy grid innovations. What would you like to see? How could people interact over the Internet to help conserve energy? What about a smartphone app tied to your smart home. Any ideas?"

Looking for smartgrid software design ideas

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 3 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I work for a polytechnic university applied research group working on a smartgrid testbed project. That is, we are implementing R&D versions of electrical power grid technologies. My team does the software side of the work. One thing we are building is energy management system web applications for residential energy consumers to look at their consumption and set profiles for their consumption depending on energy price. What features should that have? What pricing models would you like to see? Can you think of any social energy management apps? We have some resources to implement prototypes, and are looking for ideas. This is for research purposes and innovation of the grid for environmental and economic and security reasons. Someone might try to commercialize some of it. Do you have any smartgrid software ideas you are willing to share?"

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I have developed a web application that I plan to offer on a subscription or service-fee basis.
Should I make the source code behind it free and open source?

What are the factors I should consider? If I FOSS it, I'll receive possibly some assistance
with refining and extending the software, and some good Karma, but on the other hand,
It will be trivial for anyone else to replicate my business model, or to set up their own in-house
version of my service, with no remuneration for me. Also, the value of the "asset" from an
investment or acquisition perspective would likely fall. Ideally, I'd like to earn a humble living or a
portion thereof from operating web applications that I develop. What would Slashdotters do?"


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