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Fanboi Wars

This topic was created by Sir Runcible Spoon .

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Fanboi Wars

So what is it that makes a fanboi (or fangerl)? Many slavishly adhere to one company's product over another, vowing blood should anyone say anything bad about 'their' particular product. I'm sure there's loads of well funded psychological research into the matter.. (where's the irony html tag?) Personally I think it all starts when someone who 'doesn't know shit' (tm) buys something and doesn't want to be part of the crowd that 'got it wrong', thus suffering slings and arrows of their FB peers. Or not..discuss.
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Bugger

must remember H T M L..< / a> missing <- not really trying to break anything, it threw it out with no spaces (quite right too)

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Fangerl?

Always thought it was "fangurrl."

Also; I think you're off base. No "buying the wrong thing and getting bitten" required. It's far simpler: we all like to feel like we belong. We exist in a consumerist culture. What we buy - or don't - defines us. (Corporations have spent trillions on creating culture over several decades.)

It is perfectly natural then to polarise around a brand. We are taught since birth that this defines us. The more insecure we are, the more we cling to the identity provided by the brand.

But even awareness of the science behind tbis does not make one immnune. We are pack animals; we need that social bond. We all of us - even those who are aware of it - fall prey.

I should point out also that awareness of the sciences relating to propaganda and subliminal suggestivity also provide no immunity. Humans are sheep.

Moi aussi. Baaaaaaaaah.

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Sir

Thanks for the spelling correction, I actually never even knew this was a known term:I'd never heard of it :) so I just made up the spelling.

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I've seen "grrl" used in many places, expanding that yields "fangrrl", which looks "right" to me.

The "grr" neatly reflects the inevitable reaction to anyone who dares to suggest that what they are a fan of may not be perfection incarnate.

Damn. Now we need a "forum poll" feature.......

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Actually...

I've seen that too...

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Fanaticism = Tribalism.

We are a tribal species. We like to belong. Most of us like to have leaders who will do the hard work of actually running the tribe while the rest of us get on with procreating.

Religions are basically the same thing: tribal chieftains would often let their shamans deal with the day-to-day whinging of their tribes while they strategised over how to beat the crap out of that other tribe in the next valley over. ("That'll teach their jumped-up bastard chief not to say such things about <i>my</i> mother! I'll get the little scrote, or my name's not Oedipus!")

It was very rare for the peasants to see the lord of their manor, but they'd often see the lord's representative in the form of the Church and its blokes dressed in frocks and silly hats.

You don't get to wipe out millions of years of evolution overnight, so this isn't going to disappear any time soon. The trick is to educate ourselves to the point where we can spot it and keep the worst of its effects at bay.

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the grrrl thing came from music: http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/riot-grrrl-d2779

and it was/is angry - in a way that boi probably isn't

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Then again...

...people do reject saturation advertising, it often bombs, and they also drop brands like hot potato(e)s.

We used to have very strong ways of identifying ourselves as individuals, and forging a collective identity. It's not so strange people want to use a product or badge to do so now.

Though I do like the Stuff White People Like entry on Apple:

" Apple products tell the world you are creative and unique. They are an exclusive product line only used by every white college student, designer, writer, English teacher, and hipster on the planet."

:-)

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Saturation advertising

People rejecting saturation advertising isn't really a different phenomenon though; these are people identifying with *dislike* for a product. Look at how many people are Apple anti-fanbois, and that very hatred of the brand is part of what they use to define them.

Indeed; saturation advertising has been used in the past in order to achieve just this effect; a polarisation of the “fan base.” It ends up making your own “fans” more insecure about themselves such that they then “retreat into the brand” all the more.

It’s all group psychology. As a competitor you can cause something similar by simply mentioning the opponent brand repeatedly. This can cause saturation of the opponent’s brand name and thus the creation of a group of people fiercely loyal to anyone who isn’t said brand.

The thing that gets me is that so many people mistakenly treat this all like voodoo. “Oh, that’s cute, but it’s all lies and speculation.” Etc.

Bull.

We’ve spend over 100 years refining this into hard science. You can get multiple flavours of PHd in group psychology, mass manipulation and so forth. We not only know how this stuff works, we have actual laws that ban various types of it! (For example: pheromone use, subliminal messages of various types in auditory and visual media, etc.)

Fanbois aren’t happenstance. They aren’t a deficiency of the individual; an abnormality of personality that sets them apart from “normal.” Fanbois are made. They are carefully crafted en masse by people who know damned well what they are doing and why.

Zealots of any type only very rarely spontaneously appear. (Think Tim McVey.) Zealotry is not something that normally occurs in isolation. Quite the opposite; it requires a social context. It requires a “high priest” of some variety pushing the faithful towards ever greater heights. It requires a community that is deeply insecure, feels it is “the underdog” and is given the repeated message that they are “better” than others for some reason.

There is little difference between the creation of a pack of religious nutters willing to slaughter millions and fanbois fawning over the latest iPud. The differences that do exist are in the end goal of the techniques used to create the zealtory, not in the techniques themselves.

Apple – or any corporation – doesn’t want an army of the faithful willing to blow up others. They want money out of the wallets of the faithful. So instead of training martyrs, they train fanbois. But the evangelical nature – the cult, if you will – is no different. The techniques, the science of the group manipulation is the same.

That isn’t to say we aren’t responsible for constant vigilance against this. We should be as wary of the shysters at $megacorp as we are the clowns trying to sell us a sky fairy. But it also means the deck is stacked in their favour.

I’m not psychological superman, and neither are you. No matter how much you think you know, no matter how prepared you are or how ardently you believe in your own mental defences, they know more.

The best we can hope for is to pick elements of social identity – from brands to beliefs to politics – that do the least amount of damage. As for the rest, we shall see…

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Then again...

Chemicals are involved,< a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/03/apple_as_a_religion/">surely...</a>

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Why is this languishing in the not-quite-comments? Write an article please!

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If you are directing that comment at me sir, I am afraid it is never quite so simple. I’m the sysadmin blogger around here. Not the science guy. The reasons for that are fairly obvious; my day job is as a systems administrator. With over a decade under my belt as a sysadmin, I even border as “expert in my field.” (That really depends on the criteria you use for expertise.)

Thus it is reasonable to assume that when it comes to computers, I know what I am talking about. (Most of the time, at least. We all make mistakes!) I can write these sysadminning articles and (hopefully) I add more to The Register than I might subtract from it with my lack of experience as a writer.

Science writing is a different kettle of fish. I possess no university degrees. I am not a fellow at some pompous think tank nor am I a prominent member of a research team or political party. I have less that two years of writing experience behind me. Perhaps two dozen interviews and – I think – two articles that are “reporting news” instead of “analyzing things.”

Why would readers listen to me? What credibility do I bring to the table reporting science news? I am humbled by your enthusiasm for my commetnard blathering, but I am what I have always been: an Internet troll who knows how to work a computer. I can only hold my own in scientific debates because the pursuit of scientific knowledge is both a hobby and passion for me. (It has been my whole life.) It is not something for which I have any formal credentials or professional position.

There’s a question of audience, too. How many people read The Register for viewpoints like mine on all topics science? The comments section would seem to indicate that my approach to scientific discovery – and the resulting understanding of our current state of knowledge – appear to be in the significant minority here at The Register.

For these reasons, I don’t believe it is my place to ask to write science articles. I am happy enough to be invited to write articles about computer-related things. I will get my science on where I always have: as the technical nerd attached to some project at my local university, helping then build a UAV or some godforsaken Linux cluster.

But also here; on internet forums. My “roots” as it were. At the end of the day, I still haven’t grown much beyond what I have been for two decades.

A random troll on the interbutts.

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IT Angle

The accidental fanboi...

There's the case to be considered where <b>I</b> can become an Apple fanboi purely by reacting to an Android fanboi/gurl. It's an easy trap to fall into, and simply by virtue of arguing against something, you become a fanboi for the other team.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't think of any examples where there is a single-entity fanboi status? (Apple vs MS, iOS vs Android, PS3 vs Xbox etc)

Can't seem to work out these darned tags though...

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Single entity fanbois

"Single entity fanbois" seem to be far more rare. They occur when (usually) when someone is so deeply impressed with a product/ideology/etc. that they quickly incorporate it into their own personal "image." These can occur “in a vacuum;” for example when someone is entirely unaware of any alternatives but encounters the New Shiny that does the thing they want it to do.

A great example is my own sweet salient self and Plex. I am a Plex fanboi. But the reality is not that this occurred within the context of “competing products or brands.” Rather it occurred whilst I lacked exposure to any competitive products whatsoever.

Plex did the job, it did it well, it impressed the hell out of me. Only afterwards did I really go hunting for alternatives. (I was aware that things like XBMC existed, but honestly had never really played with them much.)

It was after running across Plex that I decided to go hunting for all the various alternatives – I was bored! – and the deeper down the rabbit hole I went, the more I respected Plex. I ended up being a bit of a fanboi for the product, something which translated to the brand as a whole when I finally had a chance to talk to their CTO as part of an interview for my article. (Great guy. We ended up yakking for hours after the actual interview on any number of topics.)

So fanbois can develop without the competitive factor, but my research into the science of the matter indicates that the statistical significance of such events pales in comparison to the importance of brand/product competition to personal identity and the subsequent creation of "fanbois."

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: The accidental fanboi...

I have upgraded your Reg account - so html tags are go

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And if you still thing the above is all hokum...

...I really recommend you take some time to peruse the science of why we don't believe science.

It's relevant to the topic, and quite fascinating when applied to pundits, commenttards, politicians and more.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Fanbois identification

"People rejecting saturation advertising isn't really a different phenomenon though; these are people identifying with *dislike* for a product. "

Good stuff Trev. Maybe they have to invent a dislike for their chosen affiliation to make sense.

It is one of those things that defines an irrational fanbois from your general punter.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
Mushroom

.I really recommend you take some time to peruse the science of why we don't believe science. [linky http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney ]

That is truly dire, I am ashamed to speak the same language as Mr Mooney.

I think we have our first flame war :-)

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My Mooney is only reporting on the peer reviewed science. There have been a number of different papers relating to the topic, all of which seem to come to the same broad conclusions.

I always find it interesting to see who thinks the article is utter bunk and who doesn't however. Especially in light of the ongoing research in the area. (Seriously, it's a great topic, and Google scholar is your friend.)

I suppose it’s a natural topic for me to be attracted to; my entire family is full of shrinks. Group dynamics, observational bias and confirmation bias are all topics I am absolutely fascinated with. They combine to create people like this guy. Otherwise sane, rational and logical people who nonetheless reject some aspect of science because it deeply conflicts with their beliefs. Even in fields they themselves pioneered!

That particular case is sad; people accepting his bunk take on science resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, possibly more. But is climate science – or the hype around renewables – any different?

Climate change is real. Humans are causing it. This isn’t a debate excepting amongst those who must believe it because it would otherwise harm their belief systems. And yet this drags on. And on. And on. The zealotry with which some deniers are attached to the concept is frightening!

The other side is guilty too. Wind power? Are you kidding me? Photovoltaic?!?

Please.

We all cling to our beliefs in the face of hard science. We look for any loophole, any crack, any moral argument or unexplained phenomenon. Seven pages in to this thread, and we’ve still not moved past the basic denier argument of "evolution hasn’t yet explained everything, therefore intelligent design must be considered!" (There’s even a whole bit about "fluorescent cats, therefore god.")

Let’s completely bypass the part where "no biology has yet been discovered which evolution cannot explain." No…the mere possibility that something might exist which evolution cannot explain means that Intelligent Design absolutely must be considered as a valid alternative to evolution!

The mind-warping logic is truly stunning.

We could cover virtually anything. Cell phones causing cancer to vaccines causing autism, to "Fukushima was worse than Chernobyl, and all of Japan will have mutant babies OMG." Climate change deniers to creationists, or economic/political/psychological extremists. It’s all bunk. Life isn’t so black and white as we seem to need to believe.

Science is hard. It’s hard to understand, it’s hard to even dip your toes into the many and varied disciplines that exist enough to even be able to reasonably comprehend how very, deeply wrong most of us are about most things. We all have misperceptions and misconceptions. We all have these ingrained beliefs and prejudices.

One misconception in this area over here can cascade into a lack of understanding here, there and there. Suddenly, you become absolutely convinced in the overwhelming wrongness of everyone else because your entire string of logic makes perfect sense…all the way back to the one tiny misunderstanding somewhere in a completely unrelated field.

Tracking these down is hard. They are usually taught us as at a very young age. Identifying these flaws in our understanding of science is difficult. Correcting them may well be impossible.

So all of us – even the most distinguished of scientists – are vulnerable. Even those of us who know that we are and accept that we are. How then are we to overcome our human weakness and move forward?

I don’t have an answer. The only solution seems to be "in aggregate."

Sometimes what is needed for science to advance is for old scientists to die.

This is why I study this. All of this. People. Group dynamics. Psychology. Astrophysics. Evolutional biology…science in general. I want to correct my misperceptions. I want to learn everything I can learn. I want to know as much about the world as possible so that I might better contribute to it.

I don’t want to be one of those people whose greatest contribution to the species was to simply get out of the way.

The interesting part is that this desire in and of itself provides a source of bias and a perceptual filter through which I filter information.

Some days, its just not worth chewing through the straps…

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You are obviously a lot more versed in the subject than I am, but I have a question.

If everyone is subject to these group dynamics, where then does this leave the true Gnostic?

Even if someone were to have a truly original thought would it inevitably lead to it being hijacked by psychological forces and subverted? If so, is there any incentive for the Gnostic to impart his hard won insight?

I think I already know the answer, but I'd like to hear if there is a more substantiated view of the matter :)

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

I know the "peer reviewed science" pretty well. I'm quite comfortable in this nice fence. Want to talk cloud feedbacks? :-) It might surprise you to discover the best empirical science is being done by those evil "deniers".

What Mooney is engaging in is a calculated smear. He mixes up crank fringe religions (which are about belief) with opponents of a contested scientific hypothesis. This suits his purpose (and yours, I suppose).

This is because he is on a nasty political mission indistinguishable from crude propaganda. "Our" side is Good, therefore our interpretation of scientific evidence is Correct. Those nasty superstitious Republicans over there are Bad, therefore their scientific interpretations are Wrong. We can see how circular this is, perhaps Mooney can, but he doesn't care. He's got books to sell and is catering to a market.

Of _course_ people exclude evidence which doesn't support their world view. This is hardly news. Al Gore's film is a good example of this.

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@AO

I don't understand why you'd be so upset by what Mooney says there - if correct it applies equally to both sides of any polarised debate.

His suggestion that "You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance." is something I could imagine in a brushed aluminium frame pinned to the shelves above your desk.

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Pint

@Audry S Thackery

+1.

As I said earlier... I find it quite interesting who dismisses the science as hokum. A.O.'s reaction is more or less expected. If he knows the science as he claims, he is guilty of the very same "rejecting that which doesn't fit his worldview" as we all are about various and sundry topics.

People’s reaction to the article is always interesting. The gut reaction for nearly everyone is that it has to be absolute hokum; they are in fact correct about everything, it is the entire rest of the world that has it wrong and just doesn’t understand. The folks I choose to drink beers with are the ones that come back to it a few days later, after the gut reaction has worn off, look at the science and see that the dude is in fact on to something.

That said, I am very curious about A.O.’s claim that some of "the best empirical science is being done by those evil "deniers"." That’s a hell of a claim, and one I would need proof for – peer reviewed papers – before I could do anything but dismiss it as a troll or a crank.

You see, I do know the science here. My hobby is going toe to toe with some of the best trolls on the internet. I’m an Arsian; fighting these battles is what we do.

But contrary to Andrew’s take that I have a "side," or that I am pushing some agenda that (obviously!) is counter to that of the (surely correct!) deniers, my motivations are not so cut and dried. My motivation is to see science done. To see facts, evidence and a through understanding of statistical significance spread far and wide.

I don’t care if your misperceptions are "liberal" or "conservative." I don’t care if you are wrong about evolution, climate change, vaccines or cell phones. What matters is that you be able to prove the sh*t you are shovelling.

Climate change is a great example. The scientific consensus exists for a reason. It is not some massive overarching conspiracy; it is the net result of an overwhelming preponderance of evidence. I am capable of understanding this; of seeing that this true despite the fact that it irritates all sorts of elements of my personal philosophy and I something I simply don’t want to be true.

I would love to buy into the "teach the controversy" tactics employed by deniers and believe that there actually is a controversy over the science. But there isn’t. NO more than there is a controversy over HIV Causing AIDS.

Are there still scientists who believe with their heart and soul that the entire rest of the world is wrong? Yes. Are they statistically significant? No. The only controversy that exists is that which is manufactured by those who so very desperately need AGW to not be true.

In some cases, the people involved are smart, intelligent people who put a great deal of effort into their work, and try very hard to disprove modern scientific consensus with actual hard science. So far, they have each and every one of them failed spectacularly, but the few among them who aren’t outright cranks guilty of everything from plagiarism to outright fraud are scientists I have myself donated a significant chunk of my personal income to.

The best science comes from those who struggling to disprove the standing consensus, and I very much so want that consensus to be wrong.

But so far, it has stood up well.

One thing that the Ars Technica forums have taught me is how to spot someone who doesn’t really understand the science, but is willing to latch onto anything that sounds scientific and supports their worldview. Climate science is a great litmus test here.

If the individual’s arguments can be ticked off one at a time from Anthony Watts’ page then they are unquestionably full of sh*t. Every single thing on that site has been thoroughly debunked a dozen times over. Yet the arguments persist amongst hardcore deniers because they sound scientific. They can cling to it and say "see, this has to be real! It’s all quite scientific sounding and it says what I expect/want it to say!"

Life doesn’t work that way.

I don’t have a horse in this race either way. I have no children. No plans for children. No genetic linage to leave to the ages. I live in the Canadian prairies; it is pretty much impossible for the climate to change rapidly enough for this to hurt me, personally.

But the debate is interesting to me. I have taken the time to learn the science. To learn about the scientists themselves, who funds whom, who is a douche to whom and why. I have taken the time to talk to hundreds of scientists from around the world on the topic, and have friends in both camps.

I have taken the time to do experiments on my own, run the numbers on my own, and have indeed designed and flown scientifically valid tests of my own design. I hold no degree on the topic – and thus make no claim that my own view on the topic are as/more valid than a proper scientist – but I feel I know enough about something I have studied my entire life to have a solid understanding of the truth of the science.

I don’t like what the science says. I like how the science is spun by the protestant anything-that-is-pleasurable-is-a-sin uber-NIMBYs even less. (Left wing douches get on my tits as much as right-wing ones do!)

But the ability to understand this particular bit of science quite well allows it to serve as a fantastic barometer for one of my other hobbies:

People watching.

Climate change is an interesting intellectual puzzle to me. Nothing more. But oh, does it tell me a great deal about other people.

But it isn’t about politics. It isn’t about economics or what "side" you are on. All of the neat little boxes society makes around people are vulnerable to this. Left, right, black, white, USian, Canadian, You name it. Each "crowd" is guilty of clinging to some belief against all evidence.

I do it; my belief that "objectivity is the single most important philosophical concept ever" can and does get me into trouble. Awareness of the science does not make you immune to the reality of the phenomenon!

I could go on, but I believe my point is made. We are all guilty of letting our beliefs override our judgement. And the reaction to a hyperlink speaks volumes.

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Possibly so

But the trouble I have with the climate change people is that the science really doesn't seem to be there yet...

Only a fool believes the climate doesn't change. There are all those U shaped valleys round England for a start.

And within recorded history there are big climate swings. The Vikings successfully dairy farming in Greenland for instance. Then it was impossible, now its possible again.

Where I get all worried is that the science really doesn't seem to be there yet to explain what's going on. Its phenomenally complicated stuff. Much more so than brain surgery or rocket science. And we also know that what we are experiencing is well within the known bands of natural climate variation. Speed of change might be another matter, but there I <em>really</em> don't see any evidence that there's good data. If you're nmot sing the same measurement system for all your data you really are pushing your luck, especially if its mainly derived.

But the assumption that it must be artificial and not natural seems to be sending down all sorts of bad alleys. Some things are obvious. Burning oil and coal for fuel is a damn silly idea, and the sooner there's a sensible replacement the better. Wind power is not a sensible replacement: Seven hundred years of pre -industrial history tells us you only use it when there's no alternative. Filling the atmosphere with pollutants is a bad idea too. But ultimately if the climate is changing <strong>sufficiently</strong> so as to cause disruption (and history tells us that it often will) then whether its natural or artificial isn't such a big deal as to work out what to do about it. And if your only remedies are based on "oh well, lets stop civilisation" like the dumb greens then we're stuffed whether the change is all natural, partly natural or all artificial.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
Happy

"But the trouble I have with the climate change people is that the science really doesn't seem to be there yet..."

That's my view in a nutshell. What little knowledge we have has no predictive value.

Now if you don't mind - I see a nice fence over there, and I'm going to sit on it.

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It's not changing fast enough!

Climate change science does make predictions. Testable ones. A great deal of climate change science is rightly and properly falsifiable. That is what makes it science. I simply would not use the word if it were not so. (I am an absolute stickler for the "falsifiability" test.)

The problem with deniers is that they all too often conflate climate with weather. They love to stand up and shout “because you cannot tell me the exact localized effects of climate change, you know nothing!” Which is roughly the equivalent of saying that because we don’t have a unified theory of everything, God must be the only possible answer, and all of physics is a lie.

A lot of climate change predictions have been verified. Ocean acidification, net glacial melt, a continuing global warming trend, etc. (Even cherry picking the data so that you only look at 1998-> present isn’t helping the deniers much after 2010!)

Climate science says that we should see an increase in CO2/Methane/etc. levels where our historic proxies indicate temperature increases. Sure enough, we’ve found them. Climate science predicts a statistical increase in storm intensity, and that is beginning to materialise.

Climate science predicts a shift in weather patterns that will bring extended droughts to some areas, flooding to others. Here things are a little more squiggly, but we are getting the predictions right more often than not.

Yes, climate science is still developing. Yes, it is still early days. But if we wait until after the global temperature has increased past the various flexion points, we will be too late to actually do anything about it.

As to the complaints that boil down to “well, if you believe in AGW, obviously you want to destroy civilisation,” that’s all bunk. The asshats pushing windmills and photovoltaic as the answer to everything are the ones who will destroy civilisation, and they are emphatically not climate scientists. They are generally NIMBYs with just enough knowledge to be dangerous and/or entrepreneurs looking to make a buck.

Stopping climate change probably isn’t possible. Managing it however should be. Slowing it to something we can more easily deal with; finding the point where the investment now provides a significant ROI down the line.

Right now, today, that’s nukes. Lots and lots of lovely nukes. It’s also natural gas. Anything but coal. Hydrocarbons are a critical energy resource and we simply cannot stop using them.

But we need to use them wisely, with forethought and the cost of long term climate change in mind.

In other words: we need to stop externalising the cost of pollution in all its forms. Climate Change is a tragedy of the commons, and we're fools if we don't remedy that.

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Angel

Scientism

Oh, from the link... ...conviction/belief: there is no 'science' just as there is no 'evolution', unless we reify it; science as a practise consists firstly of method (e.g., the so-called laws of proof and validation that so defeated JS Mill) and secondly of the knowledge gained from method; thereafter there is an interactive process between the two, thus the changing state of knowledge.

So there is nothing to believe in, only method and an accumulated body of knowledge.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

"But if we wait until after the global temperature has increased past the various flexion points, we will be too late to actually do anything about it."

Ah, Ye Olde Precautionary Principle returns.

Last seen looking for WMDs in the desert in 2003....

Nope, nyet and nein. Been there, done that, came back as an amputee.

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A.O.: Ah, Ye Olde Precautionary Principle returns.

Last seen looking for WMDs in the desert in 2003....

Nope, nyet and nein. Been there, done that, came back as an amputee

>The precautionary principle applies only if you don’t do your due diligence beforehand. In the case of climate science, we do a cost/benefit analysis of the whole scenario, and then pair it up against he likelihood of the science being right. (And this being science, the quantification of “how likely are these predictions to be true” is a huge part of the game.)

>If you have a 95% chance of saving trillions by spending a few billion, you do it. That’s not blind faith. It’s not gambling either.

>There exists a scientific consensus on the subject. There exists a great deal of literature as to the outcomes, what kind of impact they will have, what their likelihoods are. The precautionary principle simply doesn’t apply here. The idea is for application when there either A) is no scientific consensus, B) there remains a great deal of uncertainty regard the variables in the cost/benefit analysis or C) there is legitimate reason to doubt the scientific consensus.

>A and B are covered. If you are advocating C – that there is legitimate reason to doubt the scientific consensus – then put some peer reviewed evidence on the table. Assuming it isn’t the same old crap that has been thoroughly debunked before (that I run into every single day at Ars,) then I will cheerfully look into it. (New knowledge is good!) Convince me! You are arguing against the scientific consensus here, so the burden of proof is on you.

>I am not remotely closed minded about the topic – despite your insinuations to the contrary. Present solid evidence and I will review it. If I cannot find a solid refutation of that evidence – and if it is so damning that it throws the entire scientific consensus on climate change into question – then I will write an article about that evidence myself.

>I have no pride tied up in this. No honour or Belief. I am swayed by the science I have seen presented by the extant consensus. Further science can change my mind. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve been wrong about something, or taken the wrong path of investigation.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

OK

That's climate and Apple done. What next - EMACS vs vi, or copyright?

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xbox v playstation?

Some kind of Sony v something else usually works wonders.

BBC B was definitely superior to both the Spectrum and the C64 BTW.

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Paris Hilton

Video game related

Call of Duty versus Battlefeild. Skyrim versus Dragon Age. And so on.

Of course, the only debate that actually matters is PARIS versus LOHAN. ;)

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Rose Tyler or Amy Pond.

That might work.

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Sir

Ok, I'll bite: Amy Pond is a skank, and whilst Rose was a bit bucktoothed, at least the storylines were a little more grown up :)

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Stop

Neither: I'd rather have Catherine Tate.

At least Tate was getting some decent lines to work with, thanks to her not being yet another doe-eyed girl lusting after the lead character.

(Seriously, why the hell is it so surprising that The Doctor would _not_ find any of these women interesting in a sexual way? At best, there'd be a Pygmalion-like relationship; at worst, it'll be a parent-child dynamic. And that's why the "classic" TV series didn't bother with all the soap opera tosh. The Doctor is a bloody alien with _two hearts_ and an age difference of over _nine hundred years!_ That's a hell of an age gap by anybody's standards.)

And that brings me to the problem with [CHARACTER X vs. CHARACTER Y] arguments: ultimately, they boil down to: "Which actor or actress had the better _scripts_?" Not even Olivier himself could have polished an utter turd of a screenplay into something watchable.

Now, RTD is a mediocre tele-fantasy writer, but a good show-runner: he knows his audience...

Contrary to popular belief, Doctor Who has mostly been a fantasy show, with a tiny amount of SF trim. There was only a brief period in the late '60s, during Kit Pedlar and Gerry Davis' involvement with the series, when Doctor Who took the science more seriously than usual. However, throughout the rest of its run, whenever that troublesome science got in the way of a good story, the science was immediately taken out, given a hearty last meal and summarily shot.

RTD got it right by sticking to the more fantastical aspects of the show's core concept. The RTD seasons _felt_ like Doctor Who, which is, I think, why he was a good choice to relaunch the series. Yes, his stories lacked substance, had plot holes you could drive a multiverse through, and often degenerated into extremely contrived Deus Ex Machina endings, but the target audience (i.e. kids) don't _care_ about the ancient Greeks' contributions to theatre and enjoyed the show for what it was: a rollicking good yarn.

Steven Moffat, on the other hand, is a better fantasy writer than RTD, but he's not _that_ good either, as Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife" proved by writing rings around every other episode since the series was relaunched (and, arguably, most of the classic episodes too).

Moffat's writing technique is also painfully obvious now: he plunders ideas from folk tales, (pre-Bowdlerised, pre-Disney) fairy tales, and old fantasy stories and adapts them to Doctor Who. It's fine in small doses, but the formula gets old fast.

Steven Moffatt simply has no clothes. He wrote a couple of decent episodes for RTD's seasons and, because RTD simply wasn't that good at writing tele-fantasy, they stood out like gems in a dungheap. But the gems have proven to be cubic zirconia, not diamonds.

(To be fair to RTD, sitcom plots often rely on very contrived, almost farcical, situations, so it's hardly a surprise that RTD used the same techniques to his Who work.)

Two examples:

"The Girl In The Fireplace" has a heart-tugging bit of pure Spielbergian bullshit schmaltz right at the end, explaining the "Why pick on her?" question that runs through the story. The explanation is given to the viewer—a subtle breaking of the fourth wall—but not the characters, so there's really no payoff. It reduces a love story to a cheap, slightly sick, joke.

This is cheap audience manipulation of the worst kind and doesn't stand up to the slightest scrutiny: How many ships have you been on that didn't have their names plastered all over every informational map and poster on every wall? With all that running around, was there not one single indication of the ship's name _anywhere_ to be found? Seriously?

And Captain Jack Harkness is just a very camp Deus Ex Machina on legs. He _is_ K9. The cute robot. Utterly cartoon-like and two-dimensional. I have no idea whether this was a character RTD created, or Moffatt. Either way, neither comes out of this smelling of Rose Tyler.

M'lud, my case rests.

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Right, forum software, eat THIS...

@Trevor_Pott:

"Climate change is real."

Nobody's denying this. Seriously.

In fact, many scientists have been merrily pointing out that the Earth's climate has been changing <i>since the planet formed.</i>

I have, nevertheless, frequently been referred to as a "Climate Change Denier", despite my having repeatedly pointed out the above undeniable facts.

"Humans are causing it."

I disagree with the certainty and the implication that humans are the <i>only</i> agency at work here.

I would rephrase it as: "Humans are <i>likely</i> to be <i>influencing</i> of it, but we don't know by exactly how much, and there's no consensus regarding what—if anything—we can, or should, do about it."

Climatologists have yet to learn <i>exactly</i> how the planet's climate actually works, as evidenced by this telling quote from a recent bit of research (emphasis mine):

<i>

"The intense synchrotron light showed that the Criegee biradicals interact with other atmospheric compounds very quickly, bringing clarity to what was previously a deeply uncertain area - [b]estimates of their reaction speed varied as much as a millionfold.[/b]" [<a href="http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-climate-cooling-molecule.html">Source</a>]

</i>

Let's read that bolded bit again: "estimates of their reaction speed varied as much as a millionfold."

That's "a millionfold."

Yet, despite the evidence to the contrary, we're <i>still</i> being sold the notion that the Earth's climate machinery is fully and completely understood, and that these people have built solid "computer models" that provide "evidence" of such utterly baseless assertions.

*

Re. the forum software: can we get text formatting tools in the editor, rather than being expected to remember (and type) HTML mark-up tags? Not all keyboards have easily accessible brackets and symbols. (The French keyboard layout is particularly nasty.)

Also, right now, I can't say I'm seeing much difference between this updated software and the current one. It would be nice if the threading was a bit more visible. Most people have widescreen-aspect displays, so perhaps more advantage could be taken of that to make the threading bars more meaningful; as it is, they only provide for a single level of nesting.

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@Sean Baggaley 1

Find me one single climate scientist who has claimed "humans are the only agency at work here." I can't think of any. There is no science to my knowledge that supports this.

The issue at hand isn't even that humans influence the climate. Believe it or not, we have a pretty good idea of how much the biosphere can cope with before we start making a definitive mark of our very own. We are way past that point.

Volcanoes and solar changes and so forth all have their part to play, but we have also been pumping out more CO2 in the past 100 years than anything since the Siberian Traps when berserk.

I also agree wholeheartedly that we don’t know exactly how the climate works. We don’t know exactly how gravity works, either. But I still know that it takes a lot of special equipment – or 150 million years of evolution – to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

We don’t need to know “everything” about climate change to do the science. Science isn’t about absolutes. It is about determining that something is “somewhere between A and B” and then doing a great deal of hard work to narrow the gap between A and B.

Every year we can state with more confidence what our climate predictions will be. We can state with more confidence what the totality of human impact is. We can state with more confidence what role solar cycles play and so on and so forth.

But with what we know today, while not absolute knowledge, we still know enough to know that A) we are in trouble B) we’re mostly responsible.

There isn’t a great deal of debate about those points anymore. Not amongst the scientific community. There is an enormous amount of debate about how exactly we continue to narrow the gap between A and B, but the outer boundaries for the values of A and B are well established.

The question that need to be answered are: what (if anything) do we do about this? What will it cost? How should we go about it? Science can tell you “what is happening” and it can tell you “this will happen (somewhere between A and B) with this % of certainty.” You then hand that off to politicians and policymakers and it is up to them to make decisions about what to do.

The problem is the people going back and trying to argue “well, we don’t know things to absolutes, therefore we must do nothing!”

That is the exact same bullshit rationalisation as “evolution hasn’t explained every possible biological item (mostly because we haven’t had the time to study every single biological item!) therefore, obviously God created us.”

So I agree with you on balance: humans are not the sole causative factor in climate change, and we still have a great deal to learn about how the climate works.

Where we seem to part ways is that I don’t believe the “we don’t know everything, therefore God” style arguments. We don’t have to know “everything” to take action. We need to know things with enough statistical relevance that the possibility of being wrong is insignificant. And here, I believe that most climate science has indeed done the job.

Climate science isn’t going to tell you the weather next Tuesday. But it can tell you about things like increased storm frequency, intensity, changes in current patterns, changes in the jet stream, changes in rainfall, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other such things.

I never claimed it was absolute. I claimed that the debates over “is it occurring” and “are we responsible” are largely over. I claimed that climate science can make falsifiable predictions and be right more often than not. There is a huge gap between that and claiming absolute knowledge.

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Actually, the Siberian Traps are a good place to start.

IIRC they chucked out many times what we do and did so for several thousand years. The end result was a 6 degree rise in average global temperatures, which is about where the doom 'n gloom merchants would have us in a couple of hundred years.

One thing you can say with a fair degree of certainty is that the predictive models being used are purest bollocks.

The big issue is the assumption of positive feedback, i.e. a climactic tendancy to destabilise when nudged with a bit of CO2, giving a runaway greenhouse effect. Now, if you look back through the plant's history, you'll see that a wide variety of climate bothering events have occurred in the past. If there genuinely were a tendancy toward instability rather than the exact opposite, we wouldn't be here.

My views on the subject can be summed up as follows:

1) It probably is warming.

2) Some/most/all of that effect may be our fault.

3) The "doom & gloom" predictions are nothing more than FUD.

4) While a massive cut in our emissions might turn things around, the chances of actually getting a meaningful agreement on that are on a par with those of my looking out of my window tomorrow morning and seeing Satan skiing to work.

5) QED. If you want to make a difference, try working on technologies and systems for living with a warmer climate rather than on polishing chairs and arguing a lot while crusties wave placards at you.

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@TeeCEe

My views on the subject can be summed up as follows:

1) It probably is warming.

2) Some/most/all of that effect may be our fault.

3) The "doom & gloom" predictions are nothing more than FUD.

4) While a massive cut in our emissions might turn things around, the chances of actually getting a meaningful agreement on that are on a par with those of my looking out of my window tomorrow morning and seeing Satan skiing to work.

5) QED. If you want to make a difference, try working on technologies and systems for living with a warmer climate rather than on polishing chairs and arguing a lot while crusties wave placards at you.

I agree with everything here except 3)

The "doom and gloom" predictions are not all FUD. Ocean acidification alone is a Big Deal. I agree with you 100% that "climate change =/= the end of the human race." I don't think most scientists involved do either. (That is usually NIMBYs.)

But we are altering the planet, and with it doing serious damage to entire ecosystems. Ecosystems many of our species rely upon and enjoy. So there is doom, and there is gloom. Adapting to the changing world will cost us a great deal of money and resources.

The questions center around "what is the optimal expenditure now to minimise long-term risk?" What is the low hanging fruit? What things can we do today to minimise the damage and perhaps even benefit from global warming?

So yes: we should be focusing on adaptation. But I argue we should also be focusing on mitigation when and where it makes solid economic sense.

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Trollface

Wait...I just thought of something.

We're going to give El Reg commenttards the ability to make a topic about anything. In the same bucket as "fanboi wars," or "ideological wars" we are going to have another problem to deal with:

Icon wars.

Oh, the threads demanding an icon for X, and the removal of the icon for Y! They will overwhelm!

Doom! Apocalypse! Lack of Scotch!

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You're absolutely right

Where's my power user icon? mwah hahahahaha

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Facepalm

<-- see icon.

What - no "irony" icon...?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
Mushroom

"That said, I am very curious about A.O.’s claim that some of "the best empirical science is being done by those evil "deniers"." That’s a hell of a claim, and one I would need proof for – peer reviewed papers – before I could do anything but dismiss it as a troll or a crank."

That speaks volumes.

Your default mode is "anyone disagreeing is a troll or a crank".

Have you not even tried, over the years, to find these? Or to find out when and how the current climate "consensus" was created?

This tells me it's largely about Belief.

But I'm not here to argue religion.

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A belief again, and the consensus theory of epistemology too! If something is popular it must be true; millions of flies cannot be wrong, and 20,000 feminists cannot be wrong, especially with the Holy of Holies, our Hatty, sitting on her master's right had. ;->

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A.O.: Your default mode is "anyone disagreeing is a troll or a crank".

That is very much putting words in my mouth. You are incorrect: my default mode is “anyone disagreeing needs to present peer-reviewed evidence.” Disagreement doesn’t make someone a troll or a crank. Disagreement in order to elicit an emotional reaction in your opponent makes one a troll. Inability to produce peer-reviewed evidence to back your claims makes one a crank.

A.O.: Have you not even tried, over the years, to find these?

I have spent a great deal of time reviewing all evidence presented me to disprove global warming. That includes everything on Anthon Watts’ page, amongst many similar sites. I have gone toe to toe with some very intelligent and well armed deniers on the Ars Technica forums, and read each and every link provided

I have even taken the initiative to delve into the research on my own. I have an entire browser dedicated to “climate change denier and creationism research.” There are over 1000 bookmarks. So yes, I have done the legwork of looking into arguments that say “climate change isn’t happening” or “maybe it’s happening, but humans have nothing to do with it” or even better “humans are so insignificant we can’t possible affect the whole of the earth.”

A.O.: Or to find out when and how the current climate "consensus" was created?

Well, how do you mean? The fact that the consensus occurred more or less spontaneously on its own over time, or the fact that after it had largely occurred, a bunch of governments got together (under severe pressure from the environmental lobby) to make it “official” by forming entities like the IPCC?

Are you veering into conspiracy theory territory here? I’m very curious.

A.O.: This tells me it's largely about Belief.

Of course it is about Belief. Belief is the problem on both sides of this debate. You have enviroNIMBYs on the one end freaking out about everything and giving climate science a bad name. They agitate way over there, far beyond what the science is actually saying, distorting and twisting anything they can to support their pre-existing beliefs.

Then over here you have the folks who cannot cope with the concept of climate change at all. For some, it is because it interferes with their religion. For others, it is because they stomach the economic implications. For still others it is about nothing more than guilt. People love their children. Their love their families, nieces, nephews. They want to believe they are leaving these kids a world at least as good as they were left.

Start telling them that our current choices as a society may in fact be creating an unnecessary burden for those same children, and people will deny it. They don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to feel guilty. The emotional reaction causes them to lash out against the science: “it can’t be true.”

But your attempt to state that my understanding of climate science is somehow a religious belief on my part is nothing more than an ad hom. Naturally, if I disagree with you, I must be a nutter who is so engrossed in my “religion” I can’t see “sense.”

The problem here is that I have no stake in my understanding of climate science. Provide peer reviewed evidence. Something that hasn’t been thoroughly debunked and torn to absolute shreds by subsequent peer-reviewed science would be preferable.

Understand me very clearly: I want to be wrong about climate change. I have far more invested in that outcome than in being correct!

But this isn’t about “belief.” It is about science. I have spent years of my life learning it, pouring over studies – new and old – and learning everything I can on the topic. I do it because I am fascinated by it. (The same reason I learn about particle physics, medicine, geology, evolutional microbiology, genetics and so forth.)

Right, wrong, climate change exists, climate change doesn’t…it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is the science. What does the science say? And why? How did we come to these conclusions? How can these experiments be repeated? Proven? Disproven? What statistical analyses were used? Why?

If you want a “religion” you can ascribe to me – if you need that to be comfortable with what I espouse – then ascribe the religion that “science and the quest for knowledge are more important than any other consideration.” Because for me, this is Truth. For me, that is Belief.

Whether or not climate change is happening isn’t relevant to me. The science of how we determine the truth of the matter is.

Running around the internet arguing with people and requiring they back up their assertions with peer-reviewed evidence on topic I have thousands of bookmarks for is just the amusing hobby that results from all my learning.

After all, I said that I science, and the pursuit of knowledge were like a religion to me. I never said I wasn’t a gigantic douchenozzle.

So how about it? Got any peer reviewed evidence disproving climate change (or various aspects of it) that I can chew on? All fascinating reading for me...

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MJI
Silver badge

Fanboys

Very interesting subject.

Now I am NOT a fanboy but due to historical reasons have more than the average amount of Sony kit, more to do with 1980s quality, chosing Beta in the format war, and pleased with the brand.

If I stick up I get labelled a Fanboy, no I am just a happy customer like I am of say Pioneer, or Humax, or Sanyo Beta VCRs.

Now due to reason of more children games (basically Rachet & Clank & others vs Viva Pinata) we went PS3 rather than Xbox360, basically there was one game suitable in the early years for Xbox so was rejected. FOR US it was the right reason and also returned me to console games. Now if I defend it against attacks from Xbots I get labelled fan boy, now they are the real fan boys, who pick on competing products simply because they are NOT the product they own.

I suppose I am the fan as I do not attack their products just defend myine against their attacks, I suppose a Mr Shitpeas would be a fanboy.

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MJI
Silver badge

Climate change

Yes it is changing - it always has. But I get the feeling that trying to control it we will use our enrgy supplies up quicker.

Personally I am of the opinion we should be using less resources and tackling pollution first.

As to CO2 best thing to do as far as I am concerned is plant lots of trees.

There seems to be unsure about warming or cooling, what effects there will be.

The idea that we break up fossil fuels to remove the carbon before burning seems ludicrous, wasted energy.

CO2 is plant food, we need to capture it in wood.

We do not need massive beef ranches do we?

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