2943 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
Gamey. Took a Moose a few years back. (Only time I get a licence in the lotto for something that big!) Split it with my friends; moose split 3 ways still provided a year’s worth of meat. Really games steaks, but truly excellent low fat burger.
When I can, I’ll get moose from the butcher, but there aren’t man farms and it is a high demand meat. (And there aren’t many licences in the lotto.)
Bison has come to nearly completely replace cow for me. Meat is less fatty, but not too much tougher, and it is available at the general market. In the past few years we’ve seen access to an increasing supply of Ostrich, Llama, Caribou and Elk as the local area farms kick up the breeding programs to meet demand.
There might be an opportunity to get in on some bear here next year; some of my relatives are getting together to mass submit for a bear licence. I am on the fence. Last time I had bear, it wasn’t actually that good. I might try for another Moose.
Either way; nom nom nom meat.
I am curious about your experience with Ostrich; I didn't know there were many farms for non-standard game near london. It's not that abnormal here; but we're fat rednecks that worship all different kinds of game. You can buy Bison and Elk in most general supermarkets here.
So where did you encounter ostrich?
Ah, yes. Decorum.
I am theoretically capable of it - periodically people accuse me of exercising it - however it doesn't exactly seem my forte. The social niche I’ve carved out for myself seems to be somewhere in the “calls it like I sees it” range.
Great for getting across “what you mean” in a manner everyone can understand. Abominable for laywerspeak, writing contracts or other exercises in CYA or interpersonal diplomacy.
Legacy of being a redneck, I suppose. Folk ‘round here are raised with an innate distrust of anyone who exercises an abundance of decorum. It is a social hindrance I struggle daily to overcome; it requires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance to behave differently when dealing with folks online/over the phone/at a conference/etc. versus people in RL back home.
I wonder how much others experience this, or are even aware of it? Do people raised with layers of outbound filters between “what I mean to say” and “how I should be saying it” realise how they are perceived by (for example) rednecks? There is a certain amount of obvious “, my social conditioning is the ‘right’ social conditioning” evident in any society, but I wonder to what degree introspection makes its way down to the individual level in different cultures.
Here in Alberta, we actually talk about these issues a fair amount. Regardless of education, occupation, etc…I find a lot of people amenable to a discussion about the use of social filtering on speech. Why is it that Albertans – and by extension, rural Ontarians and all Newfies – have such a problem with decorums (or other related social filters?)
I think it isn’t necessarily that we perceive prevarication in such interactions, but that there is a certain perception of lack of interpersonal trust. We are a culture big on “handshake agreements,” “word is your bond’ etc. If you feel that you have to choose your words carefully – usually for CYA purposes – then you are perceived as not trusting the listener (or reader) to extract meaning (and political correctness implications) from context.
I find the entire topic fascinating, especially in the context of writing and trolling online. El Reg is a culture unto itself; rooted in British sensibilities, but with its own quirks. Ars Technica is prototypically American, with the Science, Technology and Gaming sections of the website each having sub cultures that seem to reflect a predominance from one coast or the other. (Actually, the science areas have a large international representation, so a great deal of formality enters into discussion, and rules/debate semantics become critical elements.)
Contrast this with the far more laid back – even at the upper levels of high-stakes corporate discourse – culture here at home, and it is a learning experience. “Know your audience” as it were; the vagaries and subtleties of which are apparently something that can occupy entire professions.
I’ll be interested to see what the less blunt versions of the discussed featuresets eventually get called. It also raises the question of forum rules and “unofficial” decorum expected in the new setting.
Traditional netiquette requires a certain level of “on topic-ness” to a given post. El Reg has a great list of Big Bad Don’ts as well. (Visible in the “why was my post rejected” screen.) But the ability to set your own topics – and the more “free-wheeling” culture that typically implies – might be something to address at the outset?
Perhaps then an additional “feature request” should be an “unofficial rules” post to help shape the new topicless (or free-for-all topicness) of the new forums. Something that addresses not only the overarching issues such as libel or blatant trolling. But also something that discusses some of the more subtle ones such as decorum, policy regarding linking to other sites (deep linking/image linking issues are things some sites have problems with.)
Or maybe I am just over thinking all of this. That happens a lot too.
Maybe refine this?
"Vulture/Twatdangle" list? (Where if the person is listed as a twatdangle on your list you don't see their posts?) Or at least ability to "flag" someone in your own personal view? Perhaps something wherein if enough folks flag someone as a twatdangle it is raised as an issue with whomever happens to be guarding Vulture Central?
That is what you are talking about. Natural gas --> Hydrogen.
Just stupid if you ask me. You want hydrogen? Build a great big bloody nuke plant. Split it with electricity. Clean and efficient. Then you have created something (hydrogen) that is essentially storing the energy that nuke plant created and can be used as a fuel elsewhere.
Well, yep…I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here. Your argument seems to be “computer models, therefore fallacy.”
Maybe I am not enough of a pessimist. Some of the computer models in use are really widely used. They are peer reviewed, the who/what/when/where/how/why of the thing well known. The creation of the models themselves often the result of extensive research and numerous papers.
Some are proprietary. Single use or with some or all of the rights owned by corporate backers who paid for their creation.
But the strengths and weaknesses of these models are (usually) well known to the researchers who use them. (Indeed, they are well know to the community of “Climate Scientists” in general.)
There is also plenty of good solid math, experiments and other bits of science or analysis that goes along side these models. Climate science is not “reliant” on computer models, they are simply a tool. And one that is fairly well understood.
The really critical bit is reproducibility. If you take this concept and modify multiple different climate models, how do they react? Run this information through not just one, but as many as you can. This is how you take something as enormously complex as “climate” and start narrowing down the number of possible outcomes.
I’ve taken the time to study this all. In depth. I have a few squiggles about some of the models in use, but they are mostly alleviated by the fact that other models coded by completely different teams produce results that are statistically quite close.
The arguments against climate science I have seen so far – here and elsewhere – all boil down to philosophical ones. “I don’t like how this person behaved” or “I don’t like the fact that this team can’t release their climate models” or “I don’t like the fact that only the data that corrected for things like a known-busted weather station was retained by this team over the past 30 years.”
It’s interesting to me. From a high-enough level view, I completely understand where you are coming from. You can spin a lot of this to look really bad. Indeed; some of it has been! (Nobody is perfect, not even scientists.) But when you actually start addressing the concerns one at a time; when you start to look at each complaint individually, the vast majority makes sense.
“Why did they do it this way? That seems bad/nonsensical/against my personal philosophy/not the way I would do it/etc.” When you take the time to ask the folks involved, (or read the answers posted if this question has already been asked,) then in nearly every situation the decisions made make sense.
But there’s the rub. I have taken the time to investigate every single claim made by every denier I’ve run across who can give me a reference to look up.
“We don’t like how this was done! It’s not kosher, and means that all of climate science is fraudulent/inaccurate because it uses voodoo “computer models”/a giant conspiracy/etc.” Okay, which incidents in particular? List them. Let’s step through them one at a time. Let’s look at the hard science and not the propaganda. Science. Why was it done that way? Does it make sense? So on and so forth.
I’ve been at it for years now. So far, the depth of my research has only reinforced my belief that Climate Scientists are not only perfectly aware of the flaws in their computer models/temperature stations/heat island effect/etc. but they take this stuff into account when designing experiments or performing analyses.
Climate science makes predictions. Predictions are some times tested against historic data, sometimes against historic proxies, sometimes we have to wait for a few years to see if the predictions of the future are within bounds. But they don't rely on models exclusively. Models are simply useful to test your hypotheses before going to all the trouble of engaging in large-scale efforts to test predictions about the future.
Mostly, they are used to weed out ideas that “fail the sniff test.” The computer models essentially are the “sniff test” for climate science. If the idea makes sense in the models, then they start testing for it in the real world.
You know, building expensive shit like satellites. Or upgrading a few thousand bouys/weatherstations/etc.
In other words, I find the scientific ethics of Climate Scientists – on the aggregate – to be acceptable. (Though I have a handful I think give the whole thing a bad name.)
I also think it is important to separate “what the science claims” from “what the NIMBYs try to twist the science into claiming.” Separating the actual science from the propaganda (on either side) take a lot of hard work and dedication.
But as I said, we shall have to agree to disagree. We have obviously looked at the same evidence and come to different conclusions.
Such is life.
As regards you gripe about “too many specialists, not enough generalists…” I maintain that the modern polymath is functionally impossible. Noone can know enough about modern science to be useful as a generalist. Some folks may hold degrees in several fields – or like me, they have studied extensively and widely without holding any degrees whatsoever – but that comes at a price.
The really specialised elements of various experiments can – and do – go over our heads in most cases. For example, I gave up on Optics as soon as we started using surface plasmons in lithography as focusing mechanisms to achieve smaller-scale items, or having to build multiple-waveguided lasers because the frequencies and scale they were operating on were actually affected by the presence of virtual photons.
The sum total of my personal scientific knowledge likely crosses significantly more disciplines than that of most individuals with PhDs. The flip side is that I can also say with absolute certainty that the vast majority of individuals with PhDs know way more about their specific area of science than I ever will.
The bredth of my knowledge may – one day – make me useful as a science journalist. But I will never be able to contribute to society by doing actual cutting edge hard science. I just don’t have the depth of knowledge in any given field.
So just what value does attempting to be a modern polymath have?
6.6 million readers
That's...really impressive. I'd like to put in my loud "hell yes" on the topic. I am glad my favourite technology magazine is doing so well. I maintain that El Reg is the best on the net for current events in IT; I don't think I could do my job without it! (Gotta know what the current and upcoming tech consists of!)
Cheers to El Reg and all of her staff. May the readership continue to grow year on year unto the end of time.
I thought I might be able to convince the "preview' screen to run arbitrary code, but I tried about 15 different languages, and *pfft*, nothing.
So disenchanted. How am I supposed to compromise the system to change the front page to a PARIS & LOHAN tribute now?
The price of meat in Switzerland
Increase the price of meat, and all you are going to do is make me sleep less. Because I'll be writing more articles. To get more money. So I can nom beef.
It's beef. Logic and market forces don't apply. Must. Have. Beef.
Taxing alcohol and cigarettes don't lower consumption. They just make people work harder to find the money to support the addiction. I am positive that being raised on BBQed steaks is no different. I am weak; I admit it.
Now pass the HP sauce!
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.
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.
MJI: 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.
>Possibly true. “Controlling” it is likely a waste of time. Mitigation by switching to vast quantities of Nukes for energy however is probably a worthwhile investment.
MJI: Personally I am of the opinion we should be using less resources and tackling pollution first.
>Very true! But the question remains “how to we encourage efficient use of resources?” Tragedy of the commons still applies if we allow individuals, corporations and entire nations to continue to externalise costs. (Pollution, CO2, Methane, etc.)
MJI: As to CO2 best thing to do as far as I am concerned is plant lots of trees.
>Problem is, that doesn’t put the carbon back in the ground. You’d have to grow the tree, then chuck it down a hole. If you grow the tree then burn it, you’ve delayed the CO2 a little, but not removed it from the system.
MJI: There seems to be unsure about warming or cooling, what effects there will be.
>Actually, we know it’s warming. The science is pretty conclusive here. “What effects there will be” is indeed an open area of inquiry.
MJI: The idea that we break up fossil fuels to remove the carbon before burning seems ludicrous, wasted energy.
>Who what now? I haven’t heard this one. Link?
MJI: CO2 is plant food, we need to capture it in wood.
>Yes…but what do we do with it once it is wood? Where do we store it so it doesn’t get back into the atmosphere?
MJI: We do not need massive beef ranches do we?
>Well…no. But I want the massive beef ranches. I’m Albertan. I love beef. OM NOM NOM. This is why I really, really want someone to come along and prove all this climate change stuff to be hokum. Because one of the biggest things we could do to alter our climate footprint as a species is get rid of the massive beef ranches. And damn it…I don’t like that idea one bit.
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...
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.
Piracy is bad.
Without things like copyright, how do writers make a living? But SOPA is also bad. There has to be a middle ground here that we can all agree on.
I'm a content creator; I create content, El Reg owns the copyright. That makes me really no different from a band and their relationship to their label. Yet I am also a consumer. I want to be able to read my books on every device I own. Watch my movies on every device I own, and format shift to my heart’s content.
I need people to pay for what I create. I am willing to pay (and reasonably well at that) for what others create. Why does it all have to go so horribly, horribly wrong from there?
IPOA would have some bandwidth scaling problems for those on the ground, its true. But that will be addressed in a future RFC...
IP over Avian Carriers
Pigeons are but one possible transport mechanism for the internet. Can't stop the signal...
Do a twitter search for "WTF."
Screaming teenagers unable to do homework without wikipedia abound.
@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.
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:
Oh, the threads demanding an icon for X, and the removal of the icon for Y! They will overwhelm!
Doom! Apocalypse! Lack of Scotch!
El Reg has a diverse group of writers, and they do allow us some leeway. I've been writing here just under two years, and I haven't been told "what to think" once yet. Good folk, them.
The government is in the way. Big Tech could buy Big Content 100 times over and still have money in the bank. But this would get the antitrust alarms going full bore, and nobody wants that.
So the standoff remains as is. Big Content owns Congress. Until that can be remedied, Big Tech will always face massive antitrust scrutiny, especially if they attempt hostile takeovers.
There are other forms of power than money. Never forget that Big Content controls our collective culture. Through that, they control public opinion. They also have decades of history as important backers of politicians from all parties. That simply doesn’t change over night.
But here, now…we witness Big Tech making its play. We are watching as Big Tech says to the world “see? We can influence public opinion too! We have these eyeballs, they look at our websites. We too have influence that once was the sole province of Big Content.” Big Tech is flexing its muscles, and seeing just how much cultural imperialism they are actually capable of.
Mark today. It is important. If Big Tech succeeds, then the oligopoly control of our culture will have definitively been broken, and our society will never be the same again. If they fail, it could be decades before anyone has the chutzpah to try again.
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.
The Register has offices in the UK, the US, and Oz. They have writers from all around the English-speaking world. The "flavour" of the site is British, and the corporate headquarters is in London. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the site itself is more than just “British.”
Normally, it is a distinction that doesn’t matter; but in the context of an article and discussion regarding the nationalisation of the Internet vis-à-vis SOPA/PIPA, I feel the distinction is important.
The Register is the living example of a company that could face all sorts of troubles thanks to SOPA. This “British” website has offices in the US. It is subject to American law. If it closed those office tomorrow, a huge % of its reader base would still be American, its advertisers would be American, it would rely on American payment processors.
The Register has a .co.uk domain, but also a .com one. What about Australia? Do they get a say in exerting their beliefs upon El Reg, and all similar companies? I’m Canadian, what laws to I need to be aware of when I am posting content created here on a British website?
In the context of the above, I question the concept of “a British website” when you have offices and hacks spread hither and yon. The Register is a website. But like the internet, neat little categorisations defining nationality of cultural ownership have become quite fuzzy with time.
And isn’t that what this whole thing is really about?
@Audry S Thackery
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:
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.
Subitting in word
Submitting in word is bad. (.rtf or drew bludgeons you!) But some of us old geezers still use it for writing in. (Spell check with 20 years worth of custom dictionary...)
Suspect users will be harder to bead into compliance than the few straggling backwards writers. (And by few, I suspect that is only me. >_> *fleeing*)
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?!?
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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