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James O'Brien - Businessman: Brexiteers haven't got a clue 88% Posted Aug 2018

James O'Brien - Businessman: Brexiteers haven't got a clue

Comment: 2 days ago

The UK has the 5th biggest economy in the world. The four bigger economies are USA, China, Japan and Germany.

Do you think we would have a bigger economy than Germany if we never joined the EU in the first place?

The rise of AI in China 88% Posted Aug 2018

The rise of AI in China

Comment: 3 days ago

Trump is making China great again.

The urgent speech Trump never gave 87% Posted Aug 2018

The urgent speech Trump never gave

Comment: 8 days ago

“You're right, the world has been much warmer many times in the past.” Then you agree that the 14 out of 15 years is a cherry picked date range. No. The date range is picked for good reason, nothing to do with cherries. It's 14 of 15 most recent years in RECORDED history, ie. since 1880 when direct recording of temperatures around the world began. When you hear the media say "hottest heatwave EVER", that is their mistake, not the scientists'.

"Do you see any reason why, even if humans were not here, the planet wouldn’t return back to its normal 25C?". Yes, very likely - in a few million years when the planets and sun all line up to produce those conditions. How about we deal with that a bit nearer the time.

Just imagine humans did not exist, but instead there was a volcano that spewed 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year - year after year - relentlessly. And there was a disease that was killing off a few billion trees every year. Do you see any reason why the climate wouldn't change?

"There have been some major events that cooled the planet quickly but it always ends up returning back to 25C.  We are simply doing it again." I may have misunderstood your position. I always thought that your argument was: since the climate has been much warmer in the past (before humans even existed) it was natural processes that warmed the planet then, so it's natural processes that are warming the planet today. Human activity is not to blame, it's insignificant compared to natural processes.

But your argument now seems to be: we are warming the planet, just much faster than natural processes - so we just need to adapt. Really? How would you suggest we adapt? Grow gills? How about a refridgerated heart?. What about plants? I guess they could just uproot and walk north. Fish should be OK, they can learn to sweat and shut their eyes to prevent the stinging from the carbonic acid oceans they swim in.

"But I am positive that we are on the normal trend for the cycles the planet usually has." You might be positive but you're wrong. The cycles you are talking about are caused by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun because of gravity. These changes are predictable, constant and really really really really really slow. This global heatwave we are experiencing is not because the Earth unexpectedly changed course.

“Even a 1m sea level rise would be catastrophic for human civilisation”  Well, maybe, maybe not." Sea level rise is not just about moving further inland. Many of our nuclear power stations are built by the sea because they use water for cooling. What happens when they go under water? What happens to the population of Miami? Do they lie on the beach and drown to death? No, they will move to other parts of the country. And it won't be just Miami. It'll be most of our major cities worldwide. Internal refugees will be as much of a problem as external refugees - the millions/billions of people moving simply because it's too hot to live where they are.

That fish comment - yes I was thinking of Cary. Just so you know, you accidentally misspelt his name. It's Cary, not Carey. He was a stickler for detail, and in his honour, we should respect that. Amazingly, what you said you'd do with your Floridian mansion, he would have done with his. You guys should meet. I'm sure you'll get on like a Californian wild fire. Maybe even get a room.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 10 days ago

That's a difficult question to answer directly because the correct answer leads to the wrong conclusion. Sorry if your head just exploded.

Climate scientists and weather forecasters may hold the same degree, but a weather forecaster's expertise is in weather forecasting. A climate scientist's expertise is in climate forecasting. 

That's why a consensus on AGW between climate scientists is more compelling than between weather forecasters. And don't forget, the consensus between American weather forecasters is still high (62%), just nowhere near as high as between people who actually study the climate day in, day out.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 10 days ago

That is an excellent observation. Well spotted.

The urgent speech Trump never gave 87% Posted Aug 2018

The urgent speech Trump never gave

Comment: 10 days ago

You're right, the world has been much warmer many times in the past. During the Cretacious period, which lasted for 80 million years and ended 66 million years ago when an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, the planet was much warmer and sea level was between 100m and 250m higher than today. CO2 levels were over 1,000ppm compared with 400ppm today.

That's why climate scientists are freaking out. Even a 1m sea level rise would be catastrophic for human civilisation. Imagine tens of metres by the end of this century. You'll be renting out the attic of your Floridian mansion to fish. And to get a bit of perspective, sea level has only risen 10 - 20cm in the last 100 years.

Obama didn't do enough, but if he did nothing, then Trump would have nothing to roill back.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 10 days ago

Climate science is a specialised area of meteorology. As is weather forecasting. Cardiology is a specialised area of medicine, as is dermatology. You wouldn't rate the opinion of a dermatologist over a cardiologist on matters of the heart, even though they both studied medicine. So why would you rate the opinion of a weather forecaster above a climate scientist on climate change? That would be nuts.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 10 days ago

Try this thought experiment. A friend has a heart problem. There are 100 peer-reviewed studies on this problem by cardiologists from all around the world, over a 20 year period. 97 studies come to Conclusion A. 3 studies come to Conclusion B.

Obviously, that's one hellova consensus for Conclusion A. But you disagree. You say the studies are cherry-picked because they all study something about this heart problem. @!?*!% I'm lost for words. Would you be happier if we add a few studies about traffic calming in Florida? Cherry-picking would mean looking at the 100 studies and then cherry-picking studies only from the 97 that came to Conclusion A.  And that's not what happened. One of the keywords used to find the climate studies was "global warming". If a study rejects global warming, it will still use the term "global warming" and therefore be found in the keyword search. These studies were not cherry-picked.

Back to the thought experiment - I ask you to suggest a better method to measure the consensus of experts who agree with Conclusion A. You suggest: round up as many dermatologists as possible and ask them for their opinion. After all, they also went to medical school. You are either a brilliant comedian, or a total idiot.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 11 days ago

I don't think it's pure arrogance. I've had enough debates with Cary to know he's not for changing. And he probably thinks the same of me.

I've always taken the view that if the experts really are right about climate change, then there will be a compelling answer to every climate denier's objections - and if I don't already have that compelling answer, I just have to do the research.

And it works. Over the past years, I have destroyed every single one of Cary's objections to AGW - not because I'm clever, but because he's wrong, It's easy to show someone is wrong if they really are wrong, and you've got Google and almost every expert are on your side. 

From debating with Cary, I have learnt a lot about climate change. For example, Cary once suggested that the warming we are experiencing is the natural warming/cooling cycles that happen between ice ages. Knowing almost nothing about ice ages, I had to do some research. The reason why we have ice ages is actually quite interesting. And it soon became clear why Cary was wrong - basically, the warming and cooling cycles between ice ages are extremely slow and play out over many thousands of years - but the warming we are experiencing today is playing out over a few decades, so they can't be the same process. I learnt something, and since I had to communicate what I learnt to Cary, hopefully others who read the post can also learn what I just learnt. What happens in Cary's mind, I frankly don't care.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 11 days ago

Why don't you google "difference between meteorologist and climate scientist".

Yes, the 97% refers to peer-reviewed papers, but they are not cherry-picked. They are ALL papers between 1991 and 2011 found with a keyword search. That is not cherry-picking. Cherry-picking would be selecting only papers that agree with AGW, and that is not what happened.

Your better way to measure the consensus (Find a list of all the people who obtained a BS in meteorology...) is a terrible way. All you'll get is an opinion from weather forecasters, which is much less compelling than ACTUAL research by climate scientists. Even so, American meteorologists who are skeptical of AGW are still a minority at only 38%.

"97% of scientists is a much better soundbite ... I don’t care about soundbites" It doesn't matter whether you care about soundbites or not. I was just explaining how the media works.

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics? 87% Posted Aug 2018

Why are some TV meteorologists still climate skeptics?

Comment: 11 days ago

Meteorologists are not climate scientists - one studies weather, the other studies climate.

The 97% refers to ALL peer-reviewed climate research between 1991 and 2011 found with a keyword search. That's not cherry-picking. Can you suggest a better way to measure the size of the consensus among experts on climate change from 1991 - 2011?

There is no "assumption" that papers equal scientists. It's just how media reports on the 97% statistic. "97% of scientists..." is a much better soundbite than "97% of peer-reviewed climate research between 1991 and 2011..."

QI - What surprising conclusion came from a lifetime study of fish? 87% Posted Aug 2018

QI - What surprising conclusion came from a lifetime study of fish?

Comment: 13 days ago

I was curious so I looked up NOMA. This is from Wikipedia: "Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is the view that was advocated by Stephen Jay Gould that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry, fact vs. values, so there is a difference between the "nets"[1] over which they have "a legitimate magisterium, or domain of teaching authority," and the two domains do not overlap."

I don't buy that. Sounds to me more like an excuse not to hurt too many feelings. If anything, I think religion is a subset of science - in the sense that science is a method to try to understand reality as accurately as possible, and religion is just a part of that reality.

Tony Blair on Brexit's second referendum 87% Posted Jul 2018

Tony Blair on Brexit's second referendum

Comment: 27 days ago

"Why should anyone believe this man?" Being wrong about Iraq doesn't mean he's wrong about Brexit. Listen to his arguments and make up your own mind rather than relying on the opinion of large numbers of people. After all, there are 2.2 billion Christians. If you're not a Christian you probably think the Bible is a book of nonsense. If you are a Christian you probably think The God Delusion is a book of nonsense.

TYT - Sacha Baron Cohen trolls Bernie Sanders 87% Posted Jul 2018

TYT - Sacha Baron Cohen trolls Bernie Sanders

Comment: 30 days ago

Which is more likely - persuading a left-winger that it's possible to make the 99% as rich as the 1%, or persuading a right-winger to arm 3-year-olds?

Seth Meyers - When Trump met Putin 87% Posted Jul 2018

Seth Meyers - When Trump met Putin

Comment: 33 days ago

You're right about Ireland of course, but Trump doesn't know that. When he says Ireland, he probably means the Republic of Ireland because he has a golf course there - which he probably thinks is in the UK. After all, he's not very bright.

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president! 87% Posted Jun 2018

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president!

Comment: 35 days ago

Context is ALWAYS important. Let's look at your see/saw thought experiment that supposedly shows "how a comment alone can miraculously reveal the intention". You thought you removed the context but you didn't - you just assumed the context was a regular conversation. 'A' could easily have intended "saw" as in "see", 'B' did a play on puns, and 'A' just continued with the joke. I have many friends who play puns like that all the time, and I'm sure you have as well. Without the context, you simply don't know. There was no miraculous revelation of intention in your thought-experiment. You just came to a conclusion because you assumed a context. That's what my epiphany is about. We assume context too much. When there's a disagreement, we rarely take a step out and check the context. We nearly always dive into the details, and that's why most debates go nowhere. We can argue about 'see saws' until the cows come home, but we will never come to a conclusion where we can both agree until we agree on the context - because context dictates the "truth". There's no way round that.

As for my intention when I replied to GR - I don't remeber my exact thought process, but I know it was not mathematical because I simply don't think that way. I could be lying of course. Why don't you assume I'm not, and then read the thread again. It'll all make perfect sense because I'm not lying. That's how reality works. And while you're about it, try not to play the psychologist too much.

Steven Pinker vs Nick Spencer - Has science disproved religion? 87% Posted Jul 2018

Steven Pinker vs Nick Spencer - Has science disproved religion?

Comment: 44 days ago

Science hasn't disproven religion, it explains religion.

City in Oman doesn't drop below 107F (41C) for 51 straight hours 94% Posted Jul 2018

City in Oman doesn't drop below 107F (41C) for 51 straight hours

Comment: 45 days ago

Oman is not "hot as usual". It just broke a record. By definition, that is not "as usual". Ironically, breaking records is now usual.

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president! 87% Posted Jun 2018

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president!

Comment: 45 days ago

I'm not sure you've quite got the hang of this context thing. Imagine we have a few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They appear to fit together, but we are arguing over what they represent. Widening the context means finding the jigsaw pieces around the ones we already have. So when we add those, the meaning of the original pieces becomes more clear. Just choosing random contexts willy-nilly like you're doing, is like looking at pieces from a far away part of the jigsaw - it doesn't help much.

When people disagree on something, they tend to argue over the details. So in the example of the jigsaw, rather than finding more pieces, we'd be getting a magnifying glass out to study the pieces we already have. And if we still can't agree, then we get a bigger magnifying glass. Sometimes the magnifying glass helps, but often it's better to look for more pieces.

So let's look at this real world example where you claim that I have debunked my own points. '"Median is a different way of measuring the average" is indisputably a mathematical justification of a mathematical word.' Look at the context and you'll see that I was replying to: "Mean (average) is different than median (the person in the middle)." It was an appropriate reply which says little about my actual intentions on my previous comment. And just to clarify that, I immediately followed with: "Anyway, I claim fair use under poetic licence." Somehow you missed that bit. I'm curious, did you knowingly ignore the context, or was it subconscious?

"If your intended meaning really had nothing to do with maths, you wouldn't have wasted time engaging in further mathematical talk." Now you're trying to read my personality. You're stumbling before you can crawl. Maybe give the psychology a rest, you're no Derren Brown.

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president! 87% Posted Jun 2018

Sam Harris: I can't believe Trump is president!

Comment: 49 days ago

"Context' appears to be your new go-to excuse, your new meme..." Actually, it was more of an epiphany. I came to see how important context is to a disagreement. Context doesn't really "add" meaning, it IS the meaning. There is always a context, nothing exists in isolation. Most of the time, the context is taken for granted and not questioned. You don't question why someone is being silly on stage if you are in a comedy club.

When there's a disagreement, the natural process is to argue over the finer details - so with the question of whether I intended "average" casually (mediocre) or mathematically (median), we are arguing over the use of a preposition, or how common "average" is in the vernacular, or whether it is technically a mistake to use average to specifically mean median when I didn't -  I used it as an adjective. Discussions like this go nowhere, and eventually end up with Hitler or sillymantics.

A better way to reach a conclusion is to widen the context until it makes no difference. So in this case, I meant "mediocre" because I wrote "To describe someone as average, is usually a negative term" BEFORE looking it up in the dictionary and switching to "mediocre". That is widening the context to include time. 

References to median, mean, mode and midpoint are all responses to your claims that I was thinking mathematically, and nothing to do with my intended usage of "average". You can know that by widening the context to include your input. 

If you want to debunk my points, then widen the context some more. And if by widening the context, nothing new comes to light - then we've reached the point of "truth". We should try this technique the next time we clash - just keep widening the context until nothing more changes. Then see where we're at.

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