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Michael Shermer - The Believing Brain
Posted: 07 June 2011 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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I felt that there was a bit of naivete, disinterest or cognitive dissonance regarding Mr. Shermer’s “who, me worried” stance on GW.  If he thinks we need to defer to the experts, then I don’t understand how we shouldn’t be worried about the latest likely predictions of 3 - 4M sea level rise by 2100…and the already apparent destabilization of climate and wacky weather. 

I completely understand not wanting to be alarmist, but for someone who doesn’t deny AGW, I found the attitude of wait and see completely in line with the worst of the conservatives.  We’ve waited long enough.  The magical market is unlikely to correct this issue by itself - and where was that magical market in the collapse of 2008?  And my last vent….the longer we wait, the more this is going to cost and the more the government will need to impose controls.  In other words, waiting longer means less of a libertarian system.

Anybody else feel that the dismissive attitude instead of a more solid, yes we need to be concerned, but not overreact attitude would have been more welcome, expected and truly skeptical?

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Posted: 07 June 2011 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Just because the market is free does not mean it is not STUPID.

But one aspect that the free market advocates don’t advertise is that the SMART people in whatever market are hiding information from the DUMB people in the market.  Never give a sucker an even break.

So with information hiding that means the majority of people make mistakes the majority of the time.  So what do you expect from a free market with 6 billion people making mistakes most of the time?

How is it that double-entry accounting can be 700 years old and our so called educators TALK about preparing children to compete with kids in other countries in the future but never suggest that all of these kids know accounting?  They are supposed to be used by the free market not know enough to make the free market work for them.

So what effect does planned obsolescence have on CO2 production?  Who cares, it’s economic GROWTH.

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[ Edited: 08 June 2011 08:46 AM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 08 June 2011 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I’ve blogged about my climate exchange with Shermer and why I am not satisfied with his responses, and would push him farther.

http://www.desmogblog.com/debating-michael-shermer-and-bjorn-lomborg-climate-risks

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Posted: 08 June 2011 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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You raise excellent points in your blog post, Chris. The “wait and see” attitude infuriates me almost as much as the deniers who call themselves skeptics. We don’t have to wait to see the effects of global warming, for global warming is not something that will happen in the future, it is happening now. Actually, global warming began in the 1980s, and we can see its effects all around us, starting with Arctic sea ice decline. Sitting around to see what happens means staying the present course: unchecked growth and pumping massive amounts of known greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. This is a very unwise course of inaction.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Yep, ‘wait and see’ is the sort of lazy response that in this context rises to negligence. With the prospect of several billion people in India and China finally becoming able to afford a western lifestyle, there is literally no time to waste.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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dougsmith - 08 June 2011 09:26 AM

Yep, ‘wait and see’ is the sort of lazy response that in this context rises to negligence. With the prospect of several billion people in India and China finally becoming able to afford a western lifestyle, there is literally no time to waste.

Well, judging by this documentary, China’s Ghost Cities and Malls, it seems that the Chines are far from becoming to afford a western lifestyle. And the illusion of India of catching up to the west is probably even greater.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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psikeyhackr - 07 June 2011 05:14 PM

The metaphor that people have been insisting on making between computers and human brains for the last 60 years has been nonsense.

The brain has processing power, like a computer. So I wouldn’t call it nonsense. There’s some sense in it. The comparison is useful in the field of AI, for example when trying to estimate how much processing power a computer would have to have to match a human brain.

The problem is that computers manipulate symbols according to whatever program but understands nothing about what the symbols mean.  We do not know how our understanding corresponds to the signals moving in the brain.

Is understanding of the self necessary to compare brains’ and computers’ processing power? Or are you saying computers are stupid because they don’t understand themselves while we do (at least to some degree)? I don’t see why computers can’t eventually be made to understand themselves. A computer program is analogous to a person’s brain’s wiring, in this case. I guess my argument is, an intelligent computer and an intelligent human may not work the same way, and may not have the same kind of intelligence, but both should be considered intelligent anyway. In regards to comparing computers to brains, I would argue that although they differ in architecture, computers’ functionalities and capabilities are getting closer and closer to that of a brain’s, and so comparing the two makes more and more sense, at least on a high level. Of course, the metaphor breaks down at the low level.

So what effect does planned obsolescence have on CO2 production?

Planned obsolescence seems to be a very limited phenomenon. Having competition ensures it’s a losing strategy.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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George - 08 June 2011 09:33 AM
dougsmith - 08 June 2011 09:26 AM

Yep, ‘wait and see’ is the sort of lazy response that in this context rises to negligence. With the prospect of several billion people in India and China finally becoming able to afford a western lifestyle, there is literally no time to waste.

Well, judging by this documentary, China’s Ghost Cities and Malls, it seems that the Chines are far from becoming to afford a western lifestyle. And the illusion of India of catching up to the west is probably even greater.

The point isn’t that tomorrow we’ll wake up and all of China and India will be on a par with the west. The point is that both countries’ standards of living are increasing at an accelerated pace, which means more cars per capita, larger power requirements, etc. If that documentary suggests otherwise, it’s BS.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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The documentary doesn’t suggest anything. It simply shows (or maybe it’s a hoax and it was filmed in a secret NASA studio) that the great majority of people in China are nowhere close to becoming able to afford a western lifestyle. That’s all.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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dougsmith - 07 June 2011 06:51 AM

I don’t know that there’s a principled distinction to be made between processing power and intelligence, at least not when processing power is being put to tasks that involve learning, memory and reason. What I would say is that it’s clear increasing processing power is a relatively easy task to accomplish, when compared with increasing machine intelligence.

I’d agree with domokato that machines are getting smarter (they are able to perform more complex reasoning tasks), and that the pace of increase may be accelerating. But that’s not to say Kurzweil’s predictions are at all sensible.


Suppose we were to take the problem of computing the area of a rectangle.

Say we have an old 8-bit 8080 processor and a 16-bit 286 processor and a 2.5 ghz Pentium.

The 8080 did not have hardware multiply and divide so the calculation would be done in software via multiple steps.

The 286 would be a lot faster and the Pentium would be even faster.

But they all just multiply numbers.  Now do these numbers represent feet or miles or yards or kilometers?

The stupid computers can multiply the numbers faster than any human, even the 8080 doing it in software.  But none of those machines UNDERSTAND what the units mean or what AREA is.

Processing power is not intelligence even if processing power is required for intelligence.

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Posted: 08 June 2011 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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George - 08 June 2011 10:58 AM

The documentary doesn’t suggest anything. It simply shows (or maybe it’s a hoax and it was filmed in a secret NASA studio) that the great majority of people in China are nowhere close to becoming able to afford a western lifestyle. That’s all.

Well that’s certainly correct; no hoaxes needed. But irrelevant to the main point re. AGW.

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Posted: 09 June 2011 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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This show imo seemed to have a gapping inconsistency, in one breath we are told that there is an evolutionary advantage to reacting to patterns because they might represent danger, in the next breath we are told to do not about the acknowledge problem of global warming.  By this logic the human race is doomed to wait to long, which is analagious to seeing a tiger acknowledging the tiger but doing nothing about the tiger so that the tiger eats not only us as an individual but also a large percentage of our population.  Ostrichism at its worse.

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Posted: 09 June 2011 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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There’s also nature itself, which has self-correcting mechanisms. I’m not sure if CO2 in the atmosphere represents an entropic bubble that can be exploited by some mutated organism, but it might be worth looking into. (How is the CO2 distributed, anyway? Is it in the upper atmosphere or spread out evenly? I read somewhere that some redwoods are growing taller because of the CO2, which should reduce CO2 somewhat). Examples of human messes nature is cleaning up:

http://www.cracked.com/article_19133_6-ways-nature-cleans-up-our-messes-better-than-we-do.html

Are climate scientists taking evolution into account? What do biologists have to say about climate change?

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Posted: 09 June 2011 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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domokato - 09 June 2011 09:56 AM

There’s also nature itself, which has self-correcting mechanisms.

Which are those?

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Posted: 09 June 2011 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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domokato - 09 June 2011 09:56 AM

There’s also nature itself, which has self-correcting mechanisms. I’m not sure if CO2 in the atmosphere represents an entropic bubble that can be exploited by some mutated organism, but it might be worth looking into. (How is the CO2 distributed, anyway? Is it in the upper atmosphere or spread out evenly? I read somewhere that some redwoods are growing taller because of the CO2, which should reduce CO2 somewhat)

“entropic bubble”?

Carbon dioxide is somewhat heavier than the diatomic oxygen molecules which is heavier than the diatomic nitrogen molecules.  I suppose if you had a sealed columns of air the might very slowly sort themselves out.  But there is so much wind energy nearly all of the time in the atmosphere they are very throughly mixed.  Plants on the ground and plankton in the oceans convert that CO2 into O2 so plenty of CO2 must get to the bottom of the atmosphere.  Animals on the ground including us must breathe the O2.

James Burke talked about growing lot more plants back in 1989.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6514270139930450081#

psik

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