0957: "Development"

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blowfishhootie
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0957: "Development"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:09 am UTC

Image

Alt text: "Funding was quickly restored to the NHC and the APA was taken back off hurricane forecast duty."

I ... don't get it. I usually think I get xkcd's jokes. But not today.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Sean Quixote » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:10 am UTC

I am guessing that NHC is the National Hurricane Center, and that all else will be revealed upon the explication of the "APA"...

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby fanofbangelthor » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:12 am UTC

The APA is the American Psychological Association. Piaget was a prominent psychologist during his time, contributing a lot to the field of developmental psychology. Piaget's stages of development are taught in most introductory psychology courses.

Source:
I remembered this from a General Psychology class, but fact-checked with Wikipedia to make sure I was right before posting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget

GalstafSofL
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby GalstafSofL » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:14 am UTC

APA is the american psyhological association.

The Piaget scale if I wikipedia correctly (iiwc?) measures level of cognitive ego developement. So it's becoming self aware.

edit: ninja'd.
Last edited by GalstafSofL on Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:15 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

blowfishhootie
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:15 am UTC

Yes, NHC is the National Hurricane Center. The APA is the American Psychological Association (given away by the Piaget reference). I still don't get the joke. I suppose it's possible that the strip just isn't funny, but usually it is making some point when that's the case, and I don't see any point being made either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby ShuRugal » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:18 am UTC

oh come on people, it's not that hard... There has been talk of cutting funding for the National Hurricane Center to help with the budget. Randall is pointing out how ludicrous this idea is: If the NHC is defunded, who is going to forecast hurricanes? the APA?

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby hetas » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:19 am UTC

She'll propably develop into a real jerk.

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Berelanai
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Berelanai » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:22 am UTC

I enjoyed it. It's just one of those ones where the absurd is proposed, and its funny because of its absurdity.

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Linux0s
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Linux0s » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:24 am UTC

While I got the general gist of it... the specifics of the gag (ala Piaget) I believe produced an audible "whoosh".
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby mjh2539 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:32 am UTC

"APA" is ambiguous between "American Philosophical Association" and "American Psychological Association". Because Piaget is considered both a psychologist and a philosopher, it makes deciding which is tougher. Considering the fact that "objects and their properties" is most definitely in the domain of philosophy, I'd lean toward it meaning the "American Philosophical Association", however.

It doesn't really matter however, as the point of the article is to ridicule the notion that the NHC could be replaced by some other entity.

hetas
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby hetas » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:43 am UTC

NHC and APA weren't familiar to me and for me joke was funnier without the alt-text. I just find the idea of hurricane developing consciousness and being confused quite fanny. I'm sure there's a feel-good movie in there somewhere.

"Rina, the misunderstood hurricane and the little girl who loved her"

edit: typo

blowfishhootie
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:10 am UTC

ShuRugal wrote:There has been talk of cutting funding for the National Hurricane Center to help with the budget. Randall is pointing out how ludicrous this idea is: If the NHC is defunded, who is going to forecast hurricanes? the APA?


Yes, because the existence of the NHC at its current funding levels has done so much to a) accurately predict a given storm's path with enough time to actually react, b) prevent mass panic in areas that could potentially be hit by a hurricane, or c) facilitate or encourage efficient responses to the damage left by the storms.

Is forecasting hurricanes such a specific science that it needs a team of meteorologists dedicated specifically to that task around the clock? And if so, why isn't it more reliable? The absurd suggestion of replacing the NHC with the APA doesn't change any of this... I don't see how it is at all a good argument. Surely members of the APA can flip coins just as well as NHC meteorologists.

http://eyeofthestorm.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/national-hurricane-center-forecast-accuracy-in-2010/

This is a breakdown of NHC accuracy numbers for 2010, as well as the preceding five-year period. The short of it: over that five-year span, NHC forecasts given 24 hours before a storm's landfall were off by an average of about 60 miles (53 nautical miles), with forecasts given five days ahead of time being off by an average of nearly 300 miles (252 nautical miles). Could I achieve that? No. Could the APA? Probably not. Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea - but bringing the APA into the conversation certainly doesn't convince me of anything. I think 300 miles in any direction seems like quite a big range. Would that range of error really get much bigger with a smaller budget?

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Vnend » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:18 am UTC

mjh2539 wrote:"APA" is ambiguous between "American Philosophical Association" and "American Psychological Association". Because Piaget is considered both a psychologist and a philosopher, it makes deciding which is tougher. Considering the fact that "objects and their properties" is most definitely in the domain of philosophy, I'd lean toward it meaning the "American Philosophical Association", however.


I disagree. "Developed... a sustained interest in..." is clearly psychological, not philosophical.

It was worthy of a smile.

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Vnend
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Vnend » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:20 am UTC

blowfishhootie, let me guess: you don't live on the Atlantic seaboard, do you?

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Eternal Density » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:25 am UTC

The difficulty of understanding this joke is a 7 on Moh's scale of hardness.
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby NixonsGhost » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:36 am UTC

Why is the logo the EA Origin logo?

I am confuse.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby melodynelson » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:40 am UTC

Piaget's stages of cognitive development has only four stages...that's the joke here. Well, that and the imaginary fifth stage is trying to emulate how a psychiatrist might describe a storm's destructive tendencies.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby erik65536 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:40 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:The difficulty of understanding this joke is a 7 on Moh's scale of hardness.

And a coolness factor of 0.42 MegaFonzies.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Solus » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:47 am UTC

Vnend wrote:
mjh2539 wrote:"APA" is ambiguous between "American Philosophical Association" and "American Psychological Association". Because Piaget is considered both a psychologist and a philosopher, it makes deciding which is tougher. Considering the fact that "objects and their properties" is most definitely in the domain of philosophy, I'd lean toward it meaning the "American Philosophical Association", however.


I disagree. "Developed... a sustained interest in..." is clearly psychological, not philosophical.

It was worthy of a smile.


Yup. To make it more explicit, the 5th sub-stage of the sensorimotor stage of Piaget's theory of cognitive development is the stage during which...
"Infants become intrigued by the many properties of objects and by the many things they can make happen to objects"
(via wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaget's_theory_of_cognitive_development#Sensorimotor_stage)

Hurricanes are frequently described as developing from one stage to another. Randall just amusingly invoked a different sort of development. I found it funny even without the reference to the NHC. I thought the comic was great, but then I'm a psychology student.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby alethiophile » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:48 am UTC

Hah. Not the most amusing XKCD I've ever seen, but up there. "Fear turned to confusion"...priceless.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby pensive bosom » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:51 am UTC

Vnend wrote:
mjh2539 wrote:"APA" is ambiguous between "American Philosophical Association" and "American Psychological Association". Because Piaget is considered both a psychologist and a philosopher, it makes deciding which is tougher. Considering the fact that "objects and their properties" is most definitely in the domain of philosophy, I'd lean toward it meaning the "American Philosophical Association", however.


I disagree. "Developed... a sustained interest in..." is clearly psychological, not philosophical.

Right, there's no way he's talking about the AP[hil]A. The AP[sych]A is much better known, whereas the philosophical association doesn't do much more than facilitate academic job interviews.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:00 am UTC

Vnend wrote:blowfishhootie, let me guess: you don't live on the Atlantic seaboard, do you?


I've lived in Florida my whole life and have relocated because of hurricane damage three times. Additionally, twice I've evacuated because forecasts had hurricanes hitting where I lived, only for the storm to hit elsewhere and do little to no damage to my city. I get all the names confused ... I was living a little north of Tampa in 2004 when a storm was forecast to hit there but instead hit quite a ways south after turning sharply at the last moment (relatively speaking). Charley maybe? The other was Hurricane Erin in 1995 or 1996, when I was a kid and my family evacuated from our small town on Florida's east coast, only for the storm to hit well north of where we actually lived.

There was also one time when I was a kid that my family stayed put, only for the roof to be blown off our house and most of our neighborhood destroyed, but I don't know if that was because of poor forecasts or my parents' ignorance. That was Hurricane Andrew and we lived in Miami, so I'm assuming it was my parents being dumb. :)

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby skine » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:09 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:This is a breakdown of NHC accuracy numbers for 2010, as well as the preceding five-year period. The short of it: over that five-year span, NHC forecasts given 24 hours before a storm's landfall were off by an average of about 60 miles (53 nautical miles), with forecasts given five days ahead of time being off by an average of nearly 300 miles (252 nautical miles). Could I achieve that? No. Could the APA? Probably not. Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea - but bringing the APA into the conversation certainly doesn't convince me of anything. I think 300 miles in any direction seems like quite a big range. Would that range of error really get much bigger with a smaller budget?

To put those numbers into perspective, a typical hurricane is about 300 miles in diameter, with a radium of maximum wind (RMW) of about 30 miles (the RMW is the distance between the center of the hurricane and the maximum wind velocities).

This is, of course, ignoring your assumptions that (a) most meteorologists could predict as accurately as the NHC and (b) the NHC cannot or will not improve their forecasts.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby ijuin » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:42 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
ShuRugal wrote:This is a breakdown of NHC accuracy numbers for 2010, as well as the preceding five-year period. The short of it: over that five-year span, NHC forecasts given 24 hours before a storm's landfall were off by an average of about 60 miles (53 nautical miles), with forecasts given five days ahead of time being off by an average of nearly 300 miles (252 nautical miles). Could I achieve that? No. Could the APA? Probably not. Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea - but bringing the APA into the conversation certainly doesn't convince me of anything. I think 300 miles in any direction seems like quite a big range. Would that range of error really get much bigger with a smaller budget?


If the wind vector differs or shifts by just 2 knots from what is expected, then the difference in any weather system's location over 120 hours (five days) is about 240 nautical miles. Considering that police radar guns are often inaccurate by an amount larger than this, it is not so surprising that extremely precise measurements of the storm's velocity are unavailable. It's not like you can just use GPS to plot its velocity directly. Also, the instant a tropical storm touches land anywhere, the topography of the land induced turbulence in the storm, making its future course harder to predict--it would take a supercomputer beyond what we currently have to simulate it to the degree that the meteorologists could be held legally liable for being mistaken.

Compared to what the situation was 50 years ago just before the first meteorological satellites were available, the current situation is a massive improvement. Back then, sending out scout airplanes was the only way to know that a hurricane even existed more than a few hours before landfall unless a ship had accidentally stumbled across it, and 120 years ago, there was NO WAY of knowing that a hurricane was coming until it appeared on the horizon, because there were no aircraft and no radio for ships to warn the mainland (so their only chance was to hope to outrun the storm itself).

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby steampunktripod » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:44 am UTC

Definitely American Psychological, Jean Piaget has a scale of levels of development. The scale for infants (miss you ap psych) had a fifth level which involves trying new things with objects and the environment, not sure if he's referencing that or just the scale in general (as there are 4 main levels).

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:02 am UTC

skine wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:This is a breakdown of NHC accuracy numbers for 2010, as well as the preceding five-year period. The short of it: over that five-year span, NHC forecasts given 24 hours before a storm's landfall were off by an average of about 60 miles (53 nautical miles), with forecasts given five days ahead of time being off by an average of nearly 300 miles (252 nautical miles). Could I achieve that? No. Could the APA? Probably not. Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea - but bringing the APA into the conversation certainly doesn't convince me of anything. I think 300 miles in any direction seems like quite a big range. Would that range of error really get much bigger with a smaller budget?

To put those numbers into perspective, a typical hurricane is about 300 miles in diameter, with a radium of maximum wind (RMW) of about 30 miles (the RMW is the distance between the center of the hurricane and the maximum wind velocities).


I'm not sure what the diameter of the hurricane has to do with the accuracy of the forecast. In 2004, Tampa was ordered evacuated because of a hurricane that was going to hit in less than 36 hours. The next day, the hurricane hit Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, more than 100 miles south of Tampa in an area that was relatively unprepared because the forecasts didn't project the storm hitting there. Less than two days earlier, mind you. Meanwhile, Tampa suffered minimal damage. This forecast was wrong no matter how wide the hurricane was. And this is hardly the only time this has happened.

Hurricane forecasts don't say "some little piece of this massive storm will hit place x." If they did, then the above claim that the storm would hit Tampa would have been correct. But it doesn't work that way, which is why the diameter of the storm is irrelevant. They're still off by an average of 300 miles (at the 120-hour mark, that is) regardless of the size of the storm. The eye (or close to it) was projected to hit Tampa less than two days before landfall, and instead hit about 120 to 150 miles away. So an area that may have expected the outskirts of the storm instead got the devastating part, the area south of THERE that was expecting nothing got the outskirts, and the area that was expecting the devastating part got the outskirts on the other side. More than 20 people died directly or indirectly as a result of the storm, according to Wikipedia. Thousands more evacuated needlessly. If the NHS couldn't predict this, a day before it happened, what can it do?

This is, of course, ignoring your assumptions that (a) most meteorologists could predict as accurately as the NHC


My exact words were: "Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea."

All I said was, the really, really, really stupid introduction of the APA into the discussion by this comic does nothing to convince me that budget cuts to the NHC will seriously impact its ability to forecast hurricanes. If you have some sort of empirical evidence to support that theory, please share, but you don't have to make up arguments and attribute them to me.

Edit: Changed it a bit ... think I was unnecessarily asshole-ish. (well, moreso than it is after the edit. :))

ljuin wrote:Also, the instant a tropical storm touches land anywhere, the topography of the land induced turbulence in the storm, making its future course harder to predict--it would take a supercomputer beyond what we currently have to simulate it to the degree that the meteorologists could be held legally liable for being mistaken.


... which is precisely why we're just talking about forecasts of where the hurricane makes landfall?

If the wind vector differs or shifts by just 2 knots from what is expected, then the difference in any weather system's location over 120 hours (five days) is about 240 nautical miles. Considering that police radar guns are often inaccurate by an amount larger than this, it is not so surprising that extremely precise measurements of the storm's velocity are unavailable. It's not like you can just use GPS to plot its velocity directly. Also, the instant a tropical storm touches land anywhere, the topography of the land induced turbulence in the storm, making its future course harder to predict--it would take a supercomputer beyond what we currently have to simulate it to the degree that the meteorologists could be held legally liable for being mistaken.

Compared to what the situation was 50 years ago just before the first meteorological satellites were available, the current situation is a massive improvement. Back then, sending out scout airplanes was the only way to know that a hurricane even existed more than a few hours before landfall unless a ship had accidentally stumbled across it, and 120 years ago, there was NO WAY of knowing that a hurricane was coming until it appeared on the horizon, because there were no aircraft and no radio for ships to warn the mainland (so their only chance was to hope to outrun the storm itself).


Couldn't all of this also be said of any other weather forecast? I'm pretty sure the NHC is not the only meteorology outfit in the world that has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past 120 years. I get that forecasting hurricanes is really, really hard. So is forecasting any other aspect of the weather - just yesterday, the forecast said 70 percent chance of rain here, but it didn't rain! If the NHC can't do it consistently, though, then maybe budget cuts aren't totally unjustified.

My assertion is two-fold: 1) It's at least possible that the NHC could be just as reliable as it is now on a lesser budget, I don't know for sure and nothing said here has convinced me otherwise, and 2) much more importantly, the framing of the argument in this comic is really, really stupid.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby The Moomin » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:51 am UTC

I'm intrigued by these police radar guns that are inaccurate by over 5 days, tell me more.
I possibly don't pay enough attention to what's going on.
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Soma
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Soma » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:02 am UTC

As a european, I dont get the joke even after it has been explained :|

Oh well...

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby JustDoug » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:05 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote: ... NHC forecasts given 24 hours before a storm's landfall were off by an average of about 60 miles (53 nautical miles), with forecasts given five days ahead of time being off by an average of nearly 300 miles (252 nautical miles). Could I achieve that? No. Could the APA? Probably not. Does that mean that most meteorologists couldn't predict, within a range of 600 miles, where a storm will land five days from now? I'm not sure if they could - I really have no idea - but bringing the APA into the conversation certainly doesn't convince me of anything. I think 300 miles in any direction seems like quite a big range. Would that range of error really get much bigger with a smaller budget?


That's because the NHC disseminates information and warnings. They don't claim perfection in forecasting- which is obvious if you ever read one of their warnings. IN fact, much of their warnings are about just how inaccurate their projections can be. They're working on that, though I do believe their primary job is to issue those warnings in a timely fashion- which might be where a lot of the money is going, don't you think?

Before there was an NHC or any sort of centralized forecasting, we used to have things like hundreds, if not thousands, dying in hurricanes that arrived unannounced in a foul mood and looking to kick some ass. Galveston, Okeechobee, [REMOVE ME: brain fart]Katrina[end brain fart] or Great New England Hurricane ring any bells?

NHC is a CENTER for dispersal of hurricane information, so the population of the coastal village of Lowdowne GA - population 932, 0.5 feet above mean sea level - gets warned in sufficient time, rather than depending upon the local Sheriff one county over to phone something that a storm's a-comin' and it should be there in about a half hour, tops- Oh, and it just washed away all the bridges to safety.

And now, the news.

As for the joke- I had to Wikipedia the name, but once I discovered it was the person who'd come up with the stages of cognitive development... Interest in objects and their properties has little to do with Philosophy in this case, except tangentially as a contributing influence. Think more along the lines of, 'Gee, what is that? It sure is pretty... I wonder what it tastes like? I bet it feels smooth!'
Last edited by JustDoug on Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Jamaican Castle » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:09 am UTC

I know a few of the comics lately have taken a turn for the didactic, but I honestly don't think this was one of them. It was just one of those "wait, what?" ideas that Randall has from time to time. A bit like Highway Engineering Pranks.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Solus » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:13 am UTC

Soma wrote:As a european, I dont get the joke even after it has been explained :|

Oh well...


I think there's been a little too much emphasis in this thread on the localised aspects of the joke. I'm Australian and I still find it funny. Ignore the bit about the NHC. Understanding the joke depends on at least some knowledge of Piaget's theory of cognitive development, and of the concept of how the strength of a hurricane is rated, and how it's sometimes described when the rating changes (i.e., development). And an ability to combine the concepts into the absurd image of a hurricane as a developing child.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Use The Bug Luke » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:22 am UTC

Hmm, Ok, so EVERYBODY seems to have missed it.

Its something some types would call a 'whacky idea' but it has been around for quite a few years.

The idea is this.

All that is required for a brain to form spontaneously - what is sometimes called 'ignition' in AI circles - is essentially just a system of sufficient complexity (or rather, granularity), that is capable of keeping persistent states.

This is similar to the proven way in which DNA (and yes all its antecedent machinery) evolved from simpler molecules, through the simple abilities of carbonates to polymerise and acids and bases to stick together like magnets (sic) using weak bonding.

Thus - it has been proposed - there is a possibility that atmospheric systems may just be such a base. Nobody takes the idea of an individual storm being intelligent (on earth), simply because they are too small to have sufficient granularity.

But take a look at gas giants, and it starts to get a lot more plausible. There are a great many different persistent structures which have been observed in Jupiter and Saturns atmospheres, and no doubt Uranus and Neptune will have their own things to say when the probes get a good look at them. These structures are usually long-lived vortices, eg. Jupiters' Red Spot, Blue Spot, and its many White Spots. But there are lots of smaller, 'fiddlier', persistent atmospheric effects that 'feed into' and react off each other.

There are even models for how such structures could form 'logic gates' analogous to our own computer circuitry.

Its a beautiful idea - what if Jupiter is alive and looking at us?

Surprised nobody in the intelligent crowd that read Randall's rants picked up on this.....er I guess I did. :P (ducks, quickly)

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby bobbbbbbby1234 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:36 am UTC

Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:34 am UTC

bobbbbbbby1234 wrote:Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.


that was my first assumption too, i really think xkcd should come with a glossary for strips like this where getting the joke is contingent on knowing certain words, facts or acronyms.

also i never understood the term "real estate" it is not one we use in the UK, and i don't really understand when an estate is ever not real...

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Professor Normal » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:35 am UTC

steampunktripod wrote:Definitely American Psychological, Jean Piaget has a scale of levels of development. The scale for infants (miss you ap psych) had a fifth level which involves trying new things with objects and the environment, not sure if he's referencing that or just the scale in general (as there are 4 main levels).


Psychologists measure cognitive development on the 5 stage Piaget scale. The NHC measures hurricane strength on the 5 stage Saffir-Simpson scale.
Last edited by Professor Normal on Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:52 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:38 am UTC

Huh. Guess that liberal arts education really did pay off. I remembered just enough of psychology class to remember that Jean Piaget was a psychologist. And that's mainly because the professor was Brazillian so every new name and term I heard in that class I remember in his distinct hilarious accent. (Eb, if you're reading this, first of all hi and second of all please don't hurt me.)

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Eternal Density wrote:The difficulty of understanding this joke is a 7 on Moh's scale of hardness.

And a coolness factor of 0.42 MegaFonzies.

Clearly that needs to be bumped up to .504.
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby AlbeyAmakiir » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:00 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
bobbbbbbby1234 wrote:Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.


that was my first assumption too, i really think xkcd should come with a glossary for strips like this where getting the joke is contingent on knowing certain words, facts or acronyms.

Maybe what Irregular Webcomic does and spend thirty paragraphs explaining each comic, teaching you about advanced physics, chemistry and history. Only a little bit of sarcasm, because I actually do enjoy reading those.

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AvatarIII
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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:18 am UTC

AlbeyAmakiir wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
bobbbbbbby1234 wrote:Worst XKCD ever. I thought 'properties' was referring to real estate.


that was my first assumption too, i really think xkcd should come with a glossary for strips like this where getting the joke is contingent on knowing certain words, facts or acronyms.

Maybe what Irregular Webcomic does and spend thirty paragraphs explaining each comic, teaching you about advanced physics, chemistry and history. Only a little bit of sarcasm, because I actually do enjoy reading those.


I think that would be contrary to xkcd's simplicity, but perhaps just something like:
Jean Piaget - Psychologist well known for theorizing on stages of cognitive development.
NHC - National Hurricane Center.
APA - American Psychological Association.

and maybe some wikipedia links, and have it all hidden at the bottom of the page, would definitely have been enough for me to have actually got the joke on my first read, instead of having to come to the forum in search of answers, maybe I'm just being lazy, but i bet there are plenty of lazy people out there that didn't get the joke and couldn't even be bothered to check the forum for an explanation.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby Softfoot » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:38 am UTC

I giggled. I suspect that Randall has recently encountered small children. Ever heard the phrase 'Looks like a hurricane has hit it'? This describes my house after my nieces have explored my bookshelves, discovered the toys and puzzles I use for work, gotten distracted several times and then decided they were hungry. Mid-meal, one or the other may decide that the physical properties of their food (texture, taste, colour, what-happens-if-I-squish-it-against-the-wall/table/floor) is more important than the nutrition value.

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Re: 0957: "Development"

Postby radtea » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:54 am UTC

mjh2539 wrote:Considering the fact that "objects and their properties" is most definitely in the domain of philosophy, I'd lean toward it meaning the "American Philosophical Association", however..


Philosophers study the contents of their own imaginings. Physicists study objects and their properties. Ergo, APA must mean the "American Physics Society".

Anyone proposing to cut NHC is just proving they are either a) ignorant of how to cut costs in a meaningful way or b) not in the least interested in actually reducing the deficit. As anyone who has ever optimized software knows, you don't get major increases in speed (factors of two) by going after a million little things. You get big gains by going after big costs first, in time or money. In the US that's the military, your ridiculously inefficient socialized health care system, and social security.

A quick google turns up numbers in the tens of millions for the NHC programs being cut. The deficit is a trillion. So we're having an argument about 0.01% of the deficit. Your military budget is $700 billion. A 10% cut to the military is more than the entire NOAA budget (~$5 billion). Revamping your ridiculously inefficient socialized health care system to the point where you spend the same amount per capita as Canada does would save even more https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Comparison_of_the_health_care_systems_in_Canada_and_the_United_States.

No one who is serious about deficit reduction would pay any attention to the NOAA programs at all.
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