1321: "Cold"

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z64dan
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby z64dan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:51 pm UTC

I think the main problem with climate change is that there is really no clear solution to the problem of CO2 emissions.

Let's see... if the US stopped emitting CO2, what would happen...?
Our air would probably be cleaner (as there wouldn't be any other particles from carbon-based emissions)...
Our electricity would probably be more expensive... But hey, clean air, right?

What about the rest of the world? I'm sure Europe would jump on the bandwagon (they are already ahead of the US in many respects, related to CO2 reductions).

But what about... China? India? Are they going to clean up their emissions? How would they afford to do so?

What about OPEC? Will they be happy not selling oil to anyone? And if they're still able to sell the same amount of oil, then uh... how are emissions being reduced?

I guess I just don't understand what the solution to this problem even is.

Even if we all agree that CO2 is bad, how are we supposed to make the rest of the world agree with us? Force countries with less military might than us to give up CO2 emissions? Otherwise, they won't.

I'm holding out for Fusion and new battery technologies, personally. Also, thorium based reactors are much safer than traditional reactors. It always seems odd to me that environmentalists trash nuclear when it's such an obvious replacement for CO2-heavy coal emissions.

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dash
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby dash » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:55 pm UTC

http://xkcd.com/164/

Image

When he posted that first perspective to the whole issue I thought his taking a non-stance was brilliant. This recent leaning towards taking a stance kind of undoes some of the charm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_ ... ng_Swindle

It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.
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Flumble
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Flumble » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:01 pm UTC

scharb wrote:Count me in as a Farenheit fan.
Temperatures <0 degF may kill you;
Temperatures >100 degF may kill you.
It divides humans' (safely) survivable temperature range neatly into a one-hundred base. What's not to like?

Temperatures below 0ºC may kill you and temperatures above 100ºC may kill you, so you can just as well use Celsius' scale.
Care to explain why exactly 0-100ºF is safely survivable contrary to, say, 50-110ºF or 57-76ºF?

Does anyone know a more fundamental scale to measure temperatures? Hundredths of the difference between tripling and boiling water is just an 'arbitrary' choice.
Boltzmanns or something...?

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dash
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby dash » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:05 pm UTC

z64dan wrote:I guess I just don't understand what the solution to this problem even is.


Technology! Or more specifically, ignoring the problem completely is the best possible solution. It will sort itself out.

Sometimes doing nothing is the right response. Collectively deciding to create an all encompassing central authority with unlimited power to enforce behaviour for the sole purpose of dealing with a possibly nonexistent human induced global warming problem... seems to me the cure is far worse than the disease.
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chenille
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby chenille » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:15 pm UTC

dash wrote:It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.

I can't believe people can take this at straight value; there seems to be a strange ploy that you take whatever your side is doing wrong and accuse the other side of it. So John Kerry, not George Bush, needed his military record questioned; health care funded by the American government, rather than insurance companies that regularly cut people off, means death panels; and so it is not skeptic think-tanks like the Heartland Institute that have hidden agendas, but rather scientists who study climate and generally believe in global warming. After all, they receive most of their funding from the same governments that have been reluctant to take action and sometimes even muzzle them.

dash wrote:Collectively deciding to create an all encompassing central authority with unlimited power to enforce behaviour for the sole purpose of dealing with a possibly nonexistent human induced global warming problem... seems to me the cure is far worse than the disease.

Since you just announced you don't believe in the disease, and further accuse anyone who trusts the disease of being part of some secret plot, it's not a surprise you think any cure would be worse. Some people who've actually investigated it have other ideas.

flumble wrote:Does anyone know a more fundamental scale to measure temperatures?

I don't know if it's been given a name as a unit, but there is the Planck temperature. You would need prefixes above yotta to make it useful, though.

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da Doctah
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:22 pm UTC

I'm a little disappointed that the Réaumur, Rømer and Rankine scales are so little used. I'd enjoy watching the slap-fights over which one has the right to use the single-letter abbreviation.
Last edited by da Doctah on Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

speising
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby speising » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

dash wrote:http://xkcd.com/164/

Image

When he posted that first perspective to the whole issue I thought his taking a non-stance was brilliant. This recent leaning towards taking a stance kind of undoes some of the charm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_ ... ng_Swindle

It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.


wow, i'm just happy that randalls lettering has improved since then.

biohazard
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby biohazard » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

z64dan wrote:I think the main problem with climate change is that there is really no clear solution to the problem of CO2 emissions.

Let's see... if the US stopped emitting CO2, what would happen...?
Our air would probably be cleaner (as there wouldn't be any other particles from carbon-based emissions)...
Our electricity would probably be more expensive... But hey, clean air, right?

What about the rest of the world? I'm sure Europe would jump on the bandwagon (they are already ahead of the US in many respects, related to CO2 reductions).

But what about... China? India? Are they going to clean up their emissions? How would they afford to do so?

What about OPEC? Will they be happy not selling oil to anyone? And if they're still able to sell the same amount of oil, then uh... how are emissions being reduced?

I guess I just don't understand what the solution to this problem even is.

Even if we all agree that CO2 is bad, how are we supposed to make the rest of the world agree with us? Force countries with less military might than us to give up CO2 emissions? Otherwise, they won't.

I'm holding out for Fusion and new battery technologies, personally. Also, thorium based reactors are much safer than traditional reactors. It always seems odd to me that environmentalists trash nuclear when it's such an obvious replacement for CO2-heavy coal emissions.


So what you solution is to do nothing and hope for a magic bullet to be created? The Idea of doing nothing because we can't make the rest of the world go alone and that it will sort itself out in the end is horrible and part of the reason the world is as fucked up as it is. What we should do and are currently doing to some extent is focus on what we can change and work on improving both the efficiency of how we use a transmit energy and work of cleaning up our sources of energy this is the work of decades. China has a lot more pressing environmental issues then CO emissions they have emphasized economic growth over all else and the pollution is literally killing people there I expect change to come over the next decade or so as more and more chinese people speak out against what is being done to them and there country. North america, europe, japan and the other developed parts of the globe need to set an example for the world when it comes to environmental stewardship. Wringing ones hands and saying we can't do anything because some other part of the world might not do something is a great idea if you want to keep the status quo.

Chrisfs
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Chrisfs » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:33 pm UTC

I get an error when I try to go to the link on the comic. It says there's no such page. Does anyone have the proper link ?

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dash
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby dash » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:39 pm UTC

chenille wrote:Since you just announced you don't believe in the disease, and further accuse anyone who trusts the disease of being part of some secret plot, it's not a surprise you think any cure would be worse. Some people who've actually investigated it have other ideas.


Did I announce I don't believe in the disease?

I think you just announced you're locked into binary thinking. That is, if a person seems to be anti-Al Gore, then that person must be pro-Bush.

Maybe there is a third option.
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chenille
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby chenille » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:43 pm UTC

Calling something "possibly non-existent" does not say to me you believe in it, no. And I don't think I called you pro-Bush, only noted a smear tactic his supporters used.

z64dan
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby z64dan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:52 pm UTC

biohazard wrote:So what you solution is to do nothing and hope for a magic bullet to be created? The Idea of doing nothing because we can't make the rest of the world go alone and that it will sort itself out in the end is horrible and part of the reason the world is as fucked up as it is. What we should do and are currently doing to some extent is focus on what we can change and work on improving both the efficiency of how we use a transmit energy and work of cleaning up our sources of energy this is the work of decades. China has a lot more pressing environmental issues then CO emissions they have emphasized economic growth over all else and the pollution is literally killing people there I expect change to come over the next decade or so as more and more chinese people speak out against what is being done to them and there country. North america, europe, japan and the other developed parts of the globe need to set an example for the world when it comes to environmental stewardship. Wringing ones hands and saying we can't do anything because some other part of the world might not do something is a great idea if you want to keep the status quo.


Yes, when doing "something" won't make a difference, doing "nothing" is a perfectly reasonable course of action. Reducing our country's CO2 output won't decrease the worldwide CO2 output, therefor it does nothing, yet costs us a great deal. If we really wanted to reduce CO2 without huge economic impact, we would use more nuclear reactors ourselves, and sell safe nuclear reactors to other countries for very cheap (or come to their country and build it for free), thereby encouraging them to stop burning coal. And then I would put billions of dollars into new battery technologies. The technology is out there, it just has to be discovered.

Sadly nuclear technology has gotten the short end of the stick, even though deaths related to nuclear power are lower than deaths from any other power source.

Nuclear is literally the safest, and has the smallest carbon footprint of any energy source. But we're terrified of it.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Pi-y ... deaths.jpg

rmsgrey
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:59 pm UTC

z64dan wrote:Yes, when doing "something" won't make a difference, doing "nothing" is a perfectly reasonable course of action.


Which is why no-one should vote.

gimmespamnow
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby gimmespamnow » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:05 pm UTC

dash wrote:It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.


I'm worried that I might get hurt. As such, I have a first aid kit in my house and a band-aid in my wallet and health insurance. If I don't get hurt, then those are bad investments, (health insurance is expensive!) but if I do, those are good investments. If you turn the entire thing on its head and look at it from the perspective of what I've done to make myself safe, you could claim that I have a hidden agenda and I'm planning on hurting myself or that I'm an insurance salesman or you could go even further and suggest that getting hurt is a myth and that we are all immortal. That said, the important words there are "you could claim"; you wouldn't be right...

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Pfhorrest
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:31 pm UTC

It's been touched on in this thread, but I really think the point needs to be emphasized that the existence of a problem and the advisability of a particular response to it are separate issues. I don't really have any reason to question the existence of the problem, or "believe" in it either -- the scientific consensus is what it is, that's not my area of expertise and I'm not making any commitments to anything in that area. I have more things to say about the appropriateness of any given response to that which may be proposed, largely in the vein of ends justifying means and the like, but anything I'd want to say there is more a general comment on the kinds of responses which are appropriate for solving any problem, not this one in particular.

The only real point of the climate change debate I want to say anything about it to complain how (some significant number of people on) both sides conflate the factual question (what is happening) with the normative question (what should we do): it's taken for granted that if X is happening, Y is what must be done about it, which is put forth at first by the people who agree that X is happening, but then people who object to Y being done just accept that inference and turn to attacking the truth of whether X is happening instead.

It reminds me of the debate about nature vs nurture and homosexuality. I have no comment at all on which side of that debate is correct, but it strikes me as really weird that both sides seem to tacitly agree that homosexuality being acceptable depends on it being not a choice. Like people are trying to defend homosexuality by saying "they can't help it, they're just born that way!", when... what the hell, there's nothing there to be "helped", because nothing wrong is being done! Why is the argument about a normative question ("is it ok to do this?") being transposed onto an at-best-tangentially-related factual question ("what causes people to do this?")?

Because people can't keep their "is" and "ought" properly separated, that's why.
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Crissa
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Crissa » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:50 pm UTC

speising wrote:regarding F vs. C: the freezing point of water is a pretty important factor in our day-to-day life. what's that in F again? and at what temperature does water boil?

Is it? It almost never is 32F at my house. Certainly it's never 100C. I'd have to memorize the numbers 32 and 212 or 0 and 100 as freezing boiling anyhow. Yeah, the second is slightly better for that <i>but I don't live in boiling water</i> so I don't really care. 100F is above body temperature and really dangerous and 0F seems arbitrary but to anyone it is and so is any delineation point - water can and will freeze at plus or minus C based upon lots of common factors like pressure and salinity. For my weather reporting I want a larger detail in the range the temperatures actually happen.

keithl wrote:There are certainly bones to pick with the climate cult. First, a large fraction (perhaps most) of the runup since prehistoric times is due to agricultural land use change and herd animals, not industry, which didn't get big before World War 2.

That's still anthropogenic.

Biofuel is agriculture gone amok.

That would define an ad hominem fallacy.

Second, most so-called green technology isn't

And that's not even really a statement. Most remedies in the drug store really aren't really remedies for anything, either, but that doesn't mean that medicine doesn't work just because some either don't work out or are mislabeled homeopathic nonsense.

z64dan wrote:Yes, when doing "something" won't make a difference, doing "nothing" is a perfectly reasonable course of action. Reducing our country's CO2 output won't decrease the worldwide CO2 output, therefor it does nothing, yet costs us a great deal.

That's not really logical. The US is responsible for a large portion of CO2 output. Therefore, reducing it would reduce worldwide output. Of course, the slower we do it, the less you'll see this, but... Basically, any time the US economy falters, global CO2 output also falters.

Secondly, there's no real evidence that choosing to output less CO2 is economically harmful. We don't depend on giant smelters using coal for our economy - even moreso, no one is suggesting we turn off the smelters, just to use a better power source. Replacing power sources is a huge economy expense which would drive economic activity.


I'm just surprised there's any deniers here. It's completely ascientific. And the number of completely bunked points is astounding. Predicting Ice Ages? Basically no one. Temperatures are being hidden? Bunk. Temperatures have been higher in the history of civilization? Also bunk. Climate changes all the time? Have you never heard of velocity?

Yeesh.

-Crissa

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dash
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby dash » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:31 pm UTC

gimmespamnow wrote:
dash wrote:It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.


I'm worried that I might get hurt. As such, I have a first aid kit in my house and a band-aid in my wallet and health insurance. If I don't get hurt, then those are bad investments, (health insurance is expensive!) but if I do, those are good investments. If you turn the entire thing on its head and look at it from the perspective of what I've done to make myself safe, you could claim that I have a hidden agenda and I'm planning on hurting myself or that I'm an insurance salesman or you could go even further and suggest that getting hurt is a myth and that we are all immortal. That said, the important words there are "you could claim"; you wouldn't be right...


It's well documented that Al Gore stood to make millions upon millions of dollars in the CO2 pollution exchange. That was an artificial market where 1st world nations would pay 3rd world nations for their pollution credits which would go unused. The creators of the exchange (early investors) would have made $$$. Al Gore was an early adopter. Now all he had to do was use his political clout to push for the exchange.

Now, is there really global warming caused by humans, or is there not global warming caused by humans? The question is irrelevant. Al Gore would have made vast amounts of money if the CO2 exchange had come to fruition. There is a serious conflict of interest there. I choose to believe Al Gore was a scumbag. As are all politicians. It's a prerequisite for the job.

Along the lines of insurance, a fellow named Malthus had some pretty convincing math arguing that the world was close to its capacity for sustaining human life. What with the exponential growth of population. Might have been at the time an opportunity to invest in some equivalent "insurance". Farmland? And as we know the predicted catastrophe hasn't occured yet.

Insurance is a sucker's bet, unless the event you're insuring against actually does occur. Just common sense stuff. No matter what you do you're gambling. That's life.
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sonar1313
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby sonar1313 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:46 pm UTC

biohazard wrote:
z64dan wrote:I think the main problem with climate change is that there is really no clear solution to the problem of CO2 emissions.

Let's see... if the US stopped emitting CO2, what would happen...?
Our air would probably be cleaner (as there wouldn't be any other particles from carbon-based emissions)...
Our electricity would probably be more expensive... But hey, clean air, right?

What about the rest of the world? I'm sure Europe would jump on the bandwagon (they are already ahead of the US in many respects, related to CO2 reductions).

But what about... China? India? Are they going to clean up their emissions? How would they afford to do so?

What about OPEC? Will they be happy not selling oil to anyone? And if they're still able to sell the same amount of oil, then uh... how are emissions being reduced?

I guess I just don't understand what the solution to this problem even is.

Even if we all agree that CO2 is bad, how are we supposed to make the rest of the world agree with us? Force countries with less military might than us to give up CO2 emissions? Otherwise, they won't.

I'm holding out for Fusion and new battery technologies, personally. Also, thorium based reactors are much safer than traditional reactors. It always seems odd to me that environmentalists trash nuclear when it's such an obvious replacement for CO2-heavy coal emissions.


So what you solution is to do nothing and hope for a magic bullet to be created? The Idea of doing nothing because we can't make the rest of the world go alone and that it will sort itself out in the end is horrible and part of the reason the world is as fucked up as it is. What we should do and are currently doing to some extent is focus on what we can change and work on improving both the efficiency of how we use a transmit energy and work of cleaning up our sources of energy this is the work of decades. China has a lot more pressing environmental issues then CO emissions they have emphasized economic growth over all else and the pollution is literally killing people there I expect change to come over the next decade or so as more and more chinese people speak out against what is being done to them and there country. North america, europe, japan and the other developed parts of the globe need to set an example for the world when it comes to environmental stewardship. Wringing ones hands and saying we can't do anything because some other part of the world might not do something is a great idea if you want to keep the status quo.

Here's the problem with the whole "set an example" idea. Let's say I own a company. Call it a cement company, since at some point not too long ago Congress was looking into regulating, specifically, the output of cement plants in the name of global warming prevention. Let's say they do so and drastically tighten up the regulations on cement plants.

Well, that's going to be awfully expensive for me and my cement plant in the States. I don't want to go out of business. If I keep manufacturing cement here, I'll have to jack prices up or else make drastic cuts elsewhere. I'm moving my plant to China, where there are no such regulations and I can keep selling cement at the same price. Most other people in the industry probably make the same decision.

Now the world is dirtier, not cleaner, because 20 cement plants went from somewhere where they had to operate cleanly to somewhere where they can operate as nasty as they like, not to mention the effect of shipping cement back across the ocean.

The typical playbook is then to cast the companies in a terrible light for not wanting to play by the oh-so-well-intentioned rules. "We were just trying to help and those dirty old corporations are the bad guys." Politicians, of course, can get away with not actually studying the impact of what they do, and instead simply writing well-intentioned laws without giving a fig for the outcomes, because they don't have to answer to outcomes, they just have to answer to voters, which is easy if you play to their emotions correctly.

Thank God for the science of economics, which studies how the world actually works, and gives us the law of diminishing marginal returns. Continuing to hammer away at already way-ahead regulations will have less and less and less effect the more there's a major gap between the strictest and least strict regulations. If you really want to cut down on carbon emissions, why would you not pick the low-hanging fruit and go where there's the most cutting to do? I.e, China. If China's regulations get stricter, ours and Europe's will look like more palatable choices.

gimmespamnow
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby gimmespamnow » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:57 am UTC

dash wrote:
gimmespamnow wrote:
dash wrote:It's just unfortunate that so many global warming enthusiasts have so much hidden agenda. Al Gore as worst offender.


I'm worried that I might get hurt. As such, I have a first aid kit in my house and a band-aid in my wallet and health insurance. If I don't get hurt, then those are bad investments, (health insurance is expensive!) but if I do, those are good investments. If you turn the entire thing on its head and look at it from the perspective of what I've done to make myself safe, you could claim that I have a hidden agenda and I'm planning on hurting myself or that I'm an insurance salesman or you could go even further and suggest that getting hurt is a myth and that we are all immortal. That said, the important words there are "you could claim"; you wouldn't be right...


It's well documented that Al Gore stood to make millions upon millions of dollars in the CO2 pollution exchange. That was an artificial market where 1st world nations would pay 3rd world nations for their pollution credits which would go unused. The creators of the exchange (early investors) would have made $$$. Al Gore was an early adopter. Now all he had to do was use his political clout to push for the exchange.

Now, is there really global warming caused by humans, or is there not global warming caused by humans? The question is irrelevant. Al Gore would have made vast amounts of money if the CO2 exchange had come to fruition. There is a serious conflict of interest there. I choose to believe Al Gore was a scumbag. As are all politicians. It's a prerequisite for the job.

Bold add for emphasis.

We all make financial decisions based on our personal feelings. If Al Gore thought that the most important issue facing the world was Climate Change, but had his personal money invested in coal, people might doubt the strength of his ideals. But he isn't a hypocrite, so instead people assume bad faith. How can he win with people like you? Where should Al Gore invest his money? Keep in mind it is about $200M and he probably wants a positive return on his investments.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Chrisfs » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:16 am UTC

What you are arguing for is a rush to the bottom. That approach means nothing happens anywhere. No improvements in any kind of environmental,safety or labor practices because some country somewhere will always not have that kind of regulation. Citing economics is somewhat of a smokescreen. basic economics works great in a simplified, hypothetical world with a few variables. Real world dynamics are much more complex.
In your example, there's costs associated with building a cement factory overseas, there's cost associated with dismantling the ones here. There's costs associated with shipping the cement over in large container ships that make it more expensive than cement produced here. Cement is a rather dense material, so it's expensive to ship. The regulation could require any cement used in the US to be made via a certain process, so your Chinese factory will have to meet those standards anyways, or if as you propose, China cleans up their act in a few years, you are going to have to retool your Chinese cement factories anyways.

The 'set the example' approach has a precedent. We banned HDFCs because they hurt the ozone layer, other countries followed and the situation is improved. We eliminated lead from gasoline, air quality improved. The US is not Lichtenstein, it produces a decent amount of industrial output and if we don't pass those regs, then we have very little leverage with which to ask China and other countries to change theirs. If the regs are restrictive and drive up the cost, then the China will accuse us of wanting to hinder them in the global market to our benefit.


sonar1313 wrote:Here's the problem with the whole "set an example" idea. Let's say I own a company. Call it a cement company, since at some point not too long ago Congress was looking into regulating, specifically, the output of cement plants in the name of global warming prevention. Let's say they do so and drastically tighten up the regulations on cement plants.

Well, that's going to be awfully expensive for me and my cement plant in the States. I don't want to go out of business. If I keep manufacturing cement here, I'll have to jack prices up or else make drastic cuts elsewhere. I'm moving my plant to China, where there are no such regulations and I can keep selling cement at the same price. Most other people in the industry probably make the same decision.

Now the world is dirtier, not cleaner, because 20 cement plants went from somewhere where they had to operate cleanly to somewhere where they can operate as nasty as they like, not to mention the effect of shipping cement back across the ocean.

The typical playbook is then to cast the companies in a terrible light for not wanting to play by the oh-so-well-intentioned rules. "We were just trying to help and those dirty old corporations are the bad guys." Politicians, of course, can get away with not actually studying the impact of what they do, and instead simply writing well-intentioned laws without giving a fig for the outcomes, because they don't have to answer to outcomes, they just have to answer to voters, which is easy if you play to their emotions correctly.

Thank God for the science of economics, which studies how the world actually works, and gives us the law of diminishing marginal returns. Continuing to hammer away at already way-ahead regulations will have less and less and less effect the more there's a major gap between the strictest and least strict regulations. If you really want to cut down on carbon emissions, why would you not pick the low-hanging fruit and go where there's the most cutting to do? I.e, China. If China's regulations get stricter, ours and Europe's will look like more palatable choices.

SchighSchagh
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby SchighSchagh » Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:38 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:Gee Willikers you're not using LaTex? :twisted: . But srsly anyone who uses Word or its clones to do technical writing -- ya know with numbers and equations and stuff -- is just asking for sadness and pain.


Because using LaTeX isn't also just asking for sadness and pain? Don't get me wrong, I think LaTeX output is gorgeous, but the input is almost as bad as obfuscated Perl.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Durandal_1707 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:00 am UTC

I just wanted to say, Randall, thanks for this comic. My favorite xkcd in some time, and addresses a major pet peeve of mine. Bravo.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Durandal_1707 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:19 am UTC

Okay, obligatory response to the thread:

chenille wrote:
alun009 wrote:While we're at it, it's aluminium not aluminum...

Aluminium always kind of bothers me, though, because it seems really poorly thought out. Yes, metals are supposed to end in -ium, and aluminum doesn't. That's because it was originally supposed to be alumium, but someone added an N. I know it's too late now, but if people didn't like that, why would they add yet another syllable instead of just changing it back?

Wikipedia, although they use the "aluminium" spelling (which my Mac's spell checker just flagged as I typed it :P), has a section on the history of the name, and reading it, it looks like "alumium" was simply Sir Humphry Davy's working title while he was still working on the project. "Aluminum" is what Davy (not "someone") settled on by the time he wrote his book. The name came from the latin "alumen." It was no more "supposed" to be called "alumium" than the Nintendo Wii was "supposed" to be called Revolution or Windows Phone 8 was "supposed" to be called Apollo.

Anyway, I'm still wondering why, if metals are supposed to end in "ium", no one has yet attempted to rename "platinum."

Gargravarr wrote:It's amazing how often this idea comes up, that a local cold snap disproves global warming. There are perfectly normal people who think it's a valid point. Didn't they learn about averages in grade 4 or something? The argument is to climatology (and maths) as "if man came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?" is to biology. The only appropriate response is to groan.
[/quote]
If you came from your mom, why is there still your mom?

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Klear
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Klear » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:01 am UTC

Durandal_1707 wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:It's amazing how often this idea comes up, that a local cold snap disproves global warming. There are perfectly normal people who think it's a valid point. Didn't they learn about averages in grade 4 or something? The argument is to climatology (and maths) as "if man came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?" is to biology. The only appropriate response is to groan.

If you came from your mom, why is there still your mom?


Because there was so much of her in the first place?

sonar1313
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby sonar1313 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:15 am UTC

Chrisfs wrote:What you are arguing for is a rush to the bottom. That approach means nothing happens anywhere. No improvements in any kind of environmental,safety or labor practices because some country somewhere will always not have that kind of regulation. Citing economics is somewhat of a smokescreen. basic economics works great in a simplified, hypothetical world with a few variables. Real world dynamics are much more complex.
In your example, there's costs associated with building a cement factory overseas, there's cost associated with dismantling the ones here. There's costs associated with shipping the cement over in large container ships that make it more expensive than cement produced here. Cement is a rather dense material, so it's expensive to ship. The regulation could require any cement used in the US to be made via a certain process, so your Chinese factory will have to meet those standards anyways, or if as you propose, China cleans up their act in a few years, you are going to have to retool your Chinese cement factories anyways.

The 'set the example' approach has a precedent. We banned HDFCs because they hurt the ozone layer, other countries followed and the situation is improved. We eliminated lead from gasoline, air quality improved. The US is not Lichtenstein, it produces a decent amount of industrial output and if we don't pass those regs, then we have very little leverage with which to ask China and other countries to change theirs. If the regs are restrictive and drive up the cost, then the China will accuse us of wanting to hinder them in the global market to our benefit.

Not one bit of it. I didn't say we should go ahead and drop everything we have in order to match China. What I'm arguing is that since we already have much tighter restrictions than China, tightening them up more won't solve anything.

darthmowzy
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby darthmowzy » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:57 am UTC

44 years of data of one end of the temperature spectrum. The Science is in!

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby zjxs » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:02 am UTC

Image

Physics does not care what you think.

I'm not impressed with the horrific slander of scientists upthread. It's not what I expect here. This film is an excellent grounder on the people who do this work (ie., scientists). http://thiniceclimate.org/trailer

chenille
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby chenille » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:08 am UTC

Durandal_1707 wrote:Wikipedia, although they use the "aluminium" spelling (which my Mac's spell checker just flagged as I typed it :P), has a section on the history of the name, and reading it, it looks like "alumium" was simply Sir Humphry Davy's working title while he was still working on the project. "Aluminum" is what Davy (not "someone") settled on by the time he wrote his book. The name came from the latin "alumen."

Fair enough, and that's interesting, thank you. I'll still say that if you need something that ended in -ium, alumium would have been a better choice. It sounds better and alumen is often shorted to alum anyway.

zjxs wrote:I'm not impressed with the horrific slander of scientists upthread.

Here here. It disgusts me how people can spend their life investigating something for little reward beyond respect, and then should they find something the general public doesn't like, just how many others are happy to spit on everything they've done and accuse them of being part of a horrible evidence-free cabal, and even applaud when their e-mails are hacked. This goes for evolutionary biologists too.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby JustDoug » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:19 am UTC

Klear wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:P.S. Fahrenheit is incredibly more useful than Celsius for measuring weather. 0 degrees: fucking cold. 100 degrees: fucking hot. "It's in the 20s" = bundle up. "It's in the 70s" = it's pleasant. You can give a ten degree range of temperature and people know what that means and what to wear. If I go to Canada and say "it's in the 20s" you wouldn't know whether you might want a jacket for a pleasant autumn day or whether it's going to be close to sweltering.


I really have no clue what to make of this post. How is this any different from Celsius?


It's the scale. 1 - 100 for the temperature range that a human being with rudimentary clothing and shelter can live in long-term, "ideal" mid-point being 50F. Nice and decimal, with the added advantage in that it's much more granular that Centigrade.

It strikes me as a much more human scale and an improvement over celsius for such matters- in fact, it might be a better method of measurement over centigrade for meteorological science- but that's about the only place it does show any advantage.

It's rather like measures in the kitchen. Ounces, cups, pints, etc. work pretty well over c.c. when cooking comes around: so much so that celsius-lands had to finally resort to using weight measures for ingredients. :)

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby JustDoug » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:31 am UTC

Durandal_1707 wrote:
If you came from your mom, why is there still your mom?


Babies are manufactured at the Hosptital out of Mommy stomachs. The mommies get all fat, then have the excess stomach removed at the hospital, which is then used to produce babies. That is why there's plenty of Mommy left over afterwards. If anyone tells you different, they're lying through their teeth.


{Edit to purify plural mommy}
Last edited by JustDoug on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Darekun » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:49 am UTC

rob wrote:if (test = 1) then

Really, the compiler asssumming that the coder's intention is to see whether test can be assigned a value of 1. Where does this make sense?

Worse — the if isn't checking whether test can be set to 1, the if is checking the 1. "if (test = 0) then" would never go in.

There is actually a case where this makes sense, but it's typical of C to take a weird special-case hack and use it in the general case.

Code: Select all

while ( -1 )
{
        Status = FetchInto(ADCData);
        if ( Status ) break;
        //use ADCData
}
printf("Error %d, exiting.", Status);

Code: Select all

while ( ! (Status = FetchInto(ADCData)) )
{
        //use ADCData
}
printf("Error %d, exiting.", Status);

It's less readable, but it saves two lines of code, and scores points on anti-test-in-the-middle ideology.



z64dan wrote:It always seems odd to me that environmentalists trash nuclear when it's such an obvious replacement for CO2-heavy coal emissions.

I think the mistake here is thinking in terms of "a power plant", instead of (say) comparing a nuclear plant to a solar-and-battery field vast enough to produce the same power. But yeah, fission today, fusion tomorrow. I want batteries for other reasons, but they kinda hurt the power production ecology…



Flumble wrote:Does anyone know a more fundamental scale to measure temperatures?

Well, it seems obvious to put 0° at absolute zero; °F and °C are thereby just wrong. What's left is the question of scaling, and I've found it handy to put 1000° at average human body temp.

(Of course, this is roughly the same logic used to generate °F in the first place.)

Kit.
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Kit. » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:18 am UTC

Darekun wrote:
Flumble wrote:Does anyone know a more fundamental scale to measure temperatures?

Yes.

Darekun wrote:Well, it seems obvious to put 0° at absolute zero;

It may seem obvious, but in the grand scheme of things it's just plain wrong.

It's much more sensible to put "absolute zero" at one of the infinities for a "fundamental" scale to measure temperatures.

Gargravarr
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Gargravarr » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:16 am UTC

Klear wrote:
Durandal_1707 wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:It's amazing how often this idea comes up, that a local cold snap disproves global warming. There are perfectly normal people who think it's a valid point. Didn't they learn about averages in grade 4 or something? The argument is to climatology (and maths) as "if man came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?" is to biology. The only appropriate response is to groan.

If you came from your mom, why is there still your mom?

Because there was so much of her in the first place?

Hey, is that an insult to my mom? She'd be delighted. Dad always complained she was too skinny.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby orthogon » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:08 pm UTC

rob wrote:
orthogon wrote:My ideal language would use "==" for comparison and ":=" for assignment. "=" would be a syntax error.

I kinda see your point, but what would you to do to handle the difference between assigning two variables to the same address and assigning the same value to a second variable?

I'm not sure where I stand on that. I've been using C++ and C for a long time, which lets pointers (and references) all hang out in all their ugliness. Only literally this week have I used the concept that I think you're referring to, since I've been working on some code in Visual Basic, which seems to have the Java-like convention of assignment creating a new reference to the same object and requiring it to be explicitly cloned if you want two copies. At least VB requires you to use a special keyword "Set" to copy the reference (although the error message if you accidentally omit it makes perl's syntax errors look crystal clear!).

I guess I'd do the same thing and use a different symbol again, maybe x &= y. In an approach that tries to hide the existence of pointers from the programmer, you need to convey that what's being done is a little tricky: you're saying "make x refer to the same object as y". I'd be interested to know how this gets taught to students who go straight to Java without passing C or C++.

And I can't get on with <- or (worse) <= for assignment. "<=" already means "less than or equal". I can't cope with "x<=4" meaning
"set x to 4".
Rombobjörn wrote:
alun009 wrote:But since we're on that issue now, I'd like to know whether . or , is more common as a decimal separator, worldwide.

I don't have any statistics on what people actually use, but I've heard that the ISO standard is a comma. But in programming languages and other computer languages, decimal points reign pretty much supreme.

Bah. ISO, schmiso. That body makes FIFA look like a transparent and corruption-free organisation. Mired in allegations of cash-for-standards, spec-fixing and cronyism, it consistently turns a blind eye to the pervasive doping problem in International Standardisation. They deny it, but how else to explain the ability of delegates to sit through week-long meetings about the minutae of notation? [/joke-not-libel]
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

SimonMoon5
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby SimonMoon5 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:29 pm UTC

pixeldigger wrote:but i don't WANt to wear any clothes!


Agreed. If I *have* to wear clothes because of the temperature, then it's too cold.

My house stays at 75 F.

jpk
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby jpk » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:29 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I guess I'd do the same thing and use a different symbol again, maybe x &= y. In an approach that tries to hide the existence of pointers from the programmer, you need to convey that what's being done is a little tricky: you're saying "make x refer to the same object as y". I'd be interested to know how this gets taught to students who go straight to Java without passing C or C++.


If the language is taught well, you do this by explaining the idea of the stack and the heap, which naturally leads you to aliasing. Just because you can't manipulate a pointer directly doesn't mean you can't show them working - for example, by setting two different pointers to one mutable object and mutating the object. The example that I usually give for the intuition is "Imagine that Mr. Jones goes by 'Robert' in professional settings but his friends call him 'Bob'. On Saturday night, Bob is out with friends and gets into a fistfight. On Monday, Robert goes to work with a black eye - and that's aliasing."

It's actually not that tricky to teach.

And I can't get on with <- or (worse) <= for assignment. "<=" already means "less than or equal". I can't cope with "x<=4" meaning
"set x to 4".


To me, this is just syntax. As long as the languages feel different, this sort of thing doesn't bother me much. It's when they're similar that I get in trouble - for example, when I have to use PHP, the -> and => notation just throws me until I've had a little while to get myself into PHP mode.

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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby orthogon » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:17 pm UTC

jpk wrote:If the language is taught well, you do this by explaining the idea of the stack and the heap, which naturally leads you to aliasing. Just because you can't manipulate a pointer directly doesn't mean you can't show them working - for example, by setting two different pointers to one mutable object and mutating the object. The example that I usually give for the intuition is "Imagine that Mr. Jones goes by 'Robert' in professional settings but his friends call him 'Bob'. On Saturday night, Bob is out with friends and gets into a fistfight. On Monday, Robert goes to work with a black eye - and that's aliasing."

:D Thanks, I enjoyed that. If you'll permit me to take it further: Suppose Robert is Head of IT; this also means that the Head of IT goes to work with a black eye. But he gets fired (perhaps he punches one of his computorially challenged users?), and the new Head of IT is Jim. Subsequent weekend fisticuffsmanship on the part of Bob will not affect the Head of IT. (Unless they go to the same bar, or course, Bob's already fiery temper having being aggravated by his abrupt dismissal and replacement by that whippersnapper Jim).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

jpk
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby jpk » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:38 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
jpk wrote:If the language is taught well, you do this by explaining the idea of the stack and the heap, which naturally leads you to aliasing. Just because you can't manipulate a pointer directly doesn't mean you can't show them working - for example, by setting two different pointers to one mutable object and mutating the object. The example that I usually give for the intuition is "Imagine that Mr. Jones goes by 'Robert' in professional settings but his friends call him 'Bob'. On Saturday night, Bob is out with friends and gets into a fistfight. On Monday, Robert goes to work with a black eye - and that's aliasing."

:D Thanks, I enjoyed that.


Thanks and you're welcome. I'm a decent programmer, but I'm always happy when I commit a good piece of writing.

If you'll permit me to take it further: Suppose Robert is Head of IT; this also means that the Head of IT goes to work with a black eye. But he gets fired (perhaps he punches one of his computorially challenged users?), and the new Head of IT is Jim. Subsequent weekend fisticuffsmanship on the part of Bob will not affect the Head of IT. (Unless they go to the same bar, or course, Bob's already fiery temper having being aggravated by his abrupt dismissal and replacement by that whippersnapper Jim).


Yes, that's actually a really useful case to consider. Essentially, you're pointing to the difference between mutating an object and reassigning a value. So we could imagine terminating the head of IT by simply reassigning a value:

Code: Select all

headOfIT = jim


We would want to have the student figure out that this breaks the connection between headOfIT and bob and robert, without changing anything at all about the state of the bob/robert object, and to work out the consequences, and particularly to get a feel for the difference between this and calling a method like

Code: Select all

headOfIT.terminate()

Showsni
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby Showsni » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:13 pm UTC

How about a scale that measures all temperature relative to your own internal body temperature? It saves you the need of ever having to buy an internal thermometer, since your temeperature will always be 0!

SCSimmons
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Re: 1321: "Cold"

Postby SCSimmons » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:12 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
scharb wrote:Count me in as a Farenheit fan.
Temperatures <0 degF may kill you;
Temperatures >100 degF may kill you.
It divides humans' (safely) survivable temperature range neatly into a one-hundred base. What's not to like?

Temperatures below 0ºC may kill you and temperatures above 100ºC may kill you, so you can just as well use Celsius' scale.
Care to explain why exactly 0-100ºF is safely survivable contrary to, say, 50-110ºF or 57-76ºF?

Does anyone know a more fundamental scale to measure temperatures? Hundredths of the difference between tripling and boiling water is just an 'arbitrary' choice.
Boltzmanns or something...?


Fiddled around with possibilities for a bit. I thought milli-electron volts per molecule (of an ideal perfect gas) looked pretty handy for everyday purposes. The unit turns out to be just under 8ºC and almost exactly 14ºF, so it's not very fine-grained; reporting to tenths of a degree would give you comparable precision to what you see in weather forecasts, but the comfort categories can be that wide & still work well. I'll call this unit the Maxwell ºM; he got a nice law named after him, but as far as I know, never a unit, the poor guy.

Code: Select all

ºM      ºC       ºF

30    -41     -41
31    -33     -27
32    -25     -13
33    -17       1
34    -10      15
35     -2      29
36      6      43
37     14      57
38     21      71
39     29      85
40     37      98
41     45     112


Water freezes at 35.2ºM and boils at 48.1ºM at standard pressure. And normal human body temperature is ... hold on, I know 98.6 ºF is an outdated rule of thumb, let me look up the real number & variance ...

Huh. Normal human body temperature is ... 40.00 +/- .02 ºM. :shock: This must mean something, right? :)


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