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Showing posts from October, 2009

Failing to understand how science works.

I often get involved in discussion with people that center around various interpretations of scientific studies or papers in the soft sciences (climate science, biology...etc) that veer from objective analysis of the study or paper data being presented to assertions (on the part of those I am conversing with) that the underlying edifice of science is some how engaged in some conspiracy. I've often found it quite perplexing how people can draw that conclusion given the rigorous nature of scientific investigations and the pains to which scientists go to before drawing conclusions on acquired data. Sure , examples of failure to do this exist (Fleishman and Pons any one?) but they are exceedingly rare and if they do get to a peer review stage , are rightly cremated for the mistakes made. Yesterday, I engaged such a discussion with regard to one of the media darling "controversy" subjects , Anthropogenic Global Warming. Earlier this week, yet another massive study on climate … compared to Google Wave , how are they different?

In a post from several months back I mentioned the Google "Wave" server technology that had been announced by many of the IT media shops. Google provided many tech. videos on the service on youtube and after watching a few of them I got the gist of the service as being basically an open source collaboration server for a more real time collaboration experience between users on the server. Shortly afterward I was asked by Juliette Powell what the main differences were between the service and google wave were. I explained some of the architectural differences based on what I knew of them at the time in this post which had some great input in the comments for that post but on the business end, collaboration provides a solution for small businesses that makes it more efficient than going with any server based system for several important reasons as indicated in the list below:

No need to host the collaboration server and services yourself. This is a huge…

Ardipithecus ramidus: what can we really say definitively about it??

The breaking news today was the announcement by researchers that they have found a new species of hominin that predates "Lucy" the previous oldest known fossil find of the hominin line (which includes human beings). The lead researchers are interpreting the morphology of this new find to indicate that it had "advanced" bipedal capabilities that do not lend credence to the idea that the hominin line and the chimp line share a common ancestor. However, this line of reasoning is not necessarily proven by the "ardi" finds made. I export a section of an answer to this that I posted on a friends Facebook wall to explain :

"The chimp line could have diverged earlier (as molecular data suggests it did) and Ardi is simply an intermediate species along the line from last recent common ancestor with chimps and modern day hominin (of which the only extant species is us)lineage. Strictly speaking chimps are an "offshoot" (or reciprocally ...the hominin …