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Emergent Causation

So How About That Hiatus, Eh?

There's been much ballyhooing about the "hiatus" in the thermodynamically meaningless "global average (dry bulb) temperature" (numerical averages of dry-bulb temperatures are a very poor measure of the physically meaningful and important global heat content). There are even people claiming that it falls outside the range of unphysical model predictions (model predictions are unphysical because important processes are given unphysical parameterizations to deal with computational limits: this does not make the models useless, but their detailed predictve power is necessarily low).

Verisimilitude and Local Realism

I've been putting together a Python framework for simulating deterministic theories of two-photon correlations, and using de Raedt's model as a simple test case. I'd really like to eventually handle Joy Christian's model, but that's for another day.

A Better Way to do Case-Control Studies

Case-control studies are used as a cheap alternative to population studies. The ideal way to study cell phones and cancer would be to randomly assign a large number of people to either "cell-phone user" or "non-cell-phone user" groups and then check in with them once a year for a couple of decades to see what the rates of various diseases are. Because things like brain cancer are very rare, the number of people in such a study would have to be huge, which gets very expensive.

Some Notes on Orbital Mechanics and Climate Change

What is the role of orbital variations in climate change?

How Bad is the Porn Industry?

Some quotes (a few words have been changed or omitted to hide identities):

Why We Need Anti-Discrimination Laws: a computational approach

My libertarian friends, back when I had libertarian friends, often imagined that anti-discrimination laws were unnecessary because "the market will take care of it".

Bookshelves

I've long been dissatisfied with the state of the bookshelf art, and took it upon myself to prototype a new approach, with the constraints:

Those Damned Wobbly Suitcases

This starts off talking about suitcases and winds up being about one of the most general and important phenomenon in physics: simple harmonic motion (SHM). SHM is motion that is driven by a force that is proportional to the displacement of some part of a system from its equilibirium position, like the bob of a pendulum. When the pendulum is hanging straight down, everything is in balance (or equilibrium, as we like to say beause why use a fifty cent word when you've got a five dollar one lying around?). When everything is in balance, nothing moves. When nothing moves, life is boring.

Why Speculation About MH370 is Evidence of Innumeracy

Modern air travel is ridiculously safe. Aircraft are not designed using prayer, or crystals, or chi, or any other pre-scientific or anti-scientific "way of knowing" that is demonstrably far less effective than publicly testing ideas by some combination of systematic observation, controlled experiment and Bayesian inference.

Some notes on fiberglass blisters

I've been reading a lot about the "boat pox" that many fiberglass hulls suffer from. There is no shortage of ideas as to what causes this issue, but very little in the way of science, which is publicly testing ideas by systematic observation and controlled experiment.

Some Notes on Celestial Navigation

Learning to navigate by the Sun, the Moon and the stars has recently risen to the top of my list of things to do, and I thought it might be useful to describe the results of my study thus far. Be warned that this is the product of about two days of searching around the Web, and that my experience in practical navigation is nil, and much of the terminology in what follows is entirely non-standard.

Some notes on x-ray backscatter imaging

This note has two parts: one on why x-ray backscatter imagers aren't safe, and the other on why they don't work.

Word Counting in Emacs

Since all I really want to do is get words on the page, Emacs is the obvious choice, although the flyspell-mode is sometimes laggy on trivial mis-spellings, particularly words beginning with "th".

Then

Me, I dunno what I am. I can hardly call myself "post-modern", for reasons too complex to go into here.

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