Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Those who deny the Singularity also have to assume a near-future end to Moore’s Law and virtually no improvement thereafter. I think the contrary assumption is more probable, that Moore’s Law will continue to operate and may even accelerate in the 21st Century (and beyond, but that’s not essential).
I think it takes little imagination, that someone, somewhere, will use AI to make our lives better. I don’t expect AI to instantly turn our smart toasters into killing machines, and maybe they never will, but 10-20 Moore’s Law generations after the point of AI sapience, we’ll have little choice over the outcome.
We also might merge with the machines, but again, the biological part won’t be able to keep up with the non-biological part for very long.
On whether the biologists critiquing evolutionary psychology go on to condemn the entire field (I'm going to come back to this, it's relevant to climate denialism):
Carl, I think Coyne would disagree with your statement that he thinks evo psych can’t be done at all. This is from your link to him:
“Now I don’t oppose evolutionary psychology on principle. The evolutionary source of our behavior is a fascinating topic, and I’m convinced that the genetic influences are far stronger than, say, posited by anti-determinists like Dick Lewontin, Steve Rose, and Steve Gould. Evolved adaptations are particularly likely to be found in sexual behavior, which is intimately connected with the real object of selection: the currency of reproduction. I’m far closer in my views on this topic to Steve Pinker than to Steve Gould. And there are many good studies in the field, so I don’t mean to tar the whole endeavor.”
An older one on why the Obama administration took so long to partially fix the Republican War on Science:
One potential reason for delay is that there was an internal battle between this okay document versus pure drivel, this okay document versus something with more heft, or a combination of both. Just speculating.
And on a denialist claim that you can construct a climate model to say anything:
I’m not aware of any climate models that fail to show warming. I think Mr. Calhoun is talking out of his hat. And it’s not like the coal and oil industry is too poor to create a model. My guess is that they’ve fooled around with it privately, but the mangling they have to do to get the outcome they want is so bad that they’ve never trotted it out. Yet more evidence against the denialists, as if more was needed.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
It is simply logical that a signal that cannot be seen for decades is not immediately relevant to judgments of near-term risk.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Mercury News editorial: At last, new leadership for Santa Clara Valley Water District
"There was a concern in the past that the (Santa Clara Valley Water District) board was somewhat dysfunctional," observed its new chairman, former county Supervisor Don Gage, as he accepted the gavel Tuesday.
Somewhat? That's putting it mildly.
What a relief to have Gage and Vice Chairwoman Linda LeZotte at the district's helm. Along with Brian Schmidt, they were elected in November as reformers. Having them head the board for the next two years -- the vice chairman generally ascends to chairman -- should reset the district's course.
The district for years has been distracted by board and management blunders. Now it can concentrate on the critical work of protecting our water supply, including shoring up dams that are vulnerable to earthquakes.
At the risk of repetition: What a relief.