Here’s what happens when you try to replicate climate contrarian papers — Three Dot Lounge for September 3, 2015

The Guardian reports on a new study that looks at the science behind the research papers — the 3% that disagree with the 97% consensus on climate change. It is a fascinating report on the science behind these papers and why they find different results than the scientific consensus.

As the authors say, accurate scientific research should be replicable, and through replication we can also identify any methodological flaws in that research. The study also seeks to answer the question, why do these contrarian papers come to a different conclusion than 97% of the climate science literature?

The short answer to that is “bad science and bad methodology”, but the study goes into detail. Most common is when the scientists cherry pick their data and exclude data ranges that don’t fit the result they want to find.

The problem is that even with an overwhelming consensus and a massive amount of data backing the problems of climate change, these diagreeing studies are used by those that don’t want to grapple with the problem to try to deny it’s reality, even though, in fact, many of these dissenting studies contradict each other as well.

All in all, an interesting glimpse into the dynamics of this conflict, one which has delayed our rational attack on the climate change problem for years.

Email Isn’t Dead

Every few months some pundit gets bored or hits a deadline with nothing useful to write about, and decides to haul out the Email is Dead meme to flog for a while. People have been declaring email dead for at least a decade, and as Re/Code explains, it’s not dead. It’s doing just fine.

There are not many things on the internet that are older than most of the people reading this newsletter, but email is one of them, and unlike its early-days-of-the-net peers like Gopher or Veronica (yeah. look them up) it’s alive, it’s well, and it’s getting the job done. Email today looks almost nothing like it did back in the 1980s, with the addition of MIME, HTML, various anti-spam and authentication tools, unicode graphic sets and dozens of other enhancements, and that’s the point. It’s a very simple yet malleable and powerful system that was able to adapt to the changing needs of the online population rather than needing to be replaced.

Fact is, it works. Sometimes, I think it’s biggest flaw is it’s too useful and flexible, and on the net we run into the “if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail” problem where email is so endemic and easy that people use it for everything, even when it’s not the best (or even a good) tool for the situations (in that it’s a lot like Excel, where too often the answer is to stuff it into a spreadsheet and beat on it until it stops whimpering).

That doesn’t mean the other tools aren’t useful — my organization is putting together some programs to try to move some of our habutual-email into other venues like Cisco Spark or Jive with some success. There are a lot of things that we use email for we really shouldn’t, and tools like Slack are helping us find alternatives to get that mishandled content out of our inboxes.

But that’s not (remotely) going to kill e-mail. It’s a good thing we find other tools to take on some of the load, but what that’s going to do is make email more useful, not less, by allowing it to go back to what it’s really good at.

Far from dying, I expect email to outlive me, and all of these pundits happily declaring (for the 95th time) that it’s dead.

Spotify says sorry after privacy policy anger

We’ve see this so many times. Spotify updated its privacy policy. People actually read it. People got upset. The internet got in a tizzy. And the Spotify CEO gets on his blog to sort of apologize and try to explain that they won’t really be doing what the privacy policy says they can and might do.

Your privacy policies should reflect what your policies are. They should explain to users what you do and don’t do. If you are having to write articles explaining the privacy policy, you’re doing it wrong. If there are things in your privacy policy that don’t match what you’re actually doing, why are they in your privacy policy? And if your privacy policy is so unclear it needs correction and explanation, maybe you need a better legal team.

Or a management team that reads the privacy policies and doesn’t approve them until they’re written in real english and not in obscure and ambiguous legalese.

And by the way, Daniel Ek (Spotify CEO), that was a rather insincere apology and your users should be pissed at how you tried to sidestep their issues by referring to them as confusion, instead of an badly written and overly grabby privacy policy. “I’m sorry if you were upset because we….” only makes this worse in my eyes, not better.


About Three Dot Lounge

Three Dot Lounge is an email newsletter that collects interesting things that catch my attention and the opinions they generate. Current interests include high tech, living in Silicon Valley and California, the challenges of protecting our wild areas and the impact of the drought on those areas, but content in this newsletter will vary wildly.

Three Dot Lounge is written and produced by Chuq Von Rospach. Chuq is a long-time high tech and internet citizen who’s places of employment include Sun, Palm Computing, HP, Cisco, National Semiconductor and a 17 year tenure at Apple. You can follow Chuq on twitter at @chuq or on Google+ or Facebook.

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