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Author Topic: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)  (Read 21931 times)

Trekkin

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #450 on: June 13, 2019, 02:01:27 am »

When you lose that demographic, you fail to replace your ranks as you age, and retire.

If this were true, you would expect that either we're great at outreach or we're short on people, and neither is true. We are infamously oversupplied with people and very few of them, at least in the scientific organizations I've been a part of who have cared to check, decided to go into science because they were forced into participating in an outreach program by their school. Voluntary outreach works better, to be sure, but if we're passively asking for highly motivated applicants we're not really recruiting anymore.

So we suck at convincing people to do this who don't already want to and we've got more than we can ever use anyway. Now, it is true that part of that oversupply is due to graduate school being so easy to get into, as it has been for a long time now, but even so, people really want to be scientists even without our prodding, which would lead me to believe that increased access to passive/voluntary outreach might help (not that we necessarily want it to), but our version of raising awareness really doesn't appear to be doing anything.

Actually, it's tempting (but an oversimplification) to say we're victims of our own success; so vastly many more people want to be scientists than can actually be scientists for any given value of "being a scientist" that a lot of the noise and misrepresentation is from cargo cult scientists and enthusiasts who are avowedly on our side but not actually helping. They're not generally from the "demographics normally implicated", either. When I say "ill intent", it's actually these people I worry most about; nothing drives people into dangerous levels of crankdom like someone who's very sure of themselves incorrectly proving them wrong and then braying about the Dunning-Kruger effect to make them feel stupid for thinking they knew something. You can go listen to flat Earthers who decided to enter the movement because the "pro-science" people got their facts wrong about carbon dating and things and called them idiots for disagreeing, for example. It's kind of like how anti-drug programs in school tend to backfire. Kids hear "if you so much as think about marijuana your life will be permanently ruined", know that's bullshit, and decide maybe the adults are lying about other drugs too and off we go.

So, yes, misrepresentation by our ideological enemies happens all the time, but what I see going on is more like our enemies being radicalized by the heretics claiming to be our allies.
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wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #451 on: June 13, 2019, 02:07:23 am »

Again,

Quote
(if anything, the fact that these previously disparate groups have all joined up together into a siren's wail of terror, indicates that outreach is WORKING, rather than failing. They see you as competition in gaining mindshare, and have upped their game.)

The counter you raised is not a counter to what I said at all.  I was merely alerting you to their tactic, which is to break your resolve, so they win through attrition.  That they are so shrill, and have banded together into a faceless mass of unbearable mental anguish, is testament to the fact that your outreach IS WORKING.

As you yourself pointed out, continued outreach at this level of difficulty burns through grad students, because they lack the resolve. (and, as I pointed out, loss of interested minds results in fewer replacements later.)

I would suggest that your industry do what healthcare did;

Front-line patient facing care is not typically handled by doctors. (at least, not the lion's share.)  Most of it is handled by people that specialize in that, which is nursing staff.  There is a sharp divide between doctor and nurse, and it exists for a reason.  Doctors are already overworked, they don't need the added stresses of constant patient exposure. (It's hard enough on them when their patients refuse their advice and care plans in favor of what they read on WebMD, or what some crank on the internet told them.) 

Scientists doing the actual work of science, should be doing the actual work of science.  Outreach is not really a part of that; Pushing the boundaries of the art is hard enough, and requires already almost inhuman levels of dedication.

Instead, you need to embrace a second-class into your profession.  Scientifically literate people who can read your papers, and understand them, but do not themselves push the state of the art, and instead, do your outreach and public facing functions, because they have the drive and motivation for *THAT* instead.

Trying to burn through your grad students is very sub-optimal, as you have noted.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 02:18:51 am by wierd »
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Trekkin

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #452 on: June 13, 2019, 02:39:45 am »

Instead, you need to embrace a second-class into your profession.  Scientifically literate people who can read your papers, and understand them, but do not themselves push the state of the art, and instead, do your outreach and public facing functions, because they have the drive and motivation for *THAT* instead.

We have those already. They teach undergraduates at little out-of-the-way colleges where their research, if any, is more of an afterthought. That's kind of what effective outreach looks like when just keeping up with the state of the art is a job unto itself. (Although as you well know, medicine has the same problem of a constantly evolving state of the art but more stubborn practitioners.)

We're full up on them, too. Advocates and advisors and consultants, as well. It's part of why a PhD is an absolute requirement to be taken seriously scientifically; low bar though it may be, it signifies that someone's at least minimally capable of demonstrably knowing what they're talking about, which is more or less the point of empiricism, and that's what we're being asked to sell to everybody, including the public.

If you want to call the shrillness of our opponents evidence that we've succeeded, fine, but 34% of millennials not being sure the world is round is pretty damning evidence that we've also failed on a societal scale, and at a level that's not only well below the state of the art but well below what we might reasonably be expected to correct. This gets back to my main point: researchers have a role to play in making science more accessible, but there are major flaws in the system well outside our scope that are going to seriously hamper any efforts in that regard.
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wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #453 on: June 13, 2019, 02:50:58 am »

Only if you think it is possible to reach a high percentile in the first place.

As horrible a tool as IQ is, the basis of how it is computed holds sway here;  The majority of people are not really capable of understanding the world around them as it truly is, or understanding that they have biases, or even that they should try to mitigate the influence of them.

That you have significantly higher than median levels of understanding in basic things like EARTH==ROUND, is actually quite reassuring.


Admittedly though, we DO need to keep the number of flat earthers someplace below 20%.  Trend research has shown that numbers in the 30% range results in inevitable overturns of social dynamics, and that's terrifying--  But then again, look at how close the difference there is.  It's why the shrill sound is so loud; they instinctually know that if they lose more mind share, they will be irrelevant.
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Kagus

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #454 on: June 13, 2019, 03:04:07 am »

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you an article I've kept saved on my phone for too long:

"Sir, I'd like to show you what the boys have put together for that precision strike task. It's a drone-launched missile."

"Excellent, minimal collateral all around! What's the payload?"

"Knife."

Reelya

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #455 on: June 13, 2019, 06:22:37 am »

The Church was pretty pro-science at one point wasn't it? Because 'God would want us to learn how the world works' or something like that. Then they started finding things that contradicted God and whatever. Still, even though they've almost completly stopped being anti-science now, theres still a lingering stereotype of being anti-science. I was just sort of spontaneously wondering how it'd help things if The Church (and religion in general) was more pro-science.

There's a reason the Church was pro-knowledge, not necessarily pro-science.

That's because then you have a monopoly on truth. If the church are the go-to people for scribes and the like, then the church controls the narrative. If the church on the other hand had said "we only deal with religious knowledge" then they'd be ceding authority to third-party knowledge bases which would grow and develop outside their direct control. So, instead you create vast libraries which store all types of books, under the watchful eye of the religious scholars, and people entering rely on the religious scribes to tell them what's what. That would make the monastic scribes like the Google Search of their era.

If all the books are catalogued in a library you control then you rarely need to actively suppress anything. The scribes are only going to make copies of books they want to make copies of, and they can just store and forget anything they don't like. Notice how the Gallileo case and similar all occurred after the widespread adoption of the printing press. That's probably relevant. The printing press ended the near monopoly of scribes to disseminate copies of texts, necessitating the church to take radical action to control their monopoly on ideas. An analogy here would be record companies freaking out about the rise of internet downloads and trying to create a punitive legal structure to deal with people using the new technology.

You see similar things in for example single-party dictatorships, where any knowledge-base that's outside party control is stomped on, even if their teachings don't really directly conflict party doctrine.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 06:45:37 am by Reelya »
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wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #456 on: June 18, 2019, 03:59:38 am »

So, DeepFakery advances!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=388&v=0ybLCfVeFL4

Very soon, we will be able to take arbitrary footage from any source (news anchors look very vulnerable here) and insert arbitrarily chosen text based dialog.


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Reelya

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #457 on: June 18, 2019, 08:42:36 am »

To get good results we don't even really need smarter AI right now. We just need to bolt together a bunch of silly things.

For example consider this possible project:

- grab latest headlines and summaries from Google News
- run through Talk-To-Transformer to generate additional text (possible format it with names
- generate some heads using the head-generating AIs
- generate videos of the heads speaking the T-to-T texts
- upload automatically to a youtube channel or just live feed it

There you go, all existing technologies and you could bolt together the most amazingly idiotic 24 hour TV news channel ever, which would basically involve zero manual labor from that point onwards.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 08:46:16 am by Reelya »
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scourge728

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #458 on: June 18, 2019, 10:38:47 am »

I thought that was how FOX already did things?

wierd

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #460 on: September 04, 2019, 09:22:13 pm »

https://physicsworld.com/a/superconductivity-at-the-boiling-temperature-of-water-is-possible-say-physicists/

I hope it pans out.  While exotic, it could lead to interesting developments in computing.
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Superdorf

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #461 on: September 04, 2019, 09:26:16 pm »

And think of the sci-fi potential! A world where the fastest computers run on boiling water... it'd be steampunk and cyberpunk, both at the same time. Best of both worlds!
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Reelya

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #462 on: September 04, 2019, 09:32:03 pm »

it could also be the most English thing ever. You boil a cup of tea to do your computing.

smjjames

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #463 on: September 04, 2019, 09:46:58 pm »

Actually, the article says that the material is superconducting up to the boiling point of water, so, that means room temp superconductors. Looking at Wikipedia, even the highest current known superconductor temp is well below zero.

Edit: With one major catch, it needs to be under pressures only found in planetary cores, or the depths of gas giant atmospheres.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2019, 09:49:47 pm by smjjames »
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Superdorf

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Re: Science Thread (and !!SCIENCE!! Thread!)
« Reply #464 on: September 04, 2019, 10:00:31 pm »

Ohh. High-pressure superconductors. That's... slightly less entertaining.
Ah well. Maybe somebody'll discover cybersteampunk some other time.
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