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Alan Robinson

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Alan Robinson last won the day on August 26 2011

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    Taasinge, Denmark
  • Interests
    All sorts, not least mathematics, sailing, dogs, birds, organic vegetable growing, philosophy, hill walking
  1. Hi, I haven't posted here for quite a while, but in the meantime, it seems to me nothing has changed with respect to probability in statistics. The controversy is maybe a century old or more. Basically, there are those who hold that probability can only be used with respect to roulette wheels and such things, while others maintain they can state the probability of something occurring that never has happened before. These two camps are often called "determinists" and "Bayesians", and the arguments between them have at times been heated. As far as I know, they still haven't reconciled their differences. Science however presses on regardless making predictions based on mathematical techniques that mathematicians cannot agree upon. Does anyone have anything to say about probability in climate science?
  2. Initially I was going to ask what that has to do with outsourcing of knowledge, then I reconsidered, and now I ask what has divine inspiration to do with knowledge? Divine inspiration is in fact the last resort of contemporary students who neglect googling!
  3. How we obtain our principles is one thing, but I don't believe for a picoseond that you ever derived a ship's hydrostatic data by hand calculation using Simpson's rules; not to mention damaged stability, seakeeping, resistance and propulsion. I'll be the first to applaud a good programme that eliminates manual errors, but like all mathematical modelling, these things have their limitations, which we habitually tend to ignore. In the interest of mammon we've become a profession of thoughtless computer operators.
  4. New research? The term is dubious and I rather think it more appropriate to speak of "continuing research". We are overdue an academic revolution as described by Thomas Kuhn. Meanwhile, I still keep my hand-made barograph, and it strikes me that the atmosphere where I live has been extraordinarily passive in 2014. Taking the mean long term atmospheric pressure to be 101.3 kPa (I am a stickler for SI Units) the area between the barograph and 101.3 kPa for the year (integrate from 1st Jan to date) is far less than in recent years. Does anyone know of research into this phenomenon?
  5. Let me just put my oar in. I've just had lunch with a very close Danish friend of mine - he's 86 and was born on the north side of Flensburg Fjord - and he's becoming increasingly concerned about the tone in Germany. Granted, people from the south of Jutland have historical reasons to keep a weather eye on Germany, but I have to say I agree with my friend. The fall of the Berlin Wall causes some of us ambivalent feelings.
  6. Thanks for those kind words. Regarding reading it when you wake, the whole thing would take me a morning if not more; but the first point is that people always complain, and the second is that what they complain about says a lot about their lifestyle. Personally, I think the problem isn't people googling all day, but that googlers think it smart being able to press buttons to obtain information. It is symptomatic of the contemporary world where creativeness isn't valued, but automation is.
  7. People have quite rightly been questioning education in all its forms for over a century, and we still haven't got it right. I give you Gorst, The Curse of Education. http://www.readcentral.com/chapters/Harold-E-Gorst/The-Curse-of-Education/002
  8. For many years, it has been a problem attracting bright young people into science, technology and maths. And it cannot surprise, when we have SI units, that the young shake their heads at knots, mph, and dare I say it, Hpa. Let's (k)not throw the baby out with the bathwater, but for heaven's sake, SI units really are superior to Imperial. I thought we had done away with old units ages ago.
  9. I'd just like to put that here in Denmark where I live (for my sins), that 1. my greenhouse is smashed, 2. I've lost a few roof tiles, and 3. the Danish meteorological institute has stated unofficially that this was the most powerful storm on their records. Across the water from here was measured gusts of no less than 53 m/s, and the sustained wind over 10 minutes exceeded anything on record. My neighbour's garden is smothered by a huge willow tree, and the damage most places is extensive. The MetOffice should be praised for warning of this even last Thursday, while the Danes were reticent about it, and only today realized how violent an event was imminent. EDIT; and I'll add that I have sailed extensively, and of course been caught out in bad weather. I have also experienced direct hit hurricanes in Alabama , but this storm really made me apprehensive - on land. This was bad.
  10. It concerns the tendency in the contemporary Scientific Method towards metaphysics. It concerns the question of whether something is discovered or invented. It concerns whether or not science in all its complexity is these days a matter of faith for most of us, because we have to take someone else's word for it that something is factual. It prompts the question, why should I believe what I am told? These questions go part way to explaining why this thread was opened in the first place, namely, not everyone is convinced by what passes for science these days.
  11. They can always toss it into Kiel Bay where they dumped a whole lot in 1945. It is still forbidden to fish in the coastal belt off Schleimunde.
  12. My understanding is that people like Lenin realized that we are all too petite bourgeois to agree to socialism, they concluded we don't know what is best for us, for which reason a vanguard was required to bash everyone into place. Once we realized how delightful socialism is we would be glad of it and thank them for showing us the error of our ways. That is communism - socialism whether you like it or not. Soviet communism is a special category under which - as you rightly put - is based on small communities, regulated by committees of workers - only that didn't work either. Michel's Iron Law of Oligarchy is too persistent to be brushed aside by a few communists.
  13. True, but I was referring to the durability of relationships. Concerning morality, I don't believe it is restricted to humans. Greylag geese for example live for many years, and right now I see them migrating down from the White Sea to their winter quarters. Those lovely birds are said to form lifelong partnerships, and moreover, they remain in family groups. They are very noisy as they pass overhead, and it is amazing how each year they follow the exact same route on their migration, which happens to be right over my house. I rather think that their honking is partly a debate between the experienced birds over wind direction and where to land for rest, and partly instructions to the newer birds to keep in formation and take note of the landmarks. Durable relationships must have been vital for primitive humans, as our offspring are dependent on their parents for far, far longer than any animal, fish or bird I can think of. Perhaps a certain morality is innate in us.
  14. Socialist? Maybe I was made to read a different bible. Just where did Jesus promote state ownership of all means of production, distribution and exchange, for that is what socialism is.
  15. There are human limits though, and I am not St. Alan. Children eventually tire of having their cheeks smacked, of being humiliated, of being rejected, of going hungry and dirty, of being persecuted, of being kept away from school, and of all the rest that accompanies attrocious adults with children. Only a fool would continue enduring it.
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