In the case of this video, Monbiot speaks of 'deer' and then shows pictures of American Elk (Cervus canadensis). This is defensible, as he's British, and the European Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) is very closely related and likely more familiar to his anticipated viewers. But midway through, the video cuts to pictures of a Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), which an expert is unlikely to conflate with an elk.
This could be considered an "irrelevant" detail, but one of the major differences is that the American Elk primarily graze as they have a digestive system that allows them to efficiently digest grasses, but the Mule Deer do not: they eat some grass, but primarily "browse" on woody vegetation. So while they will both have an effect on streamside vegetation, it's going to be a very different effect.
In a piece that purports to explain the science behind the cascading effects of wolves on the ecosystem, this feels like a disconcerting blunder. Should it cause me to doubt the credibility of the piece as a whole? I don't know. But it makes it more difficult for me to treat Monbiot as an authority on the topic.
That wasn't clear to me. Rather, I presumed (I think reasonably) from the tag "Sustainable Man Original" that it was something that that Monbiot had participated in the creation of. I've now read the comments on the Sustainable Man page (http://sustainableman.org/blog/2014/02/17/how-wolves-change-...), and see that other have pointed out that the video also uses uncredited video of English badgers and Slovenian bears.
The creator of the video responds "Hi, we “steal” footage from lots of sources all in a non-commercial effort to raise awareness about sustainability.". The removes most of the criticism I'd have toward Monbiot, and retargets it toward Sustainable Man. The video is clearly more concerned with rhetoric rather than accuracy. Regardless of the goodness of the cause, I think in the end this sloppiness with facts will do more harm than good.
"[The aforementioned] study, which focused on willows, showed that the decades without wolves changed Yellowstone too much to undo. After humans exterminated wolves nearly a century ago, elk grew so abundant that they all but eliminated willow shrubs. Without willows to eat, beavers declined. Without beaver dams, fast-flowing streams cut deeper into the terrain. The water table dropped below the reach of willow roots. Now it’s too late for even high levels of wolf predation to restore the willows."
"When we tell the wolf story, we get the Yellowstone story wrong. Perhaps the greatest risk of this story is a loss of credibility for the scientists and environmental groups who tell it."
Different papers use different methods to estimate predation risk in various locations, for instance. Some base it on actual predation incidents, some on landscape factors (which may model risk perception as opposed to actual risk).
There's also discussion about the way active predators such as wolves impact an area, which is different from lie-in-wait predators. And there's an idea that a constant background threat comes to be ignored, as opposed to a sort of pulsing threat, where there are surges of predation.
Also worth noting that various studies take place in different areas of the park, and in different seasons. Not to mention there's three main varieties of trees under discussion (aspens, cottonwoods, willows), which have all seen different recovery rates in different areas.
It's not a simple question, and from what I've seen in my sort of casual reading on the topic, it's not at all settled.
What really should be done, is change the hopelessly small arrows (which are annoying on desktop, unusable on mobile) to a pair of unicode up-down arrows/triangles side-by-side that are more or less full line-height/1em. Eg: ▲▼. It would mean a minimal change in layout (small increase in left margin) -- but greatly increase usability.
I'd probably stopped using hn (well interacting with the ui) a long time ago, if I wasn't using vimperator, and could just hit "f"[ollow links] and type a number for the arrow I wanted to hit, rather than hunting the tiny glyphs.
How can we teach people not to do something worthy of downvote if there is no visible feedback mechanism to help see why something downvoted was rightfully so?
If the current policy (of downvoting without a reason) is to avoid discussing the reason for the downvote, so that the conversation not be derailed further, then maybe we should focus on disincentivizing this specific behavior.
To any newcomers with downvote privilege: There used to be that you had to say something wrong or unpopular to be downvoted, not just something that could have been avoided etc. That way HN came across as a friendly (although biased) community. I'd appreciate if we extended this to newcomers and tired ones today: If you have gained your downvote-privilege, use it carefully, don't assume stackoverflow-moderator-responsibility.
(Notice that this is my second account, I have lurked and participated here a few years and have another account that I sometimes log into when someone really needs my downvote or I want to be personally identified with my answers ; )
The best approach to being downvoted is not to woundedly post asking why you were downvoted, but to wait. If your post has genuine value, it will almost always be voted back up. This has happened to me more times than I can count.
If your post is not upvoted over time, perhaps you're wrong about its value. Certainly the community disagrees with you. That questioning should be directed inwardly. Perhaps sometimes the answer will be that you don't care if the community disagrees with you, you still feel your point was justified. That also happens to me.
I understand the emotional impulse to question what a poster feels to be an injustice, but all they're really doing is indulging their emotional impulse at the expense of actual on-topic and interesting discussion.
Please don't do that.
Further, you can't assume that someone asking for such feedback is asking in a defensive way. Although that often happens, the written text is a poor way of judging that. Spoken tonality is more accurate. If you're interpreting a request for feedback as one coming out of being "wounded", that is more likely to be a projection of your own habits of communication and psyche than what is actually happening.
Regarding people suggesting to "look into myself what I did wrong" - I was totally flabbergasted as to why I was downvoted, that's exactly why I wanted to ask and, hopefully, learn something. The only ideas I had were those I listed, but none seemed to match.
Now, from the comments I learned something, that the quotes I used were apparently seen by some as "selective" and/or not reflecting the message of the article. Now, this at least explains somewhat the reasons, and for this I'm grateful; although I actually still can't say I agree, given that: 1) I believe I'd personally rather comment instead of downvoting in such case; 2) quoting is always more or less selective, yet here the quotes are quite large, and I'd still stand by opinion they do reflect the contents of the article; 3) the movie is composed fully of assertive sentences, and the quote and the article do counter them explicitly (e.g. movie: wolves -> willows grow higher; article: willows don't grow higher) and references multiple scientifical studies for that IIUC; 4) actually one of most important reasons I admire HN is when people provide calm but strong counterarguments to anything with quotes and references to scientifical papers, so that's what I try to do too...
There's evidence even this thread, as in the children of this parent (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8449500). Comments that add nothing meaningful, often contributing nothing other than snark or inane "Internet comedy".
There is much that is positive about Reddit, and much that is negative. Something HN doesn't need is the blatant downvoting because of mere differences in opinion.
Personally, I wish HN didn't have a downvote button at all, but that we could leave actual moderation to moderators.
I hope the day will come when we understand the biosphere of this wonderful planet we live on.
Amazon introducing AWS has radically changed Silicon Valley.
Other IaaS services and PaaS services also entered the market.
The huge variety of different SaaS businesses around now is probably directly related to the ease of leasing/running cloud servers.
Because start-ups need so little capital to get started these days, those start-ups engage with VCs and Angels not at the powerpoint stage of their business, but perhaps after the launch of their MVP ... or even after they have a solid running business.
That has changed the nature of the relationship between start-ups and investors, and the kinds of services the investors are expected to provide.
It has also made large-scale incubators like YC possible.
Here is a link to the show - Everything Is Connected - http://www.npr.org/2013/09/27/216098121/everything-is-connec...
Also, link to The Rewilding Institute - http://rewilding.org/rewildit/
The idea that I take away from the video is less one of trophic cascade and more of the connectedness of things in biology.
Oh, definitely. And it applies at a very broad sense of the word "nature." For instance, weight-loss. As a physics guy I have a minor aneurysm whenever someone, referencing the obesity epidemic, says something like "a calorie is not a calorie". What they're trying to say is very important, but I dislike the way that it's expressed, and it may be the reason why it's hard to get those views more accepted.
What I'd say is: the physics of weight loss is extremely well understood, but the psychology of weight loss is not at all. I can tell you about thermodynamics but that doesn't really tell you, at the level you want, why everyone and everything is becoming obese. For a personal example, once I came from the Netherlands to the US Midwest, I rapidly gained a lot of weight, going from "skinny for my height" to having trouble with some Men's X-Large T-shirts. Is it because the portion sizes are in general much larger? Or is it because there's more fat or sugar or chemical additives here? Or is it because I'm not bicycling to work every day because distances are greater here? Or is it because in the Netherlands I was expected to "have a sport" (in my case ultimate frisbee) and I'm no longer able to maintain that time commitment in my new phase of life? Or is it because of a shift in my religious and personal priorities which made it harder to fast once or twice a week? Hey, maybe it's none of these! Maybe it's just that I'm now in a relationship with a teacher and her late-night grading causes me to get less sleep, but because I work a programming job and solve cognitively-complex problems, I have to spike my blood sugar constantly to maintain the same functioning. But maybe it's something else, like the fact that satiety signals only get sent from the stomach to the brain after 20 minutes, and here I just tend to eat more in that 20 minutes than there.
All I can really tell you as a physicist is that my body will naturally find some equilibrium where energy in = energy out, at which point weight will become mostly stationary -- and I can in theory point to the idea that I can change this by changing the situations that I'm in. In addition with a little bit of knowledge about hormones like leptin & ghrelin, I can tell you that when my fat cells eventually start to die, their equilibrium will signal hunger to my brain, making it hard to work off this weight without a lot of discipline about my food urges. (Another potential cause! I now have a refrigerator so food is "always around".) But even the littlest things, perhaps even getting an hour more sleep every night, could throw that whole psychological set of triggers completely in a different direction.
Some things, especially seen in the outside world, just have ridiculously complicated causal graphs. It's true of weather, ecosystems, biologies -- and even when those graphs are generated by some really simple rules like energy-exchange, their interactions can easily spiral out of control for how we see them.
Software is the same way. If each line has a chance of interacting with one other, that's going to be an O(n^2) causal complexity created by O(n) lines; good modules and interfaces only reduce the multiplicative constants but don't change the scaling. When you get to the 50+ million lines of Windows it's hardly remarkable that it has some bugs in it.
In my own efforts at dieting and weight loss, I'm not sure I've seen any such effect for the range of diet variations I've tried. Still, there are suspicions that some such effect might be true, somewhat common in reality, and significant.
It's about a man that is also a wolf who meets a woman and they have kids, and about their struggle to grow up and live with their human and wolf personalities.