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Comment: Re:Faulty premise (Score 1) 81

by drinkypoo (#47980039) Attached to: Sci-fi Predictions, True and False (Video 1)

Scotty on Star Trek is not casting spells when he beams someone up, he's using a machine. That's very different from Gandalf casting a spell.

The only potential fundamental difference between a plot object like a crystal ball and a plot object like a transporter is whether there's a theoretical physical explanation for their function. If there is, then it's science fiction. If not, it's just fiction, and you may as well call it fantasy. It might not be witches-and-wizards fantasy, but it sure-as-hell ain't science fiction. You don't have to actually spell out the explanation, or even allude to it, but you should have one which works consistently with the idea of physics throughout your story if you want to be all sciency and stuff.

Japan

Fukushima Radiation Still Poisoning Insects 4

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-mothra dept.
sciencehabit writes: Eating food contaminated with radioactive particles may be more perilous than previously thought — at least for insects. Butterfly larvae fed even slightly tainted leaves collected near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station were more likely to suffer physical abnormalities and low survival rates than those fed uncontaminated foliage, a new study finds. The research suggests that the environment in the Fukushima region, particularly in areas off-limits to humans because of safety concerns, will remain dangerous for wildlife for some time. In other lingering radiation news, reader Rambo Tribble writes: Forest detritus, contaminated in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster (abstract), is decaying at a much slower rate than normal, building up and creating a significant fire risk. This, in turn, is creating a real potential for the residual radioactive material to be distributed, through smoke, over a broad area of Europe and Russia. Looking at different possible fire intensities, researchers speculate, "20 to 240 people would likely develop cancer, of which 10 to 170 cases may be fatal." These figures are similar to those hypothesized for Fukushima.

Comment: Re:Laser? Try Gummy Bears (Score 1) 43

by s.petry (#47979975) Attached to: Apple's TouchID Fingerprint Scanner: Still Hackable
Jello works just as well. Working at the Department of Defense we annually had to reject the latest greatest "biometric wonder" finger print ID systems because we could easily spoof people's identity lifting prints with Jello, then log in with the same Jello. Obviously a truly malicious person could eat the tasty evidence and ensure nobody knew what happened..

+ - Obama Presses China on Global Warming

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The NYT reports that President Obama spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit and challenged China to make the same effort to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions and join a worldwide campaign to curb global warming. Obama's words were directly focused on putting the onus on China, an essential partner of the United States if a global climate treaty is to be negotiated by 2015. The United States and China bear a “special responsibility to lead,” said Obama, “That’s what big nations have to do.” The United States, Obama said, would meet a pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by 17 percent, from 2005 levels, by 2020 — a goal that is in large part expected to be met through proposed EPA regulation.

There were indications that China might be ready with its own plan, although many experts say they will be skeptical until Chinese officials reveal the details. A senior Chinese official said his country would try to reach a peak level of carbon emissions “as early as possible.” That suggested that the Chinese government, struggling with air pollution so extreme that it has threatened economic growth, regularly kept millions of children indoors and ignited street protests, was determined to show faster progress in curbing emissions. In recent years, the Chinese government has sent other signals about addressing carbon pollution, some of them encouraging to environmental experts. “Five years ago, it was almost unimaginable to discuss China putting a cap on carbon, but now that is happening,” said Lo Sze Ping, chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund’s office in Beijing. “Chinese leaders have seen that it is imperative to move toward a low-carbon economy.”"

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 252

Well, if you revert the government to prior to the income tax amendent, you have the feds taxing the states, and the states taxing the citizenry. There are actually quite a few good arguments for this. The income tax amendment may have been a bad idea. But it's sure not straightforwards, and would require a large number of other changes in government.

One of the advantages is it would increase the power of the states relative to the federal government. I feel that the federal system has become quite imbalanced as the feds absorbed more and more powers. Another possibility is to return to the state governments appointing the senators. There were many reasons why that was deemed a poor practice, but it did help balance the power of the states against the feds.

Both of these changes would cause drastic changes in the government. I don't know whether they woud be good or not. Fast transportation and communication has acted to make a larger governmental unit seem reasonable, but it is also less responsive to the will of the citizens.

Comment: Re:Or just go to a flat tax system and (Score 1) 252

A flat tax is inappropriate, but an linear tax (tax = rate * income - base) is probably reasonable. or even a quadratic tax (tax = rate1 * income^2 + rate2 * income - base).

For various reasons I prefer the simpler linear tax with a fairly large base, so that people living on minimum wage would actually get a small amount back. The tricky part is defining income...it's got to include ALL sources of income, including long term capital gain, but you don't want to discourage investments. However, that should be done OUTSIDE THE TAX SYSTEM. Keep the tax system as simple as possible.

Comment: Re:Funny how this works ... (Score 1) 157

by dryeo (#47979803) Attached to: Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video

Your gross wages are not your money, it is your employers money and if your taxes go down, well your gross wages go down, either directly or through inflation, so your take home pay is the same or a little bit more. Taxes are taken into consideration when pay is calculated. This is why so many large employers push for lower taxes, so they can decrease their payrolls.

Comment: Re:Did you find that hard drive yet? (Score 1) 252

I have a trouble with the word "they". I grant that certain individuals violated laws and should be prosecuted. I deny that an organization is a self-willed entity. (I also don't believe that corporations are people.)

So. People at the IRS violated laws is a reasonable statement. The IRS violated the law is nonsensical. (Note also that the second form also turns some particular laws into a general generic "the law". Another piece of fallacious reasoning...and an increasingly common usage.)

Comment: Re:Biometrics are Not the Answer (Score 1) 43

by jklovanc (#47979685) Attached to: Apple's TouchID Fingerprint Scanner: Still Hackable

and could never be changed

You actually have ten different one that can be rotated. Replicating a good enough fingerprint for TouchID is not easy. The cracker would not know if the fingerprint reproduction was faulty or the wrong finger was used. Since TouchID is disabled after a few tries it is not a bad choice for a device with the security need of a cell phone. It is a balance between convenience and security. As the submitter said, only a few people can do it and the chance of failure is high. Not everything needs top level security.

If biometrics is not the answer for this level of security, what is?

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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