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Earth

VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email 338

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-did-you-have-for-lunch-when-you-wrote-those-papers dept.
RoccamOccam sends news that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that Michael Mann, a climate scientist notable for his work on the "hockey stick" graph, does not have to turn over the entirety of his papers and emails under Freedom of Information laws. Roughly 1,000 documents were turned over in response to the request, but another 12,000 remain, which lawyers for the University of Virginia say are "of a proprietary nature," and thus entitled to an exemption. The VA Supreme Court ruled (PDF), "the higher education research exemption's desired effect is to avoid competitive harm not limited to financial matters," and said the application of "proprietary" was correct in this case. Mann said he hopes the ruling "can serve as a precedent in other states confronting this same assault on public universities and their faculty."

Comment: Texas Has Fewer Homeless, California More (Score 3, Interesting) 318

Compared to when The Great Recession Started.

"California, with just under 12% of the nation's population, has 22.43% of the nation's homeless population, giving it a homelessness quotient of 0.88. Quite high, in other words. Almost double the number of homeless people one would predict, given its population."

"Texas, which has roughly 8.2% of the nation's population, only has 4.85% of the nation's homeless population (meaning: Texas has a quite low homelessness quotient of -0.41)."

Growing economy = less homeless, contracting economy = more homeless.

Go look at the statistics if you doubt it.

Comment: San Francisco is just an extreme example... (Score 0, Flamebait) 357

by Nova Express (#46762691) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

...of California's high tax, high cost, high regulation, anti-growth, and radical environmental environment. It's a great place to live if you're rich, and virtually impossible to live if you're middle class or poor.

Critics have been noting these problems for at least two decades, and California becoming a single-party Democratic state with outsized input from public employee unions has only accelerated the trend...

Encryption

Obama Says He May Or May Not Let the NSA Exploit the Next Heartbleed 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-for-providing-zero-clarity dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House has joined the public debate about Heartbleed. The administration denied any prior knowledge of Heartbleed, and said the NSA should reveal such flaws once discovered. Unfortunately, this statement was hedged. The NSA should reveal these flaws unless 'a clear national security or law enforcement need' exists. Since that can be construed to apply to virtually any situation, we're left with the same dilemma as before: do we take them at their word or not? The use of such an exploit is certainly not without precedent: 'The NSA made use of four "zero day" vulnerabilities in its attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment sites. That operation, code-named "Olympic Games," managed to damage roughly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, and by some accounts helped drive the country to the negotiating table.' A senior White House official is quoted saying, 'I can't imagine the president — any president — entirely giving up a technology that might enable him some day to take a covert action that could avoid a shooting war.'" Side note: CloudFlare has named several winners in its challenge to prove it was possible to steal private keys using the Heartbleed exploit.
Earth

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty 856

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-blame-the-dinosaurs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study out of McGill University sought to examine historical temperature data going back 500 years in order to determine the likelihood that global warming was caused by natural fluctuations in the earth's climate. The study concluded there was less than a 1% chance the warming could be attributed to simple fluctuations. 'The climate reconstructions take into account a variety of gauges found in nature, such as tree rings, ice cores, and lake sediments. And the fluctuation-analysis techniques make it possible to understand the temperature variations over wide ranges of time scales. For the industrial era, Lovejoy's analysis uses carbon-dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels as a proxy for all man-made climate influences – a simplification justified by the tight relationship between global economic activity and the emission of greenhouse gases and particulate pollution, he says. ... His study [also] predicts, with 95% confidence, that a doubling of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere would cause the climate to warm by between 2.5 and 4.2 degrees Celsius. That range is more precise than – but in line with — the IPCC's prediction that temperatures would rise by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius if CO2 concentrations double.'"
Science

Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover 292

Posted by samzenpus
from the nothing-new-under-the-sun dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "John Horgan writes in National Geographic that scientists have become victims of their own success and that 'further research may yield no more great revelations or revolutions, but only incremental, diminishing returns.' The latest evidence is a 'Correspondence' published in the journal Nature that points out that it is taking longer and longer for scientists to receive Nobel Prizes for their work. The trend is strongest in physics. Prior to 1940, only 11 percent of physics prizes were awarded for work more than 20 years old but since 1985, the percentage has risen to 60 percent. If these trends continue, the Nature authors note, by the end of this century no one will live long enough to win a Nobel Prize, which cannot be awarded posthumously and suggest that the Nobel time lag 'seems to confirm the common feeling of an increasing time needed to achieve new discoveries in basic natural sciences—a somewhat worrisome trend.' One explanation for the time lag might be the nature of scientific discoveries in general—as we learn more it takes more time for new discoveries to prove themselves.

Researchers recently announced that observations of gravitational waves provide evidence of inflation, a dramatic theory of cosmic creation. But there are so many different versions of 'inflation' theory that it can 'predict' practically any observation, meaning that it doesn't really predict anything at all. String theory suffers from the same problem. As for multiverse theories, all those hypothetical universes out there are unobservable by definition so it's hard to imagine a better reason to think we may be running out of new things to discover than the fascination of physicists with these highly speculative ideas. According to Keith Simonton of the University of California, 'the core disciplines have accumulated not so much anomalies as mere loose ends that will be tidied up one way or another.'"

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 1) 1037

by WolfWithoutAClause (#46684349) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

I think that there is a question as to whether the three witnesses are reliable or not. ;)

I'm also pretty damn sure that Native Americans are not descended from Egyptians, and that the genetic information that shows they're not is widely available, and does stack up.

If that was not the case, there would be some super-duper famous scientists right now that had managed to prove a key tenant of Mormonism; either Science or Nature would publish that like a shot. They LOVE overturning apple carts: if you have the hard evidence.

In the real world... that hasn't happened, because they're not descended from there, all the evidence shows that Native Americans came from Asia, migrating across the Bering Strait. It's just 50 miles across the ocean there, it's many thousands of miles the other ways.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection? 312

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-president-does-it-it's-legal dept.
An anonymous reader links to this editorial at Ars Technica which argues that "As chief executive, Obama has the power to reform the NSA on his own with the stroke of a pen. By not putting this initiative into an executive order, he punted to Congress on an issue that affects the civil liberties of most anybody who picks up a phone. Every day Congress waits on the issue is another day Americans' calling records are being collected by the government without suspicion that any crime was committed. 'He does not need congressional approval for this,' said Mark Jaycoxx, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney."

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 5, Funny) 1037

by WolfWithoutAClause (#46676699) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

Let me give you the view of a non Mormon:

Mormonism is bonkers!

You're talking about a religion created by a convicted con man that involves him 'reading' invisible gold tablets that nobody else could see from within a hat, and mistranslating an Egyptian funerary parchment aka 'The Book of Abraham' that doesn't say what he said it says; and we know that because it was tracked down and translated for real.

Businesses

Start-Up Founders On Dealing With Depression 257

Posted by timothy
from the blue-mondays dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Founders at a number of Boston startups shared their stories of building and growing a company while battling depression. One founder didn't even realize he was depressed until glucose and blood tests came back normal, while another said it was worse than her life struggles growing up in the projects. All shared different coping mechanisms. Any advice for dealing with the same?"
Earth

UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming 987

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
iONiUM (530420) writes "'The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned.' A document was released by the IPCC outlining the current affects on climate change, and they are not good. For specific effects on humans: 'Food security is highlighted as an area of significant concern. Crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%.'"

Comment: Canadians: please read (Score 2) 455

by freeweed (#46602639) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Little travel tip that I, as a Canadian, learned years ago entirely by chance.

If you encounter this security system in the US (still mostly as gas pumps) - 99.5% of pumps will allow Canadians to use a "zip code". Take the first 3 numeric digits in your Postal Code, and add "00" to the end, making a 5 digit "zip code". Works like a charm almost every time. I've only had it fail once. And they do actually use this as a security code, I've tried 55555 and 90210 and nothing else will work. But this one does.

I'm stunned that this little tidbit isn't all over the Canadian news, considering how many of us travel to the US (especially in our cars!).

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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