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Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 1) 445

by Idarubicin (#49105021) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

Yes, but they get millions to conduct research. I doubt he took that $1.2 million home.

Hard to say, actually. My understanding is that his appointment was a "soft money" position, which means that he would have been entirely dependent on outside grants for all of his funding--including the salaries for himself and any staff or trainees. I wouldn't be surprised if $120K per year, less administrative overhead, doesn't even fully cover his own salary.

Comment: Re:Yes, it's a conflict of interest. (Score 5, Informative) 445

by Idarubicin (#49103621) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

Dr. Soon may even truly believe his science is valid, but the funding he receives creates a lopsided megaphone which unfairly skews the perception of the debate.

Having a conflict of interest is understandable; hiding a conflict of interest is problematic.

By the same token, all scientists who receive funding from the pharmaceutical industry or groups they influence, should be barred from publishing papers on vaccine safety.

Scientists who receive funding from, for example, the pharmaceutical industry are expected to fully and explicitly disclose potentially conflicting interests--and by golly, they do. It's taken quite seriously, actually. If you look at any article in a respectable medical journal today, you'll find a section of the manuscript that's explicitly headed with Conflicting interests: or something synonymous. It will appear on every article, even on the ones where it's followed by "None declared" or the like, just so that it's clear that the journal asked for and got an on-the-record response from the article's authors. It doesn't remove the potential bias associated with outside funding, but it at least makes the potential for bias transparent.

Lying about competing interests - even through omission - is looked on very poorly by serious, credible medical researchers. Interestingly, one of the many, many types of misconduct engaged in by Andrew Wakefield was his failure to disclose significant financial interests when he published his (now-retracted and thoroughly discredited) Lancet paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. (Wakefield wasn't receiving pharmaceutical money, of course; he collected almost half a million pounds from lawyers involved in an anti-MMR lawsuit.)

And while the practice of mandatory disclosure started with the medical journals, the expectation has gradually bled across into other fields as well, particularly among top-tier journals.

Comment: Re:The Chomsky interpretation of mind control (Score 1) 220

by An Ominous Coward (#49077375) Attached to: Obama Says He's 'A Strong Believer In Strong Encryption'

Without diving into the source material, I suspect the paraphrasing would be better stated as: sophisticated mind control is unnecessary. In North Korea, you believe the dear leader aced eleven holes the first time he played golf, rides a unicorn and farts rainbows, because if you don't, you're tortured and killed. Elaborate PSYOPs not needed.

Comment: Re:Why did he tape off his light switches? (Score 1) 248

by Idarubicin (#49051181) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

If he's such a handy guy, he could've just wirenutted the wires in the boxes and put blank plates over them. simple and neat looking!

Well, "handy" is in the eye of the beholder. He's really just "software handy", which is a different thing, for people who don't like to manipulate physical objects. It's kind of like the difference between a real engineer and a "software engineer".

To be fair, it was probably intended to be a very temporary installation and test. (Though it wasn't fair for him to complain about problems caused by his own shortcuts, I suppose.) And he did try to install a switch replacement at one point, with unfortunate results that weren't exclusively his fault.

Comment: Re:A tax on stupidity (Score 2) 480

by Idarubicin (#49035499) Attached to: The Mathematical Case For Buying a Powerball Ticket

Maybe, but... I'm trying to think of the things I could buy (or do) with $500 million that I couldn't also buy (or do) with "only" $40 million. I'm not coming up with a whole lot. Moon base, maybe?

I fear you may be grossly underestimating the cost of a Moon base. I mean, the Chinese Chang'e 2 lunar orbiter mission cost around $150 million; I can't find a price tag for their unmanned Chang'e 3 rover, but I can't imagine it would be cheaper. Forget putting a man on the Moon--either to live, or especially if you're concerned about getting him back again....

Back in the mid-2000s when you could buy a seat on a Soyuz launch for a week or two on the International Space Station, the quoted prices were between $20 and $40 million. So I guess you could do that with your $40 million win, but only if you were comfortable with (a) going by yourself, and (b) not having much left over afterward. With $500 million, you could afford to live very comfortably and make a return visit to the ISS every few years, just on the investment income.

Comment: Your glib comment is nonsense and evidence-free (Score 1) 481

by stomv (#49004649) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

Federal gas tax pays for highways and the gas tax isn't enough to cover the cost, and hasn't been for years. Additionally, state gas taxes only pay for half of state and local roadway expenses.

The roadway users aren't paying for the cost of the roadways through fees -- they're covering more than half. There's absolutely no evidence that money intended for transportation is being spent outside of transportation, and at the state level in many states that would violate the state constitution.

We're underfunding transportation in America, both road and rail. The problem is that taxes, fees, and fares are not high enough, not that money is leaking into other areas of government.

Comment: Re:Different market segments (Score 2) 422

by Idarubicin (#48994117) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?

Quite true. But keep in mind that this might not be free of cost (or effects) for those of us at the middle-to-high end. There's probably a bunch of "infrastructure" and overhead-type costs that are currently shared across different market segments.

For instance, Canon uses the same DIGIC signal and image processing chips across a bunch of different models: professional and consumer DSLRs as well as whole lines of point-and-shoots. If big pieces of the point-and-shoot market evaporate, then the cost of developing those chips and sustaining shorter production runs for them has to be carried by the DSLR market alone.

Aside from the direct economies of scale, there are going to be some more subtle business and technical reasons why losing a market segment will hurt the whole company. The fruits of R&D investment typically show up first at the high-end SLR market, and then trickle down through the prosumer and consumer SLRs, then make their way from the high to the low end of the point-and-shoot cameras. A smaller market overall means either less R&D or more expensive SLRs.

Heck, just having a wider product line means fewer boom-and-bust cycles when the company is between new models (with the accompanying bursts of new sales and marketing buzz.)

Comment: You're overselling your claim (Score 1) 227

by stomv (#48951869) Attached to: The NFL Wants You To Think These Things Are Illegal

For instance, excessively high payment from TV networks require excessively high fees to cable providers which are paid by all cable subscribers, even if they never watch the channel.

You don't need to subscribe to cable. Plenty of folks don't, and more seem to be cutting the cord every day. I haven't subscribed to cable television since the 1990s.

The cartel is also able to leverage national monies to convince localities to force taxpayer to fund stadiums, even if those that are never going to use the stadiums.

If your local and state government sucks, blame your neighbors. This doesn't seem to happen in the Northeast -- both Boston and New York teams paid for their own stadiums (partial exception: Barclay's).

Because the rules are set, public tax dollars can be used to train kids for the NFL through public school funds.

Yeah, and public tax dollars are training rock musicians, artists, debaters, glee-ers, chess players, and goodness knows what else.

Because salaries are set, the players, though well paid, do not have the ability to truly negotiate a contract.

The salaries are set following a union negotiation. If you want to claim that unions set salaries and that's bad, be my guest. You'll certainly have support around here. Union participation in America is nearly 15 million. There's nothing unique about the NFL negotiating with a union to set wages.

I'll stop now, though I'm sure there's more criticism of your weak tea.

Comment: Re:Last 2 planes? (Score 1) 293

by Idarubicin (#48937175) Attached to: US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

The oldest flying 747 is also the fifth 747 produced. It was delivered in August 1970 and is still flying today.

This is true. As the linked article notes, a remarkable number of early 747s are still in service in Iran, either with the Iranian Air Force or as part of the fleet of Iran Air. These airframes date to before the 1979 Iranian Revolution. I didn't really want to open that can of worms, though--given the diplomatic situation between Iran and the United States, one wonders at the level of support that Boeing would feel it had to provide (or even would be allowed to provide, as a U.S. company).

I would wonder if there were any parallels to the situation in, say, Cuba, with its large population of Batista-era (pre-Castro, pre-Communist revolution) U.S.-built "classic" automobiles. Though you'll still see them on the roads of Havana, I wouldn't expect Ford to still have parts for, say, the 1957 Fairlane.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.