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Comment: Re:How do food shortages make sense for warmer cli (Score 4, Interesting) 703

Your error is in assuming a simple, isolated system and ignoring the complexity of dealing with the horribly analog world of biology.

In general, there are two considerations for when, and how much, plants grow. The first is the amount of sunlight they receive (hours per day) and the second is the number of "degree days". Since duration of sunlight isn't going to change (at a certain latitude), let's focus on "degree days" first.

A "degree day" is based on the temperature of the day, so the higher the temperature - the higher the value. However, there are bounds for this. For example, corn needs at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but not more than 86 degrees Fahrenheit. i.e. - Below 50 means "0 degree days" and 92 will be the same number of degree days as if it were 86.

The problem comes in when it is far too warm which, for corn, comes in around 86 degrees. The plant hasn't adapted for growing in temperatures much higher, and will shut down growth; much higher temperatures will even cause damage to the plant. Here is a human analogy - a human might be able to run really fast and really far but, if it is 115 degrees outside, that isn't going to happen and any activity may result in heat stroke. A plant will be stressed in this kind of heat and will actually be damaged. In this way, too much heat will cause plants to grow less, and we will have lower yields.

However, since plants also depend on certain amount of sunlight, it isn't a simple matter of moving things northward (or southward in the Southern Hemisphere) to match temperature. All of the plants are also expecting a certain duration of sunlight. This isn't constant with latitude, so moving the plants north will reduce yield. (And more sunlight doesn't mean higher yield - plants also do things at night like release water vapor.) This means that we will have to reengineer our crops to match new conditions - which will take decades. (And crop genetics isn't a simple matter - companies spend billions on trying to make better species.) So, until we do that, we will have lower yields.

Also, many plant diseases like the heat (or like that they don't freeze to death in the winter - see Asian Soybean Rust ranges) - so they will enjoy millions of square miles of new territory - increasing the cost of production (herbicides and pesticides) and, since bugs and molds eat the plants, will give us lower yields.

The other problem is related to economics and infrastructure. Farmers have certain equipment to plant and harvest the crops native to their area. Plus, their fields have been designed for those certain crops. For example, they may be terraced in a certain way or be designed with a certain level of drainage based on existing weather patterns (temperature and rainfall). Renovating millions of square miles of farmland is going to be expensive and ridiculously time consuming and until it is modified to match new, prevailing weather patterns, will contribute to lower yields.

The other side to the economic coin is that decisions are not going to be made on a 50-100 year strategy. To operate next year, a farm needs to turn a profit this year. So, they aren't going to completely retool if yields go down 10% - it would make no sense. The capital costs would dwarf any profit from the new crops being put in. Therefore, they will operate at lower capacity and accept a lower profit - since it is still a profit. Sure, we will get changes when push comes to shove, but that will take decades as climate change forces them to change. Until that point - lower yield.

Moral of the story, we are looking at decades of lower yields as climate change really kicks in.

Comment: Re:As Frontalot says (Score 2, Insightful) 631

by Bender0x7D1 (#46354947) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

But that's the problem - Bitcoin isn't "real" money. If it were, there would be a huge number of regulations to follow, sinking it as an anonymous currency. However, if it isn't "real" currency, thefts and/or fraud will not be investigated by law enforcement agencies. So, pick what you want: An anonymous currency with no support of law enforcement, or a "real" currency where regulations such as requiring a photo ID to open an account apply.

Comment: Re:Multi-tiered backup strategy (Score 1) 463

by Bender0x7D1 (#46169535) Attached to: Fire Destroys Iron Mountain Data Warehouse, Argentina's Bank Records Lost

I don't see why archival storage should be much different. You should have at least two copies of everything in different locations, on-site and off-site. Basically, if you're shoving archival data in a third-party facility like this, you have no backups of your archives...

I'm guessing they only keep a single copy of 13-year-old data because the cost/perceived value equation says they don't need multiple copies. I mean, how often does someone pull up detailed business data that hadn't been used in that long? (Summaries and stats, sure. But the detailed records themselves? Practically never.)

Comment: Re:Surprised people still use... (Score 4, Insightful) 192

by Bender0x7D1 (#45562385) Attached to: AI Reality Check In Online Dating

I've used online dating sites, and found them quite effective. My girlfriend of over 2 years and I met on an online site. A close friend of mine met his wife on an online site. So, they do actually work.

I remember when I gave that idea a go and found I generally sent out tons of emails but rarely got any responses.

This probably means your emails sucked. Did you send a one-sentence email? Something like: "I saw your profile and you seemed interesting so I thought I would say hi." Where was your effort? If you want to meet someone, you need to demonstrate you are interested. Did you point out your similarities, common interests or things you both enjoy? You need to show that you aren't just some random guy spamming a hundred girls to see what will work. Does she have a cat or a dog? Even if you don't have one, you can mention that you used to, or you've wanted one, or ask how much the darn thing sheds. Just something showing it's personalized and, most importantly that you read her profile.

While I have met people online, I've definitely found my chances are significantly higher in person, face to face.

Again, that's probably because your emails sucked. There is no tone of voice, no body language or dimension to an email, so you have to do it all with words. This isn't easy, and a lot of people suck at it because they've never had any practice. However, most people (although not all) have a lot of practice interacting with people in real life - even if it is just to order something from Starbucks - making them better at communicating in real life than in an email.

If I were to become single again, I would be back online right away. It's a fast way to find people who are interested in similar things, and to meet a lot of people that you wouldn't in your regular routine. (When was the last time you went to a coffee shop on the other side of town just to see if you could meet someone new?)

Comment: Re:Please ruin it like you did Star Trek (Score 1) 376

by Bender0x7D1 (#44987285) Attached to: An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About <em>Star Wars</em>

And the US Navy made a 12-year-old the Captain of a prize ship. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Farragut So, making a senior cadet - who figured out what was going on, and just saved your ship when the rest of the fleet got destroyed - the First Officer isn't that big a reach.

Comment: Re:Just curious (Score 1) 637

by Bender0x7D1 (#44561013) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

His authority as the head of the Executive branch.

He is responsible for enforcing the law. (Or not.) If Congress objects, they can impeach him. However, within his bailiwick, he is the supreme authority.

It's how the checks and balances of the three branches of government work. None is beholden to the others, but they can be stopped, blocked or removed by the others.

Comment: Re:More proof there is a STEM shortage! (Score 1) 401

by Bender0x7D1 (#44264797) Attached to: Electrical Engineering Labor Pool Shrinking

And while tuition is going up, technology has driven the prices of course materials down significantly from the old days, when you were stuck with the single College bookstore selling at full price.

You aren't paying enough attention to textbook prices - or tuition. The rapid increase of tuition is far more than a full set of books would cost. Even a bad semester would be less than $1k of books, and tuition is going up by double digit percentages every year. In addition, while you can get a deal on some textbooks, the publishers are out to maximize their profits and spin new editions, or make sure there are shortages of old editions to offset the difference. Plus, sending free copies of the new editions to any professor who uses them in their class is a nice way to make sure used books are a dead end.

Comment: Re:Fat Hatred (Score 1) 446

by Bender0x7D1 (#43825579) Attached to: Med Students Unaware of Their Bias Against Obese Patients

Except obesity also reduces life expectancy by 6-7 years. link

Therefore, you get 6-7 years of productivity from healthy people, which is worth far more than$31k. Plus, you probably get more productivity for all the other years as well. (Obese people have higher rates of absenteeism and disability claims. link)

Comment: Re:Cancel? (Score 5, Informative) 551

But the big problem that the summery overlooks is that its just about as hard to put a laser range finder on a target as it is to put a bullet on target.

Not really. With a laser range finder you don't have to worry about wind. You don't have to worry about range (by definition). You don't have to worry about the smooth trigger pull since laser range finders don't usually have a multiple pounds of pressure activation button. You also don't have to worry about properly absorbing the recoil to avoid jerking the round off target.

The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-trillion-dollars dept.
ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"

Comment: Re:Summary is misleading. (Score 3, Informative) 99

by Bender0x7D1 (#42499027) Attached to: Want To Buy a Used Spaceport?

It means manufacturing based on the geographic location desired by a politician instead of where it would make the most sense from an engineering standpoint. i.e. - You can't put all the high tech space jobs in the same place as each politician wants some of the money to create jobs in their own district.

Comment: Re:You don't (Score 4, Insightful) 683

by Bender0x7D1 (#42471163) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

If you need a problem solved quickly, and better than what all your competitors can do, he's your man.

You have provided one criteria (quickly) but you still haven't defined what "better" is.

Here's an analogy. If you need to perform an amputation, or other rapid operation to keep someone alive (like on a battlefield), is the doctor who can perform that amputation the fastest "the best"? What about if their operation to keep the person alive causes problems with follow-on surgeries or other body functionality? Are they still "the best"?

What drives me insane is that people forget that the vast majority of source code ends up being a living thing. Features are added (or removed), bugs are fixed and it is used in ways not envisioned in the original development. That means someone has to go in and make changes. If it isn't easily understood then (a) it takes longer to make those changes, (b) it is more likely new bugs are introduced and (c) it may be used in a manner that is unexpected (large-scale instead of small scale, and the code is inefficient). What this means in the long run is your code is more expensive to modify and maintain, and it probably won't be as good. How is that a win for the customers, the company, the new developer who has to make changes and our profession in general?

We need to stop glorifying the "gods" of programming, but the average guy who just gets shit done on a regular basis. More analogies: A fighter pilot gets the glory, but the poor guy changing the fluids is just as important - and works on a dozen planes. Same with a quarterback - if an offensive lineman doesn't keep up their end of the work, the entire offense will crumble. It's supposed to be about being a team, and accepting that you have to provide support for the average guy - it is extremely unlikely you will always have a team that is 100% superstar material, so don't act like you do.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.

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