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Earth

Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change 458

Posted by Soulskill
from the politics-of-science dept.
mdsolar points out this report in the NY Times: An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.

Among Republicans, 48 percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called "the most powerful finding" in the poll. Many Republican candidates either question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Comment: Re:That'll stop the terrorists! (Score 2) 236

by Bo'Bob'O (#48917465) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

Funny to see people complain about knee-jerk reactions with a massive knee jerk of their own.

Chemistry kits and lasers aren't outlawed, so neither of the things are true. Why was this modded up?

Certain chemicals aren't commonly included in chemistry kits marketed for children for liability reasons. Make of that what you will, but that is still a long ways from "outlawed". In fact, I'd guess that most of the things that you might have found in those kids are still easy enough to find. They just don't come in a tin case with fancy graphics.

Comment: Re:Google Plus Defined Itself As a Hazard (Score 1) 210

by Bo'Bob'O (#48876865) Attached to: Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+

I found the real-name policy to be a real negative too. I think it's perfectly reasonable to want a level of privacy on the web. Total anonymity is probably not possible from any sort of social media, and maybe not wholly desirable, but I think it's fully within my rights to have a part of my life that isn't in the view of the management at my work. Or that a teacher might not want her social life being just a web search away from young students. Or hell, maybe there are just things I'd rather not have my grandmother see.

The 'circles' thing was nice, but it's really just not much of a privacy wall.

The Almighty Buck

IRS Warns of Downtime Risk As Congress Makes Cuts 253

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-on-a-budget dept.
dcblogs writes Successive budget cuts by Congress are forcing the Internal Revenue Service to delay system modernization that would improve its ability to prevent fraud. In telling of the problems ahead, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen almost sounded desperate in a recent memo to employees. The IRS is heavily dependent on technology, and the impact of the budget reduction to IT this year was put at $200 million. It will mean delays in replacing "aging IT systems" and "increasing the risk of downtime," Koskinen said. A new system to protect against ID theft will be delayed, and other IT cost-efficiency efforts curbed.The budget cuts have been so deep IRS employees are being warned of a possible shutdown for two days before this fiscal year ends in October. It would be a forced furlough for agency workers. The IRS employed 84,189 last year, down from 86,400 in 2013. When attrition is considered, the IRS says it lost between 16,000 and 17,000 employees since 2010. The agency has also been hit with a hiring freeze, and appears to be hiring very few people in IT compared to other agencies.

Comment: Re:Try Again Next Time (Score 1) 248

by Bo'Bob'O (#48834131) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

They don't have stock-holders or congressmen holding the purse strings to try and impress. They don't need to downplay or spin the outcome of a test flight because everyone involved knows that a good testing program will have some failures. And in fact finding new failure modes in early testing is better then not finding them at all.

So while to SpaceX this was a useful test; their stocks would be falling right now, sending bean counters into a panic were they publicly traded.

Comment: Re:Money talks, electric car walks (Score 1) 181

by Bo'Bob'O (#48814473) Attached to: Tesla To Produce 'a Few Million' Electric Cars a Year By 2025

If buying cars were simply a matter of price vs purely practical specifications, we'd all be driving Toyota Yaris or commercial vans. Nothing wrong with these vehicles, but sometimes people want to pay a little more to get a little something else or extra out of one of the items that is to most people one of their largest personal investments.

Yes, for a small few it might be a choice to seem trendy or fashionable.. but so what? For the vast majority of people interested there are many big picture and pragmatic reasons to want a car like this. Yet, the criticisms and concerns people often express about cars like the Tesla are far less superficial then what seems to be the average criteria most people use to put value on their gas powered cars.

ISS

Ammonia Leak Alarm On the ISS Forces Evacuation of US Side: Crew Safe 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the send-up-a-plumber dept.
New submitter BabelBuilder writes: An alarm signaling a possible ammonia leak aboard the ISS this morning caused the crew to evacuate the U.S. side of the station. All crew aboard the station are safe. "Flight controllers in Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston saw an increase in pressure in the station's water loop for thermal control system B then later saw a cabin pressure increase that could be indicative of an ammonia leak in the worst case scenario. Acting conservatively to protect for the worst case scenario, the crew was directed to isolate themselves in the Russian segment while the teams are evaluating the situation." They don't yet know whether it was caused by a faulty sensor, a problem in the relay box, or another malfunction.
Space

SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the better-luck-next-time dept.
New submitter 0x2A writes: A Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon cargo ship toward the International Space Station early Saturday— and then returned to Earth, apparently impacting its target ocean platform during a landing test in the Atlantic.

"Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho," Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the launch. He added that they didn't get good video of the landing attempt, so they'll be piecing it together using telemetry and debris. "Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced."

Comment: Re:Airline anaolgy is incorrect (Score 1) 448

by Bo'Bob'O (#48759761) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

Considering that most channels seem to work under the model of "Get as much to fill the schedule for as little as possible" I'm not sure that very much of value will be lost.

Look at it another way: The Travel Channel hires many different producers for it's shows. If the travel channel goes away, the channels that survive will be eager to snatch up the shows from the Travel Channel people (hypothetically) actually watched while all the filler just dries up. So now you have channels competing with each other to get people to buy their channels (like HBO does now), rather then just hoping people land on their channels for an hour and see a few commercials before moving on.

I have a feeling that channels will probably stick better to their formats, too. If they drift away from what their core wants, they will have to try and re-market themselves for their new format while the original watchers maybe don't renew that channel the next time their contract comes around.

Comment: Re:What the hell is this guy smoking (Score 1) 235

by Bo'Bob'O (#48709387) Attached to: The Billionaires' Space Club

Even space launch economics aside, the dragon spacecraft can return cargo to earth from LEO.

This is a technology that only only a number of countries you can count on your fingers can do. Fewer still with anything actively doing it. Even if SpaceX stops developing tech tomorrow, it's still had an immediate impact the US and the world's ability to do research in space now and for years to come.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.

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