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Comment Re:YES, it has upsides. (Score 1) 79

I wonder if this the reason why my machine has so much trouble when I open a Youtube page in Firefox. Basically, youtube has become unusable recenty (in the last couple of months or so). I'm using Ubuntu 12.04 on an old Thinkpad X200. Everything else works fine. It's just youtube. (Though I haven't investigated anything and I don't really need youtube)

Comment Too early (Score 1) 29

Clinton looks like being the Dem nominee, but it's way too early in the cycle to say she absolutely will be. She has a popularity problem to overcome, and there's a sizable ABH contingent within the Democratic Party. She's stunning for her almost complete lack of charisma, her ability to make any displays of empathy or emotion look fake, her enthusiastic embrace of clearly flawed establishment positions on every issue, and a resume that looks like a set of check boxes rather than useful experience.

I can more confidently say I think Sanders is toast, and I don't see Warren as terribly likely either. Sanders is too much of a Ron Paul candidate to do anything but make a lot of noise. Warren has future potential, but she would have had to start "campaigning" four years ago. She's shown herself to be "tough on bad things", but not really anything else.

On the Republican side:

- Again, too early to completely rule out Trump but I'm finding it ridiculously unlikely he'll get the nomination. That view might change if he actually polls well in any early primaries.
- I honestly can't tell about the others. Well, I think the Republicans are unlikely to nominate the religious or ideological extremists (who are mostly positioning themselves for future jobs on Fox anyway), so that leaves - of the ones Fox is picking for their main debates - Bush, Christie, Kasich, Rubio, and Walker. It's tempting to find reasons to disqualify each. Bush is an establishment figure loathed by the grassroots... like Romney (2012). Christie is a populist pseudo-centrist loathed by the grassroots... like McCain (2008). Walker and Kasich are merely known as right wing governors at this point, like numerous former nominees. And Rubio is treading a relatively untrodden path and is fairly popular.

So, TL;DR, I just think it's too early to assume anything. Clinton may win, but if she does, she'll be our McCain (2008) candidate, and we might just lose as a result.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 194

A lot of things come at no cost though. I find it amazing how many people for example will spend a fortune on their graphics card, motherboard, processor, ram, hard drives, etc... but then run it with a cheapo power supply.

Let's say that you're one of those (probably the majority) that leaves their computer on 24/7. Let's say your gaming computer's average power consumption, between idling and heavy usage, is maybe 200W. Let's say the power supply lasts an average 3 years. Let's say that the difference between a cheapo 75% efficient power supply and an excellent 95% efficient supply is $50. Then the better supply saves 40W on average, or 1051 kWh over its lifespan. At an average US electricity price of, what, 12 cents per kWh, that's a savings of $126. You not only help the environment, but you easily save yourself money.

It's not just power supplies that matter - the same logic can be applied to processors, graphics cards, and other hardware as well. Always check the power consumption - not just for the environment, but for your pocketbook as well. Often it saves money to spend more upfront.

Comment Re:Not far enough. (Score 1) 72

IMHO, countries that care about pollution should set up a Pollution-Added Tax (PAT), equivalent to VAT, replacing their current patchwork of pollution regulations. Since VAT is already clearly in compliance with WTO rules (given that it exists), PAT should be as well. Just like how VAT works by taxing products at each stage of adding value to them during manufacture, PAT would tax them by the embodied pollution in their manufacture during that stage (plus any "delayed" pollution released when the product is consumed). And like VAT, PAT goods for export would receive a full tax rebate, and goods for import from non-PAT states would be taxed on entry.

The main point is that states with weaker pollution regulations cannot gain an unfair economic advantage over states with stronger pollution regulations. Thus it encourages even non-member-states to tighten their regulations.

Comment Re:Sanctioning NSA/FBI for spying all? (Score 2) 72

Things like Stuxnet is not at all what the person was talking about. They're talking about hacks to try to embarrass people or steal corporate secrets. Stuxnet was to take down a nuclear program, which is clearly a geopolitical, not industrial, goal.

My personal opinion: countries breaking into each other's governments or trying in general to gather/use classic "spying" data for geopolitical purposes is fair game. State-sponsored industrial espionage is not. That said, even in the first case, one runs the risk of uncontrolled escalation, so it's important for all sides to keep themselves in check and mutually agree to ratchet down the activity from time to time, for everyone's sake.

Also: it probably hasn't gotten past the US that it's in an advantageous state right now. Russia hasn't been more vulnerable in a long time, and now even China's star has taken a pounding in the market. US industry is benefiting from cheap thermal energy prices due to low cost shale gas. And Europe is probably going to be on the US's side in all of this.

Comment Re:"Denali" = anagram for "Denial" (Score 1) 383

I don't have a very clean way - I usually do egrep "^......$" /usr/share/dict/words (with the number of dots matching the length of the word) and then pipe it into a series of other greps - for example for two "r"s I'd do egrep -i "r.*r" while for one d I'd just use grep -i "d". There's probably a better way.

Comment Re:Does it have to be in China? (Score 1) 133

The Far East has plenty of factories that can ramp up production of any virtually any non-radical design in a matter of weeks. The West has no such industry, most factories aren't set up to build anything but specific products for the owners of the factory concerned, and it takes months to segue into new designs.

Which is why China is kicking our ass.

And that won't change either, as long as we assume manufacturing is somehow beneath us as a nation.

Comment Re:For me, it will always remain the mountain... (Score 4, Interesting) 383

I can't remember who it was... it might have been Halldór Laxnes... who said that a piece of nature isn't really a piece of nature unless it doesn't have a name. That is, the first thing people do once they start interacting with an object or place is to give it a name, and so once something is named it starts to become about the history of people rather than the history of the land itself. And that if you want to establish a real connection with nature, you don't go sit on top of that well-known named peak that people climb... you go to that little nameless stream or that remote nameless cliff or whatnot - places which tell only their own story.

Comment Re:Tradeoffs (Score 1) 43

More to the point, the James Webb telescope is supposed to be launched in late 2018; this flyby isn't until 2019. With seven times the light collecting area as Hubble, it could be a nice addition to the arsenal for finding bodies along Pluto's projected route (especially now that we know better what that route is going to be :) ) Though it operates in mid-IR to low-frequency visible, while Hubble operates primarily in visible/UV... I'm not sure how that would affect the ability to find solid objects. I know that far-IR is very good for it, but James Webb doesn't go down that far.

Comment Re:"clearing the neighborhood" (Score 1) 43

It's even worse than that. Compare Neptune's Stern-Levison parameter to Mars's. Neptune has at least two bodies that are each around 2-3% the mass of Mars in its "neighborhood" (quite possibly even larger ones), yet it has 290 times greater ability to "clear its neighborhood" than Mars. The concept that planets like Mars cleared their own neighborhood of bodies this size is not only unsupported by the research, but blatantly silly on the face of it. The IAU is attributing Jupiter's work at clearing the inner solar system to the inner planets in order to force their definition. And this isn't exactly news - pretty much all orbital dynamics simulations for a long time have been showing this.

Comment Re:While we're on the topic... (Score 1) 43

Mars is more than capable of clearing its neighborhood on its own, as seen by measures like the Stern-Levison parameter and others that have been derived from dynamics and simulation scalings. It isn't even close to being marginal.

Jupiter's Stern-Levison parameter is 1,38 million times larger than Mars's. No, Mars would not have "cleared its neighborhood"; it's well recognized in the literature that the majority of "neighborhood clearing" in our solar system was done by Jupiter and Saturn. There's lots of niggling over the exact details (here's one scenario), but there's no reputable peer-reviewed source involving orbital dynamics simulations arguing that Mars did the majority of work to clear its neighborhood. Heck, Neptune has a Stern-Levison parameter 290 times higher than Mars and it still has at least two bodies with around 1/50th the mass of Mars each in its neighborhood (and possibly even larger ones). If a 290 times greater ability to clear its neighborhood couldn't do it, why do you think Mars stands a chance on its own?

The whole "cleared the neighborhood" concept for planets is built on a bare falsehood: that the majority of them are actually responsible for clearing their own neighborhoods. The science says exactly the opposite: that the gas giants cleared the majority of bodies from our solar system.

Because some people care more about the dynamics of the planets and their orbits than what is on/in the planets. Even in geology on Earth, there are classifications for what makes up a mineral, and classifications for structures and locations they are found in.

Are you seriously trying to claim that, say, stilbite will be classified as a different mineral based on whether it occurs in Iceland or the United States? Minerals are what they are. The individual structures minerals are found in may have names (for example, the "Bakken Shale"), but those are just names. You know, like "Kuiper Belt".

Some geologists don't care where it came from as long as the make up is similar, others very much care if samples come from near the same location, even if they are very different minerals.

What on Earth are you talking about? If you're trying to say "Some scientists want to study the variety of objects in the Kuiper Belt and compare them to each other", then you already have a word for that: KBO.

You can go on and on about how dissimilar you think Jupiter and Earth are, but that doesn't change that there are metrics where they are much more similar than other rocky planets are to Earth.

You can't be serious.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. -- Errol Flynn Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. -- Errol Flynn

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