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Comment: Re:But its cooler here... (Score 2) 552

by Derec01 (#47471827) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

The ozone layer is regenerating because the use of CFCs was regulated. If we had continued to pump more, it would overcome the sun's rate of production. Therefore I'm not sure of the point you're making; it's a success story for regulation. If we just forgot about it and didn't regulate, it wouldn't be regenerating fast enough.

Comment: Re:Another comic book gimmick (Score 1) 590

by Derec01 (#47461285) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

Neither of those examples are gimmicks. A gimmick would be an extraordinary occurrence just for the sake of having a female character. If it's an ordinary replacement and it happens to be female I don't see how it's a gimmick.

In the former, it's been established that the "Robin" position gets passed around frequently. There's half a dozen of them. What's gimmicky about one of them being female?

In the latter, Peter Parker was replaced in the Ultimate universe because he *died*. This might be gimmicky in the normal Marvel Universe, where the status quo remains forever, but in the Ultimates universe, iconic heroes die all the time and stay dead. Beast drowned, the Wasp was eaten by the Blob, and so on. Spider-Man wears a mask and is easy to impersonate, what's gimmicky about any random kid with spiderish powers taking up the name?

Comment: Re:Useless coins (Score 1) 753

by Derec01 (#47446175) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Actually, can you explain to me the benefits of a $1 coin to the user? Fine, it's more durable; I don't really care, I rarely accidentally destroy $1 bills, so that benefit accrues solely to the mint.

I get the odd comment from European friends about how silly the dollar bill is, which I don't understand. In practice, my experience in the Euro area and in the UK is that my pocket gets so frigging heavy and awkward. Meanwhile I can get a weightless stack of $1s as change in the US. Sure, they could make the dollar coin tiny, but now it will be confused with a dime or nickel, requiring an entire reset of the whole coin system relative sizes and weights.

Comment: Not exactly green (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by Derec01 (#47283735) Attached to: Continuous System For Converting Waste Plastics Into Crude Oil

I'm all for eliminating waste, but if the net effect is that we're removing plastic from landfills and emitting it as CO2, that's not terribly different from digging up crude oil and emitting it as CO2.

Now, I'm sure there's some sort of multiplier here that makes it a bit better - perhaps the plastics are a cleaner source and less energy will be used to process it - but currently this carbon is sequestered in an inert if unattractive form whose dangers are mostly localized.

Comment: Re:Science Writers: Stop Causing Us Intellectual P (Score 4, Informative) 147

by Derec01 (#47151279) Attached to: Strange New World Discovered: The "Mega Earth"

A little bit pedantic, but it certainly matters as they vary as different powers of the radius. Having 2.3 times the radius would be almost 12.2 times the volume. If the volume was only 2.3 times the Earth's volume, then the radius would only be 1.32 times larger.

Comment: Re:Easy answers (Score 1) 305

by Derec01 (#46822073) Attached to: 'The Door Problem' of Game Design

Let me guess, you only ever play sandbox games?

The summary questions are essential questions to answering what kind of game you want to design, and you explained the consequences of ignoring them perfectly in your commentary. A game is a combined experience and challenge. That experience needs to fundamentally be finite, if only because you have finite designer time. What you have to do is make the experience finite without throwing arbitrary restrictions at the player when possible. Yet I wouldn't want EVERY game to be set in a featureless canyon rather than a city just because I can't open every door.

Sandbox games aren't bad, per se; it's a good design challenge. Frankly though, I've never played a sandbox game that didn't feel a little soulless (Nethack, GTA, Minecraft, etc.). I prefer games with some narrative thread or plotline, and that inherently will mean balancing the experience and interactivity you want to provide. If I can't open a door that I think I should be able to open, that is a failure, but it's not simply that they shouldn't have put a door there or built a room.

Comment: Re:u can rite any way u want (Score 1) 431

by Derec01 (#46746619) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

I don't think you need to be torn between the two. Even though in many cases strict grammar isn't necessary, where would we be without formal rules to provide a sliding scale?

If I fail to communicate effectively in some context, grammar provides a clear standard I can return to in order to iteratively improve my communication. If everyone had conflicting standards, I'd have no shared toolbox to use. Two mathematicians may be perfectly able to talk about their work in common vernacular; if it starts getting miscommunicated, though, they have a shared formal grammar of logic within which to make things clearer.

Comment: Re:It's just a tool I guess (Score 1) 294

by Derec01 (#46356971) Attached to: Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

This seems a little better than that, if I'm understanding it correctly. The drug would never be mass-produced if its approval is revoked, and it's doubtful that the company would let its production method out AND that it would come to someone with the capabilities of producing it illicitly.

It's hard to have a black market if no one makes the drug for any legal use.

Comment: Not to defend shortsightedness (Score 1) 269

by Derec01 (#46156359) Attached to: How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

Let me play devil's advocate here. While we can ascribe that to "dumb voter shortsightedness", wouldn't it also be true to say that if you can ascribe economic performance to a president at all, their effect on things would be much more heavily weighted towards the recent past anyway?

Early term performance would likely be out of their hands, and my assumption would be that they want to get reelected and would try hard to eke out some benefit before election season. If you can't bring out the big performance before the election, perhaps you don't have anything to offer.

Of course, imagining that your choice of president has a greater effect on your wellbeing than state and local elections or larger economic trends is a bit weird to me anyway.

Comment: Re:At the time .... (Score 1) 144

by Derec01 (#46085621) Attached to: How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes

This is just my take. The average intake of the American consumer has increased steadily, I believe. However, weight gain happens at the margins. If you eat 2200 calories a day and burn 2000, you are gaining weight twice as fast as someone who averages 2100 with the same burn rate, even though your intake is less than 5% higher.

As the average intake passes the burn rate, a little exercise helps. However, with a small percentage-wise increase in your intake, you can double or triple the amount of exercise required to get back to equilibrium. My guess is that in the 60s and 70s, adding exercise worked for many people. Now, the necessary exercise is much, much higher and caloric restriction is necessary in a way it wasn't for the average person 30 years ago.

Comment: Re:What a bunch of baloney! Sample bias buddy. (Score 2) 397

What you described at the end is exactly sample bias, so I'm confused that you don't consider it so. The claim is roughly that you can look at "successful groups" and determine what makes them culturally superior by assuming their differences account for their success.

Yet if you included a full sample size of that culture from the origin country, the distribution may be (and probably is) no different than a randomly chosen cultural group in the U.S. while still sharing the cultural traits that were assumed to make them superior. Thus an incorrect correlation has been made from a biased sample.

Comment: Re:Words, words (Score 5, Insightful) 458

by Derec01 (#45929667) Attached to: Why We Think There's a Multiverse, Not Just Our Universe

I disagree that he's only defined causally disconnected regions; this story actually has a definition of multiverse beyond regions outside of our lightcone. Note one of his later images: a single level 1 universe contained multiple regions which are not causally connected yet are part of the same clump that moved from the false vacuum to dumping energy into matter and radiation.

Any grouping like that is fundamentally isolated because the boundary region that remains in the false vacuum continues to exponentially expand, quickly isolating the clump. Even if the clump itself triggers a conversion of the false vacuum around it, it sounds like the isolation proceeds so much faster that it will be forever isolated by expanding false vacuum regions. With time, we could reach places that are not currently causally connected. It doesn't sound like we could overcome this expansion so easily.

Comment: Re:If it can be scaled up? (Score 1) 131

by Derec01 (#45913641) Attached to: Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

I think the reality is that "renewable" is a code word for many things to many people. To some it means local, to others it just means creating an economic incentive for cleaner power *somewhere*, as the credit system would.

For instance, I wouldn't support the allowance for hydroelectric power most of the time because of the tendency to screw up ecosystems more than some solar panels will, but it's still renewable.

Comment: Re:Thanks Obama... (Score 2) 199

by Derec01 (#45836177) Attached to: Oil Train Explosion Triggers Evacuation In North Dakota

That's not true at all. If you are considering *passenger* rail, then yes, it's terrible. But we don't really use much passenger rail. That chicken and egg problem aside, US freight rail is pretty good.

For instance: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21576136-quiet-success-americas-freight-railways-back-track

"Even the American Society of Civil Engineers, which howls incessantly (and predictably) about the awful state of the nation’s infrastructure, shows grudging respect for goods railways in a recent report."

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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