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Comment Re:Plausible speculation ... Dyslexia at work? (Score 1) 360

The Apple Developer Terms and Conditions DOES prohibit the release of Trade Secrets regarding "Pre-Release Materials", so yes, it is a de facto NDA, which iFixit clearly violated.

Congratulations-- this is the 23rd post in the thread responding to the comment "What NDA?" ...but the first one which has actually provided a link to answer the question, instead of just repeating the assertion.

Comment Plausible speculation, Nevertheless, speculation (Score 1, Troll) 360

Did you read the article? iFixit admits this:

Just where exactly in the quoted text does the phrase "NDA" occur?

Oh-- it doesn't.

iFixit knew that Apple would not be happy with them disassembling it but did it anyway.

"not happy" is not a synonym for "signed a NDA."

Reasonable speculation. Plausible. Fits the known facts. Very likely it's even correct.

Still: this is a speculation.

Comment Assume [Re:What NDA? Who mentioned a NDA?] (Score 0) 360

While this is scant information, I would assume ...


verb: assume; 3rd person present: assumes; past tense: assumed; past participle: assumed; gerund or present participle: assuming

        1. suppose to be the case, without proof.

Comment What NDA? Who mentioned a NDA? (Score 1, Flamebait) 360

They very publicly break the NDA for personal profit and expect no action? They're lucky the actions by Apple weren't more sever honestly.

But was the NDA valid?

Ah, that's slashdot for you.

One poster speculates that they signed a NDA (phrasing it as a statement, not a speculation) and that they violated the hypothetical terms of the hypothetical NDA that they hypothetically agreed to. Another poster speculates on whether the hypothetical NDA, whose hypothetical terms we don't actually know, was valid.

To quote Twain, "There is something fascinating about slashdot. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

Comment Stars [Re:Let's face it...] (Score 3, Informative) 260

One anecdote that is related indirectly to the topic is the ignorance of the nature of stars. Someone in my family didn't know that stars are like our sun but much further away. There was no malice or contradiction of beliefs and they took it as a VERY awesome fact, but that sort of gap in knowledge combined with religious fervor can, and does, lead to the outright denial of even the possibility of life elsewhere.


The first person to clearly state the hypothesis that stars are other suns like ours, but much farther away, was Giordano Bruno-- who also said that since they're like the sun, they undoubtedly also have planets with life. A pretty far-thinking hypothesis, considering that Copernicus' work saying that the Earth circled the sun (instead of vice versa) was still newly published when he asserted it.

Of course, he was burned at the stake for it.

Comment Re:Endgame (Score 1) 142

So what's the endgame of all this spying? Is it to turn America into a totalitarian police state?

The endgame of this particular spying seems to be that they decided not to, for reasons that seem quite good to me.

"Any proposed solution almost certainly would quickly become a focal point for attacks. Rather than sparking more discussion, government-proposed technical approaches would almost certainly be perceived as proposals to introduce 'backdoors' or vulnerabilities in technology products and services and increase tensions rather [than] build cooperation."

Comment Solar Power on Mars (Score 1) 683

So you do confirm that tiny solar panels on a tiny rover can generate about 140 watts for up to four hours per Martian day. That gives us the data (known solar panel type, surface area, power generated) to know how many and how big the solar panels would need to be for a Mars base.

The Mars Exploration Rovers were powered by 1.3 m^2 of solar cells.
If you want more power, make larger solar arrays.

Solar power works on Mars. That really should not be controversial; we've been doing it since Pathfinder. If you want an alternative power source, use a nuclear reactor.

Or use both; your choice.

Comment Re:Worse than the space station? No. (Score 4, Informative) 683

And once there, water and soil could be extracted.

(Gotta love the passive voice. Always a favorite of PR firms and politicians.

Gotta love the passive voice Nazis; if they don't have anything else to say, that's always a good cheap shot. No content whatsoever, but whatever.

We could extract water from the soil, because it is present in subsurface ice, as well as in the form of water of hydration.

With what kind of (heavy) machinery would the water and soil be extracted?


And what would power it? Don't say "solar power", because the Sun appears much smaller when viewed from Mars, and thus receives much less energy.

Solar or nuclear, take your pick. Each has advantages.

Incident sunlight is about 500 W/m^2, about half that at Earth's surface, although it depends on season and dust loading in the atmosphere. You don't seem to be aware of it, but we have been operating a solar-powered rover on Mars for well over ten years. We know solar energy works on Mars: we have done it, we are doing it.

Comment Wrong, as well as Meaningless (Score 1) 255

plus the whole poisoning China thing with harvesting rare earths

Do you even know what rare earth elements are? Almost all solar panels manufactured today are crystalline silicon. Silicon isn't a rare earth element.

He was likely referring to what's needed by the wind generators.

Perhaps that is what he might have been referring to, if he knew what he was talking about, but it is not what he did say. Or he might have seen a blog post about indium or gallium, which aren't a rare-earth elements and aren't used in silicon panels, but are often brought up in the same discussions in which people talk about rare earths.

Either way, though, I'd advise not paying much attention to anything he posts until you have verified it against a reputable source.

Comment Not alarmists and not wrong (Score 1) 255

So it looks like scientists have been wrong about their global warming predictions going on four decades.

Except that their criteria for a 2-3 C increase hasn't passed yet. The IPCC apparently thinks the "first doubling of atmospheric CO2" will happen by about 2050. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies thinks that global temps. have so far risen by 0.8 C since 1880. This means that the Exxon researcher's warning that "a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius" could still come to pass. Several of the projections in the IPCC's figures suggest a 2C rise by ~2050 is possible, so they could still be proven right.

"Still might come to pass" in 2050 is far different than "5 to 10 years" from 1978. But keep moving the goal posts and you may eventually figure out a way to prove them right.

I can't find that purported prediction for "5 to 10 years" in either of the reports referenced. To the contrary, the reports very explicitly made no predictions for 5-10 years; it said that in that time period it would not be possible to distinguish the global warming signal from the statistical fluctuations. The only explicit numerical prediction in the 1978 Exxon report is on page 34 (the very last page, labeled "summary"). This stated "Doubling CO_2 could increase average global temperature by 1C to 3C by 2050 A.D. (10C predicted at poles)."

So I don't know what you mean about "moving the goalposts" on predictions. The goalpost in the 1978 prediction was "by 2050". This has not changed. The prediction in 1978 (based on the 1977 presentation) overlaps the IPCC's current prediction of 2C by 2050-- neither the prediction nor the "goalposts" have changed.

(The 1982 Exxon report had a slightly different timespan for doubling, stating that "We estimate doubling could occur around the year 2090 based upon fossil fuel requirements projected in Exxon's long range energy outlook". This report, however, is by a different author and dated 3 years later, so it's not unexpected that it would have a slightly different fossil fuel use model.)

The only reference to "five to ten years" in 1978 report is the statement on page 2 "Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical".

Comment Meaningless (Score 4, Informative) 255

I'm a great fan of back-of-the-envelope calculations... but these aren't calculations; they are merely assertions. And worse, not merely assertions, but assertions that seem to be based on random pseudo-facts not really understood.

Europe has the longest history of solar panel installation, and has good data for energy payback time. Energy payback time for silicon panels is between 0.5 and 1.4 years. Depending on location, it can be as high as 3 years in northern Europe.


plus the whole poisoning China thing with harvesting rare earths

Do you even know what rare earth elements are? Almost all solar panels manufactured today are crystalline silicon. Silicon isn't a rare earth element.

In the end, I have faith in the species to adapt or to invent technologies that actually will be helpful. We're not there yet. Band-aid solutions in the short term are meaningless..

I agree with you there. I'm a technological optimist; if we can identify problems, we can solve them. However, ignoring and belittling the existence of problems isn't going to help, and dismissing possible solutions with slogans and sound-bites is counterproductive.

So are gotcha-type articles about Exxon.

The point of this article was that Exxon was a major funder of the campaigns to discredit the science of global warming in the '90s and early 2000s, even though a decade earlier their own scientists were telling them that this was significant. They spent about $30 million dollars funding climate denial.

On the other hand, they did stop most of their funding to the climate-change deniers in 2007, so it does seem to me to be mostly an article about a company that isn't really the problem any more.


Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it. -- Heisenberg