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Comment: Re:Post-PC world? (Score 1) 1052

by GlenRaphael (#41319735) Attached to: Apple Announces iPhone 5

You can get the account for free, but that only lets you try things out in emulation on a Mac. You can't try out your own iOS apps on your own phone without paying Apple $99/year.

Oh, and if you manage to publish an app in the Apple Store, you have to keep paying the $99/year for as long as you want it to stay there. If you let your subscription lapse, your apps are removed from the store and if you renew you have to go through the whole approval process again. :-(

Comment: Re:This pisses me off for so many reasons... (Score 1) 1052

by GlenRaphael (#41318393) Attached to: Apple Announces iPhone 5

> The turn-by-turn navigation feature that their map application has is only usable within the USA.

I'm sure they'll extend it in due time but regardless: wherever you live, you can buy third-party apps right now in the Apple Store that do turn-by-turn navigation. Me, I bought TomTom years ago for US directions. Having turn-by-turn baked into the built-in maps app is very nice to have, but not having access to it for a while isn't a dealbreaker.

I'm more bothered by the (equally temporary) loss of transit directions - it's worth keeping the google app around (or using the google maps website) until they plug that hole.

Comment: Re:an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39935985) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards
Sure I know why:

(1) Billboard messages need to be terse and use familiar phrasing or they don't work at all

(2) The ad designer was trying to spark a little controversy and saw it as a fight-fire-with-fire, no-publicity-is-bad-publicity sort of situation.

I agree with you that something like "I still believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming" would have been closer to the intended meaning, but few would be able to parse and understand that (or similar attempts to convey more subtlety) while driving 60 mph. :-)

It's also worth noting that Heritage was told to knock it off by its own featured speakers, including the previously-mentioned Ross McKitrick. Ross threatened not to come to the conference and posted his letter to Climateaudit, where many skeptics read it. Meanwhile, Donna Laframboise (creator of NOconsensus.org) actually did withdraw from the conference, also posting the reasoning to her blog. You might want to read both those links before assuming that skeptics in general are fully behind the campaign.

Comment: Re:an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39934125) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards
Read Heartland's press release; they're clearly focused on believers in catastrophic global warming, people who believe not just that warming is possible or exists or has happened but also that it constitutes a crisis which demands immediate action. Those are all separable claims and it's bad rhetoric to conflate them.

I claim that "skeptics" generally do accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates. In particular, I claim this with regard to the following people commonly regarded by outsiders as "skeptics": Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Anthony Watts. I think you will find it very difficult to find some "skeptics" who do not "accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates".

But if you really think "skeptics" have been claiming it's not possible for atmospheric composition to affect planetary cooling rates, it shouldn't be hard for you to name a couple specific skeptics who have done this. In short: name two.

The people that someone at Heritage picked (unabomber, castro...) to claim "I believe in global warming" in ads didn't simply mean by it that "atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates". When these (and other!) alarmists say "I believe in global warming" what they believe is that global warming is a crisis that demands immediate action. But to see it a crisis, you need to think that net feedbacks are strongly positive. Otherwise it's just an interesting curiosity.

The standard line among the denizens of ClimateAudit.org is that yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas but the litany overstates the case for strong positive feedbacks and the case that current temperatures are "unprecedented".

Comment: an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39931807) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards

governments rule by fiat, by and large, and if they have a thing they feel they need or want to control, they can.

No. In the short run, maybe. But longer term, even the most dictatorial government needs some buy-in from the citizens; democratic ones need this more. And one sure way to get popular support is to encourage the populace to be panicked about stuff. H.L. Mencken probably said it best:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Our politicians are constantly encouraging people to be scared of something - maybe this year it's global warming but in earlier years the exact same role has been filled by: Iraq, Libya, muslims, "terrorists" of any variety, "glue-sniffing", "crack babies", "flag-burning", "GM crops", Alar, the "population explosion", "state militias", "killer bees", "christian fundamentalists", "cop-killer bullets", and many other topics. And yes, a few of these topics might even have been worthy of some concern, but you can't deny the overall dynamic has a consistent form: some faction of politicians (on the left or the right, it doesn't matter which) thinks that they can win elections by whipping voters into a frenzy about some scary new thing that will kill us all unless we put The Right People in charge. That faction seeks evidence to support claims of ruin and disaster; the opposing faction seeks evidence that the first faction's claims are specious.

Whichever factions are in power use the state's influence over science to encourage funding that is likely to produce results that make their side look better. results that make their side look worse will be ignored. There's also a Baptist/bootlegger component; some industries that benefits from the scare help pay for it. (in the case of the war on Iraq: defense contractors. In the case of global warming: various parts of the energy industry. For instance, oil companies that hope to profit by selling carbon credits, that have ties to "green energy", or that have especially good political connections such that they can hope to use new laws to get their own operations grandfathered in while hobbling their competitors.)

In short: Governments do generally benefit from scares such as catastrophic AGW whenever these scares can be used to justify giving more money, more votes, or more power to the political class. They benefit from raising alarm over global warming in exactly the same way they benefit from doing so in the War On Some Drugs and the War On Terror.

I honestly can't get into your head where it's easier for everyone disagreeing with you on every forum on the planet is part of a massive conspiracy being easier to accept than the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates[emphasis added].

Right, there's your problem: What makes you think skeptics don't accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates? The main disagreement at this point is over things like feedbacks - whether they are (and will continue to be) net-positive, how high they might be, how much harm that might cause over time interval X, how certain we can be about all this, what alternatives we have available to us, whether the cost of pursuing these alternatives outweighs their benefits (both now and in the foreseeable future), and basically whether we should be panicking yet or whether we can reasonably afford to wait and learn more. You also don't need to posit a "monstrous conspiracy" where mere publication bias suffices: scary results are easier to publish and make for better press releases than non-scary ones. "It's worse than we thought!" makes a good headline; "It's not quite as bad as we thought" does not. :-)

Comment: Re:It's about damn time (Score 1) 1051

by GlenRaphael (#39901325) Attached to: Rand Paul Has a Quick Fix For TSA: Pull the Plug
Two problems with it being a federal responsibility:

(1) One-size-fits-all government-imposed rules create a single universal point of failure - if they get the rules wrong, they get them wrong *everywhere*.

(2) TSA has essentially no incentive to get the rules right, which includes not just providing actual security but making good tradeoffs between the value provided and its cost in time, money, and general inconvenience.

If individual airlines were responsible for their own security, you'd see competition to provide it efficiently and effectively. Any airline that found a clever way to get you to the plane in a faster or safer or friendlier way could advertise that. Some carriers might specialize in extra "security" while others specialize in extra efficiency. (Me, I'd be willing to pay extra for the old-style no-security option - planes where you could run right to the gate and put your rifle in the overhead bin if you like.)

Comment: Re:The open question... (Score 1) 877

by GlenRaphael (#38779113) Attached to: 2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record

Guess what? Oil is running out as predicted. Estimates say that demand will exceed supply by 2020

Estimates have almost always said we'd run out of oil in a decade or two from whenever the analysis was being done. Not because it's ever been true, but because our best estimate of how much oil there is available is something called "proven reserves". "Proven reserves" counts all the oil that somebody has bothered to go find and explore and analyze and prove that we can get to. There is little incentive to go out and find more oil than we can possibly use in the next couple of decades, so we're often looking at a 10-20 year supply of known, proven reserves. Ten years later we'll have used some of the old reserves but also found new ones.

Also worth noting is the basic economic point that the phrase "demand will exceed supply" makes no sense in the absence of price information. If the quantity demanded at a given price exceeds the supply produced at the same price, the price should rise until they're in equilibrium again.

Comment: Re:The open question... (Score 1) 877

by GlenRaphael (#38779041) Attached to: 2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record

Even a 0.1 degree C increase per year in equatorial locations will mean a 10 degree C increase in just a century.

First off, it doesn't work that way. When the planet's average temperature increases, almost none of that increase is in peak daytime equatorial temperatures - the average is driven by it getting warmer in the times and places where it's coldest now - which is to say: northern altitudes will get less miserably cold at night in the winter.

Second, your "even 0.1 degree C increase per year" is actually a ludicrously high rate of change. The rates people are talking about more typically add up to a degree or two in a century, not ten. You see people talking about a change of, say, 0.2 degrees *per decade*, not per year. So you're off by an order of magnitude.

If you still want to extrapolate that far ahead, keep in mind that all the CO2 we release today by burning fossil fuels originally came out of the earth's atmosphere; we're just putting it back where it came from. In doing so, we probably can't make the planet hotter than it was the first time that CO2 was in the air, so no: the equatorial oceans will not "start to boil".

Comment: Next 50-100 years of warming good for agriculture (Score 1) 877

by GlenRaphael (#38778855) Attached to: 2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record
The IPCC's own reports have stated that according to their models the next 1-3 degrees of warming are likely to on-net increase agricultural productivity. That means the additional warming will be helping to feed the planet better than before for at least the next 50 years and quite probably for the bulk of the next century; we'd be fools to try to stop it while that's going on. (you do kind of need to ignore a lot of gloom-mongering to notice this is their conclusion, but it is. Or was, last I checked.)

As I understand it, there are a few trends that go into that:

(1) A warmer climate does indeed make some northern areas more habitable to farming (eg, canada), but this is a relatively small factor

(2) The biggie: A warmer climate means you get a longer growing season in the northern areas that are already the most productive. This is good for places like the US.

(3) Near the equator in areas where it's already too hot for most cereal crops, additional CO2 will make tree farming much more profitable - trees grow better due to additional CO2 fertilization.

Comment: Re:saved! (Score 1) 413

by GlenRaphael (#38173160) Attached to: Climate May Be Less Sensitive To CO2 Than Previously Thought
First off: read the whole page linked from the comment you're responding to. "proven reserves" are just the stuff we know is around and know how to get out. Until we start running low on the existing "proven reserves", there's very little incentive to go looking for more. Hence, "proven reserves" will always seem like it'll run out in a century or two at most. Which in no way implies we'll actually "run out of oil" then - it just means we'll just have to "prove" some more reserves between now and then. Which we will! Secondly, average world economic growth does not map directly into an equivalent amount of oil demand. A lot of economic growth comes from using resources more efficiently, not just using them faster or more intensively. But the main thing is that counting up the "proven reserves" is about as useless as counring the cans of beans on your supermarket shelf and predicting when they'll run out of beans, ignoring that this shelf gets regularly restocked from a warehouse somewhere else.

Comment: Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (Score 1) 692

by GlenRaphael (#37115574) Attached to: Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations

And yes, the post office IS faster than Fedex...the First Class Mail package will arrive 1 and maybe 2 days earlier

Ah, so when you say it's "faster" you're not talking about the fastest available option being faster. Not "faster at any price", just "faster, given the small amount I'm willing to spend". Got it.

When I use FedEx it's generally because I want something to arrive the next morning at, say, 10:30am. And they manage to do it. I had kind of been wondering how the post office managed to be faster that that while still obeying the laws of physics. :-)

Comment: locate appropriately, or move (Score 1) 692

by GlenRaphael (#37115068) Attached to: Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations

and what is the hurrcan plan?

Three options:

(1) locate in a part of the ocean that doesn't get hurricanes
(2) be somewhat mobile, and move/drift out of the area during hurricane season.
(3) Build sturdy enough to survive hurricanes.

I'm pretty sure (1) and (2) are the current plan. For instance, the latest venture involves being off the coast of northern California; that area doesn't get hurricanes.

Comment: Re:Why not just move to Somalia? (Score 1) 692

by GlenRaphael (#37115028) Attached to: Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations
If you really mean "Somalia", that has a bunch of traditional governments fighting over it already. And "warlords" supported by both sides, not to mention the US has one of our torture prisons there. Not a nice or a safe place; also not particularly anarchic.

If you mean "Somaliland", (the top part), that is much more promising. It has a clan-based legal system. Some libertarians *have* seriously considered establishing businesses there and/or moving there. Unfortunately, the main advocate for doing so passed away in 2002 and nobody else has since stepped forward with quite as much public enthusiasm. The War on Terror made things a little tricky. It does seem like a fascinating place, though. Some background here: http://mises.org/daily/2066

Comment: Re:This cartoon anticipated your point (Score 1) 692

by GlenRaphael (#37114930) Attached to: Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations
Wasn't one of the characters in Atlas working in a diner? ...wikipedia powers: activate!...yup. Philosopher Hugh Akston:

He now works as a cook in a roadside diner, and proves extremely skillful at that. When Dagny tracks him down, and before she discovers his true identity, he rejects her enthusiastic offer to manage the dining car services for Taggart Transcontinental.

So they do know someone who knows how to cook. And many others who know how to work hard - that was kind of a fetish with Rand, people using their muscles to build and dig and hammer and stuff. So on the evidence, the Angry Flower hasn't read the book. :-)

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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