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Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 52

by Copid (#47788461) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague
I'd be a little more inclined to believe that the person who wrote the document was a real expert if there had been a known case of these guys actually producing a biological weapon. This sounds a whole lot more like people who have never built a biological weapon teaching other people who have never built a biologial weapon how to build a biological weapon. Lots of thought experiments being put on paper as instructions as if they were tried and true methods.

I can do a write up for how to build a nuclear bomb for my terrorist brothers based on my rudimentary undergraduate physics education, but there's no way in hell those instructions would actually produce anything useful.

Comment: Image processing (Score 1) 96

by fyngyrz (#47787737) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

I use -- and write -- image processing software. Correct use of multiple cores results in *significant* increases in performance, far more than single digits. I have a dual 4-core, 3 GHz mac pro, and I can control the threading of my algorithms on a per-core basis, and every core adds more speed when the algorithms are designed such that a region stays with one core and so remains in-cache for the duration of the hard work.

The key there is to keep main memory from becoming the bottleneck, which it immediately will do if you just sweep along through your data top to bottom (presuming your data is bigger than the cache, which is typoically the case with DSLRs today.) Now, if they ever get main memory to us that runs as fast as the actual CPU, that'll be a different matter, but we're not even close at this point in time.

So it really depends on what you're doing, and how *well* you're doing it. Understanding the limitations of memory and cache is critical to effective use of multicore resources. You're not going to find a lot of code that does that sort of thing outside of very large data processing, and many individuals don't do that kind of data processing at all, or only do it so rarely that speed is not the key issue, only results matter. But there are certainly common use cases where keeping a machine for ten years would use up valuable time in an unacceptable manner. As a user, I am constantly editing my own images with global effects, and so multiple fast cores make a real difference for me. A single core machine is crippled by comparison.

Comment: Talking to "different" people is bad for you (Score 1) 43

by Animats (#47787707) Attached to: Study: Social Networks Have Negative Effect On Individual Welfare

This is fascinating. It's not the classic "people don't have social lives in the real world because they are on line too much" argument. The authors argue that following people who are "different" from you is bad for you. They write:

"Compared to face-to-face interactions, online networks allow users to silently observe the opinions and behaviors of an immensely wider share of their fellow citizens. The psychological literature has shown that most people tend to overestimate the extent to which their beliefs or opinions are typical of those of others. There is a tendency for people to assume that their own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are âoenormalâ and that others also think the same way that they do. This cognitive bias leads to the perception of a consensus that does not exist, or a 'false consensus' (Gamba, 2013)."

"The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt afterwards; the more they used Facebook over two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. The effects found by the authors were not moderated by the size of people's Facebook networks, their perceived supportiveness, motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression, thus suggesting the existence of a direct link between SNSs' use and subjective well-being."

This is a new result, and needs confirmation. Are homogeneous societies happier ones? Should that be replicated on line? Should efforts be made in Facebook to keep people from having "different" friends?

Comment: Sources of water (Score 1) 487

by fyngyrz (#47787677) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

The moisture source for lakes and rivers is -- inevitably -- precipitation over lands upstream. Either as direct runoff, or as recurring eruptions from underground aquifers. If the prevailing winds don't bring the more humid air over the cooler, higher landscape, sure, you'll see drought. But you'd see it anyway, more heat or not. When the prevailing winds are bringing more moisture over those same types of terrain, you're going to see more precipitation, not less.

The historical record bears this out. When the earth is warmer, we get (a lot) more plant growth. That's simply not going to happen if the precipitation is reduced for any reason. And, at least as far as I am aware at this time, there is no mechanism that would cause reduction in precipitation. Warmer air holds more moisture, yes, and that effect is in full view in the tropics -- with deluge level rainfall when that moist air hits colder atmosphere and the moisture inevitably precipitates as rain. 400 inches / year as opposed to about 100 inches / year in otherwise similar temperate regions.

I would certainly agree that if the wind patterns change, then the rainfall will too. In both directions. But it seems a little farfetched to say that such changes will result in a consistent decrease in winds traveling onshore. What would such a claim be based upon?

Comment: Re: Impacts (Score 1) 487

by fyngyrz (#47787631) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is this year actually a warmer year? Didn't I just read that we're in a 20-year hiatus in the warming trend?

Yes, warmer air holds more moisture -- anyone who has worked the steam tables to convert between relative and absolute humidity knows that (and I have done so for my auroral photo opportunity prediction freeware), but it's also susceptible to precipitating more moisture when convection brings that moist air up into the colder altitudes. That's why tropical rainfall tends to be in deluges as compared to, for instance, the typical rain shower in Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that the tropics are warmer and wetter in terms of rainfall amounts per year -- and that since they are warmer, their air can hold more moisture. But that's not stopped them from having much more rainfall than anywhere else. While there certainly may be outlier statistics, the general case seems clearly to be: warmer = wetter = more rainfall.

Temperate rainforests get as much 100 inches / year. Tropical rainforests get up to 400 inches / year. If it's not the heat that's doing it, what do you propose is the mechanism?

If it *is* the heat that's doing it, then what is the mechanism where more heat, heat that corresponds with previous tropical climates in the earth's past, won't repeat the same effect here? Looking at the past CO2 level graphs as correlated with plant growth and temperature, there's a very strong correlation with CO2 and plant growth, and with temperature. Plants love CO2, but they still need moisture to survive, and where there's more plant growth, it's pretty much a certainty that there's a significant water supply.

So far, anyway, the idea of warming in the tropics -- or anywhere there's basically unlimited water and related prevailing winds -- leading to drought seems to be a non-starter.

It's not that I can't accept it, it's just that to accept it, I need a sound scientific reason to do so. Just saying that one expects drought in the tropics seems like hand-waving at this point. There are plenty of legitimate concerns - a slight, very, very slow rise in sea level, movement of crop-appropriate bands in cultivated areas, that sort of thing, but tropical drought doesn't appear to be one of them.

Also, recent news shows increased plant growth worldwide... something to think about in a situation where CO2 is known to be increasing at an accelerated rate.

Comment: Re:Not worth it. (Score 1) 45

by Rei (#47785193) Attached to: How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

Electric cars wouldn't use half the country's electricity, passenger vehicles' share of total energy consumption is much smaller than that. But I don't disagree with you that it's bad to waste power. Still, for a potential EV consumer whose turned off from EVs because they're lazy, if the choice is between "waste 20% more electricity" and "keep driving a gasoline car", the wireless EV is still the much better option.

Comment: Re: A fool and their money (Score 1) 253

There was no control group, I just 'felt' those locations were correct.
Now, I would love to be in the same situation again and test it out. I can afford to spend some cash and see the results if I need to do this again.
It was lucky guessing the first time, but again, my question is how the heck do you set something like this up for an honest review.

Comment: Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (Score 3, Informative) 45

by Rei (#47783897) Attached to: How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

You act like there's no research papers on this subject. There have been tons, and the conclusions in each case are the same:

1) CO2 emissions would decline even on the US's current grid (which is, I should add, getting cleaner every year, while the amount of emissions associated with oil production keep rising)

2) On a generation basis, every region in the US has enough space capacity for a full switchover of the passenger fleet today, without any new plant construction, except the Pacific Northwest. Most charging is done at night when most power plants lie idle, but the Pacific Northwest is an exception because their heavy use of hydro means time of use isn't important, only net consumption.

3) The only thing that there's not enough of at present is simply local distribution capacity, to peoples' homes.

Of course, that's for a complete, instantaneous switchover, which is of course an impossiblity. Your average car is driven for about two decades before it goes to scrap, only a small fraction rotate out of service every year. And that's assuming that everyone bought EVs as replacement, which if course is an impossiblity because even if everyone was suddenly sold on the concept of EVs it'd take a decade or more to ramp up production to that level. And of course everyone is not suddenly sold on the concept of EVs. You're looking at maybe a 30-40 year transition time period here. If power companies can't keep up with a trend that's stretched out over the scale of several decades, they deserve to fail.

Comment: Re:why the focus on gender balance? (Score 1) 492

by squiggleslash (#47783721) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Why must everything be gender balanced?

Why should the fact that not everything need be gender balanced mean that you can't argue that a specific thing should be?

To put it another way: is Wikipedia helped or harmed by having only one gender contribute to it, given it's supposed to be a repository of human knowledge?

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Comment: Re:Discrimination (Score 1) 492

by squiggleslash (#47783707) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Also why is it that WP should do more to appeal to females but FB doesn't need to do more to appeal to males?

Because Wikipedia is, for better or worse, intended to be a repository of human knowledge, while Facebook is a repository of cat photos, freemium games, and promotional potato chip coupon pages.

Having half the (intelligent, knowledgable) population under-represented in Wikipedia is a problem as it will impact the information Wikipedia makes available, and the usefulness of that information, and thus the usefulness of Wikipedia as a whole and its ability to be a repository for human knowledge.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

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