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+ - West Antarctica Ice Shelf Collapse has Begun, Irreversible and Unstoppable Now->

Submitted by vikingpower
vikingpower (768921) writes "Two new papers, of which one in Geophysical Research Letters and the other in Science come with rather conclusive evidence that the retreat of all West Antarctica glaciers is going faster than thought until now. The Guardian has an article on it. Eric Rignot, one of the NASA researchers who participated to the paper in Geophysical Research Letters, is quoted: "‘A large sector of the western Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return. This retreat will have major consequences for sea level rise worldwide.’". Ian Joughin, principal author of the Science paper, is rather pessimistic about what is happening here: "‘The thinning we are seeing is not just some temporary trend. It is really the beginning of a larger scale collapse that is likely to play out over a two to 10-century range.’"

A very graphical and short simulation film on youtube, titled "Runaway Glaciers in West Antartica", explains what is going on.

The investigated glaciers play a major role in pinning the much larger and much thicker West Antarctic ice shelf down to where it is now. If this ice shelf melts, we'll be in deeper trouble. For this to happen, the already-cited Joughin put the most likely timeframe at between 200 and 500 years, according to the Guardian."

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+ - African Soil Mapped for the Very First Time->

Submitted by vikingpower
vikingpower (768921) writes "A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. A joint commission of the African Union and the European Union has produced a complete atlas of African soils, downloadable as 3 hefty PDFs ( Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. ) The initiative was announced four years ago, and is intended "to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use." A digital, interactive series of maps is ( still ) in the making."
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Comment: Re:These are not the droids you're looking for (Score 1) 275

by KublaCant (#43002769) Attached to: Human Rights Watch: Petition Against Robots On the Battle Field
I am glad to be "just" an ordinary developer and software architect, not James Cameron. All I wanted, with this submission, was to kindle discussion. Obviously, that goal was reached :-) The "still" in "still have a human being in charge", however, is tell-tale, and in and by itself already justification enough for wanting to kindle such a discussion, as it is an often-heard argument. You do know, I suppose, that there are already fully automated guardian robots for sale, armed with nothing less than rapid-fire cannons ?
The Military

+ - Human Rights Watch: Petition Against Robots on the Battle Field-> 1

Submitted by
KublaCant
KublaCant writes ""At this very moment, researchers around the world – including in the United States – are working to develop fully autonomous war machines: killer robots. This is not science fiction. It is a real and powerful threat to humanity". These are the first words of a Human Rights Watch Petition to Presdient Obama to keep robots from the battlefield. The argument is that robots possess neither common sense, "real" reason, any sense of mercy nor — most important — the option to not obey illegal commands. What with the fast-spreading use of drones et al. , we are allegedly a long way off from Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics being implanted in autonomous fighting machines, or into any ( semi- ) autonomous robot. A "Stop the Killer Robots" campaign will also be launched in April at the British House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons. The Guardian has more about this, including quotes from well-known robotics researcher Noel Sharkey from Sheffield University."
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Comment: It WAS a revolution (Score 1) 243

by KublaCant (#42998043) Attached to: Napster: the Day the Music Was Set Free
In the place I worked then ( a startup, later acquired by BMC of Austin, Texas and then vanished into nothingness ), music at the workplace was unheard of. So we put money together for a pair of speakers and a sound card, hooked those up to an old PC - and there we went. Each had his say for an entire day: classics, French chansons, hard rock, mainstream - Napster had it all. Those were the days !

Comment: WTF, dude ? (Score -1, Offtopic) 64

by KublaCant (#42984927) Attached to: Fruit Flies Medicate Offspring With Alcohol
You live in a neighbourhood where you get mails about the fucking grass being too long, or the ( can't believe this ) "mailbox is mildewed" ?? What police state are you living in ? Make sure you get away from there. Soon you'll get email reminders to change your underpants. The thought police will come soon after that. Man, man, man.

Comment: Well heck, yes (Score 1) 1313

by KublaCant (#42965025) Attached to: US CEO Says French Workers Have Three-Hour Work Day
Worked in that country myself, for some years ( aircraft constructor, currently world's largest ). The guy is right, and spot-on. Trying to get French people to actually be productive is one helluvajob. I was dealing with Thales, once, for avionics parts. Quite often, when I came in at the Thales plant, there would be drum beatings and red flags. When I asked what that was, I got the answer "We are on strike. That is a constitutional right of us, and we use it as we love it". Let such work forces, indeed, go to hell.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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