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Comment: Re:What is life? What is a virus? (Score 5, Insightful) 141

by radtea (#47428331) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

Then, in that case, what separates pithovius from the prokaryotes?

Structure, from the sound of it, although mostly this is people committing various fallacies of reification and making false claims of "natural kinds".

Everything is a continuum. Humans divide the continuum up using acts of selective attention. The only infinitely sharp edge is the edge of our attention (because we scale the edge to match the scale we are attending to, so whatever scale we are attending to seems to have a sharp division between the things we are selecting out.)

"Species" do not have particularly crisp boundaries in the general case: they fade into each other, and we draw edges around them in more-or-less arbitrary ways. When we find new varieties we can either create new categories (by drawing new edges) or lump them into old categories (by moving old edges). Which move is to be preferred depends on the purposes of the knowing subject.

Comment: Re:Modern Day Anti-Evolutionists (Score 1) 401

by tbannist (#47417683) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

New York still hasn't flooded

Are you sure about that? I mean sure not reading the article is pretty common on Slashdot but not reading your own sources is pretty lame. The article you linked says that New York will experience more flooding under storm conditions. The top category of flooding in my linked article for the flooding damager during Hurricane Sandy in New York City is 6-18 feet of water, because the top recorded flooding level was a little over 17 feet of water. There seems to be more than a few buildings in that top category. And the article says the average flooding level in New York city will rise by an estimated 4 feet of water by 2032 (20 years after the article was published). I don't see how that can be considered good evidence for your claims no matter how I look at the issue.

Comment: Re:That is not how conspiracy theories work. (Score 2) 401

by tbannist (#47417581) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

The guy should have just opened up his email voluntarily. He could then remove anything personal, which I'm guessing is his primary concern.

If he had removed anything they'd just claim that the removed emails contain the evidence that they were looking for, and more people would be inclined to believe them because they now have evidence that he's hiding something. Frankly, I suspect even if he opened up his email voluntarily and didn't remove anything personal they'd claim that obviously he'd already hidden the evidence they were looking for. Witch hunts don't end just because you're co-operating with your would-be executioners.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 1) 401

by tbannist (#47417293) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Why can I simply multiply the temperature of the earth at 1 atm pressure by 1.176 to get the temp on venus at the same pressure?

Using the numbers from Venus Atmosphere Temperature and Pressure Profile:
Average Earth temperature: 14 degrees x 1.176 = 16 degrees Celcius
Average Venus temperature at 1 atmosphere (49.5 km above the surface): 66 degrees Celcius

It appears that you shouldn't be able to do so, and that's ignoring the question of whether the surface temperature on Earth should even be directly comparable to the temperature 49.5 km above the surface of Venus.

Comment: Re:"Thus ends "Climategate." Hopefully." (Score 1) 401

by tbannist (#47417121) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Anybody who denies AGW catastrophism is termed a "denier" and the 97% number is trotted out to refute them.

No, generally speaking anyone who denies that global warming is occurring is labelled a "denier", because the evidence is conclusive that it's happening. The people who deny that catastrohpic climate change could occur because of global warming ir more properly lablled as a "luke-warmer", because they generally don't believe it will get "that hot".

So it's fair to point out that the number 97% is "nonsense" when used for that purpose.

No one (but you) is using it for that purpose.

Even if the paper wasn't shoddy in its methods, its conclusion would be useless for the AGW alarmism debate, because pretty much everybody believes that climate changes and that humans "play a role".

Surprisingly, close to half of Americans don't actually believe that, they think that there's no consensus on whether global warming is occurring. Probably because their primary news sources are under the control of Rupert Murdoch who personally stands to lose money from his portfolio if it's widely acknowledged that global warming is occurring and that human emissions are a key factor. Rupert, in case you didn't know, has a lot of money invested in coal companies which would bear the brunt of the effects of regulation, carbon taxes, or carbon trading markets.

Comment: Re:Why is it cheaper in China? (Score 4, Insightful) 526

by JanneM (#47404693) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

But an assembly line manned by robots? Why should that be cheaper in China? Is capital that much cheaper?

Even if wages and other costs were equal, the location advantage is substantial. It's not that it's cheaper in China, but that it's cheaper in the huge manufacturing hubs. You have suppliers and manufacturers for just about every single component you need without long-distance shipping, and a deep pool of design and manufacturing expertise working in the area.

That's not to say you can't manufacture efficiently elsewhere (we have plenty of recent examples such as the Raspberry Pi), but that the advantages has as much to do with the concentration of resources as with the cost of labour and regulations. And of course, as this inudstry becomes ever more automated, it no longer matters much for jobs where it happens any longer.

Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 1) 683

I used to travel internationally monthly for several years, but I changed jobs and got back to a normal sleep schedule and travel internationally only 2-3 times a year while I spend the point accumulated through the heavy travelling period.

Schipol rescreened me once. London has always rescreened me as I pass through.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.