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Comment: Re:Ah, Trespassing (Score 1) 225

by Nathan Boley (#34425670) Attached to: Google Loses Street View Suit, Forced To Pay $1

I'm intrigued by the court's treatment of the privacy issues, though. In particular, we occasionally see stories around here where trespass law--and sometimes copyright law--is used to shut down and even jail photographers taking pictures in public places... but here we have the opposite, photography taking place in a private (if not entirely "private") space and the response is nominative damages against a wealthy corporation. It's a frustrating disconnect.

But are the photographers typically fined? The decision seems entirely reasonable to me - the damages should be related to how much the plantiffs privacy was actually violated. But then, IANAL. Are you suggesting that punitive damages should have been awarded?

Comment: Re:Not a simple problem (Score 1) 593

by Nathan Boley (#32309090) Attached to: BP's Final "Top Kill" Procedure For Gulf Oil Spill

You folks also understand that this well is in international waters, right?

It is? I dont think so.

The US can drill there or any other country.

That is not true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone.

The US has attempted to claim 200 mile nautical boundaries before, but that is pretty much a joke today.

Actually, Ecuador was the first to claim 200 miles. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,909806,00.html

Comment: Re:Hallelujah! (Score 1) 435

by Nathan Boley (#32141700) Attached to: First Superbugs, Now Superweeds

What is efficient about throwing away our best compost (human feces) by expensively processing it

Ummm... we don't throw it away. From the wikipedia article on sludge:

Digested sewage sludge can be used as a soil conditioner, but may contain pathogenic or toxic materials.[3] It used to be common practice to dump sewage sludge into the ocean, however, this practice has stopped in many nations due to domestic and international laws and treaties. In particular, after the 1991 Congressional ban on ocean dumping, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instituted a policy of digested sludge reuse on agricultural land. The EPA promoted this policy by presenting it as recycling and rechristening sewage sludge as "biosolids", as they are solids produced by biological activities.

Also, why do you say that human feces is "our best compost"? I'd be curious to see a reference for that assertion, if you have one.

Comment: Re:Bad news for democracy (Score 1) 279

by Nathan Boley (#32081404) Attached to: The FCC May Decide Not To Regulate Broadband

I can't imagine how many trillions of dollars GM has had in subsidies through the construction of the interstate highway system, etc. (Although one of you might be able to come up with an estimate.) And we get to say precious little about GM's operation, even now that we own it temporarily.

I dont think that your analogy applies. If only GM cars could run on public highways, then it would make more sense.

Conversely, if there was a law that forced telecoms to lease access to telecom infrastructure, ( or telecom infrastructure was publically owned and maintained ) then net neutrality legislation would not seem necessary to me. Not that I am advocating for either, but let's try and keep our arguments consistent.

Comment: Re:Tough Shit. (Score 1) 1259

by Nathan Boley (#29796859) Attached to: Student Loan Interest Rankles College Grads

It seems that anyone under the age of 45 is trying to find out a way to blame someone else for decisions they made or didn't make.

And it seems like everyone over 45 is pretending that education wasn't free when they were 20 ( at least in CA where I go to school... )

20 year olds are just trying to get by in the world they were born in - and like it or not college is a part of that in a way that it wasnt 30 years ago.

Comment: Re:Time to man up dude! (Score 1) 253

by Nathan Boley (#28153235) Attached to: How Common Is Scientific Misconduct?

Working 2 years and producing a strong negative result is good science, but it doesnt get you published in a good journal.

My point is that it is a general statement of the human condition that you have to be right.

Certainly.

But a strong negative result is being 'right'

If I set out to test the hypothesis that strawberries cause cancer, and I find that they do not, and I can quantify the extent to which they do not, then I have succeeded. But Nature probably still wont publish my paper that says that strawberries do not cause cancer. ( Please dont criticize me for this example - I realize someone who sets out to test the hypothesis that strawberries cause cancer probably shouldnt be a researcher - I just chose the example to make a point. A better example would be whether or not histone flavors are relevant in DNA accessibility )

My point is that it is a general statement of the human condition that you have to be right. You can work for two years and produce a strong negative result in any field of life. To create a product and release it, is, ultimately, an experiment. If I spend two years working on a product, then sell it, and find out x,y,z is wrong with it. Will I have learned a lot? Yes. But, it doesn't help pay the bills.

Of course, but the point of releasing a product isnt to determine whether or not it is a good product. It's to make a successful product. A better analogy would be a consulting firm that was hired to determine whether or not a product release will be successful. Like scientists, this hypothetical consulting firm could be 'right' whether or not they said the product would be successful. To extend the analogy, what if the firm got paid more if they said the product would be successful? Dont you think that would bias their results?

Indeed, if someone did spend two years researching something and then finding out that their model was wrong in some way,

It's important to make a distinction between a model being wrong, and it not telling you what you expected to see. If I model global warming, and my model's predictions dont line up with reality, I've failed at being a scientist and dont deserve to be published. However, if my model predicts that global temperatures are unrelated to CO2 levels and future observations validate my results, then I've been successful ( and a good scientist ) but I bet I wont get nearly as much stimulus money as if my model had predicted the opposite.

Comment: Re:Time to man up dude! (Score 2, Insightful) 253

by Nathan Boley (#28152015) Attached to: How Common Is Scientific Misconduct?

you actually have to treat your scientist well.

You talk about working two years on an experiment to find out your hypothesis is wrong? Cry me a river. There's tons of people that work for two years, five years, ten years, pitching in to build up a business, and then they'll get bumped out on the street because some jackass guy in bufukistan can do it cheaper.

I think that you are missing the gp's point.

ASAICT he is saying that good research jobs *are* cushy ( which they should be - it's important to reward competent researchers ) but that we dont reward good research properly.

Working 2 years and producing a strong negative result is good science, but it doesnt get you published in a good journal. So, when you embark on a two year project as a post doc to test a hypothesis and get a negative result, what do you do? Get another post doc, and be severely underpaid for another 2 years? Leave science altogether? Or fabricate results. None of those are good options for a good researcher and, until we as a society start rewarding people for good science and not just exciting results, we will continue to have people inflating the excitement of their work.

As far as your analogy goes, I think it would be better to say that someone works 2, 5, 10 years to develop a *profitable* business and then be kicked out on the street when someone else develops a less profitable business. Does that happen? Probably, but I'll bet that it's pretty rare.

Comment: Re:Should have listened to Edison (Score 1) 859

by Nathan Boley (#27510749) Attached to: CFLs Causing Utility Woes

Besides, AC is far more dangerous than DC.

Really? Aren't you more likely to clench on to a DC source? On the other hand, I've heard that AC is more likely to stop your heart.

There's a reason why they use it in electric chairs.

Maybe because the grid is AC and they will both kill you?

Now let's see, who disagrees with me?

I guess that's me :-)

The bigger issue in the AC/DC debate seems to be transmission. Is converting to DC at the last transformer really cost effective?

Comment: Re:Very sloppy, misleading headline (Score 1) 584

by Nathan Boley (#26100969) Attached to: Wind and Sun Beat Other Energy Alternatives

You're claiming that there are "wild assumptions", something I see no evidence of.

Well, he calculated nuclear CO2 emissions by estimating the amount of CO2 that will be released when terrorists make a nuclear weapon from fissionables stolen from a (new) American power plant and set it off in a city and the city burns, releasing CO2. I would personally classify that number as being based upon at least a couple 'wild assumptions'.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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