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Comment It's still cheaper than war (Score 4, Insightful) 356

The oil industry periodically requires wars to secure its supplies, and a lot of its profits accrue to countries with interests inimical to those of the U.S. To give you an idea, Operation Desert Storm cost $104 billion in nominal 2014 dollars. From a strictly cost/benefit perspective, the U.S. is underfunding these companies.

Comment Re:It formed during the Holocene? (Score 1) 293

That explanation makes sense, thank you. So was there probably a different kind of ice formation there during the Pleistocene, or did the lower sea levels mean that the parent glacier of this ice shelf either didn't reach the ocean or had a very different-looking ice shelf attached?

Comment It formed during the Holocene? (Score 2) 293

Please forgive me for hijacking this thread with a question related to the Larson B Ice Shelf rather than global warming, but I was hoping someone could shed some light on how this ice shelf formed during the current interglacial. I would've thought more or less all of the major ice shelves and glaciers around the world were relics of the Pleistocene, but it sounds like this formed during the hottest part of the Holocene (with the possible exception of today).

Comment We'll finally achieve equity, alright... (Score 1) 352

If we do this, we'll achieve equity by destroying the entire system and smearing the remains into an inch-high paste, using BS like this as a binding agent. Meanwhile, the children of the highly paid "super-teachers" will probably go to traditional private schools, just like the children of the rich do now.

United States

Obama's 2016 NASA Budget Status Quo, Funds Europa Mission 92

MarkWhittington writes The Washington Post reported that the NASA portion of the president's 2016 budget proposal is basically status quo though it does provide further funding for a mission to Europa. A Europa probe is near and dear to the new chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, Rep. John Culberson. However, the $18.5 billion budget proposal also funds the asteroid redirect mission, which has come under increasing fire from both Congress and the scientific community. The Houston Chronicle suggested that the final spending bill will be considerably different once congressional Republicans get through with it.
NASA

Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program? 156

MarkWhittington writes The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district.

Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.

Comment Re:This is an overreaction (Score 1) 465

While I agree that this is an opportunity for politicians to discredit Greenpeace.. its not an issue of ENVIRONMENTAL damage.. its an issue of preserving National and World Heritage. The government of Peru is not worried about plants and animals in this case.. it is worried about keeping these ancient grounds for future generations.

What they did is the equivalent of pissing on the Mona Lisa.

Don't give them ideas!

Space

Exomoon Detection Technique Could Greatly Expand Potential Habitable Systems 66

Luminary Crush (109477) writes Most of the detected exoplanets thus far have been gas giants which aren't great candidates for life as we know it. However, many of those planets are in fact in the star's habitable zone and could have moons with conditions more favorable. Until now, methods to detect the moons of such gas giants have been elusive, but researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have discovered a way to detect the interaction of a moon's ionosphere with the parent gas giant from studies of Jupiter's moon Io. The search for 'Pandora' has begun.

Comment If it's as easy as that "Turing Test" was... (Score 1) 285

...then all the computer will have to do is string together a series of random English words till it puts together something that sounds like a short story written by a Hungarian first-grader for whom English is a second language.

I don't care what they call the test. It's useless if the grading rubric is rigged to allow any idiot to write something that passes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go see if I can talk ELIZA into writing me something that would function as an epistolary novel.

Comment Google's not stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 583

If you take the set of people who might be willing to buy a self-driving car (a set underrepresented on /.), few of them are going to want to do it if they're on the hook for whatever the car does. If that's the case, you might as well drive yourself. Google doesn't want that, either, and just put out a statement to that effect. My guess is that they're going to try to get the relevant laws changed, but, in the meantime, what better way to protect your users from liability than to make it impossible for them to have had any control of the vehicle?

Comment Re:WhatsApp is not evidence of a bubble (Score 1) 154

I think this is an excellent point. The current state of affairs lacks the massive public exuberance of the tech bubble or the real estate bubble. Remember what Joe Kennedy (Sr.) said about knowing it was time to cash out when the shoeshine boy had hot stock tips? I'm not hearing hot stock tips from the modern equivalent of shoeshine boys right now, not like I was about real estate ca. 2004 or tech ca. 1999. Plus, gold is too high. How can we have a proper bubble if a lot of the "air" is still elsewhere?

Comment Re:Not really much here (Score 2) 258

Does anyone find it weird that they looked and found 26/29 just happened to be dated incorrectly? I'm assuming that different groups dated the sites originally (depending on who excavated them), and then this group comes in and discovers that they're almost all mis-dated in ways that support their hypothesis. That strikes me as amazingly convenient.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.

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