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Comment: Re:Bwahahahah! (Score 1) 67

by TapeCutter (#47916425) Attached to: NSW Police Named as FinFisher Spyware Users
Every one of the links you have posted comes from a mainstream Aussie media outlet, when those stories stop appearing you have a real corruption problem. The NSW ICAC judicial inquiry has forced the resignation of at least a dozen MP's who took illegal donations from property developers and is still going strong. Now think about real oppression (say) Mugabe or Saddam, they tow the line or risk summary execution.

Internet snooping by cops is a double edged sword, sure it can be used as a tool of oppression (if the political climate is ripe) but it has also been used to solve some high profile murder/rape cases. In the Jill Megan (sic?) case the cops didn't spy on anyone, they simply explained the situation to the banks (on the weekend) and the banks voluntarily gave them what they needed to track the bastard down.

Disclaimer: I have a female cousin who has served in the Victorian police for over 3 decades. I'm not claiming all Aussie cops are saints, but certainly the vast majority have their heart in the right place and are doing a tough job as best they can.

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 580

by TapeCutter (#47914049) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels
PS: Bad form to reply to own post but I'd also like to say I agree with your post, those consideration are a matter of due-diligence in my mind.

Of course you will also want to apply the same standards to the claims made by those upholding the status quo. After all, the FF industry is one of the most powerful economic entities on the planet, it has a lot more power and wealth than Gore, they are at least an order of magnitude higher in assets than the clean energy industry as a whole.

We have already seen the US senate abused in a failed attempt to discredit a single scientific paper. What I would like to see now is a repeat of the "tobacco trials" for the coal industry and their pet politicians (yes senator Inhofe, I'm looking at you)..

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 580

by TapeCutter (#47913831) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels
Another way of looking at it is that Gore puts his money where his mouth is, and considering the profits are fed back into his educational charity it's hard to see how it has given him more power and wealth than (say) a post-political career as a corporate lobbyist. For the most part I find American's in particular are generally for/against his charitable work based not on the contents of his documentaries, but on the perceived colour of his politics. The rest of the world don't really know him as as a politician, and are therefore less inclined to instinctively "shoot the messenger".

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 2) 580

by TapeCutter (#47913735) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Regrettably, there has been little to no efforts made from the scientific community to distance itself from Gore's extreme proclamations and warnings.

Sigh, the scientific community almost unanimously came out of the lab to praise the documentary because they felt it was a "bloody accurate" representation of their work.

Yes, I know scientists don't appreciate having to come out of their research labs where they are doing actual real work to do stuff like that, but it's important. It's all the more important the more impact you believe your research has to society as a whole.

Agree, now if you do some fact checking you will find the vast majority of climate scientists have already come out of their labs to loudly defend Gore's work, I'm not sure what your reading/viewing habits are, but you obviously missed the last 10yrs of debate, so the question is now - what will you tell your kids? - Can you set a good example by demonstrating a true skeptic changes his mind when confronted with inconvenient facts, or will misplaced pride take you down the creationist road?

Comment: Perfection is the enemy of progress. (Score 3, Insightful) 580

by TapeCutter (#47913589) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

I agree with your basic premise but most AGW advocates ignore and will not address contrary evidence, preferring instead to ridicule and cast aspersions, as you do.

Increasing seasonal sea ice in Antarctica is not "contra-evidence", it's a prediction that most models have been making for over 20yrs now, the mechanism that causes the counter intuitive result is well understood. So called "skeptics" are flogging a dead horse in their attempts to cite it as some sort of "smoking gun" that climate scientists are attempting to hide. The often intentionally misleading claim is ranked at #10 on skeptical sciences list of most popular climate myths.

As for Al Gore, any internet idiot can play "gottcha science" by taking words out of context and deliberately misinterpreting them. However the scientists who were lead authors of the IPCC reports that Gore's documentary was based on gave it a good review for it's representation of the report. Of course there were minor errors, and yes, the scientists pointed them out. The reason Gore shared the Nobel prize with the IPCC is that he put the IPCC's monumental lit-review effort squarely at the center of public policy debate.

Useful idiots? - As someone who has followed climate science with interest since the late 70's, Gore's documentary was an excellent (but imperfect) explanation of the science and it's real world consequences. It's a shame so many slashdotters mindlessly join in when the Gore bashing starts, he's the only well educated geek that has come close to sitting in the whitehouse for a very long time. History will admire his charitable public education efforts, even if most american's currently do not.

Disclaimer: I've been well known on slashdot for commenting on climate related stories for around 15yrs now, I'm not and have never been an "AGW advocate", I'm a science advocate.

Comment: Re:10 and 2 is for older cars (Score 1) 324

by TapeCutter (#47901039) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction
If it saves the life of an imbecile who can't trouble to buckle up it MAY be worthwhile, but for anyone of normal intelligence it is a liability.

To understand why this "imbecile" has air bags, first put your seat belt on, now see if you can tap your head gently against the door pillar, now imagine tapping it at 50mph. As for the steering wheel bag it's not there to stop you from leaving your seat and being slammed into the steering column, that's the seat belt's job. The wheel bag is there because "collapsible" steering columns still have a nasty tendency to intrude into the cabin, significantly reducing the the wheel to face gap.

Disclaimer: I think keep my "liability". Sure it may one day cost me "an arm and a leg" but that's a perfectly rational insurance arrangement given the alternatives.

Comment: Re:10 and 2 is for older cars (Score 1) 324

by TapeCutter (#47901035) Attached to: Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction
RE: my other reply, I've heard that in the US some of the bags are set to ridiculously low speeds, something like 10-15mph, if that's what happened to you then I think you have a valid point, set at 25-30mph they are definitely an "intelligent" option ad serve a different role to seat belts. In fact a properly designed air bag assumes the person is strapped into their seat.

No offence but I found the part about your glasses leaving your face for a split second fascinating, did it happen in that weird "slow motion" phase of the car crash or did you not even see it because it was so fast?

Comment: Re:old person surrounded by old people (Score 1) 163

by TapeCutter (#47898829) Attached to: Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

technology is merely a tool.

Wow sounds like you have actually read 1984. Big brother is an unseen but omnipresent demigod who will strap a live rat to your face if he sees you doing something he doesn't like. 'Animal Farm' is a more accurate criticism of the modern democratic state that arises from the revolutionary ashes of such demigods..

Comment: Re:Great news (Score 1) 268

by TapeCutter (#47885619) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

To be fair though, academic achievement is probably more important than intelligence, at least for some things.

I'm quite proud of my degree but the only thing it demonstrates is that I can follow instructions, it says nothing about my ability to hunt Mammoths or evict cave bears from my new home.

Comment: Re:Gibbs Free Energy (Score 1) 211

by TapeCutter (#47876079) Attached to: Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

What do you think a tornado is?

The finger of God. However you have a good point. Matter spontaneously organises itself in order to reach maximum entropy in minimum time, Brian Cox has done an excellent documentary series about this stuff. At first glance life ( and tornadoes ) appear to go against the laws of thermodynamics by making itself more organised but such observations (often made by creationists) ignore the rate of increase in entropy of the system as a whole. Like tornadoes, life will spontaneously arise where there is an energy gradient and the right kind of matter, it will continue to evolve into more complex forms until it brings the energy gradient down tom zero. The "right type" of matter for life to arise just happens to be made from the most common types of atoms in the universe. By induction life must be at least as common as vortexes throughout the universe, it's just that you need to look for it with a microscope, not a telescope

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig