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Comment: Re:The study was flawed (Score 2) 71

by Required Snark (#49550029) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids
You are being deliberately obtuse. (That is how adults describe someone who is being willfully wrong.)

In the referenced Nature paper, the authors describe measurements they made on honey bee and bumble bee neurons in response to sugar with and without the neonicotinoid compounds. As I also stated, they also checked if the presence of the insecticides had any impact on the way the insects detect sugar. It did not.

Understand this: they inserted electrodes into nerve fibers that bees use to "taste" what they are consuming. Using these electrodes they monitored the nerve signals going to the bees brain. By varying the concentration of insecticides over a range starting at zero, they were able to show that there was no difference in the response related to the amount of the chemical they were testing. The paper has charts and graphs with error bars and correlation (p) values. It's real science done by real scientists, who know that their academic reputation depends on avoiding mistakes.

This is not a high school "science experiment" with a bunch of bees free flying in a cage with two sources of sugar and a student counting the number of bees going to one or the other. The experiment is based on a fundamental understanding at the neurological level of how bees function. It has nothing to do with nectar.

Your criticism is based on a level of understanding that is extremely childish. Are you actually that uninformed? You are not asking relevant question, but making assertions based in ignorance. Even given the generally low quality of analytical thinking shown on Slashdot, you lack of knowledge is pathetic. Normally I would say that you should look at the paper, but in your case I expect that there are too many big words that you would not understand.

Comment: Re:The study was flawed (Score 4, Interesting) 71

by Required Snark (#49548455) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids
Your are factually incorrect. The directly linked article in Chemistry World linked to an article published in Nature entitled Bees prefer food containing neonicotinoid pesticides

The Nature article examined the neurophysiological response of bees to three of the most common neonicotinoid pesticides. They determined that the bee taste system cannot detect these chemicals, and additionally the chemicals have no influence on the bee's ability to recognize sugar. This means the bees preference for food with these substances results from interaction with their central nervous system. Considering that nicotine is a CNS stimulant, this makes perfect sense.

You didn't like the conclusion of the article, so you read it with the single intent of refuting it. When you found one thing that you thought you could use as an attack, you picked on that. It did not occur to you that the people who do this kind of research are extremely knowledgeable and would would never make that kind of foolish error.

You have revealed your true colors. You are willfully ignorant and have no regard for the truth. You were effectively accusing the authors of fraudulent research. Accusing others of lying to achieve their goals shows that you are a dishonest yourself, because that is the logic of habitual liars.

+ - United Launch Alliance announces Vulcan reusable launch vehicle

Submitted by Required Snark
Required Snark writes: ULA revealed plans for their next generation rocket, the Vulcan. Like SpaceX, it features a recoverable first stage. Unlike SpaceX, they are not planning reuse of the full first stage; only the engines will be returned. The engine section separates from the tanks and reenters using an inflatable heat shield. After the main parachute deploys, the engine package will be recovered mid air by a helicopter before ground impact.

The first stage engines are a mix of solid strap on boosters and two BE-4 LNG/LOx rockets developed by Blue Origin and ULA specifically for the Vulcan. The second stage is the current Centaur used in both Atlas-5 and Delta Heavy configurations. The Vulcan with a Centaur second stage cannot replace the Delta Heavy; a replacement is being developed that will allow a larger payload then then current Delta system.

The first version of the Vulcan is scheduled to launch in 2019. A version with engine reuse is planned for 2024.

Comment: Sony is a multinational corporation (Score 4, Insightful) 163

Yes, there is a US corporation that is a part of Sony, but ultimately they only have an economic stake in the well being of the United States. When the MPAA-RIAA collude with Sony to pass legislation whose side are they on?

Has anyone looked for their lobbying efforts on 1H-B visas? If Sony is able to buy access that influences legislation, what about TATA? They surely have an economic interest in the number of 1H-B visa jobs available. Do you think they would want to get more visas, and be willing to spend money to make that happen?

Our current campaign contribution system makes it impossible to tell who is spending money to on elections. Even if Sony is not technically breaking the law, does that mean that everyone else from overseas is being equally careful in following the rules?

Could China take advantage of these loopholes? Even if the Chinese government is not, why would Chinese business interests ignore the advantages?

What's in the secret Trans Pacific Partnership treaty? The bill has been given fast track status, so the only vote that will be taken by congress is to either accept it or reject it. Just like the DMCA, there will be no time to review a very complex document. Just look how that turned out.

The lack of transparency in political funding didn't happen by magic. It was a result of a long process that including having a right wing majority on the Supreme Court. Defending the current situation by saying it's legal is another way of sidestepping the issue of corruption in the political process. When there is no accounting for money in politics, the law will obviously be for sale to the highest bidder. In the current global economy that means anybody in the world. Does that seem like a good idea?

Comment: Re:You no longer own a car (Score 1, Informative) 649

by Required Snark (#49516699) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars
Clinton signed this, but the legislation is a part of the long term Republican effort to deregulate, well, everything. It goes back at least as far as the Regan administration.

The same arguments were used to justify the North American Trade Agreement, which was another terrible idea. NAFTA made it much easier both to move jobs out of the US to Mexico. Additionally it helped destroy small scale farming in northern Mexico, because these farms couldn't compete with subsidized US agribusiness. Now most of the food imported from Mexico is from large scale farming, because that is competitive. The end of small farms enabled the growth of marijuana farming and the growth of violent drug cartels.

Besides the steaming pile of bull crap that is the DCMA, one of the other Republican moves was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, which directly lead to the Crash of 2008. Glass-Steagall didn't disappear all at once; the dismantling started during the Reagan years. It held up as long as the Democrats were in control and Volker was in charge if the FED. When Greenspan got in then the end of Glass-Steagall became a priority for the Republicans and Wall Street, and they got what they paid for.

If you don't like the DCMA, you should be terrified by the TPP, a secret trade treaty. We, i.e. the public, had no clue about what is in this thing. It's been given so called "fast track" status, so there will very limited debate or opportunity to amend the language. And since it's an international treaty, it supersedes US law. If it passes in Congress, Obama will sign it. How do you feel about letting Asian nations decide our trade policies?

The TPP effectively allows big business interests to offshore the regulatory process. It's so much easier to change the rules of the game in smaller countries where things like environmental and consumer protection have minimal impact. Since we have no idea with the treaty actually says, it seems likely that a lot of the protections that we have in the US will be effectively gutted with no way override it.

If you think things are bad now, just wait.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by Required Snark (#49508491) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power
It's about entrenched special interests.

They will always use their political capital to protect their position and profit. As long as they are making money they don't give a rat's ass about anything else; who cares about climate change if I'm making money right now.

There are economically viable solutions for distributed solar power, but they change the model for the entrenched players. Since it's about (economic) power and (political) power, they will oppose any change that decreases their (economic/political/electrical) power. Efficiency and sustainability are irrelevant. Just ask the Koch brothers, the Kings of Coal. Can there be any doubt that they are neck deep in this issue?

The issue of regulation and monopoly is meaningless. We live in an era where entrenched interests bend the rules to guarantee their status. Is automobile manufacturing a regulated monopoly? Of course not. But they still have been able to use the law to keep Tesla from selling cars in many states. Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, the United Launch Alliance, have used their clout to keep SpaceX from getting Defense Department contracts. (Elon Musk has to have an iron constitution considering the kind of crap he has had to deal with.)

Welcome to post-capitalist America. No capitalism, no democracy, no privacy, no liberty.

Comment: Re:American "Justice" (Score 1) 173

Hot off the press, an article published today about how the "justice" system can put an innocent person in jail for life.

Virginia is still imprisoning an almost certainly innocent man—even after he did the time.

Of all the maddening stories of wrongful convictions, Michael McAlister’s may be one of the worst. For starters, he has been in prison for 29 years for an attempted rape he almost certainly did not commit. For much of that time, the lead prosecutor who secured his conviction, the original lead detective on the case, and more recently, the current Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney, Michael Herring, have argued that McAlister is innocent and that someone else—a notorious serial rapist with the same MO as the perpetrator of the crime for which McAlister was convicted—is in fact the real criminal. “I think our justice system is one of the best on the planet,” Herring told the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week. “But this case makes me ashamed of it.”

Here are the facts: In 1986, McAlister was convicted of attempted rape and abduction with the attempt to defile, after a 4½-hour bench trial. The only evidence presented was the victim’s identification based on her partial glimpse of her assailant’s face, much of which was covered with a mask. The photo array she was shown by the police did not include a picture of Norman Derr, a serial rapist who had already attempted to attack another woman in the same apartment complex. But it did include a photo of McAlister, and the two men looked astonishingly similar.

Derr is currently serving three life sentences. He was caught after the brutal rape of a woman in 1988 and is now linked to six other violent offenses through DNA cold-case testing. (There was no biological evidence from the crime McAlister was convicted of, and thus nothing to implicate Derr and exonerate McAlister.) But the similarities between Derr’s crimes and the alleged McAlister assault are remarkable: Derr attacked women with a knife in apartment-complex laundry rooms, wearing a plaid shirt and a stocking mask. These details all match the crime for which McAlister is still in prison. Subsequent police affidavits reveal that Derr was already being trailed by the police in 1986 and that he had in fact pulled on a stocking mask and approached a female undercover cop in the same apartment complex in which McAlister allegedly later assaulted his victim. Several other laundry room attacks happened after McAlister was already in jail but before Derr was caught.

McAlister was set up. He was asked to wear a plaid shirt in the photo lineup, and he was the only one in a plaid shirt. His release date has passed, but he continues to be incarcerated because he was convicted of a violent sex crime. There is no exculpatory DNA evidence. He has already done 29 years for a crime that the prosecutor in the case thinks was a wrongful conviction.

What was that about the system being perfect again?

Comment: The Japanese Perocialism (Score 2) 99

by Required Snark (#49466181) Attached to: Transforming Robot Gets Stuck In Fukushima Nuclear Reactor
The Japanese have been very reluctant to use non-Japanese technology for Fukushima problems. They would rather use home grown systems, and this has not worked out very well for them.

For example, their record on handling radioactive water has been a list of miserable failures. Briefly, there were three different systems used to treat the water being used to cool the reactors: a French system from AREVA, a system from Kurion, a startup based in Orange County California, and a system built by Hiatachi/Tobshba. The timeline is complex, but both the French and Japanese systems broke almost immediately when they went into full scale operation. The Kurion system was more reliable, but it was not used as the primary cleanup platform.

The muon imaging that has been used to verify core meltdowns was developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and LLNL proposed that they work directly with TEPCO. Instead TEPCO worked with the US company that ended up with the equipment after the LLNL development project ended. All the press releases describe the imaging as being done by Hiatachi, who ran the detector in Japan. Even so, there are actually two different muon imaging systems in place, and one of them is directly from LLNL. The results from the second LLNL detector have not been officially announced yet.

Outside Japan, experts were not optimistic about the ice wall project to keep ground water from entering the reactor buildings. They spent a lot of time, effort and money and then had to give up.

I can only speculate, but I think they are very reluctant to use US technology unless they can rebrand it as Japanese. I think they want to show that they are better at high tech the the US.

They may match or beat the US in industrial applications, but because of DARPA investment in disaster and military technology, the US has more robust robot technology for chaotic real world conditions. Just look at ASIMO vs Boston Dynamics PETMAN, ATLAS or BIG DOG. The Boston Dynamics robots all have videos where they are being shoved and kicked and stay upright. It's obvious that one good shove and ASIMO would end up on the floor and might be badly damaged.

It just seems strange that there has not been more collaboration between Japan and the rest of the world for dealing with the Fukushima disaster. DARPA has been working on robots for HASMAT environment for a long time and yet they have no presence at Fukushima. It seems that Japanese ethnocentrism and pride is now making a bad situation more difficult.

Comment: Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 4, Informative) 489

by Required Snark (#49437307) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"
The police destroy cellphone video evidence when they get their hands on it. After they get away with this typically nothing happens, which is why you don't hear about it. The cover up works.

Here is a recent real world example from Bakersfield Calif. A suspect was beaten by police outside of a local hospital and died an hour later. Two people called 911 and said they were video taping the event. The cops showed up at their door and took their cell phones. When they were returned the videos had been deleted. This happened in May 2013 and there seems to be no further news on the matter. Case closed.

Police accused of erasing cell phone footage of fatal beating.

She says she saw six sheriff's deputies hitting a man with a club and kicking him.

She took out her cell phone and told the deputies what she was doing. It's unclear whether she thought this might get them to stop. If that was the case, this doesn't seem to have happened.

She says the man screamed and cried for help for a total of eight minutes. He finally fell silent, and the police then allegedly tied him up and dropped him twice on the ground.

It was only then, Melendez said, that they enacted CPR. David Sal Silva, 33, died less than an hour later.

Melendez said that she and her daughter's boyfriend both filmed what happened. She also said that police confiscated both their phones without a warrant being served.

The sheriff's department disputes this version, insisting that everything was done legally and the phones have been handed to the Bakersfield Police Department.

Melendez and her daughter's boyfriend both said that police officers paid them a visit at their homes and demanded the phones.

Worse, there are now accusations that some of the cell phone footage has been deleted. A report from the Los Angeles Times says that the FBI has now been called into the investigation.

This move was prompted, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, by the fact that one of the two confiscated cell phones seems to have no footage on it at all.

"Our credibility is at stake here," he told the L.A. Times. More witnesses have come forward to support the essence of Melendez's claims that the police were overly zealous.

"They must have gotten rid of one of the videos," Melendez's daughter, Melissa Quair, told the L.A. Times.

Some might conclude from incidents such as the one in Bakersfield that if you're of a mind to film the police and believe wrong has been done, post it to YouTube as soon as you can.

There was no legal justification for the police to confiscate the phones. They broke the law in doing so. The FBI examined the phones and couldn't find the videos. There have been civil suits, but no charges or administrative actions against any of the officers.

In the current incident the video was turned over to the lawyer for the family. If the police had gotten their hands on it first it would have disappeared. If you deny this happens you are condoning lawless police violence that can and does result in murder.

If you think this is an isolated case, to to Photography is Not a Crime. They have a lot of examples of how police are caught breaking the law and illegally stopping people who video their bad behavior.

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon