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Comment: Re:In other news: (Score 1) 91

by RockDoctor (#48666373) Attached to: Major Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered At Frankfurt Airport

And the only reason the risk is higher for longer flights is because, well, they're longer, so there's more time for something to possibly go wrong.

Every flight consists of at least three phases : take-off, cruise and landing. The large majority of airplane crashes occur in take-off and landing phases, and relatively small numbers in cruise (some while taxiing too, but they're mostly survivable - airframe damage only).

If you re-work the statistics in terms of take-off, cruise and landing, then the numerical advantage the long distance flights have in terms of deaths per passenger-kilometre decreases a lot, leaving flying rather more comparable to long-distance train travel. Both still considerably ahead of driving, even if you neglect all the starts and stops of most road journeys.

There's a reason that airlines indirectly quote the deaths per passenger-kilometre figure - it makes them look better. Deaths per passenger journey wouldn't be anything like so good. (still relatively good, but not as good.)

Comment: Re:OH NO. WE ARE ALL DOOMED! (Score 1) 91

by RockDoctor (#48666341) Attached to: Major Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered At Frankfurt Airport

Hint hint: guns go through the air all day long by accident.

[Citation needed].

To the best of my knowledge, there's never been a problem with carrying knives, clubs and all sorts of other weapons on a plane as long as they're in hold baggage. The only time it would be an issue would be if you carried the weapon in your carry-on baggage or your pocket. And I simply do not believe that happens by accident. Anyone in any of the parts of the world where I routinely travel (not America, granted, but that's not even 5% of the world), simply would not own a gun to travel with it, accidentally or not.

Are you seriously proposing that people accidentally leave a gun in their carry on baggage, coat pocket or wherever (0.01% of passengers, if not fewer) AND the X-Ray and metal detector systems also fail to pick it up (say 5%, for relatively large chunks of metal).

Frankly, I simply do not believe you.

Comment: Re:That seems strange (Score 1) 183

by RockDoctor (#48666241) Attached to: Argentine Court Rules Orangutan Is a "Non-Human Person"

I think there's probably a reasonable argument to be made that a move to a foreign location, even one nominally more "native" than a zoo, is a definite hardship on an animal who has become habituated to a specific environment.

Now, if the "zoo" in question is a 10x10 concrete room with bars, then maybe the quality of life in a larger and more natural (in the sense of less confinement and concrete) environment is worth a temporary disruption.

One of the specific points in the writ is that "Sandra" (yes, he is a she ; suggesting that some commentators above haven't RTFA) exhibits distress at being watched in it's cage by humans, and actively hides.

OTOH, that she does have materials with which to hide suggests that she's in something less brutal than a concrete box. which does not diminish her apparent suffering in the slightest.

To quote an old comic song on a related theme, "Design for Living" :
Mr Swann : "Our boudoir on the open plan has been a huge success."
Mr Flanders : "Now every where is so open, there's nowhere safe to dress."

Comment: Re:Lest we forget (Score 1) 224

by RockDoctor (#48666151) Attached to: GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

Georgia (U.S.) which was also a British penal colony.

As were many of the other American colonies, until some bunch of terrorists insurrectionists rebelled against their seigneurs and closed off that dumping ground for the rejects of society. Only after that did Britain start to export trouble-makers to the Great Sandy.

If I remember my "Moll Flanders" (by the satirist Swift, admittedly) at least Maryland and Virginia were also penal colonies, at least in part. Though it's been a few years since I read that deeply debauched tale of theft, murder and incest. (Not that I'm promoting it at all - just an exemplar that the reading habits of the nation haven't really changed that much over the centuries.)

Comment: Re:from the what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this dep (Score 1) 288

by RockDoctor (#48666133) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

Flooding their market with junk books devalues the market as a whole.

If you're the sort of person who relies on the likes of Amazon (high volume, low-margin pile-it-high-and-sell-it-cheap merchants) as your personal arbiter of taste and relevance, then yes you'd devalue your market. However, by taking Amazon as a reviewer of books, you've already suspended your judgement to a high degree.

A couple of weeks ago I was pointed to Amazon by a friend who'd written a new book (not, by about 10 books, his first publication, but I think his first with Amazon). Amazon would only admit to the existence of a Kindle version - which I might have considered if it were a manual or a text-based book. But for a book allegedly rich in my friend's generally excellent photography of his several month's travelling in Patagonia and southern South America, a screen simply isn't the appropriate format.

So, eventually, Amazon, by pushing their Kindle version lost about £10 of trade in Kindle editions, and the ink-on-paper publishers got about £70 for the print editions (of the photo book, and the accompanying travelogue book) ; way to go, Amazon!

The wife and I noted their efforts to force us off getting discs form Lovefilm and onto downloading shit off their website somewhere. Nope ; not interested ; account cancelled and a pits-on-polycarbonate account opened with a different provider. Oh dear. What a pity. How sad. Never. mind.

Comment: Re:Who will get (Score 1) 358

by RockDoctor (#48665861) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

You'd think they would do something more sophisticated than a DDOS though.

If they actually wanted to do something, yes. On the other hand, if they wanted to be seen to be doing something without actually doing anything - what Schneier (spelling? Bruce-the-security-megaphone) might describe as "retribution theatre" - then this is about what one would expect.

This is likely some Anonymous-esque group striking out on their own.

That's exactly what it does look like. Smoke and mirrors. Deceit and obfuscation. Double-dealing and triple-backstabbing. Diplomacy as normal.

Comment: Re:So - an impact of an asteroid.... (Score 1) 78

by RockDoctor (#48659033) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction
OK ; maybe I'm a bit too close to the data to read the article without bringing knowledge from other areas to bear. The sequence as best we can determine so far is :
(1) T0 : Deccan Traps start erupting (along with the Reunion volcanics, probably, from the palaeogeography)
(2) +170,000 years : Chicxulub impact.
(3) + short period, maybe up to ~60,000 years : Dinosaurs and many other groups start going extinct.

Although, given the imprecision of the timing for large, long-lived animals compared to short-lived ones, it is possible that (2) and (3) are more like :
(2) as above;
(2a) +months to 1 year : direct impact damage, fire and starvation do for large dinosaurs ; small dinosaurs and other meso-fauna survive ; dung beetles can't find enough fresh poo piles ;
(2b) +10 years : ocean pH has dropped by 3 units (1000x more acid) ; major extinctions of marine microflora ; seeds from previous flora are germinating, but with an absence of large herbivores, there are drastic ecological changes (compare what happened to the US/Canadian steppes when the bison was almost extinguished).
(2c) +20 years : ocean pH rebounds by 1 unit, but many large marine life forms starving to death (or reproductive inability - same thing).
[...] continuing series of sequels for millennia.

Disentangling such a sequence will be a real challenge, given that in deep marine sediments (our most stable environment, where you're likely to get the most consistent records without storms taking out the critical metre of sediment), it's perfectly possible to have bioturbation (worm burrows) stir things up through a metre of sediment thickness - a good million years worth. Of course, we could look at a K-Pg analogue of the Euxine Sea (a.k.a. "Black Sea" ; the archetype euxinic basin where the bottom waters are nearly sterilised by hydrogen sulphide because of restricted water circulation) if we (1) wanted to look at only planktonic organisms and (2) we could find such a basin (any suggestions? I don't know of one off-hand, though I've not studied the question. When I'm working next year in the Black Sea, I'll maybe do a literature search).

Comment: Re:Missing the Point (Score 1) 93

by RockDoctor (#48658793) Attached to: Seattle Police Held Hackathon To Redact Footage From Body Cameras

There's a reason laws against witness tampering and the like exist, you know. It's because people really will do this, and a lot of people believe--rightly or wrongly--that if all the witnesses are gone, the case will fall apart.

Which is of course, part of the reason that the police rely as much as they can on forensic and surveillance data rather than witness data. While emotionally effective for juries, witnesses do have a distressingly poor memory, easily fooled by both themselves and the cross-examining lawyers. And if a witness gives evidence that emotionally affects the jury, but the judge then instructs the jury to disregard (for example, because forensics show that it can't be accurate), if the jury then convicts there an open channel for an appeal and running through the whole dog-n-bone show again. which is a waste of money, brains and time for everyone concerned.

Comment: Re:Statistically not drastic (Score 1) 78

by RockDoctor (#48658763) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

It caused enormous damage

On a human scale, yes.

Human scale isn't the appropriate unit of measure. This is a volcanic event ; as volcanoes go, Mt St Helens wasn't much more than a fart and a squirt. It just happened to be a fart and a squirt that impinged on human-inhabited areas.

I'm trying to remember the numbers on Mt St Helens - not committed to memory as so unimportant an event - but it's about the scale of the current Bardarbunga event, plus or minus a factor of a couple? It wasn't a Pinatubo.

Comment: Re:So - an impact of an asteroid.... (Score 1) 78

by RockDoctor (#48658739) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction
That's not the only problem. Most of the world didn't have significant volcanism before, during, or after the impact. The areas that did have volcanism - say one eruption every 1,000 years, per volcano - carried on with that at with a barely detectable difference. Much the same for earthquakes - only those areas prone to earthquakes before the event had earthquakes, and within a few thousand years (probably) after the impact even the area around the impact would have settled down within a millennium or two. (It would have been pretty wild for the first few hundred years though!)

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics