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Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 1) 286

The Greenpeace and FoE speakers who I know would be justly ashamed to make such inaccurate claims. Plus they know that if I'm anywhere about, I'll tear them to shreds for such inaccuracy, Which rather destroys the effect they're trying to achieve.

Then again, they're something approaching scientists of one form or another. They have more attachment to truth than to politics.

Comment: Re:Dedup and pointers (Score 1) 183

That was the underlying theme of a story I read by IIRC Greg Benford a year or so ago. I recall being moderately disappointed, to the extent of not being bothered to go to the library to get the second or third volume of the trilogy.

Hmmm, maybe not Benford. Nothing in his bibliography strikes a resonant tone. I'll have to fish it off the shelf (I remember feeling somewhat conflicted between the writer's reputation and my lack of engagement with the characters, scenario and underlying re-building of the laws of physics. So I don't think I've sent it off to the second-hand-bookshop in the street.)

Comment: Re:That is close! (Score 1) 117

by RockDoctor (#49157663) Attached to: Another Star Passed Through Our Oort Cloud 70,000 Years Ago

I wonder how many comets it kicked out of the cloud and have cause some ruckus here on Terra.

Why do you think any comets etc that were perturbed have already arrived?

There's nothing to prevent (say) a 10km body from having been perturbed 70,000 years ago, into an orbit that brings it into close proximity to Quaor in 10 years time, which then perturbs it into the inner Solar System on a couple of hundred year drop into a field in Oklahoma.

The debris could still be arriving here in several million years.

Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 1) 286

Oh so that's why everyone in Europe and half of Asia are dead

From Kaos' figures (which I am taking as unadulterated bullshit) he's talking about killing pretty much everyone outside of Africa and South America.

The boy has the "thousand yard stare" : back away from him, while feeling around for useful tools like a clue-by-four. His original case may have had some merit, but by his deranged mumblings, he's tainted it by association.

Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 1) 286

There's even a few places here in Ontario where radon venting is mandatory in your house, most of the southern part of the province has 50-800m of limestone over the bedrock and that's not enough to prevent seepage.

I'd look at that as a geologist and think - there's a good chance that the limestones would help to concentrate the seepage of radon from the basement into particular areas.

Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 1) 286

True. Lead poisoning is well understood, and has been for thousands of years.

Hundreds, I'd live with. Thousands? Citation required, I think.

Yes, I did grow up in a house with lead piping. Which is why, to this day, I run the tap for a good 30 seconds before taking water to drink or cook with. There were coping strategies that evolved in the last few centuries when people did understand "lead" as an element (and so "lead poisoning" as a concept distinct from "arsenic poisoning" and "belladonna poisoning") which the Romans didn't seem to have.

I'm trying to remember when the hypothesis that lead poisoning is what did in the Romans originated. I think it's relatively recent - Gibbon in his "Decline & Fall" blamed the de-balling effect of Christianity for the decline and fall, and he was one of the first to try to come up with an overarching explanation. That would put the "lead poisoning" theory at being at most a couple of centuries old, as a disagreement with Gibbon.

Comment: Re:Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s .. (Score 1) 286

Since natural uranium has a half life measured in billions of years, the only way it could kill you in five minutes is if a significantly large chunk of it fell on your head from a great height....

Video or it didn't happen.

Actually, since I'm sharing an office this month with the safety officer and a lifting-slinging-cranes instructor, I've seen more than enough "this is why you wear a hard hat and you still don't get anywhere near (30degree fall angle) of a suspended load" videos this week. the polite ones illustrate using a watermelon in place of a human head. The ones from surveillance cameras are kill porn.

A hard hat is good to around 1kg mass falling through 1m. Anything much more the hat may reduce injury, but there's still a good chance of serious injury or death.

A few days ago, someone had put a half-kilo water bottle on a ledge on a basket load for tubulars. When it was being boomed out over to the cargo boat, it fell from about 20m height - equivalent to about 10kilos through 1m or 1kilo through 10m. Well into serious injury territory.

Sorry, but I work with these dudes and Dropped Objects are a day-to-day conversation , meeting and email subject here.

Comment: Teach everyone to code? (Score 1) 291

by RockDoctor (#49111111) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

Some people would rather that proper coders actually built something that worked properly, rather than having to do the fucking job yourself. (If that means allowing for user-configurable UI, then that's probably fine. But most people want to do their job without having to learn a complete new family of skills.

I asked the welder to build me a bracket last night. He built it. He didn't need to program the nearest CNC machine (120km away) to have it manufactured then shipped to location (3-4 days, plus paperwork). Instead he made me the bracket, dunked it in a bucket to cool the welds off, and passed it to me. He doesn't need to code, and it's unlikely that he ever will need to.

Comment: You have to carry a driver's license in Iowa? (Score 1) 232

by RockDoctor (#49111071) Attached to: Iowa Wants To Let You Carry Your Driver's License On Your Phone
Really, do you?

I actually have a driving license (about a 50% probability for a random person in this country), and only in the last couple of months down-graded to a photographic one. Naturally, I don't carry it with me, except when I'm going to hire a car. Otherwise, it's simply not necessary, and there is no way that I am going to let our local police get into the habit of thinking "you must carry THIS piece of ID with you at all times".

But then, it seems that Iowans obviously have got into the habit of valuing convenience (for the police) over the liberty of the individual.

Didn't some guy called Frank Benjamin say something about that once?

Comment: Re:wearable for the wife? (Score 1) 327

by RockDoctor (#49110979) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use

Make a little app the detects erratic arm movements

It seems that your mental map of "epileptic" requires a symptom of "movement", possibly even of "erratic movement", or even "flailing about thrashing the landscape and foaming at the mouth".

The OP didn't describe the symptoms of his wife's epilepsy, or even if the symptoms are the same from fit to fit. Many people with epilepsy do not have any noticeable "erratic" movements, twitching, tremor (that's possibly Parkinson's you're thinking about - a different neurological condition) or other physical symptoms. If they happen to be sitting down at the time of taking a fit, then it's quite hard to tell the difference between them having fallen asleep (or drifted off into some inner world of attention) and them having a fit. Even taking 5 minutes to slump to the desk in mid-meeting is hard to distinguish between someone bored to unconsciousness by the Boss and having a fit because their medication is too strong for their particular chemistry that day.

Epilepsy is a multi-symptom disease. Your measurement criterion would only work for one of the less-common cases.

Comment: Re:More liberal than libertarian (Score 1) 580

by RockDoctor (#49110673) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Just enough for basic safety, a level playing field, equal opportunity and most importantly accountability to locals.

Would you care to define "local". If you can reply within less than 8 years, then I suspect that there's at least one interstellar gap too few for me to consider you to be anything other than "local".

Hey! I just excreted a water molecule that passed through you mother's kidneys! While she was still in her mother. How's that for "intimate relationships"?

Comment: Re:Somebody has to say it... (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#49005693) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System
Why people bother with Star Wars references remains beyond me. Like - it was a movie in the 1970s or so, with an unending stream of sequels and prequels and reboots and regurgitations. Do people still watch these things? If I wanted an unending sequences of prequels and reboots, I'd watch a Bond movie.

Comment: Re:The strangest moon in the solar system is ours. (Score 1) 141

by RockDoctor (#49005629) Attached to: The Strangest Moon In the Solar System

There is a possibility a large moon is necessary for intelligent life,

It's a possibility. It attracts a fair amount of discussion. With a sample size of 1, we have no way of assessing whether or not it's a true statement. It is just as likely that the development of life, and intelligence, are completely unrelated to the presence of a medium-size moon.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant