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Comment: Re:Origin of life? (Score 1) 146

by RockDoctor (#47436041) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus
All of those questions are definitely on the table.

After the Human Genome was published, I wondered why the fuck Craig Venter went off on his boat to do shotgun PCR on random buckets of seawater. Though this work isn't directly related to that, it's marking Venter's decision to forgo the complexities of culturing organisms as being a truly inspired insight. (And I'm not even a biologist! I deal with dead things and I can see the importance of this choice.)

Comment: Re:What is life? What is a virus? (Score 1) 146

by RockDoctor (#47435935) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

If life started with a giant virus, and viruses reproduce by infecting living creatures... wence life?

"Whence." Your spelling checker needs switching on.

That is one of the discussions elaborated in TFA : did viruses initially need life forms to replicate on? Or did they force the development of modern life forms. Or ... was there an earlier form of organism, distinctly different from modern cells (post-3.5Ga ago) and modern viruses (also post-3.5Ga ago) which held an intermediate position between modern cells and modern viruses?

One interpretation (NOT undisputed) is that giant mimiviruses could fill that position, and have genes old enough for the hypothesised split.

There doesn't appear to be a consensus. Which is normal for cutting-edge research.

Comment: Attraction? (Score 1) 265

the sort of spectacular, over-the-top attraction Dubai is known for.

"Spectacular", yes. "Over-the-top", certainly.

"Attraction?"

It's in fucking Dubai. That in itself makes it as attractive as a dose of syphilis.

(OK,I'll admit to having had to work in that area - there are a few nice people in the working classes, but most of the locals and ex-pats are a bunch of bastards.)

+ - UK government to rush in emergency surveillance laws-> 2

Submitted by beaker_72
beaker_72 (1845996) writes "The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Original article. (Score 1) 2

by RockDoctor (#47423359) Attached to: UK government to rush in emergency surveillance laws
The original message from Tom Watson is at https://medium.com/@tom_watson...

Sounds indeed like they're up to something.

Tom Watson is an enemy of powerful people. "According to the Sun newspaper, Watson is a fundamentalist zealot who denounces any deviation from socialism. MP and author of a book on corruption by NewsCorp."

If the Sun hate you, as well as the rest of Murdoch's Empire of Evil, then you must be doing something right.

Did I get FP?

Comment: Re:Mt. St. Helens ins't the monster volcano... (Score 1) 105

by RockDoctor (#47423227) Attached to: Mapping a Monster Volcano

The yellowstone caldera - that thing is the nation killer, possibly world-killer if it ever goes up.

It's not "if it ever goes up" ; it's "when it goes up AGAIN" ; there have been 4 or 5 major eruptions of Yellowstone in the last couple of millions of years.

"World-killer"? Evidently not. Nation-killer? Possibly. Very destructive, when it next goes off? Certainly.

Am I concerned? See 2 minutes into this video.

Comment: Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (Score 1) 105

by RockDoctor (#47423193) Attached to: Mapping a Monster Volcano
Do you think they're al going to be set off at once?

If they did that, how would they know if they're listening to a delayed echo from shot point #7, indicating a magma chamber at 17km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #13, indicating a magma chamber at 27km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #4, indicating a magma chamber at 7km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #2, indicating a magma chamber at 2km depth, ...

It gets repetitive, doesn't it? That's why deconvolving seismic data is, and always has been, a major consumer of computing resources.

Watch some video of a seismic array being shot. They (well, "we" - I do some seismic-while-drilling work, though I don't claim to be an expert) fire one gun at a time, then listen for an appropriate number of seconds (the "two-way time" to collect the echoes. Then they fire the next gun in the array (or wait for the gun to re-charge, if there's only one gun), and listen for the echoes ... it gets repetitive. With every shot (hundreds of thousands in a survey) recorded up to kilohertz for each of up to thousands of hydrophones, each one of which has it's GPS position recorded at all times in the recording phase (because where things are matters) ... you rapidly climb through the tens of terabytes of data.

Comment: Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (Score 1) 105

by RockDoctor (#47423115) Attached to: Mapping a Monster Volcano

proposals to strip mine areas

There are intermittent efforts to develop various mineral resources in that area. But the details in the press are limited. What I can see is compatible with anything between literally tearing a mountainside apart and turning it into dust to driving an adit into the hillside and following a vein. That's a large variety of different mining techniques.

The people of the area have procedures for assessing environmental damage likelihood, and for balancing the likely effects of employment in a mining operation versus the (possible / probable) loss of tourism income. I'll let them argue that question.

Meanwhile, at the weekend I'm thinking of going up a very nice mountain which I know, but where there is ongoing disagreement between the locals (who want to develop a gold mine and have jobs to keep the young men in the area) and the regional capital (who want to keep the hillside pretty for tourism). And as both a geologist (interested in the minerals) and a mountaineer (who loves the whole area), I'm going to keep my mouth shut and my ears open.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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