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Comment: I doubt the albatross. (Score 1) 54

by Sique (#47405595) Attached to: Ancient Bird With Largest Wingspan Yet Discovered
As far as I know the largest ever measured wingspan of an albatross was 3.2 meters, 3.5 meters so far are unconfirmed. But the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) has a confirmed wingspan of up to 3.45 metres, making it the recent bird with the largest wingspan. (The heaviest flying bird seems to be the Great bustard (Otis tarda), with up to 21 kilograms.)

Comment: Re:the length of a 10-passenger limousine (Score 2) 54

by Sique (#47405481) Attached to: Ancient Bird With Largest Wingspan Yet Discovered
Right. Crocodiles, Birds, Pterosaurs and Dinosaurs all belong to the Archosauria, of which the crocodiles together with some extinct groups form the Crurotarsi, while the three others are grouped together into the Ornithodira. This group is then split into the Pterosaurs and Dinosaurs, the later include today's Aves (birds).

Comment: Re:How are they going to get proof? (Score 4, Informative) 65

by Sique (#47367827) Attached to: Seven ISPs Take Legal Action Against GCHQ
No, Belgacom was only the attack vector to get the malware up and running. From there, other providers were attacked under the disguise of Belgacom. For instance, the german exchange points DE-CIX and ECIX were attacked, thus all providers with facilities there are victims to the attack.

Comment: Re:Americans (Score 3, Interesting) 198

This is just an anecdote, but anyway. When we had our first child, I was in serveral lectures about child upbringing and first aid and similar. One was in Frankfurt(Main), Germany, by a physician who strongly opposed vaccination and had lots of graphs and pictures to support his stance. He didn't mention the vaccination-autism-connection, because that seems to never have caused the big craze in Germany as in the U.S. and U.K.. But the people there didn't seem to be of the religious type (Religion isn't that big in Germany anyway, especially not in large urban regions), but more of the wealthy non-conformist affiliation.

Comment: Re:Climate Science (Score 1) 305

by Sique (#47358345) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?
Climatology is the same science that gives you your daily weather report. And you can check for yourself, how often the weather prediction is close to reality. We also know the black-body radiation of the Earth and derive the thermal equilibrum, which gives 254 K as the equilibrum temperature, and we can compare it with the temperatures we actually measure, and thus we find out that there is a greenhouse effect on Earth of about 32 K right now. And we can also look which components of the Earth atmosphere contribute to the green house effect, and how the change of the relative occurence of the different components change the greenhouse effect.

And no, those are no new findings, they go back to Gustav Kirchhoff (1860) and Svante Arrhenius (1905). The qualitative nature of the greenhouse effect is well understood, and we know that methane, water vapor and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, because we can exactly measure how much electromagnetic energy they trap and turn into heat at different atmospheric levels. What we didn't have 150 and 100 years ago was a way to quantitatively predict the outcome of certain levels of the greenhouse gases in a highly complex system with many feedback loops. We already know since 100 years, that increased carbon dioxide levels will increase the greenhouse effect. We know that the level of carbondioxide is rising in the atmosphere, from 270 ppm in the 1950ies to 400 ppm today. What we don't know exactly yet is how the additional thermal energy gets distributed and how much of it goes into which result (like raising sea levels, more and stronger storms, increased atmospheric temperatures etc.pp.). And that's where the computer models come in.

We also know that carbon dioxide is a comparatively weak greenhouse gas. The increase from 270 ppm to 400 ppm, which means about 50% more carbon dioxide than 60 years ago, is predicted to lead to about 3 K of additional greenhouse effect, which is only 10% of the current effect. So it's not the carbon dioxide as such, it's the sheer amount of it we are adding to the atmosphere each year.

Comment: Re:California also legalized using polished turds (Score 2) 160

by Sique (#47348731) Attached to: California Legalizes Bitcoin
The main buyers of gold are India and China, they gobble up about 30% of the yearly world production. There it mainly goes into jewelry. Gold has some usage in technology and chemistry, but this is only 15% of the world production. About 5% goes into minting and gold bullions.

Were it not for the 60% usage in China and India to fulfill their local traditional needs for family treasures, gold would plummet to a third of its current price. The price of gold is very volatile, much more than any currency. You can compare the prices for platinum with the prices for gold for the last 20 years. Both metals are quite similar: Main use is jewelry, with some usage in the electronics or as catalyst, the frequency of occurrence is about the same (0.004 ppm vs. 0.005 ppm in the Earth crust), and still the prices of both metals are not parallel, but swing hugely into both direction (up to three times the price for one vs. the other).

Taken all things together, gold makes for a horrible currency.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly