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Comment Re:They will be a muslem country in a few years. (Score 1) 178

Who knows. But a few or even a few hundred idiots are not a substantial threat to Europe. CNN just published this graph, showing that the risk for Americans to be killed by firearm in the US is more than two orders of magnitude greater than the risk of an American being killed by terrorism (home or abroad). And if you exclude 9/11, it's more than three orders of magnitude. If the US can survive the NRA, then Europe can survive a couple of other fanatics.

Comment Re:Newtonian physics (Score 1) 369

I hope Sir Isaac knows the difference between energy and momentum, given that he more or less invented the later concept. Momentum is conserved. Thus, the light bullet has to go a lot faster that the heavy gun. Energy is 1/2mv**2, so the lighter bullet carries a much larger amount of the energy than the heavier gun. The new widget necessarily has to convert some of that energy into heat when the bullet merges with the ball, but the combined gizmo will still carry a lot more energy than the gun (but only 1/5th of the original energy of the bullet - it's speed is 1/5th, thus the combined mass has to be 5 times the bullet weight due to conservation of momentum)).

Comment Re:Government keeps an eye on political organisati (Score 2) 112

Except that during the period of leftist revolutions all over the world AI doggedly pursued and questioned the actions pro-Western government armies while having a written policy of not criticizing the guerrilla actions. This asymmetric prosecution of human right crimes was only changed after the end of the cold war.

[citation needed]

Comment Re:Does it matter? (Score 2, Informative) 294

If most of earth's animal species die off, as long as the food chain is preserved for the plants/animals that directly benefit us, then most people will not care.

The "food chain" is actually a complex food web, and the more we prune it back, the less resilient it becomes. If it actually turns into a chain, we are one broken link away from disaster. That is one of the reason why diversity is good. Another is that plants and animals provide an enormous amounts of services, many of which we don't even understand. We know about mangroves protecting coasts and filtering water, trees reducing soil erosion and landslides, earthworms improving soil quality, legumes (or rather their symbiotic Rhizobia) providing nitrogen fixation, and most plants photosynthesising to provide us with oxygen and most of the biosphere with complex carbohydrates. But we are far away from a full understanding - we couldn't even keep Biosphere 2 running for a few years.

In this situation, allowing the biosphere to degrade is like a man cutting firewood from the frame of his house - sure, maybe that one piece is not crucial.

Comment Re:Why DMCA take down notice? (Score 1) 134

The owner is objecting to the user redistributing the file which is apparently subject to a license. In this instance GitHub (in USA) needs to apply their own laws in making the determination of fair use or exemption but I think the DMCA notice will stand - unless I'm misinformed there is no exclusion to DMCA for academic purposes as there is in India's safe harbour provisions.

The web site does not get to make its own determination, unless it want to lose the protection of the DMCA. The only way to keep it up is for the user in question to file a counter notice. In that case it become an issue between the user and the (alleged) copyright owner.

Comment Re:Of course, it's likely copyrighted. (Score 1) 134

Publishing on the internet does NOT extinguish your copyright. The author (web page owner) legally requires permission from the (slimeball) corporation to publish their copyrighted material. The author might be able to sue for impersonation (they pretended the stuff they served was from the author), and they (corp) might be liable for defamation (they served up adds on his website without consent and made it look like he (author) was doing it), but they most certainly have the right to block him publishing their code.

Making something available on the public net is generally considered to provide the user with an implied license to download and read the document. It does not extinguish copyright (i.e. you cannot freely copy it), but you sure can download it. Otherwise each website access would be a copyright violation. This principle is well established. Moreover, of course, in this case, publishing is fair use for commentary. Distribution of the code to expose their practices is not in competition with the companies' use (which is, after all, freely distributing the code). It is inconvenient for the companies to have their unethical and almost certainly illegal practices in the limelight, but keeping dirty secrets is not something protected by copyright.

Comment Re:How can they afford it? (Score 1) 528

They can afford it because:

1) They get a third of the number of foreign students that the United States attracts

2) German universities tend to be a "no-frill" affair, with large auditoriums, limited to no athletics programs, and none of the social life seen in American campuses, Most students tend to study locally, so generally there are no dorms. They are more comparable with American state colleges. This isn't a bad thing, in my opinion, but those who go to college hoping for the experience of the "college life" will be disappointed if they go to Germany.

  • "Large auditoriums" is true for popular (or required) undergrad courses in popular programs, but is not generally true for graduate courses. Students at major universities are expected to be independent and get less counselling and support than in the US system. But that is much less true for Universities of Applied Science and Cooperative Universities, which typically have much smaller classes and more direct contact between lecturers and students.
  • "no athletics" is wrong, most have quite good, but much less flashy programs.
  • "none of the social life" - that's not true at all. It's different, but there is plenty of it. And of course there are dorms, as well as shared flats. Take a look at Kommune 1 for some history...

Comment Re:and the beer is really good (Score 4, Informative) 528

I love Germany, but I don't know of any German beers that are all that good. They certainly have the reputation but the reality has always been disappointing.

The unusual quality that might irritate people used to Bud Light is called "taste", and is usually considered a good thing in beers.

Comment Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 5, Insightful) 422

Whatever we do there are risks, and start yeah, but start what? What if climate change is actually a fairly low risk in the grand scheme of things and meanwhile lack of cheap (coal fired) electricity is holding back Africa, and the underdevelopment of infrastructure, is making one of those global epidemics more likely? Something which could decimate humanity in a few years? Why is climate change touted as THE MOST IMPORTANT issue? When that's just a wild speculation about risk?

Which do you start?

We might, say, start by collecting an international body of experts and ask them to look into the issue. Maybe they could periodically write reports, maybe on the physical science side of the issue, but also on the impacts of the physical changes. Just a weird idea, of course, but if we had started early enough, we might have had a first overview by 1990! And if we don't quite trust those experts, we could e.g. ask some national science academies to evaluate the issue.If they all violently agree, we might start to consider actions.

As for Africa: Sure, Africa has done so well in the age of "burn it like there is no tomorrow", so continuing in the same direction is obviously the right thing to do. Or maybe this is the most cynical propaganda meme I've yet encountered.

Comment Re:Great. Let's sit here and wait for the next wav (Score 5, Insightful) 422

[...] And decades later they realised their model was totally wrong. THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. Of course, people only act when they think they know the answer. Of course, decades of expertise can go into that answer. And it can still easily be wrong. To think otherwise is just overconfidence in a world of complex systems. More fool you.

You might want to look at Asimov's The Relativity of Wrong. Science can never give us philosophical certainty, and many scientific theories are incomplete (i.e. "wrong" in the strict sense). But that does not mean that all are equally wrong, or wrong enough to be useless. Newton was superseded by Einstein, but is still good enough for nearly all practical purposes.

Comment Re:"The Polar Bears will be fine" (Score 1) 372

All the warmers really care about is feeling good about themselves, which is it doesn't matter to them that their agenda is increased poverty. The 22000 children that already die every single day due to poverty doesn't matter. Thats 80 million per decade. 800 million children dead in the next century due to poverty if something isnt done.

And of course all those poor nations and their people have done so very well during the last century of unrestricted carbon extraction and burning. "We must keep burning fossil fuels for the poor children" - I've heard that argument before, and it's either dishonest or stupid at a level that I find hard to fathom. Developing nations don't need more oil, they need a fairer economic system.

Comment Re:So when will this actually happen? (Score 3, Informative) 372

So when will all of this destruction and devastation actually happen?

The next prediction was that the ozone layer would be almost completely depleted by 2002. It didn't happen.

Then we were told global warming would spiral out of control by 2011. It didn't happen.

Apart from the fact that you "distinct memory" seem to be highly selective and not quite reliable, this seems to be a very weird example. Yes, we were destroying the Ozone layer with (primarily) CFCs. Scientists were warning that things would get worse if nothing was done about it. But for once, the world did something. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol banned most releases of CFCs worldwide. And about now we can see the Ozone hole slowly recovering. This is not a failed prediction, it's an example of regulation working and predictions coming true.

Comment Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 1) 486

...renewables are going to have their work cut out for themselves just supplying a majority percentage of the power for national electricty grids. I'm not sure where they think the extra renewable power to do this will come from.

Actually, depending on the process efficiency (the article claims 70%), this is a great complement to renewables. Whenever there is a surplus of renewable energy (and we do have this situation now regularly in Germany, not a country particularly blessed with sunshine), it can be turned into storable fuel. This makes larger capacities more economical, and in a pinch you could even use the fuel to power diesel generators when there is a lull in the renewable supply.

Comment Re:Unless (Score 3, Insightful) 301

Unless you're planning to exhume his remains and put them on trial (It's been done, see Oliver Cromwell) Goebbels has committed no crimes. Yes he is a monster, but he is no criminal.

That's nonsense. It's probably based on the legal principle "assumed innocent until proven guilty", but that fails in two ways. First, it's only a legal principle about how to treat suspects. It's not reality - guilt begins at the act, not at the conviction. And secondly, there is indeed plenty of proof of Goebbels crimes. There is no conviction (because he died before that), but that is also true for Bonnie and Clyde, Jack the Ripper, Richard Nixon, and even, as far as I know, Osama bin Laden.

Comment Re:in my opinion this guy is like Jenny McCarthy (Score 4, Informative) 320

story I'll just leave that there for you to look at. Artic will be completely ice free by 2013, by your scientists that shouldn't be questioned.

Here it is 2015 and I'm the idiot for pointing out they are wrong. This is why I think science is groupthink. They made a prediction, they were 100% wrong in outcome, and I get called names by pointing it out. This happened in the past. A guy said the earth rotates around the sun and had evidence, but everyone else called him a heretic and said he was wrong and the sun rotates around the earth.

You do understand that a) Maslowski was speaking about the possibility, not the certainty, and b), that he did not represent the mainstream, but deviated from it significantly? Indeed, this is the very opposite of "group think" - it's a range of different opinions.