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Comment: Re:Or we could simply revert to original best prac (Score 1) 602

by Stephan Schulz (#47772465) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

  • To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  • ...
  • To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

Isn't that socialism? Or communism? Anyways, that's a wimpy European idea. Proper American heros are more Wyatt Earp, Dirty Harry and Jack Bauer. Civil rights are as quaint as the Geneva Convention. If you're a law-abiding citizen, why would you walk outside your gated community? Or inside after dark? Can't you afford a car? Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius!

Comment: Putting the shoe on the other foot.... (Score 1) 602

by Stephan Schulz (#47772331) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras
I can see the superficial attraction of this, but I think it overreaches. Nobody will work well if under permanent surveillance. On the other hand, why not turn it around? Have the senators wear body cameras during all fund-raisers, committee meetings, and discussions with staff, potential donors, and others.

Comment: Galileoscope (Score 2) 187

by Stephan Schulz (#47740769) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?
For a very low-price but useful entry-level telescope, try the Galileoscope. It is an achromatic refractor that has been designed as part of the International Year of Astronomy, and can be had for approximately US$ 50 (or order a box of 6 for US$30 apiece). It comes with an eyepiece that approximates Galileo Galilei's experience, but also with (IIRC) 2 modern eyepieces that are decent enough for the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn's ring. Also, it uses a standard eyepiece adapter, so it can be further upgraded if required. Some assembly required - this is intended as a teaching opportunity ;-). It's cheap enough that it can just be passed on to another kid or a local school if a better instrument is obtained.

Comment: Re:The real problem is... (Score 1) 552

by Stephan Schulz (#47465421) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

What "geologic indications" are these, exactly? The last time I checked, the global warming proponents were just checking ice cores for CO2 content in the atmosphere. The melting point of most rocks is well above the hottest temperatures encountered in the atmosphere...

You haven't checked very carefully, then. There are several geological proxies for past temperatures. One example is the Oxygen isotope ratio in calcium carbonate.

Comment: Re:Heartland Institute (Score 1) 552

by Stephan Schulz (#47457967) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

The Heartland Institute's NIPCC reports use the same research papers cited by the IPCC and shows how the IPCC conveniently skews data and ignores all the data in between.

There is a difference in semantics between "shows" and "claims" that you seem to not be aware of. The so-called NIPCC is a front for Heartland, and consists of a changing but minuscule group of well-known deniers. Their report is a transparent piece of propaganda for everyone who has at least a basic scientific understanding.

Comment: Re: 1800s (Score 4, Informative) 552

by Stephan Schulz (#47457731) Attached to: The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

I thought the MWP was a full three degrees warmer then the 1990's. Which were warmer then now.

What you think, is, of course, your own problem (although the "a full three degrees warmer" must come from some very creative interpretation of the record). But how do you get the ideas that the 1990's were warmer than it is now? The 1990s were about 0.2 degree C colder than 2013, and this year will most likely be warmer still. There was one exceptional year (1998) that was marginally warmer than 2013. Of course, these short-term trends are heavily influenced by noise, so the significance of these results is low. But that's no reason to make wrong claims.

Comment: Re:Some non-Knuth suggestions (Score 1) 247

by Stephan Schulz (#46837193) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?
Sipser's book is not bad, but I find it much shallower than any of the editions of Hopcroft[,Motwani], Ullman. Many of his proofs seemed to be more hand-waving. On the other hand, he is somewhat good at building intuition, which is valuable for students not yet used to the domain.

Comment: Some non-Knuth suggestions (Score 4, Interesting) 247

by Stephan Schulz (#46836967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

Comment: Re:Buy a Prius as your next car... (Score 2) 869

Bird deaths are no myth:

CFACT is not a remotely reliable source, nor to they cite any such source. Google Scholar is usually good at finding real research papers on the topic. This is the top hit for 2013, and while it finds some bird mortality due to wind turbines, it estimates the effect to be much lower than that of other anthropogenic risks for birds, even assuming a 10-fold increase in wind turbines.

There is no silver bullet, nor will we ever manage to return the planet to Garden of Eden conditions. But "there is no single perfect solution, therefore let's not do anything" is not a viable approach to life. Perfect solutions to any problem are exceedingly rare, but that does not stop us from improving situations.

Comment: Re:piotr (Score 3, Insightful) 330

by Stephan Schulz (#46321753) Attached to: Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon

On ISS, they get about 0.1 mw from an acre, that is 24.7 mw from km2.

Pedantic remark: There is a slight difference between a mW (milliwatt) and a MW (megawatt), a factor of about a short billion, or 9 (decimal) orders of magnitude.

Even more pedantic: W is upper case (as it's named after James Watt). I'm not aware of any unit using a lower case "w" as the abbreviation. But in general, capitalisation is significant for units.

Comment: Re:Small problem (Score 3, Informative) 378

by Stephan Schulz (#46280847) Attached to: Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

Small problem with that is this summer had 50% less ice melt in the arctic

Says who? 50% less than what? 2012 was a record minimum year. 2013 has bounced back from that record low (in ice extend, not ice volume), but is still one of the years with the least sea ice extend science measurements began. And all the other similarly low extend years have been after 2005.

Comment: Re:Ha ha ha ha ha (Score 2) 410

by Stephan Schulz (#46265167) Attached to: Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

The real issue is that China has FORCED all of the manufacturing there. And they continue to build new coal plants weekly. It is for this reason why I continue to say that we need to tax ALL GOODS CONSUMED based on where they and their parts come from. If we do that, then it forces all nations to look long-term, rather than to do what China is doing.

China has forced manufacturing? E.g. by being cheaper and then letting the invisible hand do its thing? I'm not aware of China threatening war, or Chinese gangs going around smashing British-made teapots.

Yes, Chinese industrialisation causes massive ecological problems. But then, so did western industrialisation. You are proposing a tax based on where parts come from. Why that? And using what measures? For me, the reasonable approach is a Carbon tax (or import duty), not based on place of origin, but rather on amount of CO2 released in the production. Of course, that would also apply to fuels (or parts) locally consumed.

Comment: Re:Ha ha ha ha ha (Score 2) 410

by Stephan Schulz (#46263297) Attached to: Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

The developed world emits less than 40%, with just China emitting more than EUROPE AND AMERICA COMBINED.

For small values of "Europe and America" (i.e. the EU and the US, excluding e.g. Russia, Canada, Mexico and Brasil), barely, and with a much larger population.

The reason why China is increasing emissions and the developed world has slightly decreasing emissions is that they make all our stuff now. We're still driving those emissions by unlimited consumerism, it's just that we outsourced the dirty bits of actually making stuff. That's not good, of course. And it's still our problem - in fact, it would still be our problem if the Chinese were producing that CO2 for their own benefit only. It would just be harder to do anything about it.

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.