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Enlightenment

Journal: There is no "consensus" on Anthropogenic Global Warming...

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
A review of the last few years of published climate change papers show that just 7% - seven percent! - of the 528 published papers explicitly support AGW. A nearly equal 6% explicitly DENOUCE AGW. And in fact, the vast majority of actual climate scientists are neutral - not sure if global warming is caused by man or not!

We need to take a LONG HARD LOOK at the whole pro-AGW cartel. And I use that word cartel appropriately - they are pushing to use laws, under the guise of "helping the environment", to mandate a massive transfer of wealth via carbon offsets, mandatory funding of new technologies and the like. Billions of dollars are being dedicated to AGW-mania with apparently little confidence by the scientists.

Apparently, Al Gore's "The Science is Settled!" is far from reality...

User Journal

Journal: Fun with GDP Figures... 2

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
Much has been made of the Wikipedia entries showing relative GDP per capita; many point to the high GDP of Ireland and Norway as indicative that the the US economic engine really isn't that good and that a socialist approach is inherently superior.  However, I believe that rating really isn't worth much.  Making a lot is one thing; GETTING a lot is another!

Rather than just look at the GDP, or GDP per capita, I think a better index is what I call the Prosperity Index - factoring in purchasing power with that GDP.  It's one thing to make a ton of cash; it's another to pay very little.  I've seen this effect first-hand, when a friend left his $80K/year engineering job here in Seattle for a $145K/year job in San Jose.  His actual cost of living more than doubled, and after two years he moved back.  Why?  He actually keeps more by living here, paying less!

There's a VERY convenient measure of purchasing power: the Economist magazine's Big Mac Index - the BMI (see http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8649005).  This index uses the price of a Big Mac to equalize the purchasing power of a dollar throughout the world.  It's been used for many years, and is actually a pretty good indicator of the cost of living throughout the world.

Taking that into account, we can divide the GDP per capita by the BMI and end up with the Prosperity Index - a measure of the buying power (essentially relative effective income) per person.

Without further ado, here's the table for selected countries (significant political/development countries where I could find individual ratings for both GDP and the BMI):

Country        GDP        BMI   Prosperity
-------     ----------   -----  -----------
Japan       $34,188.00   $2.31  14800.00000
USA         $44,190.00   $3.22  13723.60248
Australia   $36,553.00   $2.67  13690.26217
Canada      $38,951.00   $3.08  12646.42857
Norway      $72,306.00   $6.63  10905.88235
Denmark     $50,965.00   $4.84  10529.95868
Switzerland $51,771.00   $5.05  10251.68317
Britain     $39,213.00   $3.90  10054.61538
Sweden      $42,383.00   $4.59   9233.76906
EU          $29,476.00   $3.82   7716.23036
Iceland     $54,858.00   $7.44   7373.38709
South Korea $18,392.00   $3.08   5971.42857
Russia       $6,856.00   $1.85   3705.94594
Malaysia     $5,718.00   $1.57   3642.03821
Chile        $8,864.00   $3.07   2887.29641
China        $2,001.00   $1.41   1419.14893

Of interest is that Japan leads the way; the Yen is really quite strong, and the GDP is quite healthy.

The US comes in at number 2, probably not a shock to many.

What will be shocking is that the EU and European countries in general fall so far.  Well down the list, well past Canada and Australia.  For example, Norway - mighty in the GDP ratings - tumbles to nearly 21% below the US, and 14% below Canada.  So that high GDP really doesn't bring a lot of economic purchasing power; it simply takes more money to live in Norway.
User Journal

Journal: The myth of Anthropogenic Global Warming 1

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
or How I learned to stop worrying and understand it's the big Mr. Fusion in the sky.

The current "consensus" is that climate change - what used to be known as Global Warming, until it was found that the globe, in fact, was not warming - is a result of man. Our use of fossil fuels is the problem. Our use of electricity via hydro/wind/solar is the problem. Our mere existence is the problem. As Dave Forman, founder of Earth First! states: Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental. Or, a Pogo put it, we have met the enemy and he is us .

So I got to thinking. I took a stroll outside one day, and as I leaned back in the grass, a bright idea popped into my head. Maybe the Sun, that Mr. Fusion in the sky, is really the source of the problem?

So I went looking, and lo and behold found out this little nugget: the Sun's output has increased by 0.05% per decade since the late 1970s.

Now, that may not sound like a lot; in fact, a 0.05% change is downright tiny! But being the engineer that I am, and having some free time with my ancient-but-functional HP28S calculator, I started to figure out some numbers (follow along with the RPN calculations).

For starters, how much output does the Sun really give to the Earth? Well, apparently the Sun puts out about 1400W per square meter here on this ball we call home. Meaning an increase of 0.05% per decade amounts to (1400 0.05 100 / *) 0.7W per square meter additional over that decade. Not much, eh?

Well, let's see what that is when spread over the entire Earth. How big is that? Well, the surface are of the Earth is about 510 million square kilometers. But of course we DO have night, so that at any time half of that is radiated by the sun. Meaning we have (510 2 /) 255 million square kilometers of surface that's irradiated by the Sun. Oh, and there are 1 million square meters per square kilometer (a kilometer being 1000 meters, a square kilometer is 1000 meters long by 1000 meters wide - (1000 1000 *).

So, we have 1 million square meters per square kilometer. And we have 0.7W more output per decade per square meter. Meaning we have (0.7 1000 1000 * *) 700 kW more output per square kilometer per decade. Note that this is about the same as 700 US households. Or to use a more interesting reference, about 35 Goreholds.

Now, take that 0.7 MW of power increase per square kilometer, and multiply it by the 255 million square kilometers illuminated by the sun. We end up with (0.7 1000000 255 1000000 * * *) about 1.8 million Mega Watts of additional power; this is actually 1.8 Tera Watts of power, a rather rarely used prefix for a REALLY BIG NUMBER. For those in the Pacific Northwest, this is about 285 Grand Coulee Dams (with the dam doing 6300 MW peak output). That's a LOT of extra power.

And of course, that increase has happened for the last three decades, meaning that what we're receiving now is about 5.4 Tera Watts more power than we received in the late 1970s. Suddenly that little 0.05% change doesn't seem so innocuous, does it?

But how does that shape up compared to what the Evil Homo sapiens do? Surely we're a LOT worse! I mean, 5.4 TW is a lot of power, so how do we rate? Well, apparently not as good... Even with 6 billion of us doing our thing, we only consumed an average of 1.7 TW of power in 2001, meaning we're about 30% of what the Sun puts out. Oh, and that's TOTAL ELECTRICAL USAGE of the WORLD.

So apparently the Sun's small increase just over the last three decades has more than TRIPLED the total power delivered to the Earth than the evil Mankind uses. And note that there was considerable electrical usage prior to 1975 as well, so our actual increase since 1975 is a LOT less than what the Sun's done.

So leaning back on the grass as the warm rays of the Mr. Fusion in the sky fell on my pasty white skin (I am an engineer, after all), it became pretty clear to me. I guess we can argue about the CO2 belching cars or volcanoes or the number of termite farts, be my guest, but me? I think I'll just sit here and enjoy the extra output from the Sun right now and feel a little bit more at ease knowing that, barring some evil billionaire's attempts to block out the sun, it's that Mr. Fusion up there, and there's not much we can do about it.

User Journal

Journal: Thoughts on the Middle East conflict 2

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
The current "conventional wisdom" is that the whole Middle East issue is the fault of the US. We created it, we're the source of the Arab/Israeli conflict, we're the creator of Al Qaeda, we're the fountainhead of all ills in that troubled region. Any action on our part can do nothing but further foment hatred toward the US.

In essence, we're damned if we do, we're damned if we don't.

We're hated for not continuing support of the Afghanistan government after the threat of the USSR went away, letting a civil war erupt.

We're hated because we're still in Iraq at the behest of their government to try to avoid a civil war.

We're hated for letting Saddam invade Kuwait and threaten Saudi Arabia.

We're hated for staying in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after the first Gulf War to protect from Saddam repeating his invasion of Kuwait.

We're hated for having an official policy of regime change in Iraq.

We're hated for not helping the locals change the regime in Iraq.

We're hated for finally executing regime change in Iraq.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Seems to me that no matter what we do we're hated. That's the central thread we're dealing with - irrational hatred of anything "Western" or "non-Arabic Muslim". And when we abide by the customs of their country - women covered up, no alcohol, stop work 5 times a day, no images of people, even leaving Bibles at home - we're still hated as infidels and invaders.

As far as the whole Israel/Palestine conflict goes, why isn't the hatred directed at the UN? They set up Israel, and didn't follow through on setting up an Arab state of Palestine. Israel would NOT EVEN EXIST if it wasn't for the UN's resolutions. So why not direct their hatred at the UN, rather than Israel, or the US?

For example, when Ehud Barak offered as a STARTING POINT a full 95% of what the Palestinian appologists demanded, the PLO, Hamas, and most Arab states STILL REFUSED to even ACKNOWLEDGE the existence of Israel. One side is talking about leaving most of the disputed territories immediately, and complete withdrawals over a short time, going back to the pre-1967 borders, and the other side doesn't even acknowledge the existence of the first.

I think the wishful thinking that "if the US would just leave the Middle East all would be good!" is seriously flawed. We're hated for interfering by protecting mulsims in Bosnia and Somalia, and hated for not protecting muslims in Iraq or Kuwait.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Essentially, we're hated for not what we've done, but for what we are - we're not muslim. We have different values and a different culture. We have tolerance. We allow individual freedoms. We believe ALL men AND women - of every race and creed - are created equal. We represent what they despise. It's not our actions, it's our very NATURE that is the source of their hatred. The very freedoms that we take for granted - and are used every day by those protesting the US' current involvement in the Middle East - are the source of the hatred against the US.

Here we have parades celebrating the gay lifestyle. They stone not just gays, but if you're even raped by a gay man you're sentenced to that grisly death.

We allow people to live together ourside of marriage. They will stone a woman for simply talking to a man.

We have women heading up some of our largest corporations, leading countries. They forbid women from even opening a book.

We encourage families to share their values and go to church together - they force families apart, even in worship.

We allow you to choose your own path to spiritual enlightenment, even if that means no path. They will behead you if you do not submit to every written word of Mohammed.

We will let you make a movie criticizing religions, governments, companies, cultural values, even the legal system. They will kill you for simply drawing an image of Mohammed.

We protect and honor religious and cultural shrines, artwork, and buildings because of the history and knowledge they provide. They blow up anything from a different culture or religion.

We allow political dissent, free speech, and provide the right to a trial by a jury of your peers. They summarily execute any who speak against the leadership, and your right to trial is a right to have a cleric decide whether you're shot, hung, or stoned.

In light of this we might as well just do what the heck we want strictly for our own interests, because whatever we do it's obviously not going to change the radical Arab-muslim's view of the US.

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't.

User Journal

Journal: All Smoke, NO Fire

Journal by geomon

I've read a few exchanges from the /. crowd, read a few statements by Linus and the gang, have read McVoy's interpretation of the BK saga, and have come to one conclusion:

No one but the three people involved in this fiasco *really* knows what happened to get this situation to the stage where people begin a verbal free-fire in public.

McVoy is a business man; true to his heart, he needs to keep the BK user strung out on his code. Hell, I would feel the same sense of outrage that he feels if someone threatened to kill my cash cow. Don't pretend that every one you wouldn't feel the same way if it was *your* revenue stream. To me, anyone who claims an absolute vow of poverty is looking for a monastery to live in. Everyone I know would fight to protect a source of financial income.

Selfish? You bet. But nature has created more selfish beings than egalitarian ones. Nature favors pragmatism.

But McVoy could have let this one ride a bit more. It is just a matter of time before someone cracks his model. Then he will have to play the same game as Microsoft and Adobe only on a different level. Too bad for him, though, that his inexpensive advertising scheme didn't last. That is another little detail that goes relatively "un-remarked" upon in the various forums I've read. Larry had one of the hottest programmers in FOSS using his SCM. In fact, this Man Of The Year lavished all kinds of praise on his progeny! You would have to pay more than the "free" license fee for that kind of advertising. Shit, probably A LOT more. If Linus had been paid for his endorsements, that could have added up to quite a sum of money. Larry has wisely kept those funds securely in his pocket.

Again, I'd do that too. The monks of this world can keep their vows.

Linus? Well, it was kind of hard to turn down a free license for one of the best SCMs on the market. If I had been in his position, I would have grabbed the product and ran. In fact, I would like to personally thank Larry for helping juice the Linux kernel development. I know SCO has been rummaging around in the Linux closet for evidence that it was their intellectual property that made the kernel advance so quickly. I believe that Larry's BK contribution probably made the significant increase in kernel production possible. Judging from Linus' angst and outrage, I think he believes that too.

But Linus is being a bit thin skinned. Does he believe he is the ONLY programmer that has been burned by relying on a proprietary product for their work? Didn't he listen to all the people who had been telling him about *their* bad experiences with proprietary lock-in? From what I've read in the past, they had plenty of legitimate worries that this was going to happen. I'm sure that Linus knew it would happen someday too. He's just pissed that it happened NOW as opposed to LATER.

Boo hoo, get over it, this too will pass, etc. But why attack Tridgell in public? Hmmm.... That does raise some interesting questions. And why get all bitchy about it?

There is something we are not getting in this little soap opera. Tridgell is silent, probably for good reason. But why would Linus take him to task knowing that he would not be able to respond publicly?

And Perens? This is a slugfest that only Gates, Darl, and RMS would love - all for differing reasons. Why does Perens feel compelled to call out Linus over his treatment of Tridgell?

I thought the points made by some posters about just how Tridgell was sniffing packets to see the metadata protocols is extremely insightful. To have BK protocols running on his network would require that he be operating a client and server somewhere where he could see it, no? What network was he sniffing if he didn't have a license?

What amazes me is that the attempt to get BK's protocols didn't happen *sooner*. With all of the pissing and moaning that erupted when Linus started using BK, I would have thought there would have been someone doing what Tridgell was accomplishing years ago. Is it possible that Tridgell was sniffing Linus's traffic? Or did Tridgell go to another kernel developer's house and sniff the line as they worked? Does it matter whether Tridgell did the sniffing? What if there are a whole faction of kernel developers (there 200 daily active programmers working on the Linux kernel according to Perens) that had been submitting ether dumps for Tridgell to analyze?

What if it was someone other than Tridgell who had been doing the work? Would that have gotten Linus as mad as he is now? What if someone, totally unrelated to the kernel development group, and/or not directly linked to ODSL, had done the work? What would have been Linus' objection then? Would he have laid such harsh condemnation on someone else for breaking BK's protocols? How would he justify his rage then?

I believe there is a lot of personal tension in this situation than is evident from the written (and unwritten) traffic on this matter. McVoy accuses Tridgell and OSDL for not stopping the hacking effort. He could be right, but so what? What if Joe Schmo had broken the protocol? The open source world would first say "Who?" then would throw up their arms in victory, and quickly moved along. But this is a personal matter between people who have been hanging out together for a LOOOONG time (how old is McVoy or Perens?).

The vase is irreparably broken. It is time to move on.

User Journal

Journal: The Real Shame

Journal by geomon

Here we are, a semi-professional group of journalists (despite what the courts have to say), posting news about technology in just about every conceivable fashion. Every topic we discuss on this forum forms the basis for the entire fabric of modern communications. That communication network drives not only general commerce, but also medicine, the legal system, politics, government, science, and education.

So with that premise (I belive) established, why is it that we let rags like ZDnet completely blow a story out of proportion, while simultaneously abusing the system they report on by misleading the general population that we are only interested in ripping off the entertainment industry? I don't get it.

What would be an amazing show of solidarity would be for everyone in the IT industry to just not show up for work on ONE day in ONE year. Completely shit on the entire system by just refusing to play by their stupid games.

Want to edit your movie MPAA? Not today! We are going to hold up your entire production for a day. What would that cost them on every single film they are working on? Cha-ching!

And the new cancerous Spears-spew you were hoping to mix this morning? Sorry, but the support staff called in with a collective chicken-pox outbreak. Awwwww......

Baring that bit of civil disobediance, we could always produce our own radio and television networks. Considering the decline that the major US networks are experiencing, an online radio show dedicated to ACCURATE technology reporting and substative commentary on the politics of technology policy could be a winner. I know that TechTV was supposed to fulfill that role and now its focus is largely games, but that doesn't mean the demand for such programming is in demand. The first kids shows on television were HORRIBLE, but eventually their production value increased and today we have slick, hip programming for kids.

How many slashdotters are there? We all come here to read and yell at each other. There certainly must be a market for the audio/visual version of this, this..... ... stuff.

User Journal

Journal: Financial Reckoning For SCO

Journal by geomon

This afternoon (August 31, 2004, 5:00 PM EST), SCO will host a conference call where they will present '04 third quarter financial data. The news isn't expected to be comforting to SCO investors as they are coming up a bit short ; earnings and dividends will take a substantial hit. The only bright spot for the company is the settlement with Bay Star, a deal that will leave most of the cash they received from the investment house in the hands of SCO management, if only for a short time. With the poor financial showing expected to be reported tomorrow, where does that leave the company in its pursuit of IBM and Linux?

User Journal

Journal: Counting Salmon with RFID

Journal by geomon

The US Army Corps of Engineers and environmental groups have been engaged in a pitched battle over how to protect endangered US Pacific Coast salmon. The Corps and the US National Marine Fisheries Service authority to operate the dams and fisheries is constantly challenged in court, generally ruling against these governmental agencies due to lack of information regarding fish counts. An article in last weeks Oregonian provides details about a program that relies on embedded RFID tags and hydrophones positioned at the mouth of the Columbia River to more precisely estimate the population of migrating salmon.

User Journal

Journal: When Does It Make Sense To Quit?

Journal by geomon

"When I first started looking into emulators, I had a Mac-oriented software package that I wanted to run in a Linux-x86 environment. Fortunately, there was Executor, a 680x0 emulator that ran the software I needed well enough to encourage me to purchase a copy. That was seven years ago and the current version of the software is not any different than the one I purchased in 1997. I've visited the company webpage several times over the years, but until just recently there hasn't been much information. Now the site has a rather dismal story of a company that appears to be slowly disintegrating. The small business has one employee left, the founder of the company, and he admits that progress on any future work will be slow (how much slower than 7+ years between major releases can you get?). The question I have for software developers is: "When do you just call it 'quits' and move on?" I know this particular case isn't like an open-source project where someone can just fork off your tree and keep the updates rolling along. How do you say 'good-bye' in a closed source world and what happens to your life's work?"

User Journal

Journal: Significant Step In Personal Cooling Devices

Journal by geomon

Last week's Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference 2004 in Portland, Oregon showcased several promising advances in the field of nanotechnology. An article in Science Daily reports that 'A successful new "desorption" technology using branching microchannels, which takes its inspiration from the human circulatory system, was described this week at a professional conference and cited as a significant step towards the creation of man-portable cooling systems that may find important uses in the military, fire fighting and elsewhere.' Fire crews on this summer's Western US wildfires could use a few new technologies. They are currently battling fires in 90-100F weather.

User Journal

Journal: Iraq for Christ's Sake

Journal by geomon

Bush I stopped Saddam from rolling across the Arabian Penninsula and taking control of the world's largest oil supply. Clinton did nothing about Saddam and allowed millions to die under UN sanctions. Bush II did the correct thing but his execution was shitty.

I believe that looking at our troop deployments in relation to the scale of threat is the best guage for assessing our war on terrorism. I look at the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan, where we have a confirmed group supporting terrorism, compared to Iraq, where the link to terrorism is more tenuous, and conclude that we are not fighting terrorism.

So the invasion of Iraq was not about stopping terrorism. Does that mean Saddam is a great guy who should have stayed in power? Ummm... Nope. He is a first-class prick. And for the liberals in the crowd, Saddam's negatives include:

1) invading two of his neighbors in a failed attempt to become the new Saladin;
2) slaughtering several thousand of his own people using conventional weapons,
3) slaughtering Kurds using WMD,
4) slaughering thousands of Iranians in his pointless war,
5) slaughtering thousands of his own people using torture and execution,
6) acquiring large cannons to shoot projectiles several hundred miles from his borders (see Canadian astrophysicist Gerald Bull), and
7) starving his own people (with Clinton participating) via the Money4Oil deal he arranged with the UN (yep, it was a bullshit arrangement).

His positives are too few to redeem himself:

1) rejected the agreed-upon OPEC embargo and sold oil to the US in the 1970's,
2) provided intelligence on the Iranian Revolution to USCIA, and
3) brought his nation from near rock-stupid illiteracy to >50% literacy in a generation (and won a UN humanitarian award - I guess they didn't bother to check into *how* he motivated his people to learn).

These lists leave out many things including his suspected nuclear production reactor (Isreal wasn't going to wait for IAEA verification).

As I said: Saddam was a prick.

But does that alone justify invading Iraq? Probably not. I think that starving his people under UN sanctions would qualify as a crime against humanity and would be a good reason to kill the jerk. But I've heard reasoned arguments from conservatives who don't necessarily like the US playing world cop.

I think that taking us into Iraq was a good thing done at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. The blame can be spread all around for the existance of Saddam, but he really HAD to go or there wouldn't have been much of a population left in Iraq; certainly a few hundred thousand - possibly a million - but fewer than the 25 million living there now.

Saddam was also an impediment to stabilization of the Middle East. By shifting the focus away from the Arab countries, the international community can rightly focus on the next threat to peace: Israeli settlers. These people could always hold out and not give the Palestinians any hope of freedom by pointing to the threats from its neighbors. Now there is one less threat and one less excuse to a final settlement. Too bad we haven't put Syria in the crosshairs. Their behavior in Lebanon may indicate that they already get the message.

Bush II screwed the pooch on how he justified the invasion and on the planning for post-conflict. He feared that telling the truth to the American people would have meant that they would not have supported his move against Iraq. But the WMD intelligence was weak and he knew it, so he had to pump it up to get Americans behind him in fear. Now that there are NO WMD to support the move, they fall back to "Building Democracy" as their reason for invading. Right, like conservatives have always supported nation building.

You can't change the motivation for driving a country to war after your first justification goes to shit.

Principled people call that lying.

User Journal

Journal: Nanotech...

Journal by ferralis
I'm thinking that I really, really want to figure out how to get into nanotech. It's a frontier, much like IT in the 60's, just beginning to get established, and there is so much to do!

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get into the field... right now it seems the theory is being handled by PHD's and as a father of three and husband of one, I don't exactly have time to pile it.

Ah, well... keeping my eyes open. Maybe robotics for the meanwhile- that's heating up, too. :)

User Journal

Journal: Pariah

Journal by ferralis
*sigh* I appear to have become a bit of a pariah... can't seem to get modded up ta save my life. I have, however, gotten mod status quite often of late, so I can exhorcise my bile by modding others! Bwahahahaaaaaaaa!

Ok, so maybe not. Ah, well... guess I was born to be mild.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

Working...