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Comment: Re:And when the video feed dies... (Score 2) 463

Believe it or not, most pilots are trained to perform instrument-only landings. I believe any commercial airliner (and most military) even has a system on-board specifically designed to facilitate this.

I've personally see even amateur pilots take off, fly around and successfully land a simulator that did not have a working visual system, relying on instruments alone. Not something you'd like them doing regularly with actual lives at stake, I'll grant you. However, it is trained for. In event of emergency, I know I'd hope my pilot has done exactly this successfully in a simulator many times before.

Comment: Re:Call me (Score 2) 129

by T.E.D. (#47401381) Attached to: Android Wear Is Here

call me when a charge lasts a week or so.

I can't speak for those two watches. However, I've found on my Pebble that if I use a fuzzy-time watchface (the display right now reads "almost one", and doesn't need to change except about every 4 minutes or so), I only lose about 10% charge a day. That means, yes I only need to charge it once a week. In fact, it could be a week and a half, but I'm not the kind of guy who likes to live dangerously.

Comment: Re:Neandertals and light skin (Score 1) 133

by T.E.D. (#47375795) Attached to: Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

Interbreeding...My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen

That used to be the accepted position because genetic lineage studies used to be done exclusively with Mitochondrial DNA which is passed down only through the female line. What that showed was no interbreeding. In other words no female Neaderthal had any progeny in the gene pool for modern humans. The assumption always was that the mating patterns of males and females was enough alike that this alone is decisive.

However, we now have the capability to check Nuclear DNA, which comes from both parents. This shows there is indeed a fair amount of Neanderthal material floating around our genome. Presumably this came only from matings of Cro-Magnon women and Neaderthal males.

Comment: Re:Reinhold Messner was right! (Score 1) 198

Legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner once wrote a book about his encounters with suspected Yetis in the Himalaya. He concluded that they were bears, a variant of Ursus Arctos, the same species as polar bears.

To bring this to a better level of detail for /. readers..

The species Ursus Arctos is actually more commonly known as the "brown bear". There is in fact a subspecies of brown bear that lives in the Himalaya (Ursus arctos isabellinus).

Polar Bears are generally considered a different species (Ursus maritimus). However, they are closely related to Brown Bears, and can in fact freely interbreed. The reason they are considered a different species is that their bodies and behavior is very specialized for hunting seals on polar ice sheets. Brown bears can't live very long in Polar Bear habitat, and visa versa. Still, genetic studies do show that some interbreeding is occurring. However, there's no polar ice anywhere near the Himalaya, and a polar bear flat out could not survive there.

If indeed there is some kind of white brown bear Yeti subspecies, most likely it is just another brown bear subspecies, adapted to high-altitude permafrost environments. Genes for white fur are clearly floating around the general brown bear genome, but would only be selected for where there is permafrost. In fact the nearby isabellinus has a very light-colored fur already. Genetically, it wouldn't take much work to turn that pure white.

Comment: Re:Some things I've noticed (Score 1) 305

by T.E.D. (#47368123) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

Depending on what policy a politician wants to push he can cite either traditional economics or Keynesian economics

I'm kinda curious what exactly you mean by "traditional economics".

Before Keynes, economics was dominated by the Austrian School, which didn't believe in testability and relied mostly on deductive reasoning based on fixed axioms. In other words, it wasn't really a science, but a branch of philosophy. This is probably the best candidate for a "traditional economics", but the problem here is that since it eschews tests, a clever person can argue any position they like with it by carefully crafting their axioms and reasoning.

Some people today really love that property, so they still use it. Particularly the really wealthy (the Koch's have actually endowed some Austrian-only economics schools). However, this is far out of the mainstream, and would probably not even exist today if not for that patronage.

Keynes turned economics into a science (a "dismal" one, but a science nonetheless). So if we discount the economic philosophers, Keynsian economics really *is* "traditional economics". Other schools are newer, and generally arose to address perceived limitations in Keynsian economics. The Keynsians meanwhile have been expanding their model to cover useful innovations in the other schools.

So basically there are two points here:

  1. Keynsian econ *is* traditional economics
  2. A lot of so called "economists" promoted on TV are actually Austrian economic philosophers. Watch out for them. If someone feels they can't use science to promote their view, that should tell you something right there.

Comment: Not Austrian Economists (Score 2) 305

by T.E.D. (#47360615) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

Austrian-school Economists don't have this issue at all. They avoid it entirely in fact by the simple expedient of expressing disbelief in the scientific testability of Economics in the first place. To them, the only thing that can be relied on is pure logic. Thus any annoying data that might seem to show something they don't like is clearly a figment of your imagination. To them essentially economics is not a science at all, but rather a philosophy.

As such, starting with the right axioms and some clever inductive reasoning, an Austrian can prove any economic fact his funders want him to. Not so coincidentally, the Koch brothers are big believers, and have funded entire departments with the proviso that they teach only this school.

So if you don't like scientific dishonesty, the solution is clear: Go Austrian and get rid of the science entirely!

Comment: Re:28th Amendment (Score 1) 1304

by T.E.D. (#47360057) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Well, time will do that eventually. The Republicans would have to hold the White House put forth replacements as bad as the 5 wingers we have now. That could well happen, but it is looking unlikely. The real SCOTUS battleground is the Senate, which has to consent to any SCOTUS candidates. Republicans have more than enough power there right now to stop any reasonable replacements, and will have a good chance at an actual majority next session.

Comment: Re:Bad media coverage (Score 1) 1304

by T.E.D. (#47359969) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

I love the persecution complex wingers try to robe themselves in when this happens. Like it would be perfectly fine for me to sucker-punch some unsuspecting person standing next to me, and then claim "persecution" when everyone else gets mad and refuses to have anything to do with me thereafter.

I'll put it in terms a Republican should be able to understand: If the owners of Company-X use the money they earn to support issue Y, and I find issue Y distasteful, I'm well within my rights to indirectly not support issue Y by not spending my money on Company-X. I'm also well within my rights to also warn all my friends who also find issue Y distasteful that Company-X will use their money to support it too, if they give any of their business with Company-X. If Company-X wants to do business with only the subset of the population that supports issue-Y, that's certainly their right, but they have no inherent right to the patronage of anyone.

Free Speech and the Free market at work. 'Merica! F-yeah!

Comment: Re:Gee Catholic judges (Score 1) 1304

by T.E.D. (#47359791) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

No doubt you would be fully in favor of laws to force Muslim employers to provide bacon to their employees as long as the majority votes that way. Or maybe a Supreme Court mandate in favor of forcing Jewish businesses to be open on Shabbat, or forcing Jewish restaurants to serve meat with dairy. I don't support any of these either, and those scenarios make just as much (non)sense as forcing employers to pay for employee contraception or abortion in violation of their conscience.

If there was some compelling reason for those actions, and the "employer" was in fact a corporation that might happen to be owned by a lot of people of that religion, then yes I would. For example, in this instance, the drugs in question are required by many women not just for birth control, but for other medical reasons (my wife was on them for a few years for hormone control). There are lots of reasons why a doctor may want to prescribe those drugs, and there is no good reason whatsoever why some random stockholder of my wife's employer should have a say in what medicines her doctor prescribes for her.

You are trying to insinuate that there's religious bigotry in this decision, and you are right. But the bigotry is all on the side of the majority justices. The only reason whatsoever they decided in favor was because the plaintiffs were Christians objecting to (imaginary) abortions and "Obamacare" was involved. The justices even tried to desperately to limit the damage they were doing to everyone else by verbally limiting it to "closely held corporations", the ACA, and the specific contraceptives involved. So supposedly this doesn't apply to GE, to other laws, or to other things religious types may object to like transfusions.

So basically, there's no principle involved here whatsoever, other than "we want to slap Obama". Go SCOTUS!

Comment: Re:Sounds about right... (Score 2) 441

by T.E.D. (#47352375) Attached to: Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

The grid loss is something in the figure of 5% 7% of total power production germany.

Germany covers about 138,000 square miles, which makes it just a smidge larger in area than the state of New Mexico. Scaling a grid up from the size of a single state to the entire Continental US is likely to be a whole different kettle of fish.

OTOH, you could argue this extra geographic spread is a good thing, as it affords a US electric consumer the same variety of locale for wind generation that has proven adequate in Germany, within their one state alone. New Mexico is a lot poorer and less populated than Germany, but their electricity needs are relatively more modest as well.

So while I don't think it would be a simple matter to transport electricity generated offshore in the Atlantic to power Denver, it probably would be eminently feasible to transport it to Denver from Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, and/or Nevada based on which sites currently are experiencing the most ideal wind.

Comment: Re:MayOne/Mayday donor, checking in (Score 2) 209

by T.E.D. (#47283731) Attached to: Steve Wozniak Endorses Lessig's Mayday Super PAC

I understand how silly it sounds. Fight money in politics by raising money? How could that ever work?

I have heard folks say that, or other such noise about it being "hypocritical", but frankly that attitude is beyond stupid.

Politics is like a game of Great Dalmudi. If you hate the current rules, you can change them, but you have to win a hand using those sucky rules first. Refusing to utilize a rule you don't like is not just counter-productive, but actively stupid.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.