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Comment Re:Summaries, how do they work? (Score 1, Informative) 82

Apologies, I had thought that the links were sufficiently informative, especially given that we had an article on the same subject earlier this week. I've never used Docker personally, and have a fairly loose grasp of what it entails, but the idea of application containers has been around for something like 20 years -- BSD Jails, lxc, systemd-nspawn, Solaris zones, and whatever that CoreBoot based one is -- there was an article about it on Thursday. Half of the comments are saying how Docker is a dressed-up version of an old solved problem. With respect, I think this one is on you, although your point in general stands.

Submission + - Docker Images To Be Based On Alpine Linux (

Tenebrousedge writes: Docker container sizes continue a race to the bottom with a couple of environments weighing in at less than 10MB. Following on the heels of this week's story regarding small images based on Alpine Linux, it appears that the official Docker images will be moving from Debian/Ubuntu to Alpine Linux in the near future. How low will they go?

Comment This is not Star Trek (Score 1) 310

A Ship that you can point in a direction and go.

This is not Star Trek. We do not have reactionless drives and unless there's a wild loophole in thermodynamics, we likely will. You are always going to be held back by the rocket equation.

A Ship with a multi mega watt power source

Ludicrous. Why would you even want to try to dissipate that much heat?

A Ship with several smaller vehicles for going to and from a planet

This is not Star Trek. There isn't going to be a one-size-fits-all solution for descending a gravity well. Hence why Curiosity's descent was so complicated -- and again, you run up against the rocket equation.

Comment Re:Open to Questions (Score 1) 1305

With regards to open sourcing Slashdot, I am not that completely opening the code would be best, and I do think that it would be a hard sell to C-levels. That said, some recent version of the code needs to be open, and development should be community-driven. The Unicode thing should have been a bug report/feature request. GitHub would be the obvious choice -- aside from a little issue with +1 spam, their issue/feature tracker integration is rather nice. I promise that ad-revenue-driven feature requests will receive mature consideration. For realio.

Comment Cloud9 and ChromeOS (Score 2) 168

I mostly use the exact setup you're talking about. I can't really speak to the "teamwork" aspects; for that I generally use CollabEdit, which is simpler for one-off collaboration. I got a Chromebook because I was planning on being in fairly impoverished areas in Central America for months or years, and I wanted a laptop that I was not going to worry about breaking. It works pretty well, all things considered. It's relatively simple to install a 'real' linux distro via crouton and get access to all the normal linux goodies. One specific advantage to ChromeOS is that it keeps track of what apps you have installed, and if you ever have to replace the unit, you can just sit at the new one, type your login info, and in about two minutes the new machine will have exactly the same stuff the old one did.

Having your development tools/files in the cloud means that they are inaccessible to you without an Internet connection, however, you don't need much of a net connection to be able to work: for Cloud9 there's an initial download of I believe about 1 MB for the editor, and actually editing code is possible down to a hundred bytes per second. Creating a local repo from a GitHub or Bitbucket repository is very simple, and each coding workspace gets its own little virtual machine, so you can install gems, run tests, and do anything you'd normally do. It also saves process state, so you can start (e.g.) pry, fool around with the interpreter, close the window, and the next time you start, pry will still be running. It actually saves quite a few brain cycles: you have less effort to figure out what you were doing the last time. Code completion and refactoring support exists, but is not what you would call world-class, more like SublimeEdit than intellij.

I have been using cloud9, but I have shopped around for various online editors at times, and so far I have not found any particularly compelling reasons to switch. I do not miss setting up a new chroot or container for a new project, or worrying about syncing code between workstations. Also note that there are online IDEs which can be run on your own private server (Cloud9 among them), for a hybrid approach, and of course there's nothing wrong with emacs over ssh if it comes down to it. At this point I doubt I would go back to a "real" IDE unless required to by an employer.

Comment Perfectly Secure Computer: unplugged (Score 1) 127

Linus did say that security is not the end-all be-all of Linux.

"Security in itself is useless. The upside is always somewhere else. The security is never the thing that you really care about."

Which is not to say that it's insecure; given that it runs on more devices than any other OS, any exploits would be huge. I'm not really sure how Windows security measures up these days, but I get the impression that the typical Windows install has a greater amount of exposed moving parts.

Comment Re:AGW Alternatives (Score 1) 176

Solar output is stable, at least over the modern era, and there is no connection between it and "the Pause" (that would actually be a crackpot theory). Long term shifts in Earth's climate have historically been the product of either volcanism or changes in Earth's orbit.

As for the "Pause", do you see how those lines in the graph you showed don't always match up? And yet they exhibit a high degree of correlation. Funny about that. Also, and I know that this has been explained to you, because it's explained to anyone that mentions it, "the Pause" is an artifact of picking what is now the fourth warmest year on record as your baseline. Picking any other baseline would show warming, and even with the cherry-picking, the hiatus in warming ended in 2013. Also note that 14/15 of the warmest years on record are since 2000 and that we haven't had a candidate for a coldest year on record in the last century: the 'new normal' is considerably warmer.

The idea that no one understands feedback mechanisms is as absurd as saying no one understands evolution. For an introduction to the topic, see chapter 8 of the IPCC Report[pdf]. It is admittedly pretty dense, but only 23 pages.

Do note that any further reference to a 19-year pause will not merit any response: lying with statistics is still lying, and if you don't understand why picking an extreme outlier as a baseline is dishonest then it's not worth my time explaining anything.

Comment Re:AGW Alternatives (Score 1) 176

There is a minimum level of warming given by the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, and then the feedback loops, which are likely to be strongly positive. Predictions are something like four degrees C per doubling plus or minus 1.5, which is a big range, but still not particularly comfortable for many parts of the world even on the low end. If there were no feedbacks to worry about we could probably increase CO2 at least to the end of the fossil fuel reserves.

The Sun is heating up on a giga-annum timeframe. On human-level timeframes it varies by about .1% peak-to-peak. Do you care to give that one another go?

Comment Re:AGW Alternatives (Score 1) 176

You keep harping on about models as if they were relevant to the theory. The atmosphere is opaque to IR to the edge of the CO2-rich layer. Raising the partial pressure of CO2 pushes the CO2-rich layer further out into space, which means the IR takes longer to reach space, which makes the Earth as a whole retain heat. Whatever happens in the lower atmosphere isn't going to change the radiative physics. The H2O feedback can be presumed to be strongly positive due to its efficacy as a greenhouse gas, its abundance on the globe, and that its solubility in air rises exponentially with temperature. It would be nice if cloud formation provided enough of an albedo difference to offset this, but this possibility has been more or less disproven. Complexities about these interactions give much uncertainty to the degree of warming, but not whether the warming will happen.

Your only two options for preventing warming are raising albedo and finding a new way to radiate energy. You can waffle about models and how and when and to what degree the Earth will warm, but the warming is simple fact, and whether the models are accurate or inaccurate is a secondary concern at best.

Comment Re:AGW Alternatives (Score 1) 176

For AGW to be conclusively disproven,

That sound an awful lot like a religious argument. "You can't disprove the existance of God!"

It may indeed sound like the ring of certainty, while your argument may be characterized as not having examined the evidence.

The models are one thing.

The models are the science

That is bizarrely and categorically false -- like suggesting that orbital mechanics is defined by Kerbal Space Program, or that virology is defined by a particular virological model. Where do you imagine these models come from, curve fitting temperature data sets?

The fundamentals of AGW can be proven in your basement, and rely on undergraduate-level atmospheric and radiative physics. Physical laws will allow you to directly calculate the forcing from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 (TOA, assume linear lapse rate). Water and carbon dioxide are within the reach of the most modest scientific budgets, and would easily allow you to test the H2O feedback effect as well. The theory can be further confirmed by observing rising global temperatures, and the models are an attempt to predict possible outcomes.

If you'll allow me a little flexibility in speaking, AGW depends only on the properties of CO2 gas; it is proven insofar as the Stefan-Boltzmann law is proven. As I have mentioned, the history of the last hundred-odd years has been trying to disprove this relationship. The problem is that the physics is very simple: there's just not all that many places for the energy to go. If there were some feedback effect which increased albedo in proportion to the climate forcing, that would do it, or if we could discover a new way that heat is transferred to space, but otherwise warming is (unfortunately) as sure as sunrise.

Comment AGW Alternatives (Score 2) 176

The models are one thing. Even the temperature record is not necessarily critical to the theory. For AGW to be conclusively disproven, there would have to be at least one of the following discoveries: [a] a new way for large amounts of heat to be transferred to space, or [b] a feedback loop that cancels out the (strongly positive) H2O-CO2 forcing.

Both of these ideas have issues. The first one is almost too fanciful to even mention, but suffice to say we would expect to see this effect in extraterrestrial atmospheres as well. The second hypothetical has seen some investigation and was a favorite of anti-AGW researchers for a while, but so far all proposed mechanisms fall seriously short of negating the known positive feedbacks. It's not enough to say "the data sucks" or "the models suck", you need to have some sort of replacement hypothesis which explains why, all else being equal, an increase in atmospheric carbon does not lead to increased temperatures. We've eliminated a lot of false candidates over the last 100 years, and if there is some sort of force that would prevent a carbon catastrophe, we could sure use one now. It's pretty slim pickings at this point though.

Comment Planet Definition (Score 2) 176

As i understood it, the primary reason for classifying Pluto as a "dwarf planet" was size.

Actually no, the size criterion was whether it's big enough to be round. Pluto and Ceres, and a number of TNOs all qualify. However, Pluto is gravitationally dominated by Neptune, in a 3:2 orbital resonance. The rule is, if some other planet's gravity makes you its bitch, you don't get to be a planet.

For a more precise definition of what it means to be a planet, including several criteria for what "clearing the neighborhood" means, you can consult this arXiv paper[pdf]. Interestingly, it suggests that the size criterion may be superfluous; anything large enough to clear its orbit should be big enough to be round.

Comment Re:Orbital Cleaning Services - 1 gigadollar/terali (Score 1) 258

Sure. That was a sardonic jab, followed by a humorous and equally nonsensical definition of "clearing the neighborhood", followed by a scientific paper precisely defining what "clearing the neighborhood" means. If you don't think putting painted tarps over homeless people is funny, you must not live in Portland.

Comment Re:Orbital Cleaning Services - 1 gigadollar/terali (Score 1) 258

I'm not sure how you're reading any sort of emotional excursions here; maybe your sense of humor needs recalibration. Although I should probably have written petaliter in the title instead. Economies of scale and whatnot.

You've failed to understand the definition, or read the arXiv article I linked, or even look at the graph. Well done -- batting 1000. Those objects would only be relevant if they were gravitationally dominant. This really isn't that hard of a concept if you're not ideologically motivated against it.

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