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Comment: Transgender Persons (Score 1) 464

by Tenebrousedge (#48594901) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

Our culture has evolved over thousands of years. There is a reason things are the way they are, and you don't get to start throwing away well established cultural norms just for the sake of change.

You seem to have the idea that evolution represents a forward march of progress, but that it should have stopped thirty years ago (when you were last comfortable with it). These ideas seem to conflict with each other.

Because forums are for discussions and conversations. People can communicate ideas and get responses. Millennial's use of social media is solely about inflating their egos. They use things like Instagram and Twitter where they sprout their useless opinions, never once listening to anyone but themselves. Ever seen a group of Millennials at the mall? They're all on their damned phones, taking pictures and posting them to social media, barely interacting with each other. Older generations use Facebook to communicate, Millennials use it to keep everyone updated about their meaningless lives, never once listening to anyone else. It's all about them, their selfies, and generating "likes."

Every generation that has experienced new media forms has complained about them, and the new cultural norms that have resulted from their use. I don't know what you think you're adding to anyone's life by being upset about this.

This is not a new issue; this is not a Millenial invention.

Weird how this has never come up before in my life until Millennials started getting involved in politics. Try asking if a man should be allowed in the lady's room twenty years ago and no one would understand why the hell you'd even ask that question.

Human biology does not necessitate having different facilities for different genders' waste elimination. Almost all households don't bother with it. That they exist in public is purely a social phenomenon. We had separate facilities for blacks, too, at one point. There are biological differences between the sexes, but those don't necessarily correlate strongly to gender identity. Biology doesn't have the neat divide between these things that you imagine there is. One hopes that eventually humans will stop confusing pooping with having anything to do with either sex or gender. (It will still be polite to leave the seat down).

Myself, I have a measure of compassion for the poor bastard who has to make a Sophie's choice whenever they want to take a shit in public. I wish I could convey to you the terror and shame that this situation involves for differently gendered people.

You have to consider that there is no cure for "feeling like a woman". In all sincerity, it's wonderful that you've never felt like you had the wrong body. Having your brain tell you that your body is wrong in some way is a continual torment. Faced with the options of self-mutilation and a lifetime of social consequences, or a lifetime of body dysphoria, many people choose death.

It is easier and cheaper not to cater to the physically handicapped. Yet we build ramps and elevators, we put braille on signs, we allow service animals practically everywhere, and we accept that it is reasonable for these accommodations to be made -- that people with disabilities have a right to the same quality of life as anyone else. In this case the only accommodation being asked is being able to use a public bathroom in peace, although it would be great if we could work on not publicly humiliating these people as well. If our society is getting to the point of having to discuss transgender rights, that can only be a good thing.

There is one piece of good news for you: no one is seeking to abolish your freedom to be a bigot. What you're noticing is simply that most people are not sufficiently misanthropic to perpetuate your views.

Comment: CO2 Emissions Estimates (Score 3, Informative) 329

by Tenebrousedge (#48562535) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

Here is the paper I mentioned, and here is the USGS's take on the matter. From what I understand there are a number of ways to estimate human CO2 output, one being to add up all the fossil fuels that are being consumed globally, which is likely not terribly accurate but we're still talking about two or three orders of magnitude difference. Another estimation method uses carbon isotope ratios. I get the impression that estimating volcanic emissions is somewhat difficult, but there's a fair amount of continuous monitoring for various reasons. Terrence Gerlach, a vulcanologist with the USGS, seems to have done quite a bit of research into the subject. The nice thing about scholarly publications is that they have to tell you where the numbers come from; if one wants to find out more about either part of the estimates then you just follow the references.

In summation, parts of the estimates come from direct measurements and the other parts seem to be estimates based on fossil fuel consumption. I am sure that there's a whole world of study out there for estimating various factors.

As an aside, humans are still far from matching or exceeding the most violent outgassings that have resulted from the formation of Large Igneous Provinces. I believe the Deccan Traps and Siberian Traps released about 3 orders of magnitude more CO2 than humanity has liberated. While our current burn rate would have us match those outgassings in about a thousand years, I don't believe that our fossil fuel reserves are projected to last that long. However, Large Igneous Provinces generally took millions of years to form, not hundreds; there is every reason to believe that what we are doing to the planet is unprecedented. On the other other hand, we're mostly skipping the problems with particulate matter and sulfides that came along with volcanic eruptions. For what it's worth.

Comment: Glad you asked (Score 5, Informative) 329

by Tenebrousedge (#48562087) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

questions is to what extent the impact of humans may be responsible.

No, this is fairly easily measurable; we're dwarfing natural processes. Aside from natural seasonal variation the biggest natural contributor to atmospheric CO2 is volcanic activity, and the rate at which we're releasing carbon is completely unprecedented. You can figure it as equivalent to 1-2 Yellowstone supervolcano eruptions every year, or two Pinatubos per day. (the article quotes from a paper that I belive is available online but I can't find it at the moment).

The models are well-defined on the lower limit due to the physics of radiation; 3.7 W/m^2 increase per doubling of CO2 is a straightforward result of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. That is equivalent to about 1 degree C global temp, and no one is worried about that. The issue is that water vapor is a much stronger greenhouse gas and you may have noticed that there's quite a bit of it lying around. Furthermore, air can hold exponentially more water vapor as it heats up. There's a lot of variation possible in the feedback loops but negative feedback is really unlikely.

Personally, I find the most useful way to approach the subject is to take a look at the history of climate science. Thousands of scientists did not wake up one day and accept the movement of the continents, neither did they accept that humans could have any affect on the climate without strong proofs. The Discovery of Global Warming goes over the history of global warming and has useful insights into what exactly a climate model is, and how even one-dimensional models can still tell us useful things even if their long-term predictions are not all that accurate

For a more detailed look into the science, you might check out Science of Doom, but a textbook on atmospheric physics may be more useful. Unfortunately, beyond the basics it starts to get complicated in a real hurry; unless you really want to start diving through papers and textbooks you will probably be best served by the IPCC report.

Comment: The anti-French jokes are on you (Score 4, Insightful) 683

by Tenebrousedge (#48548923) Attached to: French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

The Anti-French sentiment stems from lingering inadequacy on the part of the Americans. France did not give the US the Statue of Liberty just because they thought the US was a bunch of really nice guys.

The American Revolution was a proxy war, by France against Britain. It was very similar in many respects to the Soviet-Afghan War, where the United States funneled arms and billions of dollars to the Afghanis. The French involvement in the American war was of a vastly greater scale.

The French supplied almost all of the gunpowder used through at least the first half of the war, almost all the cannon used throughout the war, tens of thousands of muskets, an army about the size of the Continental Army, military advisors, and vast amounts of money. In total they spent about a billion livres and increased their national debt by a third. The ante-climactic battle of the war involved a massive fleet engagement of French and British vessels and forced Gen. Cornwallis' surrender to the American forces. The Americans had no naval force worth mentioning (the description of a sixth-rate frigate as being "rough equivalent of half of a 64-gun ship of the line" is hilarious), and it is difficult to overstate either the power of a massed group of warships or their impact on warfare. Considered from an objective perspective, the American Revolution was an important but not decisive campaign in what should be known as the Second Hundred Years' War.

Why did Americans turn against the French after the war? It's simple: they wanted to promote their own heroes, and the idea that they had won the war all by themselves. It's really embarrassing to have to teach your children that your country wouldn't exist except that it happened to be a bone of contention in someone else's scheme. Similarly, I spent quite a bit of time down in Panama this last year, and I met very few people who had any idea of the US involvement in the creation of that country. They make anti-gringo jokes pretty often too, and they're funny for the same reason that anti-French jokes are in the US, but in both cases the joke is on the one telling it.

Comment: Lunar Imagery (Score 1) 129

In 1914, nobody could predict the pictures from the moon.

Except for that guy that did and made a film about it. His images aren't really that similar to the lunar terrain that we considered safe to land on, but 1914 wasn't as backwards as you seem to think. That said, your general point stands: predicting the future is hard. Likely whether or not we have more incredible images in the future, we'll say they're more incredible anyway. Especially if funding levels were commensurate with headlines.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Actual Universe (Score 2) 334

by Tenebrousedge (#48527987) Attached to: Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

Citation needed for .3%

You'll note that "a ridiculous number of decimal places" is extremely non-specific and could as easily describe .3% as 3 * 10^-17%. However, I was intentionally vague because there's a variety of effects described by Relativity which have been measured in different ways at different times with differing accuracy. A simple number (like 0.3%) is simply wrong without further context. QED probably takes the prize for the most precisely-tested theory ever, but Relativity still qualifies as one of the most well-tested theories ever. Calling it a "bad model" is deeply ignorant.

Relativity is incomplete, in ways that have nothing to do with mass/energy or information exceeding c. On that point it is in agreement with QM.

Comment: Welcome to the Actual Universe (Score 4, Insightful) 334

by Tenebrousedge (#48527625) Attached to: Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

Slow down there, buckwheat.

The speed of light is a universal constant, and it doesn't actually make much sense to talk about exceeding it. You break causality and travel backwards in time. If you are sure that these problems can be overcome you have no idea what the problem is. Relativity is a description of the geometry of the universe, and explicitly covers what happens if you try to go really fast. It has been verified to a ridiculous number of decimal places. What you're talking about is equivalent to talking about exceeding the Planck constant or the fine structure constant.

Science fiction is easier and more fun to read than science, but you should probably spend some time reading about this universe, because you're gonna be here for a while.

Comment: No Virginia, there are no Space Aliens (Score 2) 334

by Tenebrousedge (#48527503) Attached to: Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

Humans have been extending their perceptual capabilities for centuries. What do you think a telescope, electron microscope, or mass spectrometer are? We've detected dark matter in other galaxies and as far as we can tell it barely interacts with normal matter. We've detected neutrinos. We've detected Kuiper Belt objects by the thousands. Goldfish may not be able to understand these extra-philial intelligences, but they can sure as hell see them.

Every species on the planet does this on a continuum of consciousness.. perceiving the less sentient, but blind to the nature of the more advanced.

Mystical bullshit. For one thing, in purely biological terms there is no such thing as "more advanced".

...beyond the perceptual capacities of the vast majority of humans.

Except for you obviously, you special snowflake you, and presumably all those other people claiming to channel alien intelligences.

Please take your "Ancient Aliens" garbage somewhere else. The Drake Equation is arguably bad science; you don't even meet that bar.

Comment: Re:US Centric? (Score 1) 167

by Tenebrousedge (#48513085) Attached to: Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

The one someone threw at me in the last week or so was about a medical article.

Popular news headline: Marijuana Use Causes Brain Damage Confirmed

University press release title: Adolescents most at risk of brain damage from long-term, heavy cannabis use.

Actual research article title: Effect of long-term cannabis use on axonal fibre connectivity

It's not just expertise that makes you think that the news is misleading. Often times the news actually is misleading, intentionally. I'm not saying the American news media are collectively guilty of lying to the American public, but I think that collectively and severally they deserve a fair trial.

Comment: Using a Chromebook as a Development Machine (Score 4, Informative) 193

by Tenebrousedge (#48508747) Attached to: Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

I've been using a Chromebook for a while. I am a web developer. This particular machine does not have Crouton or a standard Linux distribution on it, just the stock OS. I would probably have opted for one of those, but this machine has a broken power button, which prevents it from being put into developer mode. So far I have not run into any insurmountable problems, and I think overall that it has been an improvement in my workflow.

Chrome OS has a number of useful features. The longest part of rebooting or updating the machine is waiting for your browser tabs to reload. You may say that this is uncommon and that you don't care how long it takes, but on the other hand no one will miss that wait time either. Having files backed up automatically is quite pleasant. If and when you are in the unfortunate position of having a machine die on you, sitting down to any Chromebook and typing in your password will restore your files, bookmarks, browser history, desktop background, and all installed programs in a couple minutes. The biggest downside is printing; it's possible if you have another computer or a Cloud Print ready printer (yeah right), but it's not fun under any circumstances.


Either Google Docs or Office Online do a pretty good job of handling office tasks, with one exception: neither will open a password-protected excel spreadsheet. For that I have been using RollApp, which does exactly what it says on the tin but is a bit slow. For web development, Chrome OS includes an SSH client. You don't need more than a VPS and vim, do you? You do? Well, in that case, you should be more than happy with Cloud9 Web-based IDE (Chrome Store link). You get your own little linux environment for each workspace, already set up for various development tasks. The editor is pretty similar to Sublime Text, and cloning projects from GitHub is fast and easy. You can also connect to a private VPS and do whatever crazy things you like there. Loading up a workspace restores all opened files and terminal windows, including any terminal programs/output. Run your tests, close the window, come back a week later, and the test output is still there. If you happened to be exploring something using a CLI interactive interpreter, that will still be running when you get back to it. Also, the workspaces are separate instances: developing locally I would always have to set up a new user, add it to the www-data group, set up its own fcgi pool, add an entry in /etc/hosts, and so on and so forth. Setting up lxc or nspawn containers makes this marginally easier. Letting your IDE handle it for you is brilliant.

Using a Chromebook does not mean giving up your ability to use (or create) complex software, but you will have to change your workflow. There is probably a fair amount of software that is not available on the web or even via SSH, but I think that most people's needs would be satisfied. I left my other Chromebook lying around the house for the roomies to use, and I don't think any of them noticed that it wasn't running Windows -- probably never used it for anything but web browsing. Your IT professional may need a XAMP stack, but he doesn't necessarily need it on a local machine, and there are some real advantages to not doing so, even if you skip the cloud-based IDE and just do a VM.

I have no connection to any company listed above except as a satisfied user.

Comment: THC Impairment (Score 1) 342

by Tenebrousedge (#48499095) Attached to: Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU

I don't think that anyone would be so foolish as to say or suggest that THC does not impair driving skills, although the degree of response to THC is much more varied than with alcohol. I'm sorry you read something in my words which you found to be misleading, but I'm glad that you found the linked article to be informative; my goal was to provide more accurate information about the nature of THC intoxication and not to characterize it myself. It is clearly a complicated subject and I didn't want to either quote-mine or take the time to provide a balanced summary.

If I may be allowed to clarify the sentence to which you object, I would say that the GP's comment (the quoted one) was absurd on its face. As they say, the dose makes the poison. There may be some level of THC intoxication which is equivalent (by some measure) to the effects of a .08 BAC, and research in determining that would presumably be worthwhile. Knee-jerk ignorant anti-cannabis rhetoric (or legislation) does not contribute to a reasoned discussion.

Comment: Re:is it really bad in the first place? (Score 4, Insightful) 342

by Tenebrousedge (#48495431) Attached to: Breath Test For Pot Being Developed At WSU

Your link is misleading. Yes, marijuana does not do good things to developing brains — there are much better studies which demonstrate this. There is no similar evidence which suggests that either moderate use or use beginning in adulthood has the same effect.

Here is the actual study in question. Do note that their average test subject started at age 16 and smokes five joints per day. From the article,

The association presents compelling evidence for white matter reacting differently to cannabis exposure commencing during adolescence compared with adulthood...

One joint does not a pothead make. You've pretty much already missed the boat for pot-related brain damage, but your knee-jerk antagonism against cannabis users is equally as dumb. Even if everything you imagine to be true about cannabis use was in fact the truth,

I think that THC use and Texting while driving should have the exact same penalties as someone who has .08 BAC.

This does not follow. There is no objective evidence suggesting that marijuana is equally impairing, and suggesting that any amount of use or exposure to THC is equivalent to being dangerously impaired is simple prejudice.

Comment: Re:You will not go to wormhole today. (Score 1) 289

by Tenebrousedge (#48493009) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

When you can drive a starship through the holes in either theory, get back to me. I don't think we're actually in disagreement; I realize I was speaking imprecisely. I hope that you can forgive me a little hyperbole, and I will totally pick you to double-check my physics papers in the future.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton