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Comment: Microsoft Marketing (Score 3, Informative) 71

by Tenebrousedge (#48630765) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator

how can you possibly not link to an a/v demo or review of this, in the thread OR in the review???

So they could sneak in a subtle advertisement for Surface tablets. The reviewer does not seem to have been allowed to take his own photos or video, given that the photo credit is for Microsoft.

Also, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo." The article states clearly that this did not work outside of conditions that were carefully controlled by Microsoft. On that note, the writer exclusively covers Microsoft news.

All in all, this should be treated as a press release, not a review.

Comment: Wheel Group (Score 1) 118

by Tenebrousedge (#48629441) Attached to: Grinch Vulnerability Could Put a Hole In Your Linux Stocking

Debian derived distros disable the password on the root account by default, and only use the wheel group. RedHat distros set a root password during install, but also require the creation of a non-root user; this user is added to the wheel group. What Linux systems have you been using that are not RedHat or Debian derived?

Comment: Transgender Persons (Score 1) 465

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) 699

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.

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.