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Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 1) 81

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48644317) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Wow, someone just now noticed that animals can easily detect incoming low pressure fronts and hide from the weather.

Humans have many unique abilities too.

We are the only ones with the gift to see in dark grey waves of clouds the furrowed brows of an angry gods, whom we anger further by murmuring profane incantations about dew point and pressure gradients. Only we gaze down from our satellites and perceive that the hurricane is looking back. In the magnificent gyres of natural phenomena we may discern an uncanny alien intelligence. We alone feel that it is scrutinizing us, judging us, finds us wanting. "We are naked in the dark. Sam, and there is no veil between us and the wheel of fire. We begin to see it even with our waking eyes, and all else fades..."

We alone knock on wood to summon for its friendly assistance to combat invisible foes, and yet we are capable of perceiving that even that would never be enough. We are unique in the ability to summon demons from the underworld, the empty reaches of space, even a wry comment overheard on Thanksgiving.

Animals fear the unknown, but we also fear the unknowable, as we seek to discover the limits of what can be known, that we may dwell on the unspeakable horror of the nether region where even the quest for knowledge abandons all hope. We soften up our children with bedtime stories of violence and dreadful danger, neglect and cannibalism, comfortable things with which all animals are familiar, then we go on to describe covalent bonds and antimatter, quantum mechanics and relativistic time dilation, that they become mired in seas of madness, to seek solace in Dragonball Z.

Animals hide under a rock for practical reasons.
I fear the rock itself. There is no place to hide.
Join me, friend, let us dance in hysterical abandon,
and infect the whole Universe with our neurosis.

If you enjoy this, feel free to sample our other fine products.

Comment: Meanwhile, on a more Practical Level... (Score 1) 619

Tabloid, much?
Who cares what dem people call dem other people??
Only freaks publicly insist on labeling other people freaks.
Says I, in public.

There are places where folks are still covering topics of pure-CO2 temperature causation (or not) that involve studies of available data, and just as important these days, breakdown and evaluation of the various 'corrections' that have been retroactively applied to those datasets, the reliability of models and various proxy methods. WattsUpWithThat is one such resource. If you conclude that it is on the other side of the fence than perhaps you should ask yourself, who built the fence?

Branding dissenters as heretics in the popular press on this level --- it is as if they are appealing to some Supreme Diety to descend from the heavens with a 'Mighty Dog' branding iron --- to mark the foreheads of chosen persons. It's ridiculous, boring and trite.

The climate furor may be part of a larger trend in science noted by master lexicographer Daniele Fanelli. The paper Negative Results are Disappearing from Most Disciplines and Countries [2011] is a fascinating read. It notes that "Of the hypothesized problems, perhaps the most worrying is a worsening of positive-outcome bias. A system that disfavours negative results not only distorts the scientific literature directly, but might also discourage high-risk projects and pressure scientists to fabricate and falsify their data."

Let me spell it out, what is being claimed here is a progressive shortage of applied effort to discredit popular hypotheses. Is it because we are such great guessers. we tend to get these things right so often the first time it's a waste of time and effort to back-check, to reproduce? Does it come down to money?

Or are people letting themselves become religious about science?
Isn't this what Carl Sagan warned us about?

Note to self: add citation to paper, "Climate Change may decrease eggshell thickness of duck-billed salamanders by 0.25mm by the year 2050."

Comment: Yeah, Revolving Doors are Cool (Score 4, Funny) 61

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48588135) Attached to: 'Revolving Door' Spins Between AT&T, Government

They always seem to be trying to make up their minds. On Star Trek doors go sheesh! but we have revolving doors that go Whump! Whump! Whump!

I'd have three revolving doors, two on the outside rotating in opposite directions and one in the middle that changes direction at random times, even when a person is in it. I'd put wheels on a potted plant and have it bumping along. I'd have one in a shaded area with a bright strobe light in it. I'd have a revolving door with mirror panels surrounded by a curved mirror and a curved, mirrored sliding shells that advance with the door on opposite sides and stop, to close off the tube completely and trap them for three full rounds, then advance again to present an opening as if it had always been there. I'd have a revolving door with rising and falling wedges that 'arrive' at the far end one step down or up. I'd have a camera at the top of the wedge looking down, and a bright LCD display set into the floor that is re-playing the top-down view from the last occupant, including a glimpse of the screen with the one previous, et cetera. I'd have a message that says, "say Hello!" and play back the hellos of previous occupants at random. I'd have a glass floor with a hypnotic spiral disc spinning quickly in the opposite direction. I'd have a narrow brightly lit aquarium with fish as door panels. I'd have a gauntlet of a dozen revolving doors synchronized to pass occupants on, each one lit with a progressive hue of the rainbow. And ping pong ball releases.

Next up at Slashdot: 'Escalator' Trundles Between Verizon, Government

Comment: Re:Prefix This (Score 1) 57

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48588055) Attached to: BGP Hijacking Continues, Despite the Ability To Prevent It

(feeling karma-guilty now) Some of my previous BGP bookmarks,

The RFC6480 I'm sure you'll want to read this first, every bit of it. Others may wish to skip on to the next chapter which is a good bit and has Marvin the Robot in it.

Introduction to BGP and How BGP best path (by default!)
[2014] spammers squatting on unassigned IP address ranges
  [2014] Using BGP advertisements to gather Bitcoin mining traffic (doing digital money with unsecured protocols, kewl!)
[2012] Packet Pushers #93: Lies and Routing in the Internet great interview with Geoff Huston. Look for the show notes links too.
[2012] Packet Pushers #105: BGP Origin Validation with Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) with Alex Brand from RIPE. Discussion of attack profiles, resistance and real-world challenges to its implementation.
[2012] Previous Slashdot: Engineers Ponder Easier Fix To Internet Problem
[2013] Denver pings Denver --- via Iceland! Someone's Been Routing Internet Data Through The Great Chefs Of Europe

Here's some confusing BGP routing diagrams to print out and tape to the walls to impress everybody.

Comment: Prefix This (Score 5, Funny) 57

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48586947) Attached to: BGP Hijacking Continues, Despite the Ability To Prevent It

Just flipped down the thread:


A = messages complaining about use of acronym, explaining it
S = messages questioning relevance of BGP to 'Nerd', answers
? = WTF responses (Fry, Bennet)
F = political views (fuck ARIN, fuck legalese, fuck de Man)
b = relevant but misinformed (filtering not quicky-solve, RPKI not Kill Switch)
B = relevant, thoughtful response to a 'b'
M = this, meta message about thread.

If the rest of the Internet was like this, no actual routes would ever be advertised.

My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

~T.S. Eliot

+ - HR 4681, Section 309: Hello NSA, Goodbye America.->

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "Stick a fork in the Republic, it's done. Hidden in the final version of the Intelligence Authorization Act HR 4681, passed by contemptuous "voice vote", is a section that, for the first time, codifies and implicitly authorizes the collection of communications (not just 'metadata') of Americans.

It seems that the NSA's backbone voice and Internet tap apparatus is chock-full of "Incidental Communications" — that is, "any nonpublic telephone or electronic communication acquired without the consent of a person who is a party to the communication, including communications in electronic storage" that has been obtained by "any intelligence collection activity not otherwise authorized by court order".

The gist of the legislation is, they are acknowledging the presence of this (illegal and unconstitutional) activity in the context of 'limiting' retention of these communications to five years. After five years a troop of Congressionally Authorized Boy Scouts will tour NSA facilities and supervise the removal of your telephone calls and email. And you know they will. It is time for us to completely dismantle, de-fund, de-construct and defame the NSA for what it has done, and smite Section 309, which says it's perfectly all right for Americans to spy on Americans 'for five years'. Or as we IT folks know, forever."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Meh. (Score 1) 163

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48530633) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible


"Flu Season Deadlier Than Previously Thought"

Who are these people Previously Thinking these things?
Will they please stop?
Perhaps it's a ruse.
No one Previously Thought these things.
They're actually just saying these things.
It's all about the scary music,
you must imagine scary music,
music like this.
Go ahead, play it now. Turn it up LOUD.

Here, take a cookie.
I promise, by the time you're done eating it ---
you'll feel right as rain.

Comment: Re:Looks like the mismatch nailed me (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48530355) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

Still 100% glad I got my flu shot, though. Basically, I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but got shot in the leg.

I was at Walgreen's shopping for scented candles, to ward off evil spirits, when I spotted this bright bold sign that shouted

Get your flu shot...NOW!

I jumped and backed up against the shelf with the candles, knocked them per foss, but the aisle was deserted, no needle wielding assailant apparent. The little signs were everywhere! Why had I not spotted them before?? Clutching a sandalwood candle and a gallon of milk defensively I approached the checkout, where the clerk informed me that the special price shown in the large glowing red sign was for those with a Special Rewards Card Only, and did I want to get one now?

Then the sign flashed out its warning, in the word that it was forming,
and the sign said

Get your flu shot...NOW!

I fled in terror.

Comment: Re:Think of the dogs (Score 3, Interesting) 41

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48529451) Attached to: Ultrasound Used To Create Haptics That Can Be Touched and Felt

Every time you touch it all the dogs in the neighborhood go nutzo

Tormented hysterical dogs tearing at the flesh of beached whales, spatially confused elephants wandering into your living room.

I'm bored, said humanity. Let us pump tremendous amounts of LF sonic energy into the air.

Beat frequencies from these devices penetrating walls, resonating and combining with one another, infusing odd corners of adjacent rooms, hallways and buildings with whispers and throbbing tones. People will leave these things turned on, unaware or uncaring that beat frequencies and harmonics create lobes around others' beds tormenting people trying to sleep around them.

Arson will be on the rise.
Whole city blocks will burn.
The sound of breaking glass and tearing metal.
Then, all is quiet once again.
Cue crickets.

Comment: Re:People like you don't understand risk (Score 0) 409

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48513735) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Having watched Internet reaction to the same material on Pripyat presented by Kiddofspeed for ten years now, I have to say that we've made some serious strides as a virtual culture, and not necessarily in a good direction.

When the series first appeared it was truly a phenomenon. Elena's commentary is brief and completely authentic, as a young modern explorer chronicling a bizarre place frozen in time. With a measure of curiosity and intelligent caution she takes us to the lonely places, takes but a few steps into the most dangerous places, and the album as a whole is presented as just what it is. The Kidofspeed series and her wonderful russenglish commentary stands as one of the greatest photo essays of the generation.

A great many reactions fixed on her as a person, simple and undisguised male adoration of this adventurous motorcycle-loving young female, and a vicariously shared sense of wonder of visiting forbidden, dangerous lonely places. It was real.

No trace of that now. This is kinda fake. Slashdot may still be mostly male, but we've managed to purge --- it seems --- that aspect of human sentiment completely. Is it because we have achieved a level of sterile, grey political correctness? Have we sold our human souls for a dear price?

"I hereby reject Kiddofspeed because it is not a Slashdot-approved link to a cited peer reviewed journal."
"Motorcycle! Dangerous!"
"Blah blah so-and-so should MOVE there if he feels that way!"

Pripyat is what it is, just like that burning coal town Centralia PA. Not the end of the world or even the complete destruction of life, just a visible warning of what we should not let happen again.

Elena, you're still my hero, I love your art and you're still a FOX.

Comment: Re:'Decommissioning' is a made-up scenario (Score 1) 235

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48505389) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

Water and sewage plants are usually public utilities so the owner is less likely to flee without paying the clean up costs (or sell it to a third party who tragically go bust shortly after leaving no liability for the previous owner), plus the pollution they generate is significantly less toxic.

You're right of course, and drawing any correlation between a nuclear power plant (or any electric plant) and water treatment plants seemed silly at first. They light up whole different areas of the brain. I started asking myself, why is this so?

Have we become conditioned to think of electricity as something aside from a dire necessity?

Water and sewer plants are usually sited geographically, and people tend to settle along lakes, rivers and coastlines. Our city is fortunate to be within a gently sloping river valley so treated water is carried to the tap and wastes to the sewer plant mostly by gravity alone. You could be shown a blank topo map of most areas and draw a circle where each plant should be.

Power plants follow a similar rule of minimizing distance from their primary loads. Our grid was built out as-needed and not for surplus. Therefore aside from a few sad glaring exceptions such as the de-population of Detroit, one will never spot an electric plant somewhere on the landscape and conclude, an electric plant is no longer necessary here. Natural gas plants are being built to supplant coal generation on the grid so there is an emerging phenomenon where a plant here and there is deemed obsolete because "electricity is being generated elsewhere, cheaper, today." In many cases this is being played out by cents on the kWh, where the demise of something locally 'irreplaceable' is triggered by investor sentiment from the glut of natural gas distribution. Some day (perhaps sooner than many think) easily extractable natural gas will peak and begin its inexorable decline, and residents will turn once again to coal. Because of the ridiculous impossibility and expense of completely dismantling coal generation plants, that plant will still be there.

A properly operating sewer plant removes human toxicity from the environment, making its water discharge safe for human contact and subsequent drinking water treatment plants downstream. Likewise, a properly operating nuclear power plant is the only viable industrial-scale way to remove human toxicity from burning fossil fuel from the environment.

Despite its vilification and shortage of investment, the nuclear industry has innovated. The Candu and AP1000 light water reactor are the most "walk away safe" designs we can muster from the inherently dangerous combination of fission and water. Molten salt reactors could take this many steps further. Though the radioactivity of the salts is extreme the fissile is bound to the salts and your worst case scenario is a real mess, but it is a manageable mess that would remain there waituing for cleanup, not seep into the environment, as Tepco attempts to chase down Cesium tainted water molecules dispersed to air and sea.

It is my personal belief that every utility class wind farm will be a silent rusted blight within fifty years, and the electricity customers of those regions will be struggling to overcome the financial hardships imposed by them --- both the subsidized cost of their construction and insufficient generation over their brief lifetime --- but principally the wasting of human resource that diverted them away from better paths that could have been taken.

Central to all this is the question, do we think there will come a time when we simply do not need this (or that) nuclear power plant anymore? Decommissioning mentality not only forces your hand in that decision, by making nuclear power more expensive than it really is, it encourages a more insidious 'disposable culture' thinking, can't we just close this thing down and buy cheaper power over the wire, or elsewhere, today?

Which is why Americans no longer make things, use newly printed virtual currency to purchase consumer goods from China. The tide is turning on that and we'll see how it ends.

Comment: Re:'Decommissioning' is a made-up scenario (Score 1) 235

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48480635) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

Ok, how do you start upgrading? Oh yeah, you decommission the old one! So your whole argument makes very little sense...

If only it were that simple. See this NRC backgrounder on decommissioning nuclear power plants and 26 CFR 1.468A-5. It is a fund owned by customers, held in trust for complete plant dissolution. It cannot be borrowed from or against or used to upgrade the plant, even if this would result in a longer useful life. Typically these funds are held conservatively, though there have been attempts to tax them to higher heaven or play risky games.

Don't get me wrong, decommissioning funds are a good idea in general for industry, especially for anything involving radioactivity or stored chemicals. But you have to ask yourself for anything, such as my water or sewer plant example, is it likely that we will really want this thing to close and completely disappear in (x) years? If the answer is NO, the return-on-investment burden costs everyone money over it's lifetime because it stifles renovation and innovation. The higher cost and lower profit margin repels good stewards and attracts bad ones (like Dominion). Just as for life insurance, it's not healthy for any one or thing that is truly useful to be considered worth more dead than alive.

If anyone would attempt to impose such a trust to coal generating plants over a pre-determined lifespan with subsequent greenfield decommissioning, you'd hear some real noise. Then when those numbers change, aside from CO2 everyone might conclude that nuclear IS cheaper than coal, today!

"The useful is as beautiful as the beautiful." ~apologies to The Little Prince

Comment: 'Decommissioning' is a made-up scenario (Score 5, Insightful) 235

by TheRealHocusLocus (#48479195) Attached to: Renewables Are Now Scotland's Biggest Energy Source

The biggest hand waving always comes with decommissioning

Okay, I'll wave my hands about and gobble about 'decommissioning'.

People tend to increase over time. Energy use increases over time. Globally we are not even close to providing the whole world with a grid coverage and capacity that provides the comfortable existence we ourselves would not tolerate losing. Every renewable dream has us whizzing around in electric vehicles. But this could come true only if the future is nuclear. The renewable numbers just don't work out, even when you imagine a magical solution to the storage problem, and especially when you include ground transportation.

So where did this 'decommissioning fable' come from? When was it decided --- and by whom --- that ~60 or so years hence there must be a desolate public park at every site chosen for a gigawatt nuclear plant, today?

Suggest to anyone that a water or sewage treatment plant cannot cost what it costs, it must also gather funds to fund its own destruction and demise and people will shake their heads. But this is crazy! The sewage will always flow downhill to here. We're not going to move a water plant, tear the pipes out of the ground and route them somewhere else. Oh, it's soo much different.

But is it really? Who is telling us we will be using less energy in the future? Should we listen to them?

Decommissioning funds gathered for nuclear plants may seem like a great idea, but it has also become an awful idea. It does not make nuclear energy any safer. It has promoted technological sloth, dissuaded investors from supporting (and injecting R&D to improve) the only clean base load energy source on the table. It has handicapped nuclear from being THE cheapest source of energy. It has enabled the most short-sighted and fuck-stupid forms of corporate vandalism. This is because when anyone owns or acquires an aging nuclear plant, they are faced with a choice --- whether to re-invest and re-structure to replace aging components, as they would for any other source, or trigger its destruction and unlock the magic chest of decommission funding. Getting a little kick to the balance sheet by rendering a productive energy source into a blight on the landscape, something intentionally broken that cannot be fixed.

Such as the Kewaunee Power Station which went offline in 2013 despite that it is in good condition, has maintained a healthy balance sheet, perfect safety record, operating license extended to 2033 and had six months' fuel left in the reactor. All because Dominion is riding the natural gas 'glut' at this brief moment in time. When the glut peaks out Dominion will invest in some other, dirtier short-term solution.

We should be upgrading these plants and taking them to the next level as we do with every other utility. Given the gigawatt-year track record they have demonstrated It is ludicrous to assume that any nuclear plant operating today deserves to be destroyed rather than upgraded. There are too few of them and they are too precious.

Do not feed the vultures.

Please see Thorium Remix and my own letters on energy,
To The Honorable James M. Inhofe, United States Senate
To whom it may concern, Halliburton Corporate
Also of interest, Faulkner [2005]: Electric Pipelines for North American Power Grid Efficiency Security

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane