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Comment: Re:She has gamed the system (Score 1) 239

I did a search for "Hunger Games" and instead found ... the Cliff's Notes for The Hunger Games. That lead me down the same path as you: It's not that these are great lines - or lines that a lot of people think are great - but they are lines that are important if you want to understand the themes of the books well enough to discuss them.

I mean, one of the Top 20 is "The rules of the Hunger Games..." which is interesting and useful if you want to know something about the book. It's also something for which the gist could be memorized after reading it twice: 12 districts, 2 Tributes, fight to the death. No way someone reading it on their own would need to keep track of what is going on or where this is revealed. It would be like highlighting the paragraph where you find out that Moby Dick is a whale. "What! I'll have to keep track of that - it might be important later."

And just as additional support, a couple of the other top 10 items are from "Pride and Prejudice": The first line of the book, and a comment deep into it about what "pride" is. Both of those, similarly, reveal much of what the book is about. And nobody who isn't reading for school would bother to highlight the first line of any book.

TSG

Comment: Re:How else they gonna do it? (Score 1) 461

by The_Steel_General (#39104977) Attached to: Nuclear Truckers Haul Warheads Across US

When I lived in Knoxville, I was encouraged by an acquaintance to apply for one of these escort jobs when I complained about how little I was paid as a university teacher.

I never really believed that these letters were real, but here I am writing one myself. Despite my librarian-style glasses, my students clearly all thought I was quite attractive...

Image

Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website 323

Posted by samzenpus
from the close-enough dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones and her lawyer were so upset by a comment on the site TheDirty.com that they missed the 'y' at the end of the name. Instead, they sued the owner of TheDirt.com, whose owner didn't respond to the lawsuit. The end result was a judge awarding $11 million, in part because of the failure to respond. Now, both the owners of TheDirty.com and TheDirt.com are complaining that they're being wrongfully written about in the press — one for not having had any content about Sarah Jones but being told it needs to pay $11 million, and the other for having the content and having the press say it lost a lawsuit, even though no lawsuit was ever actually filed against it."

Comment: One More Data Point (Score 3, Insightful) 651

by The_Steel_General (#31389918) Attached to: Lessons of a $618,616 Death

I'm going to repeat a point one other person made, just to make it again: In addition to the direct societal costs (which, I realize, can't even be easily quantified based on TFA: 600K? 400K? The amount charged, the amount paid, the amount paid less the patient's insurance premiums, divided by the number of people paying into policies for the two insurance companies?) and benefits (a few more years for 2 kids to have their dad around, an article investigating health care costs, a discussion on Slashdot on healthcare economics) there is also the advantage of having one more data point.

Because this guy was willing to keep trying, going through significant suffering for the benefit of his wife, his children, and a few more months of life, the medical community knows that a given group of drugs can extend the life of a kidney cancer patient by up to 17 months. The next kidney cancer patient, and the next cancer patient, and the next doctor looking for a way to treat this person who just walked in,and the next researcher investigating how these drugs work, all have a bit more information than they did before. They may decide that it's a goal to shoot for, or they may decide that the regimen is not quite useful. Either way, it's more than they knew before.

Of course, we can't determine the value of that, any better than we can determine whether the rest of the money spent was worth it. It's still a benefit we all get and should consider.

TSG

Comment: Re:Why did she even bother? (Score 1) 515

by The_Steel_General (#30761360) Attached to: Google.cn Attack Part of a Broad Spying Effort

Political types have known about Obama since at least the 2004 Democratic Convention, when he gave a well-received speech.

He was popping up in pop culture in 2007 - A "30 Rock" episode had Liz Lemon saying she'd probably vote for McCain instead of Obama, and a "Gilmore Girls" episode has Rory as a journalist preparing to follow Obama's presidential campaign in Iowa.

I'd think that even non-political types would have noticed him by the Iowa Caucuses 2 years ago, though, it being a hard-fought campaign against the polarizing Ms. Clinton.

TSG

Comment: Re:Society Expands Up to Constraints of the System (Score 5, Insightful) 452

by The_Steel_General (#30259762) Attached to: Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem

Not to answer for dintlu, and I'm really going to talk about famine rather than starvation per se, but:

"They're being prevented from feeding themselves" is not a bad answer. In Somalia in 1992, the people most affected by the famine, perversely, were the farmers, who were also part of the lowest social class.

In any case, the point is that famines are caused not by a lack of food, but by problems distributing food.

Food distribution is done poorly by governments that don't have their people's best interests in mind, e.g. because the government is a dictatorship or oligarchy and doesn't need to pay attention to what the people want. Conversely, famines don't happen in democratic societies with a free press - democracies have to respect the will of the people, and a free press would let the people know if food distribution is failing.

All of this is according to the work of Amartya Sen, who won a Nobel Prize for it.

TSG

Comment: Re:ESR said it very well - Open Source Science (Score 1) 822

by The_Steel_General (#30256886) Attached to: Engaging With Climate Skeptics

Wish I had mod points.

Open-sourcing the data and process might help with overcoming those barriers. I don't know much about climate, but I deal with big dumps of numbers, and turning them into useful graphs and charts, all the time. If I could go to a place to get the data, I could possibly leave you more time to handle the simulation processing (and understand it better), and the data-collector more time to set up/check/confirm data (and understand IT better).

(BTW, for four-dimensional arrays, do you just mean that there's a point on a map, a point in time, and a depth for each measurement? Or are you dealing with other dimensions as well?)

  Of the others
  1) Computing power. Not sure how to get around this. Sure, could do some distributed computing, which people might be more interested in with more transparency.
  2) Big data dumps, representations of: LIke I said, possibly a good place for division of labor anyway.
  3) This is probably where transparency is needed the most. People might be okay with the fact that it's complicated, if they can dig in and see what the factors are, and at least come to an understanding about it.
  4) Sounds like more of the same as 3 - assuming that analysis largely includes the stuff that was too complicated even for the model.

Your "go look for them" is easier said than done. When I look around to check my honest skepticism, I end up at sites that are, well, polarized. It seems like either they have absolutely no doubt about what's happening or they have no doubt that it's NOT happening. In either case, it's hard to feel comfortable with their conclusions. And if someone does answer my big question ("The Vostok ice cores show previous cycles of warming, even more than we have now, soon followed by ice ages, so why is there a belief that This Time It's Different?") I have to figure whether they are biased, and how that affects their answer.

Which brings us back to TFA, and how polarization between the camps needs to be dealt with, so that everyone CAN agree on What The Science Says, regardless of policy prescriptions.

TSG

Comment: Re:You missed one. Or two. (Score 1) 822

by The_Steel_General (#30256418) Attached to: Engaging With Climate Skeptics

Ice age? Not yet, but the Vostok cores show that these runups in temperature and CO2 have previously preceded a quick and large drop in temperature.

And I could be wrong, but the graph you linked, the graph I linked, and this other graph all indicate that the current temperature anomaly is well below the previous peaks. (Current temperature anomaly below 0.6C; previous peaks hit a max of about 2.0C.) If correct, your collapses/melts/openings/heaves aren't anything new, either.

I'm willing to learn, if CO2 levels are off the chart, and CO2 and temp are correlated, why temperature isn't closer to, or past, the previous peaks.

TSG

Comment: You missed one. Or two. (Score 2, Insightful) 822

by The_Steel_General (#30249582) Attached to: Engaging With Climate Skeptics

"It's not about being right"? Really?

And you miss a couple of alternate scenarios and outcomes.

Scenario 2a. Climate change is not primarily man-made, but emissions are keeping the next ice age from happening.
Activist result: Depth and speed of problem is accelerated by human change.

Scenario 3a. Climate change is primarily man-made, but emissions are keeping the next ice age from happening.
Skeptic result: Nothing happens.
Activist result: Ice age. Humans deeply impacted. millions die of starvation, cities are relocated, numerous mass extinctions, possible irreversible climate trends.

and for that matter
Activist result 1a. Convinced by faulty data that there is no hope unless emissions are controlled, governments struggle to achieve futile targets, concentrate more power in fewer hands, focus more resources on the problem, blame other countries for cheating on targets and dooming us all, attack industrial targets in cheating countries, humans deeply impacted. millions die of starvation, cities are relocated, etc.

I don't know for sure how I can be expected to show you enough data if scientists with opposing views are keeping that data from journals with threats of withdrawing their own results from the journals, but the Vostok Ice Core data suggests to me, anyway, that the change in temperature is consistent with other increases in the past, and is likely to be followed by a steep drop...soon.

I'm no climate scientist, but I felt better about taking out AGW before I knew actual climate scientists were behaving this way.

TSG

Comment: Re:barrage of ads; been to the theater lately? (Score 1) 156

by The_Steel_General (#30077396) Attached to: Hollywood Backs Swedish Movie Streaming Site

You've pretty much described Arclight Cinemas. It's a very small part of Pacific Theaters, with only two currently in existence, both in Southern California.
  Online tickets - check
  Reserved seats - check
  No extra charge....pretty sure, check. You can even print them up at home.
  No ads - check. Not sure how many trailers they limit to, but they aren't excessive about it in any case.

The downside, of course, is that Arclight is several dollars more expensive per ticket, with fewer ways to get in cheap (e.g. the normal Pacific Theaters have discount tickets that can be bought at a group rate, but they don't work for Arclight). I don't go to movies that often any more, though, so paying the extra money for a better experience works for me.

TSG

Comment: IANA Rocket Scientist, but... (Score 1) 452

by The_Steel_General (#29362173) Attached to: Future of NASA's Manned Spaceflight Looks Bleak

A Delta IV Heavy can get about 4 tons to geosynchronous orbit. With 2 of them, you should be able to get 4 tons to the moon. (Send one up with just fuel, the other with your astronauts, move the fuel over to the astronaut's vehicle, off you go.)

Use another pair to get the return vehicle onto the moon. Or to have a spare, there.

A Delta IV costs about $300 million. I'll bet you could get a discount if you bought a few at a time, but even so, that's 1.2 billion for 4.

(Not that I have a horse in the race for Ares v. Delta IV v. Proton or whatever - my point is just that we have the lift capability to do SOMETHING.)

Spend half a billion to man-rate the Delta IV, another 800 million for a launch pad, and you still have 2.5 billion left over for your vehicle - if you want to make a 50% profit on your expenditure, and if we cut the prize down to $10 billion instead of 20.

Heck with getting people up and back - $20 billion should be enough to get a full colony started on the moon.

TSG

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