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Comment: Re:Where the pessimism comes from. (Score 2) 116

by hey! (#47915329) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

I'd argue that we do try to write about the future, but the thing is: it's pretty damn hard to predict the future. ...
The problem is that if we look at history, we see it littered with disruptive technologies and events which veered us way off course from that mere extrapolation into something new.

I think you are entirely correct about the difficulty in predicting disruptive technologies. But there's an angle here I think you may not have considered: the possibility that just the cultural values and norms of the distant future might be so alien to us that readers wouldn't identify with future people or want to read about them and their problems.

Imagine a reader in 1940 reading a science fiction story which accurately predicted 2014. The idea that there would be women working who aren't just trolling for husbands would strike him as bizarre and not very credible. An openly transgendered character who wasn't immediately arrested or put into a mental hospital would be beyond belief.

Now send that story back another 100 years, to 1840. The idea that blacks should be treated equally and even supervise whites would be shocking. Go back to 1740. The irrelevance of the hereditary aristocracy would be difficult to accept. In 1640, the secularism of 2014 society and would be distasteful, and the relative lack of censorship would be seen as radical (Milton wouldn't publish his landmark essay Aereopagitica for another four years). Hop back to 1340. A society in which the majority of the population is not tied to the land would be viewed as chaos, positively diseased. But in seven years the BLack Death will arrive in Western Europe. Displaced serfs will wander the land, taking wage work for the first time in places where the find labor shortages. This is a shocking change that will resist all attempts at reversal.

This is all quite apart from the changes in values that have been forced upon us by scientific and technological advancement. The ethical issues discussed in a modern text on medical ethics would probably have frozen Edgar Allen Poe's blood.

I think it's just as hard to predict how the values and norms of society will change in five hundred years as it is to accurately predict future technology. My guess is that while we'd find things to admire in that future society, overall we would find it disturbing, possibly even evil according to our values. I say this not out of pessimism, but out my observation that we're historically parochial. We think implicitly like Karl Marx -- that there's a point where history comes to an end. Only we happen to think that point is *now*. Yes, we understand that our technology will change radically, but we assume our culture will not.

Comment: Jane/Lonny Eachus goes Sky Dragon Slayer (Score 1) 154

by khayman80 (#47914831) Attached to: 3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

... Since emissivity doesn't change the input required to heat source to achieve 150F is constant, regardless of where it comes from. But as long as the walls of the chamber are cooler than the source, NONE of the power comes from the chamber walls... [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

But if the chamber walls are also at 150F, they're not cooler than the source and the input required to heat the source to 150F is zero.

Comment: Jane/Lonny Eachus goes Sky Dragon Slayer (Score 1) 154

by khayman80 (#47914733) Attached to: 3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

... do you still maintain that after the enclosing passive sphere is inserted, the central heat source raises in temperature to approximately 241 degrees F? You haven't said anything about that in a while, so I'm just checking. [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Once again, if the electrical heating power is held constant, the heat source has to warm. Once agin, Jane's heat source keeps the source temperature constant by halving its electrical heating power. Jane/Lonny Eachus might ask himself why his required electrical heating power goes down by a factor of two after the enclosing shell is added.

Comment: Jane/Lonny Eachus goes Sky Dragon Slayer (Score 1) 154

by khayman80 (#47914709) Attached to: 3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

... Of course it wouldn't need a separate heat source if its environment were maintained at 150 degrees. ... [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

In other words, the electrical heating power is determined by drawing a boundary around the heat source:
power in = electrical heating power + radiative power in from the chamber walls
power out = radiative power out from the heat source

Since power in = power out:

electrical heating power + radiative power in from the chamber walls = radiative power out from the heat source

Right?

Comment: Where the pessimism comes from. (Score 4, Insightful) 116

by hey! (#47914675) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

The pessimism and dystopia in sci-fi doesn't come from a lack of research resources on engineering and science. It mainly comes from literary fashion.

If the fashion with editors is bleak, pessimistic, dystopian stories, then that's what readers will see on the bookshelves and in the magazines, and authors who want to see their work in print will color their stories accordingly. If you want to see more stories with a can-do, optimistic spirit, then you need to start a magazine or publisher with a policy of favoring such manuscripts. If there's an audience for such stories it's bound to be feasible. There a thousand serious sci-fi writers for every published one; most of them dreadful it is true, but there are sure to be a handful who write the good old stuff, and write it reasonably well.

A secondary problem is that misery provides many things that a writer needs in a story. Tolstoy once famously wrote, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I actually Tolstoy had it backwards; there are many kinds of happy families. Dysfunctions on the other hand tends to fall into a small number of depressingly recognizable patterns. The problem with functional families from an author's standpoint is that they don't automatically provide something that he needs for his stories: conflict. Similarly a dystopian society is a rich source of conflicts, obstacles and color, as the author of Snow Crash must surely realize. Miserable people in a miserable setting are simply easier to write about.

I recently went on a reading jag of sci-fi from the 30s and 40s, and when I happened to watch a screwball comedy movie ("His Girl Friday") from the same era, I had an epiphany: the worlds of the sci-fi story and the 1940s comedy were more like each other than they were like our present world. The role of women and men; the prevalence of religious belief, the kinds of jobs people did, what they did in their spare time, the future of 1940 looked an awful lot like 1940.

When we write about the future, we don't write about a *plausible* future. We write about a future world which is like the present or some familiar historical epoch (e.g. Roman Empire), with conscious additions and deletions. I think a third reason may be our pessimism about our present and cynicism about the past. Which brings us right back to literary fashion.

Comment: Jane/Lonny Eachus goes Sky Dragon Slayer (Score 1) 154

by khayman80 (#47914127) Attached to: 3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

You asked me if I believed the power usage of the heat source would be the same if the walls were also at 150F. The answer is YES, and here is why: You are proposing to bring the whole system up to a level of higher thermodynamic energy, rather than just the heat source. And you are somehow proposing that it doesn't take more energy to do that. But of course it does. The power required to bring the heat source up to 150F remains the same, because the Stefan-Boltzmann law says it has to be. But NOW, you are ALSO bringing the walls up to that higher temperature, and THAT would require even more power (because of the slightly larger surface area). [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Again, that's completely ridiculous. I've explained why the power used to set the chamber wall temperature is irrelevant. Any power used is simply being moved from some point outside the boundary to another point which is also outside the boundary. Because that power never crosses the boundary, it's irrelevant.

For example, you could simply place the vacuum chamber somewhere with an ambient temperature of 150F. That would require zero power, but once again it doesn't matter even if the vacuum chamber were on Pluto. Because that power never crosses the boundary.

Either way, as long as the chamber walls are held at 150F, the heat source would need absolutely no electrical heating power to remain at 150F. Zero. Period.

You asked me if I believed the power usage of the heat source would be the same if the walls were also at 150F. The answer is YES... [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Here's our disagreement. Conservation of energy demands that a heat source at 150F requires no electrical heating power inside 150F vacuum chamber walls.

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 476

by TapeCutter (#47914049) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels
PS: Bad form to reply to own post but I'd also like to say I agree with your post, those consideration are a matter of due-diligence in my mind.

Of course you will also want to apply the same standards to the claims made by those upholding the status quo. After all, the FF industry is one of the most powerful economic entities on the planet, it has a lot more power and wealth than Gore, they are at least an order of magnitude higher in assets than the clean energy industry as a whole.

We have already seen the US senate abused in a failed attempt to discredit a single scientific paper. What I would like to see now is a repeat of the "tobacco trials" for the coal industry and their pet politicians (yes senator Inhofe, I'm looking at you)..

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 1) 476

by TapeCutter (#47913831) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels
Another way of looking at it is that Gore puts his money where his mouth is, and considering the profits are fed back into his educational charity it's hard to see how it has given him more power and wealth than (say) a post-political career as a corporate lobbyist. For the most part I find American's in particular are generally for/against his charitable work based not on the contents of his documentaries, but on the perceived colour of his politics. The rest of the world don't really know him as as a politician, and are therefore less inclined to instinctively "shoot the messenger".

Comment: Re:It's getting hotter still! (Score 2) 476

by TapeCutter (#47913735) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

Regrettably, there has been little to no efforts made from the scientific community to distance itself from Gore's extreme proclamations and warnings.

Sigh, the scientific community almost unanimously came out of the lab to praise the documentary because they felt it was a "bloody accurate" representation of their work.

Yes, I know scientists don't appreciate having to come out of their research labs where they are doing actual real work to do stuff like that, but it's important. It's all the more important the more impact you believe your research has to society as a whole.

Agree, now if you do some fact checking you will find the vast majority of climate scientists have already come out of their labs to loudly defend Gore's work, I'm not sure what your reading/viewing habits are, but you obviously missed the last 10yrs of debate, so the question is now - what will you tell your kids? - Can you set a good example by demonstrating a true skeptic changes his mind when confronted with inconvenient facts, or will misplaced pride take you down the creationist road?

Comment: Perfection is the enemy of progress. (Score 2) 476

by TapeCutter (#47913589) Attached to: Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

I agree with your basic premise but most AGW advocates ignore and will not address contrary evidence, preferring instead to ridicule and cast aspersions, as you do.

Increasing seasonal sea ice in Antarctica is not "contra-evidence", it's a prediction that most models have been making for over 20yrs now, the mechanism that causes the counter intuitive result is well understood. So called "skeptics" are flogging a dead horse in their attempts to cite it as some sort of "smoking gun" that climate scientists are attempting to hide. The often intentionally misleading claim is ranked at #10 on skeptical sciences list of most popular climate myths.

As for Al Gore, any internet idiot can play "gottcha science" by taking words out of context and deliberately misinterpreting them. However the scientists who were lead authors of the IPCC reports that Gore's documentary was based on gave it a good review for it's representation of the report. Of course there were minor errors, and yes, the scientists pointed them out. The reason Gore shared the Nobel prize with the IPCC is that he put the IPCC's monumental lit-review effort squarely at the center of public policy debate.

Useful idiots? - As someone who has followed climate science with interest since the late 70's, Gore's documentary was an excellent (but imperfect) explanation of the science and it's real world consequences. It's a shame so many slashdotters mindlessly join in when the Gore bashing starts, he's the only well educated geek that has come close to sitting in the whitehouse for a very long time. History will admire his charitable public education efforts, even if most american's currently do not.

Disclaimer: I've been well known on slashdot for commenting on climate related stories for around 15yrs now, I'm not and have never been an "AGW advocate", I'm a science advocate.

Comment: Jane/Lonny Eachus goes Sky Dragon Slayer (Score 1) 154

by khayman80 (#47913475) Attached to: 3 Short Walking Breaks Can Reverse Harm From 3 Hours of Sitting

You're either disputing conservation of energy, or you're not calculating the actual electrical heating power. If you're calculating the actual electrical heating power, your calculation has to account for radiation from the chamber walls because it passes in through that boundary. That's why the electrical heating power would be zero if the chamber walls were also at 150F!

Nonsense. This is textbook heat transfer physics. We have a fixed emissivity. Therefore, according to the Stefan-Botlzmann radiation law, the ONLY remaining variable which determines radiative power out is temperature. NOTHING else. That's what the law says: (emissivity) * (S-B constant) * T^4. That's all. Nothing more. This makes it stupidly easy to calculate the radiative power out, and therefore the necessary power in. [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

It's "stupidly easy" to calculate radiative power out and power in through what boundary? The boundary you're describing has to include the source's radiative power passing out through it, without including radiative power from the chamber walls passing in. I think that's impossible, but feel free to explain exactly where such a boundary would be drawn.

One question only: do you agree with the Stefan-Boltzmann relation: power out P = (emissivity) * (S-B constant) * T^4 ?? No more bullshit. "Yes" if you agree that equation is valid, or "No" if you deny that it is valid. Just that and no more. I'm not asking your permission. I'm just trying to find out whether you're actually crazy or just bullshitting. [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Once again, I agree that "power out" through a boundary drawn around the heat source is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann law. But I've obviously failed to communicate that the power from the chamber walls has to pass in through that boundary, so you're only using half the equation to calculate the electrical heating power.

The REASON there would not be as great a power DIFFERENCE if the chamber walls were also at 150F, is that the walls would themselves be radiating more power out, so there would be less heat transfer (in that case 0). It is NOT, as you assert, because the heat source would be using less power. That's false, by the S-B equation. Its power output remains the same because (Spencer's stipulation) the power input remains the same. The reason my solution does not violate conservation of energy, is that the power consumption of the chamber wall is allowed to vary. THAT is where the change takes place, not at the heat source. Again, this is a stipulation of Spencer's challenge. Once again: power out of heat source remains constant, because P = (emissivity) * (S-B constant) * T^4. There is nothing in these conditions that changes this at all. Therefore, BECAUSE the power out and power in at the heat source remain constant, so does the temperature. It's all in that one little equation. [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Once again, no. Draw a boundary around the heat source:
power in = electrical heating power + radiative power in from the chamber walls
power out = radiative power out from the heat source

Since power in = power out:

electrical heating power + radiative power in from the chamber walls = radiative power out from the heat source

"Power in" has to include the radiative power passing in through the boundary. Otherwise energy isn't conserved, because power in = power out through any boundary where nothing inside that boundary is changing with time.

... EVEN IF we accepted your idea that the "electrical" power required to be input to the heat source is dependent on the temperature difference between the heat source and chamber wall (a violation of the S-B law), you still contradict yourself because your answer of a hotter heat source would still then require MORE power, because the difference is greater. But that is not allowed by the stated conditions of the experiment, and you keep glossing over that simple check of your own work which proves it wrong. So no matter how you cut it, your answer is wrong, by your own rules. ... [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

Once again, no. I've already shown that the electrical power in my solution remains constant.

Once again, that's because I'm correctly applying the principle of conservation of energy to determine the electrical heating power.

It seems like we can't agree that "power in" includes the radiative power passing in through a boundary around the heat source. Is that because you disagree that power in = power out through any boundary where nothing inside that boundary is changing with time? Or is it because you disagree that the radiative power from the chamber walls passes in through a boundary around the heat source?

The REASON there would not be as great a power DIFFERENCE if the chamber walls were also at 150F, is that the walls would themselves be radiating more power out, so there would be less heat transfer (in that case 0). It is NOT, as you assert, because the heat source would be using less power. ... [Jane Q. Public, 2014-09-15]

That's absurd. A 150F plate surrounded by 150F chamber walls wouldn't need an electrical heater at all. Period. The electrical heating power would be exactly zero. Maybe you're mistaking "electrical heating power" with "radiative power out"? Or maybe you're missing half the equation necessary to calculate the required electrical heating power, and it's leading you to bizarre conclusions?

Comment: Re:it's means it is (Score 1) 130

by Bill, Shooter of Bul (#47912905) Attached to: 3D-Printed Car Takes Its First Test Drive

Can they print a car body as quickly as the company did in the article? Have they?

If not, then that's the point.
If they have, then well the story sucks as much as everyone says it does.

Step back from the myopic meaningless look at the details, and see how the small dots form the larger picture.

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