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Comment Re:this is propaganda at work (Score 1) 136

Yeah, so should you:

"Despite its enormous size and density (4 particles per cubic meter), the patch is not visible from satellite photography, nor is it necessarily detectable to casual boaters or divers in the area, as it consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often microscopic particles in the upper water column."

4 PARTICLES per cubic meter.

Thanks for completely proving my point about the pernicious impression given to casual readers that this is some sort of garbage reef. Clearly you were fooled.

Comment I have a better idea (Score 1) 183

How about we charge people according to the electricity they use?

That way, people can weigh what's important to them. If I want to work an extra little bit each day so I can make more money to spend on things like electricity for my gaming computer, I can.

I have this friend, Adam Smith, who I believe has explained it all pretty thoroughly. It's not a perfect system, by any means, but it's better than most, and pretty practical.

Comment this is propaganda at work (Score 1) 136

...because their pronouncements are as carefully contrived as anything by Leni Reifenstahl. Granted, this is slashdot, so it could just be incompetent editing.

Notice the summary starts with a categorical:
"According to a new study almost every ocean-foraging species of birds may be eating plastic by 2050,,,"
Salted with a nice big statistic:
"..In the five large ocean areas known as "garbage patches," each square kilometer of surface water holds almost 600,000 pieces of debris. ..."
Adds in a bit of fluffy FUD:
"...For example, some types of plastics absorb and concentrate environmental pollutants, he notes. After ingestion, those chemicals can be released into the birdsâ(TM) digestive tracts, along with chemicals in the plastics that keep them soft and pliable..."
And ends with a tragedy:
"...Most birds have trouble passing large bits of plastic, and they build up in the stomach, sometimes taking up so much room that the birds canâ(TM)t consume enough food to stay healthy...."

Except....these bits of information have very little to do with each other.
Those terrifying "600,000" pieces? Most of them are 0.5mm or less. A significant portion aren't even visible. Those pieces of plastic are hardly choking seabirds to death.

Look, BPA and other estrogenic compounds ARE an issue: for humans and for sea life. No doubt we need to work on that to get them out of the products we use and dispose of every day.
We need to stop talking in propagandistic terms about the 'Garbage Patch'es - that implies there's this floating reef of garbage which is simply a well-motivated lie.

Do I think it sucks that these particulates are in our food stream? Of course I do. But it's hard to imagine anything 7 billion use as ubiquitously as plastic NOT ending up in the environment. Histrionics and lies don't help the issue at all.

Comment Pointless propaganda exercise (Score 3, Interesting) 463

The Chair Force has been trying to kill the A-10 since it was born; why would ANYONE believe that this test won't be designed to play to the F-35 strengths and A-10 weaknesses?

The tests will likely be engineered carefully:
- transit speed: likely they'll have a number of targets far apart, to point to the A-10 slow top speed. What they WON'T have is targets that are camouflaged or hard to find (like real life) because that would require loitering and slow passes.
- few targets: sure, the F35 can probably put 2 or 4 guided bombs in a precise 2' circle. But it can't carry anywhere near the payload of the A10 (nor retain it's vaunted stealthiness if it carries external stores) to deal with target after target after target.
- There may a single gun-specific target that the F35 can cheerfully spatter with it's 4 seconds' worth of ammunition. The A10s 30+ seconds of ammunition will not be needed.
- Ground fire - not sure how they're going to test that, but that's a critical value of the A10, it was built to fly over (and survive) the most intensive Cold-War Soviet Armor Wave attacks. Iraqi ground fire proved this time and again that the A-10 was astonishingly rugged.
- Air to Air combat: unlikely they'll give the A-10 a couple of Sidewinders it would carry in uncertain airspace, but in any case, they'll have a "strike" by some Red Force aggressors to "prove" the A-10 can't hold it's own in air-to-air (never mind that in actual deployment, they should be being covered by...F-35s)
- Replaceability: The A10 in 2015 dollars is just under $20 million. The F35 is $100 million. Maybe have FIVE A-10s simultaneously completing courses while 1 F-35 has to cover them all as well? Yeah, ha ha ha, that's not going to happen.

This will just be a Potemkin USAF test to "prove" the F-35 is as capable as they say.

Tell you what: let the ARMY design the test. Then we'll see.

Comment Re:I can tell from the comments (Score 1) 382

It might sound like I'm being flippant, but I'm not: that's what you get for living on a sandbar.

My serious point is this: NOBODY, ever, (except perhaps the Egyptians and their pyramids) built cities on the basis of "what's the safest place for us to build this to withstand millennia of the cycles of climate?" This is a relevant discussion no matter where you stand on AGW; it's *ultimately* an issue to everyone, the only thing that will matter depending on your climate-change stance is the urgency.

Cities are built in places of convenience, which almost always means water nearby, often large amounts (because boats are a shitload easier to move cargo than by hand in a horse-drawn wagon) like oceans. These locations in particular are subject to the vagaries of climate.
Further, the growth of human population and concomitant urban sprawl heedless of such concerns has caused major populated areas to end up in danger zones even if the original core city wasn't (New Orleans would be a prime example: the oldest parts weren't endangered by Katrina-flooding).

So now we have massive collections of human dwellings and urban areas on city sites that were likely selected by neolithic humans THOUSANDS of years ago because of a fortuitous mix of convenience, safety, and food sources...and now we're saying "oh, wait, these city sites are vulnerable"? Seriously? Of COURSE they are.

It's just staggeringly naive or disingenuous to be surprised about this. Nothing lasts forever. if climate was going the other direction, it would be like complaining that Edmonton's going to get wiped out by glaciers - yeah, if you build a city in the distant north, eventually, that's its fate. And yes, "eventually" comes someday.

Comment CONGRATULATIONS (Score 1) 89

Delighted to hear of their success. The more parties that are up there, the more that space activities will become a pedestrian sort of thing that we need to consider in public budgets, instead of still sort of seeming to be treated like some 'luxury' item that can be cut whenever fat needs to be trimmed.

Comment Re:The Homer! (FP?) (Score 2) 416

This is what I believe is going to be the same response to the much-pushed "internet of things".
I don't want my refrigerator to talk to the fucking internet, *particularly* if it's just an effort for some marketeer to convince me that I desperately need this new service so he can monetize it.

I want:
- minimal cost to perform the functions I want
- no additional 'features' that admit additional points of failure in that basic function

Comment Re:No shit ... (Score 3, Insightful) 152

It's why the US Constitution has been so successful for so long, frankly.
The Founding Fathers presumed that everyone participating in government were scoundrels and went from there.

(I don't think they anticipated that the US public would be so apathetic for so long that they'd let the scoundrels come to mutual agreements, however....)

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."