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Comment: Re:Yes, still dangerous (Score 1) 409

by Xyrus (#48514509) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Alpha rays are not dangerous, as such, because your skin can shield you, yet alpha emitters are very dangerous because if you ingest or breath-in a small particle, there is very high probability that you get cancer later - sometimes many years later - on. A small particle does not give you a high probability of developing cancer. Your probability of developing cancer is based on the amount of radiation your exposed to. The smallest I could find mention of was 1 mSV/yr for 20 years would increase your chance of getting cancer by .1%. This about the same radiation exposure you'd get working in the Rotunda building for 20 years (Uranium decay in the granite).

Then of course, there's the alpha emitters you eat everyday in the form of potassium from bananas, salt substitute, and other potassium based compounds.

There are a number of factors that go into whether or not one will develop cancer from radiation exposure.

Comment: Re:cost/price per kW hour comparison is nonsense (Score 2) 516

by Xyrus (#48415565) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

A solar installation is an investment. The proper analysis is return on investment. Current actual price before credits and rebates for a 4kW rooftop (16 panels, abt 25 m^2), installed, is about $16,000. This includes a substantial profit for the installer -- it should be available for less in a competitive market...

It isn't the cost of the hardware that's preventing wider adoption. It is the completely ridiculous cost of installation which can easily double to triple the price. A number of states won't allow you to install your own panels and then hire an electrician to finish connection to the grid. You have to get a "certified" installer.

As an example, a 5KW system costs around $9000. The estimate I got for installing the system was $23,000, an additional $14,000 for installation. This is literally for a single day of work. In comparison, to get my whole roof replaced took 2 days and ran me about $8000 total.

If I were allowed to install my own panels, it would take me and a buddy about a day to do, and then have a certified electrician come in and finish wiring everything up. Total cost would be beer, pizza, and about $1000 tops for the electrician. But I'm not allowed to do that, so I either get fleeced by a lease or get gouged by the installation companies. No thanks.

The profit margins must be pretty damn sweet though. Easy money.

Comment: Re:Senator James Inhofe (Score 1) 282

by Xyrus (#48342617) Attached to: When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Inhofe is now the head of the senate environmental commitee that oversee 100% of all climate change legislation and policies in the US.

He wrote a book 305 page book entirely on the subject of global warming. The name of this book is "the greatest Hoax".

To paraphrase Stephen Colbert: If Harry Potter didn't have enough magic for you, read this book.

Comment: Re:Look at the IPCC track record first (Score 1) 695

The IPCC more recent third assessment from 2001 has much improved projections, and we can again compare them to reality 15 years out. The 2001 assessment has error bars included and a decade more research and refining behind it. If you compare it as well, you see today's temperatures DO fit within the error bars projected 15 years ago by the IPCC, albeit barely. Of course, they are way, way down on the lowest end of the error bars.

What the above tells me is that reality has shown the IPCC has consistently been overestimating the amount of warming to be expected.

The problem here is that your focusing on atmospheric temperatures, which only tells a small part of the story (this is also only 15 years which still has too much noise to make any reasonable comparisons, 30 years is typically used). Most of the heat is stored in the oceans, and it was recently discovered that the heat the oceans were storing has been underestimated. That's where the heat has been going.

In other words, the science says don't panic just yet.

Only the idiots are panicking. The scientists are explaining their results and the potential impacts. Few seem to want to listen. Oh well.

Comment: Re:are conservatives just showing more reaction? (Score 1) 330

by Xyrus (#48292981) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

Obvious differences indeed - I'm guessing the REPUBLICANS's brains lit up in the areas associated with MAKING the mess, and DEMOCRATS' brains in the areas with hope that they might be able to clean it up?

FTFY. The republicans in this country aren't any more "conservative" than the democrats are "liberal". Also, an F-MRI of the current crop of republicans would show zero activity. Or at least that's the impression I get whenever I see a scientists go before a panel of congressmen. The fact that the congressmen on the SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITEE don't even understand basic concepts that most 4th graders understand tells you all you need to know.

Comment: Re:Mo-tiv-a-tion (Score 1) 583

by Xyrus (#48246547) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

This is always the problem with people imagining horrifying artificial intelligences that will snuff out humanity. To do that, you have to be motivated to achieve that end.

Not really. A self-sufficient AI could easily come to the conclusion that humans (and life in general) should be eradicated from a number of different avenues of thought. An AI could be incredibly subtle and patient about doing it as well. Humans aren't really good with subtle or patience, especially if the actions seem to be perfectly good and well reasoned.

Comment: Re:NASA disagrees (Score 2) 185

by Xyrus (#48240521) Attached to: Study: Past Climate Change Was Caused by Ocean, Not Just the Atmosphere

Of course NASA is used to doing this.

The ocean below 1.24 miles hasn't warmed. The ocean above that has, and it turns out it has warmed more than originally thought: Link.
Doubled CO2 means under 2 degrees warming

"8th December 2010 13:24 GMT - A group of top NASA and NOAA scientists say that current climate models predicting global warming are far too gloomy, and have failed to properly account for an important cooling factor which will come into play as CO2 levels rise."

Yes, because a news site without links to the actual published research or subsequent scientific discussion is to be taken at face value. However, it didn't take much Googling to find that the so-called study being referenced in the link was authored by none other than Judith Curry, a well-known climate crank. Her work has been scientifically eviscerated many times over. In other words, she has no credibility.

The latest research, done by several different scientists at several different institutions over the past couple years seem to be averaging around 4C. The AR5 centered around 3C.
""Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. "

Why would a 150 year melt cycle be "right on time" in warming world? Never mind somebody made the headline "Unprecedented melting of Greenland ice".

How can a cyclical even be unprecedented?

Again, you are mixing journalistic sensationalism with actual science. That being said, irregardless of the event, Greenland is experiencing rapid mass loss. There have been multiple papers on the subject.

I believe Mr. Hansen left shortly after this. I could be wrong but I think it was around that time.

This had nothing to do with why he left NASA. HE RETIRED. He mentioned his retirement several years before he actually left. He worked there for 46 years. Now he's following his passion as the director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University's Earth Institute.

Comment: Re:Why dont they screen doctors before they come b (Score 1) 372

by Xyrus (#48220753) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

What I don't agree with are the people who are using things like Malaria and HIV statistics to try and show how the media is playing up this issue.

You may not agree with it, but that is exactly what they are doing.

Both are less serious and more controllable diseases with much bigger sample sizes.

I don't even....

As/if more Ebola cases arise, the contractions will increase exponentially and they'll stop comparing this to "more serious diseases".

Not happening, at least not in countries with reasonable sanitary practices. Ebola is difficult to catch, and it has a high mortality rate. These two factors prevent it from becoming the next big pandemic. To wit, the guy who was first diagnosed in the US was in Dallas, a city of 1.5 million people. Out of those 1.5 million people, he infected two, and they were the nurses who were directly caring for him.

Yes Ebola is lethal, but so is EEE and yet I don't see you in a panic about EEE (and that's spread by mosquitos). You're far more likely to get EEE than Ebola (along with a whole host of other diseases). You're more likely to die falling out of your chair while reading this than die from Ebola.

What I don't understand is why they are letting doctors who work on Ebola patients back into teh country without being screened?

There are people arguing to shut down all travel from West Africa, even if that's too much in your opinion, at least screen these doctors.

Customs: What was your reason for leaving the country?
Doctor: I was treating patients with Ebola.
Customs: Due to national security, we can not let you into the country until you've been tested and cleared.
Doctor: But I have plans to go bowling in Brooklyn in about week!
Customs: You're retarded.

Chances are, the conversation wouldn't happen like that and the doctor would be understanding of the situation.
So why aren't we just doing that to begin with?

Because it would be ineffective. As has been mentioned numerous times, it's easy enough to lie and/or take a circuitous/non-documented route. Screening for possible Ebola victims would be about as effective as screening for terrorists: UST (Useless Security Theater).

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy