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Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 1) 238

by ScentCone (#48479827) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Without a long history of white police treating black people badly, a single incident would not have sparked such protests.

Without a wildly higher-than-average rate of violent crime among young black men in some areas, cops in those areas wouldn't be having to face every situation like another one in which they might get killed doing something simple like a traffic stop. And do you really think that there'd have been riots in Ferguson if the breathless media reports immediately in the wake of what happened had been reporting the observations of credible witnesses instead of the absurdly transparent lies of the criminal running buddy of the guy who had just assaulted the cop? But why did the crowds there, and social media, and some mainstream media outlets catch on fire with the obviously false narrative? Because the honest people who saw what happened were afraid of what would happen to them if they got caught telling the truth. Those witnesses weren't afraid of the cops (they went to the police as soon as they could do so quietly), they were afraid of people in their own neighborhoods.

What sparked violent protests was a bunch of deliberate BS that got trotted out in an attempt to gloss over what that 6'-4", 290 lb "sweet child" and his store robbing, warrant-out-for-him sidekick had just done. If he hadn't stood there in front of cameras and spouted a bunch of self-contradictory nonsense about Wilson shooting out the window of his cruiser, or chasing Brown down and shooting him in the back, or shooting while he was on his knees with his hands in the air and on and on about stuff that did not happen, don't you think that might have been a little different? If the people who live right there weren't so scared of guys just like him and Brown, don't you think the many witnesses who were standing right there and saw what actually happened might also have been on video, talking down the idiots? That would have been great. But they're scared - for their lives - of the very people that the cops also have to confront on a regular basis.

You're right, it's not a single incident. It's years and years of people growing absolutely terrified of the rudderless, violent young men in their own neighborhoods. And when the cameras role, those voices of reason are nowhere to be seen, because they don't want to be another statistic in the huge problem of black-on-black violence - numbers that completely dwarf even the most demonstrably real cases of some dumb cop (white or black ... black cops kill black men, too, not that you'd know that from hearing the coverage) acting rashly.

Comment: Re:Mass produce! (Score 1) 188

by Firethorn (#48478251) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

37 year payoff is 'barely' not worth it? When the panel efficiency starts drooping somewhat at the 20 - 25 year mark?
A 250 Watt panel doesn't stay at 250 Watts - it drops over time.

They're still rated for something like 40 years for 70-80% production.

But I missed a rather large math error. At 10 cents a kwh, it's not $4.38/year, it's $43.80/year. That's what I get for not using a calculator for it. At that point it's only 5 years to break even, everything after that is pure profit.

Comment: Re:Mass produce! (Score 1) 188

by Firethorn (#48478239) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Right now you can get a 250W panel for around $200. You should be able to generate around 438kWh from it a year(20% capacity factor). Or around $4.38 worth of electricity, which is a 46 year straight payoff(not worth it). If you pay 20 cents like some people, it's only a 23 year payoff(worth it).

Massive screwup on my part - assuming 10cent electricity, it's actually $43.80 worth of electricty a year, which is a 5 year payoff, not including other equipment. Easily worth it.

Comment: Re:In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamic (Score 2) 140

by Rei (#48476923) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

It's not the ambient temperature of air that's key here, it's the ambient temperature of space, which is about 2,7K.

All objects are constantly radiating energy and receiving energy back from other things that are radiating. When two objects in radiative exchange are roughly the same temperature, this balances out. But when one is hotter than the other, the hotter one loses more energy than it takes in, and vice versa. And it's not just a little difference - radiative heat loss is proportional to the absolute temperature to the fourth power, that's a pretty big exponent. So when you're exchanging energy with space, which is so cold that it takes very sensitive instruments to be able to measure *anything*, well, that heat is simply lost.

You can see this effect for yourself by noting how cloudy nights are usually warmer than clear nights. Clouds are cold, but they're not as cold as space!

The effect of the combination of radiation, absorption, and reflection, with different band peaks for each phenomenon, manifests itself in atmospheres as a greenhouse effect (positive or negative) versus the radiative equilibrium temperature.

Comment: Re:In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamic (Score 1) 140

by Rei (#48476869) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

This "modulation" happens all the time, few things in this universe are true blackbodies, most prefer to radiate in specific bands. They're apparently using a material that tends to radiate only on one narrow band at regular earth temperatures.

Not sure how much benefit this provides to the building owner, to the point that they'd be willing to cover their building in hafnium-and-silver coated panels, rather than just white paint...

Comment: Re: haven't been following... (Score 1) 179

by Rei (#48476295) Attached to: Behind Apple's Sapphire Screen Debacle

Does anyone actually have problems with scratching of the latest generations of gorilla glass? I've had my Xperia Z2 for over half a year and because it has a glass back as well as front it makes it less risky to try scratch tests, so I've done it a number of times and let other people try to scratch it, and nobody has ever succeeded. I'm sure if you put a diamond to it you'd scratch it, but short of that, I can't see why more scratch resistance is needed.

Now, *crack* resistance, they could use good improvements in that. : But from reports the sapphire wasn't that crack resistant.

Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 2, Insightful) 238

by ScentCone (#48473509) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

They'd be fools to do so merely on the word of a clearly hostile outsider, and even if they believe you, the perceived risk from Ebola might still be smaller than the perceived risk from social isolation.

Luckily, they (say, a village family in rural Ghana) are equipped with essentially the same meat computer your are. They are perfectly able to perceive the fact that the neighbor is dying with blood pouring out of her body, just like tens of thousands of other people just have. They are able to perceive that the ultimate social isolation is having everyone you care about die. It's nice to see you're not one of those people who thinks that a farmer in Liberia, who deals with life and death every day as he tends to livestock or hunts, isn't somehow too dim-witted to grasp cause and effect when he has the basic facts. This is about social behavior DESPITE knowing the facts.

Culture has value

Unless it's what's just killed off everyone you know. Or look at places like Ferguson, MO, where culture just decided to burn down local shops in a tantrum over reality disagreeing with an instantly concocted bogus media mythology. Culture, like the culture of castigating your neighbors for daring to go get an education or acquiring a broader vocabulary - as seen in swaths of urban culture or patches of, say, Appalachia - is often destructive, the opposite of valuable. Pious political correctness, which employees poisonous moral equivalence in the name of assuaging misplaced guilt over the fact that some cultures actually work better than others, preserves and actually perpetuates that destructiveness.

Comment: Re:Alive and gobbling (Score 1) 113

by Rei (#48473053) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

Surprised you haven't gotten any "but animals eat meat!" comments.

Animals also commit petty murder and mass rape. I like to think that we have the intelligence to choose to not have to imitate the behavior of other animals and decide our own path. And fortunately, we have a digestive system which allows us to make that choice when it comes to our diet.

Comment: Re:What's with turkey anyway (Score 1) 113

by Rei (#48473045) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

Swans can literally kill people - a guy died just a couple years ago when swans attacked his boat and then kept attacking him while he tried to swim to shore, until he drowned. More common though are things like bruises (up to and including black eyes), scratches, and skin-puncturing bites. A google image search for swan attack shows how they don't mess around when they feel threatene (there's even pictures of one attacking a full-grown horse)

Comment: Re:What's with turkey anyway (Score 2) 113

by Rei (#48473019) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

It's not all that distant of a relative of chickens, actually - it's in the same family (but a different subfamily). It's kind of wierd that one family (Phasianidae) has almost all of the commonly consumed poultry - chicken, turkey, grouse, quail, pheasant, peafowl, guineafowl, etc. Go up to the order level and you find more (mostly regionally popular) game fowl, like ptarmigan. And once you hit the superorder level, you get the water fowl like ducks, geese, and swans. I can't even think of any other poultry species. There's lots of Aves clades, subclasses, and infraclasses, but apparently the species that people find make good eating are rather clustered together.

Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 0) 238

by ScentCone (#48472347) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Do you understand the average education levels in Africa? The average wage? The living conditions?

Yes, and the three countries in the worst shape (as it relates to the spread of Ebola) all have a miserable record of taking lots of external support that could be educating their people, bolstering their healthcare systems, and generally improving the lives of everyone in those countries. But because of cultural inertia and rampant corruption (you know, the people who feel entitled to skim the support cash/material personally and not do things like march out into the rougher parts of their own country to explain to the rural population that they're killing themselves with primitive rituals), those are places that can't shake off the problem.

Do you want to know who is a smug western douche? You are. "Africa" isn't a place you can talk about in sweeping terms like you just have. Your dim, uninformed vision of it as a single, monocultural place with a common level of education and sophistication is absurd (and incredibly condescending, Mr. Holier Than Thou). "The entire continent" isn't the same. Countries like Nigeria have seen cases in this outbreak, but have headed it off at the pass because the population, culture, and approach to things like this are very different there than they are in, say, Liberia.

I'll tell you what, you go to a Baptist church and tell them they need to give up a "ridiculous part of their culture". Or try it at a Mosque.

I have no trouble telling ANY group of superstitious people that what they think is ridiculous. Especially when they do things insist a capricious god is going to cure their kid's cancer, or kiss the bodies of Ebola victims, and then wander back to their own homes and, a couple of weeks later, wonder why their whole family is dying - despite a helpful aid worker risking her life to explain to them the basic facts of life and death. It's the 21st century. Billions and billions of dollars in aid flows into the countries most vulnerable to issues like this, and it gets squandered, diverted, or mis-applied because of toxic levels of corruption by comparatively educated people. They want to have a piece of that foreign aid action while also having the lazy inertia of backwards cultures that can't cope with this much human density. That sense of entitlement to both a primitive past and a piece of the largess of other countries that have moved on - it's unmistakable.

Optimization hinders evolution.