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Comment: Re:Summary is contradictory (Score 4, Informative) 26

by careysub (#49550091) Attached to: Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved

Something can be uniform and fluctuating at the same time. All that's required is that the fluctuations follow the same, regular pattern everywhere. I have no idea whether this is true for the CMB, however.

It is true. Further, the fluctuations are tiny - at the parts per million level. It took 28 years after the CMB was discovered to detect any fluctations at all, requiring a sophisticated space probe (COBE) to do it.

Asserting that the CMB is "not uniform" because of these fluctuations is rather like saying the Bonneville Salt Flats are not really flat at all since the surface has millimeter scale irregularities, or your polished marble dining room floor isn't flat since it has micron sized irregularities.

Comment: Re:But why is there only one spot like this? (Score 3, Informative) 26

by careysub (#49550075) Attached to: Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved

...

I think it comes down to this: why there is a big cold spot in the CMB? Because there's a big void. Mystery solved!

Except there's still the mystery of why there is such a big void in the first place.

That is true, but it is a much lesser mystery. The previous record-holder was the Canes Venatici Supervoid at 1.3 billion light years, and an Eridanus Supervoid has been the preferred explanation for the Eridanus Cold Spot (or, humorously, CAOE: "Cosmic Axis Of Evil) for years ("parallel universe collisions" was always an exotic explanation), but the existence of such a supervoid had not been confirmed. Dr. István Szapudi of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has has just announced findings that measures this supervoid at 1.8 billion light years. This is moderately bigger than the previous record-holder (40% wider), but there are quite a few that are 400-800 million light years across. This looks rather like a power law distribution, often found in nature.

The Canes Venatici Supervoid is closer as than the Eridanus Supervoid (red shift z=0.118 vs 0.22, or 1.5 vs 2.5 billion light years) as well as being smaller so there are two reasons for the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe Effect to be weaker, but apparently there is no anomalous cooling for that void at all. I would like to see someone address that.

Comment: Re:Read The Fucking Constitution (Score 1) 291

Any time period less than infinity is limited.

And that is exactly the reasoning that the Supreme Court has used to uphold the legality of the copyright extensions. Since there is some limit, even though it isn't fixed, and keeps getting extended for the very same work, now long past the life of the creator, it is still "limited". If Congress passed an extension to a thousand years, it would still be limited.

Comment: Re:Oh Really? (Score 1) 291

Is there any work that is over 50 years old that still brings in big money? The proper solution is to charge an annual fee per work for continued protection of, say $1000/year after 50 years. I'll bet they won't want to pay that.

It is amazing how you have totally bought into the corporations most ardent desire: continual "ownership" of other people's work as if it was some inalienable right.

Copyright was invented as a limited term privilege to encourage artistic creation as a social good.

The proper solution is to revert to the original 28 year maximum duration and place all artistic works in the public domain after that time.

Comment: Re:Why the hate for VB (Score 1) 175

by careysub (#49515663) Attached to: Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech

...Almost always, a goto statement indicates sloppy design on the part of the coder. I think I have only come across one instance in my professional life where a goto was actually not a bad option (maybe even the best, or least worst option). And I've been coding for around 30 years now. Also, there is a reason why coders almost instantly fell in love with the object-oriented paradigm. Almost overnight, it cleaned up a lot of code. Granted, it is not a perfect paradigm, but it does seem to work well in a surprising number of cases. Just sayin'.

Structured programming constructs already did the heavy lifting on the Curse of the Go-To, a decade before OO languages became generally available.

But yes, with exceptions available (handling error breakouts in otherwise clean logic) the last reason to use a go to died.

Comment: Re:/farthermost/ (Score 1) 94

Stretch it to 2015 and throw in a bit of smoothing. It appears that "farthermost" and "furthermost" track each other in usage over a period of over two centuries, with furthermost always being more popular, and with both being in decline since 1920. Until 2000. Then the usages turn upward. We are an era of "further/farthermost" renaissance!

Comment: Re:not relevent (Score 1) 291

by careysub (#49455045) Attached to: Cannabis Smoking Makes Students Less Likely To Pass University Courses

And, Slate as a source for rational argument?? REALLY?????? They're about as neutral and unbiased on this subject as Jerry Falwell on The Ten Commandments or gay marriage.

And you have nothing to refute it. Cite errors? An alternate source that refutes? Anything at all? All you've got is an ad hominem attack. Pretty cowardly even for an AC.

Are you the same one lying about homicide rates in the post above?

Comment: Re:Actually, (Score 1) 291

by careysub (#49455031) Attached to: Cannabis Smoking Makes Students Less Likely To Pass University Courses

...

The shocking violence of prohibition days was only shocking becasue there was so little violence among the non-gangster population. In comparison to the violence associated with today's drug gangs, the violence of Al Capone and friends was trivial. The "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre" (1929) only involved the death of six mobsters (NOTHING on the scale of a typical Chicago weekend these days... and a modern Chicago weekend is more likely to involve dead innocent civilians)...

There is a word for this bit of historical 'explanation' - it is politely referred to as "B.S." Here is a very interesting long term graph of American homicide rates. It shows that there has been a long term (300 year) trend toward lower homicide rates, with two interesting spikes in the 20th Century.

One of these spikes is smack-dab in the middle of Prohibition, where the overall murder rate rose to 10 per 100,000. It rose again to this same level the late 20th Century (peak was in 1991). It has since dropped to half that. So, yeah, the 20's were very violent everywhere just like the late 80's and early 90's, and today we have much lower levels of murder despite "today's drug gangs".

Comment: Tragedy of the Commons Writ Large (Score 2) 210

... You can't have a business without customers, you can't have customers if people don't have money, and they can't get money without wages or social security...

What we have here is the situation when corporate power, and the power of the financial elite, takes over all aspects of government policy. It transforms the entire consumer market based economy into the Tragedy of the Commons.

Every corporation aims to to fatten its bottom line, stock price, and C-Suite compensation package by reducing the wages of its labor force. It is a rational micro-decision, just as grazing as many sheep as possible on the commons is rational for the individual farmer, but it destroys in the long run the basis of the whole economy - a nation full of consumers with lots of money to spend on products. The majority of the increases in corporate profitability, and the source of the exploding CEO paychecks, over the last quarter century have come from holding wage payouts flat (or reducing them. Increased productivity stopped being linked to worker compensation a full 45 years ago, an entire working lifetime. As the proportion of wages that make up the economy fall to the lowest level since the Great Depression the engine that drives the growth of the U.S. economy is running out of fuel, now an anemic 2.38%, compared to the long term mean of 4.41%.

But hey, the CEOs are happy!

Comment: Re:Account number? (Score 1) 289

...

At best, the trial would suffer years of delay after delay after delay, throughout which he would still be imprisoned of course, while every avenue of defense was contested and denied, in secret, for "national security reasons"....

And he would be in solitary confinement the entire time, probably with no access to family.

Just look at Wen Ho Lee whose only charges were a technical mishandling of classified information (he downloaded a lot related to his work, but there was never any evidence he gave it to anyone), and was held in solitary confinement for nine months.

And yes, the nine months for Lee would surely correspond to many years while the government "gets ready" to try Snowden.

Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 97

Because it will be immensely valuable in the long run to be able to move asteroids around.

And it makes sense to start with something small to gain experience at doing it.

And although a 4 m astro-boulder is "small" as asteroids go, it weighs on the order of 100 tonnes - making it roughly the same mass as the largest single payload ever orbited from Earth (more precisely probably about half the mass of that largest payload on a Saturn V). Seems like a good place to start.

Also this is boulder, being a CI carbonaceous chondrite is a very interesting object for scientific study. We have pieces of these that have fallen to Earth, but they are always contaminated. Obtaining pristine samples, and being able to obtain cores, will be also be immensely valuable scientifically.

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