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Comment: Re:We've been doing it for a long time (Score 1) 244

Harvard have large investments in coal companies, the obvious answer is to stop burning coal and use something else, but that would leave some of their richest alumni holding "stranded assets". If we use deliberate geoengineering to balance the unintentional geoengineering of the coal industry, who will pay for it? - You can bet it won't be the coal industry, it will be the consumer and taxpayer.

Harvard could make a significant contribution by divesting from coal and telling everybody why, but it has declined to do so. This press release is just a timely distraction.

Comment: Re:We've been doing it for a long time (Score 1) 244

Are you claiming that the roundup-ready genes have NOT been found in other plants growing near cornfields?

We all know Monsanto are pricks in their dealings with small farmers who refuse to buy their seed, but what "damage" has been done to human health or the environment by GMO plants of any kind? - Resistance to roundup and cabbages that glow in the dark is not "damage".

Aside from that, scientific claims cannot be "proven in court" and your well known non-belief in AGW has nothing to do with science.

Comment: Re:does the university retain a magistrate? (Score 1) 91

by TapeCutter (#48430677) Attached to: UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008
In Victoria this would probably be enforced under the "civic compliance" court or the sheriffs office, for example private entities such a toll roads can issue infringement notices for such trivial offences as a late payment of a toll. It looks like the UNSW is using contract law, fines are a common feature of contracts, more so in business to business contracts.

Comment: Re:This "hippie" isn't worried. (Score 1) 483

by TapeCutter (#48430039) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

Unfortunately the green movement is rather plagued by poor science.

Yep, that's exactly the point Lovelock makes in the quote, and it's why I make the distinction. You do realise that the founders of greenpeace were respected scientists, right? Lovelock was one of them, by the mid-90's every single one of the founders had left the organisation they founded in disgust. GP did mankind a great service in the 70's/80's by almost single handedly stopping atmospheric testing in my backyard. However during the late 80's political types had well and truly taken over the organisation and the founding scientists wanted nothing to do with their pseudo-science.

The original scientific evidence that plutonium from atmospheric tests was making it's way into the bones of Aussie children and sheep came from a CSIRO scientist in the late 50's, early 60's, he won his (national security) battle with the Australian authorities and published his findings long before the green movement got started.

Comment: Re:Put your money where your mouth is. (Score 4, Interesting) 231

by Ambitwistor (#48429569) Attached to: Does Being First Still Matter In America?

Actually, Congress did give NOAA more money for a new supercomputer. The computer hasn't materialized because NOAA is locked into a single-source contract with IBM. As TFA mentions, IBM just sold its supercomputer division to a Chinese company (Lenovo). It seems some people are antsy about the implications for a Chinese company providing the computer behind a critical national security capability (weather prediction).

Comment: This "hippie" isn't worried. (Score 5, Insightful) 483

by TapeCutter (#48424573) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

we don't want plutonium-powered reactors on an exploding rocket

Back up a bit, who's the "we"?

I recall seeing testing footage for the RTG in the Cassini probe, among other things the tests involved a large artillery gun and a steel wall a few feet thick. Cassini was particularly controversial because it made a 'sling shot' flyby of earth at a much greater speed than escape velocity. From the tests I saw in the doco decades ago the worst thing that could possibly happen with an RTG is that it falls from the sky directly onto someone's head. Far from being anti-nuke, I'm actually interested the idea of "pebble bed" reactors (materials research is what's needed there). I'm also in favour of "full life cycle" nuclear power as practised in some parts of the EU. I don't know of a -science based- environmentalist/hippie/greenie who thinks otherwise. I've held these views since the early 90's, I'm not alone either, James Lovelock and some other influential greenies expressed similar opinions in the early 2000's

I speak to you today as a scientist and as the originator of Gaia Theory, the earth's system science which describes a self regulating planet which keeps its temperature and its chemical composition always favourable for life. I care deeply about the natural world, but as a scientist I consider that the earth has now reached a state profoundly dangerous to all of us and to our civilisation. And this view is shared by scientists around the world. Unfortunately, governments, especially in Europe, appear to listen less to scientists than they do to Green political parties and to Green lobbies. Now, I am a green myself, so I know that these greens are well intentioned, but they understand people a lot better than they understand the earth, and consequently they recommend inappropriate remedies and action. Lovelock 2005.

Disclaimer: According to my parents I became a Hippie back in 1976. Like any other social group, "Hippies" in general are reasonable people if you stop insulting them and feeding them on bullshit.

Comment: Re:Nuclear Power has Dangers (Score 5, Informative) 483

by TapeCutter (#48424341) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?
I don't think you realise just how indestructible a nuclear battery is, the one on Cassini was designed to withstand a crash that might have occurred on it's slingshot flyby of earth (fortunately we didn't get to test that claim). Testing is done by firing the battery from an artillery gun directly into a solid steel wall several feet thick. What happened to Antares would have merely burnt the paint off the outside a nuclear battery. Basically the only way to get hurt by one of them is to be unlucky enough to be hit on the head with it.

Comment: Re:I'm quite surprised it wasn't (Score 1) 483

by TapeCutter (#48424291) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?
Like the GP, I was also surprised to hear that a probe so far from Earth was solar powered, I wouldn't have thought there was enough light that far out even without the shadows. Sure it's an assumption but it's not baseless, previous deep space probes such as Cassini, pioneer, and voyager are all nuclear powered. Aside from that, who pissd in your fruit loops?

Comment: Insensitive clod (Score 1) 301

by TapeCutter (#48416677) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

What you can eat, or drink, smoke (liberals), who you have sex with (conservatives).

The last lot to increase taxes on my smokes here in Oz were the right wing jesus freaks currently in power, $4/pack = ~20% increase. I'm a left wing smoker (both kinds), have been for ~40yrs, I started back in the 70's when the Marlborough Man was still cool and you could smoke anywhere except places that were likely to explode after striking a match.

Hackers of the world, unite!