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Comment Summary: "It's hard." (Score 5, Insightful) 43

Glossed over in the story: "It's not that hard if you know what you're doing and have some money."

A few notes...

"It could cost $30,000 for a very basic setup." Never mind that someone with that level of skill could save that much in a couple of years. I know people who spent that much on sports equipment in a similar timeframe. Not all hackers are dirt-poor. Or they could get a middle-management job at a distributor and steal a few of the more expensive pieces. Some people have patience, you know.

"It's very hard to do the really subtle and clever things, like drug delivery bacteria." Conversely, it's nowhere near that hard to breed a better form of anthrax, not to mention a whole lot of other microbes. Anthrax is EASY to get - it's found on every continent, and there are regular outbreaks around the world. The same goes for many other nasty diseases.

"You need high-level biocontainment to be safe." But that's not hard to do for small samples, and relies on 1950s-era tech.

"You need very specific training to do it right." Well, thank heavens that we don't have hundreds of people with that sort of training. Oh, wait, we do. Well, at least 100% of them are sane. Er...

"You can't test on monkeys." But you can test on small, isolated communities of humans. By the time anyone notices it was man-made, it's too late. Nothing will happen if the bugs don't work, and if they DO work, it will take more than a while for the government to catch on.

The only issue is production-level amounts - making a few ounces for a major anthrax attack, for example. You don't have to make the cool spore/long-term dispersal agents for this purpose.

Generally, the big blind spot is "someone planning this will want to do it exactly like 1970s germ warfare types did, with tons of long-duration anthrax spores and well-tested lethal strains." Nope, not any more than mad bombers will all make highly-engineered explosives with anti-tamper devices and multiple remote detonators. They'll cut corners, take stupid risks, make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of them will die at home.

But it only takes one.

Comment Re:Why does the U.S. hate diesel so much? (Score 4, Interesting) 301

US standards are pretty strict in comparison to Europe.

Part of the reason VW got caught was that the people doing the testing were looking at European diesel cars, found they polluted more than they should, and decided to test US cars for comparison.

Comment A 55 year record! (Score 3, Insightful) 292

It's the first time we've seen four Category 4 hurricanes - in a huge ocean that was never adequately surveyed before weather satellites.

Which were first launched in 1959.

Real coverage - able to see and accurately categorize those big storms - wasn't until the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Comment Really? Don't think so. (Score 3, Insightful) 119

At least half of the people I know who play Final Fantasy XIV came there from another MMO (mostly WoW).

Back when I played WoW, most of the people I knew came there from other MMOs.

For that matter, in pretty much every MMO I've played, one of the stock discussion tropes is "which MMO did you play before this?" - with a very, very low percentage who never played MMOs before.

Yeah, most people also play other genres, but if you made them choose, you'd find that pretty much everyone IS primarily one "type" of gamer first.

Comment A Simple Issue (Score 4, Insightful) 519

A plain ad, with a link to someone's site? That's fine. I'll even read them as I scroll down the page, most times. If it's something I'm interested in, I'll even do a quick search for the product and look at the actual seller's page.

A really, REALLY annoying ad, with autoplay video and sound, popping up and getting in the way of the actual content, and often becoming home to all sorts of security issues like viruses or rogue redirects to trash pages? That's not. That's why I use adblocking software.

Here's a thought, advertisers:

Try spending as much time on creative and entertaining ads as you do in trying to come up with new and more obnoxious pop-ups. That actually works.

Comment Re:Ha! (Score 4, Informative) 480

...except that's not actually true.

For example, there's been the long-running practice of reenlistment bonuses. Different jobs get much higher bonuses for reenlisting.

The base pay may be the same, but the difference between, say, a low-ranking cook and a low-ranking nuclear weapons technician is pretty startling when that bonus is calculated. As in "tens of thousands of dollars."

Comment Or... (Score 1) 114

Maybe the system checks program names and then tells the program it's actually running faster, instead of, you know, actually running faster? Do the programs themselves time the rate, or do they just rely on driver calls?

"This is a really fast driver release!" "How can you tell?" "It says so."

Or maybe they're doing a "faster without drawing more" trick.

"Yeah, it's Half-Life 2. Just put in an occasional doubled frame. Nobody can tell the difference, right? They'll just think it's a headcrab effect."

Comment Re:Free? Who said anything about free? (Score 4, Interesting) 432

I want to pay market prices for everything I consume. No one suggested that anything or anyone should be free.

then why don't you pay double for your gasoline? you are getting a 50% discount thanks to government subsidies

You do realize that's completely false, right?

I know some nutcases like to pretend that the oil companies get untold billions in subsidies, but when you look at the actual numbers, it's just plain false. There's an "$18 billion" subsidy number tossed around, but that's because they include regular old tax deductions. You know, the kind (and amount) that every business gets. A lot of folks are annoyed that oil companies can deduct exploration costs, but that's no different than any business expense.

The single largest "subsidy" due to direct government spending is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve - where the government buys oil - at market prices (no bonuses), and keeps it, until they can use if for things like lowering oil prices when it's politically expedient.

Currently, the US consumes about 140 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Which would mean that, at current $3/gallon prices, we'd have to subsidize by about a half a TRILLION dollars a year. Someone would notice a check that large...

No, government "subsidies" don't cut your gas prices by half - but government taxes increase them by a fairly large amount.

Comment HOW much CO2? (Score 1) 310

Their top projection - the one that's getting a lot of play - suggests they think we're going to hit 935 ppm CO2 by 2099.

Which is nearly twice what most of the "mainstream" projections calls for, and is pretty much fantasy at this point - it's above the IPCC's worst case scenario (and a couple of hundred ppm above anything like a reasonable example).

The one that's closest to reality is for 538 ppm CO2 - and you have to look pretty close to notice any difference from right now. Although they gave us some "1950" baseline images, so you can actually see the difference (and notice that the "catastrophic" part of CAGW doesn't seem to be coming any time in the next 85 years).

Comment Re:How to fix the pause! (Score 3) 639

And that's where it falls apart.

This study gets the "warm" result by combining two different datasets - old, ship-based measurements plus new, buoy-based ones. Which has been done many times before, and resulted in the old curve that flattened out. This is NOT a new problem, and has been well understood for as long as AGW has been predicted. The adjustments were already there (see the lower part of Figure 2 in the study).

This study MODIFIES that "change over time" by lowering the ship-based measurements (which dominated the SST series for most of the last century) and fudging up the buoy-based ones. Since there are an increasing number of buoys (though not as many as you'd think) and fewer reporting ships, this adds about +0.12 C to the trend over the last twenty years or so - which just happens to be the right size to make the "pause" disappear. Sort of.

Unfortunately, even if you believe this modification, it causes another issue - it still highlights that (even if you cheat the numbers up), we're still missing a lot of predicted warming - almost 0.5C so far. Which means that catastrophic AGW (in the 3C - 5C range by 2100) just isn't happening.

Comment Re:How to fix the pause! (Score 2) 639

...except that the article you cite did some cherry-picking to find ONE chart that (if you don't look too closely) sorta disagrees with what you claim they actually did, and ignores pretty much all of the rest of the paper.


The author screws up by looking at the lower half of Figure 2, and assuming that was their analysis. Instead, he should have paid more attention to the top half of Figure 2, which is their end result. They did one bad thing: used a heavy black line versus a thin red line, which obscured the actual adjustment (lowering in the past, raising in the present). If you go to the actual paper and view the largest version of Figure 2, you can easily see the changes in the top half.

Notice also that the lower half of Figure 2 just shows how they threw out the old, well-used set of corrections for engine intake and bucket methods and substituted their own, which include the "adjustment" to the previous temperature records.

Comment Re:How to fix the pause! (Score 4, Interesting) 639

...except they didn't, overall. It would be wrong, at that: most ship-based SST measurements are at various depths (ship intake, bucket measurements, each of which are at random depths). A ship engine intake depth can be anywhere from a meter below the surface to ten times that depth, and the old bucket measurements were all over the place.

Adjustments for differing measurements have already been made in the historical record - they went in and adjusted it MORE because it wasn't agreeing with the global warming that they just assume has to be happening (because of their continually-blown model predictions).

Your "reinterpretation" of #3 is fanciful at best. Why make bad science even worse by adjusting the actual data?

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]