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Comment Re:Everyone's phone, DSL and copper (Score 1) 177

"Oh, I've paid some serious taxes. I've paid more in taxes than many people will earn in their lifetime. But, what's reasonable? Where is that line drawn?

I ask because I don't really know. Buggered if I know. I'm sure there's a reasonable and unreasonable point (fiber is expensive and it's really expensive to maintain it up here) and I'm not quite sure if I'm past the unreasonable point or not. I am not even the most remote. There are people, in my State, who are more remote than I am with *miles* of phone line that may have not been really touched in 50 years except to do repairs. What does unreasonable look like?"

There IS a point where unreasonable does become a thing and it sounds like you are taking about a location where people have moved because they don't want to be connected to the world. Internet has reached the point where it is essentially a utility. If you don't have fast access you don't access to a full compliment of education resources for your children. When you ask questions about the world you just continue not knowing the answers. When politicians rile people up about issues only the uneducated and uninformed could possibly believe people don't have access to information and remain uninformed when they vote for those people. In the modern age there is no excuse for people who might well vote getting their information from blatantly misleading and bias sources like CNN and Fox News.

Like it or not internet is a utility. I agree there is a reasonable line, some parts of Maine and most certain other remote mountain areas are likely unreasonable for any sort of "wired" connection. But fiber isn't more expensive than copper, it's actually less expensive. Copper is a semi-precious metal worth too much to make pennies from and all the copper pulled down can be recycled. Fiber is made from the second most common element in the earths crust. Fiber doesn't suffer from electromagnetic interference so no "noisy" lines and it be put in runs up to 1500 miles whereas copper requests powered junctions on the order of yards. Fiber is much cheaper than copper and much cheaper to maintain. The cost is just putting it in to begin with. And will be the medium for future technologies for the foreseeable future, trying to squeeze something more out of copper a magical dance that has been impressive but is definitely at it's end. So, if it is reasonable to run any sort of utility line out to you, I see no reason it isn't reasonable to run fiber lines. Especially when you and other americans have already paid for it. I'd say so long as there is a place we've already paid them to run fiber to that they haven't run it, then it's more reasonable to run that fiber than for them to pocket the money. And no, it's not just tax cuts on profits from phone bills, the telcos were given over twenty billion dollars in tax credits not just deductions.

There are places where even that isn't reasonable. At that point yes there are sat links, they suck but they work. But there are also designs for tough blimps that are a little closer to earth and efficient enough to float for 6 months at a time. A good sized network of those flying all over the place and they get crazy line of sight.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 1) 456

The models suck, their accuracy level wouldn't pass muster in even a Christian private schools high school science class and that is definitely a low bar. The sample they are drawing on is, and this is stretching it, less than 200 years of any form of record. The ice cores and sedimentary layers they look at make a very bold assumption of consistent deposition and conditions over billions of years which we assume look more or like what we've seen during that 200 year period we've been looking. 200 is not a statistically significant sample out of billions.

There is a strong correlation between increased human activity and increased temperature, unfortunately our entire measured sample period also correlates with increased human activity. This makes arguments attempting to claim the correlation is causation the weakest possible arguments. What we definitely know is that human activity is a drop in the bucket next to the natural release of green house gases into the atmosphere.

Those are some of the biggest problems I see. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to improve our sample size relative to the timescales we need to know about. We have no way to gather a sample that doesn't correlate to human activity either, so there is no better evidence to be had here.

What we do know, with a fairly strong degree of certainty is that climate change is happening. The Earth is getting warming, the most probable cause is changes in atmospheric composition, and if it gets too warm our ecosystem is pretty much screwed our weather can and will go crazy (how fast and to what degree are debatable but it will definitely happen) and if unchecked anything ranging from a serious disaster for our quality of life to our extinction is on the reasonable probable list.

Given that information, it doesn't hurt to switch to an electric car but even if everyone goes 100% CO2 neutral tomorrow there is nothing predicating that will stop climate change anymore. We need to drop this holy war on terror engagement in the crusade and conduct in a war on greenhouse gas. This means a hell of a lot more than changing human activity. We need to engineer large scale solutions to sequester these gases immediately. Some ultra blooming CO2 eating algae deployed in the ocean and methane processing gut bacteria spread far and wide will be a good start.

No ladies and gentlemen. The time for being gentle keepers and avoiding tampering with the ecosystem are past. If we want to live we need utilize our human intelligence and engineer some very large scale and intentional changes to the ecosystem because the worst thing that happens is we fuck up and wipe ourselves out and that is what is going to happen if we fail anyway.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 1) 456

"If climate change is a serious problem, and human activity is responsible for it"

It actually doesn't matter if human activity is responsible for it. Human activity may or may not be what has tipped the scale but relative to natural processes human contributions to greenhouse gases are a drop in the bucket. Assuming human activity did indeed tip the scale that doesn't make correcting human activity the most efficient and effective way to solve the problem. From my understanding if we all stopped and went 100% greenhouse gas free tomorrow it is already too late to reverse climate change.

This area IS an utter waste of time. The only thing worth doing now is accepting that climate change is occurring and that it would be bad for us. We now need to focus not on whether human activity contributes to climate change but rather on whether or not we can engineer a solution to the problem. If we are going to try to reduce emissions it would be the far more massive natural sources of greenhouse gases we need to take care of. We could take advantage of massive open space that is the ocean and engineer a rapidly reproducing algae highly optimized to consume carbon and grow massive natural blooms. Something we can gather up, barrel, and sink to the ocean floor. We could engineer gut bacteria that processes methane has some sort of natural advantage spreads rapidly and effectively and possibly begin by intentionally giving our cows e-coli enimas.

We need to start focusing on the solution and not the problem. And no, that solution need not produce some sort of saleable or useful byproduct. If you can have your sequestering technology produce little carbon flakes we can start using in cement so be it but otherwise we just need them to be relatively stable and sinkable in an ocean trench.

Comment Re:Predictions, so far, have been accurate (Score 1) 456

"Looks like not merely a good prediction, but an outstandingly accurate prediction."

Outstandingly accurate prediction? That isn't even accurate to a single decimal point over a period of merely 50 years. We are talking about a model of a system that works on geologic timescales, think billions of years. 50 years is hardly a significant sample and accuracy that didn't even extend to a single decimal place would get you laughed out of essentially any branch of real science.

If the time shift on satellites in order had been off this much relativity would have been proven serious flawed. Last I check you need at least eight decimal places and statistically significant sample not to be laughed out of most fields.

Pick a number between 1 and 10... any mentalist can tell you that 7 is the most likely to be picked number. So what you are telling me is that almost all models are based on a model which over a statistically insignificant timeframe, got only one digit right and that digit is the one people would have been statistically most likely to guess without even knowing what they were picking a number for.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 2) 456

Sample size. Which is a major problem for climate science models in general.

Yes the earth is getting warmer, that much is clear enough. But we haven't had anywhere near the kind of time scales to measure to validate model for a climate system that spans billions of years.

Yes, we look at ice cores and sediment layers but we work on assumptions that these things pack on layers and grow in ways that are consistent our predictions of how they developed and our observations during a statistically insignificant period of time.

There is a very strong correlation between global warming and human activity... of course, there is also a very strong correlation between our monitoring sample and human activity.

In the end it doesn't really matter though. We are past the point where "going green" can solve the problem even if human activity is the source. We've set the ball rolling to so speak. At this point you need engineers because we need a massive engineering effort to sequester greenhouse gases on a globally significant scale NOW.

Comment Re:Context, for Americans (Score 1) 550

In New Mexico police aren't even allowed to check for proof of insurance just license and registration. And the license and registration places are outsourced so there are dozens and dozens of private companies issuing the things. It's a factory farm for valid U.S. ID being issued to illegal aliens.

Of course driving an old beater is a sure way to get pulled over. Police are far more likely to ticket someone they don't think can afford to fight the ticket. The last thing they want is to have to show up for court. Just another way of punishing the poor and getting them to subsidize the wealthy, those tickets are how much of the local governments get funded so the result is the poorest pay the brunt of the cost.

Comment This seems like an incredibly bad idea (Score 1) 550

Here in Texas they like to use these reflector things instead of a proper middle line on many roads. The things come up so 2/3 of them are missing and it is hard to see the lines and tell the lanes apart. I can assure it certainly does nothing to help people even find their way around let alone drive safely.

I want you to stop for a second and imagine a 6 lane road (for a total of 12 lanes with both directions) without any lines. This is a recipe for a nightmare.

Comment Re:Everyone's phone, DSL and copper (Score 1) 177

Did this all the time. In truth I remember the announcement that carriers were going to remove pulse dialing but maybe there was public backlash against it. I'm not sure when the last time I saw an regular telephone was so I can't say I've tried it.

Hell, there used to be some payphones that combinations of tricks with the operator and the ability to pulse dial allow you to get free calls. It was also a handy trick in situations were you were only allowed one phone call for awhile.

Comment Re:Everyone's phone, DSL and copper (Score 1) 177

That is how it should be with all internet service. The issue is that the lines run out to your house should be fiber because tax dollars have already paid the telcos to run those lines, you shouldn't have had to pay a cent individually. The telcos just take the money and keep it rather than upgrading infrastructure.

What has begun to happen is that they use their monopoly/duopoloy granted status to enjoy immunity on state and local levels, letting them run their cables over/under private property whether the owner likes it or not. And of course to get all those tax dollars for upgrading infrastructure (which don't come with strings requiring them to actually use said dollars to perform those upgrades or time table requirements). Once the infrastructure is in place, as a telco they'd be required to let other companies use that infrastructure and offer service at the same wholesale price they charge to their own provider arm. So they take off their telco hats, put on their ISP hats and ISPs are NOT required to let other companies utilize the infrastructure. A lot of the old DSL like yours comes from before they learned this trick so there are competing providers although the telcos come up with schemes providing volume discounts and the like to do their best to avoid those providers actually getting the service at the same cost their provider arm does.

It seems simple to me. Tax payers pay for the FIBER lines to the premise, the telcos are basically contractors hired to implement and maintain said lines. They should be selling that capacity at the same rate to their provider arm, me, you, or any other business who wants to compete in the ISP game. The performance should be a race to the top with the price being a race to the bottom. I somehow think you'd quickly find a reliable net neutral 1g up/down service for $20-50/mo fairly quickly in that world of how it is supposed to work.

Comment Re:Silencing science (Score 1) 456

Just a few months ago, actually. It's the new guy, Malcolm Turnbull. He's not quite a denialist, exactly, but the Liberal Party is the rough equivalent of Canada's Conservatives. ("Liberal" and "Conservative" mean different things in different places.) They've been kinda lukewarm on climate change (pardon the pun); his predecessor acknowledged it and even praised Obama's efforts to do something, but those efforts are heavily hamstrung by a Republican Congress and what he can do is heavily influenced by that. The new guy had made some noises in the same direction but is apparently being pushed in a Harper-like way.

Comment Re:Energy in? (Score 1) 142

Could it be useful in powering cars? Power density has been an issue for mobile power plants. It's only half the energy density of gasoline, and a bit less than ethanol, though perhaps it would be a good feedstock for making one or the other? (I'm not a chemist; I've never entirely understood why making fuel out of low-energy carbon compounds requires so much more than just the energy input.)

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