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Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 5, Informative) 372

by david_bonn (#49635163) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

Wow, so /. is going to post monthly updates to CO2 but not monthly updates on the 18 years and 5 months of flat temperatures? The latter is news worthy, CO2 concentrations if you've been watching it, are jumping up and down as if life is consuming it. Like it was food for something which isnt human...

Meanwhile someone discovers a link between Sun pollution, magnatism, heat transfer between planets and the 'void' which may explain away "Dark Energy" as simply being sun pollution. Unspent electrons. Energy for star ships.

Yet /. is more focused on cutting off it's nose to spite its face?

What kind of future does /. want to see? One where we're all accountable for creating food to feed plants and be chastised for it based upon "green" ideology? "Green" ideology which says food for plants is making the planet hotter because CO2 is a "greenhouse gas"? *ALL GASES IN THE ATMOSPHERE ARE GREENHOUSE GASES * because they all absorb some energy vs not having an atmosphere at all!

Oh gosh, where does on start.

I guess I'll take a simple approach.

Svante Arrhenius showed in 1896 that CO2 absorbs much more infrared radiation than Nitrogen or Oxygen, which is nice because it keeps our planet from being an ice ball. CO2 levels then were around 300 ppm.

CO2 levels today are about 400ppm, that is the highest they have been in 800,000 years. And no, CO2 levels weren't this high 800,000 years ago. That is just how far back we can go with ice cores.

Human activity, mostly burning fossil fuels, is pumping 36 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

If you don't buy human-caused climate change, explain to me which one of those facts you disagree with. Or explain to me how you interpret them.
Reference: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/c...

Comment: Re:eh (Score 1) 425

by david_bonn (#49622909) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth


A lot of what puts a programmer on the far right-hand side of the curve (whatever curve you choose) is an "Aha!" type of ability to piece together better solutions and to make previously intractable bugs shallow. I don't know how you teach that ability but it is precious when you work with someone who has it.

A lot more time is spent on requirements, debugging, and debugging requirements than is spent on actually coding. In my experience a lot more of the "10x" performance comes from those other parts rather than coding. And if you have someone who seriously understands the problem and understands the platform you are targeting that someone can work (what appear to be) miracles.

Comment: Re:Trigger is slightly different than create (Score 1) 171

by david_bonn (#49542787) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes

Do we really know that all of the earthquakes triggered by this process will be small and inconsequential?

We don't really understand why injecting lots of wastewater into deep wells is causing earthquakes. One hypothesis I have heard is that the compressed wastewater is lubricating faults and making them more likely to release. But that is just one hypothesis. Without understanding the precise mechanism causing these earthquakes we can't really be certain that they will always be small earthquakes.

Naturally caused earthquakes follow a power-law distribution. If the same distribution works for these kind of earthquakes we haven't had enough time pass under these new conditions to know if there is a probable upper limit to the size of earthquakes triggered by wastewater injection.

Comment: Re:Water- we dump it on the ground (Score 1) 678

by david_bonn (#49511945) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Actually "declined" is too polite a word.

This isn't a new idea. The drought just gives it currency. I'd point out that even in the best case it would take years to build, and if CA is going to go dry next year people there are going to have to live without water for years before such a hypothetical pipeline would be built.

Comment: Re:Won't work in many countries (Score 1) 42

by david_bonn (#49402209) Attached to: The Unlikely Effort To Build a Clandestine Cell Phone Network

It would be a nightmare to check ID's for little junk pre-paid phones and SIM cards in the store. No one really cares anyways.

Except when some whackjobs blow something up or kill someone and it turns out it was organized with prepaid phones then a lot of people are going to care a lot.

Comment: Re:How's that work in the rain? (Score 2) 536

Kitsap County gets 49 inches a year, and averages 153 sunny days. So it's fair to say most of the time the weather is crappy, and from what I understand that tends to kill wireless performance.

Yes, it does. However, most of the rainfall is more like a heavy mist than a serious downpour, and doesn't trash your wireless performance that much. My own experience is that snowfall and ice build-up on the antenna have been a bigger problem than rain.

Comment: this is a solvable problem (Score 5, Informative) 536

... and this guy doesn't need to sell his house.

You can buy point-to-point wireless internet solutions which will give you up to 5km of range and around 50mb/s of bandwidth for $300 or so per end, so $600 total.

If that is his house, he has a bunch of trees around it which will block line of sight so he needs a tower-type antenna mount which he can buy for about $1000.

So all he needs to do is make arrangements with someone to be the other endpoint and he is in business. For less than $3000.

I'm not making this up. I managed to do this in a remote part of Washington state (where I still do not have a landline phone, the last time I checked CenturyLink wanted more than 25 grand to put in the phone service, even after I pointed out that I had put in extra copper wires they could use when I put in power to my home site) over sixteen years ago. My out-of-pocket costs were less than five grand.

Comment: This is about avoiding discrimination lawsuits (Score 1) 292

by david_bonn (#49220801) Attached to: Do Tech Companies Ask For Way Too Much From Job Candidates?

What is going on is that companies are afraid of being sued for discrimination and so they write job descriptions that no one could possibly fill. That way they (theoretically) will be able to defend themselves when they hire whomever they want to and don't hire that other person because they "weren't qualified".

In practice this isn't really very effective, but lots of HR people believe it is.

My two favorite examples of this were a requirement of having a grad-level CS degree and being a graduate of the University of Hawaii ... ironically UH didn't have a CS program at the time, as the person writing the job description knew. The other one was requiring five years of experience in Java ... in 1995.

Comment: Re: What about military satellites (Score 1) 178

by david_bonn (#49217553) Attached to: MH370 Beacon Battery May Have Been Expired

So the one hand it's inconceivable that Western powers can't tell an iridium signal from anywhere on earth. But on the other hand you admit Malaysia couldn't track widebody airliner flying across the country.

While I wouldn't equivocate the professionalism of american and Malaysian militaries, I think it shouldn't be surprising that neither is well equipped to succesfully deal with random, unpredictable scenarios that they've never encountered before.

It doesn't seem that unreasonable to me, If the transponder is off (somehow) air traffic control can't see the airplane. Military radar can, but until an emergency is declared or until the plane does something really weird any military is unlikely to do anything (re: Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Mathias Rust, &c). By the time they figured out the plane was missing the plane was long gone.

Having said that, this whole thing stinks.

A 100-ton airplane doesn't crash, even in the ocean, without leaving a lot of debris. A lot of stuff in a plane floats and by now some of that debris would have washed up somewhere. No debris has washed up.

A lot of the information about the aircraft's course and altitude changes after it ceased most communications turned out to be incorrect. Whether someone is lying or just clueless is unclear.

How and why the satellite data unit was shut down and later restarted is also unclear. Given that the unanimous consensus is that you cannot even do that from the cockpit (you have to get into the electronics bay, accessed by a hatch from the galley in front of business class) either there was a major malfunction or something really bizarre happened.

I haven't yet heard a good theory that explains what happened, but the least bad theory is that the plane was somehow diverted and probably ended up near the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Why and exactly how that happened is at best poorly explained, but the lack of debris indicates that the plane did not crash.

ref: http://nymag.com/daily/intelli...

Comment: Re:pandemic (Score 1) 247

I'm thinking about '28 days later'. How long can one hide from the growing population of the diseased? The foraging option given in most stories will become exponentially difficult as food spoils and shops are looted by other survivors. Just like the movie, the best option is leaving town. This means the most valuable part of doomsday preparation is not gas masks and dried food but an exit strategy. If no authority has repaired infrastructure and established order after 5-7 days, it's time to exit any highly populated areas.

This strategy is going to work so well when you encounter the well-armed residents of small towns who are unlikely to welcome strangers who might be carrying a fatal disease and who are unlikely to have practical survival skills that said small town needs (strangers with survival skills, that is).

Comment: Re: Of Course (Score 1) 247

I doubt the modeling took into account that here in the South we defend our homes via the second ammendment against foreign invaders, tyrannical government AND zombies!

... which is nice except for the fact that Montana has a higher rate of gun ownership than any state in the old confederacy, and the third-highest overall (after Wyoming and Alaska). http://usliberals.about.com/od...

Comment: back in the day... (Score 2) 102

Back when I was an undergrad in that program they limited themselves to 100 undergrads. EE was a separate program.

And the CS department was in a very dumpy building right across from the Student Union building that was a notorious firetrap.` That was a couple of buildings ago. If I remember they remodeled their current building (the old EE building) in 2003.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 2) 347

by david_bonn (#49142877) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

A couple of observations.

There is a hellacious difference between an estimate and a deadline. A lot of the problem is abusing estimates and quietly or unconsciously turning an estimate into a deadline. The process for producing the two is totally different, or at least should be.

One very good manager I had would never directly ask me for an estimate. He would ask me how long it would take to figure out how long it would take to code x. If you can make a reasonable estimate of the size and complexity of the problem you are trying to solve you can begin to make a reasonable estimate of how long it will take. Without that information you are pulling numbers out of your ass.

One other good manager I had emphasized to me that estimates were, well, estimates. It was as big a problem if I always overestimated as it would be if I always underestimates.

Comment: Re:Cripes, what could possibly go wrong? (Score 4, Interesting) 421

by david_bonn (#49111503) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

Some idiot is just going to do it.

It wouldn't surprise me if some consortium of obnoxious rich people (billionaires who own substantial amounts of Florida real estate are good candidates) and a low-lying country (my bet is on the Maldives) are just going to go distribute aerosols in the upper atmosphere.

The thing is, the actual volume of material you need to get into the stratosphere is not very large. A small jet flying eight or ten hours a week could do it. The problem is that most small business jets don't fly high enough to get effective distribution.

So you'd need to re-engine a gulfstream or two -- that's the big capital investment.

Someone could do this and not even need to ask permission.

"What if" is a trademark of Hewlett Packard, so stop using it in your sentences without permission, or risk being sued.