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Comment: Re:School me on well water (Score 1) 312

Companies don't frack when the natural gas can contaminate the ground water, because they can get the natural gas cheaper with conventional means. They frack when there's impermeable rock above the natural gas, which normally keeps the gas away from the aquifer. As far as the 99% potable water goes, are you willing to drink a glass of anything that's 99% pure water? You're sure that about two grams of contaminant can do no harm?

Comment: Re:Industry attacks it (Score 1) 312

For this to work, we'd need a much different court system.

Suppose a company pollutes, and I want to sue them.

First, what is "fair compensation"? How do you tell if the damage to me is $100 or $200? Is there a list of things I'm just expected to put up with, or a price list? What's a generally degraded quality of life worth?

Second, in order to do this, I need to spend a lot of money up front on court fees and lawyers. I may need to take a lot of my time. If I don't spend the money, I don't get any compensation and the company gets to do as it pleases. If I do spend the money and time, there's no guarantee I get any compensation. If we do "losers pay", I risk a whole lot of money if I do file suit, while the company could well wind up paying tens of thousands for damages of a few thousand. If we don't, how do I get compensated?

Similarly, finding out exactly what's happening can be expensive, and somebody's going to have to pay for it. My lilacs are dying. What's killing them? An expert might find that it's primarily due to some chemical or other, and that expert will charge. Now, is somebody going to tell me which chemicals come from which company without me spending serious money? Bear in mind that lots of companies consider their chemicals to be trade secrets, and this came up several years around here. During a fire at a factory, some firefighters were injured by chemicals they hadn't realized were there, and businesses defended their decision to keep dangerous chemicals secret.

Third, we have to provide linkage between damages and pollutants and polluters at a certain level of proof, and we have to determine what level to use. This is particularly difficult when the causes and sources are mixed.

For this to actually work, we need truly massive government subsidies to courts and investigative bodies, which I've never heard any libertarian recommend. Without these, a company is at liberty to pollute my land without effective deterrent or recourse, as long as they don't do a tremendous amount of damage to me personally.

It's FAR more effective and efficient to have pollution regulations that are enforced by an arm of the government.

Comment: Re:The thankless job of solving nonexisting proble (Score 1) 345

I think we're in pretty close agreement on the science.

1998 was indeed anomalously warm, and the fact that we're getting temperatures like that normally is very strong evidence that the warming has continued. The "no effect" I've seen so much noise about is intellectually dishonest, and I don't know that any climate scientist said anything about monotonic or uniform effects of global warming.

I was making fun of the AC, who posted a reference to a paper (I don't know much more about it) that said that normal variations can account for much of the observed warming, and that the climate models are generally good, and claimed that refuted global warming observations. Of course, AC was very fast to ignore normal variations when it suited AC.

Comment: Re:At the same time (Score 1) 301

You need another book or five. The Spitfire was a very good fighter, but was developed in the usual manner. Fighters, as a general rule, didn't have turrets. The British actually did build a fighter that was a big leap into a radical idea, the Boulton Paul Defiant that had a turret. It sucked.

The Battle of Britain was not nearly as close-run a thing as some people think. At one time, Fighter Command was pretty close to pulling the fighter squadrons north, and just letting the Germans dominate the airspace of southern England, but the Germans changed their tactics (the Germans had no idea what to do, or how successful they were being, having limited information on what the British were doing). At that point, an invasion would have been opposed by the Royal Navy, who could have destroyed most of the invasion force by running destroyers through the German flotillas at high speed. (The Germans actually did do a test of their landing plans, under ideal conditions, and they didn't work anyway.) Now, if you want to wish the RAF and the RN away, we get to the problem that the Brits really did have large military forces on the island. They were mostly badly equipped (but getting better equipped all the time), so it would have taken a real military operation to conquer Britain. It would have also taken real logistics, the sort that wouldn't have worked since all British ports in the area were rigged for demolition. Every so often, the British military likes to wargame out the invasion, and it's incredible how much they have to change reality to give the Germans a chance.

Comment: Re:Warp drive? (Score 1) 403

by david_thornley (#49624275) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

A reactionless drive would violate the Law of Conservation of Momentum*. This, in turn, would mean that the laws of physics change over space, which means we'd have pieces of space be inherently distinguishable, which is going to screw up relativity among other things (if this patch has certain properties, then the frame of the patch is a preferred reference frame).

In practice, this might be an edge case. In terms of theory, this is likely more disruptive than relativity was.

*At least in Newtonian physics. It gets more complicated when you bring in relativity, partly because there is no such thing as space by itself.

Comment: Re:The thankless job of solving nonexisting proble (Score 1) 345

No effect for 18 years? Wrong. What was an anomalously hot year at the end of the 90s is pretty well normal now.

Also, you're not allowing for natural variation here. A certain amount of warming can be masked by natural variation. However, natural variation doesn't maintain trends decades long.

Also, by "no effect" you're referring to the slowdown in increase of atmospheric temperature, ignoring other possible heat sinks.

I'd suggest that you read something by real scientists, not media or politicians.

Comment: Re:Would anyone deny? (Score 1) 345

That's why you don't look to politicians or the media for scientific information. They're going to try to make a controversy, because that's what gets votes or sells commercials.

You look and see what the scientists are saying. They can be wrong, but agreeing with a whole lot of smart people who have spent a tremendous amount of time studying a subject is the way to bet.

If one side is busy vilifying scientists as a group, the odds are that they're wrong, since they're trying to taint all the useful evidence of what's going on.

Comment: Re:Is anyone really surprised? (Score 1) 345

Now this is amusing. AC claims that skeptics are right, presumably saying there's no global warming. AC proceeds to quote one paper, which says that climate models are generally correct, and emphasizes that the rapid warming of 1975-2000 is real global warming, although possibly overstated.

Comment: Re:Scientifically driven politics (Score 1) 345

Supernova observations can't be reproduced. We take the records we've got and use them as well as possible, but we can't go back and use another instrument on last year's supernova. By your reasoning, then, supernovas are not suitable for scientific inquiry. And that super-powered cosmic ray observed in the 90s? Can't be reproduced, so I suppose there's no point in trying to figure out how it happened scientifically.

Comment: Re:Poster sounds sympathetic, but sounds like thre (Score 1) 251

The US was working towards getting into a war with Germany. FDR considered Japan a distraction.

In fact, the US and Germany were at war starting September 1941, although the war was undeclared for a few months, and it was limited to naval combat. The US had been violating international law for Britain and against Germany for several months before then. Hitler knew a full-scale war with the US was coming, and wanted to get in the first declaration of war.

Comment: Re:Cute asshattery is still asshattery (Score 1) 160

by david_thornley (#49616701) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

The warrant for Assange's arrest was properly sent through Interpol, and upheld by the English courts. I haven't noticed anybody calling for Assange to be brought over here except for some idiot politicians, and if the US wanted to get him I'd think it would be easier to do so from the UK. Standard legal procedure is that Sweden can't send him to some other country without UK permission, so he'd be in a position where it would take UK and Swedish agreement to be sent to the US, not just UK.

Comment: Re:Spoiled child assume skills he didn't have (Score 1) 245

You do realize that you know almost nothing of the 15-year-old and his family, right? It seems to me equally likely that he has low self-esteem and serious boundaries, and the only way he can get approval is by bringing good grades home. Or the situation might be entirely different.

He's a 15-year-old who did something stupid. I can't tell whether he was malicious or simply panicked. BTW, I know of a case of arson, by an adult, that caused a whole lot more damage than this did, and he didn't spend long locked up. I doubt five years is the appropriate amount of time.

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