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Comment: Re:Neandertals and light skin (Score 2) 133

by Michael Woodhams (#47374319) Attached to: Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

Immune system genes are often under balancing selection - i.e. the rarest alleles are favoured (until, due to this favouring, they cease to be rarest, then other alleles are favoured.) An infusion of new different alleles from Neandertals could be favoured simply because they are different, not because they are evolved to European conditions.

Testing between these hypotheses seems difficult. The 'balancing selection' hypothesis predicts that the genes will readily spread back into Africa, whereas the 'evolved for European conditions' predicts they will not. The problem is that you need some neutral mutations that arose in Europe at the same time as a 'control' for comparison purposes. I'm not sure how to identify such mutations, but I expect it could be done.

Comment: Neandertals and light skin (Score 3, Interesting) 133

by Michael Woodhams (#47374055) Attached to: Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

There is another obvious point in history where such a gene transfer could have occurred. European conditions favour light skin, and Neandertals had been hanging out there for some tens of thousands of years before modern humans turned up and so had evolved light skin. These newcomers, having recent ancestry in Africa, were probably dark skinned. Interbreeding could easily have introduced the beneficial-to-European-conditions light skin mutations into the modern population.

My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen - genetic analysis shows that modern Europeans and Neandertals acquired light skin through different mutations. However, Wikipedia says this is still under debate.

Comment: Re:Careful (Score 2) 116

by Michael Woodhams (#47365287) Attached to: Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

This is a silly objection. That isn't how payback times are used.

Payback time is a quick indication of return on investment. You then compare that return on investment with the other options available to you, such as leaving the money in the bank.

If you included interest rates in payback time, you'd need to be constantly adjusting it as rates changed, and it would differ for different entities depending on their access to finance. Instead you keep it simple, and each entity has its own idea (based on circumstances and current interest rates) of what the effective payback time is of leaving the money in the bank (or not borrowing it, or investing it in other opportunities.) (For example, a start-up is likely to require a very short payback time - they're strapped for cash and are trying to get their Big New Idea to market where they hope it will make a fortune. Up-front money is then very expensive compared to down-the-road money. For them, it may make sense to lease a supercomputer even if buying it would have a two year payback time.)

What is missing from this analysis is depreciation of assets. After 6.4 years, money in the bank will have depreciated much less than the solar cells. Payback time is a rough guide - it tells you whether it is worth your while doing a more detailed analysis including finance cost, depreciation, tax implications etc.

Comment: Re:Show me the money! (Score 4, Insightful) 441

They aren't. They're using an established term "energy payback". The authors wrote an analysis which will be useful to many people but used the word "payback" in a way which does not match your preconceived notion of how it should be used. For this, you label them "charlatans".

So all the people interested in energy payback times should not be able to publish or read about it because you've claimed ownership of the word "payback" and won't license them to use it? They should use a less clear term to express their meaning because otherwise some random idiot who reads technical papers might make the leap "payback = money", despite the term "energy payback" being self explanatory?

Had you argued that because this is "energy payback" rather than financial payback, it isn't worthy of being reported on Slashdot, I could respect your argument. Instead you label people charlatans because what they discuss is not what you're interested it.

Comment: Exactly! No US novices? No future US experts! (Score 5, Insightful) 341

by bADlOGIN (#47337277) Attached to: If Immigration Reform Is Dead, So Is Raising the H-1B Cap

Familiar with the Dreyfus model of skills acquisition?

Sure you are. It goes like this: Want to be an expert? First you need to to be proficient. Want to be proficient? First you need to have been competent. Want to be competent? First you need to have been an advanced beginner? Want to be an advanced beginner? First you'll need to be a novice. Want to be a novice? Great! Just get started learning by following the rules and doing what people around you do. Experience will let you unwind the stack.

Every profession maps to this. It's a type of career ladder. And what do H1-B's do? They seriously knock out the chances of getting a position on the lower rungs of the ladder. H1-B aren't taking me and other Gen-Xers jobs, they're taking the millennial's jobs. And the Baby Boomers who pissed & shit in the punch bowl that used to hold the American dream don't care enough to do anything about it. They started setting the tone for all this bullshit over 10 years ago and just like everything else, now we're left holding the bag.

Fuck class warfare. I think there's some serious generational knuckle dusting that needs to be applied to those in power in BOTH political parties regarding what's happened on their watch to whole notion of careers they've been selling to the rest of us.

Comment: Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (Score 1) 484

by Bryan Ischo (#47316449) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Obviously you can construct any complex scenario closer and closer to the imaginary line separating legal from illegal, for pretty much any law. As you get closer to that line, each such concocted scenario gets harder and harder to argue about because the issues become more and more subtle. All you're doing is trying to define that line exactly, when typically laws cannot be defined so exactly. Getting closer to the line just means you are "more likely" to be found guilty. There is never a perfect line that can be drawn, on one side being 100% guilty and the other side being 100% innocent.

The best answer to your question is that scenarios that close to the line are typically going to be decided on a case by case basis. Who knows what the decision would be until a court actually decides it, and we're not going to be able to go through all of the arguments and predict what the outcome would be here.

However, if you enjoy speculation, the I'd say the scenario you described is probably legal because you own the device in question, and are not profiting from using it in the way you describe. Profiting from your actions tends to bring your actions into much closer scrutiny because of the implication that your profit may represent illegal gains at the expense of whoever is losing profit because of your actions.

Comment: Re:Most interesting part... (Score 1) 461

by Bryan Ischo (#47315951) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Read the other comments before posting, it will save us all some time. All that Germany proved is that in ideal conditions on one afternoon solar contributed significantly to their energy supply. Solar only contributed 5% of their total power over the year. That is hardly proof that such a methodology can scale as you suggest.

Comment: Re:Is there a 'less nerdy version'? (Score 1) 347

by Bryan Ischo (#47315865) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

That doesn't make any sense to me. Any pull that has any component other than directly and exactly away from Earth would bend the direction of the light so that it completely missed Earth. Even the tiniest deviation thousands of light years away would cause the light to miss Earth by a huge, huge distance.

Or is the light somehow being pulled into a different direction and then pulled back on course to aim directly at Earth? How in the world would that work?

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"