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Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 403

by dtjohnson (#47765335) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report
Yes, in the beginning there was carbon and water. Then, the water was split into hydrogen and oxygen which oxidized the carbon into carbon dioxide and left a lot of hydrogen gas drifting around. Then life spontaneously arose and converted the carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons aka "stored sunlight." Then more new life spontaneously arose which could metabolize the stored sunlight (aka food) into carbon dioxide and now here we are busily turning/burning the stored sunlight back into carbon dioxide. Now, all we need to do is to stop everyone from burning the stored sunlight and we will all live happily ever after on our beautiful planet while happily skipping naked hand in hand with naked females through meadows filled with daisies and dandelions. [editor: please add the above to the IPCC report to the world leaders]

Comment: Difficult to determine what TFA is about (Score 1) 104

by dtjohnson (#47765099) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students
Is this very poorly written article about: 1) students not choosing to pursue a career path in computer science rather than statistics... or... 2) CS people doing poor-quality statistics work... or... 3)banning the Advanced Placement "Statistics" class because students are relying too much on their "pocket calculators." We get three-articles-in-one to talk about here. At least they are all loosely related to something called "statistics."

Comment: Admission that the "Hiatus" exists... (Score 1) 433

by dtjohnson (#47730003) Attached to: Cause of Global Warming 'Hiatus' Found Deep In the Atlantic
Here is an implicit admission that there is such a thing as a "hiatus" from the predicted increase in global temperature. Most of the recent stories have suggested that the planet was past the point of no return, that the antarctic ice cap was doomed, that the arctic would soon, be ice free, that sea levels were on the verge of dramatic increase, that drought caused by planetary warming was accelerating, and so forth. The entire idea of human-caused global warming is based on information we have that the the atmospheric concentration of co2 is increasing and computer models which suggest that this increase in co2 concentration would lead to an increase in global temperatures due to heat being prevented from radiating back into space. But...what if the computer models are...dare we say it...wrong? What if the earth's albedo changes due to changes in atmospheric water vapor and condensed water (clouds) that are not modeled? What if the solar output changes leading to planetary heating and cooling cycles stretching over centuries? What if the amount of heat radiation into space that is being blocked by carbon dioxide is far less than predicted by the modeling due to kinetic gas mixing and reradiation? What if the amount of heat originating from the center of the earth is varying more than we expect and affecting our surface climate? If our crude computer models attributing climate change solely to simplistic effects of carbon dioxide heat absorption are...wrong, one result would be that planetary surface temperatures might not actually increase as the models have predicted. Now, though, the co2/AGW proponents are attributing exactly this effect to an increase in subsurface ocean temperatures. However, there is obviously no long-term data on these temperatures making any such prediction fanciful at best. To put this into perspective, if all of the solar radiation striking the earth in a one-year period were to be absorbed by the earth's oceans and none of it were re-radiated into space, the temperature of the earth's ocean waters would increase by only about 0.2 C in that year. Now, consider that even AGW proponents will concede that 99.99 percent of that solar radiation is re-radiated into space and the temperature variations in the deep ocean would be very small and lost in the 'noise' of the measurement precision and absence of historical data for comparison. TFA is nothing but interesting conjectural speculation based on very limited data and certainly not the definitive 'answer' suggested by the slashdot article title.

Comment: Idiot speaks: "So.. what?" (Score 4, Interesting) 255

by dtjohnson (#47626507) Attached to: TEPCO: Nearly All Nuclear Fuel Melted At Fukushima No. 3 Reactor
A large amount of radioactive material was released into the ocean where it will remain in the food chain for decades. Approximately 100,000 people are unable to return to their homes and a large area of land in a country where land is scarce and precious is uninhabitable. But...that's just the short term. Long term: Japan will have to deal with electric power shortages for years until their power generation can be rebuilt with new technology. Hundreds of billions of dollars will have to be spent over the next 20 years to decommission the mess at Fukushima and attempt to decontaminate the surrounding downwind land. All of this was avoidable...but happened because the resident village idiots were able to prevent realistic plans from being implemented for electric power generation at Fukushima. The Onagawa power station was closer to the earthquake epicenter and yet it survived undamaged thanks to a losing battle by the resident village idiots to ensure that it was built according to their idiot plans. They lost at Onagawa but 'won' at Fukushima. Idiots who said...why spend a lot of money on a bigger seawall at Fukushima? Idiot engineers at GE who said 'there's no need for a failsafe design for something that will never happen,' and idiots who say 'what's the big deal about a meltdown?'

Comment: Shut up and drive... (Score 1) 142

Those cool features described in the TFA, like the HUD display for test messages, twitter, iTunes, etc. leads to something politely called 'distracted driving' and less politely called 'Being an Asshole' which last year killed 3,328 people and injured 421,000. As a long-time biker, I often see the drivers working their smartphone whilst swerving through traffic and chatting up their passengers and I've damn near become one of the 421,000 (or the 3,328) more than once. Rather than provide fancy new 'heads up' displays for drivers or built-in smart phone driver docking stations for drivers with their 'heads up' their ass, we should be working on roadside electronic surveillance and longer prison sentences for the drivers who kill people while using their smartphone.

Comment: Re:No, it's killing the planet (Score 1) 343

"Every single one of those damnable windmills is slowing-down the air and making it more turbulent as a trade-off for spinning the generator..."

This is so dumb, it's actually funny. Those 'windmills' do not create or consume energy. They are an energy transfer device. The take an insignificant amount of energy (relative to the atmospheric total) out of the moving gases in the atmosphere and transfer it to another location. There, that energy is released as heat into the...(wait for it)...atmosphere where it contributes (in an insiginificant small way) to convective heating that drives more...wind.

Comment: Nuclear power will be too cheap to meter... (Score 1) 343

...not. Advocates of nuclear power point to the relatively-low (compared with other fuel types) operating cost of nuclear power plants but tend to disregard the construction and dismantling costs. In this case, the dismantling cost is estimated at $4.4 billion and that's before dismantling has even started. Worse, still, though was the little nugget in the article stating that the spent nuclear fuel would be indefinitely stored on the site in steel cannisters until the federal government comes up with a long term solution. Yeah, I know what you're thinking...'so what's the big deal about a little spent nuclear fuel in a few steel cannisters?' Well, those will require long-term expensive oversight and security and, even with all of that, will likely eventually begin releasing contamination into the environment as vigilence is relaxed due to future financial constraints, corrosion, etc. That spent nuclear fuel remains dangerous far after we, our descendants, their descendants, and their descendants are alive...and that amount of time is probably beyond the limit of any earthly vigilance anyway. Don't buy into the 'nuclear power is cheap and environmentally-friendly' arguments. It's not either one of those...and never will be (fission-based power anyway). Better to have coal-fired power plants. Even better to have wind and solar power. Better still to just use less.

Comment: Loss of electric power is hardship (Score 1) 868

by dtjohnson (#47559413) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline
Eliminating the only power plant will probably end electrical service for Gaza...and that will be hardship. No power means no pumps for water and sewage, no air conditioning or heat, no light, no electric cooking, no computers, no digital controls, etc. Electricity is a requirement for comfortable modern living. But...Hamas chose to launch not one, but hundreds, maybe thousands of missiles at Israel. The people in Gaza chose to accept the missiles or at least look the other way. Hamas was elected by the Gaza population to be their leaders...another choice. Launching missiles at someone is...war...and war is not comfortable, safe, clean, easy or without cost. When you go to war, people die and those left behind are going to be without comfort until the war ends. If Hamas was in Canada and chose to launch missiles at Boston, the United States would never rest until every last one of the missiles was eliminated, Hamas was destroyed, and a new more-friendly government had taken Hamas's place. As it is, Israel has been remarkably restrained. Yes, thousands of Gazans will likely die before the war is over. That is war. War kills. Gaza chose war. War has arrived. Be glad that there is no war whereever you are and never, never, never choose war.

Comment: The problem with Windows Phone... (Score 0) 149

by dtjohnson (#47551427) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus
...is that it doesn't bring anything new or better to the table and Microsoft is blind to that. It doesn't have a better user interface, better performance, more or better apps, or a significantly lower price. Microsoft wants to control the smart phone business just as it was able to control the desktop computer business...but it is too late to the party.

Comment: Interesting...but not 'new' (Score 3, Informative) 162

by dtjohnson (#47399431) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers
The article was posted by someone who does not appear to have been around computers in industrial applications. Computers have been used for at least 4 decades for maintenance planning in large facilities as well as other areas such as transportation routing, product blending, production scheduling, etc. The maintenance activities for the London tube or the NYC subway are likely also being planned and scheduled using some sort of similar system even if the uptime result is not as good as Hong Kong.

Comment: This is the dumbest project NASA has ever done (Score 0) 190

by dtjohnson (#47350127) Attached to: NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon
This is a project that would only make sense to people who have no understanding of 1) how large and detailed the planet's surface is, and 2) how numerous and complex the sources of carbon dioxide are. These are people who think of carbon dioxide as a 'pollutant' to be eliminated rather than as an essential molecule for all life on the planet. In the landscape of their thought processes, they likely imagine that they are searching for hidden smokestacks from coal-burning power plants. It is absolutely unbelievable that this project got funded and shows the depths to which some scientific inquiry has sunk.

Comment: Re:What exactly is 'creationism' anyway? (Score 1) 649

by dtjohnson (#47280285) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools
"To me, it means that there is no evolution, that man sprang fully formed and didn't come from a long evolution of different animals."

The Biblical sequence on creation is light => sky => earth => plants => stars => sun/moon => fishes => birds => animals => man => woman so humans were at the end of that process.

The current scientific understanding of creation is more like light => stars => earth => moon => prokaryotes => plants => fishes => mammals => man so humans are still at the end. Evolution, or natural selection, is an obvious phenomena that we observe around us every day of our lives, on everything from dog appearance to human hereditary conditions to software products. It is equally obvious (to me anyway, your opinion may differ) that the universe, our world, and all life was created by God. Science has yet to present any natural biological process that can account for the origin of the universe, the beginning of life on our planet, or the origin of the complex multicellular sexual beings that we are. Moreover, the existence of 'humans' dates back only a few tens of thousands of years...a tiny, even miniscule, amount of time on a planet with a 4 billion year history.

Comment: What exactly is 'creationism' anyway? (Score 1) 649

by dtjohnson (#47269157) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools
Most would say that 'creationism' is the belief that a divine entity created the universe. That is definitely not a minority opinion in the Catholic Church, the Church of England, or among Christians in general. All that anyone can say, based on our present knowledege, is that the universe had a finite beginning at a time in the distant past ...and arose (or was was 'created')...from nothing. Neither 'science' nor 'Christianity' nor 'creationism' can prove any sort of causality between the beginning of the universe and anything else. It is not doing students any favors to keep them in the dark about any of that. Certainly it is impossible to legitimately 'teach' students that there is any sort of scientific proof that a divine entity did NOT create the universe.

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