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Comment: Science is not a religion (Score 1) 870

by dtjohnson (#47899191) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk
Science is a process of discovery: using observations, measurements, and thought to attempt to answer questions about the physical world. Religion attempts to define values, principles, rules, and ideas that enable our lives to be lived as our creator God desires. The only way that science and religion intersect is when people attempt to use science to prove or disprove the existence of God...which is obviously a question that science can not, and never will, resolve. If atheists need spockism, it is only because it gives them the comfort of a world with all questions 'logically' answered and with no messy philosophical entrails.

Comment: Playing the ball... (Score 2, Interesting) 768

by dtjohnson (#47854781) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation
"CO2 concentration is measurably increasing year on year and accelerating...this is because of release of fossil fuel sequestered CO...CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat...These are not up for debate...The only debatable point is what do these facts mean for the climate."

Here are some more facts. The atmospheric co2 concentration is increasing by about 2 ppm per year. The world currently produces about 4.9 x 10^13 kg of co2 per year from the combustion of fossil fuels. Therefore, the small total amount of co2 in the earth's atmosphere (atmospheric mass x co2 concentration) means that the earth currently sequesters ALL of the co2 produced by living organisms, decay, natural methane seeps, etc. as well as approximately 80 percent of all of the co2 produced annually from the entire world combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. Based on all known reserves, there are approximately 75 years remaining of fossil fuels at current consumption rates. What this means is that, even if the natural sequestration rate remains unchanged (it is likely to increase with increasing co2 conc), the atmospheric c02 concentration will not increase more than 150 ppm ultimately reaching a concentration of approximately 550 ppm from the current 400 ppm. Even that increase, however, is unlikely, as rising fossil fuel prices and the diminishing returns of production will mean that global consumption of fossil fuels will decline over the next century as they are replaced by solar, wind power, nuclear power, conservation measures, and increased energy efficiencies. Therefore, rather than reach a maximum of 550 ppm and then decline precipitously as the last chunk of coal is burned, the atmospheric co2 concentration will more likely never reach that number as consumption tapers off and consumption continues at a lower rate of several centuries. What this means to an AGW true believer is that you have to believe that the earth's climate would dramatically warm if the atmospheric concentration of co2 went from the current 400 ppm to 550 (or less) and, there is absolutely no scientific basis for that belief. The atmospheric co2 concentration has increased by approximately 84 ppm since co2 measurements began in 1958 and the earth's climate has not changed dramatically. Even the small amount of warming that we have seen during that time is much more likely to have resulted from increased solar activity and long-term climate effects (we are in the middle of an interglacial warming period) than an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Moreover, there are actually signs of climate cooling as both the arctic and antarctic ice extent have increased in recent years. So, no, 'consensus' is not science.

Comment: Follow the money... (Score 5, Insightful) 188

Many will likely go 'cluck, cluck...they are the independent press and shouldn't do that' and, of course, they are right. But the 'independent press' is rapidly disappearing because there is no longer any money to be made in being part of the 'independent press.' Newspapers (such as the LA Times) have a plummeting circulation of mostly older subscribers and a shrinking advertising base. Most of them are losing money hand over fist or, at best, barely breaking even. Television news (network and local) is seeing its viewer base plummeting and consequently, its advertising revenues are declining rapidly, leaving it fortunate to still be on the air. Internet media gets lots of hits but not much revenue. The bottom line is that there are no longer any major 'independent' news organizations that can afford to antagonize powerful organizations, be they government or corporate or whatever. The LA Times reporter was likely grateful for any scraps of information that his CIA friends would give him because he would never have any way of getting that information otherwise. He is probably lucky if the LA Times will pay him car mileage to drive over to meet with a source. You get what you pay for. Follow the money. What do you pay for news?

Comment: What is the Tesla strategy? (Score 1) 157

by dtjohnson (#47825203) Attached to: Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia
(From TFA): "Musk and Tesla's biggest hurdle in the U.S. has been bypassing conventional dealerships and selling directly to customers. "

I don't get why Tesla's biggest hurdle to sales is bypassing conventional dealerships. It seems like their biggest hurdle would be to convince people to purchase a new type of vehicle that had different advantages and disadvantages than anything they had owned before. The linked article on the slowing sales of electric vehicles also refers to that when it mentions that 'the numbers don't pencil out for many purchasers.' So why is Tesla focusing so much energy on getting rid of car dealerships? Couldn't they allow 'Tesla' franchise dealers to sell cars? Wouldn't that result in more retail outlets for Teslas? Wouldn't that result in more places for Tesla owners to go for repairs and parts and wouldn't that result in more people working indirectly or directly to make Tesla a success? Maybe a few dealer salespeople would be able to show buyers how the numbers do pencil out. What am I missing here?

Comment: Re:What will it take? (Score 1) 302

by dtjohnson (#47804417) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate
You're not accounting for all the methane that gets released from the frozen tundra in Siberia. Once that goes, it's runaway greenhouse warming. Methane is much more climate warming than CO2.

No, methane does not persist in the atmosphere but oxidizes in a matter of a few weeks. Moreover, the amount of methane potentially released from permafrost is small relative to the amount of methane produced as natural gas.

Comment: Re:What will it take? (Score 0) 302

by dtjohnson (#47801761) Attached to: Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate
Okay, here are some facts. The atmospheric co2 concentration is increasing by about 2 ppm per year. The world currently produces about 4.9 x 10^13 kg of co2 per year from the combustion of fossil fuels. That means that the earth currently sequesters all of the co2 produced by living organisms, decay, natural methane seeps, etc. as well as approximately 80 percent of all of the co2 produced from the world combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. Based on all known reserves, there are approximately 75 years remaining of fossil fuels at current consumption rates. That means that, even if the natural sequestration rate remains unchanged, the atmospheric c02 concentration will not increase more than 150 ppm ultimately reaching a concentration of approximately 550 ppm from the current 400 ppm. Even that increase, however, is unlikely, as fossil fuel prices and the diminishing returns of production will mean that global consumption fossil fuels will likely decline over the next century as it is replaced by solar, wind power, nuclear power, conservation measures, and increase energy efficiencies. Therefore, rather than reach a maximum of 550 ppm and then decline precipitously as the last chunk of coal is burned, the atmospheric co2 concentration will more likely never reach that number as consumption tapers off and consumption continues at a lower rate of several centuries. What this means to an AGW true believer is that you have to believe that the earth's climate would dramatically warm if the atmospheric concentration of co2 went from 400 ppm to 550 (or less) and, there is absolutely no scientific basis for that belief. The atmospheric co2 concentration has increased by approximately 84 ppm since co2 measurements began in 1958 and the earth's climate has not changed dramatically. Even the small amount of warming that we have seen during that time is more likely to have resulted from changes in solar activity and other climate effects than an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Moreover, there are signs of climate cooling as both the arctic and antarctic ice extent have increased in recent years (TFA notwithstanding). If antarctic continental ice is melting, it is likely due to subsurface volcanic activity and geothermal heat input rather than warmer atmospheric temperatures which never rise above freezing in antarctica away from the coastlines.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 708

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: It's IPCC...not IPPC (Score 3, Informative) 708

by dtjohnson (#47765193) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report
At least get the acronym for the name of the organization predicting doom right. And...there's no hurry for action. The climate is currently taking a 'hiatus' from warming due to the alleged storage of heat in the deep ocean. Forecasts for the upcoming winter are...cold.

Comment: Difficult to determine what TFA is about (Score 1) 115

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 0) 465

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.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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