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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.

Comment: This shows how Microsoft 'competes' (Score 1) 140

If Microsoft made, licensed, or distributed a competitive mobile device, people would choose to buy it over iPhones or Android phones. However, they don't and people don't and so those great minds at Microsoft look at the situation and say 'we've got to knock off our competitors' rather than 'we've got to have a product that people prefer over our competitors.' If Microsoft can use it's patent acquisitions to force Google to pay big royalties, they can drive up the price of Android phones and make them less-attractive to buyers, who will then theoretically be more likely to look at Microsoft devices. That's one way to help buyers make the 'right' choice but it is not a very stellar example of a free-market economy in action. Microsoft would probably be more at home making smartphones on a captive basis for the Communist Chinese government, complete with built-in Bing filtering. Microsoft is an enormous wet blanket on technical innovation and moving technology forward and things will probably not improve until they are a shrunken shell of their present self...which will probably take another 10 or 15 years.

Comment: Re:Geothermal heat isn't 'AGW-approved' (Score 1) 387

by dtjohnson (#47212665) Attached to: Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting
Okay, then take McMurdo Station. It's on the coastline. The average 'high' temperature there in January (the warmest month) is only 31.6F...still below freezing...and that's the high temperature for the warmest month. But, if we're talking about the antarctic continental ice sheet, the Amundsen-Scott temperatures are more representative than coastal temperatures which, like temps at all coastal locations worldwide, are moderated by the presence of the ocean as an enormous heat reservoir. There is not a lot of climate data available for most of Antarctica but your boneheaded presumption that a coastal temp is more representative of ice sheet air temperatures than an interior measurement is narrow-minded and demonstrates a desire to adjust the data to fit preconceived beliefs. A more scientific approach is to ask questions and then attempt to answer them with the best data available. Is the Antarctic ice sheet melting? Satellite data has suggested that it is. Why? Your 'warmer' preconceived answer to that question is 'the melting is caused by warmer antarctic air temps due to climate warming caused by carbon dioxide' and yet there is no data at all to support that while there is some data suggesting that geothermal heat input (see TFA) is having an effect.

Comment: Geothermal heat isn't 'AGW-approved' (Score 0) 387

by dtjohnson (#47210877) Attached to: Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting
Just a few days ago, global warmers were suggesting that Antarctic ice losses were doubling due to global warming. Of course, the problem with that is that the warmest temperature recorded at Amundsen-Scott South pole station during the last 12 months was -21F in January, 2014 which is not exactly bikini weather and is still 53 degrees F lower than the temperature needed to melt water. Obviously, if antarctic ice is melting, it is due to volcanic or geothermal heat inputs rather than balmy surface temperatures brought about by too much carbon dioxide.

Comment: Whatever happened to 'competition?' (Score 1) 158

by dtjohnson (#47174473) Attached to: Big Telecom: Terms Set For Sprint To Buy T-Mobile For $32B
I can see why this deal is good for Sprint (they grow in size at a cost way cheaper and easier than self-growth) and T-Mobile (they get a lot of money) but this is most definitely NOT good for cell phone customers. Reducing the number of competitors from 4 to 3 will just increase the market leverage of the surviving 3 providers which will result in their product offerings and service plans being less competitive for cell customers. Do they think we are idiots? Reduced competition is great for the bottom line but leaves customers with fewer choices and higher costs. Beyond a certain size (which all 4 companies are way past) there are no economies of scale that would result in lower costs for a merged company. There is only less competition that allows higher prices. So...cell phone companies...what's wrong with having 4 companies compete for my dollar instead of 3? Aren't you in favor of free-enterprise and capitalism? Or are you all becoming socialists?

Comment: Microsoft just does not get it... (Score 1) 516

by dtjohnson (#47148955) Attached to: Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015
There's nothing great about the 'start' button. When it first appeared in Windows 95, no one jumped up and down and shouted 'eureka!' It was just a way of providing users with a reference point for key functionality...starting apps, shutting down, seeing a short semi-custom menu of options, finding system stuff, and so on. I use a non-window os and there is no 'start' button and there never has been one...and no one misses it. Windows 3.1 and NT 3.1 did not have a 'start' button. The 'start' button is even a semi-retarded non-intuitive way of centralizing stuff. For example, as has often been pointed out over the years, clicking on 'start' to shutdown is not exactly the cleverest way of doing things. (My system has a button cleverly labelled 'shutdown.') But...but...but...the 'start' button was missed for just one reason...because windows users are used to it. So, when Microsoft takes it away and does not replace it with anything comparable, users complain. We would happily click on 'kill' or 'terminate' or 'stop' or 'don't do that anymore' or a frowny-face or whatever, as long as it was...the same. Putting the 'start' button 2015...kind of misses this point. By that time, we users will be used to something else.

Comment: Where is the melting happening? (Score 1) 162

by dtjohnson (#47044351) Attached to: ESA's Cryosat Mission Sees Antarctic Ice Losses Double
The warmest temperature recorded at Amundsen-Scott south pole station during the last 12 months was -21F in January, 2014. For those unfamiliar with the physics of water phase change or the fahrenheit scale, that balmy temperature is still 53 degrees fahrenheit below the freezing point of water. If there is melting going on in Antarctica, it must be due to subsurface volcanic activity and not bikini weather at the antarctica beaches.

Comment: Toyota is climbing the wrong tree (Score 1) 659

by dtjohnson (#47004563) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?
Sadly, Toyota is as wrong about hydrogen cars as Thomas Edison was about alternating current. There are two enormous problems with hydrogren. First, it is expensive to produce from either water or natural gas due to the wasted energy that is released as oxygen or heat, respectively. Second, storage of hydrogen on a mobile vehicle (or anywhere) is very difficult and requires either very high pressure containers or complex and costly adsorption systems. Electric vehicles are obviously the future, either standalone or combined with hybrid electric/internal combustion motors.

Comment: The DOT is the problem... (Score 1) 211

by dtjohnson (#46951509) Attached to: Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains
The old DOT-111 standard for tank cars was horribly inadequate. They have adopted a new DOT-111 standard for new cars being built but they have not required the companies that own the older tank cars to upgrade. Most of the tank cars being used in the US are not owned by the railroads but by the companies doing the shipping. If the NTSB and DOT would come out with an emergency order to use only new-standard DOT-111 tank cars or use DOT-112 tank cars, the problem would be largely fixed. The old-standard DOT-111 tank cars are easily punctured in a derailment and cause horrific fires while new-standard DOT-111 tank cars and DOT-112 tank cars do not. Obviously, companies do not want to spend a lot of money to upgrade but that is not even the reason for the foot-dragging which is related to the huge increase in crude oil shipments requiring tank cars for which only the old-standard DOT-111 tank cars are available. There needs to be a crash program to upgrade and retrofit. This isn't rocket science. What is missing is not 'national will' or even 'money' but 'leadership' from the NTSB and DOT, the very people who are wringing their hands and saying nothing can be done.

Comment: Perhaps there are more black holes than we thought (Score 1) 45

by dtjohnson (#46838449) Attached to: Astronomers Discover Pair of Black Holes In Inactive Galaxy
If a pair of black holes are present in a quiet galaxy, perhaps there are also black holes present where there aren't any galaxies at all...'between' galaxies. Maybe black holes were the driver for all galaxy and star formation and maybe there are more black holes than there are galaxies. Maybe way way more. Maybe such black holes are the missing dark matter that we are searching for.

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.