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Comment: This has been obvious for many years... (Score 1) 768

by dtjohnson (#46765707) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy
For example, the Bush family. Here is an entire multi-generational family that has never enjoyed any sort of commercial success that would lead to great wealth and yet they are all obviously very wealthy despite having done nothing but serve in federal government. Or...another example, the Kennedy family. These people are not fine examples of our best, brightest, or bravest and and yet they obviously have their hands on the levers of power and influence as well as wealth.

Comment: People change... (Score 1) 584

by dtjohnson (#46747419) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"
Jenny McCarthy is obviously not a mental giant but...give her credit for changing her mind. Before she had kids, she might have thought vaccines were the spawn of satan but after becoming a Mom, maybe they didn't look so bad. From TFA, sounds like she's wanting 'one poke per visit' to the Doctor which is a whole lot better than those parents who refuse to give their kids any vaccines whatsoever. This Slashdot article seems pointless other than to try and make the case that Jenny McCarthy is a hypocrite and bring out some discussion about vaccines. However, we have to cut McCarthy some slack on the hypocrite charge as people are allowed to change their mind with the passage of time.

Comment: The carbon cycle is part of the bigger picture (Score 1) 852

The AGW advocates always present the AGW discussion as some sort of 'vote' by scientists in which the percentage of something or other is the most important thing. TFA in this case points to a '99 percent' certainty that the world is screwed unless we do what they say. ALL of this is based on computer models of the earth's climate that have not been accurate at forecasting because of their crude modeling of the atmospheric water cycle. Water is the most important 'greenhouse' gas, by hundreds of times, due to its a) prevalence, and b) massive greenhouse effect. But...the AGW advocates ignore the effect of water with their general assumption that a)it's always been there and b) always will be there, and c) does not change and focus all of their attention on carbon dioxide and the hawaiian concentration measurements showing a steady atmospheric increase. However, they completely ignore the carbon cycle. ALL of the carbon that we are exploiting was in the atmosphere in the past and was eventually 'sequestered' through natural processes that continue to this day. ALL of the carbon currently in the earth's crust will eventually be released into the atmosphere, either by the actions of man or by natural processes. For example, there are thousands of locations around the world where hydrocarbons (primarily ch4 but larger hydrocarbons as well) are naturally released into the atmosphere continuously. ALL of the carbon currently in the atmosphere will eventually be returned to the earth's crust. Carbon is constantly being cycled into and out of the earth's crust. Man's exploitation of hydrocarbons are just part of the cycling out of the crust. Moreover, there is absolutely zero evidence that the carbon concentration in the atmosphere is a constant value but rather has obviously changed dramatically over time. The earth's climate may warm over the next century or it may cool (through change in solar output) but there is nothing that we are going to do that is going to change it even 0.1 C. Politically, however, this is an enormous issue because new laws driver by AGW fearmongers will potentially give governments much more power than they already have over the distribution and use of energy. In the United States, we have already seen the beginnings of regulation of carbon dioxide 'pollutant' emissions.

Comment: Re:Microsoft does not want kids coding... (Score 1) 226

by dtjohnson (#46694709) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?
You either miss or ignore the point (probably both). If you want kids to write code, you make getting the means to do it EASY to do. If you create obstacles, they won't. Including a simple and powerful tool in Windows that lets the code be run by anyone who has the same tool on their windows makes it EASY. Pointing to some website somewhere where someone could download and investigate some Microsoft title with obtuse and onerous licensing terms is not about 'making it easy.' Moreover, taking kids to some corporate website and making them enter into some sort of contract with the corporation is...depraved.

Comment: Re:Microsoft does not want kids coding... (Score 1) 226

by dtjohnson (#46683961) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?
So...which of those titles are included with every copy of Windows? Which of those provide kids with a simple and powerful way to create something impressive? For which of those can they share the results back and forth with their friends? If Bill Gates was a teenager now, he would be on xbox live and there never would have been any Microsoft.

Comment: Microsoft does not want kids coding... (Score 4, Insightful) 226

by dtjohnson (#46683641) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?
...based on what they DO rather than on what they SAY. They used to supply a simple basic interpreter with every copy of MS-DOS that cost nothing and was simple to use. That is long gone and nothing has ever taken its place. If kids want to code now, the options are expensive, complicated, and are not included in the price of 'Windows.' Moreover, Microsoft distributes sophisticated video games that suck up the time and creative energy of the very kids that would otherwise be likely to code in the first place. One might think that Microsoft would encourage high schools to offer coding curricula by distributing tools to high schools for free/low cost and providing training and guidance for teachers. Instead, Microsoft distributes Office for low cost and we are talking in TFA about what Office can do as a development tool. One has to conclude, based on its actions, that the very last thing Microsoft wants is for a lot of bright american kids to be actually writing powerful creative code for Windows.

Comment: The Internet takes away...and gives (Score 2) 1037

by dtjohnson (#46675483) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion
It's a sword that cuts both ways. On the one hand, the internet brings everyone out into the middle of a diversity of thought. On the other hand, it provides a powerful way to find out more about what you believe...and everyone believes something as our ability to have first-hand experience and new ideas in our own short lives is very limited. We have to rely mostly on other people's ideas and experience passed down through time and shared. Ultimately, if God is acting in our midst, then the internet will be a means for God to reach more people and enter their hearts.

Comment: Is it wise to use Systemd? (Score 5, Insightful) 641

by dtjohnson (#46663393) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer
Systemd replaces init and is the first daemon to start up in user space during boot and the last daemon to shut down. When its developer sees nothing wrong with breaking the kernel debug during boot merely because its developer feels that he's entitled to use the same parameter name and the kernel boot be damned, you REALLY have to wonder about the wisdom of using systemd.

Comment: Re:Constitutional crisis approaches... (Score 1) 274

The oath for Federal Officials:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

That makes things pretty clear.

Comment: Constitutional crisis approaches... (Score 4, Insightful) 274

Either communications (phone, email, twitter, etc.) are private and protected by the Constitution...or they are not. It cannot be both ways. If they are protected by the constitution...and the government, through its agency, the NSA, refuses to uphold the constitution, then a constitutional crisis is upon us...and the way forward on that is bleak since the constitution has been the basis for the existence of the United States for the last 2+ centuries. Here, we have the government essentially saying that their needs entitle it to disregard the constitution that they are sworn to uphold. Probably the only way to really resolve this is to arrest and bring the responsible officials into court on charges of treason...and it's not clear who or what would do the arresting and prosecution.

Comment: Every state has its hazards... (Score 2) 230

by dtjohnson (#46610067) Attached to: Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades
Western Washington has millions of people living in slide zones, living on old slide deposits, living in front of future slides. It's easy to point to one active slide area and say 'damn fools shouldn't have lived there' but the reality is that we live in the shadow of glaciers from the recent past that resulted in widespread deposits of soupy soil. Western Washington is also a high-hazard area for huge earthquakes, as are many parts of California. Do people expect everyone to move? Or what about Oklahoma or Kansas in the path of tornadoes? Or Minnesotans subject to stinging blizzards and arctic chill? Or...? You get the idea. You try and identify the hazards, mitigate them, and warn of them. In the case of the Oso landslide, there never should have been clearcut logging above the slide-prone area, there should have been monitoring of the water levels, and there should have been drainage mitigations installed years there have been in many other similar areas including just up the road from Oso. So...don't tell people to move until you're prepared to tell Californians or Oklahomans or English or Japanese or whoever to move.

Comment: How can they be certain no one survived? (Score 2) 491

by dtjohnson (#46565373) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370
The calculations show the southern flight path and consequently a water landing. can they be so certain that no one survived? Isn't it possible that the airplane made a controlled glide into a non-powered water landing and that the life rafts deployed and allowed some of the passengers to survive? That has happened before. Admittedly this is very unlikely but can anyone at this point say it is impossible as the Malaysian government is doing?

Comment: Deep skepticism... (Score 1) 703

by dtjohnson (#46560953) Attached to: IPCC's "Darkest Yet" Climate Report Warns of Food, Water Shortages
"...pointing to a future stalked by floods, drought, conflict and economic damage if carbon emissions go untamed."

assuming for argument's sake that warming is occurring, why would/should the impacts be all bad? A warming climate should make vast areas of the planet more habitable, reduce heating and shelter requirements, increase areas for agriculture and allow increased yields, etc. Why wouldn't there also be some benefits?

"Scientists and government representatives will meet in Yokohama, Japan, from tomorrow to hammer out a 29-page summary.

Is this meeting 'science' or 'government?' It cannot be both.

"The work comes six months after the first volume in the long-awaited Fifth Assessment Report declared scientists were more certain than ever that humans caused global warming."

The alleged scientists have allegedly been 'more certain than ever' for at least 10 years. In fact, anyone who doubts is usually referred to as a 'denier.' Are a greater percentage of the 'scientists' in agreement or are those in agreement merely firmer in their allegedly scientific convictions?

"Seas will creep up by 26cm-82cm by 2100."

The global absolute sea level has increased by 24 cm since 1870 and disaster has not yet struck. Land use changes, buildings and cities move over time. The sea level has dropped significantly at times over the last 20 centuries and has been much higher at times during that period. For example, the ancient ports of Rome and Ephesus (two of the 5 largest Roman cities 20 centuries ago) are now high and dry. Why would we think that sea level should be a constant? The current rate of increase has been essentially constant over the last 13 decades. An increase of 26 cm in the next 9 decades is not much of a change from the present rate.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.