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Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48897151) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

There is no reason that we have to pick one and abandon work on the others. I don't see that the same resources go into solving more than one, except that the meteor and volcano problem have one solution in common - be on another planet when it happens.

The clathrate problem and nuclear war have the potential to end the human race while it is still on one planet, so we need to solve both of them ASAP.

Comment: Re:Disintegration of the ecosystem (Score 1) 81

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48897001) Attached to: Twitter Moves To Curb Instagram Links
In this case, it's actually rather impressive how badly the twits appear to have forgotten.

"Hey, let's select a group of our most influential users and then annoy them with an unexpected and minimally useful nag screen when they try to use our service!" is a plan that sounds like a joke, not a strategy; but apparently twitter is now doing exactly that. Are they really gambling that all those users are just morons who are too stupid to realize that twitter has a given set of features; but would totally love to embrace them over a competitor they already use if only they are nagged enough? That seems...a trifle optimistic.

Comment: Re:Interstellar missions... (Score 1) 199

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48890841) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far
Some applications can get away with the 'trickle charge the capacitor, wake up and work quickly once the threshold voltage is hit' approach(works nicely for solar data logging, as long as you don't need moment-by-moment results); but a nanoamp is likely to fall below the self discharge rate of any capacitor of reasonable capacity; and would sleep for a long time even with an idealized 100% efficient capacitor.

Comment: Re:Not a lot of power. (Score 1) 199

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48890815) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far
The durability is impressive. It's not like cleanroom fabrication and high-purity metallurgy were exactly top of the line in 1840, so I would have naively guessed that some mixture of corrosion and non-current-generating side reactions among impurities or airborne contaminants would have trashed it in less than a century, possibly a lot less, depending on the exact arrangement of the battery, even if the energy density is totally plausible in physics-experiment-land.

Comment: Re:Is there something wrong with me that .,.. (Score 1) 174

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48887567) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed
Snakebites are a bit of an edge case: the production of antivenoms essentially involves inducing an immune response (in a convenient, usually large, animal) and then extracting and purifying the neutralizing protein produced. So, it is very much the case that you can prime an immune system to recognize and respond to venom.

The trouble is that snakes tend to (in the case of actually dangerous snakebites, a dry strike is just a couple of puncture wounds) introduce a substantial amount of venom into the wound, and the venoms frequently kill (or cause nasty localized tissue destruction, there are lots and lots of neat variations) substantially faster than the human immune system can synthesize the necessary counteragent, even if the person has prior exposure.

An antivenom has the advantage of being a relatively massive amount of the correct counteragent, ready to be injected into the bloodstream faster than you could synthesize it yourself.

For the less dangerous venoms, and the lower-volume strikes, acquired immunity is more useful.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48887305) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Sure, there are going to be mediating forces in the environment. Melting is an obvious one. The positive feedbacks have been getting the most attention because they are really scary. It appears that there are gas clathrates in the ground and under water that can come out at a certain temperature. The worst case is that we get an event similar to Lake Nyos, but with a somewhat different mechanism and potentially many more dead. The best case is a significant atmospheric input of CO2 and methane that we can't control.

I don't think I have to discount Trenberth. He's trying to correct his model, he isn't saying there is no warming.

Comment: Re:what the vaccine actually do? (Score 1) 174

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48886331) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed
I've sometimes wondered whether the techniques used to produce vaccines against exogenous drugs could be modified to produce vaccines that suppress endogenous ones. If enforced nicotine withdrawl is unpleasant, I can only imagine that, say, losing the effect of endorphins might really ruin your day...

Comment: Re:Is there something wrong with me that .,.. (Score 1) 174

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48886269) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

I find this offensive?

We're spending science mind power, money and time researching a way to make a drug that replaces a persons weakness of character and lack of willpower. If you want to stop smoking, just stop. Don't buy cigarettes.

I feel that our culture is sliding away from any concept of holding people personally responsible for their own choices. If a person smokes, overeats, under-exercises - those are their choices. They must be held accountable.

Aside from the crass pragmatists' "Well, I bet I can develop a drug that compensates for weakness of character and lack of willpower faster than most of the population can develop strength of character and lots of willpower..." Why does this bother you?

Is there evidence that people actually develop more willpower(rather than just smoking more) when these 'replacements' are available? If there isn't, surely reduction in smoking related mortality is a win regardless of willpower, and even if there is; exactly how many people of weak character are on the acceptable losses list?

On the more theoretical side, would you condemn a drug that was actually a general-purpose willpower simulant? That actually gave the person taking it all the changes associated with 'strong will' while it is in their system? Or would you consider that to be a great breakthrough, a drug that produces a highly valuable personality trait?

Comment: Can somebody clarify? (Score 2) 174

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48886161) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed
It is my (layman's) understanding that nicotine is not entirely harmless; but can also have some positive effects, and overall is considered a fairly low risk compound at suitable doses(it'll kill you good and proper in quantity).

Given that, why so much work trying relatively esoteric techniques for nicotine vaccines, or low-success behavioral interventions for smoking cessation, when the only real problem that is actually killing smokers right and left is the fact that they get their nicotine by huffing a grab bag of unpleasant incomplete combustion products?

Is it that there is something particularly compelling about cigarettes, such that even people with access to nicotine by other means still seek them out? Is it just an echo of drug warrior concern that somebody, somewhere, might be employing a psychoactive without suitable risk of death or imprisonment?

I don't get it.

Comment: Re:Final nail in the 32-bit coffin? (Score 1) 155

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48886055) Attached to: Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10
Ah, that was ambiguous. I meant that there are zillions of 32-bit ARM devices in the field. Only a hilariously tiny percentage of those are RT devices; but given the absurdly gigantic number of ARM architecture CPUs shipped, and the fact that 64-bit ARM is still very new and a relatively modestly player even in higher end stuff(much less the 'just a bit more than a microcontroller' market, where it probably never will be, I'm assuming that 32-bit ARM is going to be sticking around for a good while yet. RT, Not So Much.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48884865) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Thanks.

McKitrick is an economist out of his field. Trenberth and Fasullo cite many of their other papers and the publications to which they were submitted, but it seems mostly not accepted. But their conclusion seems to be that there were other times in recent years that the rate of warming decreased for a time only for it to return to its previous rate. I only see the abstract for Kosaka and Xie, but they state "the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase."

Comment: Re:Final nail in the 32-bit coffin? (Score 1) 155

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48884803) Attached to: Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10
Unlikely. The effective death of Windows RT only affects some 32-bit ARM devices, of which there are still about a zillion in the field, and more rolling off the production line as we speak(and likely to continue to be for some time to come, unless ARM Ltd. decides to piss off every customer who cares about cheap CPUs and has no need to even touch the boundaries of a 4GB memory space.

The non-RT 'Surface Pro' devices were 64 bit x86s from the start(though there were a few devices that shipped with 64 bit CPUs and 32 bit OSes because Intel didn't have some feature working quite right in 64 bits at the time); but are unaffected, so irrelevant in any case.

This will also have no effect on systems that either have 32-bit Atoms, or 32-bit UEFI(will 64 bit Windows boot from that? it certainly caused a schism among mac models at one point), which are all x86.

You are certainly getting safer as time goes on in ignoring 32 bit OSes, especially x86; but this announcement will have no effect.

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