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Comment: Re:Yep it is a scam (Score 3, Insightful) 661

by forand (#48872073) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax
I think you are confused. If there were no pipeline the oil would have to be refined nearby. This WOULD create lasting jobs and keep much more of the profits near where the oil is being extracted. The whole point of making a pipeline to the Gulf Coast is to enter the global crude oil market or more precisely to benefit the big oil companies who can ship the crude oil to countries with little or no environmental protections but cheaper refineries thereby keeping a larger share of the profits for themselves. The pipeline may not be directly bad for the environment but it is intended to avoid the costs and environmental regulations imposed by refining in Canada or the USA.

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy. (Score 1) 153

by forand (#48778845) Attached to: Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia
I see it was the latter. Regardless, the government should be funding pie in the sky academic research. Currently the push is to fund marketable research. How does that benefit society? We all pay for the development of some clearly marketable product and don't actually retain any of the monetary benefit. If the government funded ONLY pie-in-the-sky research that was vetted by scientists we would be close to where we were in the 1950-1960s where dramatic increases in technology were occurring due to funding of basic research and the solving of problems needed to complete that research. You can claim it is is sucking on the government teat or you can realize that we would never have much of the technology we enjoy today if it weren't for funding of basic science.

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy. (Score 1) 153

by forand (#48777981) Attached to: Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia
Not sure why this is modded so highly or if you were just trying to troll but I will bite. One main reason to not do what you suggest is that the institutions with large endowments provide a lot of financial support to their undergraduate students. They are also able to maintain their infrastructure without increasing costs for their students. Finally while 3 billion is a big number for one University for one year it isn't much if you are planning out several decades. If you assume a very high ROI on their investment, say 10% per year they are able to access about 300 million per year but they also need grow the endowment to ensure a sustained return over time. So they don't have access to 300 but something in the ball park. If you want to invest in infrastructure, educational tools, labs, faculty and your student body that takes a big chunk out of that 300 million lets just cut in half. So 150 million a year is still a lot but now you have to split it over many departments and many researchers. My group has about 6 people in it and our grant for a very small experiment is about 1 million a year to cover people, travel, etc.. So if we take that rate of about 166k per person they could support about 900 such people which isn't a whole lot for a university with 3100 full time academic staff that isn't a drop in the bucket but it isn't enough to push the field.

Comment: Horrible Summary (Score 4, Insightful) 86

by forand (#48729641) Attached to: Experiments Create Particles Out of a Vacuum Using Neutrinos
The summary is horribly incorrect. There are no new experiments, only new analysis of old experiments. The authors didn't actually do the experiments but "digitize and reanalyze data from both experiments." The summary didn't include the non-paywalled version of the article on arXiv. The summary sensationalizes the results with phrases like "[p]roducing an entirely new particle." (ok it is a quote) which leads non-physicist readers to think this is a new particle as yet unseen when in fact all particles involved are well known. Furthermore, pulling a particle out of the vacuum, especially near such massive and charged objects a nuclei is not at all uncommon. Sure it is a non-electromagnetic process but it isn't odd.

Comment: Re:Congressional Vote? (Score 1) 81

by forand (#48728037) Attached to: FCC Says It Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February
I politely disagree with your assertion that my reading of the 21st would lead to prostitution being legal anywhere. My reading implies that my local county could require that NO alcohol be transported through it, which is the case. Now my county cannot make such a claim for any other, not Federally outlawed or restricted, commercial good. My county can say that it is not only illegal to sell it within its jurisdiction but also that it cannot be transported through. That is a huge difference when compared to any other commercial good. For instance California has outlawed the sale of numerous small weapons but said weapons arrive from asia and are transported through California every day because they cannot restrict interstate commerce. That is why the 21st is so messed up. It means I cannot sell my good to Kansas if all the surrounding states refuse to let me transport it through their states.

Comment: Re:Fox/henhouse (Score 1) 81

by forand (#48726229) Attached to: FCC Says It Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February
I think that the parent was taking issue with the two together: an entity that cannot be held accountable as a citizen (cannot go to prison), has the revenue generating power of all its employees, access to financial markets unavailable to the majority (or all) citizens, able to live forever, and only accountable (if at all) to its share holders having the same rights as an individual and ability to influence our electoral process with vast sums of money. I suspect that if only humans (or citizens even) could spend money to influence elections then allowing money to be speech would be fine which is a good argument for NOT making an Amendment explicitly stating money is not speech. But if we give the same rights to corporations and ignore the additional rights they have then their power is greatly outweighs that of the humans alone.

Comment: Re:Congressional Vote? (Score 1) 81

by forand (#48726119) Attached to: FCC Says It Will Vote On Net Neutrality In February

Have you read the entirety of the 21st Amendment? It completely breaks interstate commerce. Why can't I buy liquor on Sundays in some states and cannot cross a state line with some purchased in a neighboring state ever? Because the 21st Amendment makes alcohol special and allows each locality to have completely crazy laws prohibiting the TRANSPORTATION of alcohol through their jurisdiction.

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Comment: Re:There is PLENTY of valuable work to be done (Score 1) 327

by forand (#48707209) Attached to: The Coming Decline of 'Made In China'

Great so you see that in the future your employees' jobs will be automated away (maybe not in your working lifetime but sometime) and are likely wealthy yourself. You are arguing that new jobs will appear for your employees', they are likely far poorer than yourself. What are you doing to create jobs for your employees once they lose their jobs? In the Great Depression the government stepped in and created jobs just to get people working and kick the economy out of the no-demand cycle it was in. Within the US most people arguing that automation won't lead to a doomsday scenario are also against the government solving these problems, yet they are not trying to solve them either. So who is? It will take a lot of capital to create a (or many) new job sectors, who is investing in that? Who is going to pay for the re/education of our workforce?

I don't mean to pick on you in particular nor do I really think that automation is the doomsday that some claim. However, I do think that we should be thinking about this now. Investing in education now. Investing in new industries now. But we, or rather the wealth holders, are not.

Comment: Re:best thing for electric companies (Score 1) 461

by forand (#48532055) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
All of what you said makes sense except the seconds time scale. If the power company can't see changes until they are in dire need in seconds that is a problem they need to solve. Clouds do not generally cover large generation areas in seconds (minutes maybe). That being said having a local battery storage would be good but I doubt most users would want to cycle their batteries to benefit the power company especially when they will want that power when they get home and want a warm/cold home.

Comment: Re:Boys are naturally curious... (Score 1) 608

by forand (#48239273) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment
This statement and the one in the summary assert that US cultural trends are inherent and immutable. Look at other countries that have different cultural norms and you will find that India has a booming female coding population. If US cultural norms make it so women do not feel comfortable entering fields is that the fault of women as your statement and the summary's seem to imply? In my opinion, as there is sufficient evidence that the situation in CS (and other fields) in the US is cultural not biological it is societies problem to change the cultural norms. The US will lose out on great ideas if the culture systematically inhibits women from entering the field.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 770

by forand (#47855111) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation
That is a reasonable conclusion. That is not, however what the GP stated. The GP state the he wanted a text book written on anthropogenic climate change. That is very different than being able to explain it to a lay person that is being able to convince someone it is worth publishing. In the case of anthropogenic climate change the book would be rather short:
  • * A number of gases interact with the upper atmosphere is such a way as to trap heat within the atmosphere.
  • * Since the industrial revolution we have been releasing huge quantities of these gases that were previously sequestered within oil and gas deposits.
  • * The churn of the atmosphere allows for the passage of the newly released gases from the lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere.
  • * Some of these same gases also sublimate into the ocean where they dramatically affect the PH of the ocean which cause major problems for the top dwellers of the ocean where much of our oxygen is generated.

The issue isn't that there isn't a text book or a clear laymen description of the problem it comes when someone says: so prove to me that the churn of the lower atmosphere can carry these gasses to the upper atmosphere and the scientist starts talking about climate models which cannot predict any specific event with a high degree of accuracy but do tend to predict trends with great accuracy. To me this is like saying: what is the energy of a particle in a chamber at a defined pressure, temperature and density. The answer is very easy to give the average but essentially impossible to give the exact unless your model knows ALL of the inputs (i.e. every momentum vector and quantum state of every atom contain within the chamber).

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 5, Insightful) 770

by forand (#47854271) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation
I am a physicist. I have explained the expansion of the universe to many lay people without trouble. I have also tried time and time again to explain it to my mother. All such explanations end with her asking "so where is it expanding into." The short answer to this is: nothing. And one can either accept that or learn metric differential geometry. The belief that whatever any given PhD is working on can "describe in laymen's terms what they are doing" does not mean a laymen has the knowledge to understand or even accept the details of the theory. Heck look at Quantum physics in the early 1900s and you see many very intelligent people thinking it is crazy because it is probabilistic. So in short a good scientist can explain to a laymen what they do but the laymen has to accept their expertise when it comes to many specifics.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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