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Comment: Re:A crook's dream (Score 1) 289

by goodmanj (#48861945) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

I saw that before I posted here, and it proves my point: FLIR can't see through walls, but it can see the warmth of the outside of the walls. So if the bad guy stands perfectly still for a minute or two with his back up against an uninsulated metal wall... not exactly useful, eh?

Comment: Re:Solar, solar, solar. Also, solar. (Score 1) 357

by goodmanj (#48839821) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

By "the last temperature change of this rapidity", I assumed the commenter was referring to the end of the Younger Dryas at the end of the last ice age, which is more or less synchronous with a mass extinction in the Americas. The PETM was a remarkable event and a useful example, but as you point out, it was a lot earlier and wasn't as rapid as what we're seeing now.

Comment: Re:Solar, solar, solar. Also, solar. (Score 1) 357

by goodmanj (#48835009) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

The most notable consequence of the last temperature change of this rapidity was a dieoff of what percentage of life forms inhabiting the region now known as North America? I'm not sure. Another comment claimed half the mammal species, though. We might find that inconvenient.

That's both a bad example and a good one. Many scientists believe those didn't die off due to climate change, but because humans killed them all and ate them. Which means it can't be used as an example of effects of climate change on ecosystems, but it is a good example of how even primitive humans can cause global ecosystem damage.

Comment: Re: Facts (Score 1) 357

by goodmanj (#48834981) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Look at the Amazon. Look at the Arctic. Where is there more life and diversity? So forget the warming. It doesn't matter.

Look at the Sahara. Look at the Canadian Rockies. Oh shit what happened to your argument?

You are right though, that diversity is higher overall in warmer climates. But *change* in climate is pretty much always bad for diversity, everywhere, as is reducing the number of distinct climate regions.

Comment: Re:Joy (Score 1) 357

by goodmanj (#48834907) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

...note that there's a large ball of cooler-than-average over the mid-Atlantic, riiiight on top of the largest and most influential concentration of climate change deniers...

Ah hah! Denying climate change causes local climate to cool! So if we all wish real hard, and the problem will go away. It's the Tinkerbell Protocol!

Comment: Re:Why so many? (Score 1) 123

They are using the WhiteKnightTwo with a unmanned rocket payload for orbital launches [networkworld.com].

WhiteKnightTwo is just an airplane. We've already got plenty of those. Virgin so-called-Galactic has nothing capable of getting anywhere near low earth orbit: even their failed rocket was only suborbital. This "plan" is like planning a trip to Japan, when you've bought a taxi to the airport but no plane ticket.

Comment: Why 25 MBps? (Score 1) 417

by goodmanj (#48812789) Attached to: Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

I'd love to see more competition at the 4 MBps level, but I'm not sure why I need 25 MBps of bandwidth. At 4 MBps, I can stream a couple of 1080p videos simultaneously or download almost any triple-A game in an hour or two.

If I were trying to serve a popular website off my home computer, back up my terabyte hard disk nightly, I might need more, but that would be stupid. If I wanted to stream 5k video, I'd need more, but 5k video is also stupid. For consumer use, there's no way the human eyeball can actually consume data at more than 4 MBps; what am I missing out on by not having what TFA calls "baseline for the full benefits of internet access"?

Comment: Re:Kids these days ... (Score 1) 388

by goodmanj (#48805715) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

I said "how computers work *and* how to fix them" because I realize those are two different skills. Most of the kids I work with have neither. No you don't have to know how to build an adder out of NAND gates to be good at computers, but my students are pretty vague on the difference between a file, a program, and a web page.

Comment: Kids these days ... (Score 5, Insightful) 388

by goodmanj (#48804187) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Everyone talks about how today's young people are computer geniuses, but I'm a college physics professor, and I can tell you that kids coming up from high school are as clueless about tech as their grandparents. They just know how to Twitter and Instagram, but they have no idea how computers or the Internet work.

This isn't new, of course, nobody understands the technology their world is based on. My father and grandfather lived in an era where most people knew how a car worked and how to fix it, but in my generation that's a mystery. I understand how computers work and how to fix them, but the next generation treats them as black boxes. And so on.

Comment: A long-standing problem in subcontinent history. (Score 1) 381

This is really a historian problem, not a science problem. India and Pakistan have a long and difficult backstory with regard to nationalist historiography: following the overthrow of the British empire, they quite understandably had a bit of anti-Western sentiment and a re-appreciation of indigenous history and culture. Unfortunately this translated into some pretty jingoistic "we created everything" hypernationalism, which was most prominent in the '60s and '70s, but continues today.

Case in point: I once wrote an essay in college on the science and math knowledge of the Indus Valley civilization circa 1800 BC. One of my sources claimed that these folks invented everything from relativity to calculus to quantum mechanics, but the best bit was an archaeologist who measured the ruins of a circular well, noticed that the ratio of its circumference to its diameter was about 3.1, and argued that this meant the Indus River folks knew the value of pi.

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.

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