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We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees. 220

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-where-to-buy-the-best-grazing-land dept.
Lasrick writes Dawn Stover writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that climate change is irreversible but not unstoppable. She describes the changes that are happening already and also those likely to happen, and compares what is coming to the climate of the Pliocene: 'Even if countries reduce emissions enough to keep temperatures from rising much above the internationally agreed-upon "danger" threshold of 2 degrees Celsius (which seems increasingly unlikely), we can still look forward to conditions similar to those of the mid-Pliocene epoch of 3 million years ago. At that time, the continents were in much the same positions that they are today, carbon dioxide levels ranged between 350 and 400 ppm, the global average temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than it is today (but up to 20 degrees higher than today at the northernmost latitudes), the global sea level was about 25 meters higher, and most of today's North American forests were grasslands and savanna.' Stover agrees with two scientists published in Nature Geoscience that 'Future warming is therefore driven by socio-economic inertia," and points the way toward changing a Pliocene future.

Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter? 687

Posted by Soulskill
from the f*#&-cancer dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am a scientist and educator who has been enjoying and learning from Slashdot since the late 90s. Now I come to you, my geek brothers and sisters, for help. I've been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which you will remember is what took Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch from us. My condition is incurable. Palliative chemotherapy may delay the inevitable, but a realistic assessment suggests that I have anywhere from two to six months of "quality" time left, and likely not more than a year in total.

I am slowly coming to terms with my imminent death, but what bothers me most is that I will be leaving my wife alone, and that my daughter will have to grow up without her father. She is in sixth grade, has an inquisitive and sharp mind, and is interested in science and music. She seems well on the path to becoming a "girl geek" like her mother, an outcome I'd welcome.

Since I will not be around for all of the big events in her life, I am going to create a set of video messages for her that she can watch at those important times or just when she's having a bad day. I would like to do this before my condition progresses to the point that I am visibly ill, so time is short.

In the videos I will make clear how much I treasure the time we've spent together and the wonderful qualities I see in her. What other suggestions do you have? What did you need to hear at the different stages of your life? What wisdom would have been most helpful to you? At what times did you especially need the advice of a parent? And especially for my geek sisters, how can I help her navigate the unique issues faced by girls and women in today's world?

Please note that I'm posting anonymously because I don't want this to be about me. I'd prefer that the focus be on my daughter and how I can best help her. Thank you so much for your help.

Comment: Re:get to work (Score 1) 299

by gweihir (#49127081) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

Yeah. If only there was an easy to use end2end encrypted mobile phone application for voice calls that Moxie had been involved in creating.

Indeed. Moxie is quite good. But he is wrong here: GPG/PGP is about as simple as you can be and still offer strong security. It can be put into wrappers for a little decrease in security and some increase to usability, but that is it. In security, you cannot make a hard task simple. That is not possible without massively decreasing security.The same thing happens when you say learning to read and write is too hard. Sure, speech recognition and synthesis does allow some help, but you will never be able to use a pen or a keyboard, and it does not help you at all with deciding what to write and what the meaning of some text is. This is a hard task as well, and cannot be automatized away.

The fact of the matter is that it takes real effort to learn to use encryption securely and that nothing can be done abut that.

Comment: Re:Parents keeping kids away from peanuts? Not rea (Score 1) 239

by gweihir (#49124271) Attached to: Study: Peanut Consumption In Infancy Helps Prevent Peanut Allergy

You are not acting rationally. Your whole posting drips panic. Even for your child, peanuts are hardly a "deadly poison". Sure, the symptoms are spectacular, but the actual risk of death is far lower than you believe. The epi-pen you carry is something you do not do to fight off death frequently, but because it is a low-effort, low-cost precaution that primarily helps against the rather unpleasant effects. It also helps lowering the risk of you killing your family when you drive to the ER, and that risk is actually a real one. But you should have stayed at that party.

Comment: Re:I refute (Score 1) 239

by gweihir (#49124151) Attached to: Study: Peanut Consumption In Infancy Helps Prevent Peanut Allergy

It is fascinating how many people these days claim to have "nearly died" of some allergy. The numbers tell a different story, namely that they in almost all cases do not die. An allergic reaction can give you an experience that feels like dying, but is nowhere near that. Otherwise, death from allergies would be a common cause. It is not.

Here are some prime quotes from Wikipedia: "Currently, anaphylaxis leads to 500–1,000 deaths per year (2.4 per million) in the United States, 20 deaths per year in the United Kingdom (0.33 per million), and 15 deaths per year in Australia (0.64 per million)." and "Death from anaphylaxis is most commonly triggered by medications.".

These death rates are so low as to be irrelevant and most are not caused by food.

10 to the minus 6th power mouthwashes = 1 Microscope