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Comment Re:You are Confused (Score 1) 417

Historical evidence is always nice, but if what you say about the baseline data is true (I'm not an expert), we may have to rely on modeling. It's the ocean food chain, FFS, so we should be cautious IMHO.

As for acidification, you are correct that it is buffered, but as I pointed out to another respondent, the buffering is provided by Ca ions - which is the real problem, not the ph levels.

Comment Re:You are Confused (Score 1) 417

Maybe you should get up to HS level chemistry. The Ocean is a _buffered_ solution. Which makes it require an order of magnitude more of anything to change it's ph past the buffer levels.

Yes, but the buffering is provided by Ca ions, which means that the ph is not the issue, but rather what happens to the CaCO3 equilibrium. There is a nice description with citations here. That summary also points out that bleaching is a bigger problem for coral than acidification, but TFA is about studying the impact of this chemistry on other life forms.

But my original point was that this stuff is not extraordinary science, and your adding Le Châtelier into the mix only moves the needle by about 20 years to the late 1800s...

(Oddly, enough, the same kid is taking HS chemistry this year, so I'll get to brush up a bit, but it is surprising what you can remember from 40 years ago when breakfast this morning is a mystery!)

Comment Re:it's wrong (Score 1) 90

On the other hand, keeping orcas (orca = latin for "hellspawn") is quite appropriate. The more you read about their behavior in the wild, the more you feel that they're way too far along that same combination of "smart" and "malicious" that humans are for comfort - killing for fun, using live animals to play catch, hunting animals only for their favorite cuts of meat and then letting the rest go, holding great whites upside down so that they go tonic and can't resist being leisurely eaten, belching up food to bait birds to come to the surface while lying in wait, learning how to freaking crawl on a beach to get at seals that think they're safe and teaching these sorts of skills to their young, etc. Some populations don't even seem to see fish as food, only having interest in killing mammals. Best to teach them who's in charge before they get uppity and evolve opposable thumbs ;)

OTOH, the ones we have here in the Pacific Northwest seem to eat mostly salmon and be lot more um civilised. Which makes them even more human-like I suppose.

Comment You are Confused (Score 3, Insightful) 417

And there, folks, is the attitude that The True Believers have towards anyone who questions their religion/hypothesis/politics, despite the fact that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. They definitely don't have the latter, so responses are as above or 'shut up' or 'fuck off' or...

You are confusing "extraordinary claims" with "extraordinary impacts". One is a scientific term, the other an economic term. The fact that CO2 will acidify the ocean is elementary school chemistry (my kid did a science fair project to demonstrate it in 5th grade). It really isn't rocket science. The impact on the ocean food chain is also very well documented (which is what the article is about), but it is not an extreme claim - it was predicted back in the mid 1800s and wasn't particularly controversial then.

To give a completely different example, an asteroid impact destroying civilisation is not a extraordinary claim if you have any familiarity with the fossil record and basic mechanics, but it would certainly have an extraordinary um impact.

Comment Re:Unions (Score 1) 585

Instead of spending millions lobbying why don't the unions start worker-owned companies? Because they can't cease making demands of "capitalists" anymore than a flea can jump off a plump dog

Maybe because the corporate structures provided are totally inadequate to the point of seeming to discourage that form of organisation?

True story: About 20 years ago, my business partner and I tried to set up such a business in Washington State. We looked at the state-provided structure (called a T-corp) and learned that it required every person who had ever worked for the company at any point in time to be compensated from equity for life. There was no way to buy out former employees! We ended up forming an S-corp with funky by-laws, but most people don't have the education and resources to figure things like that out.

Comment Re:Insecurity culture.... (Score 1) 585

It's enabled managers to avoid that unfortunate human trait of compassion, feeing them to make hard nosed business decisions where employees are just another resource. The reason Japanese companies last so long is that the managers, no matter how high up, feel personally responsible when they have to make people redundant, like it's a personal failure and something they should apologise for. In the west they feel the opposite - it's a triumph, money was saved and the business streamlined, and they deserve a fat bonus.

Part of the empathy gap (at least in ANZAC cultures) is caused by massive wage inequality compared to European/Japanese cultures. In a country like the US with a population of ~300M, the "1%" constitute a group of about 3M. At this scale, they clearly should have no difficulty surrounding themselves with people in similar circumstances, and in practice wage (and wealth) inequality can create serious barriers (often actual walls) between them and the rest of the society. Such segregation is documented to reduce empathy. Moreover, reducing such segregation requires active choice, which in turn depends on the empathy that you are trying to create! So the only way to create greater inter-class empathy appears to be to force the wealthy to associate with the rest of society. And the only way I know of to do that is seriously high taxation rates (either of income, or property or both) that cannot be avoided by moving to Texas or the Cayman Islands.

Comment Re:Actually, you CAN'T do that (Score 1) 65

"You can't ever get two quarks very far apart. That property arises because the gluon, the force carrier for the strong force, has a strong charge of it's own. "

If you tried to separate "it" from "is", will the force generate new apostrophes?

Pedantry AND wit - what is /. coming to?

Comment Re:Can the brain live without the body? (Score 1) 60

In the movie The Matrix, people who died in the perceived reality died "in real life" even though their bodies had no physical trauma. "The body cannot live without the mind." was the explanation for this given in the movie.

I really wonder if the brain could live without the body. It seems to me this is far more difficult than simply keeping a person healthy without gravity: the body provides the brain with nutrition, sensory input, oxygen and CO2 removal, chemical input like hormones, etc., removal of wastes, fine temperature control, osmotic balance, and probably a lot more I have not mentioned. It seems easier to me to supply a body with gravity in space than to supply a brain with all of that.

Oh, and the brain would still need to be pressurized in space, as well as all the fluid input, so it's not clear you'd save a lot on cabin pressure.

This artificial distinction between the brain and the body is a favourite trope of computer nerds, but really, there is no boundary between the body and the brain (except in the minds of people who are used to well-designed hardware interfaces.) In order to convince a brain that it is in a body, you need a lot of simulation inputs, including some very complex chemistry. The simplest and most compact machinery we have for providing this is... a human body!

Comment Re:you underestimate Al Gore (Score 1) 248

He's got a T-Rex size carbon footprint as shown here:

Um, dateline 2006? I know this is slashdot and old new is good news, but do you have anything from this decade? IIRC, he's made a few serious changes to his house since then. Not that I'm a big fan of carbon offsets, but still, the world changes around you. And just because you don't like the messenger is no reason to ignore the message (which is pretty well documented.)

Comment Re:Corruption? In Russia? (Score 2) 94

You don't like the numbers that have been published but have no facts to support what you would rather believe so you attack the reputation of the source of the numbers as your fallback. Have you considered pursuing a career as a lawyer or politician? You would fit right in.

My point is that you have no facts either, just the rantings of one of the most corrupt politicians in the House (which is ironic, given that we are talking about corruption...) You did not provide any sources for Mr. Issa's claim - and neither did the Post article you cited. In fact, the same article provided another (unsourced) number that was less than half what Mr. Issa claims.

Moreover, the article you linked was not written by the Post itself, but by some "senior principal analyst" at a company that specialises in government contracting! Do you think that maybe claiming that their competitors are missing billions of dollars in "waste, fraud and abuse" might just be a marketing ploy?

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"