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Comment: Re:Limits of Measurement (Score 2) 135

is the electron ACTUALLY doing that, or was that simply a mathematical/logical proof that correlates highly with what we see?

Ummm. physics has been all about testing for discrepancies between the two for at least a century now. There's a nobel prize waiting for anyone who can show an electron not behaving itself in accordance with the standard model.

Comment: Re:There have been attempts before (Score 1) 40

by TapeCutter (#47548219) Attached to: How Bird Flocks Resemble Liquid Helium

Can this claim even be proven or disproven?

Silly question on a nerd site, you don't "prove" anything with science, and Jurassic park was a movie, not a scientific model.

Back then the short cut they took probably saved them weeks in rendering time, and as you say, came out looking realistic. A scientific simulation would be comparing real data points to the output, it would be able to identify the "handful of leaders" that initiate each manoeuvre of a real flock, it would definitely not be a bunch of lab coats looking at the pretty pictures and nodding.

Disclaimer: I like Crichton's stories too, but he tends to write in "false document" style and every story has the same "science gone mad" plot.

Comment: Re:Oh, bore off (Score 1) 571

by TapeCutter (#47546291) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine
Yeah right, the infamous "mushroom cloud" comment was all about chemical weapons. Also I'm old enough to recall the attack on the Kurds, it happened in the 80's long before Clinton was elected. The Bush administration lied about nukes and lied about Saddam's connection to 911 because they wanted to "fix" the ME once and for all.

Sure most people wanted Saddam gone but most people could also see the end was not worth the means. The US should have backed down when it did not gain the support of the UN but they did the exact opposite. The US should have kept Iraq's public service intact but they disbanded them on the third day and the entire nation went on a looting rampage from which they still haven't recovered.

Comment: Re:Australia Deserves it. (Score 2) 126

Yes, the proof is in the pudding, the "land of the free" has the highest incarceration rates in the world, roughly 7X the rate of countries like China, Europe, and Australia. They are even more enthusiastic about locking up their own people than Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

As for TFA, most people outside Australia and many inside of it do not understand why this is a perennial issue in parliament. Neither side are serious about these things, they use the issue purely for political gain in the senate.

Aussie governments on both sides have argued both for and against this type of legislation since video cassettes became popular in the 80's. Malcolm Turnbull is not personally in favour of this legislation and Brandis just made a huge "free speech" fuss about changing the racial discrimination act to give people the right to be a bigot (specifically because his own media attack dog was found guilty under the act). However their personal stance is largely irrelevant since I'll bet that there is a minority "balance of power" senator that wants this, my guess is Bob Day from "family first". They were the ones who pushed this issue under the Labour gov, then spat the dummy when their own anti-abortion web sites started appearing on the "leaked" blacklist.

Both sides of government have used this issue as bait for independent senators, they promise to implement if the senator cooperates on other matters, knowing full well the majority of parliamentarians won't accept it when, or rather if, it comes to a vote. They get the senate vote(s) early in their term, then they have endless inquires about how to implement "stupid idea X", people get stirred up, enquires come back with mixed results, the issue goes quiet before the next election. Independent senator loses seat he was luck to win in the first place and is replaced by a new independent from a different electorate with similar ideas and no experience bargaining with a major political party.

In other words unless the pure political cynicism in keeping the status-quo concerns you, then this is a non-story.

Comment: Re:Major disappointment... (Score 1) 95

by TapeCutter (#47519325) Attached to: Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution
One of the assumptions behind SETI is that aliens want to be heard, we have deliberately broadcast radio messages to nearby stars, SETI are hoping aliens will do the same thing.

The idea of looking for atmospheric signatures of technological life that do not occur in nature (such as CFC's) has been around for a long time. Non technological life can be inferred from an atmosphere rich in both methane and oxygen. People are trying to perform atmospheric spectroscopy on exoplanets but the technology is not quite there yet, I believe someone recently claimed to have detected water vapour on an exoplanet.

Having said that I was taught in 1970's high school that it was theoretically impossible to detect an exoplanet from Earth, but that was before wobble mirrors were invented..

Comment: Adver-teasing is fun. (Score 4, Funny) 175

by TapeCutter (#47514477) Attached to: Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims
I haven't a mobile phone of any kind for almost a decade but google and facebook know (from my bank) that I have spent some serious dollars on dentistry recently, their computers are thoroughly convinced I should buy a $350 set of plastic clip on teeth. I don't need false teeth but I post something random about the plastic teeth to web sites about once a week, like I'm doing here. I've been doing this for about six weeks, almost every page I visit is now plastered with the same ad (I clicked on it once just to tease them).

There's some people selling porcelain teeth that started following me last week, I'm currently experimenting with different phrases to see if I can ignite a bidding war between the two vendors. Would love to know how much they have spent on me so far....

Your post is spot on, it's exceedingly difficult to opt out of the civilization you found yourself born into. Ridicule is the best defense against extremists, so my advice is try to have some fun with the absurdities of "targeted advertising", and the crusaders who are battling it..

Disclaimer: For many years I have had the slashdot "disable advertising" option available, I don't use it because I actually want slashdot to make a few pennies from my eyeballs. It's also humourous seeing ads for religious scams posted to a bunch of atheist nerds ranting against religion. If we keep burning gods money like that maybe (s)he won't be able to buy as many congressmen in the future.

Comment: Re:Better safe than sorry (Score 1) 190

we suck at knowing things, even when those things are big enough for us to see

Welcome to the real world where imperfect knowledge has been enshrined in a very useful philosophy we call "Science".

Science is just highly refined common sense. The fact that the biblical plague of smallpox has not been seen in the wild for decades convincingly demonstrates science knows enough to control it, what more do you need to know? Sure it may pop up somewhere after all these years, but even if that very unlikely* event was to occur we have already demonstrated we know how to deal with it and stop it spreading. So even though we can never know for sure that every last smallpox bug has been killed, we do know that as long as our current knowledge is passed on to the next generation, smallpox will never again cause human miseries of biblical proportions. This scant knowledge also tells us that smallpox (alone) would be a stupid choice for a biological weapon.

very unlikely* - Without special care smallpox does not survive for very long outside of a human host, the human body is it's unique natural habitat.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 454

by TapeCutter (#47507253) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

But we have one side ready for peaceful coexistence and the other side who wants only the total destruction of their enemies.

If you watch it for a few decades you will see the sides alternating, when Israel makes a peaceful move in conjunction with Fatah, Hamas retaliates with rockets. When Hamas declares and keeps a 2yr ceasefire, Israel lays the boots in. Israel does want a 2 state solution but only if they can veto who's running it, in the meantime they call it an occupation territory so that it doesn't screw up the demographics of a jewish state, similar to the way S.Africa denied the black a vote to keep their "white demographic" intact. Fatah has been widely seen as Israeli puppets by people in Gaza since the death of Arafat. The Israelis came close to a resolution with Arafat in the 90's but he backed out at the last minute over the "right of return", Arafat wasn't the only one punished because of that act of political disobedience.

The situation also has similarities with the British occupation of Ireland in the early 20th century, the Brits solved that mess in the 80's and 90's by talking the high moral ground of allowing full participation on the political side while simultaneously infiltrating the IRA and bringing members of the military wing to justice via criminal courts and local police. Trust has to start somewhere and Israel are supposed to be the grown up government in this equation.

Hamas cannot defeat Israel, from a purely militarily POV Hamas is a nuisance largely of Israel's and Egypt's own making. When will Isreali soldiers follow the lead of the Brits in 1980's N. Ireland and remove their riot helmets while on street patrol. Replace the live ammo with rubber, swap real cannons for water cannons, stop shifting the border, stop evicting people and bulldozing homes that have been occupied for centuries by the same family, bring your own extremist dogs to heal to show the palestinians how it's done.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 454

by TapeCutter (#47506861) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures
It wasn't widely broadcast at the time but after Hamas came to power with 70% of the vote in what all international observers called a "free and fair" election. They declared a unilateral ceasefire and kept it for about 2yrs. During this time Israel and the west in general simply punished the palestinians for "picking the wrong team". This doesn't mean the palestinians are blameless Arafat fucked up a 2 state deal before that and was duly punished for it. However it's clear to see the palestinians are the significantly weaker under-dog, and the similarities with apartheid era South Africa is not lost on anyone old enough to remember it.

The hypocrisy and immorality inherent in international politics is simply offensive to any thinking person, the west bitches about Putin's rockets shooting down airliners while Israelis watch and cheer US bombs landing on hospitals from nearby hills. Neither of these events has anything to do with self defense, it's just the same old proxy wars the 5 veto powers have been playing since they agreed not to shoot directly at each other.

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