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Comment: Be skeptical (Score 1) 240

by jmichaelg (#46616535) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks

Went looking for the original paper to see how many cases were looked at. Dr. Sandhu doesn't show up in a search for UC at Denver so no luck there. A few news article referenced a Conference which points to http://www.medpagetoday.com/Me... .

That page says that the # of extra attacks is 8. Moreover, Dr. Sandhu is quoted as saying that the total number of heart attacks in the week leading up to and following the clock change is unchanged so if there is an effect at all, it's front-loading the week's expected heart attack frequency.

Comment: Both sides are spending lots of money... (Score 1) 846

by jmichaelg (#46014601) Attached to: Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

Indian Chief paid $55,000 to attend anti-oil rally.

Synopsis: The Tides Foundation paid $55,000 to a Ltd Corporation that has is owned by another corporation that has changed its name twice in the past four years. The Indian chief is a director of the holding corporation. Tides made 25 different payments to anti-oil sands activists in a single year.

There's nothing wrong with paying money to support a cause you believe in but it's damn fishy when the money is flowing through corporations that are held by other corporations which keep changing their names. It indicates an attempt to hide who is actually receiving the money and how much money is flowing to said individuals.

The Saudis and Russians have a vested interest in stopping oil development in North America so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see them funding anti-oil activists.

Comment: Why software patents exist at all (Score 5, Informative) 204

by jmichaelg (#45947537) Attached to: Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Newegg Patent Case

Back in the day, software was not patentable as it was treated akin to a mathematical formula. The one patent I was aware of was a patent Atari snuck through by designing a circuit that XOR'ed a bit pattern to change the color a TV was displaying to avoid burn in. They patented the circuit and tucked a sentence into the patent that said they also claimed any implementation in software as well but the primary patent was for the circuit. We relied on copyright protection and pretty much ignored patents. Then the Supreme Court made a few rulings that opened the door to the possibility of patenting software.

Following up on the rulings, the Patent Office embarked on a series of "hearings" held around the country ostensibly to see whether it was a good idea to patent software or not. This was sometime in the early 90's. Towards the end of their tour, they finally brought their dog and pony show to San Jose.

Literally, almost *EVERY* developer testified that it was a really bad idea. The one exception that I recall was some idiot with a beauty salon app that would show you what you would look like with various hair styles. The rest of the developers said "No. We don't want this - it's a really, really, bad idea." Several developers made the point that we weren't constrained by a paucity of ideas as much as choosing which ideas to implement well.

The other group that was there in some numbers were attorneys - I recall Borland sent their corporate attorney. To a man, the attorneys all testified in favor of the idea.

Towards the end of the testimony, one of the developers pointed out the fact that the only people who seemed to like the idea were the attorneys. At which point, the Patent Office person (can't remember his name but iirc he headed the department at the time.) grinned and said something to the effect that the attorneys tended to get their way.

And they did. The people whom patents ostensibly protected were ignored in favor of the attorneys.

Comment: Re:Reflective Armor (Score 2) 173

by jmichaelg (#45707579) Attached to: Army Laser Passes Drone-Killing Test

How well a reflective surface would work would depend on the laser's power and frequency. Mylar doesn't reflect all frequencies of light and is imperfect at reflecting the ones it does. Pour enough joules onto the target and you don't care that 90% of them are being deflected - the remaining 10% will do the job.

I've always thought that the ideal anti-mortar device would be a radar that told you exactly where the mortar round came from. "You shooting at us? Here, have a little present in return."

Comment: Plankton die off (Score 1) 274

by jmichaelg (#45357541) Attached to: Scientists Says Jellyfish Are Taking Over the Oceans

Restore the plankton and you've restored the bottom of the food chain.

The plankton have died off by at least 40% over the past 60 years. John Martin at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute hypothesized in the early 90's that the die-off was due to diminishing iron in the ocean surface waters. He was quoted as saying "Give me a freighter full of iron fertilizer and I'll give you an ice age." meaning that spraying iron onto the ocean's surface would re-populate the plankton and they in turn would consume the excess CO2 that's currently acidifying the oceans.

In 2002, MBARI validated his hypothesis that spraying iron fertilizer would engender a plankton bloom. Subsequent studies have replicated MBARI's results.

Seems to me that if someone were to claim a 100 square mile chunk of ocean, they could fertilize it, seed it with anchovies and start a very profitable aqua farm. They would be harvesting a variety of predator fish such as bass and tuna once they discovered the anchovies feasting on the plankton. Since the farm wouldn't harvest all of the carbon the plankton consumed, it'd be a net carbon sink.

Comment: I don't get the feeling he's any different (Score 1) 688

by jmichaelg (#44812367) Attached to: How Car Dealership Lobbyists Successfully Banned Tesla Motors From Texas

So he spends a good deal of time talking about how contributions are perverting the process and finishes his post with ....

And if you can spare it, kick in some money to my campaign. Lord knows that after this post, Iâ(TM)m not getting any money from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association.

Comment: Second time around for Hawaiian OTEC (Score 1) 93

by jmichaelg (#44593951) Attached to: Chinese Developer To Build Ocean-Water Thermal Energy System

Hawaii already tried and failed at OTEC back in the late 70's. The difference between surface and deep water temperature determines the max theoretical efficiency and it turned out not to be high enough to make the process work given real-world heat losses.

After the OTEC project shut down, the state had a deep-water pipe off the Kona coast that they were wondering what to do with. Fortunately for Hawaii, at the same time the California Coastal Commission was making life miserable for an abalone farmer in California. He was trying to leverage some aquaculture research done at a marine lab near Monterey by seeking permission to sink a pipe into Monterey Canyon and pull up cold water to water his kelp which he would feed to the abalone. The Coastal Commission denied his request and so he picked up and moved to Hawaii where he started an abalone farm using the failed OTEC infrastructure.

The Commission's stupidity cost California taxes on a lucrative business as well a few jobs - a practice the state continues to this day.

The farm has done very well over the years. This species of kelp when doused with the deep cold water grows on the order of a foot a day. The farm harvests the kelp and chops it into little bits which are fed to baby abalone. The abs are harvested when they're a couple of inches across (way below legal limit if the abs were wild) and are shipped to Japan as an ultra-premium food.

Comment: H7 doesn't have a history of causing pandemics (Score 4, Informative) 185

by jmichaelg (#43830259) Attached to: Tests Show That Deadly New Flu Could Spread Among People

In 2003 when a bird flu was sweeping through Asia, Maurice Hilleman, a 20th century virologist who created more vaccines than all other virologists combined, said it would not turn into a pandemic. He turned out to be right: the pandemic didn't happen. During his career, Hilleman noticed that the flu pandemics have all been been associated with H1, H2 and H3 hemoglutens. The other 14 hemogluten groups, H4 through H17, haven't been associated with pandemics. Hemogluten is a protein that enables the virus to attach to the throat, and the flu virus has 17 different variants, numbered H1, H2, ...H17.

The other thing Hilleman noticed was that each of the flu pandemics has been separated from its former instance by 68 years. H2 caused pandemics in 1889 and 1957. H3 caused pandemics in 1900 and 1968 and H1 caused pandemics in 1918 and 1986. Based on that pattern, Hilleman thought the next flu pandemic would occur in 2025 when most people who were alive during the H2 1957 pandemic have died.

A key difference between the 1957 instance and the 2025 instance is the fact that the US no longer has any company willing to manufacture vaccines here - they're all overseas. Hilleman spotted the 1957 outbreak before anyone else did and bulldozed the design and manufacture of an effective vaccine in a matter of months. He knew the manufacturers personally and was able to coordinate them into gearing up the necessary production. A lot of what he did then would be impossible today given the FDA's increased power.

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