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Comment: So, it's just another Democrat PAC masquerading (Score 0, Insightful) 247

by jnaujok (#47202363) Attached to: Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding
This "Anti-PAC" is just a PAC supporting the two largest Democrat campaign finance bills which are more properly termed the "Silence Dissent Acts" or "Incumbent Protection Act" then any kind of real campaign finance reform.

So, all they are is another Democrat PAC masquerading under a fake name. Oh, they claim to support three other bills with bi-partisan support, which are bills sponsored by four back-benchers (Tom Petrie anyone? 30+ years in Congress and I don't think he's successfully sponsored one bill.) that will never make it out of sub-committee.

So, two hyper-left (Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Dianne Feinstein type) proposals, and three non-events.

Anti-PAC, it's another way of saying "Democrat".

Makes you wonder why they feel they have to lie about their intentions.

Comment: Maybe... stop growing food in a desert? (Score 5, Insightful) 545

by jnaujok (#46444911) Attached to: Meat Makes Our Planet Thirsty
In case no one has noticed, California is a desert (or nearly one) for most of its area. Before the farm subsidy act of the 1950's, no one grew food crops in California, and no one raised cattle. Then, after subsidies were based on your distance from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where they get 30-40" of rain a year, suddenly California became *the* address for raising food. When you can raise dairy cattle at a loss, milk them at a loss, and produce a gallon of milk for $6, and still sell it for $2 wholesale -- and the government ensures you're making a profit by handing you a $5 a gallon subsidy, of course you're going to raise cattle and farm in California.

California has to drain the Colorado river, and the showsheds of something like 1,000,000 hectares of mountains to even get close to their water needs on a good year. In the meantime, farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and the rest of the heartland are all collapsing into bankruptcy, unable to compete with the ever-increasing subsidies bought by the legislatures of California with its 50+ congressmen and electoral votes.

Comment: Re:Oh noes.... (Score 1) 358

by jnaujok (#45086627) Attached to: 90% of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home Due To Shutdown
Assuming, of course, the Captain Planet model of industry, where the moment the Federal Regulator steps away, the CEO pulls the lever to dump the toxic waste into the nearby river.

Or, maybe the guys running the plant (and likely living nearby) don't want to die in a nuclear waste spill either.

I'd think that one regulator on-site, one shift a day, would be more than enough to catch any worrisome behaviors. Maybe with a surprise inspection once a week on an off-shift time if you really think "Mr. Slimeholio" runs the plant.

Comment: Oh noes.... (Score 1) 358

by jnaujok (#45085685) Attached to: 90% of Nuclear Regulators Sent Home Due To Shutdown
The article says 90% of employees is 3600 furloughed. Which would say the remaining 10% would be 400 workers.

To monitor 100 plants.

That would mean you could have one regulator on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week (That's 21 eight-hour shifts for the math challenged) or 5 shifts per person, with one overtime shift.

At every plant. 24/7 surveillance, with 10% of the workforce. What the hell were they doing before that? 10 regulators per plant, 24/7?!?!?!

Comment: Re:No one needs a motivation to invent (Score 1) 234

by MarkusQ (#44920061) Attached to: The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

" my point was that the only reason for a society to grant patents is to provide a viable alternative to the former system (closely held trade secrets) without the risk of the secret dying with the inventor?"

I guess my question would be WHY you see ONLY this reason, and refuse to acknowledge the others. I mentioned at least one of them. But you have rejected it without any real argument or refutation, and simply repeated your original statement again. The fact that inventions were created before the motivation of patents existed, is not evidence that patents do not create motivation. The real question, which you have refused to even acknowledge so far, is: which is BETTER? A system with no patents, or a system with patents.

Actually, you're changing the argument here. This part of the discussion was about why patent laws were enacted in the first place (was it to motivate people to invent, or to motivate them to disclose the details of their invention?). It was never about whether patents do or don't motivate people to invent thing, only about whether the supposition that they do was behind the creation of the patent system.

You argued that this was "obvious" from the constitution by imposing a modern perspective--shoe horning a Randian perspective on a document written a century and a half before that view gained currency--and a bit of selective reading. I countered that given the prevailing circumstance (e.g. trade secrets as a prevalent practice) and the clear written statement (e.g. the law itself, which I cited above) a much more probable explanation was that the intent was to motivate disclosure of existing inventions rather than (as you would have it) invention per se.

This may seem odd to modern sensibilities, in a world where "the profit motive" is taken for granted (and condoned) and we have more information at our fingertips than we could possibly digest, a world where cases such as starlite (which may well be a fraud in any event) seem like musty relics of pre-Victorian era, but I think it's safe to say the founders of our nation would have had as hard a time seeing things from our perspective as we have seeing it from theirs.

Likewise, as for your question about my phrase "the only reason for a society to grant patents" I think you are confusing motivations of the two parties (society and the inventor). There are many things that might motivate an inventor (dreams of wealth, fame, glory, desire to scratch an itch, prove a point, discomfit a rival, etc.) but society as a whole is largely indifferent to these. If we are to be strictly randian (as seems to be the tenor here, at least in so far as the constraints of historical accuracy permit) the only thing that works as a societal motivation is something that benefits people in general, imposing a cost on (in an ideal case at least) no one but the inventor. The most salient of the possibly candidates is clearly disclosure--we all gain information, and the inventor is out one secret.

I will, though, admit that "only" was too strong and there are indeed other (far less plausible) candidates. Perhaps we all love a Horatio Alger tale enough to want to foster them, or can't help but indulge our schadenfreude habit when a mustachio twirling industry is turned on its head by a plucky upstart. But I haven't been able to turn up any contemporaneous support for these theories.

By your argument, I could claim that firearms are not effective for hunting because animals were killed long before firearms came along. I don't buy it. It's not black and white, it's a matter of degree.

Again, I believe you are getting yourself tangled. You started this line of discussion by making the contrary black and white claim:

You: The idea (which history supports) being that when you don't allow people to profit from their own efforts, things don't get invented.

Me: That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them.

You: Well then, it makes sense, because we have far more than a shred. We have at least 300 years of historical evidence, continuing into modern times.

...and I objected, pointing out that history very clearly show that things were invented before patents, and that patents are not, as you seemed to be arguing, the only (or even the best) reason or people to invent things.

--MarkusQ

Comment: Re:No one needs a motivation to invent (Score 1) 234

by MarkusQ (#44879513) Attached to: The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

"That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. Say maybe if the world were full of saying like "IP protection is the mother of invention" or "invent a better mouse trap and the world will grant you exclusive use of the idea for a limited time."

Well then, it makes sense, because we have far more than a shred. We have at least 300 years of historical evidence, continuing into modern times.

I would certainly like to see this supposed evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. I can not imagine what it would look like, considering all the evidence we have that people invented things before there were patents.

"Of course, we don't see any of that. We don't live in that world and it takes a rather twisted view of human nature to swallow the notion that patents somehow cause invention. "

You are blaming abuses that exist in our current bureaucratically-fouled system on the very concept of patents. That's like blaming the 4th Amendment for the time the police broke down your door without a warrant.

You response to this point makes no sense. I have said nothing about any abuses here, and haven't blamed anything on anyone.

"If you want a patent on your gizmo, you have to fully disclose the details so anyone reasonably competent can make and use one after the patent expires. That is what society gets out of it."

No shit, Sherlock. What is your point?

Uh, my point was that the only reason for a society to grant patents is to provide a viable alternative to the former system (closely held trade secrets) without the risk of the secret dying with the inventor? And that that is the perceived social good that motivated the creation of the patent system? It seems rather clear to me.

"The promotion of progress isn't about gulling people into inventing stuff (they were doing that already)."

Nobody said it was. I didn't claim it was an attempt to trick people. It *ISN'T* an attempt to "gull" anybody.

Well, "motivate" then. I admit that "gulling" has a pejorative connotation, but operationally it amounts to the same thing. Your claim (which I dispute) is that people wouldn't invent things unless we offered them patents, and that we therefore offer them patents to get them to invent things. You can call it an incentive, a bribe, an inducement, a reward, or anything else you like.

" It's about making sure that other people can copy those inventions, build on them"

Only AFTERWARD. It's about MOTIVATING people to invent, SO THAT society can benefit from it later. We are arguing the same thing, except that you're denying the necessary first half of the argument.

No, we are not. You are claiming, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, that the intent of patents was to motivate people to invent things. I, on the other hand, am pointing out that the intent of the patent system was to induce disclosure of invitations.

--MarkusQ

Comment: No one needs a motivation to invent (Score 1) 234

by MarkusQ (#44870429) Attached to: The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. Say maybe if the world were full of saying like "IP protection is the mother of invention" or "invent a better mouse trap and the world will grant you exclusive use of the idea for a limited time."

Or suppose we had clear evidence that primitive people lived lives little different than those of other animals until some freak accident created the first intellectual property laws, triggering the taming of fire, agriculture, and so forth.

Of course, we don't see any of that. We don't live in that world and it takes a rather twisted view of human nature to swallow the notion that patents somehow cause invention.

On the other hand, all it takes to support the notion that patents were intended to cause disclosure of inventions is a little reading. For example, in the second paragraph of The Patent Act of 1790 we find the prerequisites for obtaining a patent and the reason for them spelt out. In the second full sentence of US patent law we are told that those seeking patents must:

[...] deliver to the Secretary of State a specification in writing, containing a description, accompanied with drafts or models, and explanations and models (if the nature of the invention or discovery will admit of a model) of the thing or things, by him or them invented or discovered, and described as aforesaid, in the said patents; which specification shall be so particular, and said models so exact, as not only to distinguish the invention or discovery from other things before known and used, but also to enable a workman or other person skilled in the art or manufacture, whereof it is a branch, or wherewith it may be nearest connected, to make, construct, or use the same, to the end that the public may have the full benefit thereof, after the expiration of the patent term;

If you want a patent on your gizmo, you have to fully disclose the details so anyone reasonably competent can make and use one after the patent expires.

That is what society gets out of it. The promotion of progress isn't about gulling people into inventing stuff (they were doing that already). It's about making sure that other people can copy those inventions, build on them, progress from them, rather than having the secret die with the inventor thus forcing everyone else to (as the saying goes) "reinvent the wheel".

--MarkusQ

Comment: You have that exactly backwards (Score 2) 234

by MarkusQ (#44866503) Attached to: The Man Who Created the Pencil Eraser and How Patents Have Changed

"At the heart of any patent, there should be some trade secret."

I think most people would disagree with you. The majority of ills in our patent system today are due to patented "trade secrets" [...] the workings of most useful INVENTIONS usually become pretty obvious at the point the invention hits the market; thus the need for a patent in the first place.

If the working of the invention become obvious at the point the invention hits the market, society has no reason to offer the inventor patent protection in exchange for being let in on the secret. Only in cases where the trick wouldn't be obvious to a practitioner skilled in the applicable arts do we have any reason to say "Oh, come on, just tell us how it works and we promise not to compete with you!" -- in other words, grant a patent in exchange for full disclosure.

Patents are supposed to be what we grant the inventor in exchange for their revealing a "trade secret" that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to figure out.

-- MarkusQ

Comment: Re:In the voice of a British peasant (Score 3, Insightful) 99

Oh, thank you, sir! For the privilege of accessing the hardware I have paid you money for, I am forever grateful!

This is the sort of entitlist mentality that shows how out of touch some people in this community are.

So objecting to "you bought it but we still get to control how you use it" is somehow "entitlist"?

I agree people shouldn't buy shackled hardware in the first place, but that doesn't mean that it's in any way ethical to sell it. And claiming that the public has made an informed decision by choosing heavily marketed closed systems over the essentially unmarketed open alternatives doesn't pass the laugh test.

-- MarkusQ

Comment: Re:BUYING SLASHDOT ACCOUNTS (Score 2) 1105

by jnaujok (#43765519) Attached to: 97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made
Arrhenius stated only that CO2 acted to absorb heat (long-wave infra-red radiation for the nitpickers). He posited that if you added CO2 to the atmosphere the heat would increase. What Arrhenius didn't know, or didn't fully grasp, is that at 280ppm, the atmospheric CO2 already absorbs 97% of all incoming long-wave infra-red radiation. Doubling the CO2 to 560ppm, would not make it absorb 194% of the radiation, it would make it absorb about 99% of the incoming radiation. Since CO2 accounts for approximately 4-7 degrees C of the Earth's warming (there's arguments on the exact figure) that would be an increase of about 0.08 to 0.14 degrees C. Now, there are some factors that add to that (re-radiation, tropospheric concentration and re-reflection of albedo infra-red, etc) that could make that as much as 1 degree C of surface warming. But that's it.

Adding twice the CO2 doesn't mean twice the temperature. And the feedback mechanisms are neutral to negative. They must be, or the 7000ppm CO2 of the carboniferous period would have resulted in Earth looking like a ball of molten rock.

Now, let's get back to the real point.

Climate scientists continue to make statements like, "We can expect more Katrina's every year!" Yet the U.S. is now in its longest cycle without a major hurricane landing since records began being kept in the 1930's. "We can expect more tornados to ravage cities across the U.S.!", yet tornadic activity across the U.S. is at a 50 year low. Total thunderstorms are average at best, and while there is some evidence of slightly stronger convection cells, there's a certain bias in the fact that we never before had satellites capable of sampling and quantifying such activity in seconds rather than days.

In short, the evidence all points the other way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no shill for gas or oil or coal. I'd rather see all of it go away. Give me clean, safe, cheap, plentiful nuclear power every day of the week over all of that. Preferably LFTR designs spread out like candy all over the country. I'd love fusion too, but like my Grandfather who was promised to see it "within his lifetime" and died in 1988, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Solar power is a joke, with its rare earths and sulfur-hexafluoride washes doing a dozen times more damage to the environment then they'll ever recover in a lifetime. We've already tapped 95% or more of the hydropower on Earth, and I doubt the birds will live through putting up enough windmills to power a typical city, much less the planet. Not to mention, that has it's own problems. Wind Power Potential Overestimated

Your point, "We've seen warming" ignores the one great thing about climate change -- the climate is a complex system -- it is always changing. It is a vast, living, breathing system taking in all life on earth, all changes in the sun, all chemistry in the oceans, every wave, every sunbeam, every butterfly flapping its wings. It must be constantly changing. We are looking at a tiny sliver of it and saying, "Oh no, we're all doomed!" We act as if we want the climate never to change, not one iota, not one jot.

The climate never changes on Venus, on Mercury, on Mars... They all have one thing in common. They're dead worlds.

Give me a changing climate any day over that.

Comment: Re:BUYING SLASHDOT ACCOUNTS (Score 2) 1105

by jnaujok (#43765423) Attached to: 97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made
So, the fact that both Tornadic activity in the United States and Cyclonic Activity globally are at 50 year lows all point to this "increased activity". Somewhere you have failed to notice that your claims must be backed up with data. Also, you have failed to explain why the actual global temperatures over the last 30 years have come in below the lowest predicted warming of all the models used by the IPCC, yet they continue to increase the predicted response. The last IPCC report posited a 3.0 degreeC/century rise in temperature, while actual data points at 1.2 degrees C/century or lower.

I work in computer science, and there's a name for a model which cannot predict, it's called "broken" or "incomplete". The fact that you now wish to make multi-trillion dollar, economy-wrecking, and real-life endangering decisions based on computer models that still can't agree with each other, much less the facts, is frightening beyond belief.

The amazing thing to me is that the same crowd that doesn't trust a banana with an extra gene inserted through a science evolved through 60 years of study, or grown with a fertilizer used for 80 years without a downside, are completely willing to take steps that will result in starvation, civil wars, and economic catastrophe over an increase of 0.012% of a particularly harmless gas in the atmosphere, which is required for life on Earth. A gas which, during the most life-bearing phase of the earth's history, was almost 20 times as abundant. All of which is based on computer programs developed by non-computer programmer programmers, over the course of a few months, which are less than accurate in the short term, and whose predictions are wildly inaccurate over the long term.

Not to mention, if tree-rings are such great thermometers, why has the dendrochronological record not been updated since the 1980's? Surely in the billions being funneled to climate research, someone can pay some grad students $10 an hour to go get some tree cores with a hand-drill every weekend?

Most of these climate scientists wouldn't know the climate it if rained on them.

Comment: Re:Better Arguments (Score 1) 1105

by jnaujok (#43765415) Attached to: 97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made
You want an analysis of the article itself? I could do that, but someone already has: Cook's Survey not only Meaningless, but Misleading

The survey is full of self-confirming bias, and selection bias. And the 97% number ignores the 65% of the papers that said *NOTHING* either way about AGW. In fact, if you take only those papers that explicitly endorse AGW, versus those that deny it, the ratio is actually flipped, with the "deniers" winning out.

In fact, by percentages of publications, the number that support AGW have been steadily declining year after year since 1995 according to the very numbers in this paper. Make of that what you will.

That was a brief synopsis for those of you too lazy to RTFA.

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