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Comment: Re:If you don't want science... (Score 1) 273

by lgw (#47767075) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Name one scientist who lost his head for blasphemy?

The key during the time of the inquisition was to stay away from politics. Anything one wrote with consequences or religious overtones was sharply examined for orthodoxy, because of major ongoing conflicts over political power, disguised as arguments over theology.

Most scientific writing at the time had what can be seen as a "boilerplate legal disclaimer" up front, which in the context of the day simply said "any resemblance to a religious or political argument is unintentional". You said explicitly that your weren't taking sides in the politics of the day, and you got on with the content.

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 273

by lgw (#47766967) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

ID is not a falsifiable hypothesis. It could be proven true - the aliens who seeded Earth with genetically modified precursors could land in space ships and present us with solid evidence - but it can't be proven false.

I agree it could be a great discussion topic, but likely it won't be. A friend of mine from Georgia (the US state) described his high school biology lecture on evolution as "OK, today I'm legally required to tech evolution. We all believe in Jesus, right? OK, next topic."

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 273

by lgw (#47766917) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I got my first programming job, after a couple of years of struggling to find one, in part because I remembered how to do long division (and some other pencil and paper math). No joke, it was my big break.

But it's been shown that memorizing multiplication tables (and using them in drill until you reach effortless competence with multiplication) directly improves your ability to learn more abstract math and related reasoning.

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 1) 250

by fyngyrz (#47766853) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

You *do* realize that the equatorial zone is generally tropical, wet as heck, and quite a bit warmer than everywhere else, yes? And that plants thrive on CO2?

Doesn't follow that making it warmer will make it drier. That doesn't seem to be how it works. Drier happens when water sources go away. There's no reasonable postulate for that which would apply to most equatorial regions.

Comment: Cats (Score 1) 250

by fyngyrz (#47766717) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Nah, it's almost certain to be big cats. Perfect apex predators. They can deal with heat, cold, wind; they can kill anything, climb like crazy, swim, they're fast as hell, stronger than just about anything, they instinctively use available terrain features for cover and shelter, they come equipped with deadly weapons, and they're very smart and wily. Common mutations already include thumbs and other extra digits, and they have a short enough breeding and maturation cycle that populations can recover in a very short time span, given only that mankind isn't around to defeat them using already developed technology.

Comment: Future Schlock (Score 1) 250

by fyngyrz (#47766549) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is it sane, given foreknowledge of your own demise and the power to avert it, to charge full-steam-ahead toward that demise

It's not my demise; it is the demise of others, sometime in the future. I fully expect to live out the rest of my life comfortably. I rather suspect that's the same set of conditions you face when you describe these worst case scenarios to others. Some of us are sensitive to the woes of future persons, some of us are not. But it's always at least one step removed from today's reality.

In the USA, just look at the number of people who would let the financially low performing suffer the slings and arrows of disease and injury without any particular concern or guilt; you can measure that directly by the resistance to the ACA, which remains substantial, even though it's working out pretty well if you actually take the time to look at the numbers. When people don't concern themselves with the other people in town, who are there and suffering right now, isn't it a bit optimistic to expect them to concern themselves with some abstract, unknown set of people who will exist after most of them have died anyway?

You're better off looking to technology to solve this than compassionate outlooks among the citizenry.

I'm going to go back to watching the news now, where I can learn more about us shooting up Afghanistan for no particular reason other than to prop up our MI complex, as we've kind of worn out Iraq now. You know, because we care. We'd be in Africa "helping" them too, you know, if we needed more income. I'm sure their day will come, though. Both Africa and South America are deep future market resources for our weapons manufacturers. Caring. It's what we do!

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 1) 250

by fyngyrz (#47766371) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

I'd expect massive droughts in the equatorial zones

Why? Equatorial zones have a great deal of ocean water, which certainly isn't going to change. That water will evaporate faster, the atmosphere will contain more humidity, and therefore there will be more precipitation, if the average temperature is up a few degrees C. How does that constitute the precursors for anticipating equatorial droughts?

I can see marginal areas (US midwest, for instance) baking off the little bit of moisture they have and not reaching any threshold of precipitation, followed by dustbowls and so on, but at the equator? Why would droughts happen there?

Comment: Not sliding, just jostling at the cliff (Score 1) 273

by fyngyrz (#47766163) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Proposed by those the people of OHIO voted for.

Which may be sufficient to see them ousted next time around, Ohio not being a particularly ignorant state as our states go. Here in the US, politicians think that they have to be religious to be elected (and they may still be right about that) but generally speaking, they aren't controlled by this when in office (look to corporations and the money stream for that.)

In the interim, it's worth keeping in mind the degree of scientific and technological progress that's come out of the USA.

We're not all superstitious wankers, though I can see why it might seem that way sometimes.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 273

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Re:Moons? (Score 2) 68

Indeed it does. I haven't published yet, but I detected one a few days ago (I work out of a valley in Iceland). I observed the brown dwarf in question (right ascension 08h 55m 10.83s, declination -07 14 42.5") and detected a large, earth-sized body occluding the star during my brief observations.

Comment: Re:In other news... (Score 1) 207

by lgw (#47761745) Attached to: NRC Analyst Calls To Close Diablo Canyon, CA's Last Remaining Nuclear Plant

California has zero concern with cascading failures

"There's zero chance it can fail," said the young engineer.

Hydroelectric plants store so much potential energy that it has measurably changed the length of the day

Right, so it's just a matter of building a river, a dam, and a hydro plant next to my solar plant in the desert. That'll work. Some ideas have been tried like pumping water uphill, or molten salt for thermal storage, but are overly lossy. I'm a big fan of the idea of hydrogen-based energy storage (storing hydrogen as a palladium hydride is quite dense and safe), and that can work at small scale so individual home systems can use it, but again that's not yet practical, just another "looks great on paper" idea.

Also, the costs of solar are not particularly great ... That means the entire cost per watt to the power grid to replace a coal plant with photovoltaics is less than 40 cents more for every dollar you spend.

An abrupt 40% increase in power cost (totally do-able with solar thermal) would destroy the economy. It's a non-starter. Over 20 years, though, maybe. Of course, that's plenty of time for better solar panels to happen (today the good ones simply can't be made in the needed quantity, but technology marches on).

Considering the hundreds of trillions of dollars in damage that is slated to be caused by the continued burning of carbon-based fuels over the next few centuries, I would say that it is time to start dictating to the power companies how we are going to move away from fossil fuel burning as soon as possible

I don't share your religious beliefs, and object to your suggestion that they be imposed by force. Maybe you can persuade one of the governments that will actually matter though - China and India. China might be an easy sell there since imposing crazy economic ideas by force is the norm. Pushing down coal use in the US, though, that seems to have some popular support. Natural gas is so cheap, and vastly better in terms of genuine pollution.

Comment: Re:My advice...RUN! (Score 2) 107

by lgw (#47760997) Attached to: The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

. Only those few who specialized in now ancient technologies will have any prospects beyond age 40.

Maybe it's you? I'm 45 and recruiters bother me more than ever. I keep my tech skills current, and carefully manage my career so as not to get stuck looking like an expert only on old things. Senior engineers are golden right now - I find it a great place to be. If what I do could be done by a kid anywhere, well, I'd be a terrible engineer after 20+ years.

The worst part is, there is no such thing as job security.

True enough, but it doesn't matter. Other than during the dot-bust, it's never taken me long to get a series of interviews whenever I wanted/needed a new job. This is not a career where staying for a long time at any company is usually rewarded, this is a job where technical success stories on your resume from many years of companies are rewarded.

If you want to join the Video Game Industry, all this same stuff applies, only cranked up to 11!

Any job that sounds fun like that will be exploitive and pay less. There's likely no worse corner of this industry than the large game companies. Find something to work on that puts your friends to sleep when you describe it, but people in the industry know is important.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.