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Comment: Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (Score 1) 220

by PopeRatzo (#47801839) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

No, it is still the lowest forms of argumentation, not because of the factuality of the ties of a speaker with the technology or industry they are defending, but because they attack the speaker instead of the arguments they present

But the son was not presenting an argument. He was putting words in his dead father's mouth.

In any case, whatever he meant, it was a rhetoric statement, torn completely out of context and expressing a personal sentiment, not the official stance of the atomic energy program.

At least you're tacitly admitting that saving consumers money was never part of the nuclear fission story.

Comment: Re:Farmers will be delighted... (Score 1) 97

by Rei (#47800097) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons were not primarily a grain species, although they would eat grain when other preferred foods were in short supply. Part of the reasons the flocks increasingly turned to grain with time is due to the cutting and burning of many of their native forests to make room for farmland (and with an average lifespan in captivity of 15 years, probably half that in the wild, populations don't readjust right away). They were a migratory species, of course, but the habitat destruction was going on all over their range. If you get rid of the oaks and chestnuts in an area and the only other food option is grain, of course they're going to eat that. They also ate insects, mainly when breeding.

When you're talking about reintroducing a species from scratch, obviously the issues of what to do if a billion birds come into the area is totally inapplicable. The forests capable of supporting those numbers are gone. Birds that primarily consume seeds and grains are a much bigger threat to farmers than birds with a primary focus on nuts like the passenger pigeon.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1, Interesting) 97

by Rei (#47800041) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

it would take years for the ground plants to recover

Citation needed. Bird manure is one of the best natural fertilizers in existence. Have you seen what people charge for chicken manure? It's outrageous. Now, it's a concentrated enough fertilizer that you have to use it more like a chemical fertilizer than a soil suppliment - so it's possible that the pigeons would "nutrient burn" a location. But that's short term, in the long term that means leaving the area incredibly lush. And not to mention full of seeds in their droppings.

Trees and many smaller plants primarily cater to birds as their seed distributors.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1) 97

by Rei (#47799999) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons mainly ate tree nuts, particularly acorns, for most of the year. So they had a big effect on controlling tree distribution - in particular red oak has taken over from white oak after their demise in their former habitats (white oak is a slightly more valuable timber tree, FYI). During the summer they would also eat berries. They would sometimes steal grain from farmers but it wasn't a main part of their diet. They additionally consumed insects such as caterpillars and snails, so they did some good for farmers as well.

FYI, honeybees aren't native to the US. And colony populations are totally artificial, as people can raise as many colonies as they want, queens are mass-raised (you can mail order them) and the only limiting factor on the number of honeybees is the number of hives raised by beekeepers. Colony losses are a financial hit to beekepers but they're no threat to the species or the usage of honey bees for pollination (only the economics of their usage). And the increase in the rate of colony loss is way overplayed.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 3, Interesting) 97

by Rei (#47799907) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

There were humans living alongside the passenger pigeon for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

Anyway, this "readapting" of an ecosystem isn't necessarily a good thing. For example, the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet (the only parrot native to the eastern US) coincided with major spreading cockleburs in the US, as it was a major part of their diet. Are you a fan of cockleburs?

Comment: Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (Score 1) 220

by PopeRatzo (#47799365) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

Accusations of shilling are among the lowest form of argumentation.

Unless you happen to be identifying an actual shill.

The person who is attributed with explaining away his father's quote is not some pseudonymous person on the internet. He actually happens to be an nuclear industry shill. Calling him such is not a "form of argumentation". It is simply informative.

Now calling you a shill would be a low form of argumentation. I would never do that without evidence. So keep going. Before you're done, who knows?

Comment: Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797479) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Mér finnst samt pirrandi THegar fólk gerir THetta. THað er ófagmannlegt - Washington Post er mikil fréttasíða, ekki eitthvað skrifað á Facebook. :P

If it's so reasonable to "transliterate foreign proper names", then why is it that they only seem to do it with countries like Iceland? They don't usually transliterate proper names from other countries - for example, German (Düsseldorf) or France (Équipe FLN), just to pick a few quick examples.

Comment: Re:Down Again (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797407) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

The Met Office's decisions have all been perfectly cogent, it's only the poor reporting that's led to confusion from lay people.

In the first case there were all signs of an eruption under the glacier. They issued an alert. Later there were no signs on the surface, so they removed it. Later on, glacial subsidence proved that an eruption had indeed taken place, but stopped. In both cases, correct behavior on their part.

Then there was the 1st Holuhraun eruption. When an eruption begins, theres no way to know how its going to evolve, but since it was just a lava eruption, it was only restricted on instrument-only flight and only to 5000 feet. When it died down, they removed it. Again, right call by the Met Office.

Then there was the 2nd Holuhraun eruption. Again, 5000 foot instrument-only restriction, and when it steadied out, they removed the restriction (yes, the Slashdot article is wrong, the restriction has long been removed). Again, right call by the Met Office.

People need to stop armchair quarterbacking, they're doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Doesn't affect just people flying to/from Icela (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797385) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Or for an English example volcano, "Yellowstone" (11 letters).

To an Icelandic speaker who knows the component words, it's obvious where they split. Eyja (of islands) Fjalla (of mountains) Jökull (glacier), easy as pie. Their brain automatically cues into the "a"s as context clues for splits to make it even easier.

But picture a person who doesn't speak English at all who sees yellowstone. So they don't know the word "yellow" and they don't know the word "stone". Nor do they know what letter clusters are common together in English - or example, "st" - and which ones are not - for example, "ws". To them it'd be just the same thing, they don't see where to split it, and thus the word looks like a jumble of letters.

Comment: Re:Since nuclear is "too cheap to meter"... (Score 2) 220

by PopeRatzo (#47797189) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go

"I would say my father was referring to fusion energy. I know this because I became my father's eyes and ears as I travelled around the country for him."

So, a nuclear advocate covers for his nuclear advocate father's boneheaded remark pretending that nuclear energy would be cost effective. Or at least that's the assertion of someone named "Blubbaloo" who is the person who created the "too cheap to meter" wikipedia page. It is the only wikipedia entry that "Blubbaloo" has ever seemed to have made. And one that he seems to guard very carefully. And the only person who has ever disputed the meaning of Strauss' statement was his nuclear advocate son.

It's funny that a "physicist" wouldn't be able to understand the concept of externalities.

Here's a little detail from the talk pages of that very interesting wiki artifact:

We should not discount the popular impact of this statement. I added "Newspaper articles at the time..." and I wonder why there is any question about Strauss' meaning. Clearly the New York Times, writing about the Sept. 16 1954 speech, understood that Strauss was referring to the entire atomic energy program. Even if Strauss was misunderstood, he did not take any great pains to clear up the record. User:wkovarik -- Bill Kovarik, March 15, 2011.

A direct copy of the entire speech would clear up most of the questions around the usual (often mangled, as the one included today is) quotes. (Did the NYT reprint the entire speech or just portions?)
Robert Pool, 1997 p.71,[1] quotes this preceding line, often left out: "Transmutation of the elements--unlimited power ... these and a host of other results all in fifteen short years. It is not too much to expect that our children...." etc. There's little question that Strauss was waxing poetic; more to the point: many sources say he was encouraging science writers to promote fission power to these ends. Which completely makes sense considering their need to create more plutonium.
His view was not widely shared; in 1951, General Electric's own C. G. Suits, who was operating the Hanford reactors, said that "At present, atomic power presents an exceptionally costly and inconvenient means of obtaining energy which can be extracted much more economically from conventional fuels.... This is expensive power, not cheap power as the public has been led to believe."[2] Twang (talk) 16:53, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

"many sources say he was encouraging science writers to promote fission power to these ends."

Shills is shills, ya know?

Comment: Re:can it get me home from the bar? (Score 1) 270

by PopeRatzo (#47792171) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

They handle them fine, detecting when you use hand signals to indicate intentions

So, a driverless car that can't handle rain or snow or recognize a pothole is going to be perfectly safe around pedestrians and bicyclists?

O-kay....

Stop yourself. Nobody reading Slashdot today will live to see ubiquitous driverless cars.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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