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Comment: Re:What if we overcorrect? (Score 2) 341

| If we overestimate, then our best efforts may well over-correct, and we touch off a new ice age. If we underestimate, then there is little-to-no remediation

The most important part would be to use remediation technology which has a physical timescale of persistence substantially shorter than the effective residence time of the longest-living and most significant greenhouse gas, namely CO2, which is in the hundreds-to-thousands of years.

If you're using aerosols which have a residence time of a few years, then a mistake will equilibrate out after a few years of doing less.

But I have little confidence that one can ameliorate the effects even modestly precisely as opposed to adding in another perturbation of approximately equal magnitude but perhaps on significantly different axis.

The most important thing is just to stop doing what we're doing, and the most important thing in that is to stop fucking digging up and burning coal.

As it turns out, Germany and Japan which are generally perceived to be responsible, forward thinking nations with renewables are amping up their coal. Not just refusing to turn off coal, but actively increasing their use when they have nuclear infrastructure already paid for to prevent this. Japan does live in a seismically unstable neighborhood, but Germany has no excuse at all. Despite all their wind and solar, when it actually comes to real generation, they are, today INCREASING coal mining and burning, just as all the quantitative scientists said they would when they decided to turn off nukes instead of increasing them.

It's truly irresponsible, much worse than China's attitude, who at least recognizes the problem.

Comment: Re:Curious (Score 1) 595


Yeah. In quantum field theory the vacuum state is not mathematically zero, but the expectation of particle number (an functional operator on the field) evaluates as zero.

So if you count 'something' as what we'd call particles & matter (and in this case other stuff) you can start out from "nothing" though the 'nothing' wasn't exactly nothing but the most primitive base state possible in the physics.

Comment: Re:That's not the only thing that's gone... (Score 2) 270

by mbkennel (#46728553) Attached to: The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future
| They were strongly pushing portable .NET when there was no need for cross platform applications, but as soon as ARM gets into their mix of products, they drop that strategy and go with a native code strategy

I think that was driven by power dissipation motivations. The purpose of fast native code isn't speed, but low power consumption.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469


"There was actually a guy who tried to show what a sham the whole art thing was by forging many famous original works and then burning the original. "

That's a copy. The original artist still made all the important artistic decisions, the part that makes the art good. A new copy of the execution doesn't show the original is a "sham" in any way.

Michelangelo had great skill with a chisel and file, but that's not why he's a genius.

Even more interesting however was a man around the WW2 who make 'original' Vermeers, i.e. paintings which were not copies of existing paintings but were so good and a such a match to the style and quality that people believed they were (almost) real Vermeer works.

Even still, he was working in a plan and style defined and refined by Vermeer.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

| Steinway pianos are indistinguishable from other high end (but much cheaper) pianos, when played out of sight.

The important criterion here is what the pianist can do and feel.

| Some of Rembrandt's greatest paintings, the very paintings that made him "great", and were considered quintessential Rembrandt masterpieces that could never be equaled by lesser artists, turned out to be fakes.

Which ones are these?

Comment: Re:Where are the farmers? (Score 1) 987

by mbkennel (#46627017) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

| So you're saying that food crops, when grown in conditions a few degrees warmer and with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, will be less productive?

Yes.

| I think operators of greenhouses would disagree with you.

They aren't growing food crops, they're growing orchids in Europe.

The problem is the minimum night time temperatures. Many crops need a certain minimum night time temperature to function well.

http://www.pnas.org/content/101/27/9971.full

Comment: Re:Where are the farmers? (Score 1) 987

by mbkennel (#46626989) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
| One would think that agricultural lobbies worldwide, which are often quite politically powerful, would be screaming their heads off about climate change affecting crop yields

Think more carefully.

Agricultural lobbies of poor farmers in India don't really have a whole bunch of influence in many areas.

Wealthy commercial global agribusinesses? Well, they don't have a problem, really---they sell materials and processing, and their services will always be in demand---perhaps even more during times of agricultural stress. Besides, they will have many new clients from Canada & Russia.

The consequences of lower crop yields will be borne by the people who own increasingly poor land and by the people who have to pay more to eat. These aren't the powerful ones.

And yes, there already is a business: http://www.climate.com/. It was just acquired by Monsanto.

When money is actually on the line, they use scientifically justified climatology, not 'skeptical' 'denier' bs.

Comment: Re:Bugs in the system (Score 1) 987

by mbkennel (#46626955) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
| Climatologists have yet to quite realise that they need a small army of coders and computer sysadmins to provide them with the kit and the code to run their simulations, and no, this support cannot be done by the hired help on a shoestring. Until they realise this, we will not be able to trust their results.

Oh they realize it just fine. So what happens when they ask for much more money?

And yes there's a difference in computing infrastructure & software maturity between what a tiny academic group does and an organization which is more seriously involved with long-term data reduction & infrastructure like national space and meterology institutons.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, people are bailing from the IPCC (Score 2) 987

by mbkennel (#46626933) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming
| The BEST form of sequestration is to grow forests, turn them into paper, and print books on them, with chemically treated paper so it won't decay.

The BEST form of sequestration is to put solid, compressed, carbon in permanent long-term geologic storage.
Thing is, it already comes this way, it's called "coal". We just have to STOP unearthing it, but that's not profitable.

Comment: a preposterous comparison (Score 3, Insightful) 987

by mbkennel (#46626893) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

The US can always pay the interest on its loans denominated in US dollars by making dollars.

In any case, in 2013, the current interest on the US debt is about 400 billion USD. The US GDP is 16,803 billion USD, so the interest payment is about 2.3% of GDP. The US GDP could go down a bunch further.

This is a completely different situation from actually changing the global composition of physical molecules in the atmosphere, which cannot be redefined by any human action. The risk of long-term nearly irreversible changes in the physical environment vs human-to-human financial contracts?

Comment: Re:Projections (Score 1) 987

by mbkennel (#46626847) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

| 1/ What is the ideal temperature of the planet that we should doing everything possible to achieve.?

Without any other knowledge? The one which supported the rise of technological civilization from 8000 BC to now.

| 2 / As it appears that the major science organisations fear a catastrophic global warming, how much colder should be the global temperatures we should be trying to achieve ?

Generally 2 C warming over pre-industrial levels is about as much risk as they want to take.

| 4 / What is the ideal sea level?

Today's. More increase will cause major property and agricultural damage.

| 7 / What proven methods that are within in our technological capabilities should we use to achieve those ideals of temperature and CO2, global sea levels and Arctic / Antarctic ice amounts?

Stop coal mining. Make coal mining & burning a global death-penalty offense. Build modular nuclear plants in geologically safe areas and all other non0-emitting stationary energy generation where feasible. Seriously stop all non-CO2 greenhouse forcings which are easier economically to limit.

| 11 / Will the principals of those major science organisations take full total and personal responsibility and be prepared to suffer the undoubted consequences for any major reduction in the living standards for global citizens as a direct result of the effect of their proposed solutions to the supposed catastrophic climate situation that they claim to able to foresee?

Yes, certainly because they believe that they are much less than the consequences of the alternative. The consequences of major reductions in greenhouse gas increases mean: higher taxes on carbon-based fuels, potential radiological accidents from large expansion of nuclear power. The consequences of failing to do so will be much greater on the standard of living, except people have this habit of assigning "blame and accountability' for active human actions and none for indirect effects of change of climate, which is completely screwed up.

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