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Comment: Mostly Republicans trying to legalize. (Score 1) 395

This is only news to those who have had their head in the ground, listening to fox news and government shills.

I've noticed that it seems to be mostly Republicans who are putting up the legalization legislation trial balloons.

(Can't speak about Fox. I don't follow 'em all that much since, during the (especially the last) presidential campaigns, they proved the right-hand side of their claimed "fair and balanced" coverage consisted of flogging the Neocon faction and ignoring or slamming the others - especially the "Liberty" faction and Ron Paul.)

But I haven't checked to see whether this is accurate, or just an artifact of the media only covering it when a Republican does it, on the "man bites dog IS news" principle.

Comment: Re:The Summary Claims Effect is Cause (Score 1) 33

The Aurora Borealis are not "are an electromagnetic phenomena that can adversely affect ..."

(Putting on my grammar policeman cap, and explicitly not addressing Rob's point...)

I DO wish the author of TFA would correctly use the singular and plural
of "Phenomenon".
  - Phenomenon: One (class of ...)
  - Phenomena: More than one (class of ...)

The Aurora Borealis are a set of related phenomena, involving glows from ionization of various atmospheric elements at different altitudes, various of the Van Allen belts being pumped up with new particles and/or pushed down by magnetic field distortion from solar wind variations, upper-atmosphere currents, ground currents, and I don't know what all else. The author's apparently inconsistent use of the singular and plural makes it difficult to understand what he meant.

Comment: What's "darker" about privizing services? (Score 0) 65

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49091951) Attached to: Does Open Data Have a Dark Side?

Forbes article last month explored some of the potentially darker sides of open data â" from ... to making an argument in favor of privatizing certain government services.

What's "darker" about privatizing government services?

Government is FORCE. When it "provides a service" it uses that force to make everybody using that sort of service use THEIR service, which they do THEIR way, and prevent anyone from providing the equivalent service in a possibly better and/or less expensive way.

We're seeig this now with Obamacare. But this has been going on since there have been governments. One of the earliest examples with THIS government was the suppression of alternative mail services.

Now there MAY be a FEW services where privatizing them are an issue. But we can discuss those on a case-by-case basis. For the bulk of them, why should the government even be involved?

Comment: Which means if they powned a machine on your LAN.. (Score 1) 57

Usually the only network interface UBoot is configured to use is on the local network side, on a wired interface and the IP address used is non-routable.

Which means if they compromised a machine on your LAN you're hosed. They now have your router firmware firmly under their control.

Who needs an intercept in the ISP, lawful or otherwise, when they can have your router send them copies of whatever they want. (Not to mention using it to attack any other devices behind it and cooperate with malware on them.)

Comment: Re:Nothing could possi (Score 2) 164

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49061765) Attached to: Researcher Developing Tattoo Removal Cream

So instead of having the tattoo ink spread out in a relatively benign part of my dermis, instead I'll concentrate it in my lymph nodes.

I was under the impression that the macrophages would then be broken down and their contents recycled or disposed of - that this migration was just one step in the process. Is this not true?

There are a lot of macrophages migrating to the lymph nodes over a lifetime. If they just went there, died, and left their contents the nodes would swell with age and never shrink - yet this doesn't seem to happen.

Comment: No, it's chemistry. (Score 2) 68

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49033233) Attached to: Converting Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel With a Bionic Leaf

An enzyme takes the hydrogen back to protons and electrons...
Isn't that nuclear fission?

No, it's chemistry. Specificially, ionization.

Monatomic hydrogen has a single proton (and very occasionally one or two neutrons) for its nucleus, "orbited" by a single electron. Molecular hydrogen has two atoms of hydrogen - two protons bound together into a molecule by sharing their associated electrons in a chemical bond.

Separating the individual nuclei from their chemical bonds (typically dragging along all but one or all but a few of their electrons) is a chemical process, producing a dissolved positive ion. Because hydrogen has a single proton and electon per atom, a positive ion of (non-heavy) hydrogen, missing one electron, is a bare proton.

Now if you wanted to change the number of protons and/or neutrons in the nucleus, change a proton to a neutron or vice-versa, or rearrange a multi-nucleon atom into or out of an excited state (say by adding or releasing a gamma ray), you WOULD be talking nuclear processes. If it cosisted of separating the nucleons of a single nucleus into two groups it would be nuclear fission. But separating the nuclei of different atoms from a molecular bond and/or removing electrons from them, is just chemistry. Energies per operation are measured in single-digit electron volts, rather than kilovolts or higher.

Comment: Industrial Tectonics (Score 1) 77

by Ungrounded Lightning (#49011301) Attached to: Mystery Ash Clouds Rain In Parts of Washington, Oregon


Back in the '60s and '70s a friend and I would occasionally take a back road from Ann Arbor to the "Dexter-Chelsea Industrial Complex" (a Vietnam War in-joke). We'd pass a small commercial site (always deserted on weekends) labeled "Industrial Tectonics".

She made up a nice rant about how they're been hired by the "Committee to Reunite Gonwanaland" to adjust continental drift to re-merge the continents into a single supercontinent.

(Later I found that "industrial tectonics" was about making fancy ball-shaped things of metal, ceramic, etc. for things like bearings, valves, and shot-peening (surface treating metals to create desired effects by tumbling them in an industrial-scale "cement mixer" with a bunch of ball bearings or other small, hard, objects.) Spheres, yes. Continental drift engineering, no. B-( Though I suppose you COULD speed up continental drift by injecting enough fancy ball bearings into faults, ala fracking.)

Comment: Thank you. Looks like Reye's Syndrome... (Score 4, Informative) 740

I searched your italicized quote there. First result.

Thank you.

It looks like he's talking about Reye's Syndrome, a pathology that can cause substantial brain damage (and/or other things: Liver damage, death, ...) in children - adults generally recover fully after a couple weeks. (I wanted to be sure he hadn't signed on to the immunization/autism claims, which have been thoroughly discredited.)

Reye/Reye's is a reasonably rare side effect of several viral illnesses, including immunizations for them. Risk of it seems to be multiplied by a factor of something like five if aspirin is taken, but aspirin (or other salicylates) is not necessary for its occurrence. It seems also to be associated with pre-existing metabolic disorders, so some families might be at very high risk while others effectively immune.

It's clear from even the soundbite posted: Rand's claim is that the decision to risk a child's health is properly the parents', and the government should not be able to force the child's exposure to a series of these risks over the parents' objections - informed or otherwise.

Immunizations are partly about population immunity - reducing the density of people susceptible to a disease to the point that it peters out in a declining exponential rather than blowing up in an expanding exponential, thus also protecting those not (yet) immunized, for whom the immunization was ineffective, or who were at risk despite the availability of immunization (e.g. AIDS sufferers). So risk/benefit calculations are for populations as well. Accepting the risk of the immunization helps others as well as the immunized person, so being immunized is partly an altruistic act.

Rand's point is that he believes the government shouldn't have the power to FORCE people to risk their lives for the benefit of others, that these life-critical decisions are personal and should be left up to the people in question (or their guardians if they're too young to make the choice themselves).

Comment: No, they DO, if that's what the rules say. (Score 0) 239

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48958861) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate

Yet the Colts didn't deserve to be in it. The balls they played with on offense weren't altered or deflated and the still only scored 7 points to the eventual 45 that the patriots scored. The Colts offense was shut down by the Pats defence and that's that

No, the Colts (or whomever the rules say) DO deserve to be in it, if that's what the rules say.

The Patriots cheated and were caught cheating. Unless the rules explicitly prescribe some other punishment for that offence, this should be treated as a game forfeit. They LOSE. If that means a far weaker team that almost certainly would have been clobbered if they'd played by the rules gets a superbowl slot - that's just fine. Maybe next year the teams will be more careful to keep their people under control.

If the rules are just advisory, who cares about the game? (They'll still get SOME fans. Like Pro Wrestling, for example, where the fans see it as a morality play entertainment, not a contest of strength and skill.) But $6,000 scalped seats won't be in their future.)

Meanwhile, the Colts got all the way to that last playoff game, so they're not TOTAL klutzes. If they deserve the slot cause they got their by playing fairly (or at least MORE fairly) and the Patriots don't, it would still be a fine contest.

As yourself this: Is Football about playing the game by the rules? Or is it about seeing how crooked you can be and get away with it?

Comment: Much like AIDS ... (Score 1) 183

People die of cancer. stroke, heart attack, emphysema. and countless other disease, but aging isn't one of them.

With AIDS the HIV virus gradually destroys the immune system. Then some infection isn't successfully fought off. The immediate "cause of death" is the infection. But the underlying cause of death is the destruction of the immune system by HIV.

Similarly, with aging, a host of systems gradually fail, through a number of mechanisms, of which telomere-shortening is the underlying cause of most. Eventually one of these systems failures results a disease process (or failure to reverse a disease process), and that disease process causes death. The recorded "cause of death" is the particular disease process. But the underlying cause is the system failure from aging.

Take cancer: Accumulated errors in DNA replication, perhaps combined with a couple pre-errored codes inherited from the parents, result in a clone of cells that don't stop replicating when they should, and are able to evade the self-destruct mechanisms (including the hayflic. The accumulation of errors is one aspect of aging. The failure of the immune system to recognize, destroy, and clean out the clone of misprogrammed cells, more common in older people, is another.

Comment: They already did. (Score 1) 252

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48937041) Attached to: One In Five Developers Now Works On IoT Projects

Next you know the young whipper-snappers will take "variables" and call them "dynamic constants"

In Bluetooth (especially Bluetoothe Low Energy (BLE)) they already reanamed them. They call one a "characteristic" (when you include the metadata describing it) or a "characteristic value" (when you mean just the the current value of the variable itself).

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.