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Comment: Re: (Score 1) 318

by Rei (#47421159) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

I'm sorry, I just read through that paper, and nowhere in it does it say that a decline in Antarctic ice is a forecast of AGW. That's one of the worst examples of "proof by ghost reference" I've ever seen. Not to mention that the paper is mainly focused on the Antarctic Peninsula, the one place that actually gets melt on more than super-rare occasions and juts into a different climate zone.

Comment: Re: (Score 2) 318

by Rei (#47418485) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Go right ahead and point me to where a decline in Antarctic ice was a forecast of AGW.

You do know that - below freezing - there's an inverse correlation between temperature and snowfall, don't you? And I really hope you know that it's very rare that temperatures rise above freezing in the vast majority of Antarctica, whether you add a couple degrees to the temperature or not, right? Or did you not know / ever consider that?

Just because you didn't realize something that should have been really bloody obvious to you doesn't mean it was a scientific prediction by your straw-man scientists.

Comment: Re:Not just Obama. (Score 1) 70

by Rei (#47415799) Attached to: Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Corr: That should read "doesn't lose much IR transmission as a consequence of neutron bombardment like happens in higher frequency bands" - accidentally lost that middle part. Fused silica and fused quartz (especially the latter, but also the former) blacken under neutron exposure, losing transparency; it's even done intentionally to make jewelry. But the papers I ran into when researching the topic showed that this effect isn't very pronounced in the IR band.

Comment: Re:Not just Obama. (Score 3, Interesting) 70

by Rei (#47414883) Attached to: Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Agreed. But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to embark on big projects. Rather than a "Hey, we're going to walk somewhere new" sort of thing, I'd like to see work on one of any number of space-related megaprojects - for example, a launch loop and/or fallout-free nuclear rockets**. Something that could actually lower the cost of access to space to the point that it doesn't take a vast effort to go walk on another celestial body.

** - There's so many competing designs it's hard to know where to start. My personal concept I've mulled over is a variant of the nuclear lightbulb concept, but instead of the fused-silica bulb containig a gas or plasma core reactor which requires some unknown containment method, the concept calls for a dusty fission core (akin to a dusty fission fragment rocket), which can be electrostatically contained. The energy would be released in the infrared, not visible or ultraviolet (as in a conventional lightbulb concept), but that's fine - fused silica is also transparent to infrared, and moreover doesn't lose much IR transmission as like happens in higher frequency bands; the lower radiation rate of infrared would be compensated for by the huge surface area of the dust radiating it. The simultaneous huge amounts of electric output (from fission fragment deceleration in a grid) could be used in part to run a microwave beam, creating a plasma sheath in ducted atmospheric air surrounding the bulb (airbreathing mode) or injected gas surrounding it (rocket mode) to aid in IR absorption and keep as much of the heat away from the (reflective) walls as possible. A VASIMR-ish mode is possible if you use low gas injection rates and a magnetic nozzle. In space, gas injection could be terminated altogether and the core could be opened up to run in dusty fission fragment mode and get Isp figures in the lower hundreds of thousands. To make up for the problems with using the standard dusty fission fragment rocket proposal's (heavy) moderator in such a high power environment, my thoughts were to have it operate as a subcritical reactor with a spallation neutron source as the driver - after all, there's no shortage of electricity to run an accelerator if you're decelerating a good chunk of the fragments; you don't even have to deal with Carnot losses.

Comment: Re:Just an observation . . . (Score 5, Interesting) 318

by Rei (#47414379) Attached to: Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

Not if you're the Russian intelligence services, the prime suspect behind the hack. Anyone want to bet that this was part of the same initiative that brought us the more recent scandals of Russian state funding for European anti-fracking groups and American lobbying against LNG export approval?

Whatever it takes to keep your main market open, dependent, and buying your main exports in vast quantities, I suppose.

Comment: Re:Guam is in the Maldives now? (Score 1) 172

by Rei (#47413725) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

So now that it turns out that this was done in conjunction with the Maldives government, what's your deal?

Is it that you prefer to leave hackers and carders out there robbing people and businesses?

I'm not the biggest fan of America (actually look forward to renouncing my citizenship as soon as I'm able), but seriously, I think you prematurely Godwinned.

Comment: Re:Guam is in the Maldives now? (Score 1) 172

by Rei (#47413717) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

That seems to be precisely what his public defender is saying today (see elsewhere in this thread). And that it was done in cooperation with the Maldives government. So it looks like if there's a scandal here it would be the Maldives government breaking their own laws (although I personally have no clue if that would be illegal in the Maldives, or even what legal grounds would have been used)

Comment: Re:Kidnapping. (Score 1) 172

by Rei (#47413713) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

According to his public defender:

A Federal Public Defender on Guam, John Gorman, has been appointed to represent him.

Gorman told PNC News today that he was informed by federal officials that the U.S. Secret Service arranged with the Maldives Government to "detain" Seleznev as he was about to board a plane back to Moscow this past Saturday, July 5th. He said Seleznev was then flown on a charter flight here to Guam where, the Federal authorities said, the actual "arrest" was made.

1. He was arrested in Guam. He was detained in the Maldives, but not arrested there.
2. You can't call it a "kidnapping" if it was done in conjunction with the Maldives government (the local authorities).

Did the Maldives government break their laws by doing this action with the Secret Service? Beats me, I'm not a Maldives legal professor. But if there's anyone who would have the authority to order someone in the Maldives detained, I would think it would be the Maldives government.

Comment: Re:Guam is in the Maldives now? (Score 1) 172

by Rei (#47413703) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

An update today:

A Federal Public Defender on Guam, John Gorman, has been appointed to represent him.

Gorman told PNC News today that he was informed by federal officials that the U.S. Secret Service arranged with the Maldives Government to "detain" Seleznev as he was about to board a plane back to Moscow this past Saturday, July 5th. He said Seleznev was then flown on a charter flight here to Guam where, the Federal authorities said, the actual "arrest" was made.

Clearer, although still ambiguous. We now know that this was done with permission in the Maldives. But who did the detaining? The Maldives Government? Secret Service officers? Both? Clearly there would be Secret Service officers on the plane to Guam.

If I had to bet, I'd bet that it was either Maldives officers, who then walked him to the charter flight and handed him off to the Secret Service; or both Maldives and Secret Service officers confronting him together.

I'm a little rough on my Maldives law, so I have no clue how legal / illegal this sort of activity would be in the Maldives. ;)

Comment: Re:Guam is in the Maldives now? (Score 2) 172

by Rei (#47407819) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

Interesting article on the details of what he's charged with here, with screenshots of the operation he stands accused of running.

While the details of the arrest are still hazy, one thing is clear - they've had this guy in their sights since 2011. It's not surprising that they issued a sealed indictment for him, mind you, that's not particularly unusual for a case like this where the subject is unlikely to be extradited and would avoid your jurisdiction if the indictment was public (nor is the US in any way unique in this regard). And since I've seen others commenting about this: yes, the Secret Service is the correct body to have jurisdiction over this, as they (strangely) are in charge of enforcement against financial crimes. Back in the early days of commercially available inkjet printers, the nerdy high school/college program I went to (TAMS) once got a visit from the secret service when one of the students figured out that he could print good enough replica dollar bills on one to fool the scanner on the drink machine in the lounge. The total volume of the forgery had to be tiny, I'd be surprised if it was more than $100, but still, if you feel like getting involved in financial crime, expect the Secret Service to be looking out for you. ;)

The scandal here would be if this was an extrajudicial "kidnapping" in the Maldives, with the US swooping up in a van, grabbing the guy, and jetting him off to Guam to use as a bargaining chip, as has been alleged by the guy's MP father. I seriously doubt all that, but we'll see where the truth lies.

Comment: Re:Kidnapping. (Score 3) 172

by Rei (#47407341) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

TFA says he was arrested in Guam (a US territory). The "kidnapped in the Maldives" thing seems to be coming from the Russian media, which isn't exactly the most trustworthy source on the planet (but at least it's a lot better than North Korea! ;) )

Russia (148th) might have been lower in the index had it not been for the stubbornness and resistance shown by its civil society. But the authorities keep on intensifying the crackdown begun when Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012 and are exporting their model throughout the former Soviet Union. From Ukraine (127th, unchanged) and Azerbaijan (160th, -3) to Central Asia, Russia’s repressive legislation and communications surveillance methods are happily copied. Moscow also uses UN bodies and regional alliances such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in its efforts to undermine international standards on freedom of information.

Criticism of the regime is common since the major demonstrations of 2011 and 2012 but media selfcensorship is far from disappearing. The federal TV stations continue to be controlled and, in response to the “return of politics in Russia,” the authorities have chose repression. Ever since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in May 2012, more and more draconian laws have been adopted. Activists, news media and bloggers have all been targeted. Defamation has been criminalized again, websites are being blacklisted and the range of activities that can be construed as “high treason” is now much broader. “Traditional values” are used to justify new restrictions on freedom of information, including the criminalization of “homosexual propaganda” and “insulting the feelings of believers.”

Not like the US is a bed of roses - its #46 standing puts it below countries like Botswana and Papua New Guinea, only one place above Haiti. But compared to Russia....

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