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Comment: Re:And once we have a few gigatonnes of CO2 (Score 1) 368

by prograde (#38658982) Attached to: New CO2 Harvester Could Help Scrub the Air
Your sarcasm, sir, hints at the real solution. Clean, cheap energy (CCE) solves it all. Unfortunately, CCE is currently beyond our means. But with CCE, everything else falls in to place: we can recapture atmospheric CO2, we can desalinate sea water as a source of freshwater, we can produce fertilizers for our crops. But, again, CCE is currently beyond our means. My money is on solar for CCE...only time will tell.

Comment: Laziness FTW (Score 1) 159

by prograde (#38456834) Attached to: Bell Canada To Stop Internet Throttling
I've had Bell internet at my home for 7 years now. I'm still on the original plan: 1Mb/s down, unlimited bandwidth. I know that I could upgrade to a better speed, but that would mean loosing the "unlimited" part. As it is, Netflix, at the highest quality setting, works just fine. What more could I ask?

Comment: unless... (Score 1) 521

by prograde (#38229578) Attached to: Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes

This sounds pretty well wrapped up, but I'm not convinced. Females who choose not to breed with the GM males will have normal healthy offspring. Any mating preference that causes the females to choose non-GM males will become highly successful. It doesn't matter what that mating preference is: if the males have a different colouring, a different smell, if they flap their wings a little too fast...it could be anything. And it doesn't have to apply *only* to the GM males, this trait could cause the females to select against non-GM males as well. The point is that any female with this selection preference will be highly successful since their female offspring will have wings and will thrive in an environment with very little intra-species competition.

This move could, at best, introduce an evolutionary bottleneck (where genetic diversity is suddenly greatly reduced), but I wouldn't expect it to cause extinction. TFA reports an 80% reduction of the A. aegypti population on the Grand Cayman Island in 2009, but I'd be interested to know if the population has bounced back and if the same GM males would have a similar effect again today. I'm guessing that the present population would tend to avoid the GM males next time around.

Comment: Lowell (Score 1) 363

by prograde (#38157904) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Science Sights To See?
The Lowell observatory has a nice property and good tour, including the telescope and the original photographic plates used to discover Pluto. If you're going to the Grand Canyon, it's pretty close. You can do it in a half-day. I suggest reading, "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming" by Mike Brown to round out the experience (or the audiobook, since you're driving).

Comment: General Relativity (Score 2) 412

by prograde (#37515704) Attached to: Faster-Than-Light Particle Results To Be Re-Tested

I can only assume that they've corrected for General Relativity. Everyone seems to be pointing to the obvious potential sources of error: knowing when the neutrinos are created, knowing when they arrive, knowing the distance that they've traveled.

What about variations in the Earth's gravitational field between the two clocks? Or along the path that the neutrinos follow? You can't call the planet a point-source of gravity - the density of matter is quite lumpy.

I haven't seen a back-of-the-envelope calculation for this...maybe it's orders of magnitudes impossible? Would it require a tiny black hole to throw the timing off by 60ns...or would a big uranium deposit be enough? I could probably do the Lorenz transforms for Special Relativity myself, but General is a bit beyond me!

Comment: Re:All foam, no beer (Score 1) 224

by prograde (#36800636) Attached to: Do 'Ultracool' Brown Dwarfs Surround Us?

Why would we use these as stepping stones? Is there an advantage to it? I don't understand why we would use them is all.

Because they are closer. from the article:

our nearest known neighbor will soon be a brown dwarf rather than Proxima Centauri.

So, we could stop off at one of these on the way to Proxima Centauri.

"Facts are stupid things." -- President Ronald Reagan (a blooper from his speeach at the '88 GOP convention)