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Comment: Re:Is it safe? (Score 1) 281

by tinkerton (#48603161) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

I would not reduce someone like Eric Schmidt to someone who's just in it for the money. This underestimates how ideology and interests tend to blend. I suspect that for someone like Schmidt working together with the NSA just feels morally right. And people who want to hide things from the NSA well, they're doing something they oughtn't to be doing.

Comment: Re:Republicans: Ideology over facts (Score 1) 772

by tinkerton (#48562961) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

This is missing the point. The legality always mattered. If you keep torture strictly illegal the CIA still does it but in only few cases or in foreign countries while avoiding direct involvement.All with a good amount of fluctuations of course.

But after 2001 it was made clear that the rules were going to be made as loose as possible and supervision was going to be minimal. So everyone went all out. NSA, CIA, security firms, everything.

Comment: Re:why is it always comets and asteroids? (Score 1) 46

by tinkerton (#48553725) Attached to: Asteroid Impacts May Have Formed Life's Building Blocks

Why is it that astrophysicists always think that biogenesis and evolution have to come at the point of a comet or asteroid?

I also think this is a persistent and not very justified pattern of thinking. The hypothesis is a legitimate subject for investigation, but to quote an old post of mine: there's this assumption that the earth needed some kind of external kickstarter to get life going which originates in the conception that there was no way life could start from scratch so it had to come from elsewhere.

Let's take the idea seriously instead that the earth never needed the external kickstarter. Instead, and that any potential external kickstarter would have been drowned out by what's already present.

Comment: Re:Fortune cookie (Score 1) 367

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

That would suggest those people all have in common that doubts inhibit action, and that they just have different and not very good approaches to resolving that conflict. The best way is have action without removing the doubts.

And that is relevant for the climate change debate. Because for instance a blocker is "nothing can be done unless we agree there is human made climate change". But you don't need to be blocked by that and the engineering approach that for instance Freeman Dyson advocates(global soil management) does not rely on proof that humans are the cause or even that the climate predictions will all come true. It just offers control over whatever happens.

Comment: Re:Questions for any who have been following this (Score 1) 88

by tinkerton (#48398477) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

2. I assume we've measured whether Rosetta is rotating, even slightly. Is there a chance that this will help (or hurt) Philae's chances at coming back on line?

The comet is actually rotating a lot, once every twelve hours. Since the comet acts as a gyroscope its axis of rotation keeps pointing towards the same distant star while the comet goes around the sun, and because the axis is tilted, different parts of the comet will receive light. The comet has seasons.

Comment: Lander may wake up later (Score 1) 88

by tinkerton (#48397963) Attached to: After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

A simple calculatoin:
Current amount of energy from panels is a quarter of what's needed
current distance from the sun is 3 earth units, it will go down to 1.3.
That means energy flux no the panels will increase (3/1.3)^^2 or more than 5 times.
If all the rest remains the same(er, what?), that should be enough.
And if the system can handle currents five times as high.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming