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Comment Re:Did the moon form after the earth? (Score 1) 96

That does sound implausible indeed.But moons forming in an accretion disk and gobbling up whatever was not absorbed into the center, that does sound acceptable. The earth also wasn't created out of a collision with the sun. Maybe they think the moon is too large for having formed the way other moons are formed.

Comment Did the moon form after the earth? (Score 1) 96

How do they know the earth was first fully formed and only then collided with something large causing the moon to form? I can imagine it was a bit of a jumble at the time but this claim seems a bit arbitrary. Why the need for a collision with something large? Was it something larger than the moon?

Comment Re:quite likely "intelligence" is monitoring (Score 1) 318

It's mixed indeed. Now if anonymous screens a bit and removes the twitter accounts that are the least interesting, while leaving alone the ones that are too talkative, then maybe there's a value. Not much though. It's more a feelgood operation.

As for bombing them to 600 AD, yeah right. I read somewhere that there are 10 million people living under ISIS rule. Guess who will suffer most. I'm not saying don't do it, but it's nothing to go bragging about.

Comment Division of Responsibilities (Score 1) 386

There's this plausible view of the future where everything you say and write will be monitored and processed, and will be followed up with actions. Those who perform the actions will have no responsibility for it. If their actions are unsuitable it's not their problem. You should have controlled your words better to avoid triggering action. It doesn't matter how good or bad their filters are, you just have to adapt.

It could be different. Imagine a future terrorism watchlist where you're able to sue for damages just for being listed there. Those maintaining the watchlist better watch out. They can't afford many false positives. Also, you can send out a lot of ambiguous messages. It's their responsibility not to be misled, not yours. If they're wrong, they pay through the nose. If you take a plane they can x-ray your belongings - if they're willing to pay the price. If they're wrong, it costs them. You can even say you're carrying lots big bombs, they still pay. You're not responsible for them not seeing a joke, even a bad one.

That should illustrate how responsibility is currently being divided between those being monitored and those doing the monitoring. This division of responsibility doesn't seem problematic when you have a small commercial company offering its services on a free market. It becomes ugly whenever the organisation doing the monitoring has power over you. It doesn't even have to use it.

Comment Correlation? (Score 1) 345

Apparently whether correlation is very high or just statistically significant , it will always be reported as a correlation. Furthermore, while autism started out with some cliche cases gradually more and more cases occurred where people said 'we can't really call this autism so we'll call it autism spectrum then'. So you have this standardized test that checks for 'autism traits'. You know what it means? It measures how bad you are in human interaction and how good you are in understanding things and patterns. So yeah, I would expect scientists to score higher there.

What I would like to know is, what is the value of this research and why is it being funded?

Comment Re:Sounds very much like ***PORK*** ! (Score 1) 102

It's a huge plus to be able to store the energy as heat and generate electricity when you actually need it as opposed to when the sun shines.
for one thing it means you get a lot more money per kwh. Also there are indications that for really large scale and long term solutions the thermal solar power plants are the way to go http://phoenixprojectfoundatio... .

Comment Re:But is this enough to change policy? (Score 3, Insightful) 38

I think that one lesson of this research is that since bees get their honey not just from the targeted crops it's generally worth to try and contain the pesticides better. That means taking in account wind, drop size, delivery method. In fact it could mean that the pesticides on the targeted crops are the least of your concerns. Which is interesting.

Comment Re:Nobody mentioned it to me. (Score 1) 411

The meteorology survey course I took back then pretty much blamed water for everything - including the greenhouse effect - and was far more interested in soot and dirt seeding clouds than anything else with carbon in it.

That's still true isn't it? But water increases the earth surface temperature with about 30 degrees C and the first decent one dimensional model (Manabe) gave an additional 2 degrees when CO2 is doubled. That means we have a significant impact. One can argue that the modern climate models don't offer much extra predictive power over the original model, but the original model offers a stark warning.

Comment Re:How to end all arguments (Score 2) 411

It always depends on how you compare. "All other things remaining equal" is one of the ways one can compare. It's valid but one has to be careful about conclusions because the other things are not remaining equal.

CO2 has a large impact on plants in arid regions because plants have to sacrifice a lot of water in order to get the CO2, and when there's more CO2 in the air the plants lose much less water. See for instance here

When water is not scarce most plants benefit from the extra CO2 but there are plants with an enhanced carbon metabolism that are more efficient at capturing CO2 and they don't benefit from rising concentrations: corn, sorghum, sugar cane , a range of tropical grasses.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.