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Comment: Ay, where's the rub (Score 1) 97

by tinkerton (#47833953) Attached to: Dirty Diapers Used To Grow Mushrooms

It's nice to have technology to better dispose of diapers, but it should not be used as an alternative to tackling the main problem, which is that babies now wear diapers over longer and longer periods. The main reason for this is interfering with biofeedback. The better the diaper the less feedback the baby gets so the less it is inclined to change its behavior.

The best way to reduce spent diapers is to reintroduce a form of biofeedback. An irritation. An annoyance. But of course that would interfere with the gains of Proctor and Gamble.

If I might propose an environmental regulation, it would be about the minimum allowed amount of negative biofeedback in pampers.
In other words, from a certain age on it would not be allowed to make them too good.

Comment: Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 789

I think you're far off the mark. The conflict in Ukraine has been building up for years and the Russians have since long threatened with very aggressive countermoves if the west and especially NATO would attempt to incorporate Ukraine - or Georgia for that matter.
The west disregarded the threats because they thought Russia is no major player anymore and could be ignored. So yes, Putin knows that Ukraine isn't worth a major conflict to the west and he makes use of that. But Putin is not on a mission of conquest and he has no desire to absorb parts of Ukraine.

Let's say he's got reasonable demands but stopping NATO expansion is important enough for him to use very brutal methods. And that could include ruining Ukraine or splitting it up.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 868

by tinkerton (#47572597) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Yeah right.
If you want a source for how Hamas stuck to the ceasefire agreement: here

The distinction between Hamas and other resistance parties matters or not dependent on what you want. The current policy is -more or less- that Hamas is just a symptom, you have to tackle the complete population. That is what the Dahiya doctrine is about, collective punishment and dedevelopment. If you're interested in a negotiated solution (well, negotiated improvement), and some hardnosed Israelis have really been in support of that option for a long time, Ephraim Halevy for instance, then the distinction matters. Because people like Halevy notice that Hamas is very moderate and organized compared to the other parties and that they are capable of policing the other parties.They may not be moderate in terms of how they see local government, but that is no concern of Israel.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 868

by tinkerton (#47565965) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

I saw your two wikipedia links (sinai and rockets). I did mean Hamas, not other groups and I don't see any confirmation about Hamas involvement. Hamas was very cautious about upsetting the egyptian government But Sisi went ahead and closed the border anyway. It'll be a few hours before I can dig into this. I'm also not sure which of the rocket attacks in the list of the last two years you think were from Hamas.

It will take a few hours before I can dig into this.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 868

by tinkerton (#47564321) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

I recall you from posts on Iran nuclear. I disagreed with you but you're better informed than average.

It's worth bearing in mind that part the reason Gaza is so heavily blockaded right now is because Hamas was also attacking Egyptian soldiers in support of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's violent resistance to it's overthrow forcing Egypt to shut Gaza's southern borders.

Contrary to common opinion I think the Muslim Brotherhood has been quite nonviolent. I'm not counting demonstrations but actual armed resistance. Hamas was targeted by Egypt because of its good ties with the MB , not because of what it actually did. And because the new regime in Egypt works tightly together with Israel. It's not about Hamas being violent, they are not. It's about control. Look at the history. Hamas for years incited to suicide attacks. from a military point of view the approach had its merit because in effect it came close to tit-for-tat retaliation strategies. Tit-for-tat is a good base for negotiations, but of course the approach was untenable and Israel has its own reasons to oppose negotiated resolutions in general.Then they chose the political approach and this was immediately met with a blockade. Look up Dov Weissglass comments about putting Gazans on a diet, right after the elections. Then started the rockets against the blockade. They were highly ineffective (30 killed in a decade) but they scared people and forced them to adapt. Then after being beaten up constantly Hamas only fired rockets when being hit exceptionally hard.

In the last case there was a failed hostage taking instance begin june in the westbank. Not directly related to Hamas. It took several weeks of being all over Hamas before they launched their first rockets(end of june). Before that they hadn't fired any rockets in two years time and they had mostly suppressed those of other parties. And that reaction was enough for the vast majority of Israelis to demand that the IDF just wipe them all out.

So you think Hamas should disarm in order to take away the excuse. . Ok. And let's not forget all provocations should be ignored and make sure nobody else can react to provocations as well. Also give up all hope to build up an economy because any significant economy can create sophisticated rockets in no time. And learn to do without water because Israel needs it. Actually , best just disappear.

There has been hope to achieve things using nonviolent approaches, especially the hope to build up momentum. But really, mostly that meant everyone could ignore the westbank and Israel could go on and complete its plans. Also the bar was raised: sorry, not nonviolent enough. There was throwing stones. Less than a fullfledged Gandhi will not do.

Nonviolence may work, but there are countermeasures for everything, and demanding nonviolence from the oppressed is ridiculous. It's just the standard pattern of always raising the demands fom the oppressed and asking nothing from the oppressor. Well I'd be willing to look away if the IDF wanted to get a few nasty jobs done , as long as the overall plan was acceptable. But the Israeli plan is to make the Palestinians disappear as much as possible. In practice it means concentrating them in the minimum of space and dedeveloping them. Violent resistance makes the process go faster but at the same time raises awareness. I can see that a western government wants to quietly look away while it happens,you know, just looking after itself. But it always annoys me how anyone is willing to believe just anything just to make it easier to look away.

Comment: Re:How low can you go?(power density) (Score 1) 152

Well I asked for that. I should have said it differently. Another try: there is a lot of experimental evidence to show that the fine structure constant is constant. If it hadn't been constant we would have known. With the claim that the fine structure constant is a real constant one is on solid ground.

Then the possibility that outside of the solid experimental proof the constant could still vary "maybe the constant was not always the same" - should be handled very sparingly. It's an idea to be kept on a short leash because it's speculation. And often its untestable speculation , and it's best to stay out of that territory. And when you do experiments and they don't come out right, the hypothesis that 'maybe current scientific understanding is wrong' should be considered a very expensive claim that should be postponed until all other options have been exhausted. Instead, and partly because of popular media, it's become a very cheap claim that is easily made.
In the OPERA experiment they came up with the explanation that maybe neutrinos go faster than light. If you want to claim that maybe all of our scientific understanding is wrong then you need an awful lot of evidence to back it up, or you shouldn't make the claim. The guy should just have shut up and kept searching rather than hoping for a scoop.

People should not start trotting out a 'variable constant' hypothesis because some ratio of elements is wrong in ore.

Comment: Re:engineering heaven (Score 1) 234

Mazda is still selling sport vehicles with Wankel engines ... a friend of mine drives one, an awesome car.

The RX8 has been sold for a long time but they discontinued it a few years back. They're working on a successor but as long as they fail to satisfy the emission requirements it's not going to enter the market.

Comment: Re:How low can you go?(power density) (Score 1) 152

I'm not saying researching the possibility that universal constants are not constant is bollocks, though I'd consider it too speculative for science. But once one starts taking an open environment 'dirty' testcase where the ratio 235/238 is different from the sample nextdoor as a clue for variable universal constants, then one is really in the middle of bollocks territory.

Comment: How low can you go?(power density) (Score 3, Interesting) 152

also to discover whether the laws of physics that govern nuclear reactions may have changed in the 1.5 billion years since the reactor switched off.

What bollocks. I think the actual question to ask is how it's possible to create the conditions for an very large (the size of the mine)and extremely low density (the concentration of natural ore) nuclear reactor.

In the days the preference for civilian reactors was to develop further along the design of the compact high density submarine reactors. The nuclear industry never got over that. There are prototypes of large reactors with much lower power density. It's a natural question to ask how low enrichment and low density one can go.

Comment: Re:Level of public funding ? (Score 1) 292

I think so too. I like to compare physics breakthroughs with earthquakes. A century ago we were in a very active area: decent chance for big earthquakes. Now things have calmed down. Plenty of small earthquakes.Large earthquakes have not become impossible but are very much rarer. Since the 'fundamental laws' have something special it does feel like the end of an era.

  But meanwhile there are other scientific areas that are active and we gradually we'll be moving more and more into areas where we're making and inventing things more than discovering them.

Comment: Re:The US matters (Score 1) 132

I didn't say there was a signed treaty about NATO expansion. This new article from the Atlantic looks like a fair primer.

The thing is, your position is that since Russia is not legitimate they don't have legitimate concerns, therefore, whenever they push back it's for no good reason at all. My position is slightly different. Let's take the ultimate hellhole North Korea: my take is that their aggressive posturing is not only for internal use. It's also based on legitimate concerns about US/South Korean aggressive posturing.
In the case of Russia, there's quite a difference between 'owning' the ex-soviet states and having legitimate concerns about NATO creeping up to them. The US has an official policy that if anyone tries something like that in South America, they've got war on their hands. So in part the conflict comes down to this: is the US going to recognize that Russia has legitimate security concerns or not? I tend towards recognizing those concerns. It doesn't mean one has to be nice about it though.

Comment: The US matters (Score 1) 132

It's reasonable to point out the importance of the EU but the US is a major actor and is I think a larger worry for Russia. It was a core part of the agreement when the USSR was disbanded that NATO would not expand in its former client states. Which NATO promptly disregarded.
Nato is now working very hard to enroll the rest of the countries,hence the (bullshit)scare stories about russian expansionism. Russia isn't trying to expand , they're trying to save what's left.

Also the US was -against EU wishes- an active instigator in making the revolution what it was and in getting it accepted afterwards. Not an obvious thing when a democratically elected president is ousted.

Comment: What do the violinists think? (Score 1) 469

Well, at least Stradivarius is as good as a top quality modern violin. Maybe they don't consider the Stradivarius as better. It could be something similar to a fancy dress: adding festivity and status. It can be the feeling that you're just playing with something very rare that used to be the top. And sometimes people just want the opportunity to find out if there is something special to a legendary instrument.

Sometimes period instruments and associated techniques add authenticity. I know that there used to be a technique with the bow in cello playing that was very different. I don't know if that's the case for violins.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982