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Comment: Re:Half the size of Rhode Island? (Score 5, Informative) 293

by tsqr (#49700679) Attached to: Larson B Ice Shelf In Antarctica To Disintegrate Within 5 Years

Rhode Island is supposed to be an island. The rising sea levels are only helping it to achieve its natural state!

Probably not enough rise to make that happen.

Although it is believed that the melting of floating ice shelves will not raise sea levels, technically, there is a small effect because sea water is ~2.6% more dense than fresh water combined with the fact that ice shelves are overwhelmingly "fresh" (having virtually no salinity); this causes the volume of the sea water needed to displace a floating ice shelf to be slightly less than the volume of the fresh water contained in the floating ice. Therefore, when a mass of floating ice melts, sea levels will increase; however, this effect is small enough that if all extant sea ice and floating ice shelves were to melt, the corresponding sea level rise is estimated to be ~4 cm.

However, if and when these ice shelves melt sufficiently, they no longer impede glacier flow off the continent, so that glacier flow would accelerate. This new source of ice volume would flow down from above sea level, thus resulting in its total mass contributing to sea rise.

Comment: Not People. Dinosaurs. (Score 1) 278

* internet advises people to drink 2-3 L of fluids per day. * 365 days per year, 70 year lifespan -> 70k liters -> 70 m^3 over lifetime. * 7b ppl alive today. Everybody alive today will drink 500 m^3 of fluids. * the handwavey estimate is that half of the people who have ever lived are alive today. if this is true, then the entire human species has drunk 1000 m^3 of water. * the volume of the ocean is 1.3 10^9 km^3 -> 1.3 10^18 m^3.

You say "7b ppl alive today", but then multiply 70m^3 by 7. Either b=1, or your estimate is off by just a smidge, or 9 orders of magnitude.

Either way, most of the water we drink has not been previously drunk by another human. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, are a different story (obligatory xkcd).

Comment: Re:carsickness (Score 1) 435

by tsqr (#49676675) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

The reason houses have so many windows is so that people have an escape route in the event of a fire. If it weren't for that requirement, you could make houses much more energy-efficient by reducing their number. Do you really need a window in a bathroom, for instance? Heck no.

The window in my downstairs bathroom is so small that no one capable of climbing to its height would be able to fit through. On the other hand, I might be able to barely squeeze through the window in my upstairs bathroom, but I'd probably break my neck in the fall to the ground.

Comment: Re:Fault may not be the right measure. (Score 4, Insightful) 408

One can be "in the right" and still not have done the right thing.

Pretty much what I was thinking. Back when the Earth was a molten mass and I was taking Driver Education in high school, there was a lot of emphasis on "defensive driving"; in other words, expect the other guy to do the wrong thing, and be ready for it. When you have a mix of self-driving and human-operated cars on the road, the self-driving ones better have some extremely conservative defensive driving skills.

Comment: Re:We warned France not to follow our mistakes (Score 1) 195

by tsqr (#49629145) Attached to: French Version of 'Patriot Act' Becomes Law

Look at that shooter in texas - read his tweets and you can see how the FBI's harassment over the years drove him from a regular dude to someone deeply angry.

I know several people who over the years made the transition from "regular dude" to "someone deeply angry". None of them, though, have made the transition from "someone deeply angry" to "someone who tries to kill people who insult his religion".

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory