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Comment Re:OK, science is settled, now do something about (Score 1) 551

"and smallest impact on our daily lives"

Yeah, I'm sure the folks living next to Fukushima and Chernobyl all feel the same way. I say scrap fission power that has no future because of the costs of the screwups (both in lives and in currency) and put any subsidies for nuclear into research into fusion power. It looks as if the Chinese, at least, have the sense enough to take this approach. In the meantime tax fossil fuels to death and use the money to implement alternative energy solutions (solar, wind, tidal), which are far more cost effective and far less politically destabilizing when total costs are considered.

Comment Since the Science is Settled (Score 1) 551

Since the science is settled, now we can look to see the Australian government start slashing spending on fossil fuels, getting rid of bureaucracies and governmental subsidies that enable and support the mining, production, distribution, and sale of fossil fuels and taxing the fossil fuels industry to death. It is a glorious day in Australia, unless of course they plan on ignoring the settled aspect of the science for all but the fired scientists and continue on with business as usual.

One can't help but wonder with so many questions still remaining in climate science as to how hot, how fast, where and who will be first to affected, by how much, etc., whether this is just a shameless ploy to limit the visibility these scientists and the science they pursue so that business as usual can simply continue without adverse publicity. Then again, perhaps it's just an effort to make sure that Australian science lags behind that of other nations and to encourage their best scientists to leave for positions abroad.

Comment Re:Proposed solution (Score 2) 173

Why not? Too much education leading to too productive a work force and too much productivity leading to too much surplus?

Education is an investment in the future. Not to obtain an education is to assure that one will not have a future. The same is true for individuals as it is for groups of individuals (AKA countries).

Your motto seems to be penny wise, pound foolish.

Comment Re:Refugees (Score 1) 173

"But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering."

Wrong. Our environment defines our reality. We simply define how we choose to live in it. Whether we are miserable or suffering in the process is hardly relevant. If we make choices that ultimately degrade that environment, like the Danish and Finnish governments are doing now, it will only constrain options later.

The reason for the massive cutbacks in education funding isn't simply a result of the "lack of money", it's rather a conscious decision to protect others from a similar fate. A cynic might venture a guess that it is largely the salaries of politicians and their patrons that will be spared the budgetary knife. Whether that decision is a good one will be determined by whether or not whatever it is the others who have been spared are offering proves more useful and desirable than what might have come from what so many academics might have achieved. Clearly, only time will tell.

Comment Political Correctness A Coded Word. (Score 1) 668

It seems that all of a sudden being "politically correct" has become a bad thing that must be prevented at all costs. The reason for this is evident for all who take the trouble to notice.

The anxiety and worry that stems from "political correctness" is that "political correctness" establishes a culture in which people who prey on others, who cause disruption through racism, sexism, hate mongering, sowing class or social divisiveness etc. are deemed inappropriate can themselves be castigated and ostracized. Political correctness creates a culture in which, if you have a distasteful idea or socially unworkable idea, you should keep it to yourself.

This anxiety and worry is rooted in the fact that humans do not resolve their differences and social norms in a purely rational fashion, but rely heavily on an emotional filtering of rational thoughts in order to preserve one's concept of oneself. This filtering may be more or less extreme in various circumstances, environments or contexts, even to the point of filtering out rational thought entirely. Consequently, humans have evolved to be particularly acutely tuned to the emotional states of others around them.

Consequently, it's not surprising that those with particularly odious ideas or "radical/extreme/deviant" ideas that they can't otherwise "sell" to their fellow humans will be loathe to see the development of such a culture. Being against "political correctness" means being fundamentally against the notion of strict social consensus, where one's bad ideas have equal footing with other's good ideas and where bad ideas can be still used to leverage selection against those who can be discriminated against for whatever reason in order to preserve perceptions of self-identity.

Comment Re:Perhaps Not Simple but ? (Score 1) 261

If that is the case, then shouldn't it be possible to create a program that pre-cashes all outgoing streams prior to their being sent and then inject meaningless random signals into the stream so that the receiving end simply gets garbled data?

This way one could conceivably "randomize" data except that you specifically wish to transmit. Presumably, such an algorithm would intercept all interrupts, trace their source, and randomize as required. No doubt it would greatly slow the system, but would it not in theory work?

Comment Maybe a little young but (Score 1) 5

Definitely check out the new Wolfram Home edition and student offerings that provide functions that can be very easily used to promote understanding of an extraordinary variety of mathematical concepts with visualization. Since your nephew, perhaps with your help, seems to understand the basics of Python, he already probably understands enough mathematical and foundational computer science to fiddle quite usefully with Mathematica, which will give him the ability to visualize/realize/understand numerous mathematical objects of his own creation and interest with minimal programming. However, once he begins to learn how to use functions together algorithmics will also become familiar, as will fundamental notions such as "function" and "function composition" and the many distinct classes of functions. As his maturity grows, he will have a tool set that he can make practical use of through college and beyond. Wolfram maintains a huge archive of code that can be easily "pasted in" and immediately executed for the student to study specific topics.

Because programming in Mathematica can be purely symbolic, many functions can work directly on seemingly "non-mathematical objects" such as images, as well as provide mathematically exact answers and not just approximations that are generally the case with languages designed for finite-state machines.

Wolfram has a new book (available online) at provides a very gentle introduction to the product and if you read it together, the combination could provide endless topics for conversation and learning. One thing is for sure, had I had a product like this available to me when I was in school, I would have learned much, much, much more mathematics, it would have been fun, and better still would be in a better position to put to good use what I have learned.

Not sure to what extent the Home and Student editions support Wolfram Alpha, but this capability could be used also to study other subject areas beyond mathematics, particular those with strong ties to applied mathematics. Alpha support can be added separately.

The only drawback is that you might start fighting over who gets to use the computer or you wind up buying a separate copy for yourself so that you too can enjoy the fun.

Comment Not Impressed So Far, but Not Bad Either (Score 1) 1

I just bought one of Western Digital's MyCloud 4TB drives. Love the size of the drive and the fact that WD was good at helping me getting it set up after I initially botched it by failing to understand their instructions.

However, I am interfacing with MyCloud over a reasonably fast router connected to a 50MB/sec pipe to the outside using a relatively fast Dell XPS machine with SDD. The software interface to gain access to the drive works well for backup, but for other access it seems sluggish and a bit awkward. Must admit I'm relatively new to cloud computing and am probably not using it to its full potential. The potential to access the device remotely when I am away seems attractive, but I haven't yet tried it. Perhaps more online training videos showing "how it's done right" might help someone like me, who is too busy to spend too much time trying to tweak performance out of the thing.

As I have two other 4TB drives that I use for primary backup and my extended file system, I find I don't use the MyCloud device as much as I had expected I would. These seem to respond far more quickly, perhaps because they are USB 3.0 and directly connected rather than via a wireless access.

Be interested in hearing what other users are experiencing. Love to hear someone tell me how I'm doing it all wrong, so I can get more performance out of the Cloud.

Comment Fighter Jets? (Score 1) 1

Just how does one "escort" a blimp with fighter jets?

Don't they have helicopters to keep lonely blimps company or are they just to slow to impress a wayward blimp that has lost its love of military life? Or perhaps it was already too high for helicopters?

You would think one bullet would be all that would be needed to get a blimp back down to earth with minimal consequence as long as it could be tracked with radar.

Comment Solving the Problem (Score 1) 17

This post is yet another instance of right-wing political idealogues attempting to hack a site that should be primarily focused on addressing technical issues in hardware and software technology and its impact on society. While there is necessarily a correlation between technology and political outcomes, the premise of this post is absurd.

A simple-minded argument is made that vilifies "Lefties" for "not solving the problem", when ironically it is the "Righties", who not only make no effort to solve the the greatest problem facing humanity, anthropogenic climate change. In fact the "Righties" can't even come to grips with the SCIENTIFIC FACT that it is a real phenomenon and that can only be denied by those who are DELUSIONAL enough to refuse to accept scientific methodology or evidence.

When the GOP becomes a leader in addressing global climate change, they can get back to the rest of us about demonstrating that they really can "solve the problem".

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