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Comment Re:Wiggle room indeed (Score 4, Interesting) 145

I'm no geologist, but I have learned a bit of stats.

In Oklahoma, the rate of M >= 3 events abruptly increased in 2009 from 1.2/year in the previous half-century to over 25/year. This rate increase is exclusive of the November 2011 M 5.6 earthquake and its aftershocks.

A twenty-five-fold increase, that excludes the largest outlying event, in the number of earthquakes would seem to be statistically significant of something.

Comment Re:Oh Great. (Score 4, Interesting) 145

Putting aside the possible implication that you think science should censor politically unsavory findings and renege on its mission, this won't be like other warnings from scientists. Climate is a big impersonal force that's hard to grasp. It unfolds slowly and is hard to really "experience" first hand. A tripling of the number of earthquakes in the midwest is, shall we say, slightly more visceral.

Comment Re:Can it prevent large earthquakes? (Score 1, Interesting) 145

I'm generally in favor exploring geo-engineering. Since, does anyone really expect to get China and India(the greatest sources of future emissions) to postpone carbon intensive growth through treaties? Inducing earthquakes seems much more dangerous than any scheme that involves adding reflective particles to the atmosphere. Engineering the atmosphere, as tough and uncertain as that is, is made easier by the fact that gases introduced to the upper atmosphere will fade in effect on a reasonable time scale and the faucet can be turned at off at any time. Fracturing the crust is much more permanent. It could be earthquakes now, but magma popping up in the middle of Cleveland later. There's no way to put the rock back together.

Comment Pie in the sky (Score 4, Insightful) 123

Cutting up a cake might not sound like an important problem but if you rephrase it as sharing resources or territory, then you can quickly see that it has lots of practical applications.

This seems like a pretty interesting game, fit for nerd parties and the like. Solving territorial or resource disputes? Not so much. You and your friends are basically equal. State actors, ethnic groups, etc. tend not to be perfectly equal. For example, I doubt the Sunni insurgency in Iraq would have submitted to such an auction. The same goes for the actors in the South China Sea, Israel Palestine, really any territorial dispute of note.

I could see something like this being useful for divvying things like mineral resources that crop in international waters, like all those manganese nodes on the ocean floor.

Submission + - Using Radio Waves to Bake Tumors (

explosivejared writes: "From the article:

Nanothermal therapy – the use of nanoparticles to cook a tumor to death – is one of the many promising uses of nanotechnology to both improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy and reduce its side effects. Now, a team of investigators from the Texas Center for Cancer Nanomedicine has shown that liver cancer cells will take up targeted gold nanoparticles, absorb radio waves, and generate heat that damages the cells. In addition, the researchers have discovered how to increase the thermal toxicity of these nanoparticles."

Comment Re:Taxes and trade are complicated (Score 1) 175

... despite the fact that in my grandfather's day only the rich paid federal income tax.

Your grandfather must have lived in the roaring twenties then. Through most of the middle of the 20th century that wasn't the case, but, surprisingly, income taxes are more generous to the bottom quintile. The income tax rate in America has gotten more and more progressive over the last few decades with the introduction of the EITC, as the bottom quintile receives more and more money

Comment Re:Taxes and trade are complicated (Score 1) 175

Well, if indeed it is legal, then there's nothing wrong with it.

The article says that the UK government is investigating, but if Amazon is found to owe these taxes, it would be a matter for the European courts to decide. I have a feeling this is sort of a novel issue. Obviously I'd have to defer to someone that had the relevant case law or EU regulation handy. Either way, this is not something the UK just gets to declare legal or not.

Comment Taxes and trade are complicated (Score 5, Insightful) 175

It would be really difficult to structure a tax with the incidence falling solely on setups like the one Amazon has here, especially since the UK is part of the single market. This is most likely an issue that would have to be solved in the European Courts rather than by the UK government. I doubt that a few hundred million pounds in lost tax revenue would persuade the courts to force a major restructuring of trade. I am not expert on European jurisprudence though.

This is a legitimately complex issue of tax avoidance. Most of the time when people howl about corporations paying low effective tax rates it's because they don't realize all of the exemptions for favored industries (green and bio tech, aerospace, etc.) and absorbing losses create that outcome. Here we have a government stretched thin on revenues up against the framework of European economic integration.

Comment Re:Governments do it wrong... (Score 4, Informative) 316

In places like Saudi Arabia, and increasingly in post-Arab Spring Egypt, power is legitimized through the approval of Islamist clerics. In most of the Gulf states, kings or emirs have the right to rule and don't constantly face "Islamic revolution" because of old agreements between the royal houses and the clerics. Your version of the dictator's calculus doesn't really work in states that blend in elements of theocracy.

Comment Re:Scapegoat (Score 1) 195

Of course, I think the review should go through. Of course, I realize there is little chance this will exculpate Bales. I said as much. I was commenting on the politics of the situation. As evidenced by numerous posts in this very thread, it's very easy to read about this drug's role and immediately jump to conclusions about a conspiracy to allow these murders to go unpunished. If such a jump is so easy on slashdot, imagine what what conspiracies might spread in a more febrile environment like Afghanistan and how those conspiracies would further weaken Afghan belief in.

Still, it isn't an argument against doing the review and getting this drug away from soldiers. I merely mean to say that this is a rapidly deteriorating situation that threatens a complete breakdown of an already fragile trust between Kabul and the West.

Comment The Administration's Sweating Profusely (Score 5, Insightful) 195

Obviously it's pure speculation, but I have a hard time believing this would mitigate any punishment Bales receives. It would be a nightmare of the most extreme order for the military should Bales be exculpated, even in the most limited sense. The Afghans have been screaming for him to be tried under Afghan law. It would be hard enough to punishment short of the death penalty to the Afghan public, much less an outcome that ends with him in psychiatric care first. This is just one more massive headache in a case that can't be over for the Pentagon fast enough.

In the mean time, expect relations to continue to deteriorate between Afghan security forces and ISAF troops. There is real danger of this review fueling conspiracy theories and sparking further knife-in-the-back attacks on ISAF troops like we've already seen.

It increasingly seems that no one is winning from this war. Afghan civilians have had any sense that westerners provide safety shattered. Westerners trust their Afghan counterparts even less. And yet most of Afghan development depends on the industry that supports the international presence there, which a hasty pull-out would destroy. What's the least bad option here?

Comment Re:all this crap about israel (Score 1) 240

"Just because they will play ball with the chosen people..."

You don't really get the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict do you? "Playing ball" means not invading with an intent to destroy. I see tamping down revanchist regimes as a good idea. I don't know about you.

If you are of the persuasion that the US funding is the reason strongmen still rule many Arab states at the expense of peaceful democracies, I've got a few facts for you. Qaddafi's regime was under sanctions from the US for years. His son was killed by an American missile strike. During the Bush administration, in both Gaza and Lebanon, the White House pressed for inclusive elections, and Israel went along. Hamas and Hezbollah came to power. The shortcomings of both those parties being in power should be obvious. The reason the Egyptian military took no action against protesters, leaving Mubarrak to feebly attempt to crush them with private goons, is that firing on protesters would endanger the healthy military-to-military relationship with the US.The US has made its mistakes in the region sure, but it's either ignorant or dishonest to say that US policy is more often than not set forth in good faith.

You fault Israelis and pro-Israel people for being defensive, but the fact of the matter is that Israel is simultaneously under more pressure from external threats and more scrutiny from the international community. Combine that with the facts of the Shoah, that there is still quite a lot of real anti-Semitism floating around, and that most people have such a shallow understanding of the conflict to think that all the suffering has been one sided and you might begin to understand why there's such a defensiveness when it comes to the state of Israel. You can keep living in your feverish dream world where American religious zealots brutally repress Arabs and the Jews shape things with the all powerful anti-Semite card, but the real world is a lot more complicated.

Submission + - The Shifting Tides of International Science (

explosivejared writes: "The Economist has a story on the increasing scientific productivity countries like China, India, and Brazil relative to the field's old guards in America, Europe, and Japan. Scientific productivity in this sense includes percent of GDP spent on R&D and the overall numbers of researchers, scholarly articles, and patents that a country produces. The article sees this as a natural side effect of the buoying economic prospects of these countries. Perhaps the most positive piece of the story is the fact that a full 35% of scholarly scientific articles in leading journals are now the product of international collaboration. From the article: "[M]ore than 35% of articles in leading journals are now the product of international collaboration. That is up from 25% 15 years ago—something the old regime and the new alike can celebrate.""

Comment No Connection with Tehran (Score 4, Insightful) 63

It seems that there is no real connection between this group and Tehran. It's important to remember that when there is real discussion going on about conflict with Iran. That being said, this group does seem to be motivated by some sort of Iranian nationalism. It's just a further reminder of how small groups and individuals can inflame international imbroglios, leaving state actors in a bind. Think the Netanyahu and Obama administrations' paralysis over how to handle the settlers in the West Bank.

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