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Comment Re:How long has this been going on? (Score 2, Informative) 791

And aren't you aware that volcano activity was heightened during the Little Ice Age? Indeed, one scientist concluded with help from the weather records of Benjamin Franklin that a volcanic eruption was partially responsible for the cold weather during the period it was written, based on his description of clouds obscuring the Moon.


Check it out in this PDF, page 13. I originally read the story in LiveScience, but I couldn't find the article again.

Comment Better or worse than NASA World Wind? (Score 4, Interesting) 109

NASA World Wind and its add-ons tend to use a single data set for each layer rather than a pastiche of the highest resolution imagery available like Google Earth's, so when I compared it to Mars in 5.0, it had a more cohesive view with a more navigable user interface, with no load time since you can download the entire cache as an add-on.

Comment The question now is (Score 1) 167

How large a gathering of terrorist gnomes does it take to make continuous raids on Tinkertown more cost effective in disrupting their plotting than actually raiding their homes?

Not to say the FBI would be doing the raiding; they would only need to put one or two personnel in charge of organizing and Horde subsidization, such that the usual employment costs would be reduced by players that would take the enjoyment of smashing a gnome in the face with an orc battle axe. After all, if the terrorists advanced to level 25 and hid in a cave with the Naga, the FBI simply couldn't create and level characters fast enough.

Actually, I just want to see real life conflicts fought in World of Warcraft by proxy wherever possible. Russia and Georgia, you disappointed me.

Comment Re:You are standing in a dimly lit room (Score 4, Funny) 342

You struggle your way north whilst wrapping the rope around your neck, but unfortunately all it gives you is a rope burn, and perhaps more unfortunately, not the kind of burn that involves starting a fire.

The judge reads a list of charges related to plagiarizing elements of a certain text adventure game, which you no doubt attempted to shrug off as fair use at the time, while banging the battle axe gavel after each sentence is read. The argrue grabs you by the shirt collar and asks you to swear on the Bible, and so you shout a string of obscenities.

98/100 HP

Comment You are standing in a dimly lit room (Score 5, Funny) 342

There are dull incandescent bulbs hung down by wire over a set of towering oak podiums. Behind you are endless rows of rusty metal folding chairs, all occupied by elephants and donkeys, except for a few rats toward the front. The bailiff is an Argrue, standing in the shady area against the wall. You don't know what an Argrue is, but you can guess it's like what Arkansas is to Kansas and it looks vicious.

The judge uses a battle axe in place of a gavel, which would be fine if it didn't leave so many marks on the wood when it's banged, and wears an ancient Norse viking helmet. The smaller podium has a guillotine attached to it near the front, with the microphone being placed in front of the slot where you would place your head.

You have in your inventory a rope, which is binding your hands together, and a bright orange jumpsuit of -255 AGI, which you are currently wearing. The only exit is DOWN, through a trap door.

Comment Re:Huh??? (Score 2, Informative) 503

From another report from LiveScience, I gather that it would be most recognizable to you as being called just a "baby cry," but with a subtle sound the same as cats make when purring mixed in, rather than as purring with a crying sound, but the language is utterly ambiguous and it seems hard to distinguish when they mean meowing, purring, or whatever.


Submission + - Cats 'exploit' humans by purring (bbc.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Cat owners may have suspected as much, but it seems our feline friends have found a way to manipulate us humans.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.

Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a "cry", with a similar frequency to a human baby's.

The team said cats have "tapped into" a human bias — producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.

Comment Re:Global Governance (Score 1) 670

If you have a problem with any of the individual statements they make, they look ready to respond to any questions. Given that this individual post was endorsed by Nature, and that one of the top contributors is a NASA climatologist, I'd like to ask if "left-wing" can be supported by anything other than the topic of defending the concept of global climate change itself.

And yes, scientists have acknowledged as a non-anthropogenic warming phenomenon as a drop in the intensity of sandstorms in the Middle East. The sand in the air lowers the albedo of the Earth's surface, causing it to reflect less light and warm the surrounding area. The opposite effect occurs on Mars, when dust storms cause huge temperature increases, which I would then assume is due to the Martian dirt being darker. However, the most credible study of solar cycles contributing to global warming of which I have heard estimated the effect to be as high as 25%, but this was refuted by other scientists and the study was withdrawn by its authors.

With regard to skepticism concerning computer models, would you accept that if a computer model can accurately model climate changes from 1900 to 2000, and is fed accurate data, then if it is powerful enough, it can predict future climate changes to a limited extent? There is such a project that exists using distributed computing, where you download a "module" that starts in 1900 and finishes in 2000 before going into future decades. The results are sent back to the scientists, and each one helps improve future models.

If one day a model from 1900 to 2000 is perfectly correct, might you be inclined to give it some credence? At first the project did things like use a solid slab ocean, without currents, as a developmental stage, but it has progressed far since then. It's hosted by Berkley and you might care to look into it, since their methods are so transparent.

Comment Re:Global Governance (Score 1) 670

The blog of the science journal Nature recommends this rebuttal, which points out that the economist censored that claims that solar cycles could have anything to do with global warming cites an astrologer who believes they had something to do with Hitler and Stalin's rise to power. Perhaps the report was so bad the bureaucrats at the EPA were motivated by fear of embarrassment, and though this still does not excuse withholding it, I feel it is grasping at straws to find some way to equate Obama with Bush with regards to science. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, though.

Comment Re:Global Governance (Score 1) 670

If global warming were concocted by government bias, then how do you explain those NASA global warming reports that were suppressed by Bush administration policies? Government reports by their very virtue are paid not to be biased because of the legal ramifications involved. When you have someone arguing that government administrations like NOAA, NASA, and over four fifths of scientists are more inclined to be biased than Exxon Mobil over this, something smells fishy.

Comment Re:Global Governance (Score 1) 670

"No one can explain why global temperatures have flat-lined." Well, some have suggested the lack of an El Nino effect, so if they are correct, then global temperatures should begin to rise beyond 1999 levels soon; the ten following years were still the warmest decade on record.

If there were a big conspiracy to muck with global warming data, tell me why they would screw around with pre-1970s data to lower temperatures, but leave the purported "flatline" data alone? If we don't have the power to change the climate of the Earth yet, then do you think the hole in the ozone layer was a complete scam, too? I recommend modding parent as anything but "insightful" or "informative."

Also, dendrochronology is a bitch.

Comment New legal ground (Score 1) 9

Does it have to be expelled out the genitals in public to count as public urination, or can it be saved up and discarded like dumping a bucket of melted ice into a parking lot? Laws on the books in my state define the severity of the penalty for littering as dependent on volume and weight; does the entire solution count as the pollutant, or just the solvent after the water solute has evaporated?

I'm sure somewhere out there is a lawyer eager to attack this, not for anything against the family's actions or anything, or even for monetary reasons, but just as some sort of absurd mental exercise. Also, yes, I'm ashamed to be on Idle, too.

Comment Putting your face on an avatar is already possible (Score 1) 152

There's already a biometrics security firm that puts your face on Second Life avatars using their facial recognition technology and database, for $10/face with bulk discounts, which can turn out very crappy or very real depending on the lighting used, the angle of the head, and the photo quality. I suppose that the main customers have probably been people from companies that want to maintain an air of professionalism as they appear in a virtual world, since several IT companies like Cisco use Second Life for meetings with the public. Hopefully what this would do is create competition and lower prices, though.

Comment When it passes overhead, be quick about it! (Score 2, Informative) 61

You can use NASA's satellite finder to view the time when it will pass over your city.

I looked it up for Mexico City and there are two great citing opportunities there, five or six minutes long. Vancouver has over a dozen, better than in my city, and Toronto has many sighting opportunities as well. Suffice it to say, the best ones will likely be from 8 to 11pm local time, and the ISS will be only available for five or six minutes at most.

The last time the ISS flew over my city, I was ready at hand with my dinky 70mm telescope, which I've had a lot of trouble being able to steady despite having it for a year. By the time I had the knobs adjusted right such that it wouldn't slide down as I put my eye to it, I had to run with my telescope after it to a better spotting place before it disappeared with the horizon. It appeared in my viewfinder as two distinct overlapping yellow blurs, but I'm sure I saw it and this time I'd like to try again with a camera.

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