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Comment Re:Energy Return on Energy Invested. (Score 1) 380

You make this sound as if it is unusual -- but it's not really. Papers are discredited all the time, and it doesn't even mean they are bad papers.

When a question arises, papers are typically published on both sides of the question, and both sides of the question can't be right. Therefore peer review doesn't mean that a paper's position is correct or true, only that it's not trivially dismissable given the current state of knowledge. And that's how the state of knowledge advances, not just with brilliant, seminal papers that redefine the field in one stroke, but a through a cut-and-thrust process that sifts through existing evidence and generates new evidence.

This is why it is a bad idea for a layman to put any kind of trust in any one study, until long after that study has stood the test of time. Peer review can't tell you whether a paper is right, in fact it's not supposed to.

Comment Re:dumb move (Score 1) 380

He only sounds like that because of Russia's financial crisis. They had to let their translators go and they're using Google Translate to feed him his lines. Note how running this through English->Russian then Russian->English has no effect on its intelligibility; that's because it's already been made into semantic hash by the original mechanical translation:

Listen, having nuclear weapons, my uncle was a great professor, scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Good genes, very good genes, OK, very clever, Wharton financial school, very good, very smart - you know, if you are a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, for example, it's good if I ran. As a liberal democrat , They will say that I am one of the smartest people in any part of the world - it's true! - but when you are a conservative Republican, they try - oh, they make a number - that's why I always start: I went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, made it, built a fortune - you know that I must constantly Give your powers, because we are a little at a disadvantage - but you look at the nuclear case that really bothers me - it would be so simple, and it's not as important as these lives (nuclear powerful, my uncle explained that for I have many, many years ago, power and it was 35 years ago, He is Clarifies the strength of what will happen and he was right - who would have thought?) But when you look at what's going on with the Four prisoners - now there were three and now four - but when there were three and even now, I would say that this is all in the messenger; Guys, and they are guys, because, you know, they do not do it, they did not think that women are smarter now than men, so you know that they will need another 150 years - but the Persians Great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators , So, they, they just killed, they just killed us.

Comment Re:I used to work at Hanford Site... (Score 5, Insightful) 94

Sure, but you don't set such limits to detect catastrophes. You set such limits to detect unforeseen circumstances that might, perhaps in rare situations, lead to catastrophe.

A worker being exposed to harmful levels of radiation is catastrophic. A worker being exposed to a level of radiation that is medically harmless but which should not have occurred is a situation that requires investigation, because that means something about your assumptions isn't quite right. That doesn't mean you ought to panic; in any sensibly conservative procedure you have to accept that false positive concern is a routine event -- as in your story of the smoke detector.

Comment Re:Bring out your dead (Score 2) 145

Of course it can run COBOL.

COBOL remains in use -- it's been estimated that even today on average a typical American interacts at least indirectly with a piece of COBOL software more than a dozen times daily. Over 200 billion lines of code are currently being maintained, and that figure is growing, albeit slowly. It's not hard to find COBOL jobs, if you live in a city which is a major center for some the industries that were early adopters of computers.

Comment Re:I feel like it's finally paying off (Score 1) 117

I've been donating to the project for a few years. I hope it is helping the developers focus more time on working on ReactOS and getting the resources they need.

I just want to say, good for you. Too often the only thing people contribute to a project are complaints that it's not going fast enough.

Comment Re:An unfortunate use of technology (Score 1) 482

There is a third option between letting people do things which impose a cost on everyone else (e.g. like pollution), and forcing everybody to do the same thing. You can make people who want to do those things pay at least some of those costs.

If you want to drive a 12 MPG Maybach, go ahead, but you then pay a mileage excise tax that goes to offset the costs. It's the same hedonic calculus -- how much do I want to pay for the performance? But with more realistic cost numbers.

What do you do with those taxes? Well you can offset some of the costs of the wars we fight to secure access to Middle Eastern oil -- about 2.5 trillion dollars in the last decades or so. You don't think we'd have fought the wars if there wasn't oil there, do you? Or if oil demand were much lower, for that matter.

Or you could put the money into energy efficiency and pollution control research.

But one of the best ways to use the money is to simply give it back to people who make choices that lower public costs,e.g. people who choose to drive, say, a Chevy Malibu sedan (46 MPG city) owner would get a mileage rebate.

But isn't this meddling with peoples' choice of cars. Yes! We're encouraging people to make choices that cost us less. But we're still giving them a choice. That's more than you get under a system where you're forced to pay the consequences of other peoples' selfish choices.

Comment Re:Many green spaces cost nothing to visit (Score 1) 103

It's the power of habit and humans amazing power to adapt to whatever is usual to them. If you go outside all the time, the effort and discomfort are scarcely noticeable. If you take a couch potato and drag him on your weekend hike and it'll feel to him like a crime against humanity.

Comment Re:The Quota Show (Score 1) 507

In a scorched earth war you attack the enemy's most valuable assets. This likely isn't going to be shantytowns in South Asia or Africa, it's going to be the greatest concentrations of wealth you can find. This would be bad for North America, Europe, Japan, and coastal China.

H. Beam Piper's future history series posits exactly such a war, which is why in his later stories people with Northern European surnames are a rarity (although somewhat more likely to be a protagonist). It's a small detail, but it makes sense.

It was in this vein that I asked the author of an unpublished manuscript I'd been given to review, why is there nobody with a Hispanic surname? He got all huffy about "political correctness", but my problem was that this was a post-apocalyptic story set in Southern California, where already Latinos outnumber Anglos. It was OK by me if he didn't want to write any Latino characters, but it made no sense that the apocalypse would selectively wipe out everyone with a Spanish name. All he needed was to come up with some plausible explanation, like an India/Pakistan style partition.

Comment Re:Fire them, hire replacements. (Score 1) 57

It worked for him, speaking in a strictly political sense. It actually cost the taxpayers many, many times more what PATCO was asking for.

Ironically PATCO endorsed Reagan in the 1980 election. PATCO was made up mostly of conservative military veterans, so Reagan's team approached them with a deal: Reagan would support their negotiating position if they'd switch their endorsement from the Democrats to him. Once he was safely elected Reagan reneged on the deal, then fired them when they went on strike.

It was a risky move, but the sheer drama of the move thrilled Reagan's non-union supporters. From a financial viewpoint, it cost billions to replace the fired controllers, not to mention the impact on the rest of the economy of the disruption involved.

As for the powerful blow this dealt for the unions, and if you want to see the impact of that, look at the median household income growth since 1980, which is practically nil when adjusted for inflation.

Comment Re: Because capitalism! (Score 5, Insightful) 422

Sure. Look at how Internet service worked on cell phone networks before Apple blew the old system up with the iPhone. Apple didn't do this out of idealism, but because it couldn't differentiate itself in an environment where the carriers controlled the user experience.

In fact in general look at how inferior US cell service is to the rest of the developed world. This was a result of a deliberate calculation by the Reagan administration that a more innovative network would result if carriers were free to choose their own standards. What they did was try to make it as painful as possible to change carriers while nickel-and-diming their subscribers for all they were worth. It was a safe, profitable strategy, like auto companies taking their mediocre old car platforms and putting exciting new bodies on them.

Meanwhile, in Internet services the competition is cutthroat because a level playing field is baked into the very architecture of the system, and innovation has been moving too fast for ISPs and cellular carriers to tie down their customer bases with "exclusive content". But it is coming. I've dealt with these people before and that's their wet dream: a captive customer base.

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