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Comment Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 341

What they do need however is a license to operate a taxi, and that's determined locally, with a criminal background/medical/eyes check, and a very stringent but outdated local geography test that has been rendered completely useless by mobile applications such as Google Maps Navigation and Waze.

So require that the drivers have it, outdated or not. It's required by all commercial passenger traffic so it's not as f it discriminates against Uber after all. If they really don't like it, they're free to lobby and argue for a change to the relevant laws. Just arguing that "but we don't wanna follow the law!" gets tired really fast.

In the US, Uber covers you for up to one million dollars.

That's a pretty pathetic sum for traffic insurance. Remember, you may potentially be economically liable for several injured, permanently disabled or killed people, property damage and other costs. And again, as the one that commissions and pays for the trip, you just might find yourself shouldering part of the criminal liability too, if you didn't check that the guy you hired had a valid license for commercial traffic.

Comment Re:fast forward 5 years.... (Score 1) 143

CAGW predicted rapid and accelerating warming. But the data fails to bear it out, so post-hoc rationalisations are put forth and the capacity of the hypothesis to yield falsifiability tests is shrinking : which urges the question is the development of this hypothesis robust?

Speaking of fallacies, the use of CAGW is generally associated with a strawman, goalpost moving or loaded language fallacies, depending on context. It's use is rarely associated with honest debate because there is no actual definition for CAGW.

CO2 emission records are actually what predicts accelerating warming, if C02 is a greenhouse gas and we increase the rate at which we're releasing CO2 into the air, we increase the speed at which the planet warms. And rapid is at best a relative term when applied to changes that are far too slow for human senses to observe.

Your comment " Every time we hit a new high temperature", is with respect absurd particularly given admonishments about dodgy statistics in this thread and the OP.

My comment was about the cyclical nature of some "skeptic" arguments. There is always a previous record high which we almost always below, thus the argument can always be made that there has been "no warming" for some time period. The argument goes out of style for a bit after a new record high has been set, but give it a year or two and it comes back into fashion until the next record high is set. The comment had nothing to do with presenting actual evidence of global warming.

An interesting null would be to compare # high temp records against # of low temp records.

It is interesting and has been done. According to that paper, the split for 2001-2011 temperature anomalies was about 85% high to 15% low. According to Skeptical Science, the records were split 67% high to 33% low over 1999-2009.

Comment What are they complaining about? (Score 5, Insightful) 341

I don't know why Uber is complaining. All they need to do, after all, is to recruit drivers with a commercial license; require the vehicles to comply to commercial safety standards; and provide the needed insurance. It's not as if the deck is stacked against them - the other services they compete against all follow the same rules.

For my part as a potential user, liability is the real issue. I would never risk taking a car service where I'm not fully covered in the case of an accident. It's not just medical and other costs for myself; if the driver is not licensed you, as the one paying for the ride, may be regarded as co-responsible if your driver caused the accident in the first place. You want to risk hundreds of thousands of Euro in damages to save a few bucks on a taxi ride?

Comment Re:How is CO2 leading cause of warming? (Score 1) 143

The danger of CO2 was always advertised as runaway warming, with a feedback loop of warming that could not be ended - not a slow linear ramp up of just 2C over 100 years.

That may be what some people say is the issue, but as far as I understand it, the mainstream science concern is not run away warming that renders the planet unliveable. That's actually considered fairly unlikely in the near-term scenarios. The actual major areas for concern are rising seas, ecosystem disruption, droughts, wildfires, floods, augmented storms and storm damage, heat-related illness and disease, and economic losses.

From what I've read about it, of particular note is that at around +4 degrees Celcius most of our staple food crops likely won't grow very well without extensive genetic modification. I don't understand the details very well, but I think there's an issue with heat stress and the way leaves work. As I understand it, at +4C the photosynthesis process in regular leaves is significantly impaired. Apparently, when the world came down from that temperature there was a massive die off of vegetation, somewhere around 90% of the flora died off, quickly followed by over 90% of the fauna. It's one of the great extinction events. I'm pretty sure that we really don't want to see the same thing happen to our crops and livestock on the way up.

Comment Re:fast forward 5 years.... (Score 1) 143

Let me elaborate further on why the SKS graph is a strawman, I assumed my initial comment would be obvious and sufficient. Anyway it is because most cogent skeptics do not dispute that the world was warmed in the 20th century, that warming post 1970 was quite pronounced and that co2 does have a warming effect; these observations are not controversial. The SKS graph implies that skeptics wilfully ignore the observed warming. It is a stupid lie vigorously repudiated, and by virtue of this that SKS continue to publish it makes them wilful liars, wilfully misrepresenting the point of view of their detractors.

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Seriously, there are, in fact, many "skeptics", cogent or otherwise who dispute that the world has warmed and that CO2 does have a warming effect. For example, Jane Q. Public is a good example of self-professed skeptic on Slashdot who apparently does not believe that CO2 has a warming effect. She has several times posted "proof" that the greenhouse effect can not exist. And she is not alone, I've replied to dozens of posts from many different posters on Slashdot who claimed for various reasons that global warming does not exist. I really couldn't tell you how many more I've read and not responded but it's probably in the hundreds.

The SKS graph does not imply that "skeptics" wilfully ignore the observed warming, it simply shows why "the pause" doesn't matter in the big picture. It's happened before and will happen again, and the underlying trend continues. Frankly, you don't seem to understand that you are doing exactly what that graphs shows is wrong.

Frankly, the argument that the IPCC report deals with "the Hiatus" makes is significant is a non-starter. The IPCC report deals with because it deals with practically everything related to climate change and endless talking heads in the media have made it a significant issue which had to be addressed. To quote from the box you referenced:

"Figure 9.8 demonstrates that 15-year-long hiatus periods are common in both the observed and CMIP5 historical GMST time series (see also Section 2.4.3, Figure 2.20; Easterling and Wehner, 2009; Liebmann et al., 2010)"

and

There is medium confidence that the GMST trend difference between models and observations during 1998–2012 is to a substantial degree caused by internal variability, with possible contributions from forcing error and some CMIP5 models overestimating the response to increasing GHG and other anthropogenic forcing.

and

The causes of both the observed GMST trend hiatus and of the model–observation GMST trend difference during 1998–2012 imply that, barring a major volcanic eruption, most 15-year GMST trends in the near-term future will be larger than during 1998–2012 (high confidence; see 11.3.6.3. for a full assessment of near-term projections of GMST). The reasons for this implication are fourfold: first, anthropogenic greenhouse-gas concentrations are expected to rise further in all RCP scenarios; second, anthropogenic aerosol concentration is expected to decline in all RCP scenarios, and so is the resulting cooling effect; third, the trend in solar forcing is expected to be larger over most near-term 15-year periods than over 1998–2012 (medium confidence), because 1998–2012 contained the full downward phase of the solar cycle; and fourth, it is more likely than not that internal climate variability in the near-term will enhance and not counteract the surface warming expected to arise from the increasing anthropogenic forcing.

So yes, the slowdown is real and sure, it should be explained, and not surprisingly, it already has been. The point you don't seem to understand is that arguments about the slowed warming are nothing but a sideshow. Every time we hit a new high temperature we start a new round of "it hasn't warmed since the last time we broke a record". It's tiresome and pointless. That's what the graph is really about, and why you don't like it. You don't like it because it shows clearly why (at least some of) your arguments are vapid.

Comment The basic problem is (Score 1) 249

The basic complaint of the poster seems to be that in a store of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of titles, only a very small number ever get discovered and successful. Huge numbers of very worthy apps never get a chance.

That problem can't be solved by any reasonable reorganization. We users (I use the Play store, but the same situation applies) have only so many minutes of time to spend looking for and using new stuff. However you make new apps visible to users, you're punishing apps that would have been visible otherwise. Competing for user attention time is a zero-sum game.

The Play store "people you know" ratings are surprisingly helpful. Unlike general user ratings this is not easy to game by the developers. But of course, those people may only have tested that one app because it was already more popular already.

I guess the only way to really fix it is to show each user only a random 0.1% subset of all apps. That would give every app a good chance of being seen and tried. But it would rather annoy all those people looking for irritated avians and not finding them.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 144

Of course. I don't suggest my experience is typical. But I hear the same thing from other places. My wife is a freelancer, so we have a fax machine at home, but again, it is almost never used any longer. She only has it in case some client still want to use it over email. I suspect - and this is of course just my own supposition, nothing else - that people now buy fax machines only to be covered for the rare case of doing business with a technical laggard, not as a daily office tool.

Comment Re:So ... (Score 1) 218

The hubris of thinking "it's OK, I'm a trained professional, nothing bad can happen" is mind boggling.

What is mind-boggling is that anyone takes a virulently anti-science organization like the dishonestly-named "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" seriously as a source of news about anything.

All you have to do is look at the source, and dismiss the claims as hysteria and lies.

This is not to say there might not be a story here, or something worth discussing, but until it is sourced from something other than an outlet for anti-science, anti-technology political shills it is all noise and no signal.

Comment Re:fast forward 5 years.... (Score 1) 143

Although it is quite a clever piece of polemic, it is at heart just a dumb strawman argument and infers a point of view which is not, nor ever was articulated by any CAGW skeptic that I am aware of.

Well you just made one of the arguments that the graph dispells: "The pause is real and merits an explanation", so presumably you know at least one such person. Case in point one of the many points the graph addresses it easy to choose many different periods and say "there is no trend for this period" and confuse that with "there is no trend". In fact, you can pretty much cover the entire temperature record with cherry-picked periods that show no statistically significant warming despite the obvious historical warming trend when you look at forest and not just the trees.

Comment Re:Don't allow jpg or gif or ... (Score 2) 299

A _good_ site allows people to upvote the signal and downvote the noise

I remember seeing a post on Slashdot a while ago about a study that said that downvoting actually makes the trollers and nutters more pernicious and persistent. So maybe a good site actually only allows upvoting, but starts all posts below the "normal" view level?

Of course, this is nothing new, the same tactics are recommended to deal with "problem" children who attention through negative behaviour (breaking things, tantrums, foul language, etc). I've even seen posters on Slashdot, with a history of being factually wrong and scientifically illiterate, brag about how being downmodded only proves that they are, in fact, correct. They then reach the conclusion that their insightful correctness must be a danger to the dark powers that control Slashdot, or some similar tripe, and that they must continue to battle at all costs. When it seems to me that the reason they were downmodded was because they were posting junk that was stupid and wrong.

It's simple, everyone would rather believe that they are oppressed freeedom fighters rather than ignorant buffoons, even though the latter is far more more frequently true.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 4, Informative) 144

Stamping documents is seen as a way to say "I have checked this" or "I endorse this", and because you can't stamp an email or text message they print, stamp and fax documents.

I'm working in Japan, and while I almost never get or send a fax any more (it must be years now), it's decently common to send and receive PDF scans over email. In fact, sometimes you need to print out the scan, add your stamp, re-scan and send it back. I do - want to print a reference copy for myself anyhow - but I suspect some people simply add their stamp graphic to the document directly.

Comment Re:Why can't it just be one mass? (Score 2) 74

The article doesn't explain why the idea of this particular body being one mass instead of a rubble pile has been dismissed. Is there a good one?

Asteroids are believed to be aggregations of relatively loosely bound matter. They have likely experienced some local melting due to collisions, but it is very unlikely that they ever were entirely melted into a single mass. As such, they are quite peculiar bodies, much less akin to a mountain than a pile of rubble, and they likely aren't even all that close to a pile of rubble because the individual components they are made from were never part of a larger, more coherent body.

If you think about asteroid formation, you have to start with dust that accretes into small pellets, which then collide to form semi-melted rock-like-things, which then clump into asteroids (all the while suffering more collisions which produce local melting but not whole-body melting of the kind planets experienced.) This is all a consequence of the collisional statistics and dynamics in the early solar system.

So the proposition "Asteroids are loosely bound" is pretty plausible, and ones with high spin are therefore interesting because require us to revisit that plausibility, and who wouldn't want to do that?

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