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Comment Re:US Epic fail (Score 1) 266

It's not fear of nuclear power that makes it uneconomical. It's cheap fossil fuels. Back in the 70s it was the Saudis opening the oil spigot; today it's fracking natural gas and of course coal.

Which is not to say irrational fear hasn't created nuclear problems -- particularly when it comes to developing long term storage facilities for high level radioactive waste. We also give fossil fuels a break on externalized costs because we're familiar with the and therefore fear them less than we probably ought. But still, it's hard to supplant a mature, entrenched, *cheap* technology.

Comment Re:Definitions (Score 1) 860

Well, it depends. You have to look at each situation individually to see what is at stake. If you know that Anne Frank's family is hiding in the office annex, you obviously keep your mouth shut.

In a case like this, it's important to remember that civil disobedience is most effective when it forces the government to mete out a wildly unpopular punishment. What the government has done is bound to be extremely unpopular because it has come perilously close to passing a secret law.

People think they have fourth amendment protections for most of this data, but long established precedent (Smith v. Maryland) is that there is no Constitutional expectation of privacy for metadata on phone calls. When Congress weakened *statutory* protections against collecting call metadata, American citizens *believed* their calling data was still protected by the Constitution. Nobody has bothered to disabuse them of this idea; not Congress (who despite their current posturing passed the law and authorized the program) nor the Obama administration (their posturing on "transparency" and "accountability" notwithstanding). They knew that the majority of Americans had no idea the changes in the law technically allowed the government to run a program like PRISM.

The exposure of this bit of flim-flammery makes Snowden standing up and outing himself incredibly powerful. His doing that means that this issue will *not* die down anytime soon. Look at how long the Bradley Manning case has dragged on, and *this* one, rightly or wrongly, may prove to be far more powerful in the public imagination. I think Snowden might have been morally justified in laying low if he thought he could get away with it, but his outing of himself will keep this issue alive through the next election cycle at least. That could deal a far more serious blow to the PRISM program than quietly leaking it's existence. The cost of that greater impact is that Snowden definitely loses his job, and he faces prosecution and legal punishments.

Comment Re:email leak (Score 2, Insightful) 476

OK, now you are in a position where the burden of proof is on you.

It's legitimate to look at somebody's evidence and say, "it doesn't convince me." It's sometimes *also* legitimate to say "I've seen enough evidence to convince myself beyond a reasonable doubt, so I won't bother thinking about your evidence; otherwise you'd have to take the time to examine the workings of every proposed perpetual motion machine.

What you can't do is say, "I'll dismiss your evidence because there's a possibility you have a conflict of interest." Everyone *always* has a vested interest in any position they've taken in the past. If you go there, if you call a man a liar because he has stated a professional opinion you disagree with, it's *your* responsibility to show evidence that lying has taken place. If you can't, STFU.

Comment Re:Contradictory Explanations (Score 1) 266

Well, that explains it - the little characters on the y-axis labels are 'h', not 'k', so I think you are reading it as three orders of magnitude too large

Doh! I know exactly what happened. That part was small and blurry, and in my initial scan over the graph, before I sorted out what the graph wa showing, it looked like "kp". A corner of my brain thought WTF is "kp", and I kept scanning elsewhere for information. I saw the speeds across the bottom and the thrusts on the left and I recognized the shape of the graph, then saw the HP vs MPH title at the top. I realized the different color lines had to be different engine inputs and I glanced back at that top-right box to confirm it.... that it was listing different HP engine inputs.... and that "k" from "kp" was still lingering in my brain. chuckle. So the blurry "h" was read twice, once as "k" and once as "h". The 250khp to 500khp power figures did strike me as unreasonably large, but I wasn't going to doubt the graph and my attention was absorbed on other issues. Sso without further consideration I just mentally filed it away as presumptively plausible values for a top end (?military?) engine.

the airflow through the propeller is slowed down... in this view the rotor is acting as a turbine, though a very unusual one in which the power is delivered through its thrust bearing, not by torquing the shaft.

Ohhhh noooooo! You didn't...... cry cry cry. LoL.
I follow your reasoning, and it is a kinda cool point, but oh jezus I wish you didn't make that analogy. The prop is NOT spinning as a turbine, and I know that you know that it's not spinning as a turbine, but someone is going to read what you wrote and think that one or both of us said it's a turbine. Newbies already have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that the prop is a fan. Any whiff of describing it as a turbine feeds badly into the exact "contradictory explanations" that set off alarm bells for you.

[the math/science] It's still at high-school level

I wish. You and I went to significantly above average highschools. The majority of U.S. highschool graduates only have one year of science, and it's generally something very generic like "Earth science" or something. It's only in the last few years that most highschools have moved to a two year science requirement, and even then, what percentage are going to include force-energy physics? I think the most common is a year of Bio, and even there most schools avoid or actively deny Evolution in that class :/

with regard to the exam question explanation. It says, correctly, that their formula implies that a totally inefficient device (alpha = 0) would travel at the wind speed.

What happened there is an entirely arbitrary and semi-self-contradictory cornercase crawling out of the simplifying assumptions. They started with a model of an ideal (frictionless) cart, and then to model a "real" cart they lumped together all losses... including rolling friction.... into one term alpha. They then set alpha to total energy loss... and they were still modeling that alpha on an ideal frictionless cart. They also silently and arbitrarily assumed wind drag *wasn't* zero, despite the opposite parallel assumption of zero rolling resistance. chuckle.

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Comment Re:DCS network should be totally isolated (Score 1) 284

In related news, an oil refinery did not explode today. Police and rescue workers report recovering zero dead bodies thus far from the fully intact structure. It is feared that the final death toll may rise as high as zero. We have no reporters live on the scene, so stay tuned for more breaking coverage as it doesn't happen.

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Comment Invasive (Score 1) 768

The submitter is either an ass, or he's playing a game provoking people to generate additional arguments for the 5th Amendment, perhaps specifically looking to combat the "give us your password or we'll lock you up" crap.

The submission is to full of fail to bother addressing it all, such as complaining that protections for the innocent sometimes make it harder to convict the guilty. Whaaaaaah! Whaaaaah! Whine!

But there's another fundamental reason that no one seems to have mentioned. The government requires a court ordered search warrant before they can intrusively violate the sanctity of your home. But there is something far more sacrosanct than one's home... one's very MIND. I can't think of anything more intrusive than the government wanting to invade your mind to carry out a "search" of your thoughts. There is nothing more sacrosanct than one's mind. Government agents showing up with guns and locking yuo in handcuffs, and screaming at you "Hand over your THOUGHTS and MEMORIES, or we will imprison you by force, if you resist giving us your thoughts and memories we are authorized to use lethal force if necessary to haul you off and imprison you."

if the government grants you immunity, then your answers cannot incriminate you, but since nothing you say will incriminate you, the government can then force you to answer the question or go to jail for contempt of court. (There is actually no literal "right to remain silent"; it's a "right against self-incrimination". So take away the possibility of self-incrimination, and you have to talk.) This is a controversial exception

Yeah. That's bullshit. The government wants to seize, invade, and search your mind, and the government promises not to imprison you if you comply. FUCK THAT.

And if you decline to comply, the government declares it's going to imprison you... and if you resist they can and will use any and all force, up to and including lethal force, to carry out that imprisonment.

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Comment Re:Hopelessly partisan summary (Score 1) 768

When a political scandal hits, partisan hacks appear to try and obfuscate the issue. This "article" is an example...
When the administration is found to be unlawfully wiretapping every citizen... well, suddenly we see hacks pop up and say "well, you really didn't need that right anyways, right?".

This is why the homeschooler nuts need to be banned, and we need to do more to ensure toddlers aren't eating lead paint chips.
Because seriously, when you can't make it from one to ten without confusing four and five, one or the other is at fault.

It'd be funny if it wasn't so tragic.

Ummm.... yeah. That.

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Comment Re:LMGTFY (Score 1) 768

if you ever need to find out what it would be like without Amendment X, just crack open a history book.

For a while there I read "Amendment X" as meaning the 10th Amendment, chuckle. That confused me a bit. Anywho, I challenge you or anyone else to crack open a history book and show me how the U.S. would be noticeably different today without the 9th Amendment:

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The U.S. Supreme Court is loath to go within a hundred feet of that amendment. It is probably the Bill-of-Rights amendment mentioned by the Supreme Court the fewer times than any other, rivaled perhaps only by the 3rd Amendment. (The 3rd amendment almost never being addressed simply because the government never attempts to quarter soldiers in private homes). The few times the court has mentioned the 9th Amendment they have only done so only to say essentially "we're not going give it any application, not here, not now, not ever".

The quote Justice Antonin Scalia:
the Constitution's refusal to 'deny or disparage' other rights is far removed from affirming any one of them, and even farther removed from authorizing judges to identify what they might be, and to enforce the judges' list against laws duly enacted by the people.

In other words, the TRUE text of the 9th Amendment reads as follows:
Amendment IX
The Bill of Rights is inherently incomplete and obviously other Rights exist, but we only mention that here to troll you. lolz.

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Comment Re:Couldn't you just make up any old equation... (Score 1) 216

if a statement like Beal's conjecture can't be proven, you should be able to prove *that*.

Urk? How did you reach that odd conclusion?
"X is unprovable" is itself a mathematical statement, and I see no reason to actively expect it never to fall into the category of unprovable statements.

I would find it rather surprising if there didn't exist a recursively unprovable chain, and by that I mean a chain where all of the following were unprovable:
X
X1: X is unprovable
X2: X1 is unprovable.
X3: X2 is unprovable.
X(n): X(n-1) is unprovable.

If we want to get meta, it may well be possible to prove that such a chain exists. However it's easy to prove it could only be a non-constructive proof. Any mathematics successfully identifying a specific statement "X" for such a chain would itself constitute a proof of statement X1, in contradiction with the definition of a recursively unprovable chain.

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