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Comment Re:was it justified? (Score 1) 253

Perhaps the first question to ask is whether his "PR war" is justified.

Actually, you're confusing the issue. It's fine to debate the environmental impact of atrazine, but that's not the question at hand. The issue is *the ground rules of a fair and civilized debate*.

I can't punch you in the mouth to shut you up, just because you're wrong. A civilized debate allows the wrong side to make its case without harassment, because freedom to have only "correct" opinions is no freedom at all.

So, the flipside of that question is: what should companies do against persistent but scientifically baseless attacks? Almost anything they can do can be twisted around to make them look even more manipulative and guilty.

Seriously, you don't know the answer to this question? You can't see a more appropriate response than a campaign of dirty tricks and character assassination? Well, lets start with what they shouldn't do if they want to avoid looking manipulative and guilty: they should't harass people and invade their privacy.

Comment Re:82 years old (Score 1) 401

If you've already developed COPD, as Mr. Nimoy has, then you *will* experience the costs of continuing to smoke, even at the age of 82. So there are negatives.

Also, at the age of 82 you probably don't give a damn about looking cool any more, so the biggest plus for a teenager doesn't apply.

Comment Re:Seriously - GTFO (Score 1) 401

He does not, so far as we know, have cancer. Read the summary or the article. Nimoy has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), one of the other bad things that can happen to you as a result of smoking.

It's your choice to smoke, of course, but COPD is an unpleasant disease and quitting would halve your chances of developing COPD and delay the onset of crippling symptoms if you do develop it.

Comment Of course they want one. (Score 4, Funny) 238

Even *I* want a collider 3x as powerful as the most powerful particle accelerator the world has yet seen, and I'm not even a physicist.

I like to imagine the kilometers of stainless steel gleaming in the harsh mercury vapor illumination; the drifting swirls of escaped cryogenic vapors; the sound of my evil laughter echoing in the vast subterranean chamber. If those things don't inspire you, there must be something inhuman about you.

Comment Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (Score 4, Insightful) 2219

I vote for "I don't care how it looks as long as it has feature parity." Make it look any way you want but the comment system should be considered sacrosanct.

Classic Slashdot is ugly, amateurish, and extremely dated looking. Beta is ugly, amateurish, slightly less dated looking. It would have looked up to date in 2000 or so. Maybe.

Still, I understand the Dice wants to bring new users on board,and that some young 'uns may be put off with the frankly weird aesthetic of classic Slashdot. So I can live with the new look. But I can also live with Windows 8, and that puts me in a very small minority. If you want to expand your community by keeping the regulars and bringing in fresh customers, you have to bend over backwards to make the regulars feel valued.

Anyhow, isn't it feasible these days to give people whatever styling they prefer? Changing a community site like Slashdot (or Digg, or fark, both of which have had instructively disastrous redesigns) is a bit like changing the neighborhood bar to attract a younger, hipper crowd. The very idea puts the regulars off. But *unlike* a bar, you can contrive things so the old-timers still feel like they're in the same old ugly but comfortable place.

Comment Re:Wait, Fracking uses Water? (Score 2) 268

We've been told this whole time that fracking uses some toxic unknown substance that causes water to burn and makes children possessed by the devil.

Now it's water?

It's water with a rather long list of additives including benzene, formaldehyde, ferric chloride, napthalene and toluene. But, yes, it's *primarily* water.

Comment Re:NYT for me, but paying somewhere is important (Score 1) 361

I pay $15/mon to subscribe to the Boston Globe on my Kindle. I don't particularly like the Globe, but there needs to be someone with shoe leather on the ground reporting local stories. Someone who isn't a total moron, or someone who spends all day on social media passing along stuff he's heard somewhere on the Internet.

I view my subscription as like a tax payment; it supports a local institution that is important to the community where I live, even if its not nearly as good as it could be or ought to be.

Comment Well, what is the alternative? (Score 1) 385

Do we expect vendors to provide free upgrades and updates to old hardware and software *forever*? At some point a vendor is going to say, "Sorry, you're SOL." Offering customers the option to *pay* for updates to extend the life of their investment doesn't seem so unreasonable, especially when you're talking about enterprise customers.

Limiting free updates to the warranty period only seems unreasonably because the warranty periods tend to be rather short. Financially speaking, computer systems are customarily depreciated over a 5 year period; that is to say that spanking new computer your company buys will be valued at $0 on the books in five years. So it seems to me that expected lifetime of a computer in an enterprise is five years. That should be the baseline over which we determine what is a reasonable period for free updates. Free updates for *over* five years is expecting way too much of a vendor. Personally I'd be satisfied with three years of free updates with an option to buy updates for another three.

Comment Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving! (Score 2) 136

It doesn't matter what baseline you use for X and Y if you want to answer "how much greater is X than Y?" When I calculate "X - Y", the choice of baseline cancels out. It doesn't matter if I do the calculation in celsius or kelvin; or if I choose 1900-1999 as a baseline or 1950-1980. The answer to the question "how much hotter was 2005 than 1995?" is still going to be 0.2C.

As for the choice of 1995 as a baseline, it was *your* idea to use a year that set a record for high temperature and ask, "has it got warmer since then?" and surprisingly, the answer turns out to be "yes". That's very different than taking ten or more years as your baseline, which cancels out the effect of unusually hot or unusually cool years impartially.

As for the source of my data, here you go.

Comment Re:What will it cost? (Score 3, Insightful) 136

It's not so simple as "10 cm/decade doesn't seem like much".

Imagine storm surges laid out on a bell curve, with height above mean high tide as the X axis. When you chose how close to build to the waterline, and the protections you put in, you probably wouldn't draw the line where you'd get one flood every thousand years. You might decide you can live with one flood every ten years. But shift the mean high tide by 20 cm over two decades, and that once a decade flood might happen eight or ten times a decade.

There's often a sharp line between a near miss and a disaster. A one foot rise over thirty years (roughly correponds to 1m/century) means that a seawall or levee that would have held back the flood get overtopped. A one foot rise means a place that never got flooded before could be in harms way. Some of the levees that failed in Katrina were overtopped by only a matter of inches. Others were overtopped by ten feet, but that's a different issue.

And in a lot of the world, the floodplain isn't chosen because it's a nice place to live. Bengladeshi subsistence farmers don't locate in low areas because of the beaches, but because that's the only land they can afford. These are people with very low levels of material consumption. They don't get much of the share of benefit from the carbon added to the atmosphere, but they bear a disproportionate share of the costs.

Comment Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving! (Score 5, Informative) 136

You realize 1995 set a record for hottest year ever on record? So you've cherry picked a particularly hot year as your baseline (or somebody dishonest picked it for you). That's Ok, because that record has been exceeded ten times since then, starting with 1998 which was *also* the hottest year on record.

1995 was 0.4C hotter than the 20thC average. 2005 was 0.6C hotter than the baseline, and 2010 was just a smidgen hotter than 2005. So you could answer 0.2C to your question. But it's a lousy question, not just because it starts from a cherry-picked baseline, but because there's so much variation between years.

A better question is "How much hotter were the 00's hotter than the 90's?" The 1990s where 0.313 C hotter than the 1950-1980 baseline. The 00s were 0.513 C hotter than the baseline. So again the answer to the question is 0.2C.

Each of the past three decades set a record for the hottest on record.

Comment Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving! (Score 3, Informative) 136

What you're talking about is 1.2 meters of new ice on top of *two kilometers* of primordial ice. If we scaled the ice sheet to 2 meters tall, the extra accumulation would be roughly the thickness of a piece of paper.

In any case, you're confusing the vast, 400,000 year-old interior ice sheet with a coastal glacier. It makes no difference that the interior ice sheet has thickened very slightly because measurements of the *glacier in question* show that *it* is thinning.

Comment Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving! (Score 5, Informative) 136

Fortunately, we don't have to deal in "suggestions". People have actually *gone* to the glacier and taken measurements. It is thinning dramatically since 1997 [1]. Nor do we have to deal in suggestions about the temperature of Greenland, because people have been measuring that too. It is warming, dramatically on the western coast, somewhat less so on the eastern. [2]

The glacier in question, by the way, is considerably less than 100 km long (as you an readily see), so the interior doesn't enter into the question of what this glacier is doing at all. However if you're interested, ice core data shows that the interior has warmed over the past several decades. [3]

I can certainly buy the argument that this event doesn't prove *global* warming, because it doesn't. But the argument that it proves *local cooling* doesn't hold water, because it we know *from measurements* that there hasn't been local cooling, especially in southwestern Greenland where this glacier is *entirely* located.

--- Citations ---
1: Liu, Lin, John Wahr, Ian Howat, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Ian Joughin, and Masato Furuya. "Constraining ice mass loss from Jakobshavn Isbræ (Greenland) using InSARmeasured crustal uplift." Geophysical Journal International 188, no. 3 (2012): 994-1006.

2: Hanna, Edward, Sebastian H. Mernild, John Cappelen, and Konrad Steffen. "Recent warming in Greenland in a long-term instrumental (1881–2012) climatic context: I. Evaluation of surface air temperature records." Environmental Research Letters 7, no. 4 (2012): 045404.

3: Muto, Atsuhiro, Ted A. Scambos, Konrad Steffen, Andrew G. Slater, and Gary D. Clow. "Recent surface temperature trends in the interior of East Antarctica from borehole firn temperature measurements and geophysical inverse methods." Geophysical Research Letters 38, no. 15 (2011): L15502.

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