Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Reminds me of a cartoon (Score 1) 251

>Now I know you're smoking something -- you think renewables can compete on their own merit, without subsidies? Straight up in the free market? With plentiful coal? (and now, natural gas)? Please show me the numbers.

I stated two caveats to that, not mentioning them is what we call a strawman attack:
1) Coal and fossil fuels must internalize the cost of pollution - that is eradicate it entirely, imagine the cost of those air filters to burn them without any pollution
2) That this will happen over the medium to long term as most renewables are more expensive ot build initially - but has ZERO running fuel cost. Coal may be plentiful and cheap but last I checked nothing still cost less than "something plentiful"

Furthermore - as more and more investors are pulling out of natural gas it's become clear that it's a bubble about to burst - most geologists now sincerely doubt that any of the USA's current natural gas fracked wells will last for another 5 years even.

Comment Re:Not credible (Score 4, Insightful) 355

Scientists use a subset of temperature stations to exclude bad ones, denialists cry: "They ignored the other stations because it didn't fit their desired outcome".

Scientists use all available data. Denialists cry: "They didn't exclude the bad ones, so the results are unreliable".

Science cannot win against politics and that is all denial is - politics, it has no scientific basis or support, no evidence whatsoever in it's favour, all it has is a very large, well-funded and heavily-subsidized incumbent industry that is quite desperate to prevent the rise of any competition - especially competition that is far more efficient and cheaper to consumers over the medium term.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a cartoon (Score 1) 251

>Yeah - and when's the last time you heard someone complain about carbon monoxide emissions? Not lately I'll, because everyone's fixated on CO2.

I addressed that in my original post. Firstly because CO emissions come from the SAME sources as CO2 emissions so solving one will solve the other anyway - and secondly because when it comes specifically to the climate issue they are the same thing because CO is unstable and absorbs oxygen in the atmosphere to BECOME CO2 - this takes on average less than a day so the CO2 levels added to atmosphere are in fact the sum of CO and CO2 emissions.

But that day is more than enough to breathed in by people and make some people sick.

Furthermore addressing the major sources of industrial CO2 would ALSO address the major sources of most other pollutants - including those with more serious and immediate consequences such as the article's soot (which is in fact highly toxic and is harmful even in trace amounts) , methane and even acid rain producing compounds like SO2.

>And it's not an exponential rate, it's geometric. It has a constant ratio of 1:2.
You can't count - it's 1:3 - one tonne of carbon uses 2 tonnes of oxygen and produces 3 tonnes of CO2

>Well, what you said was that fucking stupid, and there are plenty of people who have said that or something similar. Even with your addendum, it's still stupid. Outlaw any emission of fossil-fuel derived CO2? Civilization would shut down. Maybe in a couple of decades if we ramped up nuke production. Maybe in a century when we've had time to increase the efficiency of our renewable technologies and developed decent storage technology. But in the near future? If it were enforced worldwide, that would cause more damage than AGW is predicted to.

I never suggested that we outlaw all industrial processes that produce CO2 - I suggested merely outlawing the emissions. That is to say - if you can build an airfilter that captures all the gasses you produce in your coal plant and store them safely instead of pumping them into the air - then you will be completely within the law. If this is prohibitively expensive then coal itself IS prohibitively expensive - it's just that we're making innocent third parties pay the cost instead of the people who actually DO the burning.

My argument is that we cannot avoid the cost of pollution - we can either pay it at the source (through the cost of prevention) or have billions of innocent people (and animals and planst) pay the bill instead - but the bill is there anyway and it's NOT a free market when you get to offshoot your largest expense on third parties who have no involvement in your contract without their consent or agreement.
It would be quite fair to make every coal plant and car-maker pay every person on earth a fee for polluting their air, but this seems rather impractical - much more so than "filter out until you produce clean are or shut down".

This is not a radical idea, I'm just surprized we haven't properly enforced it on air pollution -we already enforce this idea as the basis of law on industries that produce liquid pollution or polluted water ("if you put any water back into a river or into the ground - you have to COMPLETELY purify it first, if you can't purify it you have to store it safely you can NOT add it to the water source).

We do this there because we saw the outcome of not doing it repeatedly going right back to the undrinkable Thames created by the industrial revolution. We do it because most of Europe STILL cannot drink their tap-water because of not doing it for too long.

How about we do it with air-pollution BEFORE most of the earth can't breath our air ? You may argue that this would take a very long time - after all, we have much more atmosphere than water right ? But that was EXACTLY what we used to think about fresh water, it's what many still thinks about the oceans and this is why there is an island of garbage the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Meantime maritime food stocks are dwindling but we are still adding MORE trash putting downward pressure on a vital (and struggling) resource when we're already using it faster than it can regenerate.

Do we make the same mistake with the atmosphere or do we change course BEFORE there's a crisis ?

Comment Re:A Fair Rule (Score 1) 44

I daresay there are far more people who can audit and improve the web-app (and fix bugs that could land you in jail for unintentional tax fraud) than there are people who can improve the design of a fight jet engine.
And practically everyone who could improve the design of the fighter jet engine is already working for the manufacturer of a fighter jet.

So your analogy is incredibly flawed.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a cartoon (Score 1) 251

>Except, again, CO2 doesn't cause respiratory illness.

It does how-ever trigger attacks in those who have congenital respiratory illnesses or caught it from another cause - attacks cost money to heal.

>Any source to back this up? The conventional wisdom appears to say otherwise


There is some growing evidence that CO2 has long term effects and exposure can cause illnesses over time. People who suffered smoke inhalation often have lifelong breathing problems for example.
Furthermore - everything that produces CO2 also produces CO - cars in fact produce MOSTLY CO - which is much more toxic (CO1 is unstable and converts into CO2 in the atmosphere over time - and thus has the same AGW problem)

Now let's really bake your noodle - just to clarify the impact. There is no DOUBT that organisms (and much simpler and stupider ones than us) can affect the atmosphere through their activities. Until plants evolved the earth had only about 5% oxygen in the atmosphere, plants pushed it to it's current level of about 21% - and killed every other living creature on the planet, an entire new type of animal had to evolve to live in this new atmosphere - and then those animals (which are our ancestors) were dependent on it.
If we reduce the oxygen levels in the atmosphere by just 1% the results would already be catastrophic for ourselves.

How likely is this ? Well let's do the math. CO2 is one carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms. That scales up directly - so if we burn one ton of coal, we reduce the atmospheric oxygen by 2 tonnes and increase the atmospheric CO2 by 3 tonnes.

That's an exponential equation - if it was a software program it would be running at O(n^3) - which is bloody insane !
>I'd be happy with this too, as long as the money that used to go to subsidizing energy companies was instead refunded to tax-payers as a tax cut - otherwise you'd just be bumping up the cost of energy for households, and letting the politicians add a bucket of money to their slush fund.

What they do with the money is not really relevant to my prediction that in a truly free energy market - renewables would win, in our un-free market they need help - but the advantage may be that they will win much sooner if they get that help. That's not a bad thing (it may have bad side effects, I don't dispute that but again - they are not relevant to my point).
So if you want the subsidies refunded - sure. Of course being more of a leftist, I would argue they could better spend that money aleviating hunger, topping up welfare and pension plans and such - which IS refunding it to the citizens, but instead of just giving it back - spending it on those who need it most (the entire POINT of a progressive tax system).

>You consider CO2 to be a pollutant, and you want to make all pollution "outright illegal". You do realise this would outlaw breathing, right?

Yes, because I'm that fucking stupid. Such a law would apply only to non-organic processes. Animals are evolved to emit a certain amount of CO2 - which is always less than the amount of oxygen they breathed in, in the first place (because we don't burn ALL the oxygen we breath) - nature has had millions of years to adapt to breathing animals and the systems of weather can cope quite well with it. I don't give much creedence to the extremists who think overpopulation means we breath too much now - there are billions more incects than humans on the planet who breathe out far more CO2 every day than all the mammals combined. There is some evidence to support that our farming has increased OTHER biological gasses like methane but even that would be much more manageable without industrial pollution.
A human being in his entire lifetime breathes out less CO2 than coal power-plant emits in a day.

Comment Re:The exception proves the exception (Score 1) 506

From your own document:
Percentage of rape victims where a gun was used ? 0%
On the same line it tells us that knives are used in 3.4% of cases.

Now I'm pretty sure that's rounded down but it just confirms what the academics say: that violent stranger rape is the rarest form, and even then weapons are rarely used at all.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a cartoon (Score 1) 251

>What exactly are the health care costs of carbon dioxide?

Hard to calculate since it's an externality, and hard to prove. The kid in Cape Town who gets asthma could be getting it due to pollution in China !
But you can probably take at least the vast majority of respiratory illnesses.

>and plenty of contributors that do not have health consequences (like CO2).
This statement is false. CO2 is toxic at fairly low levels actually.

>So, I'd really like to see that bill that you say is going to tax solar generators, as it'll affect me. I'm not aware of it though - the only measures I've heard were about the government trying to renege on it's 60c rate guarantee because the people not on solar were pissed off at subsidising people who are on solar.

I read about it on theregister.co.uk - look it up yourself.
Either way - the subsidies you're claiming is "overgenerous" is far less than the subsidies on fossil fuels already.
I'd be quite happy to say "let the market sort it out" but then it must be JUST the market, no subsidies for ANY energy at all AND externalized costs (which includes AGW) internalized by making all air-pollution outright illegal.

Comment Re:The exception proves the exception (Score 1) 506

> I truly hope that someday "what they want" is never your daughters (if any) and/or wife. What then?

I can't say that will NEVER happen, but I do know that stranger-rape is by far the least common type of rape and accounts for a minuscule amount of over-all crime. The odd of that ever happening are a billion to one.
If my daughters or wife are ever in that position - it will almost certainly be somebody they know - and he will almost certainly be unarmed. If I were to discover that, you bet your ass I would fight. But if I only find out later, you can also bet your ass I will not rest till he has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Frankly - I am more worried about my son being seduced by a female teacher (which is a much more common form of rape) and then dealing with the difficulties of getting female rapists prosecuted. The odds of THAT happening is MUCH higher.

Now of course, my system is ... not perfect, you cannot EVER be prepared for EVERY scenario - but you can try to rationally (instead of emotionally) analyze risks (using mathematics not emotive arguments like 'duty') - and make the safest over-all choices.
Rationally analyzed, the highest degree of safety I can give my family is definitely to NOT have any ranged projectile weapons in my house. Because this is a FACT and not an opinion - that is true for virtually EVERY person's house.

I don't favour gun bans - but I do favour strict gun control, including a license that requires a competency test which has to be RETAKEN no more than every 3 years. That alone will make a big difference for those who really ARE exceptions to the rule.
It's been argued that "once you implement such controls, it's easy enough to abuse them" - I don't agree - there is a VERY easy way to prevent that. Simply make it compulsary for law enforcement officers to comply with EVERY gun law that any citizen has to comply with. They will NEVER disarm THEMSELVES.

The fact that in America cops have to recertified for weapons usage regularly but untrained civilians do not is a situation that I can only describe as: batshit crazy.

Comment Re:Government believers (Score 1) 146

Okay... so in short - you didn't even read the fucking summary ?!?!?

This is NOT about "how they track vehicles". The Judge said "you cannot track vehicles without a warrant" - as a result, the FBI has been falling back on OTHER ways to track people without a warrant. This was a request to reveal what tracking methods they use WITHOUT a warrant.

Comment Re:Government believers (Score 4, Insightful) 146

> Today, America's enemies aren't nations - they're more often underground organizations of people (including American citizens) who disregard American laws.

And these people, citizens or not, still have rights. If you can't enforce the law without violating those rights - then you need to change the law. The are not a country at war with you and cannot be treated like enemy combatants.

But if you meant "terrists" instead of "criminals" then your case is even WEAKER. You have about a 95% higher risk of dying from SUICIDE than from a terrorist attack.
You, personally, is a MUCH higher threat to your safety.
So in this case you are sacrificing essential liberty for NON-EXISTENT temporary safety, to paraphrase Ben Franklin.

tl;dr - There is no freedom more essential than the right to KNOW the laws you live under.

Slashdot Top Deals

The moving cursor writes, and having written, blinks on.