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Comment 12 inches per century, max? I'm SO scared. (Score 1) 341

Records and research show that sea level has been steadily rising at a rate of 1 to 2.5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.1 inches) per year since 1900.

Four to ten inches per century. Look out for the tidal wave.

Variation by a factor of 2.5? That's VERY noisy data to use for the extrapolation of rates. How few samples and what level of noise do they have that they can't come up with better error margins?

This rate may be increasing. Since 1992, new methods of satellite altimetry (the measurement of elevation or altitude) indicate a rate of rise of 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year.

And with noisy data you occasionally get an outlier on one end or the other. Of course if you want to produce panic you treat the biggest excursion as if it's the average, and extrapolate it out for a century. But even if you do that you're talking a whole 12 inches sea rise in a CENTURY.

It's been less than 2.4 centuries since the American Revolution, a little over five since Columbus made his famous trip. Don't you think that, if the sea level gradually rises by a foot per century the new construction will just be up the hills a little more and the companies will move?

And while we're at it, how OLD are these high-tek companies, and how long before they're replaced by a new generation? Do they actually expect to be in existence and in the same buildings after fifty or a hundred years? The mind boggles.

Comment Re:Anyone should be able to fly (Score 2) 213

Bullshit, you're just another stupid racist who wishes that the government would crack down on all of those horrible negros and other people of color. White people, especially white male conservatives are the last people in the world who would want to implement any sort of "honest" profiling scheme because the history of terrorism in America is overwhelmingly white, male and conservative. Don't believe me? Well how about a little terrorist organization called the KKK, which lynched thousands of black men in the early 20th century and terrorized blacks, Catholics, Jews and other minorities to prevent them from voting or moving in to certain areas or taking certain jobs. Then of course we have Tim McVeigh and his crazy militia buddies, the neo-Nazis in Idaho, Bruce and Joshua Turnidge (this story got no media coverage compared to the Boston bombing or the Fort Hood shootings), the asshole who tried blowing up the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march in Spokane in 2011. While we're at it let's toss in all of the school shooters (Adam Lanza, Kip Kinkel, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are all white) and that crazy fuck who shot up the theatre in Aurora. Any honest look at American history shows that white people are mean, crazy dangerous fuckheads and that you should keep an eye on them lest they go batshit insane and start killing everyone in sight. Yeah, if we had profiling in America and it was honest, and not just an excuse used to fuck with people then white guys like you would spend a lot of time getting cavity searched.

Comment Re:Anyone should be able to fly (Score 4, Informative) 213

People charged with a crime often have a their movements restricted as a condition of their bail.

Yes, people charged with a crime often have their movements restricted as a condition of bail, a fact which has nothing to do with the TSA's idiotic no-fly list. See people who are charged with a crime and who have had their movements restricted have had the benefits of a little thing called due process of law and the fifth amendment to the Constitution. See, if you've been charged with a crime and have had your movements restricted that means that you've been arrested, charged in a court of law, allowed to have counsel to represent you. You can also appeal the judgment that restricts your movements, confront the witnesses against you and you have the right to subpoena witnesses to testify in your favor. You have none of this with the TSA. The TSA restricts your liberty to travel without telling you why they've done so or what evidence they used to make this determination and gives you no opportunity to defend yourself. The TSA no-fly list is essentially nothing more than the imposition of Soviet style internal passports that has nothing to do with protecting citizens and everything to do with restricting their movements.

Comment Re:The emperor has no clothes (Score 1) 526

Every jurisdiction effectively picks and chooses which laws it's going to enforce and when. It's called "prioritizing". And sure enough, that's what the feds are doing:

The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on eight specific areas of enforcement, rather than targeting individual marijuana users, which even President Obama has acknowledged is not the best use of federal manpower.

The moral and legal value of prioritization is in the results (i.e. who gets targeted and who gets ignored), not the act itself.

Comment Prevents emulation. (Score 1) 150

Does this law prevent a "computer product" patent "comprising" a recordable medium containing instructions that when executed by a computer processor perform the steps of: a)
do a software emulation of the non-obvious stuff this hardware did.

That's the wording the company's (US) patent lawyers hung on the end of my hardware patents, to keep people from emulating them in FPGAs or software on a really fast processor.

Comment Re:Annoying (Score 1) 333

All these cars will religiously follow the speed limit, boxing up roads and not permitting those of us who are in a rush to get around them. The road rage will cause accidents, I guarantee that.

These accidents will likely be mostly minor fender-benders that result in the road-ragers losing their licenses (unless, of course, they get a self-driving car.) Or, That, and you'd also probably see road-ragers driving themselves off the road and into fixed objects. The automatic cars'll generally do a pretty good job of avoiding serious collisions--far better than even a reasonably skillled human driver could.

If a person is so lacking in maturity and self-control that they'd start ramming automated cars for not letting them treat the road as their own personal speedway, it's highly unlikely that these individuals are able to conduct themselves in a mature manner in today's traffic. We're not looking at a substantial net-up of people who have no business driving a car, y'know?

Comment From the Article (Score 1) 608

Most notably, in a comprehensive review of studies, Alice Eagly and colleagues showed that female managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way (all characteristics of "transformational leadership"), as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, male managers are statistically less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance. Although these findings may reflect a sampling bias that requires women to be more qualified and competent than men in order to be chosen as leaders, there is no way of really knowing until this bias is eliminated.

The bolded part hits the nail on the head for me. In the software development field (as well as management) currently a woman must exert more effort to get noticed so there is a huge selection bias that makes the women more likely to be top of the line, versus your average male manager or programmer. Any woman who isn't gets pushed out of the field or passed over.

We will know when we've arrived when we have a good mix of incompetent, average, and excellent female software developers and managers... Just like we have with men today.

As for why a relatively balanced field (Computer Science) turned into a male-dominated one, I think the period when nerds and geeky stuff weren't cool put a lot of social pressure on women to stay away and now the cycle just perpetuates itself. Even if 29 of 32 guys in a CompSci class are normal non-creepers, as soon as a girl shows up she gets the full attention of the 3 total creepers, who stalk her, follow her around campus, etc... Or the one dude who constantly talks down to her and says software is for guys only. In reality it takes only one asshole to drive the girl away and perpetuate the cycle.

Personally I'd like to see more women entering the field so I try to call out the creepers and assholes whenever I encounter them. One voice of reason often puts a stop to it.

Comment Sure we do. (Score 1) 119

Nobody born and bred in the U.S of A. ends their correspondence with cheers.

Lots of us do - and have for decades.

I've used it in email practically since there's been email - and I was born and raised almost in the center of the "radio accent" heartland.

It's short and often just the right tone for ending a written communication.

Comment Re:Weird choice of measurements (Score 5, Informative) 85

Accuracy measures how close the frequency is to the target, on average. Stability measures how the frequency drifts over time (and temperature, etc.). Accuracy is more of an absolute measurement while stability is more of a relative measurement. From the article:

The ticks of any atomic clock must be averaged for some period to provide the best results. One key benefit of the very high stability of the ytterbium clocks is that precise results can be achieved very quickly. For example, the current U.S. civilian time standard, the NIST-F1 cesium fountain clock, must be averaged for about 400,000 seconds (about five days) to achieve its best performance. The new ytterbium clocks achieve that same result in about one second of averaging time.


[U.S. civilian standard cesium reference clock] NIST-F1's performance is described in terms of accuracy, which refers to how closely the clock realizes the cesium atom's known frequency, or natural vibration rate. Accuracy is crucial for time measurements that must be traced to a primary standard. NIST scientists plan to measure the accuracy of the ytterbium clocks in the near future, and the accuracy of other high performance optical atomic clocks is under study at NIST and JILA.

So it sounds like accuracy is defined in terms of how well the clock reproduces the ideal frequency of the physical process it's based on. Hopefully there's a physicist or two around who can give us the exciting details.

Comment Sure it does. Consider the 1918 Flu Pandemic (Score 4, Informative) 70

Censorship never slows the spread of word where a disease is concerned, it only adds rumor into the mix, to create confusion.

Sure it does. A prime example is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and president Wilson's reaction to it.

Wilson and his administration saw news of the disease as promoting a public response that would hamper the war effort, and reporting it to be treason. So he had the government suppress the news and spread disinformation. Among the effects:

  - The disease had shown up in one military camp. The commanding officer wanted to quarantine the camp to keep it from spreading throughout the military and the country. But his orders were countermanded from above. Result: Sick and incubating soldiers were shipped all over the country, spreading the disease.

  - Disinformation about the nature of the disease, and how to treat it, was disseminated, using the Public Relations resources of the government, which drowned out more accurate statements from the medical community and others. This amounted to a set of government-created and broadly propagated health frauds, some of which persist today, causing those who believe them to waste money and impair their health. Among them is the theory of "autointoxication": that flu (or other disease) symptoms are the result of toxins produced by intestinal flora (if retained too long) and a resulting illusory need for "regularity" - having daily bowel movements at roughly the same time of day. To this day this theory results in laxative overuse and sometimes addiction, vitamin deficiencies, intestinal irritation, and delays in seeking medical attention when it is needed for a real illness.

So censorship CAN slow, or even suppress, the spread of word where a disease is concerned, bury the truth, and stop appropriate handling of a disease.

Comment Re:NBD, it seems (Score 1) 159

How many times do we need to see this "coincidence", of a comet diving into the sun, followed by an instaneous CME, to at least calculate the probability of CMEs being caused by comets vs not caused by comets?

If you watch the video, you'll see that the CME happens well before the comet hits the sun.

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