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Comment Re:Sigh (Score 5, Interesting) 174

X is bad? Fine. Accurately prove how they are bad, in a way that is relatively easy to proof in a repeatable way. Gimme alternatives that are viable (ie can be realistically implemented in a reasonable manner), that are economic (preferably cheaper, but no more than 5-10% more expensive) that are effective (preferably better, but no more than 5-10% less effiicient).

While I'm in agreement with this view, I'm also aware of how much messier the AGW situation is than the CFC situation was. Anything beyond "anthropogenic gases are probably adding about 0.2% (1.6 W/m**2) to the Earth's heat budget at the surface" is extremely model dependent, and models are just not that good at predicting the detailed response of such a complex system.

I am a computational physicist, and it is very clear after digging in to climate models a bit that climate models are not written by computational physicists, who typically have dealt with much simpler systems in much better controlled (and experimentally accessible) situations, which gives us a very healthy awareness of how inadequate our simulations are at capturing anything but the gross features of reality.

If a computational model of a radiation detector comes within 10% of reality you're generally doing pretty well, and radiation detectors of various kinds are about as simple as you can get in terms of physics.

So anyone who claims that climate models are adequate or even particularly useful as guides to policy response is likely not tightly coupled to reality. We don't really know what areas are likely to be affected by what kind of events. Even apparently simple things like an increase in hurricane force winds, or possibly an increase in the number of hurricanes, are hotly debated. No one, to the best of my knowledge, predicted ocean acidification as a likely outcome of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, but this is likely going to be one of the more significant impacts. And so on.

As such, it behooves us to pursue a number of policies that won't address any specific threat, but which will a) reduce human greenhouse gas emissions and b) increase our ability to respond the climate-driven humanitarian disasters. In the former category would be nuclear power development and other green power sources, and in the latter things like increased funds put aside for international relief via existing organizations.

These positive actions have zero political support, however: people who are beating the drums regarding AGW policy are almost uniformly putting it in terms of controls and limits and restrictions on other people, which we know from far too much history never ends well, and certainly never solves the problem it was supposedly intended to address.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 4, Informative) 174

You are a denier. Because you put "economics" a.k.a short term profits first. Basically you say "If I cannot earn money polluting, fuck you".

And the Lack of Reading Comprehension Award goes to the guy who wrote the above, putting words in the GP's mouth and then maligning them on the basis of that fantasy.

It's so much easier to win arguments with imaginary opponents who can be vilified for saying outrageous things.

With regard to economics: while it does not explain all of human behaviour, it is difficult to defend the hypothesis, beloved by Lefties in particular, that "economics doesn't matter".

Economics matters, and it is not "putting economics first" to say this, but rather recognizing that economics imposes constraints on any solution to the problem of anthropogenic climate change. The anti-AGW community are firmly convinced that the pro-AGW community consists solely of people like you, who think that the reality of AGW is somehow justification to impose your own anti-economic agenda on the rest of the world.

By responding as you are, you are playing exactly the role the anti-AGW community wants you to play, bolstering their support amongst the public, who will see you for what you are: a left-wing nutjob who has grabbed on to the AGW mantra as an excuse to further your political agenda, not because you care about the future of the planet (because as the GP correctly points out, any viable solution to AGW will have to take economic constraints into account, as as such people like you who deny economic constraints are important are actually an impediment to dealing with AGW.)

Comment Re:Yep. And more... (Score 1) 171

Your truly important rights will disappear in the loss of the rights protected by the 2nd amendment. Don't believe it? What will YOU do when they pass a law that allows them to arrest you for no reason? Oh wait, they already have. OK, what will YOU do when they pass a law that allows them to pass judgement on you and execute you without a trial? Oh... ermm... they did that too.

So since they have passed all those laws, I guess the 2nd Amendment is basically useless as a mechanism for protecting your fundamental rights.

Whereas here in Canada, where we have moderate gun control (virtually no legal handguns, rifles and shotguns require licensing and training), we have considerably better legal protections against arbitrary arrest than you do in the US.

It's almost like there is something else--like a functional government that actually represents a broad range of people--that is protecting our rights. Not only does such a system work better at maintaining the rule of law than the juvenile fantasies of gun nuts, it kills fewer people too...

Comment Re:Still lying (Score 2) 171

With the radiation dose equal to a few minutes of flying at 35,000', use of the system poses less of a risk than the flight.

The dosimetry that generates this number is inappropriate for this kind of machine.

Short version: the dosimetric standard used by the company to claim these devices are safe assumes that the incoming x-rays are absorbed uniformly over the whole body, but in fact they are primarily absorbed in the skin. The skin dose is therefore much higher than the meaningless and irrelevant "whole body dose" that the dosimetric rig used measures.

Comment Re:Left out the important qualifier... (Score 1) 210

Fracking releases methane. That's the greenhouse gas they're talking about.

Given the whole purpose of fracking is to release natural gas (which is primarily methane), this amazing revelation amounts to, "Fracking works!" Thanks for telling us that, /.

The headline is incredibly disingenuous even for this debased forum. The report actually say (and the summary accurate points this out!) that "fracking combined with a bunch of things that are not fracking release methane." So I wonder what the contribution from fracking is? The only thing I can be certain of is that it is NOT the "second highest source of greenhouse gases", although I am willing to believe that the pipelines it feeds are... but pipelines don't care where the gas is coming from.

Comment Re:CC would be to allow plagiarism (Score 1) 172

Likewise. For all the obfuscation and nonsense going on in this discussion, the most restrictive license is the one that appropriately addresses the open access issue.

The ND clause is entirely appropriate in the cut-throat world of academia, where we want others to know about our work and use our results, but not to be able to "remix" our papers.

This is also important in the replication of other's results. I once published a paper that was quite deliberately modeled on another work. The previous work had introduced a particular image registration algorithm in a specific domain of medical imaging using a particular set of phantom images. Because I wanted to compare my algorithm directly to theirs, I replicated a lot of their work.

This is an important incidental to not being able to simply reuse their stuff in a casual non-quality-controlled way. If they had made a mistake in their setup or whatever, I had a chance to find it, so there were a handful of ideas that were re-tested in my work and independently validated.

Comment Re:photoshop USED to be obvious. (Score 3, Informative) 197

The new version of Gimp has a more-standard single-window mode. That was the single biggest complaint before. So now the other large user annoyances have been added

... ...would be a better way to put it.

The biggest one is the ridiculous and recently added "export" functionality for everything but the native file format. This is completely unlike every other editing application of any kind for anything anywhere. If I open a Word or RTF or plain text file in LibreOffice, for example, I can save it to that format with a keystroke.

GIMP is a great program--I even got used to the floating windows after a few years--but its developers consistently treat their users with complete contempt, and in the case of the new export functionality they are actually doing more work to make the program harder to use.

Comment Re:No you won't (Score 1) 211

Heinlein's "Starship troopers" isn't bad, though they weren't strictly cavalry.

As on pedant to another, I believe the technical term in "Starship Troopers" was "mobile infantry", which is accurate but a little too general--I've never encountered infantry that weren't mobile, except maybe after a regimental drunk. Or I guess in Europe between 1914 and 1918.

"Starship infantry" would have been better, although given the book's purpose as pro-military propaganda it lacks that romantic haze required to blur away the pointless death and destruction such troops have always created when deployed outside their own borders.

Comment Re:I agree. (Score 1) 800

If you...

If you...

When you...

If you...

So you've laid out a number of hypothetical fantasy scenarios. It seems you think you're constructing an argument, but it isn't clear what that argument is.

The central criticism of this violation of due process is that it is precisely leaving out the important step of determining if anything similar to your hypothetical fantasy scenarios pertains in cases where the person in question is not an "imminent threat" to anyone.

If you wanted to remove yourself from the argument you really couldn't have done a better job of it. Do please come back when you have something relevant to say about the quite clear criticisms that have been leveled at this policy of extra-judicial killing by those of us who support the rule of law.

Comment Re:Oh, the surprise. (Score 1) 800

That would also be unacceptable, what's your point?

The OP is engaging in the "binary idiot" fallacy, which is the belief that there are only two categories of things: GOOD and BAD, admitting of no degrees. They then find something they claim is much worse than the topic under discussion, assert it, and walk away believing they have somehow demonstrated that what is in their view the lesser evil has now been promoted to the "GOOD" category.

Like so many rhetorical moves when discussing politics, this is nothing but a declaration that, "I can't answer your point so I'm going to try to change the subject to something completely unrelated and hope by obfuscating the issue I'll be able to claim I won." Lefties used to do this all the time to deflect criticism of the Soviet Union.

Comment Re:Good Luck (Score 1) 215

Speaking from honest experience, it's an uphill battle for someone your age.

This is definitely a thing. The average manager is far more interested in having workers they can feel power over and bully than they are in anything else, and it's difficult to intimidate an older, more experienced worker. There is also the ageist perception that older workers are less mentally adept than their younger, less experienced, more naive counterparts.

Several people have suggested teaching, but that is a poorly paid job with very high time demands, unless you're wiling to do a really crappy job.

The more hardware-oriented end of network IT is the most plausible option given your experience, and it won't be impossible to make the jump, but be prepared to overcome a lot of prejudice, and think of your job search as "looking for the right person to work for" rather than "looking for someone who will hire you". I can't emphasize enough how poor most managers are, and the ones who reject you are likely ones you don't want to work for. The ones who recognize the value an older worker can bring to the company are the good ones.

Comment Re:Oh, the surprise. (Score 2) 800

From the very first page it mentions it is for high level ranking al-Qa'ida located outside of the US.

It says nothing of the kind, because that is a claim that would require the individuals who are making the decisions about who to kill to be all-knowing and infallible, which they are manifestly not. The memo explicitly states that it is for people whom an "informed high level official of the US government" thinks for some reason is a "high level ranking al-Qa'ida leader located outside of the US".

Anyone with more than a grade three education will be aware that the set of "people categorized as X by some person based on imperfect intelligence and torture carried out by questionable foreign intelligence services" and "people who would be categorized as X by a due process of law" have at best limited overlap.

The whole point of due process is to protect citizens from the inevitable errors and corruption that human beings are subject to.

It is appalling that anyone who is capable of posting on /. is incapable of understanding the basic role of due process in protecting citizens from individuals in government who may want to do them harm, or who are simply subject to innocent error.

Comment Re:Stallman's a Brilliant Engineer (Score 2) 649

From the summary: "His solution is elegant ...his measure would create a required minimum 'Return on Investment' scale that corporations need to follow to be viable, and these types of metrics are very industry specific. Another issue is that many large corporations stay in business because they don't take unnecessary risk..."

Which is to say, the proposal requires layers upon layers of kludgy patch-ups to make it even remotely plausible, which will make it highly gamable in ways that mere technologists will never figure out, but the sociopaths who run companies will be all over.

There are some fairly well-known, well-tested ways of dealing with this, Glass-Stegal being the most obvious one. People who are attempting to create new, untested solutions are missing the point.

Comment Re:Recognition Test (Score 1) 417

If an average american from 1910 were suddenly transported to 1960, things would be unrecognizable -- there were so many truly groundbreaking changes. Home electric power, radio, television, refrigerators (and the supermarkets and foods they allowed), automobiles, antibiotics, etc. had all gone from being unknowns to being commonplace in the intervening period. (They may have existed in 1910, but they weren't developed to the point of commercialization.)

Correct. I've been pointing this out for years, and the responses have been pretty much what we've seen to this article:

1) Everything is "incremental" if you equivocate on the meaning of "incremental", somethings implying "builds on past inventions" and sometimes implying "only adds slightly to pre-existing capabilities"

2) Cell phones and the Internets!

Network technology has certainly been a socially important feature of the past 50 years, but my grandmother was born in 1886 and by the time she was 50 (1936) the following things that had been impossible when she was born were commonplace:

* heavier-than-air powered flight...
* ...for commercial travel
* ...and warfare

* moving pictures...
* ...with sound
* ...and in colour

* antibiotics

* electric appliances for the home
* radio communication
* mass produced automobiles for the common person

And so on.

In the first 50 years of my life the inventions that have changed the face of the world comparably are:

* Cell phones
* the Internet

Not small things, but there are only two of them. Three if you count "ubiquitous computing" as separate from the 'Net.

By a simple count alone the pace of major, socially-changing innovation is a factor of three lower than it was a hundred years ago.

Comment Re:bound state QED and QCD (Score 1) 171

This is my suspicion as well, specifically about the charge distribution. I think a 4% effect could easily be explained using a model with distributed charge.

It has been my experience that posts where the poster annouces their "suspicions" are almost alway gibberish, displaying a profound ignorance of the most basic elements of the subject they have suspicions about. It really is a useful litmus test, to the extent that I think /code should be modified to automatically down-mod any post that contains phrases like "I suspect that" and "my suspicion".

It's not that there's anything wrong with expressing doubts. It's that this specific way of putting it seems to be used almost exclusively by people who don't know the first thing about what they are talking about.

With regard to the question: the structure function of the proton, which describes its charge distribution, is precisely what these experiments are all about. The "radius" of the proton is in fact a parameter of the structure function, and the curious aspect of these results is that the discrepancy cannot be "easily" explained by naive adjustments to it.

It's worth noting, however, that the structure function has more-or-less exponential tails in most models, and the muon orbitals have much smaller characterisitc radii than the electron orbitals, so they are much more sensitive to the precise manner in which the structure function falls off with radius.

For comparison: consider low Earth orbit satellites. If the Earth's atmosphere falls off just a little bit more slowly than expected, it will affect the orbits of such satellites much more than ones even a few hundred kilometers higher up.

It is very likely that there is some extremely subtle effect that is being neglected or approximated inaccurately in our calculations of the structure function that is the root cause of the discrepancy seen here, but whatever it is, you can be sure that the explanation isn't "easy", regardless of what suspicions you may have.

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