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Comment Re:malware (Score 1) 205

I just discovered that my uncle's computer is affected by this. He turned on FileVault in 10.6 because it looked cool, then upgraded to 10.7. Lion only tells you that you have a legacy version if you open the Security/Filevault preference pane, which he never did since using 10.7. When we opened it today, it gave us the options of keep using the legacy version or turning it off - I think "keep using legacy version" was the default option (could be wrong). In order to upgrade we had to visit a separate tab, unlock it, hit upgrade and go past a number of scary-looking warnings. So nerds who like to explore probably would not be affected by this, but others certainly are.

Comment Re:Model fits the data [Re:Vindication] (Score 1) 744

Firstly, I'm not going to do more than my fair share. Hence my interest in making others do theirs, or at least pay others to do their share for them. Secondly, my personal energy consumption is already quite low. I'm a student, so I can't afford a car. I live in a pretty temperate climate so I rarely need heating or aircon. I don't fly often. And I turn things off when I'm not using them (if they use more than 10W). I live where parking is bad and public transport is OK, so none of these hurt much.

Comment Re:Model fits the data [Re:Vindication] (Score 1) 744

1) How accurate can we judge the entire planet's average temperature in the year 1800? The graph shows swings from year to year in the 0.2 C range. Can we really judge the average surface temperature of the planet with 0.2 degrees Celsius?

Take a look at the grey band - it's more obvious in the second graph, the 10 year moving average. The grey band is the 95% uncertainty interval for Berkeley's calculation of the average temperature - statistically on each data point there is a 5% chance that the real average temperature lies outside the grey band. You will see that in the year 1800, the grey band is massive: +/- 0.5 degrees. But over time, as there are more measurements around the world, and those measurements have less randomness in them (i.e. get more accurate), the uncertainty shrinks pretty slowly.

2) Also, the chart shows 200 years. This is a blip on the scale of climate science. If you look at the climate history on a much, much larger scale, you'll find that 200 years means nothing. For example, the chart on this page shows that we are much cooler than the average. An sharp increase in average temps would help put us "right".

This is true - no matter how much we heat up the earth, life will survive. But if the climate changes too much from our current conditions, then there will be massive changes. Lots of creatures will become extinct (eventually new ones will evolve, taking advantage of the abundance of food/lack of predators but that happens very slowly) and we will probably have to totally rethink our farming practices. We should move our cities too given that many would no longer be well-situated, but what would probably happen is that we turn up our air-conditioners and burn even more coal. I concede that the effects of climate change are less well understood (at least by me!) than that it is happening.

Or this chart which goes back 4500 years, shows that we just came out of an ice age, so a temperature increase would be expected, and also negates your Berkely graph.

Seriously? I give you the Berkeley graphs, which appear to have used a pretty rigourous method, where you can download their temperature data and source code, and is being peer-reviewed, and you rebut this with a graph that does not have a labelled y-axis and appears to have been drawn with a bezier tool? If you want to convince me that there is no scientific consensus, i.e. that researchers who know what they're doing and are doing it properly, disagree that global warming is happening/is a problem, then please stop using graphs like that. Especially when they disagree with the graph I provided, which gives its sources (IIRC, every temperature measurement they could get their hands on), and includes three other groups' sets of numbers on the same axes - none of which agree with the graph you provided.

Or, finally, this page which shows a whole slew of charts, most of which show that we are in a cold period of climate history, and an increase in average temperature would get the earth back to the "normal" range.

Again, the really-long-range graphs don't have much to do with the current debate, because I'd like life to survive in its current form as much as possible. When large-scale, seemingly-irreversible (on the scale of centuries) changes are made to the only planet we live on, I get nervous about the potential for things to go wrong.

There are too many graphs on that page to go through them individually, but it doesn't give that site any credibility to include graphs like this one, which show very suspicious behaviour - local temperature swings around wildly and then the music stops, when we would expect local temperature always to fluctuate on a year-to-year scale.

Thank you for replying with a little detail. It is good to be able to assess the evidence that others believe to support their beliefs.

Comment Re:Model fits the data [Re:Vindication] (Score 1) 744

Looking at the 10-year moving average (which is almost long enough to smooth out sun cycles, el nino cycles etc) - because the graph shoots up so fast, so far and so dramatically between 1970 and 2005, I would do a happy dance then go skiing if it started dropping as dramatically over a 10-15 year period, but a 15-20 year plateau would make me seriously question what was happening. Anything shorter than that could easily just be another bump on the moving average that is mostly skyrocketing.

Comment Re:Model fits the data [Re:Vindication] (Score 4, Informative) 744

The mainstream climate scientists are not and have not been mispredicting the rate of climate change. If you look at the data from models from 1979 (the National Academy of Science study), or even the models from 1967 (the Manabe greenhouse-effect calculation)-- the actual data fits the model very nearly exactly.

Here's a checkup on a Hansen prediction from 1981. I wouldn't call it near-exact, but still pretty good for a 30-year-old model of a very complicated set of things.

Speaking of graphs, I find this one really scary, and would want to see it flatten out or drop for a good few years before I stop caring about my energy usage.

Comment Re:Meh, Software Center (Score 5, Informative) 285

The software centre took forever to load in 11.10, but is waaaaay faster in 12.04. It's actually usable now and I prefer it to Synaptic for my simple needs because the installations are handled by a daemon: you can start something installing, queue up a bunch more installations, close the GUI, and it will keep downloading/installing everything in the background.

Comment Re:Where does all the money go? (Score 1) 178

There's one more step between 4 and 5: Usually the journal will typeset your article, hopefully proofreading it and fixing the engrish. Depending on how well the journal is set up, this may involve retyping your beautifully formatted LaTeX submission from scratch *facepalm*. The typesetter/proofreader is paid to do this.

Also, in my experience compulsory page charges for the author are much more common in open-access journals than reader-pays journals - which is another reason that all authors haven't switched to open-access journals.

Apart from the typesetters, the publisher, sales, and marketing people get paid. If the journal goes open access, then presumably the sales people could all be laid off though...

Comment Re:So (Score 5, Informative) 1105

The details of the plan are that it's an emissions trading scheme, initially with a fixed price per tonne of CO2 emitted. Only heavy-emitting companies have to pay it - I can't remember what the threshold is, but it affects roughly 500 companies. Of course those companies will pass much of the costs onto consumers, however they will also put effort into reducing their carbon emissions to gain financial advantage. Petrol/gas is specifically exempt from the trading scheme for individuals.

The modelling of increased cost of living, which takes into account increased grocery prices, electricity prices, etc, comes out at $10 per week for the average household. The government is spending part of the money raised in the form of tax cuts and pension increases, compensating low income earners a bit more than $10 per week. If those low income earners then reduce their carbon footprints (get rid of the second fridge, buy the now-cheaper goods with a lower carbon footprint), then they come out ahead. Those earning over $80K can afford the $10 per week.

Comment Re:So (Score 5, Insightful) 1105

Without a carbon tax, industry has no incentive to reduce their emissions. With a carbon tax, they have a small financial incentive to do so. Therefore they will pick the lowest hanging fruit to save some money, in the process lowering their emissions. While there is still low-hanging fruit (e.g. now, coming from where there's no incentive not to emit CO2), a carbon tax can reduce a nation's emissions without forcing large changes in how things are done.

I vaguely remember that a month or two ago, a mine in Queensland (possibly the one owned by the Indian who threatened to pull out of Australia if the carbon tax went through) worked out how to reduce their emissions by 30%.

The other effect is that the added cost of coal power due to the carbon tax/trading scheme makes gas somewhat more financially viable and renewables significantly more financially viable.

It's a very neat theory, and it's easy to see how it will affect businesses either gently (with a low price on carbon) or eventually reshape industries (with a high price).

Comment Re:GNOME Survey (Score 1) 315

Whenever people complain about how crappy the Unity/Gnome 3 graphical interface is, the fanboy answer is 'yes, but you can just type the name of the application to run it', without even realising how retarded that sounds.

Yeah, or you can type what the application does, e.g. searching for "Movie" or "Video" you get Totem and Pitivi, searching for "Command" or "Command line" you get a variety of terminals. I think it searches not just the program names but the descriptions. This behaviour has worked well for me.

I think Unity's dash as an integrated Gnome Do. As I used Gnome Do as a launcher before Unity, I've been very happy with Unity's dash.

Comment Re:Might add a warning... (Score 3, Insightful) 404

Here in Australia, laser pointers above 1mW are considered prohibited weapons - in the same category as crossbows and knuckledusters. You need to get a prohibited weapons permit to own one (and keep it in a safe), and you need to get two more permits to buy one from overseas. I had to go through all this paperwork and police checks - and I was a scientist getting them delivered to my university office! Let's not tell the politicians about the CO2 lasers sitting in the labs downstairs eh.

Comment Re:As always (Score 2) 209

Sure, but lack of correlation, or indeed anticorrelation as is the case here, refutes causation. If a implies (causes) b, and b is true, then that says nothing about whether a is true. However, if a implies b, and b is false, then a must be false.

Of course there are many other factors at play in these crime rates - and I wouldn't 'credit' violent games with reducing crime levels, but this does provide a useful argument against the idea that violent video games cause violent behaviour.

Iphone

Submission + - Apple Updating iOS to Address Privacy Concerns (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Apple today responded to several of the common questions it has recently received about the gathering and use of location information by its devices.

The company also said that over the next few weeks it would release a software update for iOS that would reduce the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, cease backing up the cache, and delete the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off. Additionally, Apple said that in the next major iOS software release the cache would be encrypted on the iPhone, though a timeline for that was not provided.

Apple

Submission + - Apple's XCode IDE Is No Longer Free (apple.com) 1

GlobalEcho writes: Apple has historically made its development tools available free to anyone willing to register on their website and wait for a 1GB download. Starting with XCode 4, the software will cost $4.99 for anyone not already a paid member of their Registered Developer program ($99/year). The new version will now come as an App Store download.

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