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Comment seems to be a common theme (Score 5, Insightful) 154

The weakest part of the whole fracking operation is really sloppy treatment of the wastewater. There have been large spills in some places, and the disposal is often questionable (as seen here). The fracking process itself gets the most scientific scrutiny, because it's what's technically new about fracking, but good ol' wastewater handling is a mess, just as it was in the mining days.

Comment Re:what about more trades like post HS schools? (Score 1) 66

Google, for good or ill, isn't interested in those at all (if they were, it'd be an interesting debate, though). Unlike tech startups, Google puts a quite high value on college degrees, and highly ranked ones at that. They hire a few people who don't have one, but by and large they hire out of top-50 CS departments.

Comment Re: Well, duh... (Score 1) 210

The EU's position is that digging up some information and pointing to it constitutes an action that comes with responsibility. If you dig up some old government records on people and report information that has some plausible public interest, that's legal. If you dig up some old government records about your obscure neighbor, and stick them online just to embarrass him, that's considered a violation of privacy (under EU law). The view of the court is that Google doing this algorithmically doesn't relieve them of responsibility: when they dig up old information and point to it, they need to make judgments on whether it's in the public interest to do so.

Comment I'm awaiting model "i" (Score 1) 247

I would be "inexpensive." I know we're a way from that at the moment. But while we note that progress is being made and at the same time, the slow (!) march in progress of more affordable, inexpensive, mass-produced solar and other at-hand, non-centralized power continues, I always feel we're on the cusp of a major paradigm shift. Still... we're beyond the year 2000, no flying cars and no serious advancement since the 80s really. I may be dead before real change is allowed to occur.

Comment Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 3, Informative) 247

That's certainly possible, yes. It's sometimes called a "series hybrid". While conventional "parallel" hybrids have both gas and electric engines connected to the drivetrain, in a series hybrid the drivetrain is 100% electric, but there's also a gas generator that feeds into the electric system when needed.

Whether you should call that en electric vehicle or not seems to depend on what proportion of the energy is expected to ultimately come from gas vs. wall charge. If most of the energy comes from gas, then it's just a different configuration of hybrid vehicle. Diesel trains work that way, for example (electric drivetrains powered by a diesel generator), and are not considered electric trains. On the other hand, if it runs mostly electric and there is a tank just used for occasional range-extension, those are being marketed as "extended-range electrical vehicles".

Comment Re:Safety margins (Score 1) 299

Oh, I'd be the last to defend the assumptions about 'acceptable' losses built into occupational exposure levels(or the massive regulatory capture that has prevented many standards from being updated, a surprising number of OSHA's are 1968 ACGIH "threshold limit values" for various chemicals that they've very rarely managed to update since, even when new toxicology is available. As for keeping pace with new compounds... hardly.)

My point was purely that surviving acute exposures hundreds or thousands of times the legal limit for occupational exposure isn't terribly exceptional. Not good practice; but very possible for the broad range of chemicals that are not at all good for humans; but which aren't swift poisons.

As for nuclear physicists, I suspect that they have better health plans than miners, and people prefer not to waste them (given that even a person of natural mathematical talent takes years to train into a replacement, and such people are not necessarily in ample supply); but occupational exposures do get them from time to time. Beryllium seems to crop up in a number of cases: it's a fantastic material, light, strong, a good beam window; but exposure to its dust can cause Berylliosis; and once that happens, we have only symptomatic treatments to make the progressive, irreversible, and eventually fatal, loss of lung capacity slightly less ghastly.

Comment Re:As a Quebecer... (Score 4, Informative) 247

Our billionaires mostly do things like wearing clown noses in space or union-busting convenience stores.

Oh, the U.S. has plenty of those too: 6 of the top 10 richest Americans have either the surname "Walton" or "Koch", and they do roughly the same kinds of things with their money that someone like Péladeau does. One of the remaining four has the surname "Ellison", and his visionary thoughts mostly involve yacht races.

Comment Re:Well, duh... (Score 3, Interesting) 210

Yeah, the big practical problem with this decision is that it requires case-by-case analysis, which is probably impractical at Google's scale. This particular case is really pretty clear-cut: it's the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, and it's a story about his CEOship. If Google did case-by-case analysis, it would be easy to reject this takedown request as easily within the scope of the "public role" exception. However they probably (for understandable reasons) don't want to do that kind of case-by-case decision making.

Comment Re:Well, duh... (Score 4, Informative) 210

The original case was a newspaper notice of a personal bankruptcy of a pretty obscure person, while this is a story about a very public CEO resignation. The decision is a bit of a mess, I agree, but this case pretty clearly falls outside its scope, which explicitly says that stories involving public roles are excluded (which resigning as CEO of Merill Lynch certainly counts as).

From the explanatory summary (pdf) that accompanied the decision, explaining when search-engine operators may turn down removal requests:

The request may for example be turned down where the search engine operator concludes that for particular reasons, such as for example the public role played by John Smith, the interest of the general public to have access to the information in question justifies showing the links in Google search results.

Comment Re:How? (Score 2, Insightful) 109

Worse than that. It's blind faith in circular belief in truth. You get just enough people saying it and it becomes "a number of people" and suddenly a critical mass of people are making or supporting the claim and it becomes "truth." This is a general understanding of how lies become truth all over. Such common lies are "god" and "global warming." Deny either of those (among others) and you will be attacked politically. Observe as I get modded down because I dared mention god or global warming as lies.

Comment not the norm in other non-athletic competitions (Score 5, Informative) 221

Poker tournaments aren't gender-segregated, for example, and they are probably one of the more successful non-athletic sports. The main chess competitions are also open to people of any gender.

There are sometimes gender-specific events, but they are promotional/recruiting things rather than the main event. For example there's a Women's World Chess Championship, but some of the best chess-playing women choose not to enter it, and enter the main (gender-integrated) tournaments instead.

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