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Comment Re:Yeah... (Score 1) 732

I think it's more like 'cars will drive themselves before people accept bullshit like that'.

They want the car to make the decisions on how to drive, I'm fine with that, as long as it's smart enough to do it safely. Which basically means smart enough to drive better than me. But if the car's driving, I'm going to sit in it humming along after several pints at a pub after work.

Comment Re:Also (Score 1) 530

I get amused when people do this. Your "we/I" thing. I say something you don't like, so you extrapolate my views on the situation. You assume that I don't believe that humans are causing climate change. You'll notice I said nothing on the issue. I do that on purpose. My views as to the veracity of the science really aren't relevant. I am talking about the situation of what is being claimed and what to do about it.

However you take this somewhat religious point of view in that I argued something you didn't like, so I'm a heretic, an unbelieve, clearly I reject everything, I'm anti-science! You are assuming facts not in evidence.

I'm just pointing out one (of a number) of issues with getting widespread action on the issue: If we are past a tipping point, where reductions in emissions will not do much (and there are models that show this), then the solutions that are based around that are not useful.

Comment Re:Also (Score 1) 530

I have a pretty good understanding of economics and one of the things I quite well understand is that setting up a system where rich countries give more money to poor countries, which would be the big effect of cap and trade, isn't going to help reduce emissions. If anything, it'll raise them since the poor countries will be able to develop their industry and then start using more fossil fuels themselves. You would likely find that many who thought the agreement was good when they were getting money would decide to withdraw later when it suited them.

If cleaner energy is the desired result and economics are the method you wish to use, then subsidies for R&D are the way to go. Taxes on coal to support nuclear, taxes on fossil fuels to support biofuels, that kind of thing. You pour money in to developing better biofuel technology or the like, and money in to getting the process up to the point where it is cheap, that will do something. Just shuffling money around country to country will accomplish nothing.

In terms of climate models ok, if you don't like that assertion then which models do you like, and why are those ones correct? What you have to realize is that there are a lot of climate models out there and their predictions are not consistent. They do not agree on how much warming, how fast, and what effect changes will have. So, if there's a correct one, then let's hear it, and evidence as to why that one is correct. If not, well that was relating back to my original point.

You seem to think that this is an argument claiming against climate change. It's not, I try to not interject my personal opinion at all in to these things. Rather this is talking about one of the problems relating taking any wide scale action. The actions that largely seem to be proposed will not do much to actually deal with the issue and, if we are indeed past a tipping point, be worse than useless (since they'd take up resources that should be spent in other ways).

I think a big problem is that people confuse and oversimplify the climate change argument. They think "There is a consensus, the science is settled, thus there is only one course of action we can take!" Nope, rather you can break it down in to four rough levels:

1) The fact of global warming, that the average surface temperature is rising outside of known cycles. This is an observation, a measurement. While it is a complex one, it is not really arguable unless you can find a flaw in the measurements or calculations.

2) The theory of global warming, in particular that the prime or exclusive cause of the warming is an increase in atmospheric CO2 (which is quite easy to measure) cause by human emissions. It provides an explanation for the causality of the observations we've made. As with all theories, you can debate this if you can find evidence that it is incomplete, or contradictory evidence or the like. Also that is a fairly general overview, there are researchers working on much more specific, predictive, versions that would explain more precisely the change in temperature with a given change in atmospheric CO2.

3) The assertion or judgement that this is a net bad thing for humanity. This is based on other theories and models as to what will happen if the temperature increase continues. You can then evaluate those and decide if it is a good or bad thing overall (everything has costs and benefits). For that matter two people could agree on the outcome, but disagree on the judgement of if it is good.

4) The politics or policy of what to do about it. This is the kind of thing there can be a lot of disagreement on, even if you agree on all other points. There's no "right" here. It is all about what seems to be the most beneficial to spend resources on.

The problem is that people seem to do sufficient reading to be convinced that #1 is true, or that #1 and #2 are true, and then decide that means you have to go all the way to the end, and that whatever their given source advocates for #4 is the One True Way(tm) and you are anti-science if you don't buy in.

That isn't how it works.

Comment The issue there again (Score 1) 530

Is that it is just one of shuffling around who produces what. Now this may well work, if all we need to do is maintain our level of emissions or decrease them. However if we are past a tipping point, where nothing short of a massive reduction (and perhaps not even that) in emissions will stop the warming then it does no good.

What I was talking about with proposals and so on was things outside of "emit less CO2" or "here are way to try and emit less CO2". The reason is this is assuming that we are indeed past a tipping point, as some climate researchers claim. In that case, the issue of emissions is not one to concentrate on, but rather on how to either prevent the change via other means, prepare ourselves to deal with the change, or some of both.

Comment Well of course! (Score 1) 462

We should all be happy to go back to the pre-industrial ages. Sure it means the vast majority of humans will have to die off, and the ones that live will have much shorter, harder, lives but hey, it would be good for the planet (depending on how you define good)! As such all of us should be happy, no honoured to do that. Excepting for professors, of course. They advance knowledge so they clearly need to be allowed to keep all of their modern conveniences. But the rest of us, back to the dark ages!

That is what always amuses me about the "industrial society is bad!" types is I've never seen any of them practice what they preach. None of them go and live in the wilderness, off the land, eschewing all modern technology except for the rare times they come to give a talk on it. Heck none of them even go back to Amish/Mennonite levels of technology. They live modern lives, enjoying all the conveniences, and then say others shouldn't.

How about, try it first, then see if maybe there's a reason we like all this new stuff?

Comment That's a pretty big decrease though. (Score 1) 530

That means we'd be down to around 45% of current levels by 2050. That's a big reduction. Now probably doable and worth trying, but you'd want to be fairly certain that it would, indeed, fix the problem if you are going to make the tradeoffs necessary to do so. You wouldn't want to spend a bunch on a big change to make all this happen only to find out no, sorry, but that isn't in fact going to help.

Comment Also (Score 4, Insightful) 530

There's the issue of what to do. At the moment, there seems to be a lot of division and non-answers on that. If climate models are correct, a leveling off or small reduction in emissions won't do anything to help. Even massive cuts might not do the trick. Ok well going back to the pre-industrial era isn't an option, though some green groups do like the idea. That would entail a massive loss of life and loss of quality of life. So no go there.

Likewise carbon credits, carbon exchanges, that kind of shit won't do anything. Playing money games and shuffling things around on spreadsheets does not enact any kind of real change. While economic incentives can help move things in certain directions, this won't really do that much and mostly will serve to enrich those that play the exchanges (see Wall Street).

Ok so, we'll need something else. Some geoengineering to change what is happening, or we'll need to do R&D on solutions not to change what is happening, but to survive and adapt to the changes that are going to happen. So what are those then? What are the proposals, what do they cost, what are the risks, the benefits, etc, etc? Also where are the green groups pushing for them, advocating for it?

Right now, it seems to be not just that there are people who do not believe that climate change is real, or is a problem (or a big enough problem to warrant large scale action), but there seems to be little in the way of solutions from those that do believe. "Just cut emissions," does not seem to be a solution that will be useful. "Cap and trade," seems to just maintain the status quo, while funneling money around to poorer countries. None of the popular solution with the climate change advocates seem to be one that would actually deal with the issue.

Is it such a surprise then that politicians don't seem to want to act on it?

I mean suppose I tell you that you have a real problem with your house, it is slowly deteriorating towards a collapse. I am able to prove this to your satisfaction, and I am able to show you that the reason is related to water use. Any time you run water though your pipes, it moves things further along. Also, as best as I can tell, even if you stopped running water entirely, you are already past the point where you can save it, it WILL collapse, all you can do is slow it.

However as solutions, I propose you just try and use less water. Maybe crap in a bucket and dump it outside instead of using your toilet. I also propose you "cap and trade" your usage, you don't actually have to decrease the amount you use, but you just pay your neighbours when you use over a certain amount. None of my solutions involve fixing the problem, or rebuilding, or reinforcing, just trying to prolong things and/or shuffling funds around.

Are you going to do what I suggest? Or are you going to ignore me?

That's one of the real problems I see is that the solutions climate change advocates seem to put forward aren't useful solutions by their own models. If we are already past a tipping point where even drastic emissions cuts won't help, well then we need to stop worrying about emissions and start worrying about either how to geoengineer a change, or how to simply deal with the changes that are coming.

Comment FWIW... (Score 1) 355

Some writers use de facto to mean that something isn't officially recognized. Assuming this meaning, Christian Smith's comment makes more sense: MS's monopoly is not (just) de facto, it is (also) de jure.


Comment Ideas aren't really the big thing (Score 5, Insightful) 140

As Todd Howard pointed out during a keynote "Your ideas are not as important as your execution." The games that are loved and that endure are not the ones that had some amazing idea that nobody could have every thought of before. Heck, they often draw heavily on literature, film, myth, and popular culture. Rather they are the ones that execute their vision well, that are fun to play, that are a good ride.

I can't think of a single game that I've seen succeed just because the idea was so good and so unique. Always, always, always, it was accompanied with good execution. In fact many of my all time favourites are not particularly original ideas.

Good example? Civ 4. One of the all time greats in my opinion. I still play it from time to time. However an amazing original idea it is not. As the number implies, it is the 4th game in the series, they've done the same thing 3 times before. Also it wasn't an original concept to begin with, Civilization was a board game before it was a computer game. That aside, the idea of "a game where you conquer the world" is not that original of an idea.

The reason it is a great game (and its successor not quite as good in my opinion) is the execution. It is well put together, fun to play, well tested, well balanced, has good visuals and music, it is stable, and so on and so forth.

If you think the only thing that will make your game succeed is that its amazing idea be protected until it is released, well then it will fail. Good games are ones that would be good, even if someone had done something like them before, and does something like them after. They stand on their own.

Comment Tax exempt isn't magic (Score 4, Insightful) 208

You don't get awarded tax exempt status and then are allowed to do as you please. If that were the case, every company ever would start out as a charity, get tax exempt status, and then change over.

So you have to file and show that your activities still warrant tax exempt status, that you aren't violating the rules for it. For example suppose you run a non-profit and you get a massive donation, some billionaire leaves you a billion dollars. You decide cool, you'll pay all of it to yourself as salary for that year. I mean the entity is still "non-profit" right? Your salary is a cost, so no profit was made!

Ummm... no. You'd get in all kinds of trouble for that. Doesn't matter what kind of games you tried to play. Hence, you have to file taxes to show that your operations are indeed non-profit, that the money you receive goes to pay for the operation of your organization, not to enrich yourself.

If you want an organization to enrich yourself, that's fine, but that is called a business, and you have to pay taxes on that.

Comment Oh come off it (Score 3, Insightful) 208

It is not hard to remember, in particular because with an organization of any reasonable size you'd want to hire an accountant to do your taxes. If you are a non-profit, you'd hire an accountant who knows how to deal with that.

Any business taxes, profit or non-profit, are a bit complex and this isn't unique to the US. So you hire an accountant. Just part of doing business. My parents used to run a small business in Canada, about 5 employees including themselves. They hired an accountant to do their taxes. It wasn't that expensive and the accountant made sure everything was in order and the Canadian government was happy.

Well same shit here. should have paid someone (or some firm) a couple of grand a year to do their tax accounting.

Comment There's a lot of that (Score 1) 240

You find that many places post these amazing Speedtest scores. There was some ISP in Riga (Latvia) that was showing extremely high results... However when you do some more extensive testing it doesn't seem to bear out. So why is that? Well because they run their own Speedtest server and operate their stuff like a big WAN.

It is not so hard to provide a big link internal to your network. It is a lot harder (meaning more expensive) to provide enough backhaul to make it fast to the majority of the world.

I mean I can truthfully say I have a gig here at work. I can do a Speedtest to show it... to the Speedtest server in our datacenter down the hall. Off campus I still see good connection speeds, but nowhere near a gig, as we have only about a gig of bandwidth for the whole campus.

Most US ISPs don't offer big links to customer houses, but they do tend to keep oversubscription manageable so you usually get around your rated bandwidth. What you find is that places that offer off the charts Internet speeds for cheap prices are doing WAN like setups and there isn't the backhaul to support it.

Comment Because US love and US hate (Score 3, Insightful) 240

There are more than a few people out there who seem to think that there are two positions one can be in: #1 and utter crap, at least when it comes to the US. So if the US isn't #1 in something, then it is utter crap, a third world shithole, a loser, etc.

In come cases it is the overly zealous "We're #1" America lovers who really do think the US is the best EVAR at everything. They just can't handle second best at anything, ever.

In more cases it is people who like to hate on the US, for whatever various reasons, and thus see it as a way to say "See! Look at how bad the US is! It isn't the best! It sucks!"

It is very silly, but you see it on Slashdot plenty given that the site has a large number of users with poor world awareness and a dislike for the US (most of them being US citizens).

The same shit went on when there was a story about China having the #1 super computer on the Top 500 list, for the moment. Somehow the fact that the US has the the #2, 3, 5, 6, and 8 (half the top 10, in other words) didn't seem to matter. The US wasn't #1, so clearly they fail.

Comment Also this is NOT related to credit score (Score 1) 362

At least not as people normally think of it. When you talk about "credit score" what 99.9% of people mean is your FICO score. This is not getting factored in for FICO. Rather this is for people who don't have a normal credit history. If you have a standard credit history with the credit bureaus, a FICO score will be calculated on that and that's the thing lenders will look at. Nobody gives a shit about your Facebook friends if you have a history of paying debts on time.

This is for people who, for whatever reason, don't have a credit score. This is an alternate way to try and evaluate their risk potential. How good an idea is it? I dunno, guess we'll have to see. However this is not something that is just getting added to your credit score, sensationalist headlines to the contrary.

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