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Comment Re:Absolutely Nothing (Score 1) 221

in order to establish relationships

This is what they have been interested in, the structure and financing of political groups (all of them not just the violent ones). Who talks to who, the chain of command, financial backers, internal factions, etc. Metadata maps an opponents organization and it's structural weaknesses in a way that simply reading emails cannot. Less powerful versions of these tools were very useful in the dismantling the IRA and have their roots in WW2 and people like Turing (who was himself brutally oppressed by modern standards).

Disclaimer: I fully realize they are tools of oppression but you can't just undiscovered logistics anymore than you can undiscover atomic theory.. The practical questions are: who is being oppressed, in what way are they being oppressed, and for what reason?

Comment Re:Actually Protest This Shit (Score 1) 181

If your mom or wife is killed in a terrorist attack, you'd be screaming about how the government isn't doing enough to protect its citizens.

IIRC, more than a few of the relatives of 9/11 victims formed a group call "Not in our name" to protest against the war. Having said that, I think it's amazing how quickly the US forgot about Nixon's plumbers, government snooping on its people has been going on non-stop since Roman times.

Comment Re:FUD (Score 1) 57

Richard Linzen's "Iris" hypothesis has be weighed by Science and found wanting. Nothing in Science prevents scientists from researching the Iris idea further but the vast majority won't because they have already debunked it to their own satisfaction and found something more interesting.

In less kind words Linzen's book is like the popular "Chariots of gods" from the 70's in that it attempts to baffle lay-people with speculative bullshit that just "sounds right".

Comment Re:another variable in climate modelling (Score 1) 57

the source of the clouds could be a natural reaction to the increased CO2

It could be but it isn't. Water vapour from the troposphere does not generally get into the stratosphere let alone the mesosphere unless put there by a tall volcanic plume or a machine. Once the water is up that high it doesn't fall back down easily, rather it is slowly broken down by radiation and the hydrogen tends to leak off into space.

Yet in years past they were predicting increases cloud cover at all altitudes

Umm, no the prediction was more water vapour and less cloud in the troposphere, there has been very little done in the way of research into clouds in the mesosphere so any prediction there was likely just speculation. The prediction for the change in tropospheric cloud cover was very uncertain, climate scientists will tell you that ALL clouds are poorly understood and of the various types ultra high level cloud is the most mysterious. The predicted increase in vapour itself was made with a very high level of confidence due to the well understood physics involved. Also note that CO2 has a cooling effect in the stratosphere and above, which was a prediction of models in the 80's and has since been observed via satellite. (google "stratospheric cooling")

Why "less cloud" I'm not sure but water vapour has increased by ~4% since 1980 and cloud cover has very slightly decreased since 2000 (although it's debatable that there has been any change at all). The odd thing about water vapour is that it is almost exclusively found in the troposphere and the troposphere is always very close to chemically saturated* with it, the only way to change it is by changing either the pressure or temperature of the troposphere.

chemically saturated* - google: "dew point" and realize the altitude at where it occurs is always below the troposphere/stratosphere boundary which makes for extremely dry upper layers of the atmosphere.

Comment Re:Past their time (Score 1) 467

Hollywood come to Oz and NZ to make movies because it's cheaper than California, one of the stated reasons is it's cheaper is because the employer doesn't have to buy the local (unionized) crew workers overpriced health insurance. In my 15yrs of blue collar experience unions were a godsend, in my 20+yrs as a white collar worker they have been irrelevant. People who haven't had that "working poor" experience simply don't comprehend why they would need a union, the biggest workplace safety risk they have ever faced is a nasty paper cut.

The difference in power between a white and blue collar is stark. The difference manifests itself straight away, for example the employer will pay several thousand dollars just to find a professional, where as he can get any number of low-skilled workers by placing a $50 classified.

In my experience the biggest difference is between white and blue is manners. The first thing that struck me in my first office job was that people said please and thank-you because you did some task that you are paid to do. That single stark difference nails the problem in a word - "respect". People in general and employers in particular have zero respect for low-skilled labour unless the job requires them to risk their lives on a daily basis.

This lack of respect is an unfortunate part of human nature, low-skilled labour is cheap and abundant but humans generally only respect that which is expensive and rare. The answer isn't to tilt at windmills and try and change human nature, the only practical answer is for low-skilled workers to unite and demand the respect they deserve for doing a job that you wouldn't do yourself unless you were really, really, desperate.

Now if there was only some way we could equate the words "unionist" and "communist" in the mind of the public then lots of low-skilled workers will vehemently argue against their own self interest and human nature dictates the rest of us will agree with them.

Comment Re:It is a MakerBot after all (Score 4, Insightful) 185

Comparing your professional abilities and patience to his amateur abilities and patience is unfair (to put it very kindly).

Professionals have resources, amateurs have time. The reason he has to wait 5hrs has nothing to do with his ability and everything to do with his resources. The reason he can't bear to wait 5hrs has everything to do with his personality and nothing to do with his status as an amateur.

Oblig anaology: The guy is like a gardener complaining he has to wait a year for fruit to appear on his tree and that when it does 1/3 of it will be inedible, while at the same time having that much fruit he is giving it away to friends and relatives..

Comment Re:It is a MakerBot after all (Score 3, Insightful) 185

What we're really seeing here is the impatience of the Now Generation. What? You have to wait -thirty minutes- for something to be produced?? OMG!

Yes 3D printing seems to present about the same level of difficulty to hobbyists as computers did in the 80's. Loading my Apple from an old audio tape recorder failed maybe 30-50% of the time. The trick to getting reliability closer to 4 out of 5 was to mark the position of the volume knob with a pen. Of course that could have been fixed with money. Money could also have removed the annoying "family wants to watch TV" interrupt from the monitor.

If 3D printing takes off anything like computing did in the 80's then it will be a gold mine in the 2020's and the hobbyists who managed to make it "just work" (for a reasonable price) will be billionaires. It won't replace mass production but it could seriously disrupt the spare parts industry.

Comment Re:The "good old days".. (Score 1) 314

Encyclopaedia Britannica, something that hardly anybody would be able to afford to own at home.

Not really, I grew up in the 60's, most middle class households with school aged kids had a set of encyclopedia, the expense would compare well with a good PC and internet connection. Second hand sets were dirt cheap but somewhat outdated.

Comment Re:Depends on the energy source duh! (Score 1) 775

Yep, most of what comes from a modern coal plant is steam and CO2, it's the CO2 that is currently a problem. Note also that scrubbers were installed after Regan introduced cap and trade for sulfur emissions a couple of decades ago (to avert problems with acid rain). Soot was more or less controlled by the various clean air acts in the 70's. Of course it is possible to scrub the CO2 but the current costs of doing so would make coal uncompetitive.

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