Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:saved! (Score 1) 413

First off: read the whole page linked from the comment you're responding to. "proven reserves" are just the stuff we know is around and know how to get out. Until we start running low on the existing "proven reserves", there's very little incentive to go looking for more. Hence, "proven reserves" will always seem like it'll run out in a century or two at most. Which in no way implies we'll actually "run out of oil" then - it just means we'll just have to "prove" some more reserves between now and then. Which we will! Secondly, average world economic growth does not map directly into an equivalent amount of oil demand. A lot of economic growth comes from using resources more efficiently, not just using them faster or more intensively. But the main thing is that counting up the "proven reserves" is about as useless as counring the cans of beans on your supermarket shelf and predicting when they'll run out of beans, ignoring that this shelf gets regularly restocked from a warehouse somewhere else.

Comment Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (Score 1) 692

And yes, the post office IS faster than Fedex...the First Class Mail package will arrive 1 and maybe 2 days earlier

Ah, so when you say it's "faster" you're not talking about the fastest available option being faster. Not "faster at any price", just "faster, given the small amount I'm willing to spend". Got it.

When I use FedEx it's generally because I want something to arrive the next morning at, say, 10:30am. And they manage to do it. I had kind of been wondering how the post office managed to be faster that that while still obeying the laws of physics. :-)

Comment locate appropriately, or move (Score 1) 692

and what is the hurrcan plan?

Three options:

(1) locate in a part of the ocean that doesn't get hurricanes
(2) be somewhat mobile, and move/drift out of the area during hurricane season.
(3) Build sturdy enough to survive hurricanes.

I'm pretty sure (1) and (2) are the current plan. For instance, the latest venture involves being off the coast of northern California; that area doesn't get hurricanes.

Comment Re:Why not just move to Somalia? (Score 1) 692

If you really mean "Somalia", that has a bunch of traditional governments fighting over it already. And "warlords" supported by both sides, not to mention the US has one of our torture prisons there. Not a nice or a safe place; also not particularly anarchic.

If you mean "Somaliland", (the top part), that is much more promising. It has a clan-based legal system. Some libertarians *have* seriously considered establishing businesses there and/or moving there. Unfortunately, the main advocate for doing so passed away in 2002 and nobody else has since stepped forward with quite as much public enthusiasm. The War on Terror made things a little tricky. It does seem like a fascinating place, though. Some background here:

Comment Re:This cartoon anticipated your point (Score 1) 692

Wasn't one of the characters in Atlas working in a diner? ...wikipedia powers: activate!...yup. Philosopher Hugh Akston:

He now works as a cook in a roadside diner, and proves extremely skillful at that. When Dagny tracks him down, and before she discovers his true identity, he rejects her enthusiastic offer to manage the dining car services for Taggart Transcontinental.

So they do know someone who knows how to cook. And many others who know how to work hard - that was kind of a fetish with Rand, people using their muscles to build and dig and hammer and stuff. So on the evidence, the Angry Flower hasn't read the book. :-)

Comment Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (Score 1) 692

I use the Post Office quite often with my small business, and it actually works quite well. It's faster than Fedex, and much cheaper too for small (less than 2 pounds or so) packages. For $1.75, I can ship a 3-ounce package across the country to someone's home in 3 days, sometimes faster. Let's see Fedex do that.

FedEx can't do that because it is legally prohibited from charging less than the post office, and is prohibited from carrying non-urgent mail.

However, you should know that FedEx carries all the Post Office's urgent/priority mail. Which means by definition the post office is not faster than FedEx and (at least for urgent packages) the post office isn't cheaper than FedEx is capable of providing that service for.

Comment The Post Office subcontracts to FedEx (Score 1) 692

I use the Post Office quite often with my small business, and it actually works quite well. It's faster than Fedex, and much cheaper too for small

Um, you do realize that the Post Office subcontracts their Express Mail and Priority Mail business to FedEx? So pretty much by definition it can't be faster to send something from the post office than via FedEx.

(It might be cheaper if they're passing along some sort of volume discount and/or accepting a lower service priority level than the FedEx default. But faster seems unlikely.)

quote:"In 2001, FedEx Express signed a 7-year contract to transport Express Mail and Priority Mail for the United States Postal Service. This contract allowed FedEx to place drop boxes at every USPS post office. In 2007, the contract was extended until September 2013. USPS continues to be the largest customer of FedEx Express."

Comment Re:Translation: Rich Guy Buys PR (Score 1) 692

Also, unless he builds it in international waters too (using money he has yet to allocate), how is he going to manage to get it through territorial waters into international waters to begin with?

Build it in a shipyard and float it out to where you want it to be, same as you'd do for an oil platform or a flotel or a floating runway or any other large floating structure. If it needs to be flagged for the journey, fly a flag of convenience during the trip. Liberia or Panama would do fine for the construction and initial move.

Probably work fine afterwards too, for most purposes - it depends on what you want to do with the thing.

Comment Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (Score 1) 692

The overhead of paying taxes to the existing government is small change compared to the running costs of an off-shore sea platform.

A big cost of doing business on land is that you have to pay the Government Tax. A big cost of doing business on the ocean is that you have to pay the Sea Tax.

The Government Tax is political. It's roughly proportional to your income and the tax rate tends to increase over time. So as time goes on and your business grows, the Government Tax keeps getting more expensive in absolute terms.

The Sea Tax is technological. A large fraction of it is a one-time investment and there are huge economies of scale, meaning the more space you need at sea, the cheaper it gets per square foot to provide it. Technological advances keep reducing the cost of the Sea Tax - every year it's a bit less expensive than it was the previous year to provide an equivalent level of comfort and services at sea. The Sea Tax is very expensive but keeps getting cheaper in absolute terms.

Currently the Sea Tax is hefty, but over time as the Sea Tax declines and the Government Tax continues to maintain or increase, eventually it'll make economic sense to literally "offshore" some businesses. Even if it doesn't make sense just yet, it will.

Comment Re:"An office park offshore of San Francisco"? (Score 1) 692

You don't need sovereignty to accomplish the "office park" idea, all you need for that is a flag of convenience. Any flag of convenience. The exact same thing that lets cruise ships offer gambling when in international waters also lets a boat or platform be an offshore office park, given sufficient demand for that service. There's very little practical difference between a floating outpost "being its own nation" or just flying under the flag of some random nation that doesn't mind letting it do what it wants.

Comment Re: The Exon Valdez (Score 1) 343

The Valdez spill was right next to the shore, so the *concentration* of oil was extremely high. Even though there's more oil being spilled now, the fact that it's being spilled a hundred miles offshore means the oil has weeks to spread out and evaporate and degrade by natural processes before it hits any coastline. That is very different. The concentration of oil is lower (both in and on water) and the degree to which it comes to land somewhat "pre-digested" is higher, both of those are by orders of magnitude. In short, Valdez may not be the best comparison point.

Comment Re:Specifically... (Score 1) 1046

[Michael Mann's] original hockey stick graph [...] has been substantially borne out by any number subsequent studies using different data sets.

No it hasn't. At least, not if by "different data sets" you mean data sets that don't intersect with his. The long-term hockey-stickness of the result comes from just a few of the same cherry-picked proxy sets reused over and over again in slightly different combinations.

Suppose Mann does a study using ten data sources including one that goes back a long time and has a hockey-stick signal - say, the Graybill bristlecone series - and nine others that just contribute noise to the mix. If some other researcher does a study that *also* includes Graybill's strip-bark bristlecone pines (a type of data that the National Academy of Sciences said "should be avoided") but swaps out one or more of the nine "random noise" series, it'll probably still have a similar shape. That doesn't mean Mann's conclusion was correct. It might just show GIGO. The output is related to the input.

One problem here is that we don't have a lot of really long data sets. The few we do have have been snooped and massaged a hundred ways - researchers *already know* what shape they have in the inputs before they do the analysis. Reusing data sets invalidates a lot of the standard verification statistics.

Another problem is that the people doing these studies don't seem to be specifying clear and objective input criteria. The researchers just pick a bunch of series they happen to have convenient access to. So there's no way to exclude the possibility that unconscious biases encouraged selection of input sets that specifically got the results they wanted. The fact that by coincidence they keep reusing the *same* sets over and over even when others are available does tend to argue in that direction.

Another problem is that different people are using different definitions of "hockey stick" and what it means for one result to be "like" another. RealClimate likes emphasizing the "blade" part, so for them it seems like even borehole studies that only go back to 1600 are said to"confirm" a HS, even though all that shows is it's warmer now than it was in the Little Ice Age - which no skeptic ever doubted. For the skeptics the main issue is with the "shaft" part - how large was the variance over the last two thousand years? Long-term proxy studies that get their main shape from tree rings tend to be flat in the past because tree rings aren't good long-term temperature proxies, tend to have a sudden upswing in the modern era because some sort of "calibration" step or arbitrary ad-hoc selection data-snooped the choice of a particular set of trees that happen to have a recent growth pulse, and don't drop again at the end because the last bit of data ("regression towards the mean" in a set that suddenly jumped due to a random growth pulse) is arbitrarily discarded and replaced with the instrumental record ("Mann's trick" to "hide the decline"). Long-term (thousand-year or longer) proxy studies that don't get their primary shape from tree rings tend to show a larger variance in the past, a warmer MWP (roughly as warm in 1000-1100 as in recent decades), and a colder Little Ice Age than Mann found.

One example of a study that doesn't rely on tree rings for its fundamental shape is Moberg: Highly variable Northern Hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data Nature, Vol. 433, No. 7026, pp. 613 - 617, 10 February 2005. Quote: "According to our reconstruction, high temperatures - similar to those observed in the twentieth century before 1990- occurred around AD 1000 to 1100, and minimum temperatures that are about 0.7K below the average of 1961-90 occurred around AD 1600. This large natural variability in the past suggests an important role of natural multicentennial variability that is likely to continue. Here's the reconstructed shape found by Moberg (gif). This study was criticized by the RealClimate gang; Moberg's response to these criticisms is this followup study. Quote: "Hence, the M05 approach does not routinely inflate low-frequency variance."

Another example is the Loehle Study. RC also criticized that one and Loehle wrote a followup study which fixed all their concerns and had substantially similar findings, but the corrected version seems to be behind a paywall. eg, here. Here's the reconstructed shape found by Loehle (gif).

Comment What distinguishes this from, say, Solatube? (Score 4, Interesting) 182

When I had a house built back in 1998, "Solatube" lighting was one of the build options. From this pictures, this looks like the same thing with a slightly different input lens for a system like this:

I bought one to brighten a dark bathroom. It was nice. pretty much the same effect as a skylight, but it worked even where there was an attic in the way that would make a standard skylight unworkable.


Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"

Slashdot Top Deals

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen