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Comment Failure isn't failure... if you learn from it. (Score 5, Informative) 169

And that's different from NASA/Energia how?

Space ex has a failure rate 10 times worse. The FAA needs to step in and force them to take safety seriously.

Failing, as it turns out, is an effective way of trying new things and finding out what works. Painful, but very very effective.

The best thing about SpaceX is that they aren't afraid of failure.

The worst thing that could happen would be if the FAA steps in and no longer allows companies to fail. If you aren't allowed to fail, you're not allowed to innovate. The only way to take the chance of doing new things is by taking the risk of failure.

Or, to use a quote: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Comment Re:Wat (Score 2) 90

Look, we know Juno wasn't designed for this sort of mission and is not well equipped or positioned for it. But if researchers determine that its observations could help pinpoint more details of the plumes...

But they can't. Juno isn't a mission to look at Jupiter's moons, it's not in the right orbit to look at Jupiter's moons, it doesn't have instruments to look at Jupiter's moons. It's designed for looking at Jupiter and Jupiter's plasma and field environment.

There's already a mission planned to investigate Europa: Europa clipper.

Comment ice particles AND water vapour (Score 4, Informative) 90

Isn't vacuum always cold? I fail to see how it could have a temperature above 0K.

Vacuum in itself has no temperature at all. "No temperature" is not the same as 0 Kelvin.

The temperature of something IN a vacuum is determined by the sources heating it and the infrared radiation outward from it. Initially, water exposed to vacuum will start to boil; the boiling will reduce the temperature (losing the heat of vaporization), and the lower temperature will freeze the water. So, in fact, it will boil and freeze at the same time, resulting in ice particles AND an expanding cloud of water vapor.

I got cooled to absolute zero, but I'm 0K now.


Comment How to solve the problem (Score 2) 163

...then massive, costly, and punitive CO2 mitigation schemes become pointless and wasteful.

It is a political talking point that doing anything to address the production of CO2 will be "massive, costly, and punitive". Since the response of the fossil fuel industry has been "do everything possible to cast doubt on the fact that a problem even exists, and divert all attention away from realistic thinking about possible ways to address the problem", though, this has never been thought through.

The problem being that a non-existent 'climate crisis' allows governments, politicians, and their bureaucracies unprecedented powers and control that they will never willingly give up.

It is a right wing talking point that if climate change is real, then the only possible way to address it is to give "governments, politicians, and their bureaucracies unprecedented powers and control."

I find it amusing that the right wing's only approach to the problem is to say that if the problem is real we need to give governments more power. It's as if their political philosophies don't have any tools to solve problems other than "give the government more power."

Comment Million year time scale (Score 2) 163

I think you have that backwards. Snyder is saying that the historical record shows that the sensitivity of temperature to carbon dioxide is much HIGHER than the GISS estimates. Gavin Schmidt's comment is, basically, that her data shows correlation, not causation.

I took away from her study that, as far as she could extrapolate from the available data on climate/temperature cycles going back 2 million years, that we were pretty much smack at the point of the two curves one would expect during this point in time, so to speak, on both CO2 and temperature and from that lack of deviation from expected norms then suggesting that humans have had little if any significant effect on global temperature averages

In that case, you are misled by a misinterpretation of her results.

She looked at temperature and carbon dioxide with five thousand year averaging. Five thousand year averaging says absolutely nothing about the effects of industrialization-- we don't even show up in her data. With averaging on five-thousand year bins, you only see effects on time scales that are long compared to five thousand years.

, and that the warming that is occurring and will continue for a long time at pretty much the same average rate is pretty well inevitable given past history with or without human industrialization.

A more accurate statement of that : "The activities of humans over the last 100 years have not had an effect that is yet visible on a graph plotted over million-year time scales."

To which one could accurately add: "yet".

Seeing as how industrialization in it's entirety has failed to have been shown to appreciably affect global temperature changes

..enough to be evident over million-year time scales.

Comment "an unmanned exploration mission by 2018" (Score 3, Insightful) 134

"an unmanned exploration mission by 2018"

It's too bad no one thought of that 40 years ago. We could have had an unmanned exploration mission on Mars back in 1976 or so.

Oh. Wait. Viking landed on Mars in 1976, didn't it.

40 F'ing years ago. Are we maybe kind of done with the exploratory crap, and ready to send people yet?

Let's see... we went from the first autogyro to landing on the moon in 40 years. Now it looks like we've moved from an unmanned landing on Mars ... to Yet Another Unmanned Landing On Mars(tm) over the last 40 years.

Good job, dudes.

Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 4, Informative) 176

When a cell divides, the methyl groups are only on the original strand; the new complimentary strand doesn't have any. The methylation signal has to be actively transcribed from one strand to another; an enzyme runs up the DNA feeling for methylated cytosine residues. When it finds some, it starts methylating any cytosine residues that might be nearby on the opposite strand, to make sure the troublesome regions all stay commented out. That's why it's heritable.

The methylation inactivation is heritable. The issue, in this case, was erroneous activation or switching of cells to modify protein production.

I suspect that the mechanism involved (they don't say) in the repair of the genes which end up going back to normal is related to the production of O6-methyl-transferase via the MGMT complex sites on the long arm of c21 -- the same thing that results in chemo-resistance to cancers, such as pancreatic cancer or glioblastoma, when combined with the appropriate mutation of the p53 gene on c17.

I think as long as it doesn't involve a long term mutation of a cancer related gene, such that it effect the germ cells, it's not a problem. Since you tend to come pre-packed with all the germ cells you are ever going to have in your lifetime, then the issue will be smoking by pregnant women, and all other damage that results in disease will only be self-inflicted diseases, rather than heritable.

Which still means they've failed to answer the question of whether or not it's heritable, because they've failed to discuss whether or not it impacts germ cells (arguably unlikely, but it'd be nice to have an answer, particularly when making decisions on how and when to regulate smoking, or minimally, smoking in public).

Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 2) 176

"pollute the human genome" Nice one, Hitler!

We already prohibit general use of a number of medical interventions based on transplanting porcine cells into humans.

For example, it's possible to exploit the immune privilege of the brain in order to transplant fetal pig brain cells into humans to treat conditions such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and islet cells into the pancreas of people with Type I diabetes.

The big risk is Porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV -- yes, it's actually called that), being transmitted, and becoming part of the human genome. Thus, people who have received these xenografts are prohibited from sexual reproduction post-graft (although it's possible to save germ cells prior, to permit in vitro fertilization techniques).

See also:

Porcine xenografts in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease patients: preliminary results.

So yes, numb-nuts: "pollute the human genome".

It's not Hitlerian, or in any way related to eugenics to prevent introduction of DNA errors or endogenous viruses into the general genome in a heritable way.

Comment They don't answer the only question we care about. (Score 4, Insightful) 176

They don't answer the only question we care about.


If it doesn't damage your kids genes ...and by extension, pollute the human genome ...then I don't care if you are dumb enough to damage your own health.

Unless you are a close relative, or smoke around me, it's no skin off my nose, if you want to commit suicide by cigarette or a Kevorkian death machine.

Comment Re:What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 2) 86

It's not that they suck at their jobs. Due to "fairness, transparency and accountability" requirements any testing methodology they come up with has to be fully documented and given to the manufacturers ahead of time. Manufacturers being the scum-sucking bastards that they are will, of course, run all these tests in their own labs ahead of time and tweak the crap out of things so they come out on top.

Sorry, but the tests are supposed to be "representative of normal usage".

Even if they document the tests, if they can be gamed in a test representative of "normal usage", then the same gaming will kick in on actual "normal usage", and so the test will not have been gamed.

You can have them be shitty at designing tests, or you can have them being shitty at determining what constitutes "normal usage", but it's not possible to game something that doesn't have a variance between expected use and actual use.

The manufacturers are exploiting a variance that should not be there in a correctly designed testing scenario, because the variance would not be there in actual usage.

Comment What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 3, Informative) 86

What's our take away on this supposed to be?

(A) These evil scoundrels are cheating on the government tests

(B) The people who are designing the government tests epically suck at their jobs, should be fired, and have competent people hired in their places

I'm going to have to vote "B" here, folks.

Comment Re:Perhaps they could consider them for humans nex (Score 1) 68


My argument boils down to "legislating morality (rather than ethics) is about as useful as trying to legislate Pi to be 3 to make the math easier".

If you could make a law against murder that actually *precluded* murder, you might have something. The best you can do otherwise is make it so that people fear the punishment for violating the law (as opposed to fearing the actual law -- which they don't).

You are merely disincentivizing the behaviour, not eliminating it. The point being is that it'a impossible to effectively hold someone else to your own moral standards.

You're free to call this either "moral relativism" or you could be more honest, and admit that you can't control someone else's thoughts.

Comment Re:Perhaps they could consider them for humans nex (Score 1) 68

Uhm.. Law is a codification of common morals. Why do you think murder is illegal but self defense an exception?
Legislation of morality have worked extremely well. It's the laws that doesn't have to do with morality that doesn't work.

I hadn't realized the teen pregnancy problem had been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Thank you for enlightening me on the effectiveness of those laws; I was under the mistaken impression that underage sex acts still occurred!

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