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Comment Re:Is this the same "One Decade" we were promised. (Score 1) 226

Who cares about a single year ...

The people who argued that there was a global warming "hiatus" after 1998, evidently. That is assuming they aren't liars.

the climate models overestimated warming by nearly 2x for the average for the last two decades and 4x for the last 15 years

Which models are you speaking of? NASA's global instrumental record data is actually quite close to the IPCC 1990 FAR model runs that correspond to the actual greenhouse emissions. You have to allow for for La Niña (2000, 2001, 2008, 2010-2012) and El Niño (1997-1998, 2014-2016), of course which deviate below and above the model predictions.

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 1) 226

I'm sure if climate scientists were in charge of things they would "put up". But they're not; politicians are, and politicians naturally worry more about being b lamed for action more than being blamed for inacdtion. They'd rather be forced to spend a trillion dollars than choose to spend a hundred billion.

But even if you are willing to take the hit as a politician, you can't do it alone. You need to bring other politicians around, and the public around as well. If you can't take effective steps right away, you take what you can. This gets people working on CO2 reduction technologies and businesses, and builds a constituency for more steps. It's like stopping a cattle stampede. You can't make the entire herd stop and change direction at once, you get the lead cows heading in a slightly different direction.

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 3, Informative) 226

Of course, the problem with focusing exclusively on the costs of trying to stop or (more realistically) slow climate change implicitly assumes that inaction won't cost us anything. In fact we're looking at costs either way. We're in a minimax kind of situation: how do we minimize the maximum costs?

There's also another wrinkle to this, which is that costs (and indeed profits -- every misfortune profits someone) aren't distributed evenly. The key determinant of how much you have to pay for or profit from climate change is how mobile your capital is. If you're a Bengladeshi subsistence farmer you're going to take +2C right on the chin. If you're a Wall Street bank you take your investments out of farms which are going to lose productivity in the next ten years or so shift to underwriting the opening of new farms in newly favorable places. In other words you make money going and coming. Likewise if you own multiple homes your risk from local changes is spread out. If the lion's share of your nest egg is in a house that is in the new 20 year floodplain or in the range of a newly endemic zoonosis, you're screwed.

So even if you can't avoid +2C without climate engineering (which might not be such a bad thing), getting there in ten years instead of twenty or thirty makes a huge difference. And beyond 2C, there are other benchmarks beyond that we don't want to hit in a hurry.

This is not a black-and-white situation: that we had our chance to do something and now there is nothing we can do. We had our chance to avoid this situation and now we're talking about how much time we'll have to adapt.

Comment Re:Is this the same "One Decade" we were promised. (Score 1, Interesting) 226

The "hiatus" in global warming was produced by choosing 1998 as the baseline year. Why was 1998 a good year to use as a baseline? Because it was, by far, the hottest year on record when it happened, shattering the previous record (1997) by 0.13C.

Now this is a news for nerds site, so I don't have to explain why cherrypicking an outlier as your baseline is dishonest. People who swallowed that are either dishonest or mathematical ignoramuses.

I will go out on a limb right now and say that since El Niño has passed an next year will be less warm, sometime around 2020 we'll be hearing "No significant warming since 2016."

Comment Re: Oh noes!!!!11111 (Score 1) 431

Well, you could argue that the reason you have to push women to enter coding as a career is that they're also being pushed to aim high on the career ladder.

That was the thing that made me laugh at the whole Barbie "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" fracas. Oh, it was sexist alright -- against men. Here's how I construe that story: Barbie is an entrepreneur who obtains free commodity coding and sysadmin labor from her male pals and yet retains total ownership of the resulting intellectual property. It's a cynical way of doing business, but that girl is going places.

Here is where they'll be in ten years:

Stephen -- works as a network admin where the pay is lousy and everyone treats him like shit. Despite the fact he hates his job, he's terrified that it will be outsourced.

Brian -- works as a coder. His pay looks pretty good, until you factor in the hours he puts in to meet deadlines management pulls out of its ass, the cost of his Bay Area apartment, and the time he spends commuting on the clogged freeway. He gets through the day with Adderall he scores of the neighbor's kid and comes down every night with booze. His apartment is full of expensive sports equipment he doesn't have time to use anymore. He's gained fifty pounds since he was in High School and will gain another fifty in the next five years. Brain can live with all this, but the thing that really bothers him is that when he does a great job, nobody cares.

Barbie -- Sold her girl-power themed indie computer game studio for millions, landing her on the cover of Time's "30 Entrepreneurs under 30" issue. She parlays this into a senior VP position at a hot social media startup, and after cashing out on the IPO joins an angel investor group. She's currently bankrolling research in parthenogenesis.

Comment Re:Technical OR legislative? (Score 2) 304

Then small companies can no longer make any IoT product.

Not necessarily. It depends on what your standards and rules are.

Sure, you could write the rules in such a way that only big companies can afford to comply with them. It doesn't mean you have to. What's more rules could actually ensure small companies could remain competitive by creating safe harbors if you do certain things. Believe me there are lawsuits coming in the future, whether there is legislative or regulatory action or no. It would go a long way toward keeping the little guy competitive if he could point to rules that he was supposed to follow and did. This would socialize the cost novel attack vectors evenly rather than distribute the costs stochastically.

Eliminating the low-hanging fruit could make IoT devices reasonably safe, and "reasonable" is a much more attainable goal than "absolutely". Everyone fails at "absolutely", but only big companies can afford to bear the cost of that failure.

As for stuff getting designed in China, it's the low prices, period. I actually evaluated some Chinese radio linked flow meters a few years ago -- they were intended for metering liquor being poured in casinos (where the "free drinks" paid for by the casinos are acdtually paid for by a subcontractor and poured by a bartender who lives on tips). We wanted to adapt them for pesticide flow metering. The guy we were working with was selling these gizmos at $200, but they arrived on his US loading dock from China all boxed and ready to ship out to customers at a wholesale price of about $3. I was astonished. That's why stuff like that doesn't get made in the first world anymore, it's the jaw-droppingly low wholesale prices. Quality wasn't great, but with a $197 margin you can afford to ship replacements out for free.
Adding regulatory compliance costs to a device like that actually favors domestic producers.

Comment Re:6.8 Billion (Score 1) 342

Solar thermal, and offshore wind cost more that nuclear, while PV solar and onshore wind power cost a little less. You can pay about half the cost of nuclear for onshore wind, but I think you're going to need way more real estate (yes, even considering the nuclear exclusion zone) to meet the same KW generation. And you still won't have base load; you're going to need to use batteries, flywheels, water pumps, or some other method of storage if you don't want to waste excess generation.

Comment Re:Is that all (Score 1) 627

It's inevitable that a certain fraction of people go off the deep edge. People are irrational, even (or perhaps mostly) people who are convinced they are entirely rational. Rationality is a fragile thing because emotion and confirmation bias are deeply woven into everyone's thinking.

For normal people are few more powerful emotional impulses than the urge to protect children. It should hardly be surprising that children come to harm from it.

Comment Re:DCMA Fair Use / Parody (Score 1) 218

Ah, but is it a parody of the copyrighted elements? That's the tack I'd take if I were Samsung's lawyer: this is not parodying Samsung's IP, it is quoting Samsung's IP in a literal, non-transformative way that is not actually parody.

Of course in my heart I'd hope to lose, but that argument is no more ridiculous than many others that have become established case law. Issues like privacy and IP are where fundamental values we have as a society cut against each other and generate innumerable weird corner cases.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 1) 184

It's not just how hard you check, but how incisively. It's easy to satisfy yourself that software's anticipated failure modes won't happen. What's tough is discovering ways of screwing up that have never happened before.

That's why there's no substitute for experience. This gets back to the very roots of rocket science: the path to success passes through many, many failures.

Comment Re:Election of 1968 (Score 1) 328

This was known to Johnson and the FBI at the time, who chose to do nothing.

I wonder why that is. Because after all, if

During the election of 1968, Johnson was trying to bring an end to the Vietnam war.

then Nixon's action would be in direct conflict with that objective, right? Did Johnson just no longer give a shit? Or did he hate Humphrey more than Nixon? Seems unlikely, since he endorsed Humphrey after pulling out. I'm just going to leave it at that, lest someone think I'm sticking up for Nixon.

Comment Re:Not to Sound iIke a Snowflake... (Score 4, Insightful) 228

It's not only that. The problem with most theories of eugenics is that they draw from experience with agricultural breeding of domesticated species. Humans are not domesticated; we're a wild species with massive genetic diversity compared to, say, purebred Arabian horses.

This means that with us sexual reproduction still does what it is supposed to do: generate genetic diversity in offspring. Look at large families. You get some who are tall and some who are short; some who have Grandpa Joe's nose and others that have Grandpa John's jaw, others who get both or neither. Even with litter of pedigreed puppies you'll get one total loser and if you're lucky one champion; and pedigreed dog litters are much more alike than any set of human siblings. And that's just physical traits; in terms of interests, talents, and success there is massive variability among siblings, although there is some correlation, in part due to economic circumstances, upbringing and education.

Nature works this way because variability is good for the species, and that variability comes from combinations of genes being shuffled. Add to that the massive behavioral plasticity of our gigantic brains, and the idea that you can sample some of, say, Steve Jobs DNA for successful CEO markers is ludicrous. If you'd raised Jobs in a different family and sent him to a different set of schools, and didn't get him luck out by ending up close friends with Woz, then while he may well have been quite successful in some other way, he wouldn't have been the Steve Jobs we knew.

Of course, willingness to go along with the DNA test is a good test for one phenotypical trait: the willingness to put up with pseudo-scientific baloney.

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