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Comment Paying customers and age appropriate roles (Score 1) 155

Society has an age discrimination issue. Most of us, even women, would rather look at a fresh-faced young girl than at a woman with lines on her face.

Whatever issues society has, it doesn't follow that a movie producer has to indulge them because of some unsupported delusion that people won't pay to see a quality actress in an age appropriate role. Or a black actor. Or an asian one. Frankly I think there is a lot of credibility to the argument that a movie with some integrity would be more likely to attract fans than a movie that plunks whatever starlet-of-the-month into the role regardless of what it does to the movie.

Is it even possible to fix the problem of age bias in Hollywood, and if so, would that actually help address the problem of age discrimination in society?

Given that they are the image makers it would be a darn good place to start. Is it possible to fix? Maybe. Won't be easy though. The key would be proving that age discrimination is actually harmful to the economic outcome for a film. Challenging case to make since they don't let a lot of people who aren't white and young (if women) into movies to test the theory.

Comment Hollywood discriminates on age, race, gender... (Score 1) 155

It seems unlikely to me that Hollywood has an age discrimination issue.

Oh they certainly do have an age discrimination issue, particularly for female actresses. They also have race discrimination issues, gender discrimination issues, and lots more besides. This isn't even a debate. The evidence is undeniable.

If an actor doesn't look the age for a part, they're not going to get the role.

That might have some credibility if they didn't also hire actresses who do not look the role at all. See Emma Stone in Aloha. See whitewashing. Same thing happens with them hiring actresses who are FAR too young for the role they are playing.

Comment This,kids, is what it was like back in the day. (Score 2) 84

The developer of this thing has thoughtfully provided a "hello.c" file and cc. Oh, yes, and emacs. So go ahead and type:

cc -o hello hello.c

and marvel at the speed.

This environment is just like my first full-time, non-student programming job. There was no IDE, so we pretty much lived in emacs. I haven't used emacs in decades, but my fingers still remember the key bindings for the commands -- as long as I'm not trying to consciously remember them.

It was on a 68020 running at 16 MHz which delivered a grand total of 2 MIPS at 16 MHz. We shared all that computing power among four programmers, which was luxury because the system was supposed to support 16 users (32 max).

It seems almost inconceivable, but the funny thing is it was really just as fun programming back then as it is now with a supercomputer all to myself. Our office was next to a reservoir, and used to start a compile, wait five minutes for the parsing to catch any syntax error (about 75% of the time), then go for a walk on the 1.5 mile trail around the pond. Then I'd stop in at the convenience store to buy a cup of coffee, and head back to the office, and make would just be finishing up the linking. God forbid you got a link error though. That's why we had time to read the entire Unix manual (all eight sections) cover to cover. Many times.

This has fed my conviction that user perceptions of system speed are as strongly affected by consistency as it is by absolute speed. If you're used to a build taking fifteen seconds,a sudden change to 30 seconds seems unbearable.

Comment Scale and power vs weight (Score 4, Insightful) 97

Power to weight versus cost used to be a huge issue here...

Last I checked physics is still a thing so power to weight considerations are still very much an actively huge issue.

It might not be commonly done outside of the hobby industry, but scaling up quadcopters and adding hybrid engines to maintain a charge long term is no longer an impossibility.

Are you seriously arguing that because we've done it with an RC airplane that it is a trivial exercise to scale up to the size where it can plausibly carry humans safely? Yeah it doesn't work like. The energy costs to get aloft do not scale linearly with size. The bigger the vehicle + cargo the more fuel you need to lift PLUS you need more fuel to lift the extra fuel. This places upper limits on what can practically get aloft and how long you can stay there. Plus even if you deal with the technical problems getting it to be economically viable is a MUCH harder problem. Helicopters have been a thing for a long time but they remain hugely expensive and problematic for use by the General Public. Uber isn't going to crack this problem no matter what they claim.

Comment The poor economics of flying cars (Score 4, Insightful) 97

The biggest mistake people make, is thinking, if technology X was tested and it failed. that in 50 years with new technology and materials it will still fail.

The problem with making a flying car isn't really the technology. We've known how to make a VTOL aircraft for a long time now. The showstopper is the economics of it. Let's assume you develop a flying car that somehow works. We'll ignore all the technical obstacles that lots of very smart people haven't solved to date and just assume they magically figure it out tomorrow. It still wouldn't work for economic reasons unless you invoke some truly magical sci-fi technology. Why?

1) Physics. The energy requirements to get something the weight of a human aloft are considerable. The fuel costs alone would make it economically prohibitive. And I'm ignoring the engineering compromises that would be necessary to make it light enough to get aloft.
2) Sticker shock. A VTOL aircraft is necessarily going to be more expensive than a standard automobile because it is more complicated and thus more expensive. Even the simplest imaginable version would be far more expensive than what anyone but the super wealthy could afford.
3) Infrastructure. None of the infrastructure for any plausible flying vehicle has been built excepting for airports. The cost to change this would be astronomical. Can you imagine trying to land in the parking lot of your local Walmart without the prop wash endangering everyone around you? There are very good reasons we don't have helicopters landing just anywhere except in cases of dire emergency. The safety concerns alone make it a terrible idea.

Comment No perfect options. (Score 1) 78

Nights and windless days are very much reality.

So because a technology doesn't solve every problem it is useless? Idiotic response. First off, solar technology is terrific for offsetting air conditioning and refrigeration energy demand which is a huge part of our energy consumption, particularly in southern areas. Second, it is exceptionally rare that the wind is calm everywhere all at once and transporting power is a solved problem. Third, batteries are a thing and there already are batteries big enough to supply enough energy for a house to get through a night and available to consumers at fairly reasonable prices..

It is a fact that wind and solar are not economical, else subsidies wouldn't be necessary to get them built.

Lots of new technologies aren't economical at first. Nuclear power was developed out of government research and subsidies. Fossil fuels for reasons that defy all logic continue to receive subsidies to this day. Wind power is already economically competitive with some of the more expensive fossil fuels and the cost of solar is falling fast as technology improves and scale increases. Fossil fuels are only economic because the infrastructure already exists for them and because they don't have to pay the full cost of the pollution they generate. Include the cost of pollution and renewables are EASILY competitive.

Might be we want to rethink, and make decisions based on facts and reality.

We are. And solar and wind power are presently underutilized in our portfolio of energy generation technologies. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels at the rate we currently are if we want to avoid severe climate catastrophes. For now that means more solar, wind and probably nuclear fission. There is no option without some sort of down side but continuing on our present course with fossil fuels is the worst available option.

Comment Re:I'm just guessing they won't study the fraud (Score 1) 542

Look, this is a prime example of what I'm talking about. It all seems plausible to the poster because he doesn't personally know any scientists. Trying to organize scientist into a vast, disciplined conspiracy is laughable, if you've ever worked with them. They're waaay more likely to be obstreperous free thinkers than they are to be timid conformists.

Comment Re:I knew some scientists are shameless (Score 1) 542

you'll realize that there was a decades-long, vigorous debate that has gone on that was largely decisively finished by the late 90s.

I remember that. It concluded with the prediction that by 2010, the sea level will rise by three to six feet.

I think that has been thoroughly refuted by now.

And that is why climate scientists don't make predictions about the temperature in their own lifetime anymore.

Obviously your memory is defective. The debate did not "end" with a six foot rise by 2010. Early on when the "horn of possibilities" was wider, sure that was in it. That's why scientists continue to examine evidence.

This is the difference between science and whatever it is denialists use to make their beliefs: science goes out and checks results.

Comment Missing the point (Score 1) 78

I'd take it more seriously if they were to directly power their data centers from renewables 24/7 only instead of some of the funny math of just spending more money to "buy" renewable energy from grid producers at a large enough volume to say they run on 100% renewable

Power is fungible. Whether the electrons generated go into your factory or someone else's at the end of the day has the exact same environmental effect. Worrying about which electrons are being used is idiotic and misses the point. Furthermore the best locations for renewable power are not necessarily the best locations for the end users of that power. It's not practical for Apple to relocated from Cupertino to Texas just because that happens to be a good place for a wind farm.

Because on the back end, they're still dependent in terms of actual consumption on grid baseload generation even if they have a balance sheet that says otherwise.

Who claimed otherwise? They are doing their part to increase the clean energy capacity. They aren't going to solve the whole problem themselves. Eventually (hopefully) enough clean generating capacity will become available that we have to seriously worry about storage and transport on a large scale. We're not there yet.

Further, trying to run full-time off wind+solar would require a substantial investment in energy storage to balance night/still air and storage is where we need the investment.

Power storage will matter for the system once you get beyond a certain generating capacity for solar/wind but for now fossil fuels and nuclear are more than capable of taking up the slack so it's an important but secondary consideration for now. For those who want to use the electricity they generate storage matters but that isn't the goal for companies like Google or Apple.

Comment Subsidies all around (Score 1) 78

Wind producers receive a federal subsidy of about 2.3 cents per kWh.

Oil and gas energy producers receive substantial subsidies as well. Ironically wind and solar would need smaller subsidies if we didn't also subsidize fossil fuels to compete against them.

So it makes sense for them to continue to generate and push the power into an overloaded grid that has no use for it, because they make money doing that.

You could say the exact same thing about the fossil fuel power stations. The only reason they continue to generate and push power into an overloaded grid is because they make money doing that. The only meaningful question is what source of power do we actually want to use. For my money give me the cleaner renewables whenever possible even if there is currently a (rapidly shrinking) price premium. The long term benefits outweigh the short term economic consequences.

Comment Re:Common for Cranks (Score 1) 542

This is a very good point, but it needs to be sharpened.

Evidence, can be contradictory, because it is what it is. Explanations and interpretations, however, cannot be contradictory, or they don't really explain anything.

So if the climate is getting hotter in one part of the Earth but cooler in another, that's just the nature of evidence; reality is complex. But you can't simultaneously believe that the Earth is getting hotter (but it's OK) and that it's getting cooler. People sometimes do argue both ways, simply ignoring the inconsistency. What really matters to them is that we should not have to do anything about it; how we justify that end is secondary.

Comment Re:I'm just guessing they won't study the fraud (Score 4, Insightful) 542

One of the hallmarks of conspiracy theories is that they imagine huge numbers of people to act in ways that contradict their own interests, and for them to all do it with perfect (or near-perfect) levels of secrecy.

The idea that there's more money to be made shilling against burning petroleum than there is shilling for it is simply farfetched. And leaving that aspect out of it for the moment, what scientists want more than anything is to see the scientific consensus overturned. When that happens it's like a gold strike: everyone rushes to the new fields and tries to stake his claim.

Once upon a time there was something called the "Central Dogma of Molecular Biology" (it was actually called the "central dogma"): DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. Except then Howard Temin and David Baltimore discovered reverse transcriptase, which explained how RNA from retroviruses were able to alter host DNA. Their reward for finding an exception to the dogma? A Nobel Prize, and a brand new area for research and technological development. Reverse transcriptase made the highly sensitive and accurate PCR test possible.

Any scientist who can conclusively disprove AGW would be able to dine out on that for the rest of his life. He would go down in history as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race. Most importantly, everyone would think he was waaay smarter than the other scientists.

People don't understand the function of scientific consensus. It doesn't represent a final version of the Truth; it represents a division between things statements that can be stipulated for the time being without recapitulating the entire lie of evidence (e.g. that matter is made up of atoms) and things that require citation of specific evidence (e.g. that there are stable elements with atomic numbers > 118).

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