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Comment Re:Correct (Score 1) 672

Consider a macroscopic canister filled with a classical gas (comprised of elastic molecules bouncing around and obeying Newton's laws). Suppose that at some time I gave you the positions and velocities of every single molecule in said gas to within one part in 10^-20. Though you might be able to predict the positions and velocities of every molecule for a short period of time, you would find that your prediction diverges exponentially from the true result, even though the error was initially tiny and you understood all of the dynamics in the system. Such sensitivity to initial conditions is the essence of chaos theory. Weather is a chaotic system, and you can only predict it a few days out without requiring exponentially more resources (i.e., sensors and computing power).

So, does this mean that all of fluid dynamics is bunk? What about pV = NkT? After all, if it's impossible to predict the future behavior of the gas molecules, how can we say anything about the gas? The reason you can make statements about pressure, volume, etc. is that these are bulk quantities, described by global constraint equations (e.g., conservation of energy, conservation of particle number, etc.). Climate, too, is a bulk quantity governed by global constraint equations, especially conservation of energy. Casting doubt on macroscopic climatology simply because it is impossible to make "microscopic" predictions shows a profound lack of understanding of physics.

Comment Re:Subjective perspective exaggerated (Score 1) 279

Get rid of all the stupid environmentalists who opposed nuclear energy.

The lack of new nuclear power plants has little to do with environmentalists. Nuclear plants are a huge long-term investment—tens of billions of dollars—and the payback period is decades away. If long-term market prices change in an unfavorable way, you're screwed. For example, solar power has been following its own version of Moore's Law for some time now, so why on Earth would you build a nuclear plant if there's a good chance it will be eclipsed by the sun in twenty years? They used to make economic sense, but haven't since the 80s when oil prices plummeted. Since then, essentially the only actors willing to make the investment have been governments.

Comment Re:Working as designed (Score 1) 484

Congratulations, you tripped my bullshit alarm in the first ten words of your post. "The founders" were not a homogeneous wise group, and the Constitution is itself a series of compromises between many people with different viewpoints. Moreover, rampant use of the filibuster is a recent phenomenon spurred by a Senate rule change in the 1970s. Prior to that, it was used maybe once or twice a year, and simple majorities were required to pass most legislation.

No offense, but you sound like someone who get all their history from Glenn Beck.

Comment Re:It's just the US (Score 1) 388

So no research ever happens without federal funding?

With regards to basic science, pretty much. Don't worry, though: it's not unique to the U.S., and is the standard around the world. It's simply a reflection of the fact that private companies will not fund research that has no potential for profit in the next five years. A hundred and fifty years ago, only nobles could afford to do science because they could afford to fund their own research. Public funding really changed the game. In fact, the most prominent historical exception, Bell Labs, is the exception that proves the rule. It was able to insulate its scientists from profitability concerns because AT&T had such a strong monopoly, and was essentially quasi-governmental. When the monopoly went away, its star faded.

The system's also something of an artifact of the way in which scientists are trained. To do meaningful research, you have to get a Ph.D. and spend years slogging through grad school. Professors have no way of funding their own research and rely on grants to support their students. Grad school isn't like med school or law school, where the eventual earning potential is high enough to justify taking out massive loans.

Comment Re:Treason, and terrorism (Score 1) 410

What's pathetic is that you care so little for your freedom that you're happy for laws to be passed without any public debate so long as you're eventually notified.

Did I say that? My point is that there will be a public debate, and that debate will come when the negotiations are finished. As long as you don't know what's in the treaty, you're allowing yourself to be scared by a bogeyman. It's no different than Glenn Beck's rantings about how the Obama administration is supposedly directing FEMA to build concentration camps. If you have no proof of something, you shouldn't allow yourself to be scared by it.

Comment Re:Treason, and terrorism (Score 1) 410

I find it pathetic that your comment has been modded up, because it proves that you and several others have completely bought into the FUD surrounding ACTA. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: all treaties must be ratified in public by the Senate. I repeat, all treaties must be ratified in public by the Senate. There is no "treason" here because nothing has been voted on; if the ACTA negotiations are ever finished and it is presented before the Senate, it will automatically become public knowledge. These "leaked" documents that periodically appear are beyond worthless: we have no idea whether they're legitimate or not, so there's no reason to let yourself get worked up over it.

Comment Re:What's next (Score 2, Informative) 139

In all seriousness, "czar" is just an informal term that the media began using to describe these types of positions. Unfortunately, people who aren't very well-informed see the word and think that they represent some sort of communist plot to seize power. They really don't have any authority, and are ultimately just specialized advisors to the president.

Comment Re:That's change I can believe in (Score 1) 244

This is not to say that Obama ordered this, but as he is the CEO, if you will, and appointed the guy that directly oversees it, he definitely bears some responsibility. As this particular case is not terribly high profile, he probably wasn't briefed or asked about it. Regardless, it is certainly within his power to tell them to stop.

Except in this case, the subpoena was issued on January 30th, four days before Eric Holder was confirmed by the Senate. Obama had zero influence in this decision (direct or indirect), and the subpoena was rescinded a scant three weeks after Holder's installation.

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