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Comment Re: Who's to say? (Score 1) 106

Well, if you want to be pedantic (of course you do), heat isn't radiation. Black body radiation is a consequence of heat. And in point of fact the ionizing spectral components of the Sun's radiation generates over seventy-thousand cases of cancer in the US annually, and over ten thousand deaths. If there were an artificial radiation source that was that harmful we'd be right to be very concerned about it, that's substantially more than 3x the number of people who perished in 9/11 every single year.

The real issue here isn't people using linguistic short hand like "radiation" that Internet trolls can play "gotcha" with; it's people not understanding the difference between radiation per se, ionizing radiation, and radioactive fallout. Maybe you don't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning physicist to run the DoE, but you should at least be able to explain the difference between these things. And you'd certainly want anyone working in government to know the difference between preventable and non-preventable deaths.

Comment Re:Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 481

I've been following this story, and I expect we're not looking at the future, but rather stagnation in the status quo for the last fifteen years or so plus statistical noise.

Where things gets interesting when you start disaggregating the trends. If you look at the life expectancy data by county, the disparity is shocking: almost all rural and poor counties saw little or no improvement in life expectancy since the late 80s, but life expectancy has improved dramatically (5 years or more) in urban and wealthy counties. And here's an interesting fact: the gap between white and black life expectancy has narrowed, but this is largely due to stagnation in life expectancy among working class whites.

This indicates to me that poor access to health care advances for working class and rural whites has driven the overall stagnation in life expectancy. This is in part what Obamacare was intended to address, however it can't possibly improve the situation in rural counties without Medicaid expansion.

Comment I'm kind of surprised they don't do more tie-ins. (Score 1) 337

I'm not talking advertising tie-ins, but why not do additional story lines available for streaming purchase? Especially in those big ensemble superhero movies that are always so narratively cluttered because they have to give you a thin slice of so many characters.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 3, Insightful) 186

Well, I dunno. It seems like blaming Fitbit for Pebble's financial failure.

Let's take a consequentialist view of matters. If the rule is you have to buy the whole business and continue to operate it, even though it's losing money, Pebble goes out of business and it's customers and debt holders suffer. If you can sell of just the good bits without the obligation to continue running the failing as before, the customers suffer but the debt holders get some relief. Which approach is better?

Comment Re:127 Mill Maintenance robot vs 4 Billion AF1 (Score 2) 38

Well, it's actually $3.75 billion. And it's not one, but two aircraft, so that's 1.875 billion apiece. That's to ensure the executive branch can function in a military crisis while one of the planes is being service.

Deduct 375 million apiece for the airframe, and we're talking 1.5 billion dollars in customization for each aircraft, including aerial refueling capabilities, which on a two-off job is a craft job; no economies of scale. Add defense and countermeasure capabilities that Air Force is extremely close-lipped about. Is there a actual escape pod on Air Force One like in the movie? Well probably not, but I'm sure the idea was at least contemplated. However it's pretty certain that if someone locks onto AF1 with a targeting radar the aircraft will have options that a stock 747-8 doesn't.

Next outfit each one so it can function as a replacement for the West Wing and the Situation Room for up to two months -- that's a deducible requirement based on the known fact that the aircraft stores 2000 meals for 100 people. That means three-of-a-kind electronics and communications systems (one for each airframe and one for the actual White House).

Is 3.75 billion too much for that? Probably. But it's hard to think of any weapon development program since WW2 that is less extravagant.

By that standard 127 million for an orbital repair robot is an almost inconceivable bargain, even if you factor in a 5x cost overrun.

Comment Re: Stop calling it "skepticism". (Score 3, Interesting) 575

The history of greenhouse effect theory is interesting and well worth reading up on. It was first raised as a possibility in the 1890s, but rejected quickly based on two erroneous beliefs: (1) that the oceans would rapidly absorb any increase in atmospheric CO2 and (2) that the absorption spectra of water vapor and CO2 mostly overlapped. Together these implied that CO2 could not increase in the atmosphere, and even if it did it could not capture any heat that water vapor wouldn't have anyway.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, which Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing. I highly recommend reading that article.

Comment Re: Stop calling it "skepticism". (Score 5, Informative) 575

Saying that is so doesn't make it so. There's overwhelming empirical evidence that the Earth has been warming since middle of the twentieth century, particularly from around 1970 onward. This is shown both in the surface instrumental record and in the satellite record.

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