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Comment Re:I would try it. (Score 1) 114

Been there, done that. Basically had to go to the max dose of oxycontin just to take the edge off the pain.

This page you can see some pictures of the procedure and instruments people used on kidney stones in the 1600s. It seems unimaginable that anyone would subject themselves to that -- without anesthetic -- unless you've actually experienced it.

Comment Re:And Yawn! (Score 1) 17

A properly designed system shouldn't be highly dependent upon any kind of persistence layer, although if you follow the provider's example programs you'll tend to spread dependencies through your code. But a smart designer hides that all away deep down in some kind of abstraction.

A demonstration of exactly how little you are dependent on a vendor is probably a very good thing, if you're a big customer. Oh, we'll run *this* part of our product on the other guy's cloud service and boom. It happens. Shows the vendors who's boss.

Comment This,kids, is what it was like back in the day. (Score 2) 92

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 Re:I'm just guessing they won't study the fraud (Score 1) 640

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) 640

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 Re:Common for Cranks (Score 1) 640

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 5, Insightful) 640

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).

Comment Re:boring (Score 1) 45

Yeah, it's a giant radio control toy. Nothing cool about that at all.

In general extremes of anything are cool. Along those lines the real problem is that the robot needs to be bigger. That said, what would be even cooler is to go the other direction: make a toy that does this transformation, but which would fit on the nail of your pinkie finger. That would actually be awesome.

Comment Re:We don't need an 4 year high cost party to get (Score 0) 326

I'm not bragging, because as you point out anyone can join as an associate. The point is that you can meet people with more technical qualifications than you have even though you work with a bunch of low-grade code monkeys.

The overall point is that your anecdotal experience of what a college education does for people is dependent upon how you sample.

Comment Re:The blame can be shared (Score 4, Informative) 640

Life: Record lows in winter

e.g. If the three months of winter on average way above normal, but I can find one day over the three month period that was unusually cold, I am going to pretend the entire winter was record cold.

Actually, it's more like "if it's cold outside my door, then the whole world must be cooler than normal".

It's worth noting that the "greenhouse effect" is much less pronounced in the winter than the summer, because in the winter there's less energy to be trapped. In fact in the polar regions there's practically none. So expect winters to still be cold, in fact you may get record cold as weather patterns are disrupted (e.g., 2014) by latitude gradients in energy trapped.

In fact models have predicted a pattern of both extreme highs and lows for twentyyears now. It's only when you integrate over the entire surface of the globe that you see "global warming". Consider this quote from a 1995 New York Times article:

A four-degree warming, some scientists say, could cause ice at the poles to melt, resulting in rising sea levels. It would also shift climatic zones and make floods, droughts, storms and cold and heat waves more extreme, violent and frequent

This idea that global warming is disproved by local cold snaps is just a straw man argument.

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