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Comment Re:Thought Experiment (Score 1) 162

I was out walking today through a forest that was originally planted

Was it used for that purpose? The fact that it's still there suggests not.

I carefully used the word "originally" when I originally wrote that. Not because I expected your response, but it suffices.

You seem to be thinking that the trees I was walking amongst were the ones that were planted in the 1300s? No - they had been harvested one at a time, according to their individual shape and size and the lumber needed for a particular ship, from around 200 to 450 years after planting. In each gap left by each harvested tree, others were planted according to the needs of that century while continuing to serve the needs of centuries past. That century's trees were local use as the re-forestation efforts of the 14th century had relieved the military's shortages, and changed ship building techniques reduced the need for particular shapes of lumber. Without the drive of legislation, the new plantings were changed from oak to the more useful (locally) ash and elm. At least, that's what the owner's tax and payment records tell the historians. Those smaller trees were managed by "coppicing" (check your local forester's dialect for their word) with the trees in a continuous state of replenishment from then until the woodland fell out of use in the early 1900s. (There are a few dozen larger uncoppiced trees ; no one knows why they were treated differently. But they change the ecology of the forest considerably.)

Most (not all, "most") coppiced broadleaved forests in the country were grubbed out and replaced with imported conifer species for clear-felling on a 1-2 century cycle during the last century, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the great pit-prop crisis of Word War 1. Which is precisely why this particular piece of woodland was saved from being grubbed out in the early 1970s (for arable, not forestry ; meh), to be used instead as a nature reserve. Then we had the nightmare of Dutch Elm Disease, which I grew up fighting to control in that wood, and which has now been replaced as a bogey-man by Ash Dieback. Fortunately, since we have a range of tree species in the wood, we can lose any one species without losing the woodland as a whole. That's judgement, not luck.

Forest management is a lot more complex than "see it, fell it, move on to the next mountain". Particularly if you don't have a next mountain to move on to.

Comment Re: Lots of children have the wrong DNA. (Score 1) 234

It seemes very reasonable to suggest that

any concept supported by claims as strong as "It seemes very reasonable to suggest that ..." is screaming out to be tested, because if there's one thing we know about people, it's that people are very good at fooling other people. That is why the professions of "confidence trickster" and "politician" exist.

Where I'd look for data would be cases where the volition of the (putative) parents isn't involved in selecting the children to be tested - when checking siblings (cousins, IIRC going further out isn't much better than random chance) as organ or particularly bone marrow donors for a victim.

Good luck getting your proposal to access such data past the ethics committee.

Comment Re:Bullshit, Todd. (Score 1) 234

Nobody was forcing them to be parents. They were prepared to be parents and take the financial and emotional responsibility... that was the whole point of the procedure.

Yes, for a child born of their own genes. There are numerous disadvantages to raising a child who is not of your own genes. Such offspring is much less likely to be successful in every way due to a number of factors. Your offspring literally inherits traits you gained during your lifetime. This is important for creating rapport between parent and offspring. Keep in mind that it's a typical instinct for an ape to kill all the offspring of other males when he takes over a female.

Comment Re:How much CO2? (Score 1) 241

It's not that much. The US military (and presumably others) has been experimenting with artificially creating cloud cover for decades. Conspiracy theories aside, there are a couple of relevant patents. One of them basically involves special afterburners, and the other one involves spraying metallics (just like the conspiracy theorists said, whee!)

Whether we should be doing this or not doesn't really have any bearing on whether we should be doing the other things, though. We could do both.

Comment Re:DRONE ON (Score 1) 241

On top of that, it's a stupid fucking argument to be making. Carbon emissions are not evenly distributed. A handful of the worlds rich assholes (read: us) are doing the vast majority of the climate change (See figure 1).

India and China are trying as hard as they can to come up to our levels of carbon release. This is a problem that has to be solved at a deeper level. It has to simply be cheaper not to pollute. Therefore this is where the bulk of the research should be going.

Comment Re:It would be... (Score 1) 210

I'm not sure it would help against your pretty sever case of confirmation bias. In my commute there is a great percentage of cars doing stupid shit that endanger other people, and there are seldom any cyclists doing that.

About fifty percent of the cyclists I see on the road are doing something spectacularly stupid. These things range from riding the wrong direction to completely ignoring signals and signs. Perhaps this has to do with where I am driving, which is primarily around Napa, Lake, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. I am very cautious around cyclists, because it doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong, I don't want to kill some schmuck with no appreciation for the laws of physics.

Comment Re: Systemd! (Score 1) 295

AMD driver support is and always has been a PITA. This continues to be true, although many people say that it is becoming less true. Meanwhile, nVidia Linux driver support is more of a PITA than it was back in the olden days, so there's really nothing to be happy about unless you're an intel fan.

Comment Re:Sail Problems (Score 1) 162

In either case, the solar wind and the sun's gravity can alter the trajectory of the sails.

The influence of other star's gravity is calculable. (Unless there's something gravitating and dark out there.) The influence of interstellar winds ... is a fair question. So you send your first few probes off to see how they behave. It's not as if they'll contain anything you're more emotionaly attached to than some bits of wiring and (maybe) an AI.

The Oort cloud also requires consideration. If the sails are not punctured by the particles in the Oort cloud, impacts of those particles on the sails will decelerate them.

In the days before the first probes to Jupiter, exactly the same concerns were raised about going through the Asteroid Belt. We've not had a probe damaged out of - is it about a dozen that have gone through? We have every reason to expect the Oort Cloud to be more diffuse. In either case, suck it and see. Send probes out. Once you've built the lunching lasers (or while you're building them), the incremental cost of each launch is going to be pretty small.

If the sails are punctured, they will become useless in decelerating the sensors when the target star is approached.

They don't work like wind sails. Yes, you'd lose some efficiency. The triangle bounded by the three nearest shroud anchor points would limit the damage. A factor to include in your sail design, certainly. But not a show-stopper.

Comment Re: The problem is depth perception (Score 1) 53

You can get a depth from a single camera if the object or scene is suitably lit.

People do it with IR. But it's pretty crap, and it can be fooled by some surfaces and materials. And when you talk about what people are actually looking at doing in cars for full autonomy, it's combining normal visual cameras with lidar and radar.

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