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Earth

Great Barrier Reef Has Worst Coral Die-Off Ever, Report Finds (usatoday.com) 235

Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered from its worst coral die-off ever recorded, according to a new study from the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University. "Stress from the unusually warm ocean water heated by man-made climate change and the natural El Nino climate pattern caused the die-off," reports USA Today. At more than 1,400 miles long, Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and the planet's biggest structure made by living organisms. In the northernmost section of the reef, which had been considered the most "pristine," some 67% of the coral died. The good news, scientists said, was that central and southern sections of the reef fared far better, with "only" 6% and 1% of the coral dead, respectively. Coral reefs result from the work of little polyps, creatures only a few millimeters long, budded on top of one another. Over centuries, the shells of these creatures combine to form the exotic shapes of coral reefs. Tiny differences in the anatomy of each polyp species affect the shape of their shells and produce the exotic shapes of each reef. The vibrant colors that draw thousands of tourists to the Great Barrier Reef each year come from algae that live in the corals tissue. When water temperatures become too high, coral becomes stressed and expels the algae, which leave the coral a bleached white color. Mass coral bleaching is a new phenomenon and was never observed before the 1980s as global warming ramped up. Besides their beauty, reefs shelter land from storms, and are also a habitat for myriads of species.
Government

EPA Increases Amount of Renewable Fuel To Be Blended Into Gasoline (arstechnica.com) 351

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final renewable fuel standards for 2017, requiring that fuel suppliers blend an additional 1.2 billion gallons of renewable fuel into U.S. gas and diesel from 2016 levels. The rule breaks down the requirements to include quotas for cellulosic biofuels, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and traditional renewable fuel. Reuters points out that the aggressive new biofuel standards will create a dilemma for an incoming Trump administration, given that his campaign courted both the gas and corn industries. While the EPA under the Obama administration has continually increased so-called renewable fuel standards (RFS), the standards were first adopted by a majority-Republican Congress in 2005 and then bolstered in 2007 with a requirement to incorporate 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the fuel supply by 2022, barring "a determination that implementation of the program is causing severe economic or environmental harm," as the EPA writes. Some biofuels are controversial not just for oil and gas suppliers but for some wildlife advocates as well. Collin O'Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement that the corn ethanol industry that most stands to benefit from the EPA's expansion of the renewable fuel standards "is responsible for the destruction of millions of acres of wildlife habitat and degradation of water quality." Still, the EPA contends that biofuels made from corn and other regenerating plants offer reductions in overall fuel emissions, if the processes used to make and transport the fuels are included. "Advanced biofuels" will offer "50 percent lifecycle carbon emissions reductions," and their share of the new standards will grow by 700 million gallons in 2017 from 2016 requirements, the EPA says. Cellulosic biofuel will be increased by 81 million gallons and biomass-based diesel will be increased by 100 million gallons. "Non-advanced or 'conventional' renewable fuel" will be increased to 19.28 billion gallons from 18.11 billion gallons in 2016. Conventional renewable fuel "typically refers to ethanol derived from corn starch and must meet a 20 percent lifecycle GHG [greenhouse gas] reduction threshold," according to EPA guidelines. Other kinds of renewable fuels include sugarcane-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol derived from the stalks, leaves, and cobs leftover from a corn harvest, and compressed natural gas gleaned from wastewater facilities.

Comment Re:Finally (Score 2) 540

Software development can be a high skilled job but entry level skills can be obtained in months, which is not coincidentally, how much training time seems to be involved with learning to be a long haul truck driver in the USA (I see quotes of about two months of full time study for the formal exam around the internet so maybe call that three months when employer training time is included). Three months of full time study isn't going to make you a well paid programmer but that's plenty of time to learn basic web development skills, and another two or three after that with a good course will get someone writing basic CRUD business web apps if they want to. Of course, it's the start of the journey, but now think how many clueless developers you've encountered who are earning good money.

Can the software development world absorb millions of new developers? Sure, it has done in the past, think dotcom boom. Trucking won't disappear over night, nor will taxi drivers, if only because of limited capacity to upgrade vehicle fleets even assuming the technology becomes perfect (which it isn't), and not all drivers will become software developers.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ancestry.com Passwords 2

When attempting to change your password on the genealogy website Ancestry.com, you get this not-so-helpful message:

New Password -- Your new password should be between 5 to 24 characters long and can be any combination of letters, numbers, and some symbols.

Really. Some symbols. Not that they're going to tell you which ones. Oh no, that would be too easy. You have to guess!

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 108

It is a book. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell, first published in 1970.

The author has a nice piece written on Amazon (the link above). Scroll down to "Editorial Reviews - From the Author". He basically says that he rehashed things he found in other books at the NYC public library. It was a good basis to start with, but it shouldn't have been the finished product.

It sounds like you're talking about all those random text files that have been in circulation for decades. Most of those are junk too, written by people who barely have a grasp of the subject material. I used to really enjoy reading them, and as my real-world experience grew, I realized how many of them were worthless noise.

Earth

2016 Will Be the Hottest Year On Record, UN Says (theguardian.com) 284

2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record and a new high for the third year in a row, according to the UN. It means 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been this century. From an article on The Guardian:The scorching temperatures around the world, and the extreme weather they drive, mean the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, published on Monday at the global climate summit in Morocco, found the global temperature in 2016 is running 1.2C above pre-industrial levels. This is perilously close to to the 1.5C target included as an aim of the Paris climate agreement last December. The El Nino weather phenomenon helped push temperatures even higher in early 2016 but the global warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities remains the strongest factor.
China

Another Study Finds Earth's CO2 Emissions Have Flattened Over The Last Three Years (go.com) 201

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press: Worldwide emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have flattened out in the past three years, a new study showed Monday, raising hopes that the world is nearing a turning point in the fight against climate change. However, the authors of the study cautioned it's unclear whether the slowdown in CO2 emissions, mainly caused by declining coal use in China, is a permanent trend or a temporary blip...

The study, published in the journal Earth System Science Data, says global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry is projected to grow by just 0.2 percent this year. That would mean emissions have leveled off at about 36 billion metric tons in the past three years even though the world economy has expanded, suggesting the historical bonds between economic gains and emissions growth may have been severed. "This could be the turning point we have hoped for," said David Ray, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved with the study. "To tackle climate change those bonds must be broken and here we have the first signs that they are at least starting to loosen."

Last week a study suggested earth's plant life is absorbing a greater percentage of global CO2 emissions -- although reductions in China could also be significant. According to the article, almost 30% of the world's carbon emissions come from China.

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 4, Interesting) 107

Boy, are you going to be surprised when you figure out how the Soviet Union used to dispose of nuclear reactors from ships and submarines. At least with the U.S. one it was an accident.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decommissioning_of_Russian_nuclear-powered_vessels

A Russian government report acknowledged in March 1993, that "during the period of 1965 to 1988 the Northern Fleet had dumped four reactor compartments with eight reactors (three containing damaged fuel) in the Abrosimov Gulf in 20 to 40 meters of water." Six other compartments, containing nine reactors in all, had also been dumped into the water in the 1960s and 1970s.

Comment Re:Trust (Score 1) 108

As I recall, The Anarchist Cookbook was full of such errors. It ranged from simply won't work, to serious dangerous errors. I haven't read it since the 1990s, so I can't be more specific.

Another wonderful sources of questionable information was BBS and FidoNet text files. The best craptastic information worth almost as much as the price (free). I read quite a few almost interesting illegal drug recipes. Those too went from useless, to explosive and/or poisonous.

Submission + - Donald Trump Child Rape Victim's Story Was Completely Fabricated (inquisitr.com) 9

Okian Warrior writes: The Donald Trump child rape victim’s story, as revealed early this morning by Daily Mail, is a work of complete fiction.

Katie Johnson herself spoke with journalists about why she lied and made herself into the Donald Trump child rape victim. “We would have a rapist in the White House. I would feel horrified every single day if I stay in this country,” she said, making it apparent that, although the GOP-running presidential hopeful never sexually assaulted her, she still believes he’s a rapist.

Katie maintains that she was sexually abused on more than one occasion by Jeffrey Epstein during mid-1994. A separate informant told Daily Mail that her story “had been believable and compelling right up until the last minute,” when it was found out “Donald Trump’s name had been inserted into this, [and] he was not involved whatsoever.”

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Yes, but you need to take into account Baby Boomers are retiring at an ever increasing rate, which impacts the rate. The age demographic of the nation plays heavily into the workforce participation numbers.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2014/07/22/12-baby-boomer-retirement-trends

Actually, the numbers, as a percentage, haven't been this LOW since 1978. Go to the BLS, choose "Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate - LNS11300000", then change the date range to anything from as far back as 1948 to present.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Sorry, I'm totally non-partisan, being disgusted by political parties in general. It counts always.

And no, that number does NOT include those over the age of 18 only. The number it is based on is called the "civilian non-institutional population", of which the definition is:

In the United States, the civilian noninstitutional population refers to people 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (penal, mental facilities, homes for the aged), and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

The age is 16+, which you can see in the BLS statistics for yourself.

So, it excludes young children, but assumes everyone 16 and older is working, which is a very outdated assumption. Retired doesn't count, unless you're actually in a nursing facility. Military doesn't count. Full-time students don't count. Housewives don't count. Etc.

There are too many caveats to that number for it to be useful as anything other than a misleading, FUD talking point. This article in the WSJ breaks this down nicely.

The real answer is complex, and you can't break it down to a single sound bite. I still maintain the U-6 is a more accurate representation for trying to convey the total unemployment/underemployment picture. I don't think you fall off of U-6 after a set period of time. As it is compiled from a survey, I think you fall off if you flat out say you've just given up looking.

While there are employment issues in the U.S., saying things like "there are 95 million people out of work" just isn't accurate. Most people have a basic understanding that there are approximately 300 million people in the U.S., and the go "OMG! 1/3 of the population is unemployed! Those people need jobs." And that just isn't true.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 5, Insightful) 2837

Using the number of Americans"not in the work force" is inaccurate and dishonest. That 95 million number includes both my parents, who are retired and living in a nursing home; my 18 month old grand daughter and my 8-year old son in elementary school; and my wife who is a traditional home maker and not interested in outside work.

None of the people in those categories should be considered in "unemployment" statistics, which is what you're doing by citing the 95 million non-working Americans.

U-6 from BLS is much more representative and is currently at 9.3â.... It includes people who want to work but have given up on despair, as well as people who want to work full time but can't get anything other than a few hours on a part-time gig.

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