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Submission + - Global-Warming Denial Hits 6-Year High

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Chris Mooney writes at Mother Jones that a new study, from the Yale and George Mason University research teams on climate change communication, shows a 7-percentage-point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they do not believe that global warming is happening. And that's just since the spring of 2013. The number of deniers is now 23 percent; back at the start of last year, it was 16 percent (PDF). The obvious question is, what happened over the last year to produce more climate denial? The answer may lie in the so-called global warming "pause"—the misleading idea that global warming has slowed down or stopped over the the past 15 years or so. This claim was used by climate skeptics, to great effect, in their quest to undermine the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report in September 2013—precisely during the time period that is in question in the latest study. "The notion of a global warming "pause" is, at best, the result of statistical cherry-picking," writes Mooney. " It relies on starting with a very hot year (1998) and then examining a relatively short time period (say, 15 years), to suggest that global warming has slowed down or stopped during this particular stretch of time." Put these numbers back into a broader context and the overall warming trend remains clear. "If you shift just 2 years earlier, so use 1996-2010 instead of 1998-2012, the trend is 0.14 C per decade, so slightly greater than the long-term trend," explains Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at NASA who was heavily involved in producing the IPCC report. This is why climate scientists generally don't seize on 15 year periods and make a big thing about them. "Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding."

Submission + - Metered Internet pricing results in protest by EBTC members

An anonymous reader writes: The East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative started charging cellular prices for home DSL internet service starting on January 1st, 2014. A 5GB plan costs $24.95 a month while a 25 GB plan will run $99.95 per month. 100 GB is the most data you can get in a package for $299.95 per month. Each additional GB is $5. They argue that the price increase is justified because their costs have increased by 900% since 2009. About half of their customers use less than 5 GB a month while their largest users use around 100 GB a month. They argue that the switch to measured internet will appropriately place the cost on their heaviest users. With the landmark Net Neutrality ruling this week will larger providers try to move to similar price models?

Submission + - Terraform Mars with Present Technology? It's Far into Realms of Magical Thought ( 2

Robert Walker writes: Mars One, Elon Musk with Space X, and the US Government all want to colonize Mars eventually, and the idea is of course also a favourite for many of the news stories about Mars. Most of us realize that Mars is a hostile planet for human life, where an unprotected human would die instantly, and the deserts of earth are far more hospitable. Yet, we have the hope that Mars can be terraformed to be more hospitable.

The problem is, terraforming is not likely to be the easy process described in science fiction stories. It would take thousands of years, if it worked, there are many ways it could go wrong, and it involves technology which would also make it possible to solve the energy crisis on Earth, and make it trivial to roll back from global warming. That puts it far into the realms of magical thinking, the idea that if you imagine something vividly enough, it means you can make it come true.

Should our space policies and so many decisions and plans be based on this idea, which has so little grounding in present day technology? Is it at all feasible to commit to a technological project that will take many centuries, and most likely tens of thousands of years to reach fruition? Is this perhaps a case of magical thinking, a human tendency which has lead to many other doomed projects in the past?

This article puts forward the view that Terraforming is an extreme form of magical thinking, and that though it is useful to think about terraforming, and we can learn much from the thought experiment, that to guide our space policy and decisions based on the idea that some day we are sure to terraform Mar is foolish, and means we may miss out on other projects that would give us much better return for less expense. For instance, to explore Mars eventually from orbit using telerobotics — which also takes human explorers to Mars, but for far less cost, greater safety, and without the increased risk of contaminating Mars.

We can leave terraforming to the future, to some time when we have the ability to do things which to us at present seem magical.


(I'm the author of the articles and am interested in slashdot feedback, perhaps it might lead to a lively discussion).

Submission + - Translating President Obama's NSA reform promises into plain English (

sandbagger writes: The cynics at the Register have picked apart Barack Obama's NSA reform promises. As to be expected, there's some good, some deliberate vagueness, talk of 'ticking bomb scenarios' and the politician's favourite 'promises to commit to future reforms'. Basically, it's a fig-leaf to kick the can down the road so the next president has to deal with it. He's promising bulk data will go to a third party so the NSA can't see it. Okay, who is this magical third party?

Submission + - Help Wake Up the Comet-Chasing Satellite That's Been Sleeping for 957 Days

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Jason Major reports that after nearly a decade of soaring through the inner solar system, flying past Mars and Earth several times and even briefly visiting a couple of asteroids for a gravity assist, the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing satellite, Rosetta, is due to 'wake up' on January 20 after 957 days of hibernation to prepare for its upcoming and highly-anticipated rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. The spacecraft was designed to be put in hibernation for the coldest part of the journey that took it close to the orbit of Jupiter because even with massive solar panels the size of a basketball court, Rosetta would not have enough power to complete its mission without this energy-saving strategy. Once Rosetta enters orbit around the comet — the first time a spacecraft has ever done so — it will map its surface and, three months later in November, deploy the 220-lb (100-kg) Philae lander that will intimately investigate the surface of the nucleus using a suite of advanced science instruments. "It's the first time we've made a rendezvous with a comet — that's never been done before — and it's going to be the first time we've escorted a comet past its closest approach to the Sun," says ESA project scientist Matt Taylor. "The cherry on the cake is that we also deploy the lander to probe the surface of the comet." ESA has invited the public to mark this important milestone in the Rosetta mission by sharing a video clip shouting “Wake up, Rosetta!” on the Rosetta Mission's Facebook page. Uploads so far include "Sleeping Satellite," the debut single released by British singer-songwriter Tasmin Archer in 1992, that rose to number one in the UK and was also an international hit.

Comment Too bad it wont work (Score 1) 216

They want to start with the trucking industry. That means they will have to remove each and every tractor (the driving part for you non trucking people) from the road and replace them with a suitable tractor. This tractor will need to have the current engine for long hauls and the electric for inner city travel as they currently perform both. Or you will need to build transfer point just outside of cities where the truckers can unload, transfer to smaller hybrid trucks to utilize this. This would be fantastic for the trucking industry/ drivers which is why it will never be done.

Comment Re:Mularkey (Score 0) 696

13) these numbers are void because Al Gore still exists.

That is it in a nut shell. Al invented the internet. Al just saved us from rebellion. Al flies in his private jet to GW conferences yet tells everyone they need to do without. Al is not your best front man if you didnt know already.

Comment Re:Convenience Store (Score 1) 131

I think Wal-Mart sells all three. Haven't been inside a Wal-Mart in a while, but I will probably go ahead and shop there when I finally get around to getting myself a few boxes of Luger ammo.

Not if it is like the Wally Marts around here in Texas. Most have empty shelves when it comes to ammo. Last time I was there they had a selection of 300 win mag, a smaller selection of 30-30 and then some 12 gauge boxes. I order all my ammo by the case load.

Comment Re:Translation ... (Score 1) 893

I *wish* my taxes were that low. The last year I worked, I paid $3500 on a gross of $21K, in New York state. Lived on the remainder.

I lived in Alaska for 35 years and paid zero in state taxes. Moved to Texas for my health and I pay zero state taxes. The money I would have paid in say NY would have been on $70k. I would rather pocket that change and spend it on /.

Submission + - Supreme Court strengthens First Sale Doctrine ( 1

Tom writes: "The Supreme Court has sided with Supap Kirtsaeng regarding the resale of textbooks. Publisher Wiley had tried to keep a $600,000 judgement from the lower courts because the student had sold textbooks in the US that he had imported from his home country Thailand, where they are sold much cheaper. The Supreme Court ruled that while it realizes that US companies often try to get different prices in different markets, the copyright law does not provide a right to such business models."

Submission + - Better Together Campaign Abuse D.M.C.A to Censor Video ( 1

Pax681 writes: "The Pro-union Better Together Campaign have been abusing the automated DMCA take down procedures at Youtube,Vimeo and Daily Motion in order to remove a video Top Ten Unionist Myths Debunked which perfectly legally uses excerpts from [url=]Better Together's[/url] own videos.
Under UK copyright law there are provision under "Fair Dealing" for using exceprts for "Criticism and news reporting" , much the same as the DMCA in the USA with their n"Fair Use" clause.
There have been more than 30 take downs thus far between the various sites. the video is currently being hosted by Pro-independence online Radio station Radio Free Scotland on it's Video Safe Harbour page.
No Matter what side of the debate you stand on this is clearly an attempt at political censorship abusing the automated DMCA takedown systems at those sites and worse a clear attempt to stifle debate in what is the most important debate in 300 years for Scotland and it's electorate.
Better together have apparently claim that the complaint was to "protect" the people in the video.. well.. the video's are all publicly available and if the BT Campaign was so worried it would not have asked the people to be in them Also this statement from them doesn't come under copyright at all and in itself shows that the DMCA/copyright complaint is actually utterly unfounded.
In True internet Fashion the video has also been popping up on youtube and other sites continually in a Streisand effect response. Radio Free Scotland have stated that they won't take the video down as it is clearly legal and legitimate in it's use of the excerpts to debunk the "myths" of the Better Together Campaign.
Slashdots thoughts on this abuse of the DMCA to censor?"


Submission + - Israel patrols its borders with 10 autonomous off-road vehicles (

An anonymous reader writes: Since 2008 the Israeli Ministry of Defense has been operating up to 10 Guardian UGV autonomous off-road vehicles to patrol its borders. They look like armor plated jeeps, but are packed with tech allowing them to function independent of an operator.

Typically a Guardian UGV will be programmed to follow a set route continuously monitoring the surrounding area as it goes. If it spots something out of the ordinary it phones home and awaits further instructions. Alternatively, two guys with laptops can dial in and control the UGV directly. One has control of the vehicle movement while the other can position cameras and monitor an area using the built-in radar system.

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