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Comment Re:liar (Score 1) 244

Ya, I spotted it immediately. He was really brave when he was sure he wouldn't have to do it. Kind of like all the people who claim they'll leave the country over [insert socio-political atrocity]. If they ever followed through, it would really be a newsworthy event.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 2) 154

Actually it's worse... or rather stupider. He offered to fix it (which really is just involves filling out and submitting a web form) if school settled a lawsuit for $200,000.

Now let's assume this guy is totally in the right as far as the claims in his lawsuit are concerned. That doesn't give him the right to hold his employers' systems hostage until he gets what he wants. Those systems still belong to them.

What was he thinking? Of course the courts are going to order him to hand over the metaphorical keys to the system. And the judge isn't likely to be sympathetic after this. On top fo that any future prospective employer is going to find out about this the instant they google "Triano Williams".

Based on the levels of stupidity and assholery displayed here, I'd be amazed if he weren't in the wrong.

Comment And in fact you do the opposite (Score 5, Insightful) 154

You have a plan should you get killed or otherwise be unable to provide the passwords. Where I work, in addition to there being more than one IT staff, all the passwords are safely locked away where the Dean can get at them, if needed. We make sure that even if we are all gone, whoever comes after can get access.

These days the university has policies to that effect but we did it before then because that is what you do. You have a disaster plan, and that plan includes what happens if you aren't around.

Comment Re:Politically driven pseudo-science garbage (Score 1) 189

Solar output in fact has decreased since the early 60s.

Also according to the Milankovitch cycles we should be in the middle of a cooling period, although the actual effect is quite complex (e.g. it makes a difference whether perihelion occurs in the austral or boreal summer). So it is also possible that we might be in for slight warming over the next twenty thousand years. But even if we were in for dramatic warming due to orbital resonance, that would be on the order of 0.1C/century, much lower than the changes we've observed.

You left out volcanoes, which are a natural source of CO2 (as well as cooling particulates).

If you add up all the known sources of natural climate variation you end up with no warming trend since 1900 (source).

Comment Re:Where are the error bars? (Score 3, Informative) 189

What Geoffrey said. It's easy enough to pull the instrumental record global average data into a spreadsheet and plot it; I've done it several times myself.

Also be aware of what error bars can and cannot tell you. You can't tell about the statistical significance of trends just by comparing adjacent years with error bars. It's the wrong statistical test to talk about decades-long tends. You might never ever see a year which is statistically significantly warmer than a prior year at some level of confidence, yet have a trend which over a decade or more hits that confidence level.

Comment People have a crude form of telepathy. (Score 1) 127

Not actual radio-like telepathy like in sci-fi stories, but an inbuilt capacity to actually experience what our brains think other people are experiencing.

One of the classic experiments like this is to get a subject wearing goggles to identify with a mannequin. Of course this is artificially induced; we didn't evolve in a world with 3D goggles and cameras. But there is a condition called "mirror-touch synesthesia" in which this occurs naturally, in which people spontaneously experience what someone else is experiencing.

The parallel element I see is the brain somehow generates a sensation without an appropriate physical input, and the phenomenon of mirror touch synesthesia suggests to me this isn't just a curious bug in our brain architecture. The 1.6% of people who report spontaneous mirror synesthesia also score higher than the general population on measures of empathy. I suspect it may also be linked in some way to our ability to learn by copying what others do.

This is a really exciting time in neuroscience, and synesthesia seems like an interesting target for DIY brain hackers. Mirror-type synesthesia particularly so because it's easy to induce. The rubber hand illusion is probably the easiest dramatic effect to produce at home.

Comment Re:... move to a shared, distributed database ... (Score 2) 108

unless, of course, you manage to get a majority of the people to record it incorrectly... but gee, that's impossible, right?

Nothing's impossible. However, the relevant question would be, is it harder to subvert a blockchain-based system (where you need subvert "a majority of the people") than the current system (where you need to subvert only one person, as long as it is the right person)?

Comment No, he wasn't (Score 2) 764

Assanage's offer was always empty, given that the US isn't after him, at least not publicly. Now he contends that the US wants to get him in secret, though he's presented no evidence of this and of course one would have to question if they'd agree to a public deal for something secret.

Assanage is wanted by Sweden and the UK. Sweden for a sexual assault case, and the UK for skipping bail in that case. The US has not filed any charges against him, though I'm quite sure they don't like him. If he left the embassy he would be arrested by the UK and shipped off to Sweden. Or they might not send him off, since he's broken UK law by skipping bail and try him there for that crime, then ship him off once she's served his sentence.

So this was always a stunt.

Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 3, Funny) 76

George Washington and his patriot army had mad ninja skillz.

They did. The old story goes that Ethan Allen was brought back to England as a prisoner in the Revolutionary War, he was housed with a English merchant who to goad the patriot put a picture of George Washington up in the outhouse. Much to the merchant's chagrin, Allen approved. "Nothing," Allen said, "will make an Englishman shit faster than the sight of George Washington."

Comment Re:Bye-bye, DVD (Score 5, Informative) 293

but, in addition, they tend to be shipped with unskippable junk that you have to watch every single time, before watching the material you are interested in.

It takes about 2 minutes of typing occasionally at the command line to rip the main title of the DVD and save it as an MKV file. Then, whenever you want to watch the film now or in the future, you don't have to deal with anything else that might be on that DVD. You never even have to take the DVD down from the shelf again unless you catastrophically lose data from your computer with no backups. I understand if the average man complains about unskippable ads or whatever, but how can one consider this a huge inconvenience on a "news for nerds" site?

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 93

Well, the answer might be to try a morning cup of decaf coffee. Why? Because caffeine isn't the only active ingredient in coffee; the anti-cancer properties of coffee appear to be in the phenols which are still present in decaf. And you'd still get the stimulant benefits of caffeine because you're more sensitive, although I'd avoid even decaf after noon.

A cup of decaf coffee has between 2-10 mg of caffeine depending on the process; an ounce of dark chocolate has about 20 mg of caffeine; a twelve once coke has 34 mg of caffeine; a cup of regular coffee has 90-200 mg of caffeine.

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