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Submission + - Sea Ice In Arctic And Antarctic Is At Record Low Levels This Year (

dryriver writes: CNN reports: For what appears to be the first time since scientists began keeping track, sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic are at record lows this time of year. "It looks like, since the beginning of October, that for the first time we are seeing both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice running at record low levels," said Walt Meier, a research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who has tracked sea ice data going back to 1979. While it is too early to know if the recent, rapid decline in Antarctic sea ice is going to be a regular occurrence like in the Arctic, it "certainly puts the kibosh on everyone saying that Antarctica's ice is just going up and up," Meier said. The decline of sea ice has been a key indicator that climate change is happening, but its loss, especially in the Arctic, can mean major changes for your weather, too.

Submission + - China To Build a Solar Plant In Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone (

An anonymous reader writes: Two Chinese firms plan to build a solar power plant in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, which has been off limits since a devastating explosion contaminated the region with deadly radiation in 1986. GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-SI), a subsidiary of the GCL Group, said it would cooperate with China National Complete Engineering Corp (CCEC) on the project in Ukraine, with construction expected to start next year. CCEC, a subsidiary of state-owned China National Machinery Industry Corp, will be in overall charge of the project, while GCL-SI will provide and install solar components. GCL-SI did not say how much it would cost. The Chernobyl reactor, which is due to be covered next year by a 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) steel-clad arch, is surrounded by a 2,600 square km (1,000 square mile) exclusion zone of forest and marshland. GCL-SI would not disclose exactly where the solar plant would be built, but a company manager told Reuters that the site had already gone through several rounds of inspections by the company's technicians. China is the world's biggest solar power generator, with 43 gigawatts of capacity by the end of last year. It is also the world's top manufacturer, producing 72 percent of global solar power components in 2015, according to a research note by Everbright Securities last week.

Comment Re:Anecdotal (Score 1) 61

I've set up Phillips Hue (not hacked yet) to force this behavior in my house. In the evenings they come on automatically as it gets dark, and throughout the evening they sunset, getting lower and redder as it gets later. Near bedtime they hit a dim reddish-purple to mimic an hour or two past sundown, deep purple, and out. About 30 minutes before I wake up they come on as purple-red, transition through reddish about the time the alarm goes off, have hit daytime yellow-blue-white by the time I'm eating breakfast, and then they turn off once I leave the house.
This forces me to stick to a regular bed-time, and it means that when I go to bed I generally go right to sleep. And I'm usually awake before my alarm. Now, I do occasionally override them, but that takes a little effort, which is a good way of persuading me to go to bed.

Comment Re:Perhaps (Score 1) 598

it's pointless, ridiculously hard to accomplish (and yet only works) on a global scale, and somehow manages to give the abstract notion of time even less meaning.

When I'm trying to coordinate a call with someone in Europe, it's a royal pain in the ass as we have to figure out our GMT offset plus/minus DST. I'd much rather say, "I work 1pm until 10pm" and have them reply, "I come in at 10am and stay until 6pm, so anytime between 1pm and 5pm would be fine". That's easy. Its even easy if I decide to shift my working hours to 12pm-9pm in the winter - I just let them know that. What's not easy is 9am-5pm local minus 5 time zones minus DST vs 8am-6pm local plus one time zone with no DST this week, but DST two weeks from now. Given we now have the internet, I'd rather be able to search for when someone will be available and be able to instantly compare it to the times I'm available than have to do some complex calculation involving looking up time zones and DST status.
It doesn't abstract the notion of time, as you said. What it abstracts is the cultural notion of what should be done at what local time.

I touch down in Sydney at 10:45am, great! What do people do here midmorning?

The issue is that you're stuck on 'morning' as being 6am-12pm local time. Lets suppose you live somewhere where you eat breakfast at 12pm UT. You say to your buddy in Sydney, "I'm touching down at 10:45am about an hour before my normal breakfast time. What time is that for you?" "Hey buddy, it's going to be about bedtime here. We'll get you some barbie shrimp but then you'll have to try to take a nap."
If anything, UT would reinforce the notion that the earth is a sphere that rotates, and that our concept of time, originally tied to the solar day, is not what time really is.

Comment Re:We need removal battery in phones and not thin (Score 1) 92

There was an article awhile back that found that a massive amount of the removable batteries on Amazon (like 90%) were cheap knock-offs. I used to be on the removable battery train, but I realized after I bought a replacement battery that looked 95% identical to the real thing that I had gotten scammed. (However, for $10, I just limited use of it and payed close attention when charging it.) Unless Samsung can get Amazon to crack down on the knock-offs, there are likely going to be far more problems with exploding batteries than if they just fix their issue and keep the glued-in one.

Comment Re:Ever the optimist is our Elon (Score 1) 426

I completely agree. But if we can change that, everything changes.
I'd love to see UBI result in a few green-thumb parents growing gardens at the local school and feeding the kids based on what they grew there. UBI could actually make that possible. If you're staying home for the kids anyway, might as well volunteer at school.
I want to see the local crazy artist create sculptures for every yard on the block that wants them, making a themed neighborhood and differentiating it from all the rest.
I personally want to run an after-school STEM program, costing minimal amounts for parents, and enriching kids with a window into the crazy universe we live in.
I want to be part of the cray UBI experiment, for good or bad. Because I really think, that once we get over our puritan culture, we can seriously change the world.

Comment Re:security by obscurity approach to voting (Score 1) 209

Security through obscurity doesn't work when the attacker can anonymously probe the security. Security through obscurity works quite well when you have to show your face to figure out the security. Sure, I could try to figure out where they keep the voting machines. But it would be really hard to do that discretely. Unlike a piece of hardware I could buy and tear down, or some software I could sandbox and probe, physical security really does stand up to security through obscurity.
Tell me: When you hop the fence into the Rose Garden, how long do you have to reach a door to the White House?
You don't know, and neither do I. And that's a fucking deterrent for everyone but someone mentally handicapped. Yes, you could send someone else to probe that, and observe the result, but that raises the alarm, and security heightens.

Note that you haven't pointed to any reason to think at all that this information is being kept secret....

And you haven't given any reason to think it's readily available. I think your mission impossible script is a bit shit, and you think it's possible. If that's the case, pick a city, do the research, and lay out how easy it would be. If you can do that, you're on tap for either Gitmo or an award.

Comment Re:physical access to machine? (Score 1) 209

To get physical access to the machines, you just need to get a key to the warehouse that they're kept in.....And you don't need to alter all the machines-- just a few.

I think you're overstating the ease of this. I have absolutely no idea where they keep the voting machines in my city between elections. I don't know if it's in one location or many. I don't know if they are somewhat distributed based on where they are used, or all in one central location. I'm guessing that only a small handful of people know these details. How do you propose figuring that out without arousing suspicion? Take all the janitors out for drinks and ask them about the warehouse contents? How do you know what janitor to ask out for drinks? Are you going to plant spies outside the voting location to watch them load the machines onto the truck, and then trail them back to the storage location?

So lets suppose you figure out where they keep them, the models, and you have your nefarious software ready to go. Which ones do you alter? How do you know? How can you be sure that they won't update the software before the next election?
You can't be doing this a week before the election - people are already likely starting to put the logistics in place. Dusting off the machines, running the start-up procedures and test units, moving them to more secure locations. You need to do this well before the election, but at that point, you don't necessarily know what machines will be moved to what location, and whether or not you're just rigging a vote for the person who is going to win anyway in that district, or flipping the vote in a way that would be blatantly obvious based on the previous voting records. You likely don't know if this is going to matter at all, because who could have picked the one district in FL in 2000 that would have made the difference? You're as likely to end up flipping a very blue district slightly red, or vice-versa, as much as you are to flip a near 50/50 split just to your side. Do the first, and it's clear that there was tampering. Do you then design more complicated software to do a statistical analysis on the final vote tally and then adjust or not?

It really is harder than you're making it out to be. Not impossible, but not trivial in the least.

Comment Re:Ever the optimist is our Elon (Score 1) 426

I heard an amazingly simple argument for UBI once, that has stuck with me:

Do we have enough wealth in the US to provide everyone with a decent quality of life? Yes. Then the only thing left to do is to figure out how to redistribute it so that we end poverty and suffering.

We're one of the more wealthy countries on earth, and we have plenty to go around. The only barrier is the cultural issue you so eloquently pointed out: [it] bothers a lot of people who like to take the position that the only moral way to survive is to work.
I have a decent job, but I'd really think twice about coming into cube-land every day if I could have my basic needs met while pursuing my hobbies and trying to make them into a business. I bet a large number of other people would be in the same boat, and I can't imagine the entrepreneurial boom if that happened. We used to be a visionary country, but lately it seems like we've become hyper-focused on determining what people are worth and what they deserve. I think UBI would reverse that, if we could ever implement it. Pay people for what they could be, not for what they are now. Like all investments many won't be profitable, but I bet in the long run enough would be that it would more than make up for it.

Comment Re:We heared the same over and over again (Score 5, Insightful) 426

If anything it should encourage private enterprise because you don't risk having zero money to eat and make rent

I think this is one of the critical pieces that everyone seems to ignore. It seems that most everyone thinks that UBI means more welfare and nothing changes culturally. I'd be shocked if that was the case.
I'm a decent writer, pretty solid cook, and I make pretty good beer. All of those things I do as hobbies because the risk in trying to do them as a job is too high for me. If I was given 2/3 or 3/4 of what I make now as UBI, I'd have to have a long talk with my wife about potentially quitting my job, being stay-at-home dad, and pursuing those hobbies as business ventures.
I can hardly imagine the boom in arts and culture that we'd see with UBI. All the starving musicians and artists who give up the dream to pay the mortgage would no longer have to. The sidewalk musician brightening our day would head home to a comfortable house, richer from the donations, but not starving if they are low for a day. I could see gardens and civic beautification projects exploding, as people with free time could invest it in their community. Kids would no longer be shipped off to day care with strangers. Parents could be more deeply involved in schools. Everyone with a crazy idea could pursue it, unlike now where most don't, because they can't afford to fail.
The parental engagement with kids may be the most significant impact financially. Kids who grow up in stable homes with involved parents do better in life than those who don't. They stay in school longer, stay out of trouble more, and, in general, become more productive members of society. If we can prevent 25% of the kids who get tangled up in the legal system and ER from doing that, either as kids or adults, that's a big savings for communities. If we can prevent 25% of the violent crime from happening, that's huge. And it could be more than that - most of the crime in my area is gang-driven, and the gangs form because the kids in them are desperate for a better life. If you can get paid enough to have a decent place to live, smoke weed, play video games, and shoot some hoops, being part of a gang is going to be a hard sell. And while the aforementioned weed smoker isn't going to be a productive member of society, if the choice is that or a gang-banger, I'll take the weed-smoker any day. The alternative is a serious negative impact on society, both in terms of happiness and overall financial well-being.

UBI will drive cultural change, the likes we haven't seen since abandoning agrarian society and moving into the mechanized one. I really think that with less poverty we'll see less chronic health issues (which increase hospital/ER costs tremendously) less crime (police and incarceration budgets are huge) more entrepreneurs (less organized labor and more individual and unique efforts, but potentially a broader tax-base) and there will be more people with expendable income to invest in those entrepreneurs.

Comment Re:Dumb (Score 1) 81

My last two phones were in the 2-3 year old range when the micro USB port failed. I jumped on wireless charging for that reason alone. I'd have happily kept one as a throw-around mini-computer if I could still charge it. I'm hopeful that by the time I'm ready to replace this phone I haven't broken it and I can keep it for random dorky uses.

Comment Re:I'll be skipping this generation ... (Score 1) 191

I posted pretty much the exact same comment, including current laptop model, earlier this week. I'm leaning System 76 at this point. At bare minimum, while the hardware isn't quite as nice as Apple's, I can configure a real MBP replacement for half the cost of the current generation of MBPs with 2x the hardware capacity. And ports galore. And a real battery. And a matte screen.

Comment Re:If they'd actually keep up their computer lines (Score 1) 232

I've been waiting on a MBP that's worth replacing my mid-2012 with fully upgraded HD and memory. (my own - not apple's $1k upgrade) Every MBP since then has been flat or downhill in terms of hardware. I think I'm going to go System 76 when I finally can't stand my old MBP anymore and need the hardware upgrades.

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