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Comment Re:Why bother (Score 1) 920

It is true we are winding down, and that the most recent requests (ie last week) were for a few thousand troops to stay. But that number has been continuously decreasing from much higher levels, in July 2011 for example they were arguing for 10,000 troops:

It seems the negotiated strategy now is to keep 5000 civilian security forces in iraq, as part of a 16,000 strong civilian force, thus technically satisfying the withdrawal condition.

It is hard to say what the administration's true intentions are, since their comments are all filtered for PR.

Comment Re:Why bother (Score 5, Informative) 920

He gets no credit for winding down Iraq. He and his administration in fact lobbied hard to keep the troops there longer, but the Iraqi govt forced the US to honor the Bush deal/promise for an end of 2011 deadline.

Comment Re:Define "shape" (Score 1) 370

Two other things are important that I forgot to note:

1. They are not measuring the 'shape' of the electron at all.. they are measuring its electron dipole moment. They are using the word 'spherical' metaphorically to mean 'symmetric' or 'with zero dipole'. So my comment about cross section, while answering your question, is actually irrelevant to the study.

2. Assuming zero electroc dipole (so the electron's electric field is symmetric) the electron actually has an infinite cross section, so in this case the cross section is not very intuitive anyway.

Comment Re:all that wave particle jazz (Score 1) 370

The electron cloud model is the more correct one.

They are using 'spherical' somewhat metaphorically.. what they are actually measuring here is the electron dipole moment. A particle with a nonzero dipole moment causes an asymmetric electric force: A water molecule, for example, has a large dipole moment, so you feel a different electric force when you are near the negative oxygen vs when you are near the positive hydrogen.

So, if the electron has a nonzero dipole moment, it means it is a bit asymmetric in its electromagetic properties, and in this paper they have found that the dipole moment must be very very small. As they point out though, the Standard model (the best model of subatomic physics we have) predicts that the electron _will_ have a tiny but nonzero electric dipole moment.

Comment Re:Define "shape" (Score 1) 370

The (differential) cross section of an atomic or subatomic particle is well defined and quite close to our idea of 'shape'. It tells you how a test particle being shot a the target 'bounces' off the target. For classical objects it reduces to our intuitive picture (ie, if you are shooting at a sphere, you know how your bullet bounces) but it applies to fuzzy particles too. Unfortunately the wikipedia pages on it are not very detailed and miss a lot. Also check out the 'scattering cross section' and 'rutherford scattering' wikipedia pages for more info.

Comment Re:Curious question (Score 4, Informative) 370

Actually, according to the paper the electron is aspheric in many theories, including the standard model (the best theory we have). From the article abstract:

The electron is predicted to be slightly aspheric, with a distortion characterized by the electric dipole moment (EDM), de. No experiment has ever detected this deviation. The standard model of particle physics predicts that de is far too small to detect, being some eleven orders of magnitude smaller than the current experimental sensitivity. However, many extensions to the standard model naturally predict much larger values of de that should be detectable. This makes the search for the electron EDM a powerful way to search for new physics and constrain the possible extensions.

Comment Re:The Critical Section (Score 5, Informative) 222

Greenwalds reply to that section:

Hansen again wildly distorted what I wrote by taking a Twitter comment and tearing it out of context. I most certainly never "agreed" that "journalists were violating [Assange's] privacy by reporting the details of rape and molestation allegations against him in Sweden," That's a total fabrication. I don't believe that and never said that. Hansen made that up.

Assange was asked in a BBC interview questions such as "how many women have you slept with?" When Assange refused to answer, many WikiLeaks critics pointed to this as hypocrisy -- oh, see, he doesn't believe in transparency for himself -- and my tweet pointed out the obvious fallacy of that claim: there is nothing inconsistent about demanding transparency for government while insisting upon personal privacy.

Moreover, the question Assange refused to answer -- "how many women have you slept with?" -- is relevant to absolutely nothing of public interest, including the rape accusation. By stark contrast, the information Wired is concealing -- whether Lamo is telling the truth about his various claims -- goes to the heart of one of the most significant political controversies in the world.

Comment Re:Different pockets, same taxpayers' money (Score 1) 1026

No, you are the one being misleading.

If we are only looking at the dollar size of the national debt, then yes it is always increasing purely due to interest. This is missing the point though. Under Clinton, we stopped taking on new debt. Under GWB, we started taking on new debt again. It is like with a credit card. Under Clinton we stopped buying new things but we still had to pay interest on our previous loan. Under GWB we just started buying more stuff.

Also, you don't need put the 'supposed' surplus in quotes; it actually happened. Look at the very first table in the official "Historical Tables of the FY 2009 Budget". Look at the 'total surplus or deficit' column, the one with almost all negative numbers. If you look closely near the end you can spot a few years where there is a positive amount. That is the Clinton surplus.

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