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Comment Re: And thus the Internet of Things collapses (Score 1) 211

And to demonstrate that being born in the US does not really qualify you to judge social mobility in the states I will use the following quote: Of the eight countries studiedâ"Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the UK and the USA, the USA had both the highest economic inequality and lowest economic mobility. Taken from Maybe dont make arguments that can be debunked in the most basic google searches.

Comment unbiased?! (Score 2) 499

From the article:

In her 11 August response, Barr questioned whether the special agent who conducted the investigation “can be an impartial evaluator of academic scientists, or anyone with liberal political beliefs.” As evidence, she points to a posting on a blog maintained by the agent, a veteran who served in Iraq, and his family. The item is a copy of a popular Internet meme about an incident that supposedly took place in an introductory college biology course. According to the story, a “typical liberal college professor and avowed atheist” declares his intent to prove that there is no God by giving the creator 15 minutes to strike him from the podium. A few minutes before the deadline, a Marine “just released from active duty and newly registered” walks up to the professor and knocks him out with one punch. When the professor recovers and asks for an explanation, the Marine replies, “God was busy. He sent me.”

Seems to me like the investigator has an axe to grind. How is a person like that even allowed to do investigations about who is suitable for a job? It would be funny if it wasn't so sad; Scientist gets investigated for suitability to work for the government, gets found unsuitable because of involvement with some activist groups >30 years ago. Investigator advocates violence against people with different opinion (scientist would most likely fall into that group). Now who is unsuitable for his job.

Before you say, making a joke like the investigator is not really advocating violence. You're probably correct, however for someone in his position it is extremely unprofessional to say anything like that! Someone like this should be extremely cautious to always give the impression that they will make a reasonable and fair assessment.

Also lets remember this is about the position of "Program Director for Undergraduate Education" at the National Science Foundation, not really a position that requires access to top secret information

Submission + - NSA can't search its own email

cycoj writes: The NSA says that there is no central method to search its own email. When asked in a Freedom of Information Act request for emails with the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period, the agency, which has been collecting and analysing the data of hundreds of millions internet users, says it can only perform person-per-person searches on its own email.

Comment Re:Americans have greater liberty (Score 1) 568

As opposed to US politics, there is a consensus in German politics. Namely that politics is for the benefit of the people and society. Business is a part of that society, not the other way around.

No, it is not that. It is just that Americans have a strong commitment to freedom, while certain European countries
sacrifice freedom in order to reach a higher (by material standards and measured by HDI) standard of living.
That is why homeschooling is generally legal in America, while in Germany there is a Nazi-era law
that persecutes homeschoolers as if they were rapists. In Germany, the freedom to teach one's own
child is less important than the benefit of having ideological uniformity in the nation, making for a stronger

Actually the argument against homeschooling is that the freedom and rights of the child have to be protected even against the rights of the parents. The children have the right and freedom to be educated about science, sexuality other religions etc. even if the parents belong to some religious sect or the other, which oppose these ideas. I find it ironic that the ones shouting the loudest against abortion, and about the rights of the unborn child, are also the ones most strongly opposed to legislation for protecting the rights of born children, because essentially their premise is that children are the property of their parents, which they should be allowed to education whichever way they please (including beating with a stick).

Another example is "hate speech" legislation that makes politically incorrect ideas verboten.

Even if the USA didn't have the world's fourth highest HDI (behind only the Netherlands, Australia and Norway),
and the world's most advanced science/technology, it would still be the best place to live due to political decentralisation
(state's rights) and a strong liberty-protecting Constitution (specially the First Amendment).

Freedom trumps all.

Well, if we use the inequality adjusted HDI the USA suddenly falls back to the 23rd place. So it's not really such a great place to life. Also about technology and science, I doubt that every time I sit in an american train.
And about the liberty-protecting Constitution, how's that working for the detainees in Guantanamo?

Comment Re:What does that have to do with anything? (Score 1) 568

The article is about how an industrialised nation has demonstrated that it is economically and industrially feasible to harvest significant amounts of energy from the sun. Anyone want to talk about that?

They have not showed that. They have demonstrated, that you can build a lot of solar panels and wind mills, if you invest a sickening amount of money in them and pay over 100% in subsidies. When you look closer at the results, you notice that it's anything but economically feasible and it's causing a lot of problems:

Unlike the nuclear industry who has not received any subsidies in the last 50 odd years.

Comment Re:What does that have to do with anything? (Score 1) 568

Actually nuclear is not cheap at all. The return on investment which is pretty much the standard measure for how expensive a technology is is 5-10 for nuclear, similar to photovoltaics and coal/gas. Wind on the other hand has an ROI of 18-25, that means you actually have produced all the energy it takes to make and operate your wind turbine over its lifetime in about 2 years, after that it's all a positive energy (pun intented). Nuclear power plants on the other hand need about 30 years to break even. And all ROI and such calculations never include the cost of storage of nuclear waste, because it's such a difficult thing to calculate. (source:

As to the question of base load. If your grid is sufficiently large and good, and your fluctuating power sources such as wind and solar, do not follow the same circles, you don't need any base load at all. It's actually more efficient to not have base load. You can find several studies on this if you use google. Now the current problem with this approach is that electricity grids are neither good, nor smart enough.

Comment Re:Nuke power (Score 1) 483

You should really do your homework. First, for pretty much any power generation the cost of the plant is the main cost component both in terms of money and energy costs. So what the OP earlier said that the power is cheap once the plant is up and running is true for pretty much anything. Now, if we look at energy return i.e. the ratio of energy produced over the ratio of energy spend (for construction, maintenance, running and decommission) windpower beats all other means of producing energy by a large margin. The EROI of wind is ~18, for comparison hydro has about 12 and Nuclear is lower than PV-solar at about 5 or 6. That means if you build a windturbine after about 12-18 months(!) you are producing net energy. Now I admit energy cost is different than monetary cost, however they should be proportional to each other.


Comment insurance (Score 1) 370

It's actually quite simple, require nuclear power operators to get insurance to cover all possible costs of a nuclear disaster. Then they can operate. I have to get car insurance to cover the costs of a possible accident, so why not the nuclear industry? If nuclear becomes to expensive, tough luck. If they can't find an insurance tough luck.

Comment Re:They blew up and are melted down (Score 1) 370

Technically "meltdown" simply means failure of the primary cooling system. And it most certainly failed, after standing up to catastrophic events far beyond their rated capacity.

So the reactors technically went into meltdown ... and were brought out again before anything actually melted. A number of indirectly neutron-activated elements, secondary byproducts of the fission reaction, were released into the air, and are totally harmless by now. In fact, over 99% of the Iodine-131 is Xenon by now.

In reality, in Japan :
-> Solar power killed dozens of people (people installing them during the quake, and a few people who got smashed by falling panels)
-> Wind power likewise killed a few people, who were repairing a mast
-> Oil based power killed hundreds of people, due to explosions in refineries and power plants
-> Nuclear power actually got close at one point, to (indirectly) kill 1 person. That person is recovering, and will make a full recovery in less than a month's time
Deaths per TWh energy (obviously discounting little details like the gulf wars, which only the absurdly naive claim have nothing to do with fossil fuels)

What a bullshit study is that? Counting the deaths from steel production, building and maintenance for Wind and Solar, but only counting the deaths from chernobyl for nuclear. What does he think nuclear plants are build of?

Comment Re:left-wing Huffington Post (Score 1) 402

1) If a news source has marketed itself as a source of with a liberal bias (huffpo) or conservative bias (Fox News) then it is completely rational to double-check anything they say. Ad hominem attacks are perfectly acceptable and warranted if the source has explicit motives for it's speech. Read up a little more on the nuances of what an ad hominem attack really implies.

Funny that you accuse the OP of logical fallacies whithout actually saying what the fallacy is. At the same time you're yourself "conduct" a logical fallacy yourself. Just because a news source as some (perceived) bias does not mean they are not correct, even correct in most of the cases. When will people learn that the truth is not always in between two extremes, but might be just as well at one extreme side. Also some source in the middle (moderate if you want to) has just as many motives as any source at the extremes, bottom line always double check.

Also how is double checking sources related to making ad hominem attacks acceptable? Yes double checking sources is good, especially if you are doubtful about their motives. However, even someone with doubtful motives can be correct. An ad hominem attack avoids the argument altogether and instead just attacks the person. So the OP was fully correct, it seems you should be doing some reading.

2) Your response is entirely premised on terrible logical fallacies. You link the OP with "tribalism/partisanism/racism/sexism/prejudice" as a method to disparage his/her opinion. In my opinion, that is about 10x worse than what the OP did.

3) Browsing through your comment history, it's clear this sort of hogwash is your MO and you need to chill out rather than attacking people all the time.

Comment Re:Questions from an optoelectronics geek (Score 2, Informative) 129

Wavelengths, we're pretty much always talking near-infrared. The most often used wavelength range is the so-called C-band (1530–1565 nm). This is mainly because this is where Erbium-doped fibre amplifiers work, which are necessary to create very long links without repeaters (also this is where the absorption minimum of fibres is). Less common is the L-band 1565-1625 nm. There's also the O and E band this are AFAIK mainly legacy bands which were used at the beginning of fibre optic communications. (Dense) Wavelength division multiplexing WDM/DWDM systems have channel spacings of 100 or 50 GHz bandwidth, i.e. ~1 or 0.5 nm at 1550 nm (look up ITU grid for more info). Today they usually carry 10 Gb/s data, however more and more 40 Gb/s and the next standard is 100 Gb/s (this actually uses multi-level phase and amplitude coding). About the pushing microwaves over optic lines, that's not really desired, absorption is too high, you also need diameters on the scale of a wavelength (depending on your index contrast) and finally you would not gain much, the bandwidth of your channels depends on your carrier frequency at microwave wavelengths the carrrier frequency is a couple of 100 GHz max. so that's the full bandwidth you get. compared to the C-band which contains about 70 channels at 100 GHz bandwidth each. So really no point.

Comment Re:Sadly... (Score 1) 764

For god's sake how's this modded insightful? They haven't come up with a falsifiable hypothesis?! Well tell me what the theory of AGW is? Also what's the point about about that they prove their assumptions by adding more data, you make it sound like they are searching for more data that supports their theory, like the data just magically appears out of thin air or something. Get a clue, the data comes from real sources, and yes they have added more and more data from more and more different sources and guess what it all supports the assumptions of AGW. That IS how you do science! And that is also how you come up with a scientific consensus. The anti-AGW folk or what you call them, have really had it easy in comparison, yes they only needed to come up with a clear falsification of AGW, but they haven't managed to do this. Instead they always repeat the same myths over and over again, "but, but ... the mid-evil warming period, ... sunactivity ..." all of which have been debunked over and over again. But fortunately thanks to "climategate" they don't need to make up scientific sounding arguments, they just shift to attacks on the integrity of the scientists

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