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Comment More like 4.5% of the US is wilderness (Score 1) 150

The United States government owns 47 percent of all land in the West. (That's about 1/4th of our country that is, essentially, wilderness.)

Could you explain the logic of "It's owned by the government, therefore it's wilderness"? A lot of federally-owned area is used for cattle grazing, logging, indian reservations, recreation, man-made bodies of water, military facilities, etc.

The federal government does have designated wildernesses, but they form only about 4.5% of the US land mass. (FWIW, over half of the designated wilderness is in Alaska.) Of course, the government's definition of wilderness is not the same as the definition in TFA, but assuming that 25% of the US landmass is wilderness by any reasonable definition is absurd.

Comment Re:Shouldn't have sold XScale... (Score 1) 81

I agree with many things in your post, but I think that one of your important claims is wrong, and that weakens your argument significantly and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Intel's situation:

At the time no one was asking for server class ARM chips (which is basically what XScale was).

XScale was not a server class ARM chip. StrongARM was designed from the beginning for the embedded market. XScale was being used in BlackBerry and Palm handheld devices at the time Intel got rid of XScale. (Example from 2005. There are many more examples if you want to google around.)

So, Intel was already in the mobile game, and it decided to quit it right as it was taking off. That fact remains regardless off your points about stacks and modems. Intel could have made the latter without issue. (In fact, it's making modems now.)

Intel's decision to focus rather than branch out was shortsighted and clearly cost them. That said, "focusing" is a classic business strategy, so I can't blame them too much for following it. However, I think that focusing doesn't pay off the way that it used to. Many of the most successful tech companies at the moment (Google, Amazon, etc.) are branching out like mad, and it's paying dividends.

Comment Shouldn't have sold XScale... (Score 4, Interesting) 81

This is amusing in part because Intel made ARM processors from 1997-2006 (branded StrongARM and later XScale), but decided that ARM processors were silly and sold their ARM processor business in 2006. In hindsight, that was the worst possible timing since the mobile market started to take off shortly thereafter (the first iPhone was 2007. Oh well. At least they're no longer wasting their time trying to cram x86 processors into phones.

Comment Re:Who saw this coming? (Score 1) 192

Care to show me your post where you predicted this?

You caught me AC! I didn't post it on slashdot so I couldn't possibly have thought of it earlier or discussed it with other humans (with friends last week at lunch).

I guess if slashdot is your only means of communicating with other humans, then it makes sense to believe that discussions not posted on slashdot couldn't have happened.

Comment Addendum (Score 1) 350

FWIW, the conditions for speech to not fall under the first amendment is that the speech must advocate "imminent lawless action". So, your co-worker spouting off about how he wants to kill infidels is legal under the first amendment because it is not imminent. He's just advocating lawless action at some unspecified time in the future.

Comment Would you object if there were due process? (Score 1) 350

a list which has no Due Process to be either listed or removed?

Would you object if there were due process to be listed or removed?

How would the due process to be listed work? Someone on the terrorism watch list hasn't committed a crime yet, and they're innocent until they have committed a crime, so how could due process be applied to bar an innocent person from their 2nd amendment rights? Can you suggest any mechanism whereby a suspected "lone wolf terrorist" could be denied a gun purchase through due process? (You can't really charge a lone wolf with conspiracy if they've only made threatening but non-specific comments to their family, co-workers, on twitter, etc.)

If you think that every non-criminal should be allowed to purchase firearms, then just cut to the chase and say so.

Comment One of many feedback mechanisms (Score 4, Informative) 170

Believe it or not, you're not the first person to think of feedback loops at work in climate change. There are many known feedback mechanisms (relevant wikipedia article), both negative and _positive_. Let's not pretend that the "Net Primary Productivity" feedback mechanism (what you're talking about) will save us. In fact, it seems to be a pretty weak feedback loop compared to feedback loops that are at work. After all, we're burning up a _lot_ of dead plants (many of them from the days when the earth was covered with jungles). We'd need a lot of new plants to make up for it, and they'd have to show up pretty fast to overpower the other feedback mechanisms. It's easy to see that this feedback loop isn't too strong: just look at the amount of biomass around us and compare it to how much was there 50 years ago. The amount of biomass hasn't changed much even though the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has gone up an appreciable amount.

These feedback loops are included in climate models. No one pretends that we fully understand them or model them exactly, but people have put a lot of thought into them and have a decent grasp of their workings.

Comment Easier said than done (Score 2) 170

Let's crunch some numbers.

The largest tree planting project that I know of is the Civilian Conservation Core which planted about 3 billion trees in the US over about a decade (source).

Let's say that a 40-year-old tree is sequestering about 1 ton of CO2 (source, and yes, I realize this will vary a lot based on species and location, but we need to start somewhere).

So, let's say that we magically plant 3 billion trees tomorrow. That will sequester 3e9 trees*2e3 lbs/tree*4.54e-13 lbs/gigatonne / 40 years = 0.068 gigatonnes/year of CO2 sequestered. (Note that ton and tonne are different.) In comparison, the US produces about 1.4 gigatonnes a year (source).

I'm not saying that sequestering CO2 in rock is a better scheme, but planting a few *billion* trees won't solve our problem.

(PS. someone check my math. It's easy to screw these calculations up.)

Comment Trains are incredibly efficient (Score 2) 220

Even if these were diesel trains (they're actually electric), there would be a significant reduction in pollution because trains are incredibly efficient and trucks are not. All things being equal, a gallon of diesel fuel will move one ton of cargo over 200 miles on a railroad (or over 400 miles, depending on your reference). Trucks are nowhere close to that efficient.

It's hard to overstate how efficient trains are at moving cargo; no other land method comes close. (You can only do better on boats/barges.)

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