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Comment Re:Party! (Score 1) 180

OK, caught me with too little coffee. My main point is that this is not an "international" pi day because seeing it as 3/14 is not necessarily a majority point of view. I was also trying to remember what the months were in Julian, which would have been in force outside of Catholic countries at the time. If you want it totally nerded out, a pi day existed best when there was a leap month in the old roman calendar, in which 31 March would have been 31st day of 4th month, except it wouldn't have existed unless the Romans were using decimal notation. Then it would have been more special by being every four years.

Comment Re:Shocking? (Score 1) 436

Early views of state versus federal powers were tested and tweaked for 80 years and then settled by the Civil War. We have had a sovereign federal government for 150 years. The views of Jefferson, Madison, and the other founders on this subject are no longer particularly relevant, and have not been in a very long time.

Comment Re:OK, show of hands ... (Score 2) 100

Walls? You had walls? Why, in my day, when we hadn't crawled out of the ocean yet, we had to position ourselves under the computer, blow an air bubble for 0 and make a little vortex for 1, and watch them rise into the reader. A large fish passing by could cause a transmission error that would make us start over from scratch.

Comment Re:It's like this. (Score 2, Informative) 878

The GGP has a .sig that identifies a UK domain name. Use of plural for corporate names as collective nouns is the most common form in British English, or at least it is far more common than in American English. Rather than arguing about what is correct, it is worth noting that grammar is a social consensus that drifts with time and varies with location.

Comment Re:Somewhat welcome news (Score 2) 163

SInce you won't listen to people who weren't alive in the 80s, let me give you the point of view of someone who was already studying this stuff professionally in the 1970s. You are full of it; if anyone was indoctrinating you otherwise back then they were probably misunderstanding the huge scatter of exploratory results from climate modeling in its infancy -- the half dozen years after Budyko and Sellers in 1969 independently calculated an iceline stability problem using models so simple you would think a spreadsheet program is overkill now. The GP is correct in all points except a slight inaccuracy about the ozone hole. The catalytic ozone depletion cycle had been worked out in the early 70s by Crutzen, Rowland, and Molina (who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for that) but the Antarctic ozone hole was not noticed until the mid 80s, (Farman et al).

Comment Re:Scientific review (Score 4, Informative) 244

The idea that light was a wave moving through the ether was consistent with all available data, especially given the limitations of 19th century measurement, until the Michelson-Morley experiments. Maxwell's equations are still consistent with pre-relativity understanding, and I certainly had to learn how to work with them. The old way of thinking is not so much wrong as limited to a certain level of measurement, just as with Newton's laws and pretty much everything else before relativity and quantum mechanics. The old ways of thinking are still useful and generally correct within their assumptions. I begin to think that we need some kind of Godwin's Law against bringing up Kuhn and paradigms in an actual scientific discussion -- it seldom leads anywhere useful but usually is used just like this post to say "just because everyone who knows something thinks so doesn't mean it's right."

Comment Re:Can anybody tell me (Score 2) 166

A minor addition to the previous responses: most of the not-electric-guitarist (normal?) kind of people I talk to don't realize that most of us are getting our overdrive or distortion by overdriving the pre-amp, and the differences among the main amplifier types are much more obvious when they are lightly distorted from slight overdrive than when they are clean or in full metal mode. Many of the better distortion pedals are designed to emulate a particular type of amplifier's distortion, e.g., Rothwell Hellbender to sound like a Marshall Plexi or Lovepedal Les Lius to sound like an old Fender.

Comment A perfect story for them (Score 5, Funny) 326

This kind of story, where they can go seriously meta about how they fact-check their stories and how they were misled, set to mournful music, is an almost perfect This American Life setup. They will probably want to goof like this every year now. OK, I'm being very snarky, but Ira Glass is just way too sincere for my taste.

Comment Not the important item in Nature this week (Score 1) 272

TFA is a Bloomberg summary of a Nature commentary about a survey among permafrost scientists, and the main article isn't even linked by Nature. If this was just an excuse to fire up the global warming flame thread, go for it. However, the same issue of Nature has a far more important (for global change) paper that dismisses the CLAW hypothesis in which dimethyl sulfate released from marine organisms is hugely important for creating clouds. In looking for fluff, the meat got missed.

Comment Re:Where have I seen this before (Score 2) 259

You're lying in bed at night in a cool room with one blanket on. The blanket is warmer on the bottom next to you and cooler on the top. The top of the blanket is still warmer than the air in the room and it loses heat. Put on a second blanket. You get warmer underneath the two blankets, the top of the blanket layer is cooler than before, and less heat escapes into the room. The troposphere without additional CO2 already has about a dozen blankets on, because we're 33K or so warmer at the surface than our effective radiative temperature into space, and the recent excess CO2 is just adding another blanket to add a few more K to the surface warming. But the main point for this is that the stratosphere is mostly outside the blankets and is getting less heat.

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