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Comment I'm in awe (Score 1) 14

I really should have brainstormed more before deciding on my 8th grade science fair project.

This is actually pretty cool, and it was cool of WDW for allowing them to do the research. The fact that there was such a stark contrast between the front and rear positions and that it was so reliably reproducible definitely invites further study on precisely which movements best facilitate passage.


Study: Earth Is At Its Warmest In 120,000 Years (washingtonpost.com) 43

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder, now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record. Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature, doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years. Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity. But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said. These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said. But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels. Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years -- which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases -- are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found. And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked. They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average. Snyder said if climate factors are the same as in the past -- and that's a big if -- Earth is already committed to another 7 degrees or so (about 4 degrees Celsius) of warming over the next few thousand years. "This is based on what happened in the past, Snyder noted. "In the past it wasn't humans messing with the atmosphere."

Comment Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 166

Air travel should be something that you do when you're crossing an ocean, because trains over water (and subduction zones) are physically impractical

Actually it is fiscally impractical, not physically impractical. You could physically build a vacuum tube-based maglev train where the tube is at some depth in the ocean to avoid surface issues and plate boundary problems. However the costs when people look at these things are utterly insane...but in theory it is physically practical to build such a thing.

Comment Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 4, Interesting) 166

The author concludes that our best hope to fix this trend is a return of high gasoline prices.

IMO, that's ONE way it might change, but pretty much the WORST option.

Personally, I'd rather see more people opt for electric cars or public transit because improvements were made in those areas, making them more desirable!

High fuel prices punish the people who are already struggling, on tight budgets. If they need to drive a vehicle for any kind of delivery or taxi job (Uber, Lyft, etc.) - it means their costs go up, because they can't just "drive less". Often, it's the same story for someone who relies on a car to commute to/from work. All those people telling you to carpool to work or take a bus aren't being that realistic. In many cases, you need the ability to haul things around in a trunk or back seat of a car that you don't get when using a bus or other mass transit, and you can't always find a workable carpool. It makes everyone pay more for package delivery too, harming your ability to get your asking price when you sell used goods on the Internet via sites like eBay. (It actually hurts the whole economy since pretty much every business relies on shipping in some manner. But it hurts individuals the most, IMO. The big companies do enough volume so they can negotiate pretty nice discounts with shippers like UPS or FedEx. They may pay more than they used to to ship goods, but it'll still be far less than you or I pay.)

I know personally, I live around 50 miles from my workplace. I used to take the commuter train, but the combination of increased prices for it and reliability issues forced me to go back to driving. There are just too many times the train is really late due to freight train traffic that gets priority on the rails they use, or mechanical breakdowns. When I was waiting on the last train of the evening and it was one hour, then 1 1/2 hours, then 2, 3 and finally 3 1/2 hours late -- I had enough. (To add insult to injury, it was cold and raining outside, and the station platform is outdoors with no good shielding from the wind or rain.)

What I *have* done is to express my plight to my bosses at work, who finally agreed to let me start working from home more often. That winds up letting me claw back all of that commuting time I lost before - as well as saving on travel expenses. So it's a win all around. But yeah -- I really tried to stick with the public transit option. They just don't have their act together enough to make it attractive.

Comment Electrical Fuel Transmission (Score 1) 129

The bigger the vehicle + cargo the more fuel you need to lift PLUS you need more fuel to lift the extra fuel.

If using conventional fuel then you are right. However unlike physical fuel electrical power can be transmitted wirelessly. Of course the technical challenges to do this would be immense for a moving vehicle but it does present a possible option not available to traditionally fuelled vehicles. However given all the challenges with current technology I would agree with your conclusion that Uber is very unlikely to crack this but it remains an intriguing possibility that at some point someone else might.

Comment This may be somewhat accurate .... (Score 4, Interesting) 135

One of our pre-teens is an avid gamer, and lately, we've noticed she started complaining about getting banned from online games she plays. When we looked into it more closely, we found out most of it was for attempts at hacking. Even in Pokemon Go, she had two accounts set up .... one "regular" one, and the other she was using to hack.

She definitely exhibits the interest in manipulating software to get the results she wants, and despite our lectures about why cheating is bad, etc. -- it seems to increasingly fall on deaf ears.

Now, would I say all of this means she's headed down the road of becoming a cyber-criminal? Not exactly .... In daily life, she abides by most of the rules. She's not the type to try to steal something from a store, for example. She generally knows right from wrong. But I think when it comes to games where everything is virtual, she has a feeling, deep-down, that it's more "ok" to cheat and hack. And in 1 or 2 cases where I thought she was "permanently banned" from a game, she got her accounts back again. I'd say it's quite likely that required a bit of bending the truth to an admin somewhere, to make that happen.

So all I guess I'm saying is, there's probably kind of a mushy grey-area here. Once you start taking an interest in dishonest play in a computer game and experience the thrill of successfully beating the system to do it -- you're exhibiting the same characteristics the common criminal does (enjoys the challenge of outsmarting the system for personal gain). I think many will draw a line in the sand, deciding that for example, "copying a copyrighted piece of music is acceptable" (because you didn't actually deprive anyone else of their copy by doing it) and "cheating in games is acceptable" because they're just entertainment anyway and nobody's really getting hurt. But you have a sense of morals/ethics that says you'd stop at something that was actually emptying another person's bank account or taking tangible goods without compensating someone for them. Others won't, especially if nobody really tried to teach them right and wrong....

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 609

Not very many creationists deny that creatures change from one generation to the next....so I think it's dishonest to portray creationists as though they have their eyes and ears covered and deny all of that.

That is actually far less rational though so my apologies for giving creationists too much credit. So what you are saying is that they believe evolution happens but that despite the fact that this evolution could explain the entire fossil record they reject that idea and believe that the world was created by someone with a heck of a sense of humour because they went to all the trouble to create fossils consistent with evolution? I have a hard time believing that anyone really believes this: it seems far more probable that this is a rationalization they use to let them support measures against diseases without having to publicly admit they are wrong.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 609

the argument is only "overwhelming" when you ignore thousands of scientists who disagree

I don't know *any* scientist who disagrees with the fact that the planet is warming. Where the disagreement lies is in the degree of the warming that is being caused by human activity. What we need to have a is a sensible debate about how we can start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while the science figures out how much we need to reduce it by.

Instead we have an inflammatory debate with one side refusing to admit there is any problem at all (despite the overwhelming evidence that the planet is warming) and the other side responding with equally non-scientific doomsday-like scenarios. The result is deadlock and inaction when instead we need to start taking sensible, measured actions now to avoid a situation where we need to take very significant, rapid actions which could cause huge economic upheaval.

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