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Comment Finally! (Score 1, Flamebait) 173

I must be one of the few people in world who likes the Ribbon UI. It actually makes a lot of sense. You have a top level menu, and clicking on each item gives you all the available commands for that menu item. Its cleaner and more consistent than adding all of the older style toolbars you need or using the drop down menus, which are often inconsistent in their ordering or placement.

The only reason I consistently read from people who dislike the Ribbon is basically "It's not what I'm used to"

I'm excited to see it in Libreoffice. And I'm glad they chose to make it optional.

Comment Re:The perfect platform for this is: (Score 1) 178

Trucking is massively tax-payer subsidized. Railroads own the land their rails run on, pay taxes on that land, and pay 100% of maintenance cost of the rail infrastructure (tracks, bridges, etc). Trucks pay a gas tax... which goes toward that massively subsidized interstate highway system and network of state and local highways. That gas tax does not cover the entire cost of the infrastructure that they use. If tolls were high enough to actually cover the cost of highway construction and maintenance, or if railroads were given the subsidies that highways were given, then rail would be more economical than trucking.

Rail is inherently more efficient and has less environmental impact. Think of a train of 50 cars. Each car can have 2 intermodal trailers on it. That's 100 containers being transported from one location to another using a crew of two engineers. Transporting 100 containers by truck would need 100 trucks and 100 drivers. A truck at max weight (40 tons) gets ~5mpg. That means that 100 trucks would use 20000 gallons of fuel to go 400 miles. A train would use 1 gallon/ton, or 4000 gallons to move that same load 400 miles.

A 4 lane highway occupies a minimum of 80 feet of ROW (right of way). A single rail line requires only 17ft of ROW. Double track would require 30ft. The environment footprint of rail is way less than highways. Then think of the highway interchanges... those sprawling multi-acre parks of concrete. A rail interchange requires a lot less land.

Rail really is better, especially for transporting large volumes of goods. You may say "Yay, but all these places that ship/receive goods are all spread out" ... well, they weren't always. Until the 60s, rail was the primary shipping method, and if you had a plant, factory, or warehouse, you were next to a rail-line. The separation of those businesses from rail physically happened in conjunction with the cost of truck transport becoming so much less than rail as the interstate highway system was built.

Comment Re:The math (Score 1) 376

We can't say that such an increase has not happened, you are correct, since the resolution of the historical data is not the same as the present. But I think it's highly unlikely to have happened before.

My main point being that it took millions of years in a very slow process to sequester all of that carbon into the Earth. I can't imagine any natural process that would be so methodical as to extract only the pockets of carbon in the ground and put them back into the atmosphere. Even an asteroid impact would only dislodge and release a small section of carbon around the impact. There are no natural processes that can release all buried carbon on a global scale within a span of 300 years (assuming we pump every last drop out of the ground in the next hundred years).

Comment The math (Score 4, Informative) 376

The math of climate change is fairly straightforward. CO2 and methane in the atmosphere cause more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere and oceans. There's a certain amount of carbon that was stored underground over millions of years in the form of oil and coal. That carbon was slowly extracted from the atmosphere by plants over the course of 500 million years and stored underground. During that time, the planet's temperature went up and down for various reasons 1) Earth's orbit and distance from the sun 2) volcanic activity releasing CO2 3) aerosols reflecting light back into space 4) the reflectivity of the surface of the earth from accumulation of snow or melting of snow during those other changes 5) sudden die off or surge of plant life 6) other reasons.

The rate of change for temperature and CO2 levels during all of those changes was gradual, with the changes taking place over thousands or millions of years. When CO2 was released in previous times, it was gradual. What's different about the current climate is that humans have raised the CO2 levels in the atmosphere by 140% in 200 years (280ppm to 400pm). That rate is way faster than any natural change in the history of the planet. That rate is what is so significant about human caused release of CO2 into the atmosphere. There are simply no natural factors to compare the methodical migration of carbon from the ground into the atmosphere.

So, yes this is significant.

Comment Re:Data (Score 1) 150

It's illegal to exclude someone based on pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or cancer, or unhealthy lifestyle, but the premiums for those people are still higher. And Aetna can still drop geographic areas if the ratios of pre-existing conditions to healthy people is higher than they want. Aetna's profit comes from paying the least in claims and collecting the most in premiums. They will try every possible tactic to increase their profits, which happens to be at the expense of the patients that receive the benefits.

Comment Sounds great (Score 1) 160

I'm all for this product. We need to replace our roof anyway. If the cost of the solar panel roofing is comparable to the cost of an asphalt roof, then its great. The only extra cost would probably be the battery and connections to the electric panel. hopefully those wouldn't be too high and would be offset by some sort of tax break.

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