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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.

Comment Re:How durable? (Score 5, Informative) 160

Maybe you could rake it with a wide broom or plastic snow rake. Our neighbor has solar panels on his roof and most of the time the snow slides off after the first sun starts to hit it. Unless its overcast for a few days after a snow, it always seemed to melt off quickly. He did use a broom a few times with new snow, but the sun and melting seem to go hand in hand anyway. And there's no need to clear the snow if there's no sun for the solar cells to use.

So, maybe in the case of a 2ft snowfall you could clear it, but that glass does a good job clearing itself anyway.

Comment Re:The Last Part is Important (Score 1) 95

There are two parts to this:

1) The raw data may or may not be saved. But it costs money to save the data. Once the research study is finished, the money is gone too, so there may be no way to pay for storage to save the data. Some researchers may hold on to it, some delete it. Until very very recently, there was no universal funded repository for neuroimaging data either. Now the NIH mandates, and pays for, the long term archiving of all NIMH funded imaging studies, including genetics.

2) The other problem is that even if you wanted to save your data long term, and had funds to do that, your IRB may not allow it. IRBs have often required investigators to erase and shred all records some number of years after the completion of the study. This language was written in the IRB consent and the research subject signed it. Going forward is now not a problem, as most IRBs add language that your data will be shared in perpetuity unless you opt-out of that the sharing. Historical data is a whole other ball of wax. To be completely legal, if you still had old data, you would need to contact every subject and ask if their data can be shared.

Replication of research studies using human subject data is tricky.

Comment Re:Issue is likely overstated (Score 1) 95

We've also been looking this over. It doesn't exactly invalidate previous studies that used high clustering threshold of p0.05, it just indicates that they are not as robust as once thought. The paper itself could change what reviewers accept though. Maybe some reviewers will say that based on this paper, only analyses using a FLAME1 or permutations method should be accepted. Much like registering EPIs directly to the standard template is frowned upon. It depends on the reviewer and the justification for your analysis methods.

It's funny that Tom Nichols, one of the authors, works with the FSL group, whose methods were compared in the paper. He's not invalidating them, just suggesting that the methods of permutations like in PALM and even BROCCOLI are better suited for fMRI stats. In person, Tom is just as nerdy as any statistician should be. But a very smart guy.

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