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Comment Re:This isn't really that hard to understand (Score 1) 356

The problem with climate science is that it's so difficult.

No, it is actually VERY VERY SIMPLE.
1. To show that CO2 has an effect on heat, get two glass jars. One filled with CO2, and one filled with air. Shine an infared lamp (or even just sunlight) on both jars. You can measure that the CO2 jar absorbs more heat, because it's hotter than the air jar. This principle has been known and well-understood for over 100 years, and you can demonstrate this in an elementary-school classroom.

2. To show that human industrial activity releases a shitton (ie. enough to affect the whole world's climate) is also relatively simple. Get in a plane, and fly over the Los Angeles basin. Just look at the carpet of constantly running automobiles, as far as the eye can see across many hundreds and hundreds of square miles. Wrap your brain around this happening 24x7, week after week, month after month ... for decades. Get on Google Earth, and look at the land-area we're talking about; and multiply that by all the major cities of the world. This is completely non-mathematical, but very easy for most people to visualize, if they've ever had the opportunity to fly over any urban sprawl area and just watch it happen. Maybe with a little observation of a car exhaust, and how the engine works, and what kind of volume of gasses it puts out while it's running. Also think about jet engines, and the volume of gas they put out as they're running, and think about the tens of thousands of flights happening right now, and every single day: again, 24x7. Non stop. For decades.

These two simple observations are obvious and plain enough that it affected me on a gut-level. No math required. It's plain and obvious. Not at all subtle.

Now: to observe the actual effects on the world, is not so easy. One way is to look at photos, over decades, of glaciers that have receded. If you've been alive for 30+ years (or longer), you know damn well that even though we've had a couple of harsh winters, it's certainly not like it was when we were kids. If you ask older people, they can tell you that things have definitely changed. But this effect is subtle enough that even the very old people who remember Minnesota winters 70 years ago, don't seem to be able to grasp how very different the climate there is now.

Comment Attack the Economic Position (Score 1) 356

They have very convoluted and complicated arguments against Climate Change.

On the Economic side, you hear that the Carbon Tax, and funding for research into renewables (and smart grids, and mass energy storage, and electric cars, and etc); will have a net positive effect on the economy. Yet when you're talking with a denier - they're arguing that any tax is going to cause economic devastation and abridge everybody's quality of life and standard of living, and that shutting down all the fossil fuel jobs will leave millions unemployed. Nobody questions this claim (in the newsmedia), and rarely are the economic arguments compared or scrutinized. This is also an important point that needs to be made to climate change deniers. Where renewable investment has been made, where carbon taxes were enacted, positive, measurable benefits have been observed. Most mainstream economists actually agree with this, but those arguments are silenced in the mainstream newsmedia.

Comment Re:OMG (Score 1) 159

There is a limit to how much plants and algae can survive with existing nutrients, plus we've been killing them. Not to mention some stuff falls to the ground or the ocean bottom, never to return its oxygen again. Not everything rots.I imagine complex life having arisen and expanded even before we were around might have had something to do with it as well. Lots of animals eat plants.

Comment Re:Coming from Detroit (Score 1) 75

There is no security on the CAN communications of any modern vehicles that I know of. Any person connected to the bus can masquerade as anyone else.

That's why Tesla has several layers of bus, with firewalls between them, inside each car.

Get on one of the buses, you get to tweak the stuff on THAT bus. But you have to convince a firewall you're cool (i.e. doing something the firewall recognizes as legitimate) before it forwards your transaction to anything on even an adjacent bus.

Comment Not quite the end of the story. (Score 1) 325

In most countries the government is in charge of health care and they have a VERY easy way to regulate price gouging such as this. In any single payer system the national health service basically sets the price they are willing to pay and that's what it costs. End of story.

Well, not quite.

In any price control regime, the authority sets the price, and there are three options:
  1. They HAPPEN to hit the "market clearing" price on the nose.
  2. They set the price lower.
  3. They set the price higher.

1. is a small target, and very hard to get right even if you're trying. (Even market economies only get there by constant feedback in the form of purchase decisions.) Further, there are strong political pressures on regulators on where to set prices, so they aren't even trying. So 1 just doesn't happen.

2. means the consumer gets gouged. (But now he can't go to some competitive supplier to get the product or service at a better price. EVERYBODY who is selling is selling at that price. So the gouging is institutionalized. The only way to get a lower price is to apply pressure to the regulators (see 1.) or go to a black market (with lots of risks, including issues of quality, reliability, contract enforcement, and bad encounters with law enforcement and the rest of the legal system).

3. is where the regulators usually end up. But a price lower than market-clearing means suppliers chose to spend their resources supplying something else, so the supply dries up. You could buy it at a sale price IF you could buy it at all. But it isn't available, so you can't buy it at any price.

A free market has its own problems. For starters, with a single supplier (a monopoly) market forces encourage gouging. With two suppliers they encourage an approximately even division of the market (a duopoly) and, again, gouging, with only price signals, not collusion, to coordinate their behavior. The incentive to engage in competition that drives the prices down to market-clearing level doesn't appear until there are three players, and doesn't become strong until there are four or more.

(Unfortunately, US regulations generally have a built-in assumption that two suppliers are "competition". Thus you get things like the landline/cable internet duopoly, or the built-into-channel-allocations local duopoly (collapsing to local monopolies) of the early, analog, cellphone system.)

Comment Knew a math professor without eyes ... (Score 1) 69

Back in the 1970s I was an undergraduate at a highly-ranked math department. One of the professors there had no eyes. (It was a birth defect - they had not formed, and his face was slightly collapsed where they should have been.)

When a student would try to skip doing some part of a rigorous proof by substituting a geometric drawing, the other profs would ask "How would you explain it to [him]?".

This guy was VERY good. But he had a "blind spot" occasionally when a graphic analogy would have pointed him to some existing proof that would apply. (I recall once when he was discussing some bottleneck in what he was working on and another professor pointed out that the troublesome piece of the problem was equivalent to an angle trisection with compass and ruler.)

Comment Re:Seven phucking photons? (Score 2) 106

Can you please convert that to Olympic swimming pools or football fields? I am american. Thanks!

So am I. Let's see...

10,000 gram moles of x-ray photons...

Take 22 pounds of hydrogen. Turn each atom of hydrogen into an x-ray photon.

Hydrogen bombs do something like that... But let's use total annihilation because the numbers are easier to find.

1 gm of antimatter + 1 gm of matter -> 43 kilotons of TNT equivalent. So call it 21.5 kilotons per gram.

Energy equivalent of a proton's mass is really close to 1 GEv. We don't know what energy x-rays they were detecting, so let's use the energy of photons from a typical dental x-ray machine: 70 kEv. So 10^4 * 7*10^4 / 10^9 = 0.7 grams of energy, or about 15 kilotons of TNT-equivalent emitted per measurement interval.

The Hiroshima bomb was estimated at 15 kilotons, Nagasaki at 20. So call it "Almost exactly one Hiroshima bomb" or "3/4 of one Nagasaki bomb" of x-ray energy released during the observation interval.

(Or maybe boost it up a bit, because I assumed perfect efficiency for the x-ray telescope's mirrors and detector, which I suspect is quite optimistic.)

How's that?

Comment Re:uninstaller unrunnable in safe mode (Score 2) 386

I don't know any company that's fallen further or faster in consumer esteem (once upon a time, a time I still recall, HP calculators represented the pinnacle of consumer esteem) except perhaps for the Hudson's Bay Company, but to comprehend that story you have to know what it once owned: a list of assets many nation states would envy. They spun off oil companies, railroads, real estate. What did they keep? Zellers.

Two words: Carly Fiorina.

Comment Re:Not "exactly" humane (Score 1) 429

Easiest method is car exhaust into a closed container via some tube.

Not since emission controls got good. There's essentially no CO (or NOx) in exhaust these days (unless, sometimes, if the car is in the sealed room and also breathing its own exhaust.) It's just a hotter and wetter version of the CO2 suffocation method.

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