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Comment Re:Compulsory voting in AU (Score 5, Informative) 343

You don't have to mark your ballot, and even if you did, that would require them to check your ballots before you dropped it in the box, which they don't do.

You can drop in a blank ballot, draw a penis on it, or whatever you like; if it doesn't follow the rules it's called "informal" and not counted.

What you're describing is still quite common - it's called the donkey vote (numbering the ballot from the top), is a valid vote, and actually gives the top candidates a slight edge.

Comment Of course it's a friendly call (Score 1) 72

Hello? ... Ah ... I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? ... Oh-ho, that's much better. ... yeah ... huh ... yes ... Fine, I can hear you now, Vladimir. ... Clear and plain and coming through fine....I'm coming through fine, too, eh? ... Good, then ... well, then, as you say, we're both coming through fine. ... Good. ... Well, it's good that you're fine and ... and I'm fine. ... I agree with you, it's great to be fine. ... a-ha-ha-ha-ha ... Now then, Vladimir, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb. ...The *Bomb*, Vladimir.... The *hydrogen* bomb! ... Well now, what happened is ... ah ... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of ... well, he went a little funny in the head ... you know ... just a little ... funny. And, ah ... he went and did a silly thing. ... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes ... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Vladimir. ... Let me finish, Vladimir. ... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?! ...Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Vladimir? ... Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello? ... *Of course* I like to speak to you! ... *Of course* I like to say hello! ... Not now, but anytime, Vladimir. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It's a *friendly* call. Of course it's a friendly call. ... Listen, if it wasn't friendly ... you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... They will *not* reach their targets for at least another hour. ... I am ... I am positive, Vladimir. ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick. ... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes. ... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then ... I'd say that, ah ... well, ah ... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Vladimir. ... I know they're our boys. ... All right, well listen now. Who should we call? ...*Who* should we call, Vladimir? The ... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there.... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. ... Where is that, Vladimir? ... In Omsk. ... Right. ... Yes. ...Oh, you'll call them first, will you? ... Uh-hu ... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Vladimir? ... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information. ...Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm ... I'm sorry, too, Vladimir. ...I'm very sorry. ... *All right*, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well. ... I am as sorry as you are, Vladimir! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are. ... So we're both sorry, all right?! ... All right.

Comment Re:What a load of muddled energy unit drivel. (Score 3) 110

There's only about a kW of solar power available per square metre, and solar panels aren't anywhere near 100% efficient, so it can't be the output of the panels.

This is why it's bad to have the scientifically illiterate writing articles - they mangle the units beyond recognition so you have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

Comment Re:Global? (Score 1) 963

As I recall, the heat forcing of CO2 is something like 5x that of a standard diatomic gas, ie N2 or O2, which make up a huge fraction of the atmosphere. When I ran this calculation before, CO2 was only barely a net heat forcer in the absence of water vapor. Including water vapor it slightly reduces the heat forcing of the atmosphere.

You recall incorrectly. The radiative forcing of the top three gases in the atmosphere - N2, O2 and Ar - is precisely zero as can be demonstrated from symmetry.

Argon is monatomic and therefore has no vibrational or rotational modes. N2 and O2 are symmetric about the centre of their bond, so their vibrational and rotational modes do not involve an oscillating dipole and therefore are not infrared active.

Radiative forcing comes down to infrared absorption of outgoing heat from the earth - if there is no infrared absorption, there's no radiative forcing.

Comment Re:This is science (Score 1) 963

I agree that 84% ( is not unanimous, but it's getting closer every year.
Unless, ofcourse, you count the opinion of people who don't understand the science involved and blame other people for their own lack of understanding.

Like the EPA?. Tell me if you can spot the huge logic hole in this statement:

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period

Remember, these are the people writing policy and regulations concerning our rights with respect to climate change.

I think you made the point better than the parent to your post ever could.

You don't understand the science, so you call it a logic hole. In fact, if you think that's a logic hole your grasp of logic isn't too crash hot either.

Comment Re:Good news everyone! (Score 4, Informative) 144

From the latin vacca, or cow.

Because the first steps towards a smallpox vaccine were based on the realisation that dairy workers who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox. Vaccinia is very closely related to cowpox, but has diverged from it slightly since the its widespread use as a vaccine.

Because it was so successful as a vaccine, the name vaccination stuck.

Miss that part of the story, and it's nowhere near as interesting.

Comment Re:Too long? (Score 1) 290

... he certainly didn't present a compelling argument to ban sales of iPhones.

There's a good reason for that. I didn't attempt to present an argument to ban sales of iPhones. You well and truly missed the point.

"Merchantable quality" is a phrase that comes up in warranty law here, in that it if it fails before it's reasonably expected to, it's defective and the consumer deserves a refund. How you got "ban sales of iPhones" from that is a mystery to me. Grandparent is right - if "shit happens", it should be Apple's problem, not mine.

If you think Apple products only ever fail due to user error, the Reality Distortion Field is alive and kicking.

Comment Re:Too long? (Score 3, Informative) 290

Warranties are also supposed to cover defects that materialise after some time and are not apparent at purchase.

Here in Australia, the law covers how long the item is reasonably expected to last, given its cost and quality. Given that the phones are often sold with two year contracts, the one year warranty is certainly deficient from that perspective. Having had two iPhones fail between the one year warranty and the two that should apply, I'm not too pleased about Apple dodging their responsibilities under our warranty law.

A $1000 phone that only lasts 13 months can't really be considered of merchantable quality, regardless of how quickly the industry progresses.

Comment Re:Our whole calendar is messed up. (Score 1) 225

Actually, both the median and the mode would be 10 unless I'm drastically under/overestimating the incidence of polydactyly and missing digits.

It's the median that is closest to the definition you're asking about, however if less than half the population has 10 digits, the median is exactly ten.

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