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Polar Robots to Explore the Arctic

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the robot-siberia dept.

Robotics 98

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's now almost certain that the world's ice shelves are melting. And while satellites provide lots of data about their evolution, ground-based weather stations could be even more useful. But if scientists can no longer stay on fragile and volatile ice sheets, what can they do? They can use specially designed robots called SnoMotes developed by U.S. researchers. 'The SnoMotes work as a team, autonomously collaborating among themselves to cover all the necessary ground to gather assigned scientific measurements.' More importantly, a SnoMote is an 'expendable rover that wouldn't break a research team's bank if it were lost during an experiment,' according to the lead researcher." Reader coondoggie adds a link to another story on these robots at Network World.

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GNAA? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573509)

FP

Polar Robots (3, Funny)

quarrel (194077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573513)

'cause like, polar robots have something better to explore than like the *poles* ?

--Q

Re:Polar Robots (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574367)

'cause like, polar robots have something better to explore than like the *poles* ?

--Q
I'm Polish, you insensitive clod!

Re:Polar Robots (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574383)

...specially designed robots called SnoMotes
If the ice really is that thin, then maybe they should think about renaming them "SnoMores".

Re:Polar Robots (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23582725)

Equatorial robots would be entirely unsuitable.

Extreme temperatures (2, Interesting)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573545)

Wonder what those temperatures will do to the battery life? Could a battery compartment warmer allow more battery life than it costs?

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573591)

Batteries at lower temperatures tend to have longer lives, don't they? I know on most rechargables you can toss the battery into a freezer to grow the primer charge enough for it to actually charge on a charger. Or am I wrong?

Re:Extreme temperatures (4, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573661)

It sort of depends. If you're using the battery in the cold, it will discharge more quickly. If you're storing the battery, it will last longer in the cold. That's why those of us in a cold climate sometimes use a battery blanket (electric warmer) to keep the battery warm on those cold mornings. http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/coldbattery.htm [about.com]

Re:Extreme temperatures (3, Informative)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573995)

Batteries at lower temperatures tend to have longer lives, don't they?

Chemistry 101, lower temperatures mean lower reaction rates. Lower reaction rates mean less voltage, power etc.

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574989)

Lower reaction rates also mean lower self-discharge (leakage) rates, which is what I think the GP was referring to.

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23578435)

Lower reaction rates also mean lower self-discharge (leakage) rates, which is what I think the GP was referring to.
In other words, it was Physics 101 and not Chemistry 101. :-)

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574073)

You can extract less useful energy out of a cold battery. It tends to dip below a point where you can only get minuscule current much more quickly when trying to use a cold cell.

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574061)

While the SnoMotes are expected to pass their first real field test in Alaska next month, a heartier, more cold-resistant version will be needed for the Antarctic and other well below zero climates, Howard said. These new rovers would include a heater to keep circuitry warm enough to function and sturdy plastic exterior that wouldnâ(TM)t become brittle in extreme cold.
So yes. Yes indeed a warmer will be necessary when going to the Antarctic, but not for the Arctic. On a not quite completely unrelated note, I wonder if they could strap a little wind power generator to these suckers - it could really extend their usability in the field.

Re:Extreme temperatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23581855)

Yes indeed a warmer will be necessary when going to the Antarctic, but not for the Arctic.
Depends whether they're going to the part of the Antarctic which has been getting warmer or the part which has been getting colder.

Re:Extreme temperatures (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574231)

Although not suffering the defects of battery powered robots in cold conditions these NOAH financed UAV's http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7421297.stm [bbc.co.uk] will also be tasked with keeping an eye on things at the top of the world.

Talk to NASA (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23578709)

There is clearly already a solution since the various NASA robots have worked fine on Mars and although they are solar powered they will require batteries so they don't have to turn completely off during the night.

Robots, What Can't They Do? (2, Interesting)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573593)

...my job yet, that's what :P

When machines first began taking over jobs during the inception of the industrial revolution, I recall there being much resistance.

I wonder, as robots do begin to take the remaining jobs, will the same resistance be encountered?

I, for one, so welcome our robotic, network-administering, garbage-collecting, smooth-jazz-composing, polar-region-exploring robot overlords.

Glorified Microscope (4, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573679)

A robot that goes out to collect data is just another scientific instrument to be used. Ultimately, people are still going to have to make sense of the data.

It takes a certain kind of person to want to go out into extreme conditions to take measurements. Being able to make meaningful conclusions based on them in the field when you have other things to worry about also takes a special kind of person.

Robots can go out, measure, and send back to you in your comfy office. The only sad thing is that we're moving towards a world of astronomers without astronauts, so to speak.

Without the adventure there is a lot less to inspire 8 year olds -- imagine if the draw to NASA had been "hey, kids! you can wear starched shirts and use a slide rule!" instead of "you can be a kick-ass fighter pilot, get a FREE Corvette and wear an Omega watch!"

The reality is that even the astronauts had to put on the starch and take out the slide rule, but that's not what you want to show kids up front.

That its being shown to them now that space is mostly going to just get the machine treatment and astronauts aren't going to do much past float around not be able to go to the bathroom for a few weeks, its small wonder that the smart kids who have the wanderlust as well look at Marine Bio as the new Apollo.

When I was substitute teaching about a year ago lots of kids wanted to be marine biologists. none of them were saying astronaut anymore.

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573717)

I, for one, so welcome our robotic,

network-administering,

I'm pretty sure our current network admin guy is a robot. I ask him the same questions, he never answers except to grunt, moan and mutter "just reboot the damn thing". Already done.

garbage-collecting

Now there you're thinking. A roomba on steroids. Watch out slow moving cats!

smooth-jazz-composing

nope, too complicated. Try hip-hop. Should be able to write a BASIC program in about 30 seconds that will get you most of the way there.

polar-region-exploring robot overlords.

Now I'm really jealous. Playing with toys that go BEEP all day and getting paid for it! You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever!

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573929)

Hip hop? Try techno. (Yes, I'm aware of the xkcd strip. I don't need you to link me to it)

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574595)

Three lines:

My BASIC is pretty rusty, but here goes:

10 BEEP
20 PAUSE RND(X)
30 GOTO 10

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23578687)

10 BEEP

20 PAUSE RND(X)

30 GOTO 10

40 Profit! (yes I realize it's a loop and we'll never get to profit, but that's the joke of BASIC isn't it?)

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574121)

Read my sig. Resistance is futile.

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (2, Interesting)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574345)

Did you know that the London underground trains are designed to run autonomously? They don't. Because the union had an agreement that all the trains would be driven by them.

Yes, 'robots' are taking over our jobs, and yes there is still quite the resistance.
Not just from the people with the jobs either. A documentary on military UAVs (don't remember the name) suggested that sometime soon, commercial airplanes would fly completely automatically with one bored pilot onboard to make the passengers happy.

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23575375)

Did you know that the London underground trains are designed to run autonomously? They don't. Because the union had an agreement that all the trains would be driven by them.
Sounds like a story you heard from a bloke down the pub. Some of the trains are so old they were in use way before that was even a possibility and the stations and track are older still.

The more modern Docklands Light Railway does run automatically.

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23582821)

A documentary on military UAVs (don't remember the name) suggested that sometime soon, commercial airplanes would fly completely automatically with one bored pilot onboard to make the passengers happy.
15 years ago.

 

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23576461)

No human being should have to be subjected to the kinds of risks entailed in smooth jazz composing....

Re:Robots, What Can't They Do? (1)

Samgilljoy (1147203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23583575)

Hold on, you mean robots aren't already writing all that smooth jazz junk? Could've fooled me./p

Surprise (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573605)

Another fucking Roland Piquepaille story from slashdot's official cocksucker

Re:Surprise (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573777)

This is the worst tragedy since the Holocaust failed to complete the final solution to the Jewish problem.

Add to Endangered List? (2, Funny)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573629)

With the ice caps melting, do the 'bots get endangered species protection?

Re:Add to Endangered List? (2, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574309)

I'd rather put Roland on that list, or at least his blog reprints of news.

Re:Add to Endangered List? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23581115)

Actually the ice caps aren't as badly off as you think. What is actually important, however, is whether the robots are tasty and nutritious to polar bears. The bears can't be harmed now, and their increasing numbers over the past decades mean they need more food.

Dammit (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573633)

Why did it have to be the Arctic? I had a shoggoth joke ready to go.

Both poles? (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573649)

I, for one, welcome our bi-polar robot overlords.

Re:Both poles? (2, Funny)

shagymoe (261297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574327)

If they're anything like my bi-polar ex-wife, you're going to regret that.

Re:Both poles? (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23578695)

I do, she's now my bi-polar overlord

Overloards (1)

Anonmyous Coward (1290620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573665)

These robots will not only study global warming but reverse it. The problem that, since they're designed for the ice, they'll surely want the entire earth terraformed to their liking. I, for one, welcome our frosty robot overloads.

Re:Overloards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573843)

What would the carbon footprint of just one of these robots be? Simply asked, how much more of a warming issue do we create by trying to prove a warming issue by creating tools to measure it which cause warming issues?

Re:Overloards (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574341)

None, because we are not causing global warming. Ha, it was a trick question wasn't it!?!

Robots? Cold? (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573725)

Shit. Well then just put my brain in a robot body and be done with it. I am not gonna sit around freezing my nads off.

Exploring the Arctic? (2, Interesting)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573727)

Hope they float, even if they're cheap it's going to add up quickly...

Re:Exploring the Arctic? (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573917)

I have no reason to doubt reports that the ice at the poles is melting but what is the optimal thickness/surface area of the ice at the poles?

Cheap and expendable.... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23576421)

Like meat variety researchers.

Save the Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573753)

And, if we want to "save the planet," letâ(TM)s quit flying and driving. Thatâ(TM)s all it would take; we need neither to survive. No person must drive to live.

We don't need "paper or plastic." Or water for our lawns. Each family must grow some of their own food and yards and gardens I see in my neighborhood should be replanted with corn, okra, asparagus, and spinach. Showers will Auto Shut Off after a certain point and baths are banned as they take more water than the ASO shower. Thereâ(TM)s no reason to wash that car we wonâ(TM)t be driving. Absolutely, positively no reason for T.V. If anything itâ(TM)s more detrimental to the environment than nuclear waste simply because of volume and they only rot peopleâ(TM)s brains. Militaries, huge natural resources wasters, are banned. And when did it become necessary to have a cell phone? Everyday I go to work I wear a suit and tie. Thanks to global warming, itâ(TM)s 109 degrees out and I have on a jacket. And I have yet to see anyone dead in the street because he failed to wear a tie. One year I missed the Super Bowl, completely! And, the next morning I woke up. The point is âoeI woke up;â I somehow survived without it. I havenâ(TM)t tried it, but I bet we survive without the Masterâ(TM)s, Indy 500, Wimbledon, Kentucky Derby, or any of this other resource wasting nonsense. All families must be no bigger than four total, including remarriages. And why canâ(TM)t the newspaper I read be produced only electronically? All regions of the world must only grow indigent plants; others consume too much energy. No perfume, antiperspirant, furniture polish, toilet bowl cleaner, carpet freshener or those goofy ass things we plug in the wall that make our homes smell like French whorehouses. Letâ(TM)s eliminate all articles of convenience and then start on things we need to survive. I think there are populations, maybe Tibetan monks, who use less oxygen. Perhaps thereâ(TM)s some training they can provide to teach us how to conserve oxygen before the Chinese exterminate them. We donâ(TM)t need all these restaurants and they have to be super-big wasters of natural resources By taking the measures I outline in the preceding, we will extend our fresh water by several generations. But, we must march to the sea and begin mining her salt as the Mahatma did, the byproduct being salt-free water.

And their first assignment . . . (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573767)

Will be Northrend [worldofwarcraft.com] , employed by Thottbot [thottbot.com] !

Outsource! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23573813)

But if scientists can no longer stay on fragile and volatile ice sheets, what can they do?
Like everyone else, they can outsource. They can hire people from third-world countries at low wages to stay on fragile and volatile ice sheets for them.

Aaa! (1)

Zaurus (674150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573857)

Phew! At first I read that as "...explore your attic"

Expendable? (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573867)

More importantly, a SnoMote is an 'expendable rover that wouldn't break a research team's bank if it were lost during an experiment,' according to the lead researcher."
So, when the battery gives out or the unit breaks down they are just going to leave these things out in the environment like garbage? Plastic and old batteries? Is this a good idea?

Re:Expendable? (1)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574477)

Why not? We do it on Mars.

Re:Expendable? (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574563)

the plastic eating bacteria will eat the plastic but i don't know about the batteries ...

Re:Expendable? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23575113)

Who gives a shit?

Re:Expendable? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23575143)

Who gives a shit?
Your mother after I fucked her up the ass for an hour. Like a fucking river of shit.

SnoMotes transform and become SnoMoter (1)

bark76 (410275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23573969)

Do they combine to form a larger kick ass robot? Can they take on Devastator?

Not All (3, Informative)

sycodon (149926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574213)

Not all the world's ice shelves [nasa.gov] are melting

This is more significant than it may seem (2, Interesting)

querist (97166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574215)

Allowing these devices to function autonomously is going to be quite interesting. My research involved such issues, but only in mobile software agents. I've read, and been told by some of my then-fellow-students that autonomous land vehicles are more difficult to control than UAVs.

Combining this type of cooperation with autonomous navigation and the "bidding" system described could have some interesting commercial applications, ranging from autonomous "taxis" and delivery vehicles (such as an office-wide or city-wide version of FedEx) to branching out the bidding algorithms to help automate search and rescue efforts. Imagine if a group of specialized bots could be dispatched to look for signs of life - a large number with basic sensory capabilities that could then call in one of a smaller number of more advanced bots? Perhaps even summoning something similar to the much-chided "buddy bot" discussed earler on Slashdot.

I know the "buddy bot" seemed silly, but if you consider the more basic functions it could be very useful. It provides two-way communication with rescuers, so you can say "I'm alone" or "I'm here with two of my children, and one of them is bleeding badly", to "I'm trapped, but I'm otherwise OK." This could help rescuers better prioritise their efforts, much like triage on the field - if someone's bleeding badly, send help sooner, while the person who is trapped but otherwise safe can hang on a little longer, and then two lives are saved instead of only one. (I fully realize that type of situation may not always work out as desired - people lie, things can collapse further, etc.)

I also have to commend Dr. Howard for her creativity in utilizing what was essentially an "off-the-shelf" component for the main device - the little snow-mobile. Very well suited for the majority of the terrain for which it is designed.

There is much more behind this work than first meets the eye. I'll be quite interested in watching this one develop further. Now where did my 9-year-old put that Mindstorms NXT?

Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574239)

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ [uiuc.edu] Not only are they not melting its pretty obvious the antarctic is in growth.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (2, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574409)

For anyone curious, the link feeds you straight to a fairly convincing data set which would lead me to the opposite conclusion. Indeed since 2002 it would appear there has been a slight increase in the area of the Antarctic sea ice, here is a neat graph [uiuc.edu] . 6 years does not a significant trend make my friend. Additionally, the overwhelming theme of the data is the significant loss multi-year sea ice - the stuff that sticks around in the summer. How precisely did you interpret this data to draw the conclusion that the ice caps are not melting, and that the Antarctic is in growth?

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574709)

Aww. You beat me to the post.
Though. I'd say that's a crappy graph. It shows the data.

This graph [uiuc.edu] shows the trend. It subtracts the total area of sea ice in each season against the average in that season for the last thirty years, and then plots that on a truncated scale.

It clearly shows that the recent blip is (1) a blip and (2) not that big on the scale of things.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

Lochin Rabbar (577821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23576413)

The graph the parent post links to shows sheet ice area in the antarctic, the one you refer to shows sheet ice anomaly in the arctic. From the two you can work out that total world sheet ice is at a record high since records began. Not that thirty years of records are enough to draw definite conclusions from, gut that data certainly doesn't support the notion of global warming. More like unipolar warming.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574519)

I thought I'd check out your link.
I believe that the sea ice is melting, but agree it's probably grown this year from the crazy cold winter (for which I've yet to hear of a cause).

But I figure. I could be wrong. Maybe the website does have credible information about arctic ice growth.

But it doesn't. The webpage is devoted to showing evidence of arctic ice recession and melt. Specifically, the melting of multi-year sea ice. It has a good number of charts and graphs that clearly show a general trend of shrinking ice coverage.

So... I'm confused. Did you pick the wrong site? Or did you not read it carefully? The site lets the evidence speak for itself, and has very little opinion anywhere.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574675)

I believe that the sea ice is melting, but agree it's probably grown this year from the crazy cold winter (for which I've yet to hear of a cause).

That's a gutsy statement on this science-laden site. Next thing you know creation science will gain credibility here on good-old /.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574771)

What? Admitting that I don't have enough evidence to form a rock solid conclusion?

Ah who am I kidding. You're right. I am a creationist down at heart.

I beLeave! That the flying spaghetti monster... REACHED out brothers. He reached out his noodly appendage for YOU and for YOU and for YOU.

Re:Ice caps Melting ? Try again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23575459)

Considering the number of global warming denialists on slashdot, I'd say Cedric Tsui's comment would be safer if it were anti-science bullshit rather than simply a cautious statement.

Hell, even creationists are pretty welcome here. Just look at the number of IDists who came out in support of Ben Stein's dishonest tactics when Expelled was covered.

Almost certain? (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574255)

Almost certain? If the scientists can no longer be there to study the phenomena because it is no longer safe, I'd say that's pretty certain.

I'm Melting! (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574257)

It's now almost certain that the world's ice shelves are melting.
I'm not trying to troll here, but...really? I see no links to proof of this in the summary. Is this just another "OH NO GLOBAL WARMING" statement?

I'd be curious to see more information (from both sides of the argument, actually).

"Almost certain"??? (5, Informative)

Snocone (158524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574303)

It's now almost certain that the world's ice shelves are melting

Funny, that's not what the actual facts show. We're at the highest ever recorded ice cover in the Southern Hemisphere right now:

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/s_plot.html [nsidc.org]

which already more than balances out the Northern Hemisphere's recent decline,

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/n_plot.html [nsidc.org]

and now that the PDO has entered a cool phase,

http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/ [washington.edu]

it's as certain as anything to do with climate is that you're going to see that trend smartly reverse itself as well.

Soooooo ... only for some value of "certain" which equates to "certainly not" is that a defensible statement, methinks.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574941)

Hey cool.
You're the first person I've known to actually explain the sea ice growth idea.

Except. Arg... Your third link doesn't have units on it's figures. I'm guessing the colours indicate temperature anomaly from mean conditions.
Unless red means cold, it looks as if the polar regions would actually be exposed to warmer temperatures resulting in more melt while the equatorial region is a little bit colder than normal.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23574961)

Look at the graphs again:
Southern hemisphere slope 2.5 (+/- 3.3) % per decade
Northern hemisphere slope 3.0 (+/- 0.8) % per decade

So we now that the northern ice sheets get thinner but we don't really know much about those at the south pole, the uncertainty is just much too high (just look at the huge spikes in the graph).

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Breakfast Cereal (27298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23576099)

Soooooo ... do I believe you, or do I believe the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and every other scientific association qualified to have an opinion on the matter [wikipedia.org] ? I don't have the time or the resources to go measure the ice cap myself, so I have to figure out whether to trust the overwhelming majority of scientists or random people on the internet when it comes to this whole global warming thing.

While you're at it, maybe you could enlighten me on whether the moon landings were a hoax, too.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (2, Insightful)

Karel Jansens (1063154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23577033)

Just check who gets more money for churning out doomsday predictions.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (3, Interesting)

Snocone (158524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23579517)

Well, first off, your choice is not whether to believe me, your choice is whether to believe the actual facts as observed by satellite. I'll leave that up to you.

And, um, wikipedia may be a even-handed resource for some things, but climate change is not one of them. Indeed, in any academic setting, their conduct would amount to actionable dishonesty. Here, let us relate a first hand account of specifically contrafactual editing on their part: ... I undid Tabletop's undoing of my edits, thinking I had an unassailable response: "Tabletop's changes claim to represent Peiser's views. I have checked with Peiser and he disputes Tabletop's version."

Tabletop undid my undid, claiming I could not speak for Peiser.

Why can Tabletop speak for Peiser but not I, who have his permission?, I thought. I redid Tabletop's undid and protested: "Tabletop is distorting Peiser. She does not speak for him. Peiser has approved my description of events concerning him."

Tabletop parried: "We have a reliable source to this. What Peiser has said to *you* is irrelevant."

Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I -- no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone's views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out.

By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists...


http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=440268&p=1 [nationalpost.com]

A less reliable source of information would be harder to imagine, friend. Even if you refuse to look at the actual facts as I do and I suggest everyone else does, you really need to find an authority to mindlessly follow -- since that's your thing and all -- that at least makes some pretension to actual scientific process.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Breakfast Cereal (27298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23584111)

Wikipedia just provided a handy summary. The sites and publications of all of these organizations--which are hardly Birkenstock wearing communist hippies as you'd know if you'd actually met any of their members--state the same things.

But hey, you're probably right, I mean I bet all those scientists believe in the moon landings too. Lemmings.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Snocone (158524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23584973)

The sites and publications of all of these organizations .. state the same things.

Not quite as cut and dried as that, but generally yes. The problem is that only organizations that spout that particular line get funding and recognition, which is provided unconditionally. There is no mainstream funding or recognition available for those with contrarian evidence or alternative theories. A particularly horrifying book to read if you have any respect for the scientific method is "The Chilling Stars" about the travails of getting any acknowledgement whatsoever for the Svensmark cosmic ray cloud formation theories.

But hey, you're probably right, I mean I bet all those scientists believe in the moon landings too. Lemmings.

Then they would be idiots, because the moon landing disbelievers have no evidence that cannot be trivially proven to be unfounded. On the other hand, there is absolutely zero direct evidence supporting AGW theories, and the late-20th-century correlation between C02 levels and temperatures which is purported to prove such is contradicted by records both from before 1970 and after 1998. And the models that produce this correlation do not match observations in the Southern Hemisphere, do not match observations of trophospheric temperatures, and have actually got the sign wrong on water vapour feedback effects, since it's clear now that clouds in the real world actually act precisely the opposite of the positive feedback effects that are assumed in those models with absolutely zero proof whatsoever. Meanwhile, real scientists that are actually trying to advance basic knowledge in areas like current shifting, cloud formation, and insolation effects -- in most cases, from a base of absolute zero knowledge -- are not only ignored but are actively denied of tenure, funding, and are hounded as "deniers" in the media for simply thinking that advancing knowledge is a superior alternative to taking completely unfounded assumptions and prostrating to them as the Revealed Will Of God.

This is not science. This is religion. And witch-hunting religion at that.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23576105)

Dear Snocone,
Before I begin, I would just like to state that I'm certainly not very knowledgeable in the realm of glaciology or more specifically in ice shelves.

Moving along to the nub of my response, I wonder if the data presented in your message accounts for the more recent disintegration of ice shelfs in the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed you have probably heard of chunks of that ice shelf - known as Antarctica (if I'm not mistaken), floating by Australia and New Zealand. To bolster my statement I present you with an article authored by the same National Snow and Ice Data Center that you yourself sourced:

http://nsidc.org/news/press/20080325_Wilkins.html

In addition, on several journeys down to Southern Chile and Argentina, I myself have observed the breaking asunder of the ice shelfs around the area known as Tierra Del Fuego.
Now perhaps I am an oaf who has completely misinterpreted the point of this discussion, but wouldn't that contradict the above statements?

Re:"Almost certain"??? (2, Informative)

Snocone (158524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23579421)

Nope. Ice shelves break, that's what they do, even in Ice Ages. That there was a 400 km^2 chunk break off recently is really of no great consequence against the overall 1,000,000 km^2 positive anomaly. I suppose it's 0.04% supported, but it's 99.96% not supported. Not being oafish, that seems to me to be pretty clearly in the "not supported" column.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.south.jpg [uiuc.edu]

When you see the red line on that graph go below the long term average so that the total amount of ice is actually decreasing instead of increasing, that would contradict the above statements. A chunk here, a chunk there, that's almost certainly due to the wind and wave action of that particular area, not the temperature. If we had daily maps of the thickness of the entire ice cover, then we could see the dynamics of this progress in action and actually know why; however, as we do not have that information, we have to go with the most quantitative factual information we have, which is the graph above, which tells us that ice cover is growing.

How dare you! (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23576171)

How dare you speak against the will of the Supreme Council of Scientists, comrade Snocone. Obviously, you are a member of the Counterglobalwarming Clique bent on drowning the proletariat in the melting polar caps. However, in the name of the Mother Earth and the Green Revolutionaries, we of the Supreme Council of Scientists take pity upon you and sentence you to 10 years at the Consensus Gulag for re-education.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23579647)

So what you're saying is that 2.5% of 7.3M is more than 3% of 15M (numbers from the links you posted)? This must be the "new math" I keep hearing about!

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Snocone (158524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23582135)

So what you're saying is that 2.5% of 7.3M is more than 3% of 15M (numbers from the links you posted)?

No, I'm saying that 18% of 7.3M is more than 2.7% of 15M. Current actual numbers, not trend lines.

This must be the "new math" I keep hearing about!

I'm pretty sure that the "old math" would back me up on this one too.

Re:"Almost certain"??? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23583059)

It is, as of now, completely certain that the North pole ice shelf is melting. We are in springtime after all...

In response, (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574329)

In response, proponents of Intelligent Design, created a BiPolar bot that alternates between shouting "Then End is Near" and denying any scientific data it observes.

Breakable (1)

natedubbya (645990) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574349)

Is it just me, or do those robots look entirely too fragile? Worse yet, the treads appear to be about a hand's width in length. There's no way something like that will be useful out in the wild. It'll come across a 5 inch ridge in the ice and be blocked!

In related news... (3, Funny)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574431)

...Cartesian robots are angry about being passed over for these jobs without even being considered.

Solution to them falling through the ice... (1)

Akardam (186995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574435)

It's simple, really. Equip them with jump jets! That way they just fire up the engines, point them towards the ice, and...

... oh.

Anybody looked at the ice shelfs lately (1)

GreyHorse (1297535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574509)

The poles are not melting, have not been melting. How could they melt at 50 below? That's like saying Greenland is melting, since it's only 30 below zero in the summer. In case you actually want to look, and see for yourself, the latest is at this site ... Arctic http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh [uiuc.edu] Antarctic ... http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/antarctic.jpg [uiuc.edu] I guess not many actually look, since the sat data has been available since about 1979, the first year we were able to actually measure the ice, you can do comapres if you want. I wonder what the polar bears did when it was so warm during the last interglacial when the Boreal Forest grew right up to the banks of the Arctic Ocean? And how do we know that, the dead trees are buried in the tundra of today.

Re:Anybody looked at the ice shelfs lately (1)

Breakfast Cereal (27298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23575213)

I don't think you know how to read the data. This [wikipedia.org] sums it up pretty nicely for the Arctic. For the Antarctic, it's a bit more complicated [wikipedia.org] .

So why this this a problem? (2, Funny)

imyy4u3 (1290108) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574591)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I think Global Warming is a good thing. Melt all the damn ice shelves for all I care, more fresh water for us all, and better weather to boot. So what if the ocean levels rise a good 5 ft? I think the temperature benefits and the increased fresh water is a small price to pay for that. Plus the land we lose due to islands submerging will be made up in the form of land farther north or south that will now be viable.

Also, if you look at the history of the Earth over the past few hundred thousand years, you will see the global temps are always rising and falling. I think our greenhouse gases may contribute to it a little bit, but come on, I'm sure there's some global temperature cycle most people are not taking into account.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a good thing? Seriously, maybe people need to start thinking and questioning for themselves instead of always saying "wow, I heard Global Warming is bad, let's stop it!"

Re:So why this this a problem? (1)

Kris_B_04 (883011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23575519)

You are not the only one. I think it is perfectly natural in the scheme of things.

In fact, *grin*, I heard it stated that the "warmth" is only Mother Nature having "Hot Flashes" since She is getting a bit older and probably getting close to *gasp* menopause!

*evil grin*

Sorry.. couldn't resist..
Kris

Re:So why this this a problem? (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23579655)

Except that in fifty years time the UK will have dried into the likes of an african savannah, and africa itself will be uninhabitable... not to mention the very real possiblity of exponential global heating if the seabed's methane deposits are released.

Hmm, maybe that's why Venus' atmosphere is so crap these days :)

Beowulf of SnoMotes (1)

proidiot (747008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23574865)

(Obligatory...) Imagine a beowulf of these things... oh wait...

Seriously though, the additional cost of a mechanism to allow one SnoMote to rescue another damaged SnoMote (and the additional power to carry it long distances) would surely be less expensive than just replacing them any time one falls into a hole. Perhaps such a mechanism is already in place, but I don't see anything like that in the pictures, and there's no mention of such a thing in TFA.

Ah HA! (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23575685)

So That hows how they are finding the oil in the artic!

Can I just point out (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23577745)

That the Associate Professor Ayanna Howard is

1. Quite attractive

2. Comfortable with a screwdriver

3. is fixing a robot

Yet I haven't read a single comment complimenting her obvious geek/nerd eligibility. Fella's OPEN YOUR EYES.

$.10 a dozen climatologists (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23579459)

Lose a few climatologists to breaking ice - ha hahahahaha.

Has to be said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23581335)

Cool robots, man!

Gives new meaning to .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23581599)

...Polaroids ?

autonomously collaborating among themselves? (1)

stiller (451878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23583107)

autonomously collaborating among themselves
I love this phrase, since it's both a dichotomy and redundant.
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