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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

keep on calculating [Don't speculate, calculate] (673 comments)

A nice response, and interesting. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll see it's not that trivial.

Yes it is.

It's not, and one point that needs to be clarified is that AGW proponents must supply the burden of proof.

Nope. You have just proposed a hypothesis. Unless you show that it is plausible, there's no reason for anybody to pay attention: your hypothesis, your burden to show it's plausible.

As it turns out, about two minutes of calculation shows it's several orders of magnitude too small to be relevant. But you need to learn to do your calculations.

Unsupported speculation is not science. It may be the start of science... but it's not science until you start using numbers.

I would note that your post didn't address the relative orders of magnitude of CO2.

Calculations, please. Making stuff up isn't science. Calculating effects is. If you think that relative magnitude of CO2 is relevant, give me a back of the envelope showing plausibility. You can use as a starting point the fact all the volcanoes worldwide emit, on average, an estimated 130 to 440 million metric tons of CO2 each year. (Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?)

I'm not talking about the CO2 from the volcanoes, it's the heat and acidity.

You randomly shift back and forth from saying its the CO2 (first quote in this thread this one), it's the heat (listed first in this sentence), or it's the acidity (end of this sentence). Three completely different effects; three completely different calculations. This leads me to suspect you haven't actually thought it out. Pick one. Do the calculation. Check your numbers. Check them again.

Sorry, gotta go.

2 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Don't speculate, calculate [Re:Thermal calculatio] (673 comments)

A nice response, and interesting. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll see it's not that trivial.

Yes it is.

I would note that your post didn't address the relative orders of magnitude of CO2.

Calculations, please. Making stuff up isn't science. Calculating effects is. If you think that relative magnitude of CO2 is relevant, give me a back of the envelope showing plausibility. You can use as a starting point the fact all the volcanoes worldwide emit, on average, an estimated 130 to 440 million metric tons of CO2 each year. (Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?)

My revised argument (I didn't type the following in the earlier post) is that natural CO2 dominates anthropogenic CO2,

Correct.

and any changes we induce to the overall temperature are overshadowed by natural variations.

Nope. They add to the natural variations... but the natural variations tend to average out with time, while the anthropogenic CO2 is monotonic upward.

In particular, the variations in chemistry and temperature of the ocean dominate the chemical equilibrium.

Don't speculate, calculate. About two minutes of work should show you that this is not even within a few orders of magnitude of being relevant. You need a back of the envelope calculation showing plausibility.

What I didn't add about the undersea volcanoes is when heat and acid are added to water, LeChatlier's principle states that the alkaline ocean (remember, ocean pH varies from 7.0 to 8.0) will go slightly more acidic (sulfuric acid is a much stronger acid than carbon dioxide) and push the carbon dioxide out of the water, and increasing temperature raises the dissociation constant of water (or lowers the pKw, take your pick) and also forces out more CO2.

Now you're talking effects that aren't even close to being relevant. Don't speculate, calculate.

Anyone who has drunk a warm, flat beer, or poured vinegar into soda water and watch it fizz, can observe this. The assumed heat added by volcanoes is 525,000 TW-h, [check your numbers too ;-)], and the acidity from sulfuric acid is enough energy (in terms of chemical potential) to affect the solubility and cause the ocean to release more CO2 into the atmosphere, or absorb more if the volcanic activity decreases.

Show me an order of magnitude. How much is the effect?

If there is a 10% variation in the volcanic releases of heat and SO4 (or 52,000 TW-h, compared to 142 TW-h from anthropogenic sources), that will affect the environment more than what we add, and it can be argued that from the energy balance difference (recall the worlds energy demand is another way of showing the chemical potential differences between the hydrocarbons and CO2 + H2O). This is significant,

Sorry, but your numbers fail a check of units. The units needed are warming in degrees K. Any other numbers need to, eventually, be turned into warming in K by a calculation.

and the argument cannot be dismissed by calling me a denier.

You have stopped being a denier when you started doing calculations with actual numbers. You may be wrong... but you have now demonstrated that you are not a denier.

It could be dismissed if all volcanoes were identified and their activity cataloged.

Unnecessary. If the effect is many orders of magnitude too small to think about, no need to pay further attention.

2 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Thermal calculations [Re:Undersea volcanoes!] (673 comments)

Excellent. You have at least tried to put some numbers down: you have now met minimum standards for actual debate.

First, the link you gave which you listed as "30,000 submarine volcanoes," when you follow it, actually states "An estimated 30,000 seamounts occur across the globe," where it helpfully defines seamount: "typically extinct volcanoes that rise abruptly from a seafloor of 1,000 - 4,000 meters depth." So, the first caveat is that you will want to answer the question, how many active submarine volcanoes are there?

Next we need to figure the energy emitted by a volcano. It's a weird calculation to take an estimate of potential electrical power from a volcano and back calculate that to thermal power; I'd go with cubic meters of lava times temperature times heat capacity, but right now we're analyzing your calc. So, 60,000 GW = 60 TW. (I calculate that at 500 million TW-hrs per year, by the way: check your numbers.)

Indeed: that's more than human energy consumption. But, why do we care? This is a climate calculation, so we are looking for a climate answer: does this affect climate?

Googling "solar energy absorbed by the Earth," Earth receives 340 watts per square meter times the surface area of the Earth (510 million square kilometers= 510 trillion square meters), that comes to 170,000 TW. So the estimated volcanic heat contribution is a 0.00035 increase in input energy. From the Stefan-Boltzman equation, we can translate that to a temperature increase (Kelvin) of a factor of 1.00009. At Earth's equilibrium temperature, that's an increase of roughly 0.025 degrees K

But, that's not a calculation of the contribution to observed warming-- that's a steady state effect. It's the amount that the Earth's climate would change if all those 30,000 volcanoes were originally off, and suddenly turn on. They're not likely to be all turning on in phase. So, the modulation in the Earth's climate is at most that number, and most likely less.

Not significant.

That's the back of my envelope, care to share yours that would state unequivocally that it's not a possible contributor?

Sure.

The entire heat flux from the interior of the Earth is 0.05 watts per square meter. That's all of the volcanoes, including your undersea volcanoes, all of the geothermal energy, everything. The estimate radiative forcing from carbon dioxide emitted by humans is order of magnitude 1 watt per square meter. Thus, heat flux from the Earth's interior can account for, at most, 5% as much warming as anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

2 days ago
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### Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

Newtonian physics looks kind of logical. It's completely wrong, but plenty of decisions are based on it. Despite that we know is wrong

If you phrase Newton's force equation as F= dp/dt (rather than the F=ma formulation in your high-school physics text), it's not wrong. You just need to use the relativistic momentum p.

(Newtonian gravity, however, is indeed wrong. Or, to be more pedantic, it is the first-order term of gravity in general relativity.)

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

A bit of difference [Re:deniers and skeptics] (673 comments)

There isn't much difference between the two religious camps, except one gets excused by the AGW proponents much more quickly.

One side shouts--LOUDLY-- that scientists are frauds, scientific results are a hoax, anybody paying attention to science is participating a "scam", and there's a worldwide conspiracy of scientists to defraud the public.

The other side doesn't.

I see a very clear difference.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Undersea volcanoes! [Re:Skeptics and Deniers] (673 comments)

Unfortunately, the examples you give are typical examples of denier style of argumentation-- you just throw random stuff out, without even doing a back of the envelope calculation to ask whether what you're talking about is even close to being significant, on the assumption that you can make somebody else can waste their time explaining basic orders of magnitude to you. Basically: do some basic calculation before just randomly saying stuff like "undersea volcanoes! What about undersea volcanoes?"
What is the order of magnitude of the effect you're talking about? How does it compare to the effects driving climate? Has this been looked at by others? What have previous studies concluded?

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (673 comments)

Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.

That's funny. The first definition on Google states "a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.", which seems to be a good fit for those who are denying global warming.

Nope. "Questioning" implies that they'd pay attention to answers. "Denying" means that that they have no interest in answers; only in denying that it's real.

That's the difference between skeptics and deniers right there.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Re:It's a strange world we live in! (673 comments)

"Climate Deniers" is a bit of a misnomer. There are very few people who don't believe that the climate is changing. One would have to be quite an ignorant fool to believe such a thing.

Quoting from what the article actually says, distinguishing deniers from skeptics:
Skepticism is all about critical examination, evidence-based scientific inquiry, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims. Those who flatly deny the results of climate science do not partake in any of the above. They base their conclusions on a priori convictions. Theirs is an ideological conviction—the opposite of skepticism.

"Warmists" will tell you that climate change is caused by humans. Period.

I'm not sure what "warmists" say, and I'm not sure I care. What climate scientists say is that carbon dioxide emitted by humans has exactly the same effect as carbon dioxide produced by any other process, and that the relatively well understood effects of carbon dioxide absorption of infrared radiation can affect climate.

However, anthropogenic climate change is not instead of natural variations in climate: it is in addition to natural variations.

These are often the same people who are pushing the big 'carbon tax' scam,

No. No, no, no!

You are confusing political advocacy with science.

What the climate scientists are saying is: here is the calculated effect of carbon dioxide emissions on the atmosphere, here are the error bars; here are the measurements showing the effect, and here are the predictions for what will happen if we do X amount of emissions in the future.

That's the science.

What you are talking about is essentially the invisible backward reasoning behind the denier's arguments: "If the science were true, then taxes! And big government and oppression and the end of free enterprise! But we hate taxes and big government! Therefore, the science is false."

That's backward reasoning, and makes no sense. The science is accurate, or inaccurate, regardless of whether we like the consequences or not, and regardless of what we chose to do about it (or even whether we chose to do anything about it.) "I don't like the politics, therefore the science is wrong" is bad reasoning. Don't attack the science; go argue the politics.

This is in some way the real bad consequence of the deniers. There should be some real discussion, and real debate, about what to do, and even whether we should do anything. But whenever somebody tries to start talking about this, the conversation is hijacked. One side says, maybe a carbon tax, or cap and trade, or incentives for "green" energy, or an international commission. And the other side says "the science is a hoax!" That's not a discussion.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

CAGW [Re:Science is on the skeptical side] (673 comments)

I do not deny the science I embrace it. I challenge you as well to present one piece of evidence of CAGW.

CAGW is real: Not only do they have a web page, they have a wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Oh, and QWTFCA, OK?

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

It's hardly worth bothering to reply to these anonymous cowards, I'm afraid; they never admit to being wrong, and even if they did, they'd just keep on posting. Pretty much every single statement he says makes no sense.

Except for religious nuts, nobody has predicted that the world is going to end. This is an argument by the technique of wildly exaggerating what has been said, and then pointing out that the wild exaggeration is wildly exaggerated.

Again: Nobody has predicted that the world is going to end.

There's really no point in arguing these straw men.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

deniers and skeptics [Re:Established science] (673 comments)

Can you simultaneously accept X while questioning X? Seems illogical.

Of course you can. Terms for this in the science community include "working hypothesis" and "the best current model" and phrases such as "subject to further analysis, we currently believe..."

Skeptical has synonyms such as :distrustfull, suspicious, unconvinced. These would all describe a person who is either a "denier" or a skeptic.

No. Deniers have made up their minds already; they are not "unconvinced" at all: they are firm believers. That's the difference between a denier and a skeptic.

So then what you are saying in reality is that anyone not accepting your way of thinking is a "denier" and that "You are either with us, or you are against us!"

No. Deniers have made up their minds already; they are not "unconvinced" at all. That's the difference between a denier and a skeptic: a skeptic can be convinced by evidence.

Established science can and has been and should be questioned as that is how we advance scientific knowledge and processes

There is a difference between paying attention to the science and denying the science. That difference is the difference between a skeptic and a denier.

When you start with the conclusion that the science is wrong because you don't like it-- you're not a skeptic.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Re:Science is on the skeptical side of this debate (673 comments)

The science is on the skeptical side of the CAGW argument.

I'm not sure how Citizens Against Government Waste is relevant here, but, indeed, science is always on the skeptical side. That skepticism is expressed by making calculations, making measurements, doing experiments, and learning about the physical world. Making models and testing those models is what scientists do; it is what climate scientists have been doing for a century.

3 days ago
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### Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Funny, because the science that I learned about in college was ALL ABOUT being constantly questioned.

Exactly.

A skeptic will ask questions, and will pay attention to the answers, open to the possibility of their views being changed by evidence. That's science.
A denier will pretend to ask questions, but with no real interest in the answers: their opinions are already set, and won't be changed. That's not science.

Deniers pretend to be skeptics. However, they are actually exactly the opposite: the distinguishing feature of deniers is not skepticism, but credulity-- they seen to credit pretty much anything they hear (or read on a blog somewhere)-- if it supports their pre-existing opinions.

(Amusingly, Fred Singer wrote an article making that exact point: "Deniers are giving us skeptics a bad name.")

3 days ago
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### Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, First Stable Release

In Soviet America, Godot is waiting for you (54 comments)

Seriously though, no, it's just that the project is not yet in the stage where I would actively look for a game engine.

Ah. So Godot has to wait for you.

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### Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, First Stable Release

Re:I've been looking for such a solution (54 comments)

My project would fit really well with this engine, I think. I've been looking for a multiplatform game engine and Godot looks like the Holy Grail.
I'll have to verify how does it fare as a MMO GUI which depends almost completely on connecting to a bigass DB.

So, you're saying that this is what you've been waiting for?

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### NASA's \$349 Million Empty Tower

But the converse of that is not saying that they must continue. I would assume that means they may stop, but are not obligated to. I can't imagine that NASA doesn't have enough self-governance to not spend money.

You may not be able to imagine that, but this merely represents a failure in your imagination.

When Congress passes a bill stating that NASA "shall" spend money on project X,this is not optional. They must spend that money.

That was the language in the bill:
“Wicker Three” was an amendment sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). His amendment said NASA “shall complete construction and activation of the A-3 test stand with a completion goal of September 30, 2013.” That language was included in the bill that passed the committee, then the Senate, then the House. In October 2010, Obama signed it into law.

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### Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

And yet, I read about a team in Cambridge in the UK who have a new low temperature process that can create graphene in industrial quantities. http://cambridgenanosystems.co...

Do you expect the New Yorker to do actual research (or even a google search) before writing an article or something?

That was covered in the summary:
"Nearly every scientist I spoke with suggested that graphene lends itself especially well to hype."

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### Last Three Years the Quietest For Tornadoes Ever

Drought [Re:be accurate, if you can...] (187 comments)

And relevant to the discussion, here's a nice article on 538 today, talking about the current California drought, and saying (with detailed discussion) that even though climate warming may exacerbate drought, it's nearly impossible to attribute this particular drought to climate warming:
The complex, dynamic nature of our atmosphere and oceans makes it extremely difficult to link any particular weather event to climate change. That’s because of the intermingling of natural variations with human-caused ones.
http://fivethirtyeight.com/fea...

And a link to a (2 year old) Nature editorial saying the same thing about extreme weather: http://www.nature.com/news/ext...

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### 9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order

Re:Anyone with a brain cares (158 comments)

These peoples see our freedom of religion as a weakness and exploit it to force their way in.

And as far as I can tell, you seem to agree with them: you think our freedom of religion is a weakness, and should be eliminated.

You're not the solution: you're the problem.

# Submissions

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### Linking drought and climate change: difficult to do

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "An article about the current California drought on 538 points out that even though global climate warming may exacerbate droughts, it's nearly impossible to attribute any particular drought to climate warming: The complex, dynamic nature of our atmosphere and oceans makes it extremely difficult to link any particular weather event to climate change. That’s because of the intermingling of natural variations with human-caused ones. http://fivethirtyeight.com/fea... They also cite a Nature editorial pointing out the same thing about extreme weather: http://www.nature.com/news/ext..."
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Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "After the space shuttle retired in 2011, Russia has hiked the price of a trip to the International Space Station, to \$71 million per seat. Less well recognized is the disparity in station crews. Before the shuttle stopped flying, an equal number of American and Russian crew members lived on board. But afterwards the bear began squeezing. For every two NASA astronauts that have flown to the station, three Russians have gone.

Eric Burger asks, how did it come to this?"

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### A Playlist for Comet Ison

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "As comet ISON made its perilous perihelion pass, I decided that ISON needed a theme song, but as the nature of its journey became evident, shattering in the sunlight, I realized that ISON needs an entire playlist. So, for your entertainment, here's my comet ISON playlist. Comments?
"

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### Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science

Geoffrey.landis writes "The historical period that we call the dark ages, from perhaps 600 to 1200 AD, was the golden age of Islamic science, when great advances in science and technology were taking place in the middle east. But somehow, as the west experienced its renaissance, the blossoming of the age of science, and the founding of the modern technological world, the Arabic world instead turned away from science. Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one, and of roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. Why? In an article "Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science" in The New Atlantis, Hillel Ofek examines both the reasons why Islamic science flourished, and why it failed. Are we turning the same way, with a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and dogma shouting down the culture of inquiry and free thinking needed for scientific advances? Perhaps we should be looking at the decline of Islamic science as a cautionary tale."
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### The Election Map, as a Cartogram

Geoffrey.landis writes "By now we've all seen those maps of the US colored red and blue for which presidential candidate won a particular state. Those maps are a bit misleading, though, since vast areas of America have very low population. Mark Newman, of the University of Michigan, shows variant ways of mapping the election, with the maps distorted to un-distort the data."
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### Harrassment of Climate Scientists is Unique to America

Geoffrey.landis writes "In the United States, climate scientists are subject to significant amounts of harassment , including "torrents of freedom of information requests, hate mail and even death threats from skeptics"-- but this phenomenon seems to be happening only in America. In other countries, climate scientists are mostly free to work without fear.

"The harassment has an intimidating effect—especially on young scientists," according to Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said he sees the attacks on scientists in the United States as "very disconcerting." Last year, AAAS released a statement condemning the harassment. "The incidents reflect two unfortunate things," Leshner said in an interview, "we live in a society where ideologies trump our willingness to hear what science says, and in a country where free speech is so widely valued, people are being attacked."

The only other country in which climate scientists routinely face harassment and death threats is Australia, which is the largest exporter of coal in the world. Coal industry groups in Australia have sought to cast doubt on climate science and have lobbied against carbon emission limits."

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### Majority of Americans Think Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion

Geoffrey.landis writes "At last, a public opinion poll that gets the opinions of ordinary Americans on the issues that matter! Apparently, two thirds of Americans polled think that Barrack Obama is better suited to defend against an alien invasion than Mitt Romney, according to a survey from National Geographic Channel, done to tout their upcoming TV series "chasing UFOs".
In follow-up questioning, Americans would rather call on the Hulk (21%) than either Batman (12%) or Spiderman (8%) to step to save the day.
No word on which candidate is most fit to defend America against shambling hordes of undead seeking to destroy civilization in the zombie apocalypse (perhaps that will be brought out in the debates)."

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### Photographing police: Deletion is not forever

Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harrassing people who do so, even journalists, not to mention confiscating their cameras.
As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgable about how deletion works.
I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with "resisting arrest" when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

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### Is the creative class engine sputtering?

Geoffrey.landis writes "The "creative class" was supposed to be the new engine of the United States economy, but--according to Scott Timberg, writing in Salon-- that engine is sputtering. While a very few technologists have become very wealthy, for most creative workers, the rise of amateurs and enthusiasts means that few are actually making a living. The new economy is good for the elite who own the servers, but, for most, "the dream of a laptop-powered 'knowledge class' is dead," he says."
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### Neal Stephenson on "Innovation Starvation"

Geoffrey.landis writes "In an essay discussing the space program, author Neal Stephenson suggests that the decline of the space program "might be symptomatic of a general failure of our society to get big things done." He suggests that we may be suffering from innovation starvation:
"Innovation can’t happen without accepting the risk that it might fail. The vast and radical innovations of the mid-20th century took place in a world that, in retrospect, looks insanely dangerous and unstable.""

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### Conservative means accepting science

Geoffrey.landis writes "Recently, it has seemed that it is a requirements of being a conservative to deny the accuracy of climate science and cast aspersions on the motives of scientists, regardless of any evidence offered. So it's a little refreshing to see a Republican weighing in on the side of science, saying that conservatives should deal in facts, and "base policies on science, not sentiment.""
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### Loan to Solyndra pushed by both sides

Geoffrey.landis writes "I haven't been paying much attention to the bankruptcy of solar array manufacturer Solyndra-- they were pushing a technology I don't find terribly exciting. Still, it's interesting how the recent spin has called it as a failure of the Obama energy initiatives. In fact, as a recent timeline shows, the loan guarantees for renewable energy came from the Energy Policy Act of 2005-- and the particular loan to Solyndra was fast-tracked by the Bush administration, in an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy.

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### What to Know if you're Filming the TSA

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "CNN posts a brief article "Shooting video at a TSA checkpoint? Here's what you should know, explaining your rights in shooting video of TSA screenings. First, she notes (from an article on the TSA blog last year) that the TSA doesn't forbid photography, as long as you don't film those monitors showing nude passengers:

"We don't prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you're not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors."

--the article does go on to note that state laws or local ordinances may prohibit filming.

And then she posts advice from Ms. Smith's "Privacy and Security Fanatic," which is that

"if you do videotape TSA checkpoints, then you should have the TSA public affairs (TSA's Office of Strategic Communications) number plugged into your phone: (571) 227-2829. Another important phone number to have with you is the TSA's Office of Civil Rights at (571) 227-1917."

Ms. Smith goes on to tell some stories of people who have been challenged at airport screening stations for shooting video. Important note, it's probably wise not to take off your pants except your underwear while doing this.

So, go ahead, and video, but know your rights and "stay calm and polite at all times." You could be the next You-tube sensation."

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### Lawsuit shows Dell hid extent of computer flaws

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "According to an article in the New York Times, documents revealed in a lawsuit against Dell show that the computer maker hid the extent of possible damages due to a faulty capacitor in the ocmputers it shipped from 2003 to 2005. Dell employees were told "Don’t bring this to customer’s attention proactively” and “emphasize uncertainty.”
"As it tried to deal with the mounting issues, Dell began ranking customers by importance, putting first those who might move their accounts to another PC maker, followed by those who might curtail sales and giving the lowest priority to those who were bothered but still willing to stick with Dell."

--in other words, the most loyal customers got shafted first."

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### US says Genes should not be patentable

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice says that genes should not be patentable.

“We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” they wrote.

The argument that genes in themselves (as opposed to, say, tests made from genetic information, or drugs that act on proteins made by genes) should be patentable is that "genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body" and therefore are eligible for patents. This argument is, of course, completely silly, and apparently the U.S. government may now actually realize that."

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### A New Species of Patent Troll

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "From the Wall Street Journal, there's an article warning that there's a new species of patent troll out there. These sue companies that sell products with an expired patent number on them. That's right, it's against the law to sell a product that's marked with an expired patent number. The potential fine? \$500. Per violation-- and some of the companies have patent numbers on old plastic molds that have made literally billions of copies. Using whistle-blower laws, "anyone can file a claim on behalf of the government, and plaintiffs must split any fine award evenly with it."
You've been warned."

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### E=mc^2 is a liberal conspiracy

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes ""Conservapedia," was founded to be a conservative-tilted alternative to Wikipedia.
From the article: "To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly — Phyllis Schlafly's son — has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity."
Yes, that's right: relativity is apparently a liberal plot. No doubt, the atomic bomb is a hoax, just like the moon landing and global warming."

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### Man buys the police website to complain

Geoffrey.landis (926948) writes "When a Tennessee police department let its website expire, the site was purchased by a man who uses it to complain about the traffic cameras that gave him a \$90 speeding ticket.
The bluffcitypd.com site now shows a cartoon police badge clutching a handful of money and smiling.
Also reported in other places, such as the Chicago Tribune and USA Today"

# Slashdot: News for Nerds

"It's my cookie file and if I come up with something that's lame and I like it, it goes in." -- karl (Karl Lehenbauer)