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"Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Geoffrey.landis Where, when, what-- (392 comments)

In central mass north of Worcester I have gotten 3 feet and it is continuing to fall. There is so much snow I have no where to put it.

The inaccuracy in the prediction seems to be not about the magnitude of the storm, but about how far south it would hit (and, in particular, whether it would hit New York City).

Nice discussion of the various models' predictions here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/dat...

2 days ago
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Quantum Computing Without Qubits

Geoffrey.landis Re: Maybe Einstein gets the last laugh afterall? (81 comments)

Einstein made essential contributions to quantum mechanics, and yet he objected to many of its implications. His objections have been shown to be wrong.

To the contrary, his "objections" consisted of pointed out consequences of quantum mechanics that seemed paradoxical, but, as experiment showed much later, were completely real. Einstein is the "E" in "EPR", and the implications of the EPR paper pretty much is the foundation of quantum computing.

about a week ago
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Quantum Computing Without Qubits

Geoffrey.landis Analog atoms (81 comments)

"A classical computer would have to run for thousands of years to compute the quantum equations of motion for just 100 atoms. A quantum simulator could do it in less than a second."

...and a hundred atoms can do it in real time!

about a week ago
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Doomsday Clock Could Move

Geoffrey.landis Re:Who they do not attempt to stay relevant? (145 comments)

So we should kill 6+ billion people? Are you fucking insane?

That's a strawman argument.

Killing people was not suggested. Are you insane?

The easiest way to reduce population "in few hundred years" is to reduce the birth rate slightly.

about a week ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Impossible to change (360 comments)

I'd say that instead of falsifying data NASA and NOAA need to start being honest.

The difficulty is that once you decide that you can selectively ignore facts because of a huge conspiracy to falsify data, it becomes impossible for any amount of information to ever change your mind. So, the NASA data is falsified? And, the NOAA data, that's falsified too. And the University of East Anglia, of course. And the Berkeley data-- that was done specifically to address the problems people had with the NASA and NOAA data-- http://berkeleyearth.org/ That's faked too.? How about the Japanese data? http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/t... Also faked? The Australians-- fake too?

Once you conclude everything that disagrees with you is fake, your opinion is incontrovertible-- since nobody can confront it.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Re:call me skeptical (360 comments)

Right; there are both positive and negative feedbacks.

If you really want to know about the various climate feedbacks, try the summary in section 8.6 ("Climate sensitivity and feedbacks") of the the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: https://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/... (the section starts on page 629)

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Re:call me skeptical (360 comments)

Im saying that 20 of those 30 years didnt see any warming.

If you want to claim this (nonsense), you should at least back it up with some links, so we can add the involved web sites to our kill files.

you would ignore data that contradicts your beliefs???

It would be helpful here if everybody pointed to a common data set, so we all knew that we were talking about the same thing.

Here's the NASA-NOAA, showing NOAA (in blue) and NASA (in red) 's values for average temperature since 1880: http://www.wired.com/wp-conten...

You can see the "hiatus" in the far right of the graph: the curve to right of about 2000. If you blow up just this portion of the graph, and leave out everything to the right of 1998, you can make a graph which makes it appear that global warming has stopped.

So: the deniers look at this graph and say "warming stopped in 2002". People skeptical of the deniers say "There's a clear upward trend with random fluctuations; there's nothing statistically significant in the data after 2002; it's well within the range of variation in the record."

Or, you can say "There's a clear long-term rise. However, superimposed on that long-term trend are shorter term variations; these shorter term variations are also data, and the study of the causes of these variations may be a valuable subject for research."

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Re: PDF chart (360 comments)

Why does the chart only go back to 1950?

Here's the Berkeley Earth graphic, with temperatures going back to 1870:
static.berkeleyearth.org/graphics/figure9.pdf

(also comparing models to measured data)

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Re:Trends versus Data Points (360 comments)

Earth's weather is almost entirely determined by Solar activity (or lack of same in the Maunder Minimum)

The link between solar activity and weather is discussed in great detail in the IPCC Working Group 1 report, with voluminous references to the literature; have you read it? You can find it here: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessm... The analysis is chapter 2.7, Natural Forcings, section 2.7.1 "Solar Variability."

and large volcanic eruptions.

Another effect discussed in the same report: section 2.7.2 "Explosive Volcanic Activity"

The key point is that we measure the sun, and we record volcanic activity. There haven't been changes in the sun or in volcanic eruptions that are sufficient to account for the temperature trend.

Krakatoa is the last big eruption which caused a large drop in northern hemisphere temperatures as I recall.

The 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption was an important event, because its effects were well measured.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Geoffrey.landis Re:Hey NASA... (360 comments)

instead of making questionable measurements of the planet, why don't you figure out how to build a decent space vehicle? Which is your raison d'etre.

One of them. NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. In the list of what NASA was established to do, the first item is:
  (1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

(building space vehicles was number 3 on the list)

about two weeks ago
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Obama Planning New Rules For Oil and Gas Industry's Methane Emissions

Geoffrey.landis Altitude [Re:Methane compared to CO2] (202 comments)

Good points, I would also add that methane is lighter (MW 16) than air (average MW = 29) and that which doesn't degrade will rise far enough above surface to not have as much of an impact.

In terms of greenhouse warming, it doesn't make much of a difference what altitude it's at. Slightly less pressure-broadening of the spectral line, I guess.

about two weeks ago
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There's a Problem In the Silk Road Trial: the Jury Doesn't Get the Internet

Geoffrey.landis Re:Jurors (303 comments)

Ambiguity is safer for the defense, not the prosecution. The prosecution has to demonstrate that a crime occurred and how that crime was carried out, beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot describe, beyond a reasonable doubt, how the crime was conducted then the prosecutor will probably fail to get a conviction.

No, that's not true-- formally, they have only to show that a crime occurred. (That's called corpus delicti-- which, despite popular misconception, does not require a corpse.)

However, what they do have to show is how they know that the defendant is the one who did the crime. If understanding how they know this means they need to explain an internet investigation unmasking Tor anonymization, they may very well need some technical explanations.

about two weeks ago
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Obama Planning New Rules For Oil and Gas Industry's Methane Emissions

Geoffrey.landis Methane compared to CO2 (202 comments)

Methane doesn't last long in the atmosphere

>that '25 times as powerful as CO2' statistic is its equivalent over a 100-year period

Not according to the references I can find.
from http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014...

"...methane is a potent greenhouse gas, as well as a significant byproduct of using natural gas — advocated by many as a “bridge” to a lower-emissions future. But a direct comparison between methane and carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, is complicated: While the standard figure used for emissions trading and technology evaluation says that, gram for gram, methane is about 30 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2, scientists say that’s an oversimplification.

''As reported in a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, authored by MIT assistant professor of engineering systems Jessika Trancik and doctoral student Morgan Edwards, this conversion factor (called the global warming potential, or GWP) may significantly misvalue methane. Getting this conversion factor right is challenging because methane’s initial impact is much greater than that of CO2 — by about 100 times. But methane only stays in the atmosphere for a matter of decades, while CO2 sticks around for centuries. The result: After six or seven decades, the impact of the two gases is about equal, and from then on methane’s relative role continues to decline."

Or, if you prefer Wikipedia as a source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

about two weeks ago
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The Strange Story of the First Quantum Art Exhibition In Space

Geoffrey.landis Re:Um, what? (69 comments)

So if I understand the summary correctly (I give myself a 50/50 chance on this), they're basically sampling random noise off of a CCD and claim that eventually it will produce the Mona Lisa?

No, worse than that. They're not taking random noise (it's an unpowered CCD array). They're saying that maybe a different CCD array is receiving the same photons, because if you measure one ccd array, some of the photons it sees might have hit the unpowered one. ...And the random noise that they're not taking isn't making any images, because the energy of cosmic background radiation isn't high enough to produce an electron hole pair in a silicon CCD.

about two weeks ago
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Geoffrey.landis Reviews [Re:Simple and complicated models] (786 comments)

As to the virtue of the green house effect studied on its own, the issue is that the atmosphere just might not work that way.

And that's why we have more detailed models.

But it ends up being a no-win situation, when the objective is to criticize rather than to understand. If the model is simple, they say "that model's too simple! The real world is complicated! You need to include X Y and Z!". And if the model is modified to include X, Y, and Z, they say "The model is too complicated! You can't believe any complicated models like that!"

The actual answer is, you start simple, understand the simple models, and progressively add complexity. This is the way science is done. Planets don't move in uniform elliptical orbits. Nevertheless, starting with Kepler's laws and then adding peturbations is a good way to analyze planetary motions.

As for comparing models to reality, and asking what we know and how we know it, there isn't really time for me to go through this model by model since 1967 (since I do have other things to do). I'll again suggest as a start reading the WG-1 summary report, it goes into detail on this (and has references for more details). The one I'm more familiar with is the fourth: https://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/... (although there seems to be a more recent one, fifth, here:
http://www.climatechange2013.o... )

about two weeks ago
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Geoffrey.landis Japan Society of Energy [Re:Simple and complica... (786 comments)

On topic, I'd like you to look at something:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... This is the sort of thing that throws up ugly red flags in my mind and tends to make me a bit dubious about AGW in general.

According to the link, this is from "The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) ... the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields".

This is something I've noticed. While climate scientists mostly agree with the physics models, whenever you see a headline about a group of scientists who disagree, when you look at the details, you usually find it's commissioned by the energy industry. There was a headline article in Forbes a year or so back, similar: the headline was "here's a poll of hundreds of scientists who aren't sure about global warming," and when you looked at the details, it was a survey of the people working in the Alberta coal and petroleum extraction industry.

When you look at the details here, nothing seems to be new. People have been looking for a connection between solar activity and climate for a hundred years; this has been studied a lot, and as far as I know, nobody has found a correlation large enough to drive climate. At a top level, the issue is summarized in the IPCC WG-1 report: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessm... (There's a fifth assessment report out now, but the one I'm familiar with is the fourth, so that's what I link to.) A summary is in section 1.4.3, (Solar Variability and the Total Solar Irradiance); and the more detailed analysis is chapter 2.7, Natural Forcings, section 2.7.1 "Solar Variability."

(I'll also note that solar forcing tends to have a different signature from the greenhouse effect warming. Solar forcing tends to increase day/night temperature differences; the greenhouse effect tends to reduce them).

On the subject of the Japan Society for Energy and Resources critique, this is the page from the Japan Meteorological Agency: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/t...
So the 2009 criticism by the Japanese Society for Energy and Resources doesn't seem to have made any influence to the actual people in Japan studying climate.

about two weeks ago
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Geoffrey.landis Simple and complicated models (786 comments)

Right.

By present-day standards, the Manabe and Wetherald model is very simple. This was indeed the criticism at the time-- "but the model doesn't account for XXX effect"-- and all of the present-day models basically work on adding in the various feedback effects you mention.

The simplicity is both a flaw, but also a virtue. Basically, Manabe and Wetherald is a model of the greenhouse effect, and nothing but the greenhouse effect: while there are a hundred more sophisticated models these days, now all of the criticism is "but how do you know that you didn't get XXX feedback effect wrong?" Well, Manabe and Wetherald didn't have all the bells and whistles-- it was the first real greenhouse effect model that incorporated real-world, measured infrared absorptions, accurate radiative transfer, and convective equilibrium, but that's all.

This is typically the way science is done. First you make the back of the envelope models, then the simple models, then you progressively add more refinements.

Surprisingly, the other effects matter less than you might think. Clouds was the first criticism made (and all modern models have cloud effects)-- but clouds aren't actually a huge effect. If clouds blocked visible and infrared light equally well-- and to first order they do-- cloud cover would have little effect on average temperature: the infrared radiation scattered downward heats the planet, the albedo scattering cools the planet, and in the simplest model the two balance out. Of course, the real world isn't the simplest model, but in some places clouds can actually increase the temperature (you see this in models of carbon dioxide clouds on early Mars.) What clouds mostly do is tend to equalize the daytime and nighttime temperatures. This is actually a good way to separate cloud effects from infrared absorption effects. (Another way is to look at vertical profiles).

As for the constant relative humidity assumption-- well, what would you suggest would be a better input assumption? Again, it's a good simple assumption. It does implicitly include a feedback effect, but it's pretty much the most transparent way to incorporate it. Most importantly, note that by assuming constant humidity, there aren't any adjustable parameters. If you worry that models have been "tweaked" to make the output match the data, well, there isn't any feedback to tweak here.

With the advent of supercomputers in the 70s, models got more detailed. The next good summary of models would be the U.S. National Academy of Sciences report 1979, by which time the report could look at and compare several models. The '79 NAS report is a good go-to reference for models of the '70s; and is still a bit before the politically-motivated attacks started muddying up the conversation. That still gives 35 years of data that can be compared to prediction -- a long enough run to average out some of the year-to-year variation and compare the models to reality. I graphed (but haven't yet added the most recent data, 2014, yet) and, yes, the measured temperatures fit inside the error bars of the NAS models.

After that, models got much more sophisticated very quickly (and so did the attacks on the models, resulting in a fast evolution as ever more sophisticated models addressed ever more complicated critiques). Today there are hundreds, and probably thousands of models being run. Comparing them to measurements is more like looking at statistics than looking at an individual model. There's some good graphs comparing models to reality in the IPCC working group 1 report, if you're interested in tracking them down.

about two weeks ago
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Geoffrey.landis Re:Climate is long time periods (786 comments)

I asked for validated models. You have yet to offer ONE.

Manabe and Wetherald 1967.

about two weeks ago
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Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

Geoffrey.landis data (786 comments)

I find you quite arrogant and condescending.

So, basically, you consider it condescending that I insist that you should actually look at data. Real data. Not blog posts.

And you complain that I only gave you a link to one source of data. OK, here are data from four continents:

Berkeley Earth: http://berkeleyearth.org/
Hadley Center Climate Research Unit: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/d...
Goddard Institute for Space Studies: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gist...
Japanese Meteorological Agency: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/t...
Australian Meteorological Agency: http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of...
NOAA: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/t...

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Linking drought and climate change: difficult to do

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about a month and a half ago

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..."
Link to Original Source
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Adrift

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 8 months ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about a year ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  about 2 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 2 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 3 years ago

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.

alternate URL: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/13/317594/timeline-bush-administration-solyndra-loan-guarantee/"

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What to Know if you're Filming the TSA

Geoffrey.landis Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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 Geoffrey.landis writes  |  more than 4 years ago

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"

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