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Comments

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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

PapayaSF Re:Where are the farmers? (987 comments)

Plenty of food crops are grown in greenhouses. According to this, "The 2002 Census of Agriculture estimated a total $15 billion of greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture crops sold in 2002, including [...] $1.2 billion or eight percent food crops such as tomatoes grown in greenhouses."

"Some 1800 hectares of vegetables are grown in greenhouses" in Israel.

"In Europe and Israel, essentially all of these crops [peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons] are produced in greenhouses." Source.

about two weeks ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

PapayaSF Re:Two things that make me a "luke-warmist" (987 comments)

Have you bothered to look? [...] there are a number of models which do very well, both in terms of hindcasting and forecasting for the specific area they were created to model. Quite a few of them are overly conservative, meaning that they under-projected the deviations due to climate change.

Not according to the last chart in the article I linked to. The vast majority have vastly overestimated future warming.

I don't know of any models which assume only positive feedbacks

I never said "only."

The science behind both positive and negative feedbacks in the climate system is still a bit nascent, at least in terms of determining where the "tipping points" are, but the physics behind the feedback processes is pretty well-established at this point.

So, then which is the accurate model that "predicts" past climate so well that I should trust its predictive ability?

In the meantime, I am going to go on the premise that it is largely correct and change my lifestyle to address it, and urge others to follow suit.

After all, if climate science turns out to be completely wrong, I won't have any remorse for creating a better world as a result.

Clearly, you are not into the whole cost/benefit analysis thing, or you'd wonder if spending money to "create a better world" was worth it if it meant spending hundreds or thousands of dollars so that the average temperature 50 years was now was .0000000000001 degree F. cooler. And I say that as someone who has recycled for nearly 40 years.

about two weeks ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

PapayaSF Re:Where are the farmers? (987 comments)

A quick look at the charts on Google Images seems to indicate that particulate matter pollution is not rising along with CO2 levels.

about two weeks ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

PapayaSF Two things that make me a "luke-warmist" (987 comments)

I've always been more pro-science than many, but I'm still not buying the alarming projections for several reasons.

  1. 1. AFAIK, a grand total of zero of the IPCC-favored climate models work in retrospect. I.e., one should be able to plug in data up to (say) 1990 and get an accurate "forecast" of the climate from 1990 to today. If they can't do that, why should I believe they will be accurate about the climate 50 years from now?
  2. 2. This article sums up my other objection. The TL;DR version: the IPCC-favored models are based on more than a simple (and rather inarguable) "more CO2 = hotter" greenhouse effect. They all assume various kinds of positive feedback to amplify that effect. Yet, the historical record seems to show the Earth's climate is a fairly stable system, not dominated by strong positive feedback effects.

about two weeks ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

PapayaSF Re:Where are the farmers? (987 comments)

Our food crops are all massively bio-engineered. [...] They are all optimized for colder temperatures. We will may end up with greater biomass, but with less food.

So you're saying that food crops, when grown in conditions a few degrees warmer and with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, will be less productive? I think operators of greenhouses would disagree with you.

about two weeks ago
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West Nile Virus May Have Met Its Match: Tobacco

PapayaSF Some people are going to be conflicted (54 comments)

I love it when reality flummoxes people by challenging their ideologies. Will the people who object to GMO foods also object if they are used to cure disease? Perhaps not on Slashdot, but I'll bet there will be a number of them elsewhere.

about three weeks ago
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Amplify Education's New Intel Tablet Begs For Abuse

PapayaSF Oh, yeah, THAT will work (33 comments)

"Here are your new tablets, kids. They're ruggedized so that they resist breaking!"

*CRACK!*

"Now, Tommy, why did you do that? Of course smashing it against the desk will break it!"

about a month ago
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Bugatti 100P Rebuilt: The Plane That Could've Turned the Battle of Britain

PapayaSF Re:Already Lost (353 comments)

Superb aircraft.

Oh, indeed. And the story of its origin is wonderful. In 1940 the British wanted North American Aviation to produce Curtiss P-40 Warhawks under license, but NAA thought they could make a better aircraft faster. And the first P-51 rolled out 102 days after the contract was signed, and first flew 47 days after that. It took a few years of upgrades and revsions to turn it into the best piston-engined fighter of the war, but compare that initial design and development cycle to the years and even decades it takes to get anything built these days.

Interesting tech note: the P-51's distinctive radiator/oil cooler actually added speed to the plane: cool air came in the front, and the hot air exiting the back added some jet-like thrust.

about a month and a half ago
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Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000

PapayaSF Re:Honestly, it seems justified. (387 comments)

You don't seem to quite understand how the world works.

I don't think you do. A civil settlement is compromise, often in many parts. Neither side gets everything they want. A confidentiality agreement is one of those potential parts. If you remove that option, the parties will simply compromise in other ways. Most likely, it means a company would offer a smaller settlement, and be more willing to go to trial.

Also, you seem to assume that anyone suing a company is in the right, and every company in the wrong. Not so.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

PapayaSF Re:Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (179 comments)

When I got my iMac it converted my photos from my camera to some iPhoto library from which it was quite difficult to take it out in simple jpg files.

File -> Export works for me. If you want to access a bunch at a time, they're in [your user directory]/Pictures/iPhoto Library.

And for those who haven't followed link about the "obscure workaround":

To do this, simply tap and hold on the undelivered message and a “Send as Text Message” option should appear in the context menu. This works even when “Send as SMS” is disabled in your settings, allowing you to decide when you’d rather send a text message for expediency or simply leave it to wait until the recipient’s device is back online.

I'm not saying that Apple never does lock-in, but both those seem like pretty weak examples.

about a month and a half ago
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Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?

PapayaSF A huge social and ethical conundrum (160 comments)

On the one hand, nobody wants the poor to suffer, especially poor children. And nobody wants the government to decide who has the right to have kids. On the other hand, you get more of what you subsidize, and our society pays poor people to have children. How much crime, poverty, and general misery is caused by people who should never have children, and yet have children? (Often, lots of children?) People worry about "income inequality," but here's a not-insignificant source of at least part of it.

It's tempting to condition welfare on "no more kids" (sterilization), but that's never going to fly, and feels far too totalitarian. And yet, here we are trapped in a system of positive (the bad kind) feedback: Bad parents are paid to have kids, those kids (epigenetically or otherwise) transmit the same dysfunctional traits to their kids, and so society pays for more crime and poverty and misery. I don't have an answer, but I don't think enough people see the problem. They'll just blame their political opponents or capitalism or whatever.

about a month ago
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Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?

PapayaSF Re:I'm confused (389 comments)

The joke here is that Win8 is not discoverable, the gestures are rather hidden.

No kidding! I am a Mac person who has had to use a new Windows laptop for a project. When I am in Outlook, there seems to be a way that touching the trackpad kicks me into Bing News. (No, there are no news links in the emails.) And once there, there is no obvious way of getting back into Outlook. I have to hit the key to take me back to the desktop (or whatever they call the one with the tiles), and go back into Outlook from there. No wonder Windows 7 users are annoyed.

about a month ago
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Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

PapayaSF "Obama's $1B"? (410 comments)

Obama's $1B will fund [...]

If it really were Obama's billion dollars, who could object? But of course it's actually money borrowed by the government, to be paid back by future taxpayers. Well, supposedly paid back by future taxpayers, after they pay off the first $60-$100 trillion dollars in debt and unfunded public pension liabilities that they are already on the hook for. But I'm sure they'll be cool with it all.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

PapayaSF Re:Thanks I guess (2219 comments)

Fine, then make "fairly significant structural changes." I think the payoff would be worth it. As for the back content, if the classic view is kept, I don't see how it would be hard to keep the back content for that. For the new views, is that important? Most people going to news sites don't care about old content.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

PapayaSF Re:Thanks I guess (2219 comments)

If the backend code needs to be completely rewritten

But why would the backend need to be rewritten at all? I've only glanced at the page code, but I don't see any reason why they couldn't just write different style sheets that control what gets displayed and how. Don't like big pictures? Choose a style that doesn't display them. Etc. If they did that, they could pitch the new design(s) to the new audience, without alienating us old fogies.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

PapayaSF Re:Thanks I guess (2219 comments)

We have work to do on four big areas: feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning; plain old bugs; and, lastly, the need for a better framework for communicating about the How and the Why of this process

Those are exactly the problems I care about. Mainly information density; I want to see the same amount of information on the screen as I did before. Or at least 75%. It's more like 25% right now. Anyway, I'm glad someone is paying attention.

I agree. I am especially concerned with feature parity for viewing comments: I love the dual-doohickey slider that allows me to set comment visibility by rating, with the other comments shown as single lines. Great for modding.

But I am puzzled why, in this age of CSS, Slashdot needs to replace the classic look with a new design. Why not different style sheets? Show classic, new, and even other layouts, with the click of a link, whatever people prefer. Produce a half-dozen user-selectable layouts and make everyone happy.

about 2 months ago
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US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

PapayaSF Re: First, Understand Peering (535 comments)

Thank you for an informed comment, which leads to my question. I constantly hear how we need net neutrality, otherwise all sorts of terrible things will happen. Well, why haven't they happened? If only net neutrality can prevent Comcast from extorting Netflix, and we don't have net neutrality now, then why isn't Comcast extorting Netflix right now, while there's no law against it? It seems like net neutrality is a solution to a non-existent problem.

(As a general rule, I prefer that laws and regulations deal with real problems, not ones that someone says might happen. Yes, an ounce of prevention and all that, but many of the worst laws and regulations have been aimed at non-existent problems.)

about 2 months ago
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When Cars Go Driverless, What Happens To the Honking?

PapayaSF Why are horns still only top volume? (267 comments)

I really wish I had the ability to make a more subdued honk sometimes, for alerting a pedestrian, or whatever. It seems like an obvious enhancement, and yet AFAIK such a thing has never been standard or even available, except maybe as an aftermarket item.

about 3 months ago
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Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind

PapayaSF Re:"Ray Kurzweil is an incompetent hack"? (113 comments)

There's "narrow" AI, where Kurzweil has major achievements: e.g. speech recognition. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a whole 'nother ball game. The field is largely speculative, because it doesn't really exist yet. So it's not unfair to say Kurzweil is big in AI, even though we don't yet have AGI.

about 3 months ago
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Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind

PapayaSF "Ray Kurzweil is an incompetent hack"? (113 comments)

Incidentally, Ray Kurzweil is an incompetent hack. Google did itself no favor by hiring him. This person has grand visions but zero understanding of actual reality.

Oh, really? A quick visit to Wikipedia finds:

Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer Kurzweil K250 capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Kurzweil received the 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America's highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He was the recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for 2001, the world's largest for innovation. And in 2002 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office.

I wish everyone was 1/10 that much of an "incompetent hack." If he thought Deep Mind was worth buying, that's the way I'd bet.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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HealthCare.gov Can't Handle Appeals of Errors

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 2 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "The Washington Post reports that roughly 22,000 people have claimed they were charged too much, steered into the wrong insurance program, or denied coverage, but the website cannot handle appeals. They've filled out seven-page forms and mailed them to a federal contractor’s office in Kentucky, where they were scanned and entered, but workers at CMS cannot read them because that part of the system has not been built. Other missing aspects are said to have higher priorities: completing the electronic payment system for insurers, the connections with state Medicaid programs, and the ability to adjust coverage to accommodate major changes such as new babies. People with complaints about mistakes have been told to "return to the Web site and start over."

Earlier coverage of this saga includes Slashdot's discussion of the recent TheHill.com report that Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster'."
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Accenture faces mid-March deadline or disaster

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 2 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "TheHill.com reports that Accenture has two months to fix HealthCare.gov by building a "financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, 'provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program,' and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems." The procurement document, posted on a federal website, states that if this is not completed in time, there will be "financial harm to the government" and "the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized." Risk mitigation (which pays insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients) must be accurately forecast, or it might put "the entire health insurance industry at risk.” Accenture will also have to fix the enrollment transmissions, which have been sending inaccurate and garbled data to insurance companies. Because the back-end cannot currently handle the federal subsidies, insurers will be paid estimated amounts as a stopgap measure. The document also said that officials realized in December that there was no time for a “full and open competition process” before awarding Accenture the $91 million contract. What are their odds of success?"
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The SEC is about to make crowdfunding more expensive

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 3 months ago

PapayaSF (721268) writes "Proposed new rules require that funding portals register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Intermediary Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In addition, investors must have access to a business plan, use of proceeds, a valuation of the company, and financials, so CPAs may needed. The SEC estimates that for amounts under $100,000, the fees will be 12.9% to 39% of the money raised, though it may drop to under 8% for higher amounts. Is this needed regulation, or bureaucratic overreach?"
Link to Original Source
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"Green gasoline" breakthrough

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  about 6 years ago

PapayaSF writes "Researchers have announced the first direct conversion of plant cellulose into "green gasoline." Rapidly heating cellulose with catalysts and then cooling it produces liquids like naphthalene and toluene that are a quarter of the components of gasoline, in under two minutes. The result can be further treated or used as part of a gasoline blend, and can be used in existing engines without the mileage penalty of ethanol-based fuel. The process requires less energy to make than ethanol, can use forest or agricultural waste, and (in principle) won't have a carbon footprint. They say it could be at the pump in five to 10 years."
Link to Original Source
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Total Music to Challenge iTunes

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PapayaSF writes "Business Week is reporting on a plan by Universal Music, Sony BMG, and possibly Warner Music Group to create an industry-owned digital music service called Total Music. The business model: get hardware makers and cellphone carriers to pay them about about $90 per device and in exchange consumers get all-you-can-eat free music. They figure that hardware makers will go for it because they'll sell more units, and consumers will happily pay the extra money upfront to get free music. So will this be a real challenge to Apple, or another music industry flop?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Mod points return!

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 3 years ago

After about five months without mod points, they came back right after the redesign. Coincidence or not? Who can say....

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I wonder what happened to all my mod points

PapayaSF PapayaSF writes  |  more than 3 years ago

For a while over the summer it seemed like I was getting 15 mod points every week or two. Sometimes I didn't use them all up before the next batch came in. Then around September they all stopped. I don't think I've had any for three months. Were my mod abilities suddenly considered to be not up to snuff? Did a bunch of other Slashdotters come back from vacation, eager to moderate? Did my half-hearted stabs at meta-moderation work against me? (I *much* preferred the old metamod system and was much better at doing it then.) Maybe someone out there knows....

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