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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

XSpud Re:Why so much resistance to climate science? (869 comments)

That's .007%

Ah, my bad.

Also proportion of CO2 in atmosphere becomes 0.03%, calculation becomes 0.02/0.03 x 8 = 5 degrees celsius etc

about 5 months ago

Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

XSpud Re:Why so much resistance to climate science? (869 comments)

It's hard to believe such a small change could make any noticeable difference at all, and I've heard people say AGW is impossible because it is so small, just like you are saying it's obvious because it's so big. This is why you need to look at the details of the change, and not just say, "wow, that is big." or "wow, that is small." If you do that, you're likely to end up with an answer that is completely wrong.

It's not hard to believe if you do some back-of-envelope calculations. The main thing to consider is that most of the gases in the atmosphere have virtually no impact on the greenhouse effect because they do not absorb much infrared light so CO2 contributes up to 25% of the total greenhouse effect (which is 30 degrees celsius in total). The other thing is that the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere is very small to start with (only 0.3%) so 0.02% is a relatively large chunk of the CO2 proportion.

So your stated 0.02% increase is a 7% increase in CO2 concentration (0.02/0.3) which will have a significant impact on the ~ 8 degrees celsius contribution of CO2 towards the greenhouse effect. That's over 0.5 degree celsius assuming a linear relationship to temperature and ignoring positive/negative feedback etc.

Incidentally the actual increase in CO2 is about 0.07% of overall atmosphere since 1960 (315 to 385 ppm).

about 5 months ago

Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education

XSpud Evolution of intelligent life (1142 comments)

Once DNA-based life had become common, was it inevitable that evolution would lead eventually to intelligent life on Earth?

about a year ago

UK Universities Launch Cloud Supercomputer For Hire

XSpud Re:How is this (25 comments)

... if you're running an internet flourist, it must be nice to be able to contact the cloud operator when february nears and be able to just rent a few more servers for a week.

Pancake day must be quite an event in your part of the world - over here most people get by with what they already have in the cupboard.

more than 2 years ago

Moving From CouchDB To MySQL

XSpud Re:The decision the simple (283 comments)

Of course, the opposite is true ... I remember someone who insisted in writing ER diagrams to describe our system, despite it not being an RDB, and not being accurately described by ER diagrams -- but to him everything was an ER diagram.

I can't say whether entity relationship diagrams were appropriate in the situation you describe but there is nothing wrong in principle in using ER diagrams to describe non-RDB systems. ER diagrams describe the logical or semantic model, not the physical implementation, and are therefore DB agnostic. Yes, they are often used to help design an RDB schema but their real value is to understand your data at the semantic level.

Unfortunately, many don't grasp this distinction and you'll see many RDB systems where the ER description is used directly to create a normalised DB schema. Except for simple and small databases these will usually perform poorly. And you'll also see both RDB and non-RDB systems where developers have not appropriately considered the semantic view of the data in the system. Except for simple and small databases these will usually become difficult to maintain over time.

more than 2 years ago

The Register Hacked

XSpud Re:Oops ... (192 comments)

"its", not "it's", not its, not it's. Also sorry.

about 3 years ago

Evangelical Scientists Debate Creation Story

XSpud Re:Science vs Religion: Contradictions? (1014 comments)

I wasn't intending to imply the universe doesn't exist (though it would be interesting if it could be shown that if agnostics exist, and also that their beliefs are rational, then this implies the universe and therefore God, do not exist ;)

I was just pointing out that to justify agnosticism on the basis of logical reasoning causes a problem or 2. Of course it depends how you define agnosticism - perhaps I was being a bit cheeky with my broad definition as it needed to include all non-proven beliefs, not just religious ones. For example there's no inconsistency in saying that agnosticism has a basis in logic, if agnosticism doesn't refer to "truths" within logic. I guess it's a bit like the problem that it is not possible to prove the consistency of any grammar using only statements in that grammar, but it is possible to prove the consistency of other grammars.

It's all a bit academic really as there are clearly differences between the statements of "self-evident truth" found in logic and those found in faith. But from the point of view of logic are these statements any different?

about 3 years ago

Evangelical Scientists Debate Creation Story

XSpud Re:Science vs Religion: Contradictions? (1014 comments)

The only rational answers to the "god" question are:

1) "Unknowable" 2) "not relevant"

Any other assertion, be it for or against, fails at logic.

And by the same logical reasoning the only answer to the "Ronald McDonald is an alien from Mars" argument are: 1) "Unknowable" 2) "not relevant"

So agnosticism based on logical argument is not particularly useful.

Furthermore, if logic is the reason for your agnosticism as you seem to suggest, then to be consistent you cannot have any unsupported beliefs, including those regarding the truth of axioms in logic. Thus agnosticism cannot be a rational stance either - the same logic denies the concept of rational argument.

In other words it's not logically consistent to assert "I take to be true only those things that can be proven to be true", as the proofs you are relying on depend on unprovable truths.

about 3 years ago

Japan Widens Evacuation Zone Around Fukushima

XSpud Re:Nuke power (483 comments)

So seriously, lets stop the fear mongering, four accidents of significance and only one - due to a terribly stupid design - resulted in actual threats to the public. Nuclear power is safe, and if people would just take the time to actually understand it they would know it.

It is statements such as this that contribute to the public suspicion of the nuclear industry IMO. Nuclear power is not "safe", it has risks like any other industrial scale power generation. The public knows there are risks, it knows that the nuclear industry has a history of trying to hide the risks, and it knows that human factors are often more significant than reactor design when safety is concerned.

At some point the industry needs to hold their hands up and say "yes we have been doing it wrong", and if the risks really are less now than they were in the past, try to convince the public that things will be different. But I suspect this wont happen while we are still using reactors with all the same attributes as the ones at Fukushima for example, or storing fuel in ways that were never envisaged by the original designers.

My view is that there will always be accidents (until proven otherwise) and it's not acceptable to rely on people risking their lives every time there's an accident in order to prevent further risk to the public. Both Chernobyl and Fukushima would have been far worse but for the actions of a few "heroes". Nuclear safety should not have to depend on heroes.

more than 3 years ago

Telehack Re-Creates the Internet of 25 Years Ago

XSpud Telnet alternative (204 comments)

I just got this message when logged in: "operator: direct telnet will be faster than the web interface"

more than 3 years ago

Engineers Find Nuclear Meltdown At Fukushima Plant

XSpud Re:Nuclear power arguments (664 comments)

I'm not convinced it was a worst case scenario. There were times when they were not able to get near the reactors due to the high levels of radioactivity. What would have happened if they were unable to cool the reactors at all?

more than 3 years ago

Engineers Find Nuclear Meltdown At Fukushima Plant

XSpud Re:The "I Told You So" Thread? (664 comments)

Yes there are risks, but if anything, what Fukushima went through proves it's not as dangerous as people might think

This accident proves nothing except that the consequences of nuclear accidents are unpredictable.

more than 3 years ago

Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'

XSpud Re:Sooo..... (570 comments)

You are quite a long way off with your estimate, though you're right that the effect would be small.

One mole of lead is 207 grams so the energy you are talking about would cause a 1 K rise in only (207 * 2 * 10^12) / (6.02 * 10^23) or 6.9 * 10^-10 grams of lead.

That's less than the mass of a human ovum. Orders of magnitude (mass)

And the heat capacity (by mass) of water is about 32 times that of lead so you could heat up even less than that - just over 2 * 10^-11 grams of water.

more than 3 years ago

Inside a Full-Body-Scanning X-Ray Van

XSpud Re:X-rays or microwaves? (313 comments)

If someone drives an X-ray emitter past me they are going to find my boot up their ass.

Though the detectors are perfectly capable of detecting boots, due to the low penetrability of the electromagnetic waves I think you should be reassured your boot will remain well hidden.

more than 3 years ago

Chip Guru Papermaster Loses Signal At Apple

XSpud Re:*gate (374 comments)

Same reason everyone uses *zilla to describe something big. Its part of modern culture.

The use of *gate is so common now, perhaps the phenomenon should be called gatezilla.

more than 4 years ago

Counting the World's Books

XSpud Re:Whew....almost done! (109 comments)

I'm almost done reading them all!

That's my next challenge - once I've finished reading the web.

more than 4 years ago

Where To Start With DIY Home Security?

XSpud Re:a gun (825 comments)

Actually, come to think of it, a well-trained dog is probably one of your better security options.

A well-trained dog would be good, but I reckon having an un-house-trained dog would deter most unwelcome visitors.

more than 4 years ago

Churchill Accused of Sealing UFO Files, Fearing Public Panic

XSpud Re:It's probably the safe thing to do (615 comments)

Why do conquerers conquer? Resources!

And to snuff out perceived current or future threats.

Given mans' penchant for war and the recent development of space travel, another race might have good reason for seeing us as a future threat, particularly if they think we're close to having the technology for developing WMADs (Weapons of Mass Alien Destruction).

More than likely, they would be explorers, observers, teachers, or all the above.

Or weapons inspectors?

more than 4 years ago


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