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A War Over Solar Power Is Raging Within the GOP

Re:If they're concerned on picking winners or lose (1030 comments)

AC is because it's dangerous to health to let it be 105F in a workplace.

This is very true. But the problem is that often the AC systems overshoot massively. Usually in a large air-conditioned facility, I find myself shivering because they aim low. In my last job (Texas, a few years ago), several senior staff had space heaters in their offices to bring the temperature back *up* to the 68-72 F level, which is insane. They'd reset the thermostat if they could, but it was a building-wide system, with an idiot at the switch.

about 5 months ago
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White House: Use Metric If You Want, We Don't Care

Re:It is a broken system (1145 comments)

However, what makes it s truly broken unit system is that it uses the unit pound for both mass and weight. Yes there have been "hacks" of the system to bring them inline with physical reality so you have the "avoirdupois pound" meaning a mass and the "pound" meaning force. However this means that the units are not clear: when you say "pound" do you mean force or mass?

U.S. Physics textbooks sometimes (always?) use the slug as the standard imperial unit of mass. A force of one pound will accelerate one slug by 1 foot/sec^2. I'd never heard of this slug thingy before moving to the U.S., and I grew up in Ireland, which has the same half-assed approach to metric and imperial as the U.K.

about a year ago
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Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision To Attend PyCon?

Re:Donglegate? Really? (759 comments)

She literally took food off the table of 3 children.

Le sigh.

1 year,28 days
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JPL Employee's Firing Wasn't Due To Intelligent Design Advocacy, Says Judge

A secular workplace is a good workplace. (477 comments)

I work in a different NASA centre, and while I'm pretty sure two of my coworkers actively practice some kind of religion -- a couple of books in one's office, and the other one wears a yarmulke -- for the most part, I have *no* idea of anyone's religious beliefs or lack of same. Certainly nobody has brought it up in conversation, much less try to convert anyone else.

This is how it should be everywhere outside a church/religious institution.

about a year and a half ago
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Pakastani Politician Detained By US Customs Over Opposition To Drone Strikes

Re:What they were doing in Canada? (560 comments)

It happens in other cities as well. Dublin airport, for instance, has a U.S. Immigration pre-clearance section that I've used many times. Not necessarily for all U.S.-bound flights, though.

about a year and a half ago
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Could You Hack Into Mars Curiosity Rover?

Re:stop with the high school journalism headlines (452 comments)

It's a question. Not putting in a question mark would be wrong.

Rewording so that it's not a question would change the meaning too much ("How to hack into the Mars Curiosity Rover"), or be needlessly wordy ("Post on whether it would be possible to hack into the Mars Curiosity Rover").

about a year and a half ago
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Belief In Hell Predicts a Country's Crime Rates Better Than Other Factors

Re:Savvy study author ... (471 comments)

The term you're looking for is "secular", not "atheist".

about 2 years ago
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Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers

There are a lot of countries that recognize each others driver's licenses as proof or that don't require any documents when traveling between them (see all of the EU).

Not "all of the EU", unfortunately. The U.K., for instance, has not signed onto the Schengen Accord that allows for this. And Ireland requires passports too (possibly because it wants to be in lock-step with the U.K., its closest neighbour).

[This was already mentioned by an AC, but (s)he hasn't yet been modded up, and I don't have mod points]

more than 2 years ago
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How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds For 50 Years

No Nobel prize

Which at this point is surprising to me. He did pioneering work on the physics of black holes, and was the first to theorize on what is now called Hawking Radiation. That seems like a pretty good accomplishment. Do you suppose the relative lack of experimental confirmation keeps him from it?

I think that's more or less it. BH thermodynamics and evaporation are cool ideas, and Hawking has been fundamental in finding links between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. But it's still just an idea, and impossible to verify any time soon, unless something cool happens at the LHC.

more than 2 years ago
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How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds For 50 Years

a theoretical mathematician

as opposed to an experimental mathematician?

As opposed to an Applied Mathematician.

more than 2 years ago
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Re:General Relativity is Wrong (442 comments)

Yes, but special relativity is a special case of general relativity (the case where spacetime is flat), so if something screws up SR, GR gets screwed up into the bargain.

more than 2 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

Re:Einstein replied "Check your measurements, son" (1088 comments)

Only if (a) your equals sign is approximate (since you're neglecting terms in p^4 and higher) and (b) your "m" is the rest mass, which I would denote "m_0".

more than 2 years ago
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Evangelical Scientists Debate Creation Story

Jesus wrote the bible with his own hand, neigh, with both hands writing at the same time, and he's still PISSED OFF over losing the whole "sun is the center of the universe" debate.

Jesus was a horse?

more than 2 years ago
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S&P's \$2 Trillion Math Mistake

Re:doesn't make much of a difference (1040 comments)

What they did is like killing a chicken, looking at its entrails, and then declaring that because of the intestines, they are confident that 2 + 2 = 4.

More like killing a chicken, looking at its entrails, and then declaring that because of the intestines, they are confident that the chicken is not too healthy.

more than 2 years ago
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Spiderman's Politically Correct Replacement

He represents the minorities. You know, the same minorities that get offered scholarships based on their race or gender; the minorities that get hired in order to fill a quota, with no regard for their actual qualifications; the minorities that can say whatever they want and play the discrimination card when someone calls them out, while the rest of us are told to shut up and be tolerant; the minorities that never seem to be at fault for anything, always shifting the blame to the persecution of the majority.

The affirmative action policies I've encountered only state that minorities should be preferred only when two or more job candidates are equally qualified. How badly this is abused is, of course, open to debate (and liberal use of anecdote).

more than 2 years ago
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Climate Unit Releases Virtually All Remaining Data

Re:Refuse Permission? (507 comments)

Credit scores are actually a pretty good example. Information that the credit companies collect about you, which can affect you greatly. In the US, they are considered important enough that laws have been written to require the credit reporting agencies to provide you with your score on a periodic basis (if you ask) at NO charge.

I don't think that's true. The agencies are required by law to provide you with your credit REPORT yearly at no charge. The credit SCORE -- that single number presumably distilled from the report by whatever arcane algorithms they use -- is still privileged information that you have to pay for.

more than 2 years ago
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State of Alaska Prints Out Palin's E-Mails; Online Distribution 'Impractical'

paper for proper redacting? (516 comments)

I thought the point of printing them out was to allow for effective redacting of sensitive information? I read recently that the Alaskan officials didn't think they could properly redact in the original electronic documents.

Of course, they could print out, redact with Sharpie, then rescan the page image to PDF (making it much larger than it should be, of course), but that last step is time-consuming.

(No, I haven't yet RTFA)

more than 2 years ago
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Supreme Court Takes Up Scholars' Rights

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb... (190 comments)

I think you're ignoring part of the parent's point (which may not have been explicit). It's not just that the Supreme Court's decisions can be predicted beforehand, it's that the specific Justices' -votes- can be predicted beforehand.

If the law were really like a computer code, and the Supreme Court Justices were all rational, knowledgeable and honest, we would them to render identical opinions on every question; in fact, there would only have to be -one- judge. Since we may not trust one judge to be sufficiently knowledgeable, we have nine instead, and take a majority opinion.

But if you know that certain issues are going to split 5:4 or 6:3, with the -same- justices on the majority side each time, then there's a real problem. At least one of the sides is pushing a bias that has nothing to do with the law. At least one of the sides is failing in rationality, knowledge, or honesty; I suspect both are.

more than 2 years ago
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Twitter Prepared To Name Users

Re:Maybe the Twits should apply for a super-injunc (292 comments)

Not true.

If a tabloid decides to write about the affair they think he's having, then Mr Giggs has a problem. It doesn't actually matter whether he had an affair or not.

The real problem is certain journalists (professional or otherwise) intruding on the private lives of celebrities. To my knowledge, Mr Giggs has no official business in promoting public morality. Ergo, the public has no reasonable right to know about his morals.

more than 2 years ago

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