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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

butalearner Re:Scientific question (661 comments)

The problem is that it's being presented under the "appeal to authority" fallacy, but the "facts" that have been released supporting "anthropogenic climate change" have turned out to be, at best, carefully-selected statistics. ... The IPCC climate models continue to fail to account for the 18-year hiatus in warming, with all of the 'explanations' for the hiatus being untested hypotheses with no experimental validation.

Wow, AC, you warn us about carefully selected statistics, and yet you carefully choose the most anomalously high year (1998) as your start point, then claim there is a hiatus. If you want to look at it in chunks, there was also a "hiatus" from 1950 to 1975 or so, followed by fast warming up through the early 2000's.

I'm genuinely curious, though. What do you believe we should do, or not do? Not invest in alternative energy? Solyndra was a big fat failure, but since then (as of Nov 2014), the US DOE clean energy loan program has been turning a profit. Not limit emissions for cars or businesses or power plants? Generally, limiting those things translates to increased energy efficiency, which reduces our need for energy, which saves us money in the long run.

Personally, I want energy independence, and developing clean, alternative energy (nuclear AND wind AND solar) is a too-good-to-pass-up way of accomplishing that. Reducing our impact on the climate is pretty much just a bonus.

4 days ago
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Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

butalearner Re:Cool (224 comments)

Exactly, dont like the political/religious message so flag it false and less people will see it.

Odds are all political/religious messages are false.

And no, your mileage will NOT vary.

And even if they're not totally false, they are all designed to make people angry, which we already get enough of otherwise. A recent, mostly harmless story was one about EPA's "ban on wood-burning stoves" about to take effect, which, if you take two seconds to read through the vitriol, you'd find that they are regulating newly manufactured stoves, not making existing stoves illegal. But all the article's author had to do was carefully choose his words: "80% of you have stoves that would be illegal to purchase after this rule goes into effect."

This is what the most effective (these days) political messages do: make one large group of people angry and demand change, and make another large group angry because of the half-truths involved.

4 days ago
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Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

butalearner Re:Biased Institutions FTW (779 comments)

In their defense, I want them to do their due diligence whenever they get a report. A lot of people would be pissed at the police and at CPS if they got called in and missed neglect or abuse. But it's quite obvious in this case that they went way overboard, and they still are.

I haven't seen it discussed in this thread, but in brief, Maryland state law says that any child under 8 must be supervised by a child 13 or older while in a dwelling or a vehicle. It says nothing about being outside, but they are considering stretching the interpretation and charging the parents.

about two weeks ago
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Exoplanet Hunting NGTS Telescope Array Achieves First Light

butalearner Re:Not much aperture (19 comments)

Oops, forgot that those are all diameters. To complete the trio of mistakes, NGTS has 0.38 m^2. Good catch!

about two weeks ago
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Exoplanet Hunting NGTS Telescope Array Achieves First Light

butalearner Not much aperture (19 comments)

I wonder what the real step forward is (field of view? accuracy? software?), because that is not much aperture. 1.5 square meters in all, compared to 6 square meters on Kepler and 18 square meters on Hubble. You can get a very basic 200mm reflector on a manual Dobsonian mount for less than $400, but even top of the line custom telescopes could not have been terribly expensive compared to just building the facility.

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

butalearner Re:Therefore justifying the killing of others (877 comments)

"If a large enough group of someone is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization."

Definitely worth repeating, as is this later quote: "But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed."

about two weeks ago
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NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

butalearner Re:As with all space missions: (200 comments)

That single point of failure isn't as bad as you might think, because the pressure could be the same on the inside and outside. Cloud-top Venusians wouldn't even need pressurized suits, just breathable air...and protection from the sulfuric acid. And some way to deal with the 200+ mile per hour winds, perhaps by sort of riding them around the planet. I imagine many unmanned missions would precede a manned one, to set up some infrastructure (power generation, oxygen extraction, food crops, etc.) and provide some back up systems.

I'm not sure how they would be able to leave, though. Rocket launches are difficult enough with solid ground and a non-corrosive atmosphere.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

butalearner Re: Please don't (280 comments)

From what I've researched, taking undergraduate research classes and doing internships will dramatically increase your starting salary.

I'm not sure this is true. What internships do is allow you to make decent money while going to school. I know several former interns that made a good enough impression on their employer that they continued to work part time during school, if the work location was close enough to school. That's the biggest benefit: avoiding more debt.

about a month ago
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Single Group Dominates Second Round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions

butalearner Re:I'd expect Fawkes masks to start making stateme (218 comments)

Energy companies - privatized. Prices have gone up, service is still good mostly because of government regulations, the market is now largely dominated by less than 5 big energy companies. Only recently thanks to renewable energy have smaller, local players re-emerged.

Freaking out over Fukushima couldn't have helped with your energy prices, I imagine. I (also) very highly doubt that privatization is beneficial to energy/utilities and telecom, but I admit there are always other factors to consider. For example, in the Greater Phoenix area in Arizona, my water, sewer, trash, and electricity were served by private companies, and bills were sky high and rising. In Alabama, despite being an equally conservative state, I have public utilities and pay way less, despite having a larger house and two more members in my family. However, the former is desert, and in the latter I live a stone's throw away from a big river. Anyway, great post!

about a month ago
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Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

butalearner Re:Actually... (135 comments)

Thus proving that the dinosaurs had an advanced technological civilization based on deuterium fusion.

Historical documents show that tyrannosaurs used their relatively small arms to operate the controls of fighter jets, so it stands to reason that dinosaurs figured out economical fusion power. I wouldn't be surprised if all the fossils we've found are just the dinosaur lawyers and telephone sanitizers.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Releases Android Studio 1.0, the First Stable Version of Its IDE

butalearner Re:What's wrong with emacs and make ? (115 comments)

I'd like IDEs a lot better if they didn't bury stuff like build information in menus and dialogs. Android tutorials and such always encourage new developers to start from an example, so that's what I've done on multiple occasions. But I quickly get annoyed because I don't know everything that's happening under the hood, so I basically have to google every time I want to do anything. If it could give me one big, organized text file or script that controls how it's built (with environment variables for portability), I'd be so much happier. But no, I have to right-click on the project, open a submenu (the 17th of 38 menu items), click on Project Build Path or something like that, click on this other tab, click the Add JARs button, browse to the desired files...

about a month and a half ago
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Technical Hitches Delay Orion Capsule's First Launch

butalearner Re: rounding error (71 comments)

Note, don't go to Mars, sending people to Mars with current technology would be stupid. Get a moon base operating first.

The first part is okay, but the second doesn't necessarily follow. Establishing a permanent presence on another planetary body will take a long time - even if we started ASAP - and technology can be developed in the meantime. One such technology is in-situ resource utilization. The more resources the base can pull from its surroundings, the better. Mars has carbon and the Moon doesn't, which is pretty huge. If water is also significantly easier to extract, then even despite the far greater distance, Mars might be a more attractive location.

But who knows, we may find out we can deal with near-zero gravity better than we thought, and there may be a decently large, carbon- and water-rich asteroid at one of Earth's L-4/5 Lagrange points or something. That would be even cheaper in terms of delta-V to reach than the Moon. Or maybe we set up shop on a co-orbital body like 3753 Cruithne, which orbits the Sun every 364 days, and will be within 13.6 million km of Mars in 2058 (Earth and Mars only come within 56 million km of each other).

Or we just do all of the above, because humanity is awesome.

about 2 months ago
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Technical Hitches Delay Orion Capsule's First Launch

butalearner Re:rounding error (71 comments)

The total cost of Ares development was expected to be upwards of $40 billion in 2009 dollars. The total cost of SLS development was expected to be $18 billion in 2011 dollars. It might not launch if Tea Partiers like Ted Cruz gets their way, but with the pro-NASA congressman expecting to head up the appropriations committee over the next two years, there's still a good chance it will.

about 2 months ago
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'Mirage Earth' Exoplanets May Have Burned Away Chances For Life

butalearner Re:A nice dream (62 comments)

Well we know other civs either go silent or don't exist because we don't hear them.

Just because we can't hear them doesn't necessarily mean they're silent or don't exist. Due to the inverse square law, most of our signals are indistinguishable from background noise by the time they hit Alpha Centauri. A couple years ago we pumped a lot of energy into a directed Arecibo transmission toward the Wow! signal, but even that will get lost in the noise a couple hundred light years away. This is not to mention that we transmit on and listen to a certain band of frequencies. My understanding is that, for SETI to hear anything, an extraterrestrial civilization has to aim a very high-powered signal toward us in a frequency band that isn't already saturated by local electromagnetic signals.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Have Finally Sampled the Most Abundant Material On Earth

butalearner Re:Wait till they see water! (128 comments)

Actually, TFA links to an earlier article that discusses a sample of ringwoodite (the transition layer material between upper and lower mantles) that had water trapped inside it. The whole thing was encased by a diamond that emerged in Brazil. They claim that it "confirms predictions from high-pressure laboratory experiments that a water reservoir comparable in size to all the oceans combined is hidden deep in Earth’s mantle." The ringwoodite sample was 1.5% water by weight, so water is still a small percentage of Earth's mass, but there is more than just surface water.

about 2 months ago
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Who Needs NASA? Exoplanet Detected Using a DSLR

butalearner Re:And making my link a link: (108 comments)

As someone posted below, here is the forum post with some data, and here is the raw data with more plots. This is really awesome, but you have to temper your enthusiasm when you realize he knew exactly when to look and how much the brightness should drop, and he chose a relatively bright star (apparent magnitude +7.676, which is just barely too faint to see with the naked eye) with a relatively large exoplanet to image. There is some wiggle room there, but the data is pretty noisy, so it will be pretty tough to spot new exoplanets like this.

In comparison, Kepler-67b is a confirmed exoplanet 3610 light years away, orbiting a star with an apparent magnitude of +16. That is, take the light received from the star this guy imaged, divide it by 2000 (less than 0.05% the brightness), and Kepler can still detect exoplanets passing in front of it. The Hubble and Keck Telescopes have imaged stars with magnitudes of +30 or higher. So to answer the headline (in case it wasn't already obvious), we still kinda need NASA.

about 2 months ago
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Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

butalearner Re:Junk Article? (219 comments)

*sigh* as always, we have this and that said, no citation. Anyone got a LINK to what he actually DID (excuse me, what he was accused of specifically)

Not sure of full details, but I got this much:

18 counts of cyberstalking: filling out a public contact form on the "victim's" website with junk text.
15 counts violating Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: scanning sites for vulnerabilities using commercial available scanning tools.
Not sure what the other 11 counts were.
The only charge he pled guilty to was a violation of the CFAA, downgraded to a misdemeanor, for trying to log in to the Hidalgo County website server 14,000 times, causing a slowdown that prompted them to hire specialists.

about 2 months ago
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Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

butalearner Re:What's it good for? (236 comments)

That's just the hard limit. There will be many catastrophic events between now and then. Sure, the odds that the next one occurs in the next couple of decades is astronomically small, and we have a really, really long way to go to settling on another planet or in space. But your statement "if there's still a civilization" is telling: if we left it to people like you, humanity would keep kicking the can down the road, over and over, until it's too late.

about 2 months ago
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The Nintendo DS Turns 10

butalearner Re:NDS != NDS (61 comments)

Both of my original DS's have a cracked hinge (rough handling from the kids), but both of them still work. Our family still uses them occasionally to play multiplayer games like Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros DS with our two 3DS XLs.

That's a pretty awesome feature. Several months ago I picked up three used copies of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time for cheap, and the 3DS XLs my wife and I got last Christmas can play multiplayer with the systems we had even before we had kids.

about 2 months ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

butalearner Re:Huh (223 comments)

The legs are 'springy' and can be used to hop the lander off the surface. The problem is that they can't tell the orientation of the lander. If it's in a cave, the legs might hop it deeper into shadow.

I understand why they haven't tried it yet, but if it's about to run out of juice anyway, there's no reason not to give it a shot.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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OpenPandora sells for $1875

butalearner butalearner writes  |  more than 4 years ago

butalearner (1235200) writes "After two years of delays, the first Pandora handheld consoles are finally arriving in the hands of the thousands of patient supporters. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the Pandora made its first appearance on eBay. The auction opened at a modest $330 — the preorder price — but five days later, one of the first Pandoras in existence netted the seller a whopping $1875 after a bidding war. I'm sure we'll see a slew of copycats attempt to replicate the success of this auction."

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