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I think next winter will be:

captainpanic Re:*shakes magic 8 ball* (147 comments)

Also, in Europe, there are more measuring stations, and the super computers used to calculate the weather forecast are more powerful.

Here's an old article from 2013 that explains it a little better: http://news.nationalgeographic...

about a week ago
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Scientists Confirm Life Under Antarctic Ice

captainpanic Re:Good for them (46 comments)

This life is not necessarily in a circle of life. It can be methane formed in a similar way as natural gas or swamp gas. These can be pockets of methane that can eventually be depleted.

I'm just speculating though. As a good /. member, I didn't even rtfa.

about a month ago
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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

captainpanic Re:god dammit. (521 comments)

But think of the jet engines!

Also, according to his study, windmills 'save' birds, because they replace other, more harmful ways to generate electricity.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/201...

about a month ago
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Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

captainpanic Re:Small-scale, real-time. (502 comments)

Similar here in Western Europe. Wind is very reliable, as we get wind almost every day. But we're too far north to make solar energy an interesting option. Solar should be built in more southern countries such as Spain or southern Italy.

If anything, all this sustainable energy will demand a stronger, and more integrated grid, which will mean more (not less) business for the grid company. If that all means some old coal power plants go out of business, then so be it. I am sure that the solar/wind industry will compensate the loss of jobs.

about a month and a half ago
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Japan To Launch a Military Space Force In 2019

captainpanic Re:the reality is... (150 comments)

If we ever get to that point, it might also be the end of the space age. With billions of small particles in orbit from all the blown up drones, there won't be a safe orbit left for civilian satellites.

about a month and a half ago
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NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

captainpanic Re:That's great (75 comments)

There is no one-size fits all capsule and although the Dragon could be modified to work for deep space missions as this has been taken into account from the start, it isn't currently built for that.

Agreed. The Dragon seems to be just a 7-passenger taxi service to the ISS. However, you could probably dock it to another space station too, one with living quarters, a Mars-lander and a bunch of big engines and fuel tanks, and then you have your Mars mission complete.

about 3 months ago
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Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

captainpanic Re:Good. (138 comments)

True, but a lot of the requests come from politicians with dodgy pasts and paedophiles.

Yeah, but there are also millions of people who posted rather silly posts when drunk as a student, or other minor mistakes, who now have good careers and who want to get rid of some undesirable content about them on the internet.

Paedophiles, as well as any other criminal, have the right to make a new start after having served their sentence. The court determines a punishment, and often a treatment, and after that these people deserve the chance to make a new start (otherwise, the sentence is for life... and while you may agree with a life sentence, the court deliberately did not give a life sentence). Sometimes these people become politicians. If they served their sentence, and hopefully learned their mistake, then I have no problems with it.

about 3 months ago
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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

captainpanic Re:I'm almost cool with this (625 comments)

Actually, no. If it is a real disability, and an obese person is registered as such, they receive the necessary medical care as any other disabled person. If that care includes a diet or regular exercise, then so be it.

Look at someone with a disability on their legs (note: I am no doctor). They can apply for a wheelchair, which will be covered for them, but only if they go see a doctor. This doctor will first see if he can help the disabled person back on his feet. If that fails, the wheelchair is the backup plan.

The medical system - at least where I live in Europe - will always choose healing over just dealing with the symptoms.

about 3 months ago
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DNA Study: First Farmers Were Also Sailors

captainpanic How about river deltas? (40 comments)

Maybe the first agriculture just went from one fertile river delta to the next? Those happen to be on or near the coastlines.

Unless they have dug up some boats from 10,000 years ago, I don't see any evidence of actual sailing.

about 3 months ago
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Free Wi-Fi Coming To Atlanta's Airport

captainpanic Re:Hey, what? $5? (135 comments)

Indeed. Welcome to the 21st century, Atlanta.

about 4 months ago
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NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

captainpanic Re:Sorry... (206 comments)

Also, they have a central government capable of making big decisions and capable of running large technical projects.
They may only have a little rover on the Moon, and very few (if any) space probes that are outside the earth's gravity well, but they can totally claim that they can make a decision, and then commit huge efforts to it. Look at their high speed railways. They have overtaken Europe (all of it combined) already.

If the Chinese are going for it, they really are going for it... unlike Europe or the US where the decisions are taken by a committee, which eventually will reach some lame compromise to do it only for 50% and only within a set of criteria which must support the almighty Economy, because heaven forsake if we ever waste some money - all the while blowing away money on management and bureaucratic inefficiency.

about 4 months ago
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UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

captainpanic Re:Dear UK (240 comments)

I enjoy your sarcasm, but I will still answer your 1st question as if you were serious.

How do you know it's not a case so important and transcendental that absolute secrecy is required to protect British society as a whole?

Because the system on which our liberty and freedom is based is more important than some guys setting of a bomb, no matter how large the attack.

We just cannot - under any circumstance - accept a situation that a government can capture, try and imprison people without ever having to be accountable for those actions.

I could accept a situation where trial is postponed because of ongoing investigations against others, but the trial must be public. Heck, we (= the West) have been fighting regimes that did this in the past, saying we had to liberate the people from the oppression, etc. etc., and now we're doing it ourselves? Does not compute.

about 4 months ago
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Linux Mint 17 'Qiana' Released

captainpanic Re:This is so 1990s (132 comments)

The long term support version of Linux Mint is indeed newsworthy. I think it is the upcoming popular Linux for the desktop. Why? Because it works, without any unnecessary fancy stuff.

In fact, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to upgrade an old WinXP computer to something more 2014. From experience I can say that installation is really easy, and it will allow you to go online, email, watch movies, listen music or write any documents/excel sheets just like XP did.

about 4 months ago
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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities

captainpanic Re:what a waste (187 comments)

Why would the feds have to invest in that? What you propose is just another subsidy by a government that is already almost bankrupt. Why not allow the corporations to exploit this very interesting and profitable market? [/sarcasm]

about 4 months ago
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Should We Eat Invasive Species?

captainpanic Re:blackberries in seattle? I'm Shocked. Shocked (290 comments)

Berries are meant to be eaten. Why else would a plant put yummy sweet stuff around its seeds? You're actually helping the plant to thrive if you pick the berries (especially if you drop a few here and there while picking, or otherwise spread the seeds around).

If you want it gone, pull it out at the roots, and only then pick the berries.

about 4 months ago
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Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

captainpanic Missed opportunity (250 comments)

Missed opportunity to mention it is "Mostly Harmless" (instead of this "generally harmless"). Also, if they had gone 6 weeks, instead of 4, that would have been 42 days, which is a much better number. Then this invention should have been called the ultimate solution to the universe etc... the only puzzle remaining then is what the heck you always need a towel for.

about 4 months ago
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Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped In Arctic Ice

captainpanic Re:It didn't take long to leave our mark in the se (136 comments)

Firstly a disclaimer: I am not the historian you asked for (i.e. no expert). But I do have 2 cents to add to this comment.

I think cities/towns were often built on high ground as a prevention against flooding. People want to live near fresh water for irrigation, but still keep their houses dry.
Therefore, the main elevation of the town centers is not a giant pile of old trash, but a natural elevation (also known as a "hill"). But it is true that people would discard old items into a canal or river, or just in the mud, and in old cities you will almost always find something if you dig down.

about 4 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

captainpanic Re:And thus, terraforming has begun (97 comments)

True. The total pressure is much lower on Mars. However, the CO2 partial pressure is higher:

On Earth, we have a total of 1 bar, and 0.04% of that is CO2. That means a CO2 partial pressure of 0.0004 bar CO2, or 0.4 mbar CO2.
On Mars, there is a total of 6 mbar pressure, but 96% of that is CO2. That means a CO2 partial pressure of 0.0058 bar CO2, or 5.8 mbar CO2, almost 15 times as much CO2.

The plants may lack everything else (they do need the other gases in the atmosphere, I know, and liquid water in the soil). But just maybe some really tough microorganisms can survive.

about 4 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

captainpanic Re:The stuff of sci-fi. (97 comments)

If these microbes ever evolve to something as intelligent as us humans, their archaeologists will have quite some explaining to do when they dig up the Curiosity rover.

about 4 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

captainpanic And thus, terraforming has begun (97 comments)

Terraforming has begun. With some luck, there were one or two microbes that can do photosynthesis. Plenty of CO2 on Mars.
Yes, it will take a really long time, but we had to start at some point, right? Good job, NASA.

about 4 months ago

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