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Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

goodmanj Re:A crook's dream (290 comments)

I saw that before I posted here, and it proves my point: FLIR can't see through walls, but it can see the warmth of the outside of the walls. So if the bad guy stands perfectly still for a minute or two with his back up against an uninsulated metal wall... not exactly useful, eh?

about two weeks ago
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Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

goodmanj Warrant? (290 comments)

I have no problem with this, provided the cops obtain a warrant through established judicial process.

about two weeks ago
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Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

goodmanj Re:A crook's dream (290 comments)

FLIR can't see through walls.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

goodmanj Re:Solar, solar, solar. Also, solar. (360 comments)

By "the last temperature change of this rapidity", I assumed the commenter was referring to the end of the Younger Dryas at the end of the last ice age, which is more or less synchronous with a mass extinction in the Americas. The PETM was a remarkable event and a useful example, but as you point out, it was a lot earlier and wasn't as rapid as what we're seeing now.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

goodmanj Re:Solar, solar, solar. Also, solar. (360 comments)

The most notable consequence of the last temperature change of this rapidity was a dieoff of what percentage of life forms inhabiting the region now known as North America? I'm not sure. Another comment claimed half the mammal species, though. We might find that inconvenient.

That's both a bad example and a good one. Many scientists believe those didn't die off due to climate change, but because humans killed them all and ate them. Which means it can't be used as an example of effects of climate change on ecosystems, but it is a good example of how even primitive humans can cause global ecosystem damage.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

goodmanj Re: Facts (360 comments)

Look at the Amazon. Look at the Arctic. Where is there more life and diversity? So forget the warming. It doesn't matter.

Look at the Sahara. Look at the Canadian Rockies. Oh shit what happened to your argument?

You are right though, that diversity is higher overall in warmer climates. But *change* in climate is pretty much always bad for diversity, everywhere, as is reducing the number of distinct climate regions.

about two weeks ago
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NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

goodmanj Re:Joy (360 comments)

...note that there's a large ball of cooler-than-average over the mid-Atlantic, riiiight on top of the largest and most influential concentration of climate change deniers...

Ah hah! Denying climate change causes local climate to cool! So if we all wish real hard, and the problem will go away. It's the Tinkerbell Protocol!

about two weeks ago
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Virgin Galactic To Launch 2,400 Comm. Satellites To Offer Ubiquitous Broadband

goodmanj Re:Competition (123 comments)

They're both pretty full of themselves, but Musk is a pompous engineer at heart whose projects mostly work. Branson is a pompous frat boy at heart whose projects kill people.

about two weeks ago
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Virgin Galactic To Launch 2,400 Comm. Satellites To Offer Ubiquitous Broadband

goodmanj Re:Why so many? (123 comments)

They are using the WhiteKnightTwo with a unmanned rocket payload for orbital launches [networkworld.com].

WhiteKnightTwo is just an airplane. We've already got plenty of those. Virgin so-called-Galactic has nothing capable of getting anywhere near low earth orbit: even their failed rocket was only suborbital. This "plan" is like planning a trip to Japan, when you've bought a taxi to the airport but no plane ticket.

about two weeks ago
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Virgin Galactic To Launch 2,400 Comm. Satellites To Offer Ubiquitous Broadband

goodmanj Re: 2400 towers? (123 comments)

Hell, your average cell phone user thinks they *are* sat phones.

about two weeks ago
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Obama Unveils Plan To Bring About Faster Internet In the US

goodmanj Why 25 MBps? (417 comments)

I'd love to see more competition at the 4 MBps level, but I'm not sure why I need 25 MBps of bandwidth. At 4 MBps, I can stream a couple of 1080p videos simultaneously or download almost any triple-A game in an hour or two.

If I were trying to serve a popular website off my home computer, back up my terabyte hard disk nightly, I might need more, but that would be stupid. If I wanted to stream 5k video, I'd need more, but 5k video is also stupid. For consumer use, there's no way the human eyeball can actually consume data at more than 4 MBps; what am I missing out on by not having what TFA calls "baseline for the full benefits of internet access"?

about two weeks ago
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The Strange Story of the First Quantum Art Exhibition In Space

goodmanj Cheaper version (69 comments)

If you don't want to bother going into space, you can achieve precisely the same effect by staring at a light bulb for a moment.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

goodmanj Re:Kids these days ... (388 comments)

I said "how computers work *and* how to fix them" because I realize those are two different skills. Most of the kids I work with have neither. No you don't have to know how to build an adder out of NAND gates to be good at computers, but my students are pretty vague on the difference between a file, a program, and a web page.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

goodmanj Kids these days ... (388 comments)

Everyone talks about how today's young people are computer geniuses, but I'm a college physics professor, and I can tell you that kids coming up from high school are as clueless about tech as their grandparents. They just know how to Twitter and Instagram, but they have no idea how computers or the Internet work.

This isn't new, of course, nobody understands the technology their world is based on. My father and grandfather lived in an era where most people knew how a car worked and how to fix it, but in my generation that's a mystery. I understand how computers work and how to fix them, but the next generation treats them as black boxes. And so on.

about two weeks ago
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Ancient Planes and Other Claims Spark Controversy at Indian Science Congress

goodmanj A long-standing problem in subcontinent history. (381 comments)

This is really a historian problem, not a science problem. India and Pakistan have a long and difficult backstory with regard to nationalist historiography: following the overthrow of the British empire, they quite understandably had a bit of anti-Western sentiment and a re-appreciation of indigenous history and culture. Unfortunately this translated into some pretty jingoistic "we created everything" hypernationalism, which was most prominent in the '60s and '70s, but continues today.

Case in point: I once wrote an essay in college on the science and math knowledge of the Indus Valley civilization circa 1800 BC. One of my sources claimed that these folks invented everything from relativity to calculus to quantum mechanics, but the best bit was an archaeologist who measured the ruins of a circular well, noticed that the ratio of its circumference to its diameter was about 3.1, and argued that this meant the Indus River folks knew the value of pi.

about three weeks ago
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Aircraft Responsible For 2.5% of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

goodmanj Re:The last to go (232 comments)

Nobody really needs to be free of malaria and polio either, but it is a pretty nice luxury.

Our goal for the future shouldn't be to get rid of everything we don't need to survive. Our goal should be to see how many of the awesome fruits of modern society we can keep around for the long haul. No, jet aircraft aren't *necessary*, but they make the world a better place in a ton of different ways, and their fossil footprint is small enough that we can afford to keep using them, if we make it a priority. And I think we should.

about a month ago
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Aircraft Responsible For 2.5% of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions

goodmanj The last to go (232 comments)

In our efforts to decarbonize our society, aircraft should be the last to go. There's no renewable technology that's likely to match what a passenger jet can do (try to design a battery-powered Airbus. You won't get far.) Also, the amount of carbon dioxide they emit is pretty minor, relatively speaking. I'm a pretty big global warming doomsayer, but even I want to live in a world where I can fly to the other side of the planet in 24 hours if I really have to.

about a month ago
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Russia Plans To Build World First DNA Databank of All Living Things

goodmanj Re:Nope. (83 comments)

I already mentioned multiple floors in my comments. If you're imagining something like the Burj Khalifa, imagine ONE THOUSAND of them side by side.
Or maybe you're prefer something wider and flatter, like the U.S. Pentagon building? No problem, just build EIGHT HUNDRED of those stacked on top of each other.

This is the world's largest building by floor area. 430 km^2 would be 400 of them.

about a month ago
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Russia Plans To Build World First DNA Databank of All Living Things

goodmanj Re:Nope. (83 comments)

Replying to my earlier post, I suppose it's possible some PR flack screwed up a unit conversion, and it's actually 430,000 square meters. Which is still a gigantic building you could never build for $194 million, but is significantly less ludicrous.

about a month ago
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Russia Plans To Build World First DNA Databank of All Living Things

goodmanj Nope. (83 comments)

You can't build anything 430 square km in size for $194 million. Certainly not in central Moscow, because that's roughly the land area of *all* of Moscow. Even if you're just counting internal floor area and you build it 100 stories tall, it'd be the largest building in the world by floor area by a factor of 400, would be about the size of lower Manhattan, and be the largest building in the world by footprint by a factor of eight.

Post-soviet Russia has a long track record of announcing glorious plans for amazing science and technology and not doing them. Going by press releases, they've got what, six Mars missions underway right now? Occasionally Russia does something cool, but I say, give 'em credit for their achievements, not their plans, because 99% of their plans are just pipe dreams. Goes double if it's announced by RT.com.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Forging DNA evidence: a how-to guide

goodmanj goodmanj writes  |  more than 5 years ago

goodmanj writes "Looking to commit the perfect crime and pin it on your enemy? The New York Times explains how to fabricate DNA evidence, as demonstrated by an Israeli biotech firm. Grab a sample of your enemy's hair, amplify the DNA in it, mix it in with a sample of DNA-free blood, and sprinkle it around the crime scene. If you can't get a strand of hair, you can just use the DNA profile data routinely collected by various government agencies. The perfect frame job!"
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