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Prospects Rise For a 2015 UN Climate Deal, But Likely To Be Weak

jcupitt65 Re:Too weak because humans are not the cause (145 comments)

I think all the solar activity graphs look like that, they are based on the same satellite data. For example:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Solar-cycle-data.png

How can increased solar activity be causing global warming if solar activity is not increasing? Isn't it more likely that the huge increase in CO2, a strongly-warming gas, is the cause?

2 days ago
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Prospects Rise For a 2015 UN Climate Deal, But Likely To Be Weak

jcupitt65 Re:Too weak because humans are not the cause (145 comments)

Are you sure? Here's the usual solar activity / climate graph and there's no clear correlation between the Sun's activity and temperature, but a very obvious link to CO2.

The article you link shows how cosmic rays can seed cloud formation, which may well be correct, but I don't think there's any evidence of the next step, increased temperature.

3 days ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

Ah you're right, thanks for the correction. I had ~10bn for expenditure and ~8bn for tax in my head, but I'd clearly got the tax mixed up.

about two weeks ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

That's only the figure for the national road network, ie. motorways and some A roads (but not all, I think?). Local authorities spend bucketloads of money maintaining minor roads, more than enough to wipe out the direct taxes motorists pay.

Or that was all true last time I looked into it, perhaps things have shifted since.

about three weeks ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

jcupitt65 Re:Lucky sods (334 comments)

The UK road system is subsidised by general taxation, ie. gas tax + road tax + VED + VAT on vehicles sales < cost of UK road network.

It depends a bit what you count as the road network: just the national highway system, or highways plus major roads, do you include roads paid for by local authorities etc. etc.

about three weeks ago
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16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

jcupitt65 Re:What difference will it make? (125 comments)

UK weather forecasts have become much more accurate over the last few decades as the computers that do the forecasting have become more powerful. This new machine will continue that trend.

For many years we have verified our forecasts by comparing forecasts of mean sea-level pressure with subsequent model analyses of mean sea-level pressure. These comparisons are made over an area covering the North Atlantic; most of western Europe, and north-eastern parts of North America. From this long-term comparison an average forecast error can be calculated.

The graph shows how many days into a forecast period this average error is reached compared to a baseline in 1980. This graph shows that a three-day forecast today is more accurate than a one-day forecast in 1980.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/7/2/capIndPlot-600.jpg

about a month ago
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More Eye Candy Coming To Windows 10

jcupitt65 Re:how pretty (209 comments)

I'm a working scientist. I have a Mac at home for playing, but work is all Linux. OS X has a very slow filesystem, no working package manager (or rather it has at least four, none of which are much good) and only runs on relatively expensive hardware. Good luck building a compute cluster from imacs. Windows is even worse, of course.

about a month ago
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NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

jcupitt65 Re:Everyone should just say "interesting" (295 comments)

NASA and its climate partners (like GISS, NCDC) have been saying that. I don't know who else is saying that, unless they're quoting those sources.

For a long time I think NASA had the only satellite that could measure ice mass accurately. ESA launched their one a couple of years ago, quite a bit fancier than the NASA one, and it's showing the same thing:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27465050

West Antarctica continues to lose ice to the ocean and this loss appears to be accelerating, according to new data from Europe's Cryosat spacecraft. The dedicated polar mission finds the region now to be dumping over 150 cubic km of ice into the sea every year. It equates to a 15% increase in West Antarctica's contribution to global sea level rise.

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Study: Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed

jcupitt65 Re:Everyone should just say "interesting" (295 comments)

Antarctic ice recently set a historic record. And not just sea ice, either. Satellite data has been showing the land volume to be growing too.

Are you sure about that? People usually say the sea ice is increasing in extent, but that the land ice (the bit that might raise sea levels) is shrinking rapidly. For example:

http://climate.nasa.gov/news/242/

Gravity data collected from space using NASA's Grace satellite show that Antarctica has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002. The latest data reveals that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, too.

/. had a recent story on this too, based on data from the same satellite:

http://news-beta.slashdot.org/story/14/09/30/2351213/antarctic-ice-loss-big-enough-to-cause-measurable-shift-in-earths-gravity

about a month and a half ago
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Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

jcupitt65 Re:It's the Windows Installer's fault (577 comments)

The big problem with the Windows model is that everyone can directly modify the registry and one badly-written installer can really mess it up.

OS X's solution is for programs to simply declare (for example) what associations they'd like (there's a small XML file called info.plist in the app bundle), and then for the file manager to update the associations for them as programs are installed and uninstalled by being dragged around.

Because the list of associations is being managed by one (hopefully) sane program, the chances of some random installer causing havoc are removed.

about 2 months ago
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GNOME 3.14 Released

jcupitt65 Just turn off dynamic workspaces (250 comments)

I agree the gnome3 dynamic workspaces are annoying, but fortunately there's an option to turn them off. You can turn off the top-left-corner gesture too. I use ctrl-f1 - f8 to switch workspaces, it's nice.

I suppose you could argue that the defaults are not great for experienced users, but most experienced users would expect to have to customise their desktop a bit, I think.

about 2 months ago
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UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

jcupitt65 Re:But is the increase meaningful? (427 comments)

Here's a terrific animation from NOAA putting the current CO2 levels in the context of the last million years or so. It takes a few minutes to watch, but see it to the end.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html

tldr: current CO2 levels are about 40% higher than the maximum levels seen in the last ten ice age cycles.

about 3 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

jcupitt65 Re:Experimental science vs narrative science (600 comments)

Actually the smoking / cancer link is very hard to really prove. How can you conclusively link an act (smoking a cigarette) to its consequence (getting cancer) when the two are separated by perhaps 40 years of possibly related health events?

Smoking / cancer is proved by careful statistical analysis of very large studies. Or rather, you repeatedly do large studies, narrowing confidence intervals each time, until you reach a point where things seem to tip over in people's minds from "unproven" to "proven".

It's really very like climate change in many ways.

about 7 months ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

jcupitt65 Re:Yes, it is inevitable. (987 comments)

Global cooling was NOT a big thing in the 70s, this is a myth. There was some speculation, and some chatter in the pop science magazines, but it was not scientific consensus.

Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth's surface and atmosphere culminating in a period of extensive glaciation. This hypothesis had little support in the scientific community, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s and press reports that did not accurately reflect the full scope of the scientific climate literature

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

Your two questions are good ones and the science seems to say that action could help slow or even prevent some of the worst effects.

Whether change is politically possible (or desirable) is an even tougher question and not one science can really speak to. This is where the debate should be now, I think.

about 8 months ago
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How Can Nintendo Recover?

jcupitt65 Re:exactly (559 comments)

Yes, ps4 plays DVDs and Blu-rays fine, and has been able to since launch.

about 10 months ago
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Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

jcupitt65 Re:The (linked) Aandtech article on battery life.. (558 comments)

Read down a little further, he compares an MBA and a Surface Pro 2 running anad's wifi web browsing benchmark. The hardware is very similar, but the MBA lasts about twice as long.

about a year ago

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