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Comments

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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

mbeckman Buss ducts are failing more often as they age (124 comments)

This actually is an infrastructure aging problem. And the incidence of buss duct failure has been increasing in older buildings. Many bus ducts installed in industrial and commercial facilities are immediately downstream of the transformers, but upstream of the main overcurrent device. Thus, transformer protection devices often inadequately protect the buss conductor from being fried by a short. I've seen them vaporized.

Such shorts occur due to water infiltration, corrosion, and most importantly in the summer, overheating. All three effects accumulate over time. If money were no object, every building would have a dual-buss electrical system, just like aircraft (and data centers) do. Alas, money is an object.

4 days ago
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Microsoft Settles With No-IP After Malware Takedown

mbeckman Re:Block all IE browsers (83 comments)

I run an ISP. Is it kosher for me to block all IE browser traffic? After all, IE is one of the largest vectors of malware infections on earth. At least I'd be "out there doing some enforcement."

Microsoft enforcement policy: "Ready! Fire! Aim!"

BTW, I didn't see where Microsoft apologized for their actions to the Internet community.

about three weeks ago
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The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

mbeckman Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (200 comments)

I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again.

You would lose that bet. Turbine aircraft can be disabled by stray metal bits as small as a single bolt. An entire drone, with many metal components, would undoubtedly render a turbine engine inoperable. For this reason, airport operators routinely inspect and pick up all debris on runways and taxiways. It's called FOD (foreign object damage), and is an ever-present risk to aircraft.

about three weeks ago
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The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

mbeckman Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (200 comments)

Techyimmigrant: It's unsafe because the drone operator could lose control due to fireworks damage, resulting in high-speed powered flight into the crowd. Small model rotorcraft have maimed and killed people, usually gruesomely. Also, it's illegal to fly a drone above 400', and outside the direct sight of the operator. This drone violated both of those restrictions.

As a helicopter pilot, I dread drones. I've seen them numerous times near events that I am legally and safely filming, and even around airports. Unless we get drone idiots to stop doing stupid, dangerous stunts like this, we will soon have a tragedy taking many lives.

about three weeks ago
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Time Warner Sells Telecom Business to Level 3

mbeckman Re:well of course (38 comments)

You've been misled by the completely bogus headline to this piece, not to mention the pathetically inflammatory prose. TWTelecom has nothing at all to do with TimeWarner Cable. It's a completely separate publicly traded corporation with no staff, management or facilities in common with the "hated" TimeWarner Cable. This is like saying "Hated British Monarchy sells American Colonies to Canada" in the 20th century.

Hopefully some sleepy-headed slashdot editor will pick her head up off the table long enough to use the "hated" Google search engine, learn about the true history, value and structure of the "hated" telecom industry and correct the article headline and completely misleading content.

Or not. Slashdot might continue its slide to sloppiness and become one of the most "hated" pretend-nonprofits in history.

about a month and a half ago
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US Agency Aims To Regulate Map Aids In Vehicles

mbeckman Need law against contrived, misleading law titles (216 comments)

The "Grow America Act"? Sheesh! That worse than the Patriot Act. I propose a bill entitled "Stop The Idiotically Forced Law Embellishments".

about a month and a half ago
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US Agency Aims To Regulate Map Aids In Vehicles

mbeckman Re:What The?!? (216 comments)

You must be a product of "are" education system, another good example of government spending money "ifishintly'

about a month and a half ago
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Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

mbeckman The Turing Test Itself is a Load of Crap (309 comments)

It's the Turing Test itself that is meaningless. In a possibly apocryphal account of an AI conference in the early 2000's, a learned panel of AI experts elaborated on the Turing test to explain that passing the test didn't just mean a minimal level of intelligence, but intelligence as advanced as humanity's itself, since it was able to fool a human. An undergraduate attendee asked the panel, "So, if I can write a program that can fool a dog into thinking it's interacting with another dog, the program is as intelligent as a dog?"

The room fell silent.

Since then, nobody has proposed a reasonable alternative for what Turing meant by "intelligence" as the target in his test.

Myself, I think AI is Computer Science's biggest Ponzi scheme. We are not one iota closer to actual artificial intelligence than we were in the 1950s. Yet the public's expectation, and the impression given by AI researchers, is that we've been making steady progress. So every new AI "advance" must be more spectacular than the last, with lots of hand waving explaining how this moves us closer to the goal of sentient computing. It started back in the 1960s with natural language processing, which was really just elaborate table lookup. Then it advanced to the 1970s, with Chess-playing machines -- also just elaborate table lookup. The 1980s brought expert systems and neural networks, otherwise known as elaborate table lookup. Today we have computer navigation, plain-language database queries, and speech processing such as Siri. AI? No. Table lookup, elaborate.

We can't even define what intelligence is or how it works in even the simplest organism, let alone explain it in humans. Until we can do that, we can't have an artificial version of it.

Turing was a con man.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

mbeckman Start recording her facial movements immediately (552 comments)

I'm not a medical expert, but work in computer forensics. I think it's wise to begin recording her facial movements immediately to establish a baseline of activity and determine when improvements or declines occur. This seems like something easily accomplished with today's off-the-shelf technology, such as GoPro style digital cameras.

about 2 months ago
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

mbeckman The Emperor Has No Data (433 comments)

All of the dire predictions in this new report come from computer simulations, not actual data. The simulations have proven to be worthless at predicting current climate (for example, no simulation predicted the current stalling of temperature increases). Simulations are not data. And the absence of data is not data. The truth is that we lack the computational ability to simulate climate change at all. Maybe someday, but we currently LACK EVEN THE DATA needed to identify all the variables and interactions that create climate. So even if computation capacity were to increase several orders of magnitude, we lack the foundation for the computations.

It's the a Emperor all over again.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

For what it's worth, current models do predict brief periods of cooling between increasing warmer periods.

My biochemist son has a phrase that I think fits here: "The absence of data is not data." Models are not data, and none of the models have done an even remotely viable job of predicting climate. But even if they had, simulation is not empirical science. Just because a model occasionally agrees with experiment in no way means the model is correct. There is plenty of mathematical research indicating that climate simulation is an intractable problem, due primarily to chaos.

You might want to shift gears and change the name of the game to "climate change", but the public policy debate is specifically over global warming caused my humans, hence AGW. And when you say "With enough data, that can be disproved", you beg the question. Neither the IPCC nor any scientist proponents of AGW will admit to any data that would falsify their theory. They won't even entertain the possibility. That's not science. That's religion, fanatical.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

Amazingly, no AGW proponent considers that a falsifying data set!

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

The conclusion that primordial heat is half the heat coming from the interior is pure speculation, since we don't have any workable models of planetary genesis. And no planetary scientist I talk to believes there is any way to account for the current heat of the core -- it's widely accepted that the current status contradicts the age of the earth. Hence the mystery.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

Anon,
If AGW is falsifiable, please provide an example of data that you would consider falsifies it. I've discussed AGW with many of it's scientist proponents, and they always say AGW can result in any conceivable data, including an ice age.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

By dead cold I mean that no lunar-thermal heat reaches the surface. Mere compression brings the moon's core to 2,000F or so, but that's much lower than the Earth's peak of about 10,000F. The lunar surface is dead cold at -300F in darkness.

Care to cite a source for your claim of "half the heat"? I have an observable example in the moon for my position, with many measurements, which is presumed younger than the earth if you accept the collision theory of the moon's formation. Why is the earth so much hotter internally than the moon? It's a fair question that has no obvious answer.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Source of heat inside the earth (75 comments)

When you survey the literature on geothermal heating, you find that friction is indeed _the_ major component of core heat. Especially tidal friction due to lunar gravity, which is far more significant that even meteor strikes, because it's a continuously varying force. But the physics of friction are well understood, and basic calculations show that friction is still not nearly a large enough source for measured temperatures and theoretical time spans.

In fact, radioactive heating was originally postulated as a source to make up for the inadequacies of frictional heating. But the magnitude of radioactive heating is orders of magnitude less than even frictional. As mathematicians would say, it may be "necessary, but not sufficient."

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

But we don't have a reasonable window. We literally have no data supporting the radioactive sustenance of the Earth's core temperature. Simple calculations demonstrate that radioactive decay is not adequate for the current age of the earth. Something has to give in a major way: either the earth is far less than even a million years old, or there is some other engine heating the Earth's core. Hell, for example ;)

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

When even scientists call it a mystery, that is pretty definitive that they don't know. Nobody calls solar fusion a mystery, because we can directly observe the process and there is no controverting data. It's a theory, to be sure, but valid until dis-proven.

But you can't say "scientists have a pretty good idea" about planetary formation. They have ideas. None has been shown to be even remotely "pretty good". In fact, they're all pretty bad, because they can be countered with mere calculation. A true scientist does due diligence on his own theories before publishing, but that process has gone by the wayside in recent years. Planetary accretion doesn't work because the kinetic energy of collisions is many times too great to permit particle coalescence as a function of gravitational attraction. That's undergraduate astronomy mathematics.

On the other hand, I could posit that planets are made on the Magrathea Factory Floor, and have as much evidence going for me as any other theory.

about 4 months ago
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Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World

mbeckman Re:Scientists "know"? (75 comments)

Bad example on your part. We can directly observe the Sun, and as you note, directly measure neutrinos. Still, solar fusion is just a theory, just one with no controverting data.

However, the planetary accretion processes cannot be directly observed. Yet the models do have controverting data, which I cited, in the form of reproducible calculations.

It's simply unreasonable to ever say we "know" a theory to be true when someone can demonstrate the impossibility or improbability of the theory, as has been done with all planetary evolution models to date.

"Scientists know' can be shorthand for 'the established scientific consensus allows us have a very high degree of confidence."
See, you're doing it right now! You don't want to say "We don't know." It sticks in your craw. Are you a scientist? ;)

Other euphemisms scientists often use for "We don't know":

"It isn't clear..."
"The best evidence indicates..."
"The consensus is..."

One thing no true scientist can forget: science is not a consensus enterprise. If one million scientists hold to a theory, and one scientists -- or even a non-scientist -- can provide reproducible calculations or experiment contradicting the theory, then the theory as posited must be discarded.

Moreover, to even qualify as a scientific theory, the theory must be falsifiable. Planetary accretion theories are falsifiable, as I've cited, but many other so-called scientific theories are not. Such as anthropogenic global warming (AGW) .

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Man arrested at Oakland airport for ornate watch

mbeckman mbeckman writes  |  about a year and a half ago

mbeckman (645148) writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having an bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying "potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles." The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
Link to Original Source
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Fox reports EPA controversy; CNN et al ignore it

mbeckman mbeckman writes  |  more than 5 years ago

mbeckman (645148) writes "Fox News today reported that Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla, ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of an internal report calling into question the EPA's position backing CO2 as a primary cause of global warming. A report co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin states that the EPA ignored data showing global temperature declining for eleven years despite increasing CO2 levels over the same period. Inhofe may or may not have a solid basis for his concerns; that remains to be seen. But what I find disturbing is that Senator Inhofe's quite public announcement has been ignored by CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC. As of midnight Monday MDT, the story appears on none of their sites. While there certainly can be room for selectivity in a news site's front page content, it's hard to imagine what justification major networks can have for completely ignoring a significant investigation ordered by a U.S. Senator. Will Slashdot air this controversy, or bury it further?"
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Google Books "limited" preview showing ful

mbeckman mbeckman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mbeckman (645148) writes "I was chagrined today to find one of my published book titles online at books.google.com in its entirety. I have to contact the publisher to see if they agreed to this, but I noticed many other titles also online in full text under Google's "limted" preview. For example, "2008 Writer's Market", a brand new $30 title published by Writer's Digest, is completely readable at http://books.google.com/books?id=eshfZhaj1pQC. The same is true of thousands of other titles. If this isn't the mother of all copyright violations, I'll be surprised."
Link to Original Source

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