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Comments

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Australia Elects Libertarian-Leaning Senator (By Accident)

srjh Re:Compulsory voting in AU (343 comments)

You don't have to mark your ballot, and even if you did, that would require them to check your ballots before you dropped it in the box, which they don't do.

You can drop in a blank ballot, draw a penis on it, or whatever you like; if it doesn't follow the rules it's called "informal" and not counted.

What you're describing is still quite common - it's called the donkey vote (numbering the ballot from the top), is a valid vote, and actually gives the top candidates a slight edge.

about a year ago
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US and Russia Set Up Cyber Cold War Hotline

srjh Of course it's a friendly call (72 comments)

Hello? ... Ah ... I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? ... Oh-ho, that's much better. ... yeah ... huh ... yes ... Fine, I can hear you now, Vladimir. ... Clear and plain and coming through fine....I'm coming through fine, too, eh? ... Good, then ... well, then, as you say, we're both coming through fine. ... Good. ... Well, it's good that you're fine and ... and I'm fine. ... I agree with you, it's great to be fine. ... a-ha-ha-ha-ha ... Now then, Vladimir, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb. ...The *Bomb*, Vladimir.... The *hydrogen* bomb! ... Well now, what happened is ... ah ... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of ... well, he went a little funny in the head ... you know ... just a little ... funny. And, ah ... he went and did a silly thing. ... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes ... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Vladimir. ... Let me finish, Vladimir. ... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?! ...Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Vladimir? ... Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello? ... *Of course* I like to speak to you! ... *Of course* I like to say hello! ... Not now, but anytime, Vladimir. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It's a *friendly* call. Of course it's a friendly call. ... Listen, if it wasn't friendly ... you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... They will *not* reach their targets for at least another hour. ... I am ... I am positive, Vladimir. ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick. ... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes. ... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then ... I'd say that, ah ... well, ah ... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Vladimir. ... I know they're our boys. ... All right, well listen now. Who should we call? ...*Who* should we call, Vladimir? The ... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there.... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. ... Where is that, Vladimir? ... In Omsk. ... Right. ... Yes. ...Oh, you'll call them first, will you? ... Uh-hu ... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Vladimir? ... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information. ...Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm ... I'm sorry, too, Vladimir. ...I'm very sorry. ... *All right*, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well. ... I am as sorry as you are, Vladimir! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are. ... So we're both sorry, all right?! ... All right.

about a year ago
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North Korean Missile Raised To Firing Position, Says US Official

srjh Re:And... it's gone (636 comments)

The first "F" stands for fixed?

My interpretation made much more sense.

about a year and a half ago
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How Hair Can be Used To Track Where You've Been

srjh Can't be right... (133 comments)

What? These results can't be right.

I've never even been to Kilmarnock.

about 2 years ago
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How Apple's Story Is Like Breaking Bad

srjh Re:True (288 comments)

Yo, Mr White!

more than 2 years ago
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Man With World's Deepest Voice Can Hit Infrasonic Notes

srjh Re:Sorry, I do not believe this! (173 comments)

A human simply does not have the resonant cavity to produce such notes.

Anyone can make glottal clicks at 0.18 Hz (about 5 clicks per second).

Also known as about five seconds per click.

more than 2 years ago
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Swiss Solar Powered Catamaran Finishes 'Round the World Tour

srjh Re:What a load of muddled energy unit drivel. (110 comments)

500 kw/h per day is even more nonsensical. Energy over time cubed?

Maybe they meant kWh per day. That would almost make sense, but come on... it's not hard to get it right the first time instead of leaving people to guess which errors were made to infer the right value.

more than 2 years ago
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Swiss Solar Powered Catamaran Finishes 'Round the World Tour

srjh Re:What a load of muddled energy unit drivel. (110 comments)

There's only about a kW of solar power available per square metre, and solar panels aren't anywhere near 100% efficient, so it can't be the output of the panels.

This is why it's bad to have the scientifically illiterate writing articles - they mangle the units beyond recognition so you have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

more than 2 years ago
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Last Bastion For Climate Dissenters Crumbling

srjh Re:Global? (963 comments)

As I recall, the heat forcing of CO2 is something like 5x that of a standard diatomic gas, ie N2 or O2, which make up a huge fraction of the atmosphere. When I ran this calculation before, CO2 was only barely a net heat forcer in the absence of water vapor. Including water vapor it slightly reduces the heat forcing of the atmosphere.

You recall incorrectly. The radiative forcing of the top three gases in the atmosphere - N2, O2 and Ar - is precisely zero as can be demonstrated from symmetry.

Argon is monatomic and therefore has no vibrational or rotational modes. N2 and O2 are symmetric about the centre of their bond, so their vibrational and rotational modes do not involve an oscillating dipole and therefore are not infrared active.

Radiative forcing comes down to infrared absorption of outgoing heat from the earth - if there is no infrared absorption, there's no radiative forcing.

more than 2 years ago
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Last Bastion For Climate Dissenters Crumbling

srjh Re:This is science (963 comments)

I agree that 84% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveys_of_scientists%27_views_on_climate_change) is not unanimous, but it's getting closer every year.
Unless, ofcourse, you count the opinion of people who don't understand the science involved and blame other people for their own lack of understanding.

Like the EPA?. Tell me if you can spot the huge logic hole in this statement:

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period

Remember, these are the people writing policy and regulations concerning our rights with respect to climate change.

I think you made the point better than the parent to your post ever could.

You don't understand the science, so you call it a logic hole. In fact, if you think that's a logic hole your grasp of logic isn't too crash hot either.

more than 2 years ago
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Killing Cancer With Engineered Viruses

srjh Re:Good news everyone! (144 comments)

From the latin vacca, or cow.

Because the first steps towards a smallpox vaccine were based on the realisation that dairy workers who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox. Vaccinia is very closely related to cowpox, but has diverged from it slightly since the its widespread use as a vaccine.

Because it was so successful as a vaccine, the name vaccination stuck.

Miss that part of the story, and it's nowhere near as interesting.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Sued By Belgian Consumer Association For Not Applying EU Warranty Laws

srjh Re:Too long? (290 comments)

... he certainly didn't present a compelling argument to ban sales of iPhones.

There's a good reason for that. I didn't attempt to present an argument to ban sales of iPhones. You well and truly missed the point.

"Merchantable quality" is a phrase that comes up in warranty law here, in that it if it fails before it's reasonably expected to, it's defective and the consumer deserves a refund. How you got "ban sales of iPhones" from that is a mystery to me. Grandparent is right - if "shit happens", it should be Apple's problem, not mine.

If you think Apple products only ever fail due to user error, the Reality Distortion Field is alive and kicking.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Sued By Belgian Consumer Association For Not Applying EU Warranty Laws

srjh Re:Too long? (290 comments)

Warranties are also supposed to cover defects that materialise after some time and are not apparent at purchase.

Here in Australia, the law covers how long the item is reasonably expected to last, given its cost and quality. Given that the phones are often sold with two year contracts, the one year warranty is certainly deficient from that perspective. Having had two iPhones fail between the one year warranty and the two that should apply, I'm not too pleased about Apple dodging their responsibilities under our warranty law.

A $1000 phone that only lasts 13 months can't really be considered of merchantable quality, regardless of how quickly the industry progresses.

more than 2 years ago
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The Math of Leap Days

srjh Re:Our whole calendar is messed up. (225 comments)

I think part of that comment must have disappeared due to the angled brackets.

I mean if less than half the population has fewer than 10 digits and less than half the population has more than 10 digits, the median is exactly ten.

more than 2 years ago
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The Math of Leap Days

srjh Re:Our whole calendar is messed up. (225 comments)

Actually, both the median and the mode would be 10 unless I'm drastically under/overestimating the incidence of polydactyly and missing digits.

It's the median that is closest to the definition you're asking about, however if less than half the population has 10 digits, the median is exactly ten.

more than 2 years ago
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Leap Day, to me, means ...

srjh Re:A Very Special Leap Day for comics readers (337 comments)

It gets even more interesting.

Leap years aren't quite periodic under the Gregorian calendar, since every hundredth year isn't a leap year, but every four-hundredth is. This also makes the distribution of days uneven. There are actually more Sunday February 29s than Thursday February 29s. There are 14 Wednesdays in the 400-year cycle, so it happens on average once every 28.57 years.

Utterly meaningless, but interesting nonetheless.

more than 2 years ago
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Leap Day, to me, means ...

srjh Re:Missing Option (337 comments)

Not a historian, but old faithful Wikipedia has some interesting info on that.

As I understand it, dates are not converted and are left in the Julian calendar if that was in place at the time. But for countries who didn't immediately switch over, there's some confusion and they sometimes specify "old style" or "new style". Actually, there's a fair bit of confusion:

It is sometimes remarked that William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on the same date, 23 April 1616, but not on the same day. England was still using the Julian calendar in 1616, while Spain was using the Gregorian calendar. Cervantes actually died ten days before Shakespeare.

Hence the October Revolution of 1917 is so called, despite having started on 7 November under the Gregorian calendar...

For example William III of England arrived at Brixham in England on 5 November (Julian calendar), after setting sail from the Netherlands on 11 November (Gregorian calendar).

Luckily modern computers don't have to handle these dates retrospectively, if some can't even figure out this year is a leap year.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the Earth Gaining Or Losing Mass?

srjh Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (356 comments)

It's actually about 60,000 tonnes per year.

1360 W (solar constant) * pi * 6380000^2 (radius of earth squared) * 60 * 60 * 24 * 365.25 (seconds in year) / 3E8^2 (c^2) = 61000 tonnes. Marginally lower if you subtract albedo losses. If it's off by about a factor of four, the surface area of the earth might be used instead of the area of the earth's disk.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the Earth Gaining Or Losing Mass?

srjh Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (356 comments)

Science is sometimes just interesting, and our current understanding of the science overwhelmingly points towards anthropogenic greenhouse emissions being responsible for a quantifiable and observable degree of warming. Yes, the figures turn out to be much smaller than the dust gain and hydrogen/helium loss. But it's still an interesting calculation to perform, regardless of whether armchair physicists scream conspiracy or "green religion" nonsense.

If you do want to do the calculation, the chemical energy loss isn't the figure you should be using. It's already well understood that the direct heat output from burning fossil fuels is a very small proportion of the heat budget. It's the difference between the solar energy input and radiative energy output that you need to use - the radiative forcing as it is known.

That's about 1.6 W/m^2 right now. Times the surface area of the earth, that's about 8.2E14 W. Over a year, that's 2.6E22 J. Divided by c^2, that's about 290 tonnes. I'm not exactly what figures were used (whether different estimates of the forcing were used, which contributions to the forcing were counted as "global warming", whether variables such as El Nino, La Nina and solar variations were taken into account, and over what timescale), so there may be something I did differently. But yes, the calculation does give tons.

That you think a team of Cambridge University physicists didn't "try [math] sometime" because your arm-waving armchair explanation disagrees with their calculation is truly an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Your post is indeed insightful. It sheds insight as to why climate change denial is so widespread here on slashdot.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the Earth Gaining Or Losing Mass?

srjh Re:Good grief. Religious zealots really annoy me. (356 comments)

Raising the surface temperature by 1 C isn't the same thing as raising the temperature of the entire earth by 1 C.

The calculation doesn't involve the volume, mass, or internal temperature of the earth - it's a straight radiative forcing calculation. Current estimates of the radiative forcing (difference between the solar energy* we receive from the sun and the energy we radiate into space) are about 1.6 W/m^2 from memory. Over the whole earth that's about 2.5E22 J over the course of a year. Divide by the speed of light squared, you get close to the right answer (I get about 280 tonnes, but I might be missing a minor correction factor or they might be using a lower estimate for the radiative forcing).

*Per unit time, per unit area

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Australia considering iPhone app censorship

srjh srjh writes  |  more than 4 years ago

srjh (1316705) writes "Having raised concerns about "the classification of games playable on mobile telephones", the Australian government has now "put the wheels in motion to address this". Under current Australian legislation, video games sold in the country must pay between $470 and $2040 to have the game classified, and due to the lack of an 18+ rating in Australia, if it is not found to be suitable for a 15-year-old, it is banned outright. This is the fate met by several recent titles, such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Fallout 3. Over 200,000 applications are available for the iPhone, many of them games, and developers have raised concerns about the prohibitive costs involved, with many announcing an intention to drop the Australian market altogether if the plan proceeds. However the current loophole constitutes a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the government, which is currently attempting to have "refused classification" content such as banned video games blocked at an ISP level."
Link to Original Source
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Australia orders iTunes to disallow movie gifts

srjh srjh writes  |  more than 5 years ago

srjh writes "Regular slashdot readers should by now be aware of Australia's tough internet censorship policies, however a bizarre decision (free registration required) by the federal censorship authority ACMA outlines how restrictive they actually are. Keen observers have realised that one category of prohibited content — MA15+ (legally sold to 15-year-olds) material which "provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee and that is not subject to a restricted access system" applies to Apple's iTunes service due to the availability of movies such as the cited example "V for Vendetta". While allowed to continue movie sales, iTunes has been ordered to remove the "gift" functionality for Australians even if both users are legally considered adults and the film is rated for general release. A similar investigation into online rental service Bigpond Movies for offering "Pulp Fiction" was only terminated because the film was voluntarily withdrawn by Bigpond. Ironically, the "payment of a fee" requirement exempts unauthorised downloads from free torrent sites and while Australians may no longer give each other digital copies of Finding Nemo, graphic photos of a masturbating man and a forearm disappearing into another man's anus have just been approved as PG-rated content by ACMA (safe for work, but linked photos on page certainly not)."
Link to Original Source
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Australian ISPs soon to become copyright cops

srjh srjh writes  |  more than 5 years ago

srjh (1316705) writes "In the Australian Federal Government's latest assault on the internet, draft legislation has been released that allows network operators to intercept communications to ensure that their networks are being "appropriately used". Such legislation is particularly important given the interference of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in a recent copyright lawsuit against iiNet, one of the largest ISPs in the country. Conroy called prominent filtering opponent iiNet's inaction over copyright infringement "stunning", whereas iiNet claimed that it would be illegal under current Australian law to intercept its users' downloads. While this latest legislation appears to be a concession of that point, the government is said to be watching the case closely and along with attempts to introduce a three-strikes law in Australia, it appears the law will be changed if the government dislikes the outcome of the case. The internet villain of the year just continues to earn his title."
Link to Original Source
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Australia expands filter scope to online games

srjh srjh writes  |  more than 5 years ago

srjh (1316705) writes "The ever-expanding scope of Australia's soon-to-be-implemented mandatory internet filter has taken yet another alarming turn — online game content such as flash games and downloadable games which are found to be unsuitable for 15-year-olds will be added to the government blacklist and blocked for all Australians at the ISP-level. Also targeted will be "sites which sell physical copies of games that do not meet the MA15+ standard", which presumably includes eBay.com. Since Australia is the only developed country not to have an 18+ rating for games, any games that do not meet the MA15+ standard are banned outright. Originally aimed at content such as child pornography, when leaked in March, the blacklist was also found to contain sites on euthanasia, abortion, online poker and gambling, as well as a considerable volume of pornography featuring only consenting adults (such as RedTube)."
Link to Original Source

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