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Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

thrig D'aaaw optimism. How cute! (187 comments)

For the real world, eh? Let's see. Optimism will not stop Ebola in its tracks. Optimism will not unfan the flames across the middle east and other regions, nor will optimism lower food prices—optimism was doubtless not why Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire—or create the three or four or more new Saudi Arabias necessary to fuel the oil craze (of Americans in particular) for a few more years. Optimism will not make the fracking boom any less of a bubble, nor cause the Oil Majors to stop speaking of an "age of austerity"—per the US EIA, 127 oil and gas companies are all taking on debt or chucking assests to try to reach a profit—nor reverse the decline of their supergiant fields, nor cause cheap oil to magically materialize from the marginal, difficult, and expensive sources that are now being resorted to, given the global peak of conventional crude oil back in 2005. Optimism may make the steps outlined in the Hirsch report a little more palatable, though that report advises, given the 2005 oil peak, migration to some new technology in 1985 (or starting in 1995 in crunch mode). I believe Tom Murphy called this an energy trap on his do the math blog. Optimism might call nuclear too cheap to meter, but that tune was young 70 years ago. Optimism will not reverse the draw-down of aquifers, nor reverse the drought in California and the other sun-burnt states. Optimism will not allow a single working class salary to suddenly pay all its bills like it did a few decades ago, nor will it end job erosion due to offshoring and automation. Optimism will not clean up the coal spills, deep water oil taints, nor any of the many other superfund sites that modern culture has blessed us with. Time and hard effort might, but that Augean labor is a far cry from fluffy all-is-well optimism. One might be optimistic that the Highway Trust Fund might somehow remain solvent, or you could wonder just how much of that $500 billion Interstate system can really be maintained now that the oil required to build it is busy pricing itself out of the market. Hey hey! Speaking of optimism, here's an article—"Billionaire Richard Branson failed to deliver on $3 billion global warming pledge." Points for trying?

2 days ago
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Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

thrig Re:Musk worship (260 comments)

Moving forward to a product that already has one marketplace failure under its belt? Oil cars slaughtered electric in the free market ~100 years ago, so this recent fuss about bringing back electric seems more about affordable oil pricing itself out of the market than anything new in the wheel'd battery department—but life in the Faust lane certainly has conditioned this culture to see only onwards and upwards, so uh I guess hooray for ACTUALLY DOING IT and all that jazz.

about two weeks ago
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Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?

thrig It's about Kuhn (203 comments)

Nary a word about Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in particular the distinction between the puzzle solving of normal science and the different conditions of revolutions in thinking? Oh, the revolutionary thinkers face an uphill battle (like they always have)? I am shocked, shocked, at this sorry state of not learning from the history of science.

about two weeks ago
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Sony To Package StarOffice On European PCs

thrig Re:Compared to MS Office (287 comments)

Office is a non-portable security and support nightmare for me. Most of the time it works as you describe, but then every so often a user wanders in wondering why their document has corrupted itself, or is otherwise doing something weird or crashy (copy/paste export/import to clear the gremlins?). Just this week I've had "large Excel document crashes when you try and do so-and-so" and seen a "I've never seen this before, but the spelling checker says it is skipping some text as being labeled as uncheckable, help!" reports.

On the portability front, users find that documents created in one version of Office cannot be opened to being with on other platforms or, once the conversion hoops are figured out for that particular os/version pair for the users in question, why the same document looks slightly different (this mainly happens between Mac and Microsoft versions of Office).

Ahh, security. Macros, viruses, and a document format that can pull all local files and URLs into itself before being sent back. Lovely.

more than 11 years ago

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