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Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

tinkerton Re:Fortune cookie (363 comments)

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

That would suggest those people all have in common that doubts inhibit action, and that they just have different and not very good approaches to resolving that conflict. The best way is have action without removing the doubts.

And that is relevant for the climate change debate. Because for instance a blocker is "nothing can be done unless we agree there is human made climate change". But you don't need to be blocked by that and the engineering approach that for instance Freeman Dyson advocates(global soil management) does not rely on proof that humans are the cause or even that the climate predictions will all come true. It just offers control over whatever happens.

4 days ago
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After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

tinkerton Re:Questions for any who have been following this (88 comments)

2. I assume we've measured whether Rosetta is rotating, even slightly. Is there a chance that this will help (or hurt) Philae's chances at coming back on line?

The comet is actually rotating a lot, once every twelve hours. Since the comet acts as a gyroscope its axis of rotation keeps pointing towards the same distant star while the comet goes around the sun, and because the axis is tilted, different parts of the comet will receive light. The comet has seasons.

about two weeks ago
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After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

tinkerton Re:Lander may wake up later (88 comments)

It'll drop to 1.25 actually. That's 5.6 times current flux.

about two weeks ago
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After Four Days, Philae Team Gets to Rest

tinkerton Lander may wake up later (88 comments)

A simple calculatoin:
Current amount of energy from panels is a quarter of what's needed
current distance from the sun is 3 earth units, it will go down to 1.3.
That means energy flux no the panels will increase (3/1.3)^^2 or more than 5 times.
If all the rest remains the same(er, what?), that should be enough.
And if the system can handle currents five times as high.

about two weeks ago
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How Google Can Get the Flu Right

tinkerton The Emperor Has no Cold (31 comments)

Or what was it again. Is google going to guess the length of the nose of the emperor of China next, based on search items? And has it got the flu? Look , that there's a good correlation is clear, but the reliability of the results is very low. Next the NSA will be using those tools in order to find out how much they can get away with. Or wait, they already made their minds up about that.

about three weeks ago
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Largest Sunspot In a Quarter Century Spews Flares

tinkerton Sun spots earth. Pukes. (46 comments)

Ok, maybe I'm hineininterpretierung this a bit

about a month ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

tinkerton You can learn from Creationists (1007 comments)

I had to think about that. I don't have much time for creationism but I think their arguments have been underestimated.
The main problem with creationism is not that their arguments are so weak. I believe some of their arguments are valid and too easily dismissed by let's say 'most people who believe in evolution theory'. For instance it's a very legitimate concern that the power of the combination of selection and random variation may be too weak to explain what we see around us.

The thing is that the approach is one of case-making rather than scientific investigation. That's why you can't discuss with them. The arguments they'll come up with will be borrowed (in let's say, the best cases) from investigation that is arguably scientific. So it's not really proper to dismiss the arguments as a rehash of things that have long been settled. but because the appoach is one of case making, the arguments are only pursued as long as they can support a case. The story ends once the case is won.
Another approach is to accept the validity of some of the creationist's objections and to just keep on digging and finding out how it works.
And gradually you figure out more. And that is what has happened and will happen. A lot of work has been done on the speed of evolution since the first iteration of Fred Hoyle's Junkyard Tornado argument in 1982.

about a month ago
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The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

tinkerton Re:Just keep it off the servers.... (347 comments)

Had to maintain a Windows 2012 Server system last weekend.... dealing with the Windows 8 configuration interface on a server makes me very angry.

Imagine Bruce Banner had been a sysadmin. The world would have been a different place.

about a month ago
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Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

tinkerton Re:The hushing wasn't very effective (376 comments)

The NYTimes article covers the issue well. The remnants of chemical weapons were not handled well which resulted in american casualties and which resulted in potential(I would say actual) use as IEDs. So Pentagon has reasons for not wanting to talk about this. I know mustard gas preserves fairly well. VX and sarin does not.

So there is no thinking in the line of ' Saddam had chemical weapons after all'. At least not anymore. Before the war there was deliberate obfuscation on the subject of how much chemical weapons capability one needs in order to provide a reason for war, so any find of a weapons cache was considered proof.
The idea is still around but officials have dropped it long ago.

  That was so important about the work by Scott Ritter in the runup to the war. He quantified the possible capability and made clear that whatever capability there was it could be military significant. So instead of asking 'are there chemical weapons' he asked 'are there enough chemical weapons', which is what every military analyst should do. An important part of propaganda is making you ask the wrong questions.

about a month ago
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Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

tinkerton Re:read your link? (261 comments)

I know what the article says. did you look at the stats? Did you read my post? It says So maybe the actual marketing campaign for the FR-S was aimed at younger people than who actually bought it. Also in my first post I was not really thinking about marketing but about the product design part of the marketing. So what I wanted to say is that even if Scion wants to be young, it's not aiming as young as it used to, its product is not as young as one would think, and they mainly reaching people who are not that young either.

about 2 months ago
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Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

tinkerton Re:BRZ vs FR-S, same car, different marketing (261 comments)

(logged in now). And I'm talking about the F-RS not the Scion of 2004. This article has a few statistics showing that the people buying the FR-S are not that young Edmunds . So maybe the actual marketing campaign for the FR-S was aimed at younger people than who actually bought it. I don't know. But I know the car and the design is towards handling - difficult to sell to youngsters - and tuning - easier to sell but maybe not such a large market.

I haven't spent any thought yet on the distinction between BRZ and FR-S.

about 2 months ago
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Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets?

tinkerton Re:Study is quite incomplete (261 comments)

If you'd seen the guy who's still driving that last Topazs you'd understand.

about 2 months ago
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Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

tinkerton Re:From the article (232 comments)

Oh you made me remember reading about it. Microgravimetric analysis of Cheops in 1980. Of course the Cavendish experiment required only 300 kg of material two centuries ago, so I suppose the whole thing about precision is how far away you are when doing the measuring. So my initial point remains: the title isn't saying much. Not like "Gravitational change now big enough to cause some people to have to update their tables".

about 2 months ago
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Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

tinkerton Re:From the article (232 comments)

Of course, the instruments measuring it can never ever be faulted ?

On the contrary, an alternate title for the article could have been "Measurement of gravity is now so incredibly precise that it can detect the effect of Antarctica melting away." . But that was too long.

about 2 months ago
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Physicists Find Clue as To Why the DNA Double Helix Twists To the Right

tinkerton Re:Experimental evidence says that is unlikely (120 comments)

It's a bit more than a concern, it's distrust because the idea has some attributes I'm suspicious about. Compare it with panspermia theories. These theories were successful primarily because people had problems thinking up ways of how life could spring out of nothing. That by themselves doesn't make them wrong of course, and some may claim that it's unsigntific to use such things as distrust. I disagree.

On the other hand, if it turns out that electroweak parity breaking does percolate upwards all into chemistry that would make it a very fascinating find.

about a month ago
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Physicists Find Clue as To Why the DNA Double Helix Twists To the Right

tinkerton Re:Experimental evidence says that is unlikely (120 comments)

Well, I'll need a lot of convincing to conclude that the asymmetry in amino acids was not due to contamination at some stage.

about 2 months ago
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Physicists Find Clue as To Why the DNA Double Helix Twists To the Right

tinkerton Article works with a weak hypothesis (120 comments)

The article is rather dubious really.
There's an underlying assumption that the symmetry braking of the solution requires an asymmetry in the starting condition.
If you place a pencil upright it is very unstable and it will fall over. In what direction it will fall depends on the 'background noise' disturbances which can be completely symmetrical - on average.
So you have a completely symmetrical situation but the outcome will be completely asymmetrical: the pencil falls over in one direction. It is not an interesting question to investigate why exactly the pencil fell in this specific direction.
So what's the deal here, if our dna pencil comes out oriented one way? That electroweak parity breaking causes the pencil to fall over in one direction? That the chances of the pencil falling over in a specific direction are slightly enhanced but the outcome can still be anything - as with a single roll of a dice with 17 'left' faces and 15 'right' faces? Or that the effect will just be drowned by the background noise?
I think the latter.

It reminds me of the claims that the bathtub always drains with a rotation that depends on the hemisphere, while in fact the impact of the coriolis effect is completely negligeable..

about 2 months ago

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