Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:The math (Score 1) 367

We can't say that such an increase has not happened, you are correct, since the resolution of the historical data is not the same as the present. But I think it's highly unlikely to have happened before.

My main point being that it took millions of years in a very slow process to sequester all of that carbon into the Earth. I can't imagine any natural process that would be so methodical as to extract only the pockets of carbon in the ground and put them back into the atmosphere. Even an asteroid impact would only dislodge and release a small section of carbon around the impact. There are no natural processes that can release all buried carbon on a global scale within a span of 300 years (assuming we pump every last drop out of the ground in the next hundred years).

Comment The math (Score 4, Informative) 367

The math of climate change is fairly straightforward. CO2 and methane in the atmosphere cause more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere and oceans. There's a certain amount of carbon that was stored underground over millions of years in the form of oil and coal. That carbon was slowly extracted from the atmosphere by plants over the course of 500 million years and stored underground. During that time, the planet's temperature went up and down for various reasons 1) Earth's orbit and distance from the sun 2) volcanic activity releasing CO2 3) aerosols reflecting light back into space 4) the reflectivity of the surface of the earth from accumulation of snow or melting of snow during those other changes 5) sudden die off or surge of plant life 6) other reasons.

The rate of change for temperature and CO2 levels during all of those changes was gradual, with the changes taking place over thousands or millions of years. When CO2 was released in previous times, it was gradual. What's different about the current climate is that humans have raised the CO2 levels in the atmosphere by 140% in 200 years (280ppm to 400pm). That rate is way faster than any natural change in the history of the planet. That rate is what is so significant about human caused release of CO2 into the atmosphere. There are simply no natural factors to compare the methodical migration of carbon from the ground into the atmosphere.

So, yes this is significant.

Comment Re:Data (Score 1) 150

It's illegal to exclude someone based on pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or cancer, or unhealthy lifestyle, but the premiums for those people are still higher. And Aetna can still drop geographic areas if the ratios of pre-existing conditions to healthy people is higher than they want. Aetna's profit comes from paying the least in claims and collecting the most in premiums. They will try every possible tactic to increase their profits, which happens to be at the expense of the patients that receive the benefits.

Comment Sounds great (Score 1) 160

I'm all for this product. We need to replace our roof anyway. If the cost of the solar panel roofing is comparable to the cost of an asphalt roof, then its great. The only extra cost would probably be the battery and connections to the electric panel. hopefully those wouldn't be too high and would be offset by some sort of tax break.

Comment Re:How durable? (Score 5, Informative) 160

Maybe you could rake it with a wide broom or plastic snow rake. Our neighbor has solar panels on his roof and most of the time the snow slides off after the first sun starts to hit it. Unless its overcast for a few days after a snow, it always seemed to melt off quickly. He did use a broom a few times with new snow, but the sun and melting seem to go hand in hand anyway. And there's no need to clear the snow if there's no sun for the solar cells to use.

So, maybe in the case of a 2ft snowfall you could clear it, but that glass does a good job clearing itself anyway.

Comment Re:The Last Part is Important (Score 1) 95

There are two parts to this:

1) The raw data may or may not be saved. But it costs money to save the data. Once the research study is finished, the money is gone too, so there may be no way to pay for storage to save the data. Some researchers may hold on to it, some delete it. Until very very recently, there was no universal funded repository for neuroimaging data either. Now the NIH mandates, and pays for, the long term archiving of all NIMH funded imaging studies, including genetics.

2) The other problem is that even if you wanted to save your data long term, and had funds to do that, your IRB may not allow it. IRBs have often required investigators to erase and shred all records some number of years after the completion of the study. This language was written in the IRB consent and the research subject signed it. Going forward is now not a problem, as most IRBs add language that your data will be shared in perpetuity unless you opt-out of that the sharing. Historical data is a whole other ball of wax. To be completely legal, if you still had old data, you would need to contact every subject and ask if their data can be shared.

Replication of research studies using human subject data is tricky.

Comment Re:Issue is likely overstated (Score 1) 95

We've also been looking this over. It doesn't exactly invalidate previous studies that used high clustering threshold of p0.05, it just indicates that they are not as robust as once thought. The paper itself could change what reviewers accept though. Maybe some reviewers will say that based on this paper, only analyses using a FLAME1 or permutations method should be accepted. Much like registering EPIs directly to the standard template is frowned upon. It depends on the reviewer and the justification for your analysis methods.

It's funny that Tom Nichols, one of the authors, works with the FSL group, whose methods were compared in the paper. He's not invalidating them, just suggesting that the methods of permutations like in PALM and even BROCCOLI are better suited for fMRI stats. In person, Tom is just as nerdy as any statistician should be. But a very smart guy.

Comment Re:This worries me (Score 1) 175

I completely agree. I have a 9 year old girl, a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. Although I was working in fast food at 16, I didn't get a cellular phone until I was 24. Payphones or the house phone were the only way to communicate. It's very different than when we were growing up. I think that creates the fear: that a social norm in our generation can be fundamentally different in our children's generation. Our grandparents would say "wow, back in my day we had a party-line if we had a phone at all" and there's a lot truth to how upsetting seeing the world change completely in span of a decade can be, especially when you consider how that change impacts your understanding of your children. Our grandparent's generation saw change to the quality of life and removal of hardship: things they considered necessary to being a stronger person. How can someone become strong and independent if technology makes everything easier?

For our generation its basically the social relationships that are affected. We've removed the threat of crippling diseases, and most hunger. There are lot of benefits to having a constant connection to the outside world, but... there's a lot of downsides. Never really being alone, but also never really getting close to someone. Stretches of isolation or boredom are gone, replaced with constant insignificant communication via text message. You aren't ever really alone, so some people don't feel the need to communicate anymore than superficially. Being stuck with someone: waiting in line, working on a team, not being in a cubicle... things to which you can't bring a newspaper, but could easily bring a cell phone. That forced conversation, which often turns out pretty beneficial, is gone. Deep conversations are less frequent, the thoughtfulness required to write a meaningful letter, replaced by 140 character text messages. Conversation is abbreviated and less meaningful. I'm not sure that's a good thing for the kids to be doing, much like removal of all hardship wasn't necessarily a good thing for our previous generations.

This whole thing makes me think of a Star Trek NG episode, in which Q brings Piccard to his home. All of the Q's live forever and can control anything, so they've already experienced everything possible and have no challenges to overcome. They're sitting there in silence. That's basically what happens when you take away all hardship and preempt all communication with tweets. It gets really really boring. Nothing to overcome and nothing to talk about.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."