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Comment This is a manageable problem (Score 1) 274

I imagine that if a typical old monitor is approximately 50cm * 50cm * 50 cm, then you can fit about 1 billion of them into a hole in the ground that is approximately 500m * 500m * 500m.

This isn't to suggest that waste that is currently unrecycleable is a good thing, but this is a problem that can be managed by having a plan to deal with the issue.

Comment Re:The end is near? (Score 2) 481

Brazil has a population density of 22 people per square mile. To put that figure in context, the US has a density of 84, China of 142 and India of 386.

It is easy for Brazil to lead the way on renewables because, per capita, they have way more resources than others.

That isn't to say they shouldn't, but they cannot be a realistic example for all countries to follow.

Comment Re:I think it's safe to say that wouldn't hold up (Score 3, Insightful) 216

He was executed in Texas for murder and arson based (...) many arson experts now believe he was almost certainly innocent. Oops.

Another strong argument against the death penalty.

Also another argument against leaving decisions on technical matters to prosecutors. There were many chances to save that guy's life, and none were taken. There was testimony in good time that showed that there was no evidence that he had deliberately caused the fire, but it wasn't listened to.

In any case, if a person is being found guilty of such a crime, I believe the jury needs to say what evidence was key in convicting. In this case, the key bit was that the fire had been started deliberately and, more specifically, that an accelerant had been used. If that testimony had been invalidated (which it later was), then basically the glove didn't fit, and the man should have been acquitted. This would have given the man an opportunity to put his effort into disproving the one key bit of evidence that was nailing him.

Comment Re:Some of you, remember you voted for this. (Score 1) 667

NOAA does not build or launch or maintain satellites. They don't. NASA does. That's what they do. NOAA does not have flight ops. NOAA does not have a launchpad. NOAA does not have giant clean room facilities for building satellites. NOAA provides the requirements, NASA builds/launches/maintains the satellites.

And they don't need to. I use a computer with complicated software every day for work. But I don't know how to build that complicated software, or the computer, or the chair I sit on.

There are a lot of companies out there, and a few countries too, that will happily design and put satellites in space for a fee. One of the big problems with government funded research (and I say this as someone who does not have a philosophical opposition to governments funding research) is that sooner or later, government departments see the big pile of money that is available for climate change programs, and want a piece of the action. NASA - because we know space, and can watch the climate from space. The army, because defending the country requires understanding the weather . climate - hence we want some of that action. EPA - because we protect the environment, and therefore we need to get in on the climate science action and therefore want that funding.

Why can't there be one organisation whose job it is to study the earth and climate, and let all other organisations do what they are meant to do, like look out into space, and find ways of protecting the environment without all needing to justifying everything on climate.

Comment Re:horse has left the barn (Score 1) 376

Your failure to blend the real world needs like cost, or the capabilities of third world nations, with your imagination is the reason you won't be taken seriously by anyone. You are proposing solutions that don't stand a fat chance in hell of being accepted, or require advancements that won't come for 50 years. Get real dude.

If wealthy countries invest now in those big solutions, developing countries can jump onto those solutions later once they are ready. For example, electric cars might not be an efficient solution for poor Africa right now, but once Africa has developed the necessary infrastructure, electric cars can contribute to emissions reduction.

And many times, the high cost of the solutions is only because we have not developed huge industries and the requisite economies of scale around them.

Comment Re:all our yesterdays (Score 2) 125

If we can build (presumably) ships that are sealed enough to protect us from the great vacuum that is space, and that can last years in the great nothingness that is space, then we can certainly build habitats here on earth to survive the most extreme changes in climate.

At the end, a spaceship that will take us to another solar system is essentially a huge dwelling that contains everything we will need to restart life on another planet - there is no guarantee that we will find the necessary building blocks there. So we would not only have to take our food, but the plants that can produce the food, the animals that would provide meat, the bacteria that all plants and animals depend on, the birds and the bees - everything needed to bootstrap another earth.

And this assumes that we can find a planet that contains the right ingredients to support life. All the minerals that are necessary to grow life e.g. the right quantities of magnesium to create chlorophyll. If we were doing this, we might need a thousand years to get it right.

Put it another way, if you were a weary space traveller, and you happened upon an earth who surface had heated to, say, 25 degrees on average, would you settle there and try to make it work, or would you travel on?

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 196

There are many technical way of going around those problems even better than a black cab driver would.

For example - medical emergency - every Uber car has the Uber app which could have a big red button to dial an emergency number, and potentially route the Uber to the nearest emergency room.

Vehicle involved in wreck - automatically dial 999 or, even better, send detailed report to emergency services detailing the likely severity of the crash and the location of said crash.

Local emergency - they are not morons you know. They are people who have been driving a while and know how to get around local diversions / detours.

In any case, why have these regulations not been necessary until now? In the UK in particular, private hire cars (of which Ubers are classified as private hire) have been doing alright no problem. This only seems to have become a problem at the very moment that Uber entered. In the UK, Uber is private hire - with an app.

The response to Uber is protectionism pure and simple.

Comment Re:Anything important will be preserved (Score 1) 348

I didn't say every detail of the past will be remembered. I specifically said two things.

1. Anything important will be remembered. Unless there is a major upheaval - WW3 - nuclear apocalypse and back to living in caves, as long as we have computers of one kind or another, we will not lose any knowledge that is important and critical to human survival.

2. The best way to preserve knowledge is to disseminate it, and not to invent new archival methods. Teaching and passing on knowledge between generations is the way to do this.

The reason some of the old knowledge was lost was that it was not useful for most people at that time, and wouldn't be for millennia, and because some people preferred to keep knowledge secret rather than disseminate it.

And also, hanging, drawing and quartering is not important, unless you are ISIS.

I don't think the minutiae of how we live is as important as we like to think. It is interesting, for those who are so inclined, but not critical to our survival as humans.

Comment Anything important will be preserved (Score 5, Interesting) 348

The vast majority of things that are worth knowing will always be remembered and preserved. If the few that forgotten become necessary, they will be reinvented.

The world will continue spinning. No need for alarm.

The best way to preserved knowledge is to disseminate it widely. Or, to paraphrase Linus Torvalds, someone somewhere will mirror all the really important stuff.

Comment Re:Remotely brick? (Score 3, Interesting) 202

Maybe not brick it (because people might try to fix it).

Just put a huge warning message that the device is dead and can not be used anymore. Give the people a code that they can use to claim a refund, and tell them they don't even have to bring it to a store. They can just chuck it away and claim a refund.

That way, no parent gives it to a young kid, and they scare them enough into getting rid of it.

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