* Posts by evs

34 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Sep 2011

'Look into my eyes: You are feeling very worried about the climate ... so worried'


Re: So us

> I believe in the scientific method.

Great. Go find a thermometer. Drive into the country at night. Record the temperature. Drive into the city and do the same. Repeat until you have what you believe to be an adequate data set.

Congratulations. You have just validated the urban heat island effect for yourself. This is an example of mesoscale anthropogenic climate change.

So now you have validated to your own satisfaction that ACC is a fact, up to at least the city scale. This doesn't complete the global warming picture but I think you would have to be determinedly obtuse to maintain that ACC exists up to a certain (quite large) scale but suddenly stops at larger scales.

Carbon dioxide forcing is also readily provable. If you can solve an integral and can look up the absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide, you don't have to leave your kitchen table otherwise you might need a bit of equipment and a bottle of CO2. If someone can't do one and is unwilling to do the other that's fine but to use that as a justification for telling the people who can that they're wrong (or even just not right) takes a special kind of stupid.

Rooftop wind is just silly. There are good reasons why real wind turbines are made as large as physically possible.

Large scale wind is a good interim solution as solar ramps up. The biggest gas turbine in the world generates no CO2 while it is off. If a wind project reduces the duty cycle of the peak plants that's an environmental win.

The new Falcon Heavy: MOST POWERFUL ROCKET since the Apollo moonshots


Wrong video

That video depicts v1.0 cores: No landing legs, no grid fins and engines in a square array. Compare to the (correct) video linked by Spook.

NASA asks world+dog to name Mercury's craters (back off, 4chan)


Re: Name them for politicians

> Problem: Too many politicians. Not enough craters.

Solution: Fire politicians at Mercury until equilibrium achieved.

Antarctic ice at all time high: We have more to learn, says boffin


Re: Antactica is melting too

> created a model which was designed to show that the icecaps would melt and it that it was wrong.

That contains an assumption that the icecaps aren't melting (height) which is totally distinct from sea ice extent (breadth). As others have pointed out, there are reasonable models where melting icecaps or sea ice breakup would cause a short-term increase in sea ice extent.

Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun


How long is it?

> would measure some one million miles across from end to end.

It doesn't look that wide in the photo.

Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf


Re: No spare wheel?

The spray goes inside the tire so it will find the hole by itself. If everything goes as planned the foam will seal the leak and the propellant will inflate the tire enough to get to the nearest gas station (where you should add more air).

BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff


Re: "...if the anode could be made of lithium, it would make batteries lighter..."

The "plating" is not a catalyst. It is actually consumed by the reaction and replaced by charging. A very thin coating would be consumed almost instantly leaving you with a flat battery.

To use the lead anode of a lead acid battery as an example, the discharge reaction is:

Pb(s) + HSO4-(aq) → PbSO4(s) + H+(aq) + 2e−

In other words, the battery will only run until there's no more Pb (the anode/plating is gone).

I believe that the gist of the article is that the problem with lithium anodes is that recharging doesn't plate the Li onto the anode nicely but forms "hair" instead. The carbon structure acts like a hairnet.

Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then


Re: Did this game have an end ??

IIRC, the first 8 levels came in a preset order after that (predefined) levels would be selected randomly forever. I knew a few very good players that told me that, once they got past level 8, they could go forever without adding more coins.

Of course I also remember "Elf has been eating all the food lately."

Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT


Re: Confused on the motivation...

Tons of reasons. To reach the cadence they are lookng for (twice a month or more), they need much more control of their facilities (more prep areas, more/better launch equipment etc). I think Boca Chica has better weather than Kennedy so fewer weather delays. Multiple ranges may reduce weather & range delays. As they go commercial, a private facility will provide better protection of trade secrets.

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch


In æternum non obliviscar

Never Forget

100% driverless Wonka-wagon toy cars? Oh Google, you're having a laugh


Re: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!

fishman: New York State but not New York City.


Finally someone gets it

> The Google driverless car is really not a car at all, but an armchair with wheels.

All passenger cars want to be living rooms on wheels. Next time you're stopped at a light, look around. Are you looking at a cadre of focused individuals fully engaged in operating their vehicle or are do we have 6 on the phone, 3 texting and one changing a baby. Even the "fully engaged" kid thinks he's playing a game.

Boffins say hot air makes Antarctica colder


Re: This is an interesting view

Additional to that, as a denier, you should really stay away from using term MMCC (at least if you mean "man-made climate change"). It hurts your argument because micro- and meso-scale anthropogenic climate change is absolutely certain and easily proven by anyone with $4 and a bit of patience.

If, for whatever reason, you need to continue to instill doubt in the climate change argument, you need to get very specific about quantities that are relatively hard to measure. For example, "anthropogenic global warming" (only 95% consensus) is good because the average temperature of the surface of the Earth is a sort of soft number (hard to measure accurately and involves dimensions, processes and time scales that are hard to understand for the average bloke at the bar).

Think of it like selling a perpetual motion machine. You can't just spin up a gyroscope and say it's a perpetual motion machine. Any idiot can see that it isn't, just as any idiot can see that the interior of a city is warmer and drier than the surrounding countryside (though you might be surprised by the reasons). If you want to sell a perpetual motion machine or climate change denial, you need to make the machine complicated enough and hard enough to see what's going on that some sucker who really wants to believe that perpetual motion is possible can believe.


Massive Budgets

I see a lot of talk about the massive climate change industry. Could someone supply some numbers because I just can't see it.

The *entire* IPCC budget is $10M/yr of which almost half is travel expenses for conference attendees (at about $4000 a pop).

By comparison, Charles Koch, an avowed denier who profits directly from the industries that are (allegedly) directly responsible for AGW, *individually* *nets* about $20,000M/yr.

So, unless I'm doing something really wrong (and I'm open to being shown where) the "alarmist" budget seems to be in the ballpark of $100M/yr while the "denier" budget is closer to $4,000,000M/yr.

Vulture 2 paintjob: Four-year-old nipper triumphs


Regardless of the livery

Regardless of the livery, you have GOT to have a Ms. Lohan "pin up girl" on the side.

US court: Dell can't hound debtor with robocalls to her mobile


Embrace automation

I've found a terrific answer to automated dialing systems: the automated answering system built into my cell phone.

1) Create a contact called "Spammer"

2) Under that contact select "Menu" then "All calls to voicemail"

Now when my phone rings with an unknown number and I get the moment of dead air indicating that some company values their time more than mine, I immediately hang up and click "Add to Contact".


Orange customer clobbered with SIX-FIGURE phone bill


Might I advance the "Willie"?

Which, of course, is 47,859 bytes or the exact size of an industry standard picture of Willie Nelson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Willie_Nelson_at_Farm_Aid_2009_-_Cropped.jpg).

Readers, we need you... for LOHAN ignition failsafe brainwaves


Across the shrouds is good but

I like the connection across the shrouds to capture the chute opening event as I think that will be your most reliable signal. I'm not fond of the part where the line passes through an eye and down to the logic. If you're going to have a problem with this system, it will be binding at that point preventing the chute from opening (freezing or just friction). Better might be to have the "pin" actually between the shrouds (inside the chute when closed). You could either have two conductors on one shroud (for open->closed) or have one conductor on each side of the chute (closed->open). For the 2nd variant, it would either have to connect to the logic or have a largish coil somewhere to fire a make-and-break type igniter (would one large spark be enough?).

Ofcom fines TalkTalk AGAIN - a whopping £750k over 'abandoned calls' gaffe


I kind of like silent calls

I have an entry in my contacts for "Spammer" that immediately redirects to VM. If I get an autodialer (unknown number, nobody answers on hello) I immediately hang up and add that number to the list. No need to burden myself listening to some quasi-legal push poll.

LOHAN fans drawn to magnetic coupling


Ever played with a slot car?.

Something resembling a motor brush is the traditional solution to making reliable electrical contact without too much mechanical resistance in one direction. Light, cheap, good vibration resistance. I'm thinking the contact springs out of a large slot car might work though I expect by the time you get everything just so you might find there's an off-the-shelf breakaway connector that does exactly what you need.

The super low tech solution would be to just twist the wires together or use aluminum wire bent just so (hard to get reproducible characteristics with those two though).

Drunk driving: No more dangerous than talking on handsfree mobe


Touchcreens are a problem

It is almost impossible to operate a touchscreen device without staring at it. Not just glancing at it but actually watching to make sure you touch that sheet of glass in the exact, visually indicated spot and nowhere else. By comparison, one could easily unlock and redial a button-gen phone without ever actually looking at the device at all.

For similar reasons, it is also impossible to drive a motor vehicle safely without actually watching the road. In most cases, haptic cues from other cars, pedestrians or even signage only indicate that things have already gone horribly wrong.

The upshot then is that it is impossible to drive a car and operate a touchscreen at the same. When someone is actively dialing a call or texting from behind the wheel, they aren't actually driving, theyre just sitting in the driver's seat of a moving car while they do something else. They stay on the road only by context switching back to driving frequently enough that the unattended car doesn't have time to wander off the road entirely.

There's a psychological challenge here. Driving does not require a great deal of mental effort, just constant attention so we, as humans, get bored and start looking for ways to use that time more "productively". In the absence of a passenger to talk to, the mobile is the natural outlet for that restlessness. As anyone who has made a reservation while driving can attest, this can work very well indeed.

Legislation seems essential but is fundamentally flawed to the point that it increases risk in some circumstances. While it discourages some users, others will just try to hide their activity. This, in turn, greatly increases context switching overhead and negatively impacts both tasks.

This problem will get much worse as most new drivers were texting for several years before they ever got behind the wheel. For those people, telling them not to text is kind of like telling those of us of an previous generation not to talk or not to listen to the radio. Good advice when driving but preceived as unreasonable in practice.

IMO, the real solution comes back to self-driving cars and better transit. The real value of handsfree legislation is not so much to punish texting and driving as to reinforce the point that it is not reasonable to text and drive and to help us progress towards reasonable solutions where someone can communicate while en route without endangering lives.

(note: I refer to texting throughout but, aside from the observation about young drivers, this applies to any manipulation of a touchsreen device).

US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas


Re: road tax for bikes

Did you know that helmets decrease the likelihood and severity of head injuries for car drivers and passengers at about the same rate that they do for bikes? Not saying that helmets aren't a good idea just maybe we aren't thinking big enough...

Agree 100% about lights at night. Given that an adequate flasher can be had for less than $6, I'm surprised that anyone rides without one. Responsible retailers should include them standard with new bikes. For my own part, I've been seriously considering keeping a few on hand just to give away to suicidal idiots (at least the more polite ones).

Horns? Meh. A yell is louder, more instinctive and doesn't require lifting your hands from the bars. It's not like you are sitting on a sofa watching the world go by from behind a thick window.

License and registration? Where I live here's a quick breakdown on how that would cost out: govt dept of bike licensing would run about $13,000,000 / year (figured at 1% of ICBC budget). Actual claims: ~$800,000 year(0.12c/km * 150km/rider * 1% of population). Probably not a great way to spend tax dollars.


Re: And you're stuck behind a bicycle?

Good example. In most states and provinces, (including Washington:RCW 46.61.160) It is illegal to ride a bicycle on limited access highways so if this situation can arise (there is a bike in your lane in a place where you can legally go 120kph) then there is clearly eitther a signage or an enforcement problem (and certainly a safety issue). Now my question as a cyclist is: what's my fair share of the tax for that roadway that I am not permitted to use. What about roadways that I am permitted to use as a 2nd class citizen (stay out everyone's way, don't use the left turn bays etc.)? How about depreciation? Trucks cause several dollars/km damage just from their sheer weight. How much of that should I, as a cyclist, pay? Safety? if I'm paying "my share' I expect the same level of safety as the cars get: proper signage, separated lanes, separate signalling etc.

LSV is really the elephant in the room here. Nobody with money wants to talk about how we can work towards LSVs because they would greatly harm the auto and oil industries and motorists are entirely unwilling to relinquish any existing rights to the 40-60% of urban land that they currently get to use for almost free.

John Lennon's lesson for public-domain innovation


GPL is copyright

"Most of today's software innovation is happening in FOSS, from mobile to big data, and neither patents nor copyrights have been required to achieve this."

Ironically, this statement is factually incorrect. Code without copyright (public domain) has no protection at all and is subject to the tragedy of the commons. Even a small change can make it a derivative work and the new owners (those who copyrighted the derivative work) can effectively claim that any subsequent derivatives which include anything resembling their change (such as a critical bug fix) are not derived form the original PD work but from their copyrighted derivative. They may not win in all cases but the chilling effect was certainly killing software innovation in the '80s (I was there. It was getting pretty bad.). This was especially problematic as programmers of the time weren't lawyers and tended to assume that code published without attribution was public domain and couldn't be copyrighted by someone else. You can imagine their surprise when they found themselves facing C&D orders from the largest software houses for code that they themselves had written.

This was the basic problem that Stallman et al were trying to solve with GPL. They looked at the law and realized that the only way to keep code from being stolen by IP lawyers and industry associations was to be the first to declare copyright on the work. The GPL is sometimes referred to as "copyleft" because it is just copyright applied with specific rules to allow free distribution and modification without actually throwing the IP to the wolves.

British games company says it owns the idea of space marines


TV Tropes to the rescue

According to TV Tropes (which has been updated to include this story: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceMarine), the first reference to "Space Marines" is a short story from 1932 "Captain Brink and the Space Marines". It is also clear that every aspect of the GW conspect of the Space Marine is plagiarized(*) from the entire body of Sci Fi literature since that date and that much of the work they are taking credit for is still under someone else's copyright. IMO, GDW is in for a Very Bad Week.

(*) It stopped being "derived from", "lifted", "an homage to" or "a tribute to" the moment they claimed that the creation was their own original work.

The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder


Re: Lewis misses the point

Myabe they should put the Swordfish back in service as is one of the few fixed wing aircraft capable of actually using these carriers.

First ‘three strikes’ decision handed down in NZ


Interesting breakdown on the payout.

Notice that the politician's and lawyers get 99% of the action with the actual artist only getting some tiny fraction of the rights holder's 1% share.

(note to editors: need to add an organized crime graphic for media industry stories)

Help-desk hell


Re: Virgin Media Drone

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for "Taste the soup!" (look it up).

Felix Baumgartner sadly turns out to be blinkered FOOL

Paris Hilton

The original draft of Felix Baumgartner's thank you speech.

"I'd like to take a moment here for all the people who made this possible. To the visionaries that saw the possiblity, to the brilliant minds that figured out how to send a man to the edge of space, to the dedicated engineers who made it possible. To the scientists and technologiest that made it possible for me to survive in that environment I extend these words...get a real job."

MPs wrestle slippery bureaucrats in intellectual property Jell-O


Lets be honest

> Anyone whose means of making a living involves creating IP is likely to be pro IP: even writers. The main exceptions are those who get paid the same no matte how much their IP sells: academics and civil servants are obvious candidates.

Change "living" to "trading".

Included in those exceptions are the vast majority of content creators: programmers, graphic artists, tech writers, actors, musicians etc. While IP law is marketed around the notion that content creators get some kind of royalty for their work, the reality is that most IP is now created as work-for-hire and the actual royalties all accrue to "producers".

An artist absolutely deserves protection for their work for some limited period. When that same mechanism can be used to sue the artist for plagiarizing themselves or extends long beyond any reasonable natural lifespan then we have to be honest and admit that something is broken.

Ford: kick your car to open the boot


I want the magic tailgate.

Forget the kick gesture. You'll notice from the illustrations that, in order to make the gesture work on a hatchback for a normally proportioned human, they also had to design a tailgate which would pass through solid matter. That is a far cooler and more useful feature than the kick gimmick.

Latest El Reg project: Rise of the Robot Sheep


Turf Uniform Reduction Networked Equipment - Reel-type

I would suggest a small reel (perhaps 3" dia 6" long) with guard wires parallel to the rotation and no capture of clippings...basically a Mad Max Dirt Devil. If you make the reel small enough, it won't need enough power to sever toes and whatnot and the guard would let the grass through (and even guide it for cutting) without allowing curious paws to get any more than a manicure.

Or you could put your whirling death machine inside a mesh ball.

Vegas man begs web for $1m to fix gigantic scrotum


Something smells here

...and not like sweat.

"My balls will explode unless someone pays me (insert pinky in mouth) one MILLION dollars". How much would it cost to get this treated at a 5-star facility in Mexico, Thailand or India. Even if the guy has to pay for two seats treating this can't be more that 1-5% of that vs his claim that UCLA has said "we don't know what it is but if you pay us a million bucks we'll fix it"

Man who blasted five million text spams gets wrist slap


At 10c per text

The telcos should be happy to pay this fee (hard to call it a fine with a straight face) out of the $500,000 they potentially netted.