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* Posts by firefoxx

12 posts • joined 8 Nov 2012

Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

firefoxx

Re: @ Squander Two

Absolutely right - posters please note that all of the trouble was caused by retail banking (RBS, Northern Rock, Lloyds / HBOS).

There were *no* investment banks which went bust and were bailed out by government.

(If you think I'm wrong, then please name them).

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

firefoxx

Re: Big earner

This is completely ridiculous. If you think that any BBC programmes *subsidise* the license fee, you're assuming that they wouldn't get made without the BBC. That's clearly not true. Look at Eastenders - why on earth is the BBC doing this? Their remit is to make programmes which no one else will make, and clearly soaps like Eastenders would be made by the other channels.

It's much more likely that the BBC holds UK TV back by crowding out potential competitors, who have good ideas but can't take the risk of making the programme and bringing it to market. if it's a good idea then the BBC just steals it and provides it for free.

Always remember, you can choose whether to watch commercial channels or Sky, but the BBC demands money under the threat of prison.

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Decade to 2010 was hottest, wettest: WMO

firefoxx

Re: Graphics without error bars?

There are never any error bounds in Climate Science graphs. They are always accurate and perfect.

</sarc>

Seriously, I'm not sure how they could justify presenting a global average temperature for pre-1900 to anything like +-10 degrees, which would just make the whole thing look ridiculous.

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

firefoxx

A poor anaysis from Reg readers (sorry).

I work in an organisation issuing government grants for science.

*Please* everyone - always remember that the government has taken your tax to put into research, and the political right wing do *not* want to do that unless it is spent efficiently and they have some control over how it is used. They have to account for it to the voters. They can't just take the lefty approach saying "Here you go scientists, here's tons of other people's cash. You decide how best to spend it".

The military are actually pretty good at this, because they are a long way ahead of commercial products in terms of basic science knowledge (materials, optics, computing, physics and what is called "human effectiveness"). They're very careful to direct the research toward the results they want, and avoid recovering the same ground.

And *please* do not think that the highest level of political players are all idiots. They clearly are not. No one wants to have to justify to the press why your staff spending half a million quid on a study of how shiny their pens are. It has to be part of a top-level strategy, not a free for all.

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Another negative climate feedback: Warmer plants cool the planet

firefoxx

Re: Albedo

Abolutely right. Some friends from Imperial College and I did a simple bit of analysis years ago to find out how much energy would be released if all of the world's oil was burned. With some basic estimates and energy density numbers from the internet, we compared it to the total solar irradiation.

The result was that burning the earth's entire oil reserves released just less than the solar energy reaching the earth in one year.

Heat itself isn't really the problem now, but given a few decades and more efficient power sources (e.g. thorium, fusion) then everyone on the planet having the same ability to generate energy might be an issue. Energy always ends up as waste heat.

I'm confident that the whole AGW thing is an artefact of natural variation, made into a problem by dodgy global temperature measurement and statistical fiddling. At worst it is scientific fraud. Hope not though.

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

firefoxx

Re: @Professor: No, the report was a whitewash job to cover for the real culprits

Quite right - check out Bill Clinton and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) putting immense legal pressure on banks to make bad loans to 'subprime' customers who were unlikely to repay their mortgage. It was a way for the lefties to procure houses for their poorer supporters, and retain their votes.

If you don't believe me then look it up. Carter started the CRA decades ago and Clinton spun it up out of control. Bush Jnr tried to do something about it but the other houses were under democrat control and refused. It's simple left-wing political corruption really.

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Opposition leader raises ‘your Internet will cost you more’ spook

firefoxx

But what is it all for?

Let's not forget that we are (mostly) techies here and see value in fast Internet speeds. Many people and families simply *do not*. Many of my friends have lived perfectly happily with 2MB braodband for ages, and will continue to do so. They simply don't do anything which requires massive bandwidth. If you offered them a lower data service for less money, they'd probably take it.

Just a thought.

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Acid oceans DISSOLVING sea life

firefoxx

Numerical perspective

Ok...

1) The comments about becoming less basic rather than more acidic are very important - if you say 'more acidic' this implies that it can *actually become acidic* at some concentration of CO+ ion absorption. As far as I know this is total boll***cks, since this would require more carbon to enter the seas than exists on the planet. The oceans are unimaginably vast. The current ocean pH is well above 7 so it would need 100s of billions of tons of carbon to materially change from alkalinity. Any absorption changes are tiny.

2) The ocean pH varies quite a bit from place to place anyway and from depth to depth. I've heard up to 0.8 which is higher than any difference that could be made from surface absorption of CO2. My opinion is that these measured changes are simply part of the noise and cannot rise above the level of experimental error to be significant.

3) Less sure about this, but I've read that the dissolved carbon content of oceans is used by coral and others to make calcium carbonate shells. More carbon in solution can be *positive* to some species because there is more raw material for building their organic structures. Pros and cons all round.

That'll do for now :-)

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New science upsets calculations on sea level rise, climate change

firefoxx

Tiny correction

"[..] the Arctic ice cap floats on the sea and so cannot contribute directly to sea level rise by melting"

Basically true but with a caveat. The standard experiment is melting ice cubes in a glass of water - after the cubes have melted, the water level remains the same. BUT there is a difference in density between salt water and fresh water, so the melting of freshwater floating ice casues a *tiny* increase in sea level. Or so I'm told. And that's if it all melts, which of course it probably won't :-)

Thank god for ClimateGate and Mr. FOIA. We are much better informed about the internal goings-on now. Encrypted emails and files still to be released so it's not over yet.

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Ten... PC games you may have missed

firefoxx

PlanetSide

I'm really not a gamer but had a look at this MMO 1st person shooter when it ws recommended to me. The *entire point* of the game is to collaborate - and it's great. You get virtually no points and progression without others to help you in a team / platoon / whatever. The first time I ever played, I was invited into a Galaxy-like transporter plane and went to attack an enemy base with a bunch of other players, who I realised could be from anywhere in the world. There are planes to fly which are all basically helicopters so it's really easy to get stuck in. Several of the large vehicles need two people to drive / gun so the collaboration is always encouraged.

A wonderful game, and it looked amazing too with beautiful sky backdrops and landscapes.

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London council £1bn outsourcing plan survives vote

firefoxx

It can work well

Seriously, anyone arguing against this kind of thing in principle is saying that the best and most efficient way to run any service is to do it yourself and employ all of the staff directly. This is clearly incorrect as subcontracting happens in lots of areas of life, e.g. many readers may be IT contractors which is exactly the same thing. I get a garage to fix my car, not employ a mechanic on a short term contract to do it.

There is a different argument to be made about the *scale* of this, but in principle it's often the case that some specialist company can provide your service better or more efficiently than you can. The profit motive also encourages higher efficiency too. Set your contract terms right and everything works.

Don't forget that, as in many other areas of life, if the subs do a bad job you get someone else to do it next time. Simples.

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Welsh council's unused mountain of 2,400 laptops

firefoxx

Re: Not surprised..

"I've never understood why a town the size of XXXham needs a council payroll of some 10% of its inhabitants."

Sadly, that's pretty much how it works in Wales and the North-East. All starting to overbalance now.

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