* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Another negative climate feedback: Warmer plants cool the planet

Tom 13

Re: Climate Modelling

You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly complicated it is. I mean, you may think it's difficult to do calculus differential equations, but that's just peanuts to the climate.

There, fixed it for you.

Tom 13

Re: Ongoing Modelling

You need to dissect the word 'assume' more closely and run it through an SMS to English converter.

Tom 13

Re: Fossil fuels are being used faster than they are being discovered

Except fossil fuel resources are being verified as quickly as we are using them. Thirty years ago we had 20 years of oil left and we still do.

Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

Tom 13

Re: Fact

And men tend to die on average about 10 years earlier than women, leading to a general population of 48-49% men, excluding certain nations that use abortion as a means of retroactive birth control.

Tom 13

Re: lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.

By all means we should. Society could do with a good deal less of that touchy-feelie liberal/progressive/commie crap and a good dose more logical thinking.

Tom 13

Re: using them isn't quite as straight forward

It is quite straight forward. The difficulty lies in remembering how stupid the average person is, and then remembering that half the population is dumber than that. Or bloodied minded about their stupidity.

If I have a bunch of stuff I normally go to a person manned aisle. If only a few I will take the self-checkout lane. The self-checkout is slow because the computer has to check each step of the process before allowing you to continue. So you can't throw an item in the bag and scan the next one before the system has had time to register the weight of the processed item. Clerks can do that because they are the check against theft. The other day I was at the store with my female roommate. She kept trying to scan things faster than the system would register the weight and got all flustered when the "unexpected item in bagging area" alarm went off. She just couldn't cope with being faster than the computer. She is mind you, a pretty good mechanical engineer and makes more at it than I do as a help desk tech.

Tom 13

Re: .. and so the stereotype continues. Sigh.

And how exactly do you know the previous AC was male? I've known some women who would openly make just that statement.

Tom 13

Re: no sex-related difference in the quality of engineering or design work among my colleagues

You wouldn't because you're already past the selector. The question isn't if there's a difference between them within the group of people who do the work, the question is whether they are being drawn from the original pool with equal probability.

The problem comes when you attempt to define "original pool" for purposes of the experiment. I would define the original pool as "those with the ability to do the work who also have an interest in doing it." If that population is 50/50 male female, the number of workers would be 50/50. If for some reason that breakdown was 20/80 in a fair worker selection the worker breakdown would also be 20/80. At this point the question becomes what is the "some reason" the population moves to 20/80? If the reason has to do with sexual discrimination, there is a problem. If the reason has nothing to do with sexual discrimination there isn't a problem. But the assumption whenever this issue arises is that there cannot be non-sexual discrimination reasons for a 20/80 split.

Harassed Oracle worker to appeal costs, damages decisions

Tom 13


It would need at least one more zero on the end before being a lottery sized payday. And given legal fees, is actually not unreasonable. Non-court time for lawyers starts at $250 an hour and goes up. Court time starts at $400/hour and goes up. And those are bottom of the barrel lawyers, not the sort of people you'd want actually arguing a valid claim.

Tom 13

Apologies to the Alan Parsons Project...

And they think it will make their lives easier

For God knows up till now it's been hard

But the game never ends when your whole world depends

On the turn of a friendly tort

No the game never ends when your whole world depends

On the turn of a friendly tort

Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

Tom 13

Re: might be a very poorly thought out way to highlight some of the seemingly poor grants

And what would be a well thought out proposal?

Tom 13

Re: bad idea, but nothing new

None of the three examples presented in this article have clear benefits to the USA. Which is a perfectly good reason to require precisely the sort of reporting being required by the proposal. NSF is already politicized, this is just an attempt to weed out some of the leftwing loons.

Senate clears bill to block warrantless email searches

Tom 13

So now the corporations have carte blanke to read your unencrypted email,

but not the police. Right smart move that is, right smart!

Hunt on NHS data sharing: Obviously we HAVE TO let people opt out

Tom 13

I completely see the utility of a database that would seamlessly allow

everybody in the healthcare chain who is authorized to see the appropriate sections of my personal medical data (in the US this would include my insurance information)

I also see how bright the glowing red concentric circles surrounding such a system would be for data thieves.

And given how porous our systems to protect actual state secrets are, I therefore find myself not so keen on implementing such a system despite its medical utility.

Japan forgot data wipe on ship sold to Pyongyang

Tom 13
Black Helicopters

Unless of course it's a clever counter-intel op

to take down the NORK systems with Stuxnet

Next Xbox to be called ‘Xbox Infinity’... er... ‘Xbox’

Tom 13

Computer equipment plus always on internet and the word 'infinity'

That smells like a messy fight to me. I expect Comcast to be firing up the Lawyer canons if they go forward with that.

Study suggests US companies use overseas workers to cut wages

Tom 13

Re: Bog standard economics

Not an entirely complete economic analysis. If the wages go up, then the price of the widgets go up. Depending on the slope of the demand curve, demand may fall off to quickly to continue to produce said widgets at a price where you can reasonably continue to talk about a market for the widget.

In this particular case I don't expect the slope to be steep enough for that to be the issue, but that still needs to be part of the analysis.

Tom 13

Re: kind of rigour that might impress policy makes

Guess you missed the bit where it said it was for EPI. Which means its the sort of dredges even the National Inquirer wouldn't see fit to print on this side of the pond. If you aren't familiar with the National Inquirer if you think of EPI as the equivalent of the Tobacco Institute, you'll be on the right wavelength.

Reg hack to starve on £1 a day for science

Tom 13

Re: rules and regs on how much went on "administrivia"

Rules and regs always vary from place to place.

In the US, the regs are actually that you can't profit from holding an elected position within the charity. After that, you can spend all your money on staffing and not technically run afoul of the law. You might get into serious trouble with your donors, but that's not a legal issue. It's one of the reasons financial planners recommend checking with agencies that rate the effectiveness of charities before donating.

Student falsely IDed by Reddit as Boston bomber found dead

Tom 13

Re: low price of HFCS compared to... what, exactly?

The price established by the US government at the behest of the Louisiana sugar cartel.

One more government regulation to which the TEA party objects.

Tom 13

Re: Better left to the authorities

right, like they were for Fast and Furious, or Waco, or Ruby Ridge, or that poor family in northeastern Pennsylvania that served years in prison for child sexual abuse before it turned out the kids had been coached by the DA.

In fact, in recent memory the only official I can think of who has been held accountable for his vigilante style rush to judgement was the DA in the Duke lacrosse case.

Tom 13

Re: Better left to the authorities

He wasn't killed as a result of this. Sadly he was dead long before the bombs went off. So there's no reason to go off on a similarly misguided vendetta.

That doesn't mean people shouldn't take caution after reading about this. Had he been alive he very well could have been killed over it. Or assuming he was clinically depressed, it might have been enough to cause him to commit suicide.

Tom 13

Re: dental records are your first port of call,

No, photographs are the first port of call, particularly given an active missing person investigation. Dental records need somewhere from which records can be pulled. Maybe the UK has a central db for dental records (although I doubt it), the US does not. That they had to go to the records means the body probably was badly decayed.

Tom 13

Re: don't think suicide would be considered foul play.

That was going to be my minor nit with his post.

Also, given what the family has been through, leaving it at "no foul play is suspected" would be showing a modicum of respect to his family if suicide were suspected. Their wounds have been rolled in enough salt already this week.

Tom 13

Re: There's a reason why we've set up institutions to handle this

In this day those institutions are as likely to engage in witch hunts as the crowd sourcers are. I'll take the crowd sourcers over the official institutions if for no other reason than the crowd sourcers are subject to public criticism and possible legal reprisals.

Peak Apple: Cupertino belatedly spends some money on R&D

Tom 13

Spoke with someone recently who thinks Apple have a major marketing problem.

He also thinks the people in charge are working on pumping all the profits out before dumping the stock. And I think he was making an objective not emotional argument. He owns an iPhone and worked for a retailer who moved lots of electronic kit for whoever was hot at the time.

His comparison of Apple to Android phones: Android probably has better tech at any given price point, but Apple have longer support cycles. He thinks if you buy an iPhone you'll probably have support for 5 years, whereas with Android you'll get 2, maybe 3.

He credited Jobs with being a marketing genius for creating demand and maximizing profit. He noted that Jobs typically (like Sony with the Wii) held back production to create demand and desirability for the product. His specific example was the iPhone version that Conan OBrian got ahead of almost everyone else. And that if you actually had the same model phone at the time Conan was bragging about it, it elevated a certain status for you. The recent iPhone release didn't have that kind of hold back, elan, or profitability for the product.

I personally don't want to be involved in those kind of rat races, which is one of the reasons I tend to avoid Apple. But if that's the market where you are making your profit, it seems to me you have to continue to play to your strength. And shifting into mass market where MS and/or Google pretty much have the high and surrounding ground advantages is generously described as suicidal.

Virgin Media: SO SORRY we fined your dead dad £10 for unpaid bill

Tom 13

Re: If companies actually employed people and not machines...have more respect for them.

No you wouldn't. You'd bitch incessantly about how f***ing greedy and insensitive those captialist bastards were.

Tom 13

Re: I'm guessing a bug got in the way

That was my assumption as well. And I'll take it a step further. I'll bet the bug is with the bank code, not the Virgin processing. Because what we have here is one person making a huge hoopla about something that is bound to happen from time to time. If the bug were on the Virgin side, they'd be flooded with the issue.

Mobes' pay-by-bonk just isn't cool enough, sniffs Tesco bod

Tom 13

Re: Ubiquity

Is that anything like this:


Free French app app booted by Apple, triggers 1m-strong petition

Tom 13

Don't you just hate it when

you're not sure which side to root against?

Tom 13

Re: Im guessing it will look very similar too

Nah, this one will have some seriously innovative re-engineering.

You know, like rounded corners.

Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan? Neither does anyone else

Tom 13

Re: for occasional use only anyway

If it's an app that's too expensive to migrate, that usually means its a hideously old IE6/ActiveX internally developed app that at least one-third of the company live in.

Otherwise you're spot on.

Climate-cooling effect 'stronger than volcanoes' is looking solid

Tom 13

Re: So in other words (warning, Heretical thinking within)

If you mean real records, records like Tycho Brahe kept so that Kepler was finally able to deduce the rather simple equations which define the motion of the planets, then 'since records began' = 60 years for all practical purposes (and frankly being quite generous). Because you have to wait for the advent of satellite data before you get that sort of information.

Tom 13

Re: So what's changed?

What changed is this removes plausible deniability from the warmists denials that they haven't got a clue about what really happens with climate.

Tom 13

Re: "Fallen Angels"

Amusing perhaps, but mostly if you are the sort who runs (as opposed to hangs out at) sf conventions. Not something I'd recommend to an average Joe.

Tom 13

Re: Great news

We'll have a "full understanding of all the factors that control global climate" about 6 months after the economists have worked out the equations which define stock market prices and finally allow governments to control economic growth.

Tom 13

Re: Don't open the bubbly yet Lewis

And ozone at the surface level is considered a pollutant, while at the same time we are berated for our non-ecological attitude because we "made" a hole in the ozone layer.

Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Tom 13

Wait a minute!

Isn't a a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt exactly the sort of person The Register is looking for to write articles?

Major Dell investor cashes in ALL of its 24.5 million shares

Tom 13

So maybe Michael Dell is still nuts,

but not greedy as some had supposed when they though his bid undervalued the company.

Make cool shows, make money: Netflix's SHOCKING TV strategy

Tom 13

Re: cancelled by the big networks for no good reason.

It's always canceled for a good reason: the money for the new contract wasn't available from the usual sources.

It was sad to learn Eureka had been canceled, but when I saw them at Dragoncon right after it happened, the cast were philosophical about it. The upfront costs are huge and the money simply wasn't there because the venture people were funding other things in which they had more interest. Remember most networks don't pay for shows, they rent them from the companies that made them. The money has to come from somewhere.

Tom 13

Re: sad to lose a series which still had legs

And the absolute worst is to see a series with a defined set of legs compressed to less than it was designed for, then watch in shock and horror when they decided to expand it back out to its intended length, only to realize they don't have enough plot left. Yes TURNER I'm looking at YOU!

Tom 13

Re: Game the system

I've gamed the system in quite a few PC games. (an early Ultima game: create a party, go into town. everybody in party hands everything they own to one guy, save. Repeat with a fresh party 3 times. Delete all the critters with no money. Form a party from the four people who had everything. Go into town. Everybody hands everything to one guy. Repeat until you have 4 guys carrying as much as the limits allow. Now go on your first quest. Eventually find the gizmo that upgrades your stats for free. Since we've already proven gold is free, we now have stats for free too.)

This was gaming the system.

Apple fanbois' accidental bonking ruled too obvious by watchdog

Tom 13

Re: I don't mind the approval in the beginning

I do.

What is supposed to happen is somebody looks at it, decides whether a reasonable man would think it is obvious. If it is obvious, patent denied. Then you proceed to do a basic search on existing patents to make sure it hasn't already been covered. Then you issue the award.

What seems to be happening is they skip the first part, probably because rich clients have sued over the 'reasonable man' standard, and moved directly to the basic search. And when they don't find a 150 year old patent on a box with rounded corners, they approve the patent.

Tom 13

Re: ...who was plagiarising a bowl of petunias...

Now there's a whale of a tail.

Crypto guru: Don't blame users, get coders security training instead

Tom 13


Look on the bright side: at least you could crush them and throw them away. I've know people with a safe full of dead drives that can't be thrown away because first you need to be able to certify that they've been sanitized. They apparently don't have the money to hire the appropriately certified mobile van crusher to stop by the office and since the drives are physically damaged, they can't run the software they would otherwise use to wipe the drives.

Tom 13

Re: If you still don't know to question that dodgy e-mail attachment

The part that gets me is that I know people with great street smarts but when they login to a PC they go stereotypical blonde.

Hedge fund invests $2bn in Microsoft, thinks Redmond is undervalued

Tom 13

Re: This needs a citation badly.

You're thinking of corporate raiders, not hedge funds. But then again so is the author, so I suppose I shouldn't blame you. Hedge funds take positions to balance risks. In theory they make money by recognizing trends more quickly than others and moving more quickly.

US Senate vote to add internet sales tax this week

Tom 13

Re: those two companies already KNOW the local tax rates



Have you ever actually setup processing with them? They take a flat fee plus a percentage of your transaction. They don't care about sales tax.

Tom 13

@Notas Badoff

And that's just the level of complication when you assume it's static. Now add in the complexity of all 9,600 of them changing their rules whenever they want to...

Tom 13

Re: Long live...Die poor.

No, he's not. Having bought a car across state lines I can attest to the real world way in which car sales work.

This is the sort of mistake Progressives/Socialists/Communists with no real world experience frequently make. Because you think it is logical that the point of sale should always be the location at which the sales tax is collected you assume nobody has managed to lobby for special exceptions. Car sales are one of those areas, precisely because their unit cost is so high. If I have a dealership that's close to a state line and the other state has a 1% lower tax rate, I'm going to lose sales unless I can drop his rate by 1%. So I lobby my political critters to grant an exception. Since I've joined up with my competitors to ask for this break, and we account for 20-40% of the local economy, they give us the exception.

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