* Posts by John X Public

25 posts • joined 27 Aug 2010

MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

John X Public
Mushroom

Re: Giant Gofers

" I.e. a pure vertical impact crater "

Ooo, sub-orbital kinetic weapons, my favorite. After moonbase railguns.

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Bona-fide science: Which forms of unusual sex are mainstream?

John X Public

Re: "view the psychology departments of the world primarily as a source of entertainment"

"are not science? What are they then?"

A handy set of well tested heuristic approaches to addressing problems. It is more akin to automobile manufacturing than hard science.

Science is traditionally carried out along the lines of hypothesis -> prediction -> experiment, where the hypothesis is well grounded in established knowledge and the experiments are repeatable with predictable outcomes. Things are improving (Walter Freeman anyone?) but Psychology still has problems at the theoretical underpinnings and repeatability ends of the process and is still at the softer end of the 'science' spectrum.

"My own suspicion is that people who think psychology is not a science either"

c) Understand how hard science works.

Scientifically based psychology is hard, and gaining rigor, but it isn't physics, chemistry or even biology yet.

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John X Public

Re: What is it about the name "Christian"?

Giving your child a 'christian' name of Christian either demonstrates a disturbing lack of imagination (this is my dog, 'Dog', and my cat 'Cat') or a very subtle hope for a return to vaudeville (What's your christian name? Christian. Yes, christian. Yes that's right. No, what's your name? I just told you! ... etc..)

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

John X Public

Phone + Hotspot

For me current gen smartphones are too big to be carried as phones and too small to be comfortably usable for much else. Also their battery life is awful. A crap compromise all round.

What I want is a smallish mobile phone with huge battery life and very limited cleverness. Just phone calls, messages and maybe email. *But* can also hotspot its data connection so that I can do big-screen things on big-screen devices, when I chose to.

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I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

John X Public

Re: Animals

"Gay people DO have the same rights as straight people."

Except when they are married. The differences vary between jurisdictions but legally married couples generally enjoy rights that are not available to unmarried people. This can be as trivial as no being accorded a courtesy title to which the spouse of a peer or knight would be entitled or as significant as being unable to sponsor a partner for immigration purposes. There are also often severe inequalities around 'next-of-kin' status, which impacts 'unmarried' couples. For example my wife enjoys automatic next-of-kin status, without any addition legal steps, for purposes of inheritance, superannuation, tax, health directives, etc, etc.

Note, the key difference is that heterosexual couples can chose to forgo the privileges of marriage, or not. Homosexual couples do not have that choice. That is unreasonable.

"marriage is not a "right". It is a "privilege" that is subject to regulation by the state"

Apart from age and genetic relationship, what constraints does the state impose on heterosexual marriage?

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Cicada 3301: The web's toughest and most creepy crypto-puzzle is BACK

John X Public
Trollface

You forgot the "Intellectual Masturbation" option

... to attract the other wankers

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Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

John X Public
Boffin

First World Hubris

Rather than riding in to the village on your cool first world gadget to rescue the poor natives, how about adapting some technology to local conditions instead? Stick a dynamo on one of these and get a bit more than 0.1W plus a more continuous power feed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_mill

http://www.worldwideflood.com/ark/technology/ox_mill_small.jpg

They are poor, not stupid.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

John X Public
Black Helicopters

Re: Rigid Airships have a place

Once we have even just a few of these forging an established place in aeronautics Phase 2 can be implemented: Die Überluftschiffe or megadirigibles.

Huge airships that are small cruising cities and do not normally attempt to land. Passenger boarding and resupply by small aircraft or airships that come up to meet it. I can see it now. Time for some Kickstarter trawling.

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Asperger's and IT

John X Public
Thumb Down

Re: Asperger's and IT

I think you are wrong on several points, and why do you even care if people are self-identifying as having Aspergers?

While I work in IT and may exhibit some of the characteristics you'd classify as part of the 'trendy' diagnosis of Aspergers I know that I don't qualify for a diagnosis. I have two young sons that have been clinically diagnosed as having Aspergers and I have experienced exactly why their disabilities are different from mere introversion with a touch of arrogance and social indifference or awkwardness. It also means I'm pretty sure I have worked with some Aspies in IT, and have encountered them more often in technical roles than otherwise.

Also, just to be clear there are actual clinical distinctions between Aspergers, Autism and ADHD (and its variants). Just because you don't understand them (e.g. 'difficulty with speech' is *not* characteristic of Aspergers) doesn't mean they are not real.

I don't give a toss whether some social inverts use 'Aspergers' as a convenient label, I'm glad for my sons' sake that awareness of Aspergers in society is improving and they might be treated more kindly in their lives than was the case in the past.

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'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer

John X Public
Holmes

All fun and games until someone pulls the trigger

Surely a home made gun

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-05/tradie-charged-over-homemade-guns-for-gang/4111600

can never exceed the quality of a manufactured one?

http://www.deactivated-guns.co.uk/images/uploads/sten_mk2/sten_mk2_ff_8.jpg

Well, obviously it can, but 3D printers are a way off from being the method used to DIY a gun. Maybe not forever, but not currently viable.

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New nuclear fuel source would power human race until 5000AD

John X Public
FAIL

Nuclear unadvocacy

"There's no chance of renewables generating the sort of energy the future human race will require to live above the poverty line, so something else will be required."

Never, ever, ever, regardless of an technology advances we may make. It is just plain impossible. Like heavier-than-air flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_land_area.png

+

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wireless_System#World_Wireless_System

= Beautiful madness

On the other hand:

"Nobody's saying that the new HiCap tech can compete with ordinary mining on cost yet - but that's almost irrelevant"

Because future technological advances will surely resolve all our difficulties with nuclear safety, cost, fuel availability and waste disposal. Anything else is Inconceivable!

Look I don't really give a toss about the precise shape of our energy future but it almost certainly isn't going to be coal fired and we need to keep our options open. Nuclear advocacy has its place but can someone less one-eyed and irrational than Lewis Page do it. His rabid illogisms are getting embarrassing.

I think nuclear has potential but it is not cheap (total cost of ownership) and radioactive waste is a genuinely toxic problem that you can't just wish away. I once thought the subduction zone idea had potential myself, shame about reality:

http://geology.about.com/od/platetectonics/f/seadisposal.htm

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Solar quiet spell like the one now looming cooled climate in the past

John X Public
Holmes

Re: As I've said before ...

Have you done *any* basic investigation on this topic? I even gave you a link to an article that covered the topic really well.

Point 1. Idiots claim 'grapes grown at Hadrian's Wall in Roman times'

Point 2. Zero historical evidence for this claim (ref. Roman sources moaning about British weather)

Point 3. No one ever claimed Northumbria = Britain (Yorkshiremen excepted)

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John X Public
Facepalm

Not mutually exclusive

I really wish this question could be debated rationally and I despair when an alleged journalist like Lewis writes such an obviously poorly reasoned and biased take on some interesting research.

It frustrates me that Mr Lewis can claim to be championing right and rational thinking against all 'carbon-alarmist' ranting while abandoning any attempt at reason. If he just came out with a nice clear 'nyah-nyah global warming is for poopy heads, I'll never change my mind' it would at least be honest, unlike this snide piece of biased 'reporting'.

A) The report does not say what Lewis insinuates it says.

There is a clear correlation between recent solar minima and cooling, no assertion of causation. Now it makes sense that there is some causation but that is just my opinion, Lewis should also make it clear that it is only his opinion, not established fact.

B) 'Past solar minimum = cooling' is not mutually exclusive with 'future solar minimum != cooling'

I'm not a climate scientist but I can think of at least one obvious reason why a solar minimum now might not have the same effect as in the past (given there was a causation chain). Conditions now are NOT THE SAME as they were 2800 years ago. For example, CO2 in the atmosphere is about 380 ppmv now and more like 260–280 ppmv in pre-industrial times. I'd be very interested in seeing what the impact of a solar minimum was in a pre-glacial era when C02 concentrations were more like current levels. I wonder if anyone is looking at that?

Lift your game Lewis or stop contributing sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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John X Public
FAIL

Re: As I've said before ...

Is that really the best argument anti-warming proponents have? A much repeated fake fact not backed up by any historical record? I've seen this repeated so often now that I take its appearance as a 100% guarantee of lazy thinking.

Tacitus on Britain:

'The soil can bear all produce, except the olive, the vine, and other natives of warmer climes....’

See for more detail:

http://ecologicmedia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=778&catid=95&Itemid=186

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Green energy and jobs will cripple the UK economy

John X Public
Thumb Up

And you can ignore evidence that wind power in fact reduces power costs

Isn't actual data annoying:

http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/why-wind-cutting-energy-costs

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Acoustic trauma: How wind farms make you sick

John X Public
FAIL

Ranting For Balance

... is like fuc^H^Highting for peace.

Unbalanced emotive ranting about 'Big Eco-business' is not helping anyone. This article is unmitigated garbage because of its total failure to add anything but heat and noise to the debate.

Personally I don't think highly of wind generation as a power source but if you are going to argue against it you are just harming your case by resorting to dodgy claims like this.

I don't want to be unkind, nor do I want to waste my time, but a brief survey of Dr Phillips' online material suggests 'crank' to me (tobacco apologism is never a good sign). Looking at his paper it seems long on lecturing (is there a prize for using 'Orwellian' in a 'scientific' paper) and short on actual evidence. Not quite classical epidemiology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_Street_cholera_outbreak) IMNSHO.

Perhaps El Reg should balance this junk-journalism by a publishing well reasoned assessment of the total cost of nuclear power, including the long tern cost of waste disposal. Here is a starting point for you:

"In recent years, the federal government has spent about $2 billion annually on the Hanford project" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site#Cleanup_era

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DIDO: snake oil or wireless salvation?

John X Public
Meh

Prior Art?

Snake oil, or 'grossly overblown' at best. Very old ideas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_beam

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Beams

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Would putting all the climate scientists in a room solve global warming...

John X Public
Flame

FAIL + FAIL != WIN

This is the problem with a little knowledge and plenty of moral rectitude. Even Socrates was a smug bastard when he claimed that he was wiser because he knew what didn't know, but at least he was on the right track. I'm hope I'm also on the right track when I remind myself that there is a lot of uncertainty on this question but equally there is much that *is* known as well.

I am basically of the opinion that AGW highly likely to be true, with provisos. However I'm not going to complain if someone rationally argues about various models, or data sets or whatever, even to the extent of disagreeing that AGW is likely. What I get tired of the whole point-scoring ad-hominem drivel informed by ignorance that this post by 'Ministry of Truth' typifies. The closest truth it resembles is the sort of tosh creationists spout.

It has a horrible start with, hopefully merely ignorant, untruths about the Northwest Passage (There is no shred of evidence to suggest Vikings got further west than Ellesmere and Amundsen's 1903-6 expedition proves the exact opposite of it being 'open in the early 1900s'). A poor start is then followed by the irony of an appeal to history which *completely* screws up the King Canute story and its point. If you are going to appeal to the 'geographic record' to support your argument while being so basically uninformed about history and unwilling to do the slightest research to verify the 'facts' you have received, then I'm sorry, your opinion is scarcely credible.

As for the whinge about squandered money and 'think of the children', phuleezz! I assume you've already written to the MoD and demanded that they hand their funding back. It's called a double standard.

One last thought about climate change, which you should think about even if you don't agree with the anthropomorphic part. The thing that concerns me about the current situation is a little thing called Rate of Change. I know my geology, I know the climate cycles all the time, I know life adapts, some are winners some are losers, c'est la vie. I also know about geological time and that it seems pretty obvious to me that the current warming is a lot faster than usual.

Given enough time an incandescent light bulb will release the same energy as a nuclear bomb. Does this mean that light bulbs are as dangerous as atom bombs? Rate of Change matters.

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Wind power: Even worse than you thought

John X Public
Boffin

RE: Don't you think it's already been considered?

Reply to http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1034457

You are right, it is an immense problem. Gee, it's a shame that there isn't a large industry devoted to solving the problem of storing water and using it to generate power for days on end. Oh, wait...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowy_Mountains_Scheme

And that's in the world's flattest, driest, continent.

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John X Public
Coat

True enough

Meh, wind power doesn't excite me much. Particularly with ROCs distorting the marketplace (surprise!) and the inherently low energy density.

Still, there is a lot of (mostly) empty land and sea here and there so I don't really mind getting some power out of it. Shame about the cost but then humanity hardly has a good track record of making sensible decisions based on facts and rational debate.

Also this mob http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beacon_Power will shortly be reselling that cheap/free off-peak wind power at a massive peak-time profit.

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Energy crisis over - for 250 years?

John X Public
Grenade

Full of gas

Seriously El Reg, when did being fashionably contrarian replace journalism? You tossers.

1.) Claiming a 250 year supply of gas is a massive overstatement which borders on being an outright lie.

2.) Recovering the gas has non-trivial implications in terms of cost and environmental consequences, which have basically been ignored by this 'journalist'. But I'm sure we can trust the energy companies to be careful and thorough rather than merely choosing the most expedient and profitable methods of extraction. Google Great Artesian Basin for a hint.

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Fukushima: Situation improving all the time

John X Public
Grenade

Triumph? Pyrrhus would be proud.

Balance is not just supporting an contrary extreme (ask Monty Python). Yes, the usual suspects are being overly hysterical about the radiation danger but just waving all the concerns and real issues away is not balance, merely another form of extremism. And that is the part that continues to get up my nose about Page's articles.

'The reactors involved are a 40-year-old design and much less safe than modern ones.'

What is the ratio of older 'less safe' reactors to 'modern ones' in the world today anyway?

'It now appears that despite all this they have not and will not harm a hair on anyone's head radiologically.'

More by luck than judgement Mr Page. I fail to understand how you can assess this situation as 'no harm, no foul'. If a passenger jet runs out of fuel but crash-lands without killing anyone people seldom walk away saying, 'Oh well, no harm done. Where's my luggage?'

Statements like "The charge of the Light Brigade was an enormous success! They reached the guns they were told to attack, huzzah!", kind of ignore the bigger picture.

Fukushima Daiichi was designed to withstand a peak ground acceleration [Ref 1] of 0.18g. Checking the 'Notable earthquakes' section of the relevant Wikipedia article [Ref 1] indicates that the best guess currently for the 2011 earthquake may have hit 2.7g, well above Fukushima Daiichi's designed limit. Please note the difference in impact between deep and far vs shallow and near earthquakes, Christchurch (6.3 Mag) has almost the same peak ground acceleration recorded as for Tohoku (Japan 2011). In fact, there is almost no notable earthquke listed with a peak ground acceleration [Ref 1] of *less* than 0.18g.

Looking at highlights of Japan's earthquake history [Ref 2] shows that this scale of peak ground acceleration is probably not entirely unexpected. A brief survey of the list indicates that earthquakes greater than magnitude 6 that are close to, or even on, shore are pretty common in Japan. Of particular interest are the 2005 Miyagi quake [Ref 3] and the 869AD Sanriku quake [Ref 4].

It looks to me like Fukushima Daiichi's design brief was woefully inadequate in the first place and that no effort has been made in the last forty years to improve the situation. I'm not sure how poor planning and inadequate risk mitigation can be spun as a success for the nuclear industry.

Let me be completely clear, the Fukushima Daiichi plant failed completely in the wake of the 2011 quake and tsunami. *All* of the on-site safeguards and infrastructure totally failed to prevent reactor meltdown and eventual catastrophe. *Only* the emergency scrambling of ad-hoc resources and the willingness of emergency workers to take significant risks prevented the entire Fukushima Daiichi plant from collapsing into an uncontrolled disaster. Yes, the Japanese pulled the grenade out of the fire but it wasn't part of some hugely successful master plan on the part of the nuclear power industry.

The absence of a nuclear disaster in this case does *not* imply that the chance of a nuclear disaster occurring was nil. Can we put this mindless contrarianism to bed now?

[Ref 1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_ground_acceleration

[Ref 2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Japan

[Ref 3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Miyagi_earthquake

[Ref 4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/869_Sanriku_earthquake_and_tsunami

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Fukushima situation as of Wednesday

John X Public
Thumb Up

A bit of actual balance

Finally, thank you Mr Karno.

Yes, the Fukushima situation is *not* the End Of The World. Nor is it all Sunshine And Puppies. The unfolding events have not yet caused, and may never cause, any widespread and critical harm. However the potential still exists for some very nasty outcomes indeed.

While it is true that the media vultures at large are not helping anyone by feeding alarmist speculation to the world I fail to see how El Reg's vulturine feeding (all be it from a different perspective) on the same carcass can be excused in the name of balance. Particularly as I fail to detect a great deal of balance in Lewis Page's articles.

The risk of an extreme nuclear power station accident may be very low, but the costs of such an accident are also extremely high. Do you want to pay your bill in regular instalments, or No Deposit, No Interest, No Payments for ??? years? Hard to clearly evaluate the cost/benefit of such a deal.

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Moses' parting of the Red Sea: New sim explains whole thing

John X Public
Thumb Down

Yet another plausible scenario

So what? There are any number of plausible scenarios that can be used to 'explain' the parting of the waters myth. Here's one I just pulled out of my arse:

Scenario: Huddled Israelite Masses flee to shoreline.

Assumption 1: Shallowish, but > 6ft deep, body of water with a narrow but firm bar of sand, or whatever, leading from one side to the other.

Assumption 2: Due to Cosmic Forces Beyond Our Ken, or gravity, an exceptionally low tide occurs exposing parts of this escape route.

Assumption 3: Israelites get a clue and scarper across the estuary quick smart.

Assumption 4: Tide comes back before heavily armed Egyptians turn up and so they are unable to find the crossing.

Assumption 5: Israelite myth makers add a few morale building embellishment about God and some highly satisfying smiting of the bad guys.

It's a cultural myth, it may be partial or wholly made up or distorted. Until some actual evidence one way or another turns up (the location of the crossing would be a nice first step), speculative and suppositious scenario setting doesn't increase the net amount of information.

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Internet, China and Russia destroying US, rock and roll

John X Public
Grenade

Some things never change

1.) IMNSHO, on media. I've listened to pristine old mono 78s my parents had. They sounded crap. Old worn vinyl also sounds like crap. Some modern production techniques will make the music sound crap, on vinyl or CD, but is most prevalent on CDs. Well produced music on CD is indistinguishable from the vinyl version.

2.) A quote from almost 3,000 years ago:

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

So at least Nicks and Mellencamp have *something* in common with ancient Greek poets.

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