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Ken Fabian

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Everything posted by Ken Fabian

  1. Am I correct in interpreting the US prohibition on Congress restricting the rights of a free press as affirming the right of media proprietors to express partisan political views and use their papers to promote them? That seems to include the right to NOT promote views they disagree with and even allowing publishing of falsehoods - with not very compensatory right (if you can afford it) to seek legal redress for slander. It is difficult for me to interpret the deplatforming by social media companies as different to a newpaper editor choosing promote some kinds and to leave out some kinds of co
  2. It goes both ways - I think more a case of sea surface temperatures determining air temperature than the other way around. My answer is/was that global average temperature was and is an arbitrary choice for providing a simple, single indicator of change to the climate system; others might do as well or better (I would nominate Ocean Heat Content but the record doesn't go back so far), but weather records are our longest running direct measurements from which change can be observed. So, addressing part 1 of original question, yes it is useful. Is it a thermodynamically valid conc
  3. I think popular entertainment and the distorted representations of "reality" it provides - probably contributes; people spend a lot of time in the fantasy land of media news, entertainment and advertising - and the lines between those are increasingly blurred. They are also more and more tailored and targeted, to engage the hopes and fears and beliefs various sectional groups of people hold, such that any editorial balance is not within the 'feeds', but with the diversity of different 'feeds'; increasingly our preferred views get reinforced unless we make an effort to sample other sources of
  4. I think Trump's actions were criminal as well as dangerously irresponsible. In any nation where rule of law, truth and justice (and fair elections) are held up as their strengths and virtues, those holding relevant offices failing to address this behavior is... dangerously irresponsible. Possibly criminal in turn?
  5. A question for science based enquiry rather than a demonstrated theory? A scientific work in progress? It stands out as the only credible option - any panspermia, intelligent creation just shifts the goalposts back to how life or Gods began - but it hasn't been demonstrated. Abiogenesis is not the same as Evolution; we have good evidence of Evolution but none (excluding existing life as evidence) for Abiogenesis. Even demonstrating an example of it (say in a lab) doesn't demonstrate that was how life on Earth actually began, but would demonstrate that it is possible. So much room to
  6. Being known as a place that is free from disasters could lead to disaster if too many people from disaster prone regions try and move there. Walls and fences and border patrols can only do so much. In a trade connected and dependent world the problems of one region can and will impact other regions . But conversely, assistance from other parts of the world can flow back to alleviate that - if only to prevent the spread.
  7. Even 5 years ago I might have agreed but battery R&D has become a truly massive deal; the players in that game are serious and are seriously well funded. It may not be wise to put all hope in them succeeding spectacularly but assuming they must fail, with perhaps a decade before growth of solar and wind starts forcing the issue, seems especially pessimistic. 100% is overly optimistic - and most larger grids are unlikely to ever be 100% any one thing - but nothing in this arena is staying the same long enough to base future projections on past performance. Batteries in the pipeline in
  8. Solar using mirrors work okay and can include thermal storage, usually molten salt - But I suspect the inclusion of storage has been premature and has not been good economically for these kinds of solar plants - in the absence of a price premium for that stored power. As the proportion of wind and solar grows the value of on demand power to fill the gaps will become more apparent. That will not be a market that suits nuclear; undercut on price during the day and forced to wring the bulk of revenues out of what remains - and that is a market for fast response, on demand power,
  9. As serious as I think global warming is I have never thought it beyond our collective capabilities to deal with it or that dealing with it would be risking economic prosperity; rather, failing to do so has been and remains the greater risk to prosperity. Having a bottomless budget would seem to help, yet I suspect equivalence to all the military budgets would be overkill and potentially counter-productive; being cost effective is an essential requirement and an excess of budget could encourage wasteful expenditure. Use it to buy out the fossil fuel companies and shut them down as accelerated r
  10. Conditions are likely to favour offspring that are less neurotic or introverted despite the skewed initial population. It would not be "drift" - which refers to levels of random mutation, that, if benign or beneficial can passed to offspring, to become prevalent and ultimately fixed within a population. I'm not convinced neuroses and introversion are likely candidates for becoming fixed traits.
  11. I think this fundamental human flaw - that we recognise danger and target our enemies by outward markers like dress codes, skin colour, religion or politics - makes it more important to base significant actions on actual evidence. I don't dispute that there can be advantage to danger/crime avoidance at personal level and possibly small advantages to crime prevention/detection at societal level in profiling by appearances but I think there are significant downsides, including the reinforcing of prejudices and existing hatreds. If our society is not homogenous - most developed democracies with r
  12. Inevitably we do invoke prejudices - the bearded, tattooed bike rider who is part of an organised crime gang will make us wary of the bearded, tattooed bike riders that raise money for charities and never hurt anyone. We can be okay, even pleased with harsh police actions - or vigilante actions - against bearded, tattooed bike riders in general, on the basis that all share responsibility and it will be a lesson to the ones who are criminal. We can be okay with that - even getting vicarious satisfaction from knowing police are targeting bearded, tattooed bike riders - but if we are bearded
  13. I was thinking "don't millipedes have an odd number of legs?" But that is centipedes. I had also thought the number of segments didn't increase - also wrong. Once upon a time you would have had to search a library for a textbook (if they have the right ones) or consult with a museum to find out. And remembering was more significant. Now we can fail to remember and just look it up each time we want to know.
  14. There are real feedbacks capable of continuing the warming after human emissions cease and determining what they might do is important. Whether this particular study has the number right or not the potential for natural Carbon sinks to turn into sources as a consequence of warming so far and carrying warming past a threshold into self sustaining is real, as are albedo changes from ice and snow cover. It would be good to know - and despite the extent of our knowing better but doing it anyway approach, the potential for science based understanding to inform policy is there. My impression is
  15. Sure, we can model imaginary things, like (studiot) dams that have not been built or stars with planets of varying types and sizes, or global warming with varying emissions pathways that have not and may never happen - but these are built around fundamental understandings of the physical processes, informed and bounded by observable or experimental data. Imaginary things or imaginary physical processes could be modeled as well, in combination with real ones - what might happen if CO2 were not a greenhouse gas or how a Big Bang might propagate in a universe with different physical law
  16. Heat treating one and not the other to compare makes a kind of sense, however the characteristics of many "ordinary" metals vary greatly according to variations of heating and cooling. You may do better tracking down the specific characteristics of that specific metallic glass than attempting to get answers through experimentation.
  17. Ah, yes. Magnets not batteries. Batteries to power the electromagnets. I should proof read what I write.
  18. Probably battery powered, maybe with electro magnets that flip polarity in synch with the pendulum. Permanent batteries cannot be arranged in any way that results in perpetual swing of a pendulum.
  19. You can buy solar laptop chargers, usually having some kind of battery included, that charge DC directly. I'm sure simple solar plus small "camping" inverter to local AC voltage/frequency is possible using standard plug in chargers. Having solar built in - back of fold out screen - would likely work too, but more for placing in sun when not in use, with more time like that than in use. It would not work so well during use.
  20. We have no examples of other kinds of biology. Water, as well as the elements and precursor compounds terrestrial life rely upon, appears to be widespread through the known universe and on planets. Even as hypotheticals/theoreticals, other kinds of chemistry look problematic. We may be able to model possibilities and find something that could work to produce life, but so far as I know none look promising. We may find that even with water based/carbon based life there may only be limited ways self replicating complex biochemistry can arise, ie that alternatives to our RNA/DNA/protein based life
  21. It has been useful to have a simple, single measure that shows global change but that global average is the tip of a very large iceberg. The last IPCC report - AR5 - ran to 2,000 pages, citing nearly 10,000 scientific studies. Claiming all concern over man made climate change is justified by one global average surface air temperature is not true. Admittedly most Presidents or Prime Ministers will not have read any full IPCC reports, but Synthesis reports and Summaries for Policymakers are reasonably accessible and understandable. Also they can call upon science agencies and experts to hel
  22. Oh, the solar system is not a model; it is the real deal, and the planets besides Earth can be observed directly and be seen to orbit the Sun - or more correctly their centre of combined mass, the barycentre, which is inside the Sun but off centre. Earth's orbit can be determined by it's relative motions compared to the stars around us and has been confirmed to orbit the combined Earth-Sun barycentre.
  23. There will be enough oxygen and energy already present as a buffer in a body to run for ten seconds without breathing. You will need to catch your breath after. The oxygen you take in now takes time to reach hard working muscles but you have enough reserve to cope with that.
  24. I had a good mathematics teacher for a year at high school and for a brief time calculus was a joy. I haven't used it much since and so, have mostly forgotten. I do recall deriving the equation for the area of a circle using calculus - I think it was a test question - and that it seemed to be seamless in it's logic. Made a Pi starting from square one! I couldn't do it now but it was kind of reassuring. It may have contributed more to my trusting established knowledge rather than sparking great determination to personally confirm everything. I cannot work out the equation for area of a cir
  25. Currently sea level rise from thermal expansion is greater than that from ice sheet/glacier sources. However my understanding is the proportion from melting ice is expected to rise significantly. Between now and 2100 the rate of sea level rise is not much different between low emissions scenarios and high - mostly thermal expansion - but slows with low and accelerates due to ice sheet contributions with high emissions, with much higher rates of rise over the subsequent couple of centuries. There is also potential for ice sheet collapse that could result in surges in ice loss and sea level rise
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