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Comment: Surely the US knows where the plane is (Score 1) 227

by Al Al Cool J (#46551985) Attached to: New Information May Narrow Down Malaysian Jet's Path

The NSA and other US intelligence agencies have gone to insanely extreme lengths to avoid another 9/11 - like monitoring the majority of the world's electronic communications. 9/11 was done using commercial jets as weapons, so surely one of the highest priorities would be tracking every commercial jet that could be used to attack the US or its various military installations, embassies, factories, etc around the globe. Just imagine the shit storm there would be in the halls of power if terrorists pulled off the same trick AGAIN. Nobody in intel would risk that.

So if they are going to all the trouble of monitoring everybody's texts and gmail, surely they know what happened to MH370. It would be utter incompetence for them not to.

So why aren't they saying?

Comment: Re:A little misleading (Score 1) 87

by Al Al Cool J (#46039719) Attached to: MIT Develops Inexpensive Transparent Display Using Nanoparticles

Yes and no. By tuning the particles to very specific frequencies they can make the material more transparent than something that scatters light in general.

Screens that scatter general light already exist - a fairly well-known example is a DILAD screen, which uses microscopic bubbles. MIT's screen looks to be significantly more transparent than a DILAD screen. DILADs work best with rear-projection, while MIT's seems geared for front-projection. DILADs are used for advertising displays, trade shows, and - most famously - Hatsune Miku concerts.

Comment: Not convinced (Score 1) 247

by Al Al Cool J (#45114293) Attached to: Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

How do we know Snowden wasn't a CIA plant? that the leak wasn't a CIA effort to try and rein in NSA operations, freeing up budgetary funds to go to CIA operations instead. And that this is the CIA working to disavow their man?

Clearly the CIA and NSA need to spend more time spying on each other and their own employees, and leave the rest of us alone.

Comment: Re:Wrong question... (Score 1) 183

by Al Al Cool J (#44627383) Attached to: Can There Be Open Source Music?

I think you are conflating different ideas. Here is how I break it down:

well known - play the music for many people; how many have heard it before determines how well know it is
likable - play the music for many people; how many like it determines how likable it is
popular - both well known and well liked
good - find a bunch of outspoken pretentious assholes who care far more about being recognised as music authorities than would any normal person; what they say they like is considered "good"

Comment: Re:power level of a detectable signal at 1200 ly ? (Score 4, Interesting) 79

by Al Al Cool J (#43488081) Attached to: Kepler-62 Has 2 Good Candidate Planets In the Search for Life

Or, they could use a star itself and modulate the light coming from it, like stellar semaphore.

One method that has been proposed uses a swarm of self-replicating robots. Given raw materials to work with it could in time create a large enough structure or cloud in front of the star so as to be able to send a signal to a large percentage of the heavens. This would be detectable over much greater distances than 1200 ly.

Comment: Re:Pro tip (Score 1) 219

by Al Al Cool J (#43358473) Attached to: How to Get Conjurer James Randi to Give You $1 Million (Video)

Let's say I have the genuine ability to tell if the number of grains in an unoponed sugar packet is even or odd, 60% of the time. How is it trivial for me to demonstrate this ability? I wager that wouldn't even get past Randi's application process as it would be deemed unfeasable to test. I've read their case files, that is how the process works - if they don't think their amateur investigators with limited resources and budget can test your ability, then you get rejected right off the bat.

Discovering new science is hard. Most of the stuff that is trivial to demonstrate was discovered long ago. That's why we build thing like multi-billion dollar supercolliders, because Higgs Bosons just don't fall into our laps. It takes effort to detect them. It's why we have scientists.

If 99.99% of people with claims of the paranormal are frauds or deluded, then you need very careful and propper procedure to identify the 0.01%. Any moron can claim to debunk psychics, and they'd be right almost all the time, even if their methods are hopelessly flawed. A brick with the words "debunked" painted on it could do the job and be right 99.99% of the time. But it would never find the 0.01%.

Kudos to Randi. He's parlayed his little dog and pony show into a nice little livelihood, making money off the arrogance of skeptics through appearance fees and books. You'd think skeptics might be more skeptical of a man who spent decades perfecting the art of deception and manipulation, but apparently not.

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose