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Comment: Re:Sorry but (Score 1) 179

Playing devil's advocate...

2001 had music over top of space scenes. You can't hear music in space, never mind Dolby surround sound, so this was wrong. I think there was also music playing on ancient Earth, which is before music was invented.

I've also seen subtitled versions of 2001 (and lots of movies praised for their realism). This is wrong. When people speak in real life, glowing words don't magically appear beneath them.

One can argue that these are cinematic conventions that improve people's enjoyment. The music has emotional impact, and the subtitles make it easier to understand what is happening (especially with foreign languages). But then why can't things like space sound effects (which add impact) and visible lasers (which make it easier to see what is happening) also be considered cinematic conventions? It all seems a bit arbitrary to me.

Comment: Re:Distance and Radiation make it a moot point.... (Score 1) 112

by Al Al Cool J (#46872915) Attached to: Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus

Then send the follow-up mission in the first ship, and then send the colony ship in the faster ship second. The faster colony ship gets there first, and the follow-up ship arrives second. :-P

If your objective is to get as many ships to as many stars as quickly as possible, then there is simply no benefit to waiting for faster ships to be invented.

Comment: Re:Distance and Radiation make it a moot point.... (Score 1) 112

by Al Al Cool J (#46867659) Attached to: Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus

Sure, and in every sci fi book, the next generation drive beat them there. Sometimes spending more time on the colony than the travelers spent getting there.

I've seen that argument many times including in at least one physics journal. I believe it is one of the stupidest arguments ever put forward by scientists.

There are billions of stars in the heavens. So why would you ever send a next generation ship to a star that you've already sent a ship to?! Send your next generation ship to a different star. There are plenty to chose from.

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.

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