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Comment Re:ANOTHER one? (Score 5, Insightful) 109

I completely agree with this sentiment.

Making a robotic dragonfly is very hard, they had a good idea, and a plan, and were able to sell it. They spent the money trying to do it, did some research, and now they are trying to make sure what they did ends up available to everybody.

Yeah, it's a failure in that they weren't able to do what they wanted to; but it wasn't a scam, or dishonest, just normal everyday good-effort failure.

Comment Re:Scientists (Score 5, Interesting) 203

One of two things is going to come out of this: they will determine that it's real, in which case we'll have some new physics to work with; they will determine it is experimental error, in which case we'll have a better understanding of how to measure small forces when the device is relatively large, in both air and a vacuum.

Either of these is a good thing; I'd bet on the second but would be happier with the first. In any case, the best course is to remain sceptically hopeful and continue testing.

Comment Re:relative wealth (Score 1) 563

If you packed them all into little boxes, you could make them all fit in a single city, but that would suck. So would living just in TX, CA, MO. Yes, there is enough 'arable land' if you make unreasonable assumptions regarding diet (like strictly vegetarian) and free transport with no spoilage. It's not a question of 'room', so you are right to criticize the parent for using that term.

In real life, where people actually are, there is insufficient clean water to irrigate, there is not enough transportation to get food to people, there is not enough wood to create reasonable housing by, and this is the important part, Western (meaning US / Western Europe) standards. We have 7B people now, they are surviving (mostly), so clearly Earth can support in the short term that many people, but there are also clearly issues. There are important questions about how many people can be supported in which lifestyles over the long term. And for that, you need to look at what people need to achieve various standards of living and the effect that the standard of living has on the environment.

Consider water in the US: we have serious issues right now in CA, and these affect standards of living. The US standard of living is partly dependent on non-renewable water tables which continue to drop (google Ogallala Aquifer). We're doing OK right now, but it doesn't look too good for the future as we are 'eating our seed corn'.

Comment Re: How much will it cost. (Score 1) 398

I'm no expert, but it appears that the cost drivers are the battery and economies of scale / experience. Yes, an electric car is fundamentally simpler, with fewer moving parts and (in theory) a simpler drive train. But, the battery dominates the cost. If you increase volume by an order of magnitude or two, prices would drop significantly. That's one of the main reasons for the giant battery factory and powerwall.

Comment Re: How much will it cost. (Score 2) 398

Congratulations for finding some edge cases for which this electric vehicle won't work. Different vehicles for different people and lifestyles; I have absolutely no need for a full sized pickup, but I know people that do. A 1000km electric will work for the vast majority of the people.

Comment Re: How much will it cost. (Score 2) 398

No. First, as your parenthesis note, batteries are a big part of the cost of the vehicle, so make that $25k. Second, just as the cost of making a bottle of pill is only a dollar but still costs hundreds, the 'cost' of a vehicle has only partly to do with the cost of the parts that make it up. There is the cost of the factory (all those robots), insurance, salaries (though the robots reduce those), R&D, design, advertising, safety testing, QA, transportation, show rooms, and profit.

Finally, the (current) Telsa isn't a $15k car. Fit and finish, inside and outside materials, suspension quality and design, electronics mean that even without the cost of the powertrain, it's going to be an expensive car. When you get in a cheap econobox car, it is different from getting into a (for example) BMW 7-series, but they are made from the same fundamental components. You _could_ make an electric car that costs $15k without the batteries; in fact, you can buy one! Go look at the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Is that what you want? Of course not; you want a Tesla!!

Comment Re:All the proof we need (Score 5, Informative) 260

I would encourage everybody reading the parent post to actually read the article. Just take a look at the image at the top of the article: the overwhelming majority of the planet is heating up, setting all sorts of records, except for one small part of the ocean. And that part of the ocean is getting colder (it appears) because of all the melting fresh water (because the planet is heating up), which is screwing up a major circulation current. And _that_ is their evidence that global warming is a lie: taking a small part of evidence out of context, wilfully mis-interpreting it, and ignoring almost all the rest of the evidence.

Comment Re:Let's face it... (Score 1, Informative) 260

Take a look at this article from Answers in Genesis". Here's the key point:

Extraterrestrial life is an evolutionary concept; it does not comport with the biblical teachings of the uniqueness of the earth and the distinct spiritual position of human beings.

So, Earth is special, Jesus is special, so humans are special, so aliens don't exist.

Comment Re:Bigotry Shmigotry (Score 4, Interesting) 536

...If you look at something like escort service and prostitution it's massively dominated by male customers who pay for women to pretend to be their girlfriends/lovers or even dressing up RealDolls.

You bring up an interesting point: would a sexbot replace a girlfriend, or would it be more likely to replace a prostitute. I would guess prostitute. I would have a girlfriend (insert joke here) because I want a relationship with another human being, with mutually agreed-upon sex, with some conflicting issues regarding frequency and style. I would want a prostitute because I want sex when and how I want it without a relationship. A sexbot fills the second far more than the first. So, the end effect would be a decrease in prostitution / escorts and their knock on effects. This would seem to be a win for women, not a loss.

Comment Re:Not much practical use, yet. (Score 2) 74

I was interested in this article because I thought it was on knot theory and practical applications of it. If you (the dear reader) has some time, the book 'The Knot Book' by Colin Adams is a nice introduction to knot theory. Really fascinating, and will get you thinking in terms of topology. And, like much mathematics that started by just thinking about something interesting from a mathematcial point of view, it turns out to be useful in a number of areas.

That said, this is totally not about knot theory, it is about modelling physical knots. And of course, they did the typical physicist thing, which is to take a really complicated thing, model the absolutely simplest aspect about it, derive some results, and then claim victory; while completely not answering the complicated (and more interesting) questions. I had a similar response when seeing what physicist did with modelling atoms, where the idea was to make a model using quantum mechanics of atoms, and then it turns out they did the hydrogen atom, and said, basically, 'the rest is details, we're not going to do those'. Wait, what?

I exaggerate, but the distance between the claims of physicists and what they can actually model, predict, etc, are huge. Yes, I know that the models are insanely complicated, and that's why you can't model them, but the problem is the claims.

Comment Women Count Too Low (Score 4, Interesting) 450

That doesn't sound right. I expect that the men completely outnumber the women, and that the 'women' are largely fake, but only 12,000?

With all the advertising that AM has done, and with the huge number of women online (consider pinterest for heavens sake), and the huge number of women that have affairs, it seems unlikely to me that only 12,000 actual women signed up.

Comment Re:Fembots (Score 2) 114

Stuff like laundry? Not that big a deal when the machine does all of the work and I just have to load the wash, move the washed clothes to the dryer, and put them away when they're dry....

As you say, it's different things for different people. If you have an extended family, or have several small children, the laundry is simply absurd. It is something that you have to do basically every day. And it is a pain in the ass to have to check every pocket first (because otherwise you get pens, candy, or other stuff in the wash), un-ball them (since kids are amazingly good as making their clothes into tightly wrapped origami when taking them off), and then at the end folding a zillion shirts that have one tiny sleeve out the wrong way. A robot that could spend an hour or two a day doing laundry would be a magical device for me and many other people, on the order of the changes of washing machines or dish washers in the first place.

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