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Comment: Scott Aaronson's take (Score 3, Funny) 199

by JoshuaZ (#46662619) Attached to: P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe
Scott Aaaronson is a highly respected quantum computing expert at MIT. His initial reaction at comment# 89 at http://www.scottaaronson.com/b... is that "The abstract of that thing looked so nonsensical that I didn’t make it through to the actual paper. If anyone has and wants to explain it here, that’s fine." Given that I wouldn't take this too seriously.

Comment: Submarines? (Score 4, Insightful) 150

by JoshuaZ (#46659807) Attached to: Will Living On Mars Drive Us Crazy?
Aside from the number of people being smaller, this does't seem that different from a tour of duty on a nuclear submarine. Three months is normal for that. Having little time to shower is a minor stress which could easily apply to almost any military duty, and submarines are again in that category. Moreover, submarine showers are disgusting. At least with a Mars mission you won't have the constant movement and shaking. And they don't get the regular email contact because they are underwater. http://www.cracked.com/article_20871_6-things-movies-dont-show-you-about-life-submarine.html discusses some of the many unpleasant things about subs. It seems like the people who are worried about the "human factors" are massively overestimating what conditions human minds can actually cope with, and it seems they also aren't doing a good job looking at counterexamples to their worries. This shouldn't be that surprising though: Robert Zubrin in his excellent book "Case for Mars" argued that a large part of the medical and psychological research to see if humans could handle a trip to Mars was more excuses for grant funding than serious concerns.

Comment: Re:Medicalizing Normality (Score 1) 558

Yup. Declare normal human variation pathological, make money by "treating" it, laugh all the way to the bank.

I would also add that many of the "autistic" children I see aren't autistic at all, not by any standard I understand. They are children desperate for attention, and have found a way to get that attention.

Some may even be jumping on the autism bandwagon to be trendy. I've seen this with allergies, where kids want inhalers and shit so they fit in with their over-medicated peers.

...laura

Comment: TNG good and bad (Score 1) 512

by spaceyhackerlady (#46612145) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

For the most part, TNG was competent. At its best it was brilliant. I'm with people on episodes like The Inner Light and The Measure of a Man. Add in, for me, Cause and Effect, The Emissary, a few others. The human condition, in space. Good stuff.

Unlike many, I actually liked The Dauphin.

I thought Darmok was an interesting idea. How do you make aliens who are, well, alien, but not so alien that you can't interact with them? This was an issue with the Borg, badass aliens who could kick the shit out of Klingons and not work up a sweat, but who were so alien that no meaningful interaction was possible.

Bad episodes? Yeah, there were a few. I prefer to remember the good ones.

...laura

Comment: Re:Hmmmm ... (Score 1) 75

by JoshuaZ (#46588057) Attached to: Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map of the World
Fukushima won't show up more than any other nuclear reactor, if anything since there's no longer an active reactor, it will produce fewer neutrinos. A nuclear meltdown does not in general involve the production of more radiation than a running reactor, the primary problem is that all the radioactive waste can get exposed.

Comment: The primary point not in abstratct but not summary (Score 5, Informative) 17

by JoshuaZ (#46429111) Attached to: HTTPS More Vulnerable To Traffic Analysis Attacks Than Suspected
The most interesting bit is not in the summary. Given individual websites they could identify which specific webpage one was visiting thus leaking with high probability all sorts of medical, financial and legal information. Examples used include from medicine the websites of the Mayo Clinic and Planned Parenthood, from finance Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and from entertainment Youtube and Netflix. This sort of thing could be used for all sorts of surveillance or blackmail. Even just knowing what Youtube videos one is watching could be used for such ends.

Comment: What information do you need when you're driving? (Score 1) 226

by spaceyhackerlady (#46338707) Attached to: Google Fighting Distracted Driver Laws

Do you need to know how fast you're going? Yes.

Do you need to know how your car is performing? Yes.

Do you need to know where you are and where you're going? Yes.

We already have head-up displays that show car parameters, as well as navigation systems that help you get where you're going. This could be incorporated in to an HUD ("turn here ->").

Anything more would be information overload. I do not need ads to tell me how cool the store I'm driving by is (i.e. how much they paid for the ad), nor do I need neat pictures other people have taken in the vicinity.

Look at how they do it in airplanes: the pilots have the essential information in front of them, but can access other information as needed.

...laura

Comment: The key here is "Conference Proceedings" (Score 4, Informative) 62

by JoshuaZ (#46330325) Attached to: Publishers Withdraw More Than 120 Fake Papers
In many fields conference proceedings have little to no oversight. These papers don't get noticed at all or cited and for most purposes don't exist. The only real issue I can see here is that a large fraction of these are apparently coming from China and this is consistent with prior reports of serious problems with academic quality coming from China. It is possible that people are using these essentially fake papers to boost their publication counts which may give them some advantages as long as no one looks closely, but any institution that is a serious institution will look at everything one has published. I actually found this point more interesting:

Labbé emphasizes that the nonsense computer science papers all appeared in subscription offerings. In his view, there is little evidence that open-access publishers — which charge fees to publish manuscripts — necessarily have less stringent peer review than subscription publishers.

Considering how many complaints there are about low-quality open-access journals, this suggests that that isn't nearly as much of an issue as some people are claiming.

Comment: The Little Chip That Could (Score 5, Interesting) 111

by spaceyhackerlady (#46327043) Attached to: The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

I've always thought ARM was a cool design. Simple, minimalist, sort of a latter-day PDP-11, one of those canonical architectures that just works. Simple chip, not many transistors, low power, good chip for mobile devices. It seems so obvious in retrospect. Especially since that's not what the designers had in mind. They were designing a simple chip because they only had a couple of people and that was all they could afford.

In one of the later scenes in Micro Men there is a whiteboard in the background with the original ARM requirements, right down to the barrel shifter.

...laura

Comment: Re:Gravity wells and other distance issues (Score 1) 330

by JoshuaZ (#46320055) Attached to: Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon
That's a good point, so from a strict get-there-once attitude this won't be so bad. However, I don't think that slamming into the moon is going to be a good strategy here unless they used some sort of extremely robust system which would create its own problems.

Comment: Re:Gravity wells and other distance issues (Score 2) 330

by JoshuaZ (#46319605) Attached to: Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon
Ok. I just looked at their plan in more detail (that is read all of TFA). They are planning on getting the solar panels and most other infrastructure from Earth. That means massive costs in terms of riding up the gravity well. This makes their plan look extremely implausible.

Comment: Gravity wells and other distance issues (Score 5, Informative) 330

by JoshuaZ (#46319593) Attached to: Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon

A major issue is that the moon is fairly far up Earth's gravity well. It is easy to get things to low-Earth orbit and already tough to get things to even geo-stationary. The main saving of putting anything on the moon will come if you can do a large part of your construction on-site since otherwise moving that much material up is going to be tough. If you are doing automated construction on site you also are going to need to be able to make mainly a lot of solar cells. Solar cells are primarily silicon and there's already been prior research on refining the moon's regolith for silicon to manufacture electronic components and that looks possibly doable but one does need to get over some technical chemistry issues. See e.g. http://www.asi.org/adb/02/13/02/silicon-production.html.

The other issue is distance for power transmission: most designs for microwave power involve power transmission from at most a little over geo-stat at about 35,000 km. The distance to the moon is about 10 times that, so if you don't have a really tight beam, there are going to be issues. Also, since the moon change's position you are going to need a large number of sites on Earth that can receive the beam, and if you can't switch off smoothly between them always (which would itself require massive planet-wide infrastructure), you would still need power sources on Earth (possibly just massive storage facilities?) to deal with those times.

Overall, a really cool idea with a lot of technical hurdles. I hope they can make it work but I'm not optimistic.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.

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