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Comment: Re: Exodus (Score 1) 506

by Kjella (#49800383) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

Even if it worked (I doubt), this does not mean that you stay young forever. You don't age normally, but all your joints will be used up purely mechanically. Not ageing does not equate to 'no wear'. It doesn't equate to 'no disease', and neither to 'no cancer'. Teeth will decay, nothing to do with age. Even parts of the heart will be used up and not regenerate.
In a nutshell, the non-ageing population segment will be zombies with artificial hips, joints, teeth, heart, and so forth.

Why artificial? All the blueprints are in my DNA. On severe burn victims they do muscle and skin grafts, with sufficiently advanced technology we could grow pretty much anything. The non-ethical way would be to just clone me, zap the higher brain functions and keep for 15 years in a vegetative state you'll have all the organs to fit an adult man. The ethical way would be to find ways to grow just that organ in a lab. It wouldn't be the cure to everything as you could have brain tumors and whatnot but you could get pretty far that way.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 240

by Rei (#49800067) Attached to: Crowdfunded, Solar-powered Spacecraft Goes Silent

I think it's pretty amazing that spacecraft can survive at all out there, given the sort of particles flying around - individual cosmic rays with the energy of fast-pitch baseballs. Thankfully, particles with such high energy have tiny cross sections (they prefer to move through matter rather than interact with it), and when they do hit something and create a shower of particles, most of the progeny is likewise super-high energy and will most likely just move through whatever it's in.

It's more interesting when they strike the atmosphere - each collision creates a new shower of other high energy particles, more and more, spreading out the energy as they descend. In the end, detectors on the surface over an area of dozens of square kilometers simultaneously pick up different pieces of the same cascade kicked off by a single cosmic ray collision.

Comment: Re:Money class, breeder class (Score 1) 506

by Grishnakh (#49800021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

That's just plain ridiculous. Countries with the highest quality of life still have people reproducing, just not in huge numbers. So instead of 3-8 kids per couple average, we have 0-2 kids, and end up with a bit less than replacement rate. The only reason populations are expanding is because of immigration.

Eliminate immigration for the most part, and greatly extend lifespans, and you'll still see a stable population.

Comment: Re:Money class, breeder class (Score 1) 506

by Grishnakh (#49799989) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

If everybody gets to live a very long time, then we run out of resources

That entirely depends on the birth and death rates. Eliminating aging won't keep you from dying when a bus hits you. And we've found over and over that when people live comfortable, middle-class lifestyles with a proper education, they generally don't want to have a ton of kids any more. Every western country (plus Japan) is experiencing ZPG right now except for immigration.

If we figure out how to curb over-population and only the really old live, then we run out of viable sperm and eggs in a few generations

You're assuming we won't figure out how to reproduce artificially. That's a really bad assumption. If we can figure out how to stop or reverse aging, you don't think we can figure out how to continue to reproduce with artificial means (or even how to rejuvenate the gonads)?

unless we figure out how to dodge the who reproduction via sperm and eggs thing

Lots of people are already doing that: IVF, frozen sperm and eggs, etc. If for some weird reason we can figure out how to reverse aging in every part of the body *except* the testes/ovaries, you don't think we'd just automatically freeze people's sperm and eggs when they're young?

One thing that could potentially change this entire equation would be extending the range in which humans can live, whether it be orbital habitats, terraformed planets or cozy lintel asteroids.

I don't see why those things couldn't be built. We're just too lazy to make them right now, since we'd rather fight wars with each other over religious idiocy and the like.

But even before any of that is doable, the population thing is a red-herring. Most likely, anti-aging treatments will be expensive, so will be confined to wealthier people, which mainly means westerners, and richer Asians. These people are *already* not having many kids. All the western nations would have to do is stop all immigration, which would immediately give them negative population growth (with current conditions), and then with much greater lifespans, they'll have zero population growth, or maybe slightly positive.

It's not like anti-aging treatments are going to make everyone suddenly want to emulate the Duggars.

Comment: Re: Exodus (Score 1) 506

by Grishnakh (#49799895) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?

You obviously aren't understanding the science behind anti-aging. The whole idea is that your body stays youthful; all the mechanisms in it which repair things work optimally, all the time, instead of falling apart with age like they do now (go find some small kid and a middle aged person, cut them both the same way, and then see how they heal differently). Though teeth might need to be replaced with implants, but most westerners these days have artificial parts in their teeth starting at rather young ages, either fillings or crowns. I challenge you to find me a 40-year-old without some dental work. Anyway, there's no need for artificial hips when you've figured out how to make the body repair itself properly. This might require periodic application of some kind of drug, or permanently-installed nanites, who knows? But no, most likely the future does not involve a bunch of old people with mostly-artificial bodies.

Comment: Re:Just...wow. (Score 4, Insightful) 60

by Rei (#49798823) Attached to: Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Plans To Obtain Sensitive Western Tech

No, fines for violating export laws.

Being slapped with massive fines is usually pretty good motivation for a company. And given that the US spends nearly half of the world's total military spending, and the EU a good chunk of the rest, simply "hopping overseas" and choosing to serve other markets isn't exactly the smartest of plans, financially.

It's idiodic for a company to wilfully risk sales of hundreds of thousands of units per year to NATO to sell a couple hundred units to Russia. Russia's economy is barely bigger than Canada's. And less than 80% the size of Brazil's.

Comment: Re:Just...wow. (Score 1) 60

by Rei (#49798769) Attached to: Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Plans To Obtain Sensitive Western Tech

You could start by reading more than the first paragraph.

1) They don't have "zero" capability, but they have way too little - only a few hundred modern imagers.

2) They have tried to buy them off ebay before. And it led to arrests. It's illegal to export military-grade night vision equipment without a license, and apparently sites like ebay are well monitored for potential violations.

Comment: Re:EU food ban? (Score 3, Informative) 74

Yeah, but they "cheat" a lot - for example, Belarus has made a mint serving as a reshipping platform for European goods. And for some reason they left Iceland off their list even though we supported the sanctions against them. Still, it's caused major food price inflation (unsurprisingly). Seems kind of a weird way to punish Europe, it seems obvious it's going to have a lot more effect at home than abroad - Russia's trade in food goods with Europe makes up far more of its imports than Europe's trade in food goods with Russia makes up of its exports. But I guess they didn't have a lot of options for "retaliation". I mean, Gazprom is already nearly going broke as it is, turning off the spigots would have rapidly ensured that it did. Oil and gas make up half of their government budget and 2/3rds of their exports - it'd sure punish Europe, but it'd also be economic suicide.

I think they're really hoping that the sanctions will just expire and they'll be able to go back to raking in western capital again. Because if they don't expire, barring some huge unexpected oil price surge, those reserve funds are going to dry up. They expect it to be down to under $40B by the end of this year. What they're going to do when it runs out, I have no clue. They need dollars and euros to buy the goods that their undersized industrial sector can't manufacture. China's a help but not a solution; they don't have the lending power of the US or EU to begin with, and their goal seems to be more exploiting Russia over the situation than offering friendly aid. For example, they got Russia to agree to the cutthroat rates on the proposed "Power Of Siberia" pipeline that they'd been trying to get for years and to let them own greater than 50% stakes on fields inside Russia. They got Russia to sell them their most advanced air defense system despite the objections of the defense industry over concerns that China would do what they always do with new technology - reverse engineer it and then produce it domestically. But who else are they going to turn to? China's basically becoming Russia's "loan shark". And at the end of the day, if it came down to it and China had to chose between the Russian market and the 20-fold larger market of the US and EU? It's not even a contest.

Comment: Re:survival of the fittest? (Score 2) 506

by JaredOfEuropa (#49797019) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Happens If We Perfect Age Reversing?
It's not hard to see who gets to live longer. The rich, for one. If "we" decide to select candidates on merit, there will most certainly be other places where the selection criteria are different or where the deciders can be bought, and those who can afford it will simply move there (or import the stuff from there).

And if this is done by lottery, a lucky winner might well sell his ticket if the price is right... and would we even want to try and stop such transactions, like we prohibit people from selling their own organs now? If you (at, say, age 35) win the lottery and get to choose between a normal lifespan in sufficient wealth, or an extended lifespan that will be spent either working or worrying over money (or both)? Because your state or private pension scheme is most certainly not going to cover you for 300 years.

+ - Billboard advertising banned products in Russia hides if it recognizes cops

Submitted by m.alessandrini
m.alessandrini writes: In response to a ban of food imported from the European Union, an Italian grocery in Russia hired an ad agency to create a billboard with a camera and facial recognition software, that's able to change to a different ad when it recognizes the uniform of Russian cops. Link: http://gizmodo.com/this-ad-for...

Comment: Re:Lots of highly paid folks (Score 1) 117

Of course there's a lot of people who are highly paid. Chances are that those people are highly skilled, or at least have highly specialized skills as well.

FWIW, at least at Google it isn't about specialization. Google SWEs are expected to be generalists, able to specialize as needed.

In fact, it's generally recommended that SWEs change teams within the company every few years, and that they intentionally look for a change that requires them to learn new skills. The belief in the company is that this approach serves both engineers and teams, providing fresh perspectives and insights to both, and spreading knowledge across teams (by moving it) and within teams (by reallocating responsibilities).

There are exceptions, of course. Some skills are rare enough that people stay within that field, even as they move between teams. On the other hand, even those exceptions have exceptions. I won't mention his name, but Google employs a famous cryptographer who recently decided that after many years of breaking the world's encryption systems he wanted to work on image compression. So he is. Another engineer I know has a PhD in computational mathematics, with a specialty in image processing. After a few years extracting building details (exterior shape, mostly) from merged aerial and street view photography, he now works on UI frameworks.

The choice of when or if to move to another team, and which, is the engineer's. The destination team also has a say, but most teams are perpetually short-staffed. Unless the team in need of some deep skill (e.g. a PhD in computational mathematics with specialization in image processing), or unless the engineer hasn't been performing well in the previous role, they're unlikely to refuse. This is why apparently-odd moves aren't uncommon; people decide they'd like to do something different, so they do.

+ - Ask Slashdot: When we perfect age reversing, how do we decide who gets to live? 4

Submitted by ourlovecanlastforeve
ourlovecanlastforeve writes: With biologists getting closer and closer to reversing the aging process in human cells, the reality of greatly extended life draws closer. This brings up a very important conundrum: You can't tell people not to reproduce and you can't kill people to preserve resources and space. Even at our current growth rate there's not enough for everyone. Not enough food, not enough space, not enough medical care. If — no, when — age reversal becomes a reality, who gets to live? And if everyone gets to live, how will we provide for them?

+ - FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh writes: The FCC's Lifeline program subsidizes phone service for very poor Americans; it gained notoriety under the label "Obamaphone," even though the program started under Reagan and was extended to cell phones under Clinton. Now the FCC is proposing that the program, which is funded by a fee on telecom providers, be extended to broadband, on the logic that high-speed internet is as necessary today as telephone service was a generation ago.
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