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Comment: Re:Antarctica (Score 1) 137

by Bongo (#49477533) Attached to: Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem

We're not that special - we are just another animal.

Slight quibble: you might think it is safe ground to claim that, but we have no idea what sentience is nor how it works nor which creatures have it. Is an ape sentient? Is an ant sentient?

Claiming we are "human" or "ape" or "just an animal" is about as proven as claiming we are "God's children" or "living in the matrix" whatever other claptrap. We know we are sentient of the world, but we haven't located sentience IN the world. We know that what we experience can be altered by altering the brain, but what is doing the experiencing is unknown. The brain is the TV. But what is experiencing the TV picture? This is not a trivial problem to be overlooked. We don't know what we are. Would you still feel you if you were not sentient, but otherwise a human going about behaving like any other human? Just "human" instead of "human being"?

But that aside, yes by all means let's go to space.

Comment: Re:Who wears a watch these days (Score 1) 290

by Bongo (#49462675) Attached to: Report: Apple Watch Preorders Almost 1 Million On First Day In the US

I'm not really sure where the reminder comes in, because the time taken to boil is so short. Plus it's obvious when it's done because a 3kw kettle is noisy as hell when it boils.

Between 9 and 10, apparently, as the boffins claim you have to steep for like, 4 mins or something, I forget, should be an app for that.

(No reply necessary, IANATD, all I drink is coooooooffffffffeeeeeeee)

Comment: Re:Sensors wrong (Score 1) 460

by Bongo (#49422637) Attached to: Planes Without Pilots

The simple facts are, accident rates on planes have gone way down as the amount of automation has gone way up.

But would the rates have gone down without pilots there at all?

It may be just a case of the pilots having more time to sit and watch what's going on.

Isn't there a philosophical difference on whether the machine should watch the pilot (and override the pilot if the machine thinks the pilot is making a mistake) and the pilot watching the machine (and overriding the machine when the pilot thinks the machine is making a mistake) ?

Comment: Re:Just what we need... (Score 1) 142

by Bongo (#49420689) Attached to: Stanford Develops Fast-Charging, Stable Aluminum Battery

A "resource" can also be people's brains, just as it used to mean people's muscles, ie. slavery.

The point is, people invented stuff, which meant we could do far more, using stuff which was previously of no use. Resources can be "created".

I mean, that's the whole point about green technology isn't it? Use something which was previous mostly useless, like tides and wind. Likewise, we'll "create" new "resources" if we can invent new ways of doing stuff. And if you're worried about running out of rocks, well we might be able to invent ways of using asteroids.

You can't "run out of resources" as such, rather, you can run out of imagination and science.

I mean, I agree it is a race, population versus ingenuity, but we've always had that race, there has always been survival pressure.

And the "let's just stop" option, doesn't put off the inevitable "running out" either, it just means a long period of stagnation, followed by extinction anyhow.

It is "create" or "die".

Comment: Re:Why are people bullying? (Score 2) 353

You've got a point (I agree) about the monotheistic religions: they are inherently divisive.

Of course, before that, people divided according to blood ties, clans, tribes, etc., so monotheism was in a way an improvement... 2500 years ago, if resources were scarce and tribes were fighting. (If you're on Pandora and the next tribe is a whole forest away, with plenty of luscious food available for all, fine, stay in tribes).

But today we need so much more than, my group is going to Heaven and yours is inferior and going to Hell.

You can keep the afterlife, you can keep notions of eternal consciousness transcending material existence, you can keep the notion of higher wisdom, you can keep flying saucers and ghosts and all that, you can keep reincarnation, you just need to admit all humans equally to your club. Whether in this life or the next, you'd want ALL humans to be treated fairly and equally, and none of this, "we are the chosen ones, y'all are heathens, kaffirs, fallen", whatever.

Maybe you're a sentience which exists forever, OK, so what, you are here now, be nice to people equally.

Comment: Progress but... (Score 4, Interesting) 353

When people migrate from a small village to the city, they can't go on treating strangers with contempt and fear, instead, they have to learn to live being surrounded by thousands of strangers everyday. There is some suggestion that it's the move to cities which has something to do with the civilising process (ie. a reduction in common violence), although it also has its own kinds of stresses.

Likewise, the internet allows people to interact across cities and nations and with thousands of people and frequently, and so it may be that it is a new challenge to our social behaviour. It isn't that cell phones are the problem, it may just be that the new complexity of a wider-connected environment means people have to learn new ways of dealing with it, mainly because everyone is going to be a victim to it, so everyone will need to start extending their empathy much further, not just to their village neighbour, not just the the stranger on the city bus next to you, but to "abstract" "avatars", human beings, out there. And also learn new skills for coping.

Comment: Re:Politicians will be stupid but scientists/techn (Score 1) 356

by Bongo (#49240247) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

That is interesting. But I meant cars as something which will be an extra demand for clean electricity, at a time when people are burning coal for their home energy needs. Can you both make the air conditioning clean and your car? And that's USA where you have lots of space.

Comment: Re:Politicians will be stupid but scientists/techn (Score 2) 356

by Bongo (#49239915) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

The public largely rejected nuclear, yet reality says all those electric cars will need to plug into something.

Nuclear isn't called nuclear anymore. It is called "broad sustainable energy mix". The public will see windfarms and solar, because they take up space, and meanwhile here and there, new nuclear will quietly be built, and if by then anyone objects, they can cite urgent need to reduce emissions, given we've already built so much wind and solar and yet, oddly, we still have a ways to go to reach the targets.

There are basically two sides to the eco movement. The 70s folk who grew up reading The Ecologist and concluded humanity is a cancer on the planet. Meanwhile the other lot are basically, yeah we want better cleaner lifestyles, but we still want a lifestyle, with jobs and housing and children, with convenience and growth, with better lives for everyone.

Various planning restrictions are being eased to make windfarms possible, on the basis that the environmental targets are urgent and more important. That same workaround can be applied to nuclear. The way to get more nuclear is to never mention the word.

In the meantime, gas is there to make up for the variability in solar and wind. Once everyone wants to plug in their car to charge, everybody will want "sustainable energy".

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.