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Comment: Meat Bags In Space == Impractical (Score 3, Insightful) 392 392

Sending meat bags into space is not very practical at all. It's more likely that we'll develop nano-factories and the capability of offloading intelligence into machines. Then we can just create intelligent space drones that replicate themselves as they go along and thus populate the galaxy.

This is actually one of the reasons why some think there is no extraterrestial life advanced enough to pull this off, as we would have noticed it by now. The reasoning behind this is that any society that has such capabilities more than likely destroyed itself before being able to reach this state. Of course, we might just be the first in our universe to pull this off, but don't count on it.

+ - Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides for Decades

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The Seattle Times reports that since the 1950s, geological reports on the hill that buckled last weekend killing at least 17 residents in Snohomish County in Washington State have included pessimistic analyses and the occasional dire prediction. But no language seems more prescient than what appears in a 1999 report filed warning of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure.” Daniel Miller, a geomorphologist, documented the hill’s landslide conditions in a report written in 1997 for the Washington Department of Ecology and the Tulalip Tribes. Miller knows the hill’s history, having collected reports and memos from the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s and has a half-dozen manila folders stuffed with maps, slides, models and drawings, all telling the story of an unstable hillside that has defied efforts to shore it up. That’s why he could not believe what he saw in 2006, when he returned to the hill within weeks of a landslide that crashed into and plugged the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, creating a new channel that threatened homes on a street called Steelhead Drive. Instead of seeing homes being vacated, he saw carpenters building new ones. “Frankly, I was shocked that the county permitted any building across from the river,” says Miller. “We’ve known that it’s been failing. It’s not unknown that this hazard exists.”

The hill that collapsed is referred to by geologists with different names, including Hazel Landslide and Steelhead Haven Landslide, a reference to the hillside’s constant movement. After the hill gave away in 1949, in '51, in '67, in '88, in 2006, residents referred to it simply as “Slide Hill.” “People knew that this was a landslide-prone area,” says John Pennington. Geomorphologist Tracy Drury said there were discussions over the years about whether to buy out the property owners in the area, but those talks never developed into serious proposals. "“I think we did the best that we could under the constraints that nobody wanted to sell their property and move."

Comment: Re:History Lesson:German occupation of Czechoslova (Score 1) 551 551

Germany had a decent chance at the time, having a very advanced military and being technologically superior. This is definitely not in the cards for Russia right now. Sure they have enough firepower to destroy a continent, but it's also a guaranteed mutual destruction. Sure, Putin may try to nab a few more regions here and there that are relatively low-risk, but a world conquest is out of the picture.

Comment: A wall is easy to define, but software is not (Score 1) 716 716

A wall is precisely defined by the one who gives the builder the order.

If this analogy would work, then your boss would have to hand you the EXACT specifications, to the very minute detail, before you start implementing anything. Something tells me that is not what your boss does.

So, as your average software developer, your task isn't to implement a system that is 100% specced out. Your job is also to spec that system, based on ambiguous and incomplete specifications. And to make matters worse, the specs will likely change while you are implementing it.

In short: Complexity is several orders of magnitude more difficult. If it were as easy as brick laying, you'd be replaced by a machine by now.

Comment: Re:Need that keyboard. (Score 1) 303 303

I find that MessagEase is an excellent keyboard for scripting. In fact, I like it better than a hardware keyboard. All the letters, numbers and other printable characters you need are available with a single swipe. Nowadays, after special request, it also includes Ctrl, Alt and F1..F12. Vim works wonderfully well once you master the non-standard layout.

The only major drawback is that it eats screen real estate. I'd recommend a Galaxy Note with a nice big screen for that, although I get by well enough on a HTC One with a 4.7" screen. With the onscreen keyboard, you have more than enough space for a 80x25 terminal in ConnectBot.

Comment: Re:Hearing loss (Score 1) 314 314

My solution to this problem is to wear over-the-head headphones that block out outside noise, and put some constant noise on (ocean waves, brown noise, ..). It suppresses outside sounds really well.

I'd like to try those really expensive noise-cancelling headphones as well. They work amazingly well in the noisy stores that sell them.

Comment: Re:XBMC ftw (Score 1) 420 420

A thousand times this. I recently got a 2007 core-duo laptop (2x2Ghz) with a broken screen for less than 20$ off ebay, ran OpenElec on it from a USB stick, and hooked it up to a tv. Plays everything, plus has a great interface. And barely requires any setting up other than choosing the right OpenElec version.

Comment: Re:I KNEW IT! (Score 1) 147 147

I have a very different experience. We had several dogs (2-3 on average) and a few cats. I've had allergies all during my youth. Mostly pollen, cats, dogs. I still hate the smell of freshly mowed grass. That was one of the worst.

The upshot is that past my early twenties, pretty much all allergies have almost completely disappeared. I can now inhale deeply standing over freshly mowed grass and not suffer. The strong negative association with the smell is a little harder to get rid of though.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955