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Comment Space Elevator (Score 2) 111

Most of us on slashdot will probably agree that "Economics, Energy, Carbon and Climate" are all one big problem that needs more investment. But the devil is in the details of how to do it.

I'm not an expert on this subject like Henson, but IMHO a space elevator seems just as close to being technically viable as space plane powered by a ground-based laser and microwave power beamed to earth.

Not only that -- a space elevator would be much cleaner and the cables might even be able to double as power transmission lines.
And -- since all the good tethering points are in the third world (the equator) it would be a big solution to economic disparities too.

Why does Henson's article not consider the possibility of a space elevator ?

Comment Money not required in my Utopia (Score 1) 265

Looking back at it, one of the things I loved most about the ORIGINAL (i.e. Captain Kirk) Star Trek was that money was never an issue with anything that they did. Their world was a vision of a perfect Marxist utopia, where everyone contributed according to their abilities and received according to their needs. Leadership was earned by merit and respect.

That show is a testament to the attitudes of the 1960's, when the competing ideologies of Communism and Capitalism made everyone at least try to pretend that they were aiming for the good of all humanity.

Alas, that all changed with the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union, et al.
Star Trek "The Next Generation" talked about credits regularly, although it didn't subvert the "good of humanity" theme too much.
Then, with Star Trek "Deep Space Nine", the show took a dive with the rest of American society, and glorified pure Capitalist greed with the Ferengi et al.
I hate that show.

Maybe now, with our *real* planet facing *real* environmental annihilation -- could we please quit talking about money and talk about humanity again ?

Comment Re:I am outraged! (Score 1) 464

I agree, way too little -- but that just proves that blackmail must have been involved.
The cash is just enough to provide the NSA "cover" for their blackmail when their actions were discovered (now).

Considering that RSA and all of its executives had been targets of the NSA for years --
it would be very surprising it they didn't get some dirt on someone at RSA.

Comment Re:God needed? (Score 1) 337

The "time arrow" is just as much a part of existence as matter, energy, the spatial dimensions, and the laws of physics.
The "creation" that you speak of can be at the end of our time line.
The day that we completely explain our universe, may be the day that we create it.
We can be our own god. (or think that we are ;)

Oh -- and Godel's theory doesn't apply because the Universe contains multiple sets of uncountable infinity.
That's a beautiful idea . . .
In order to exist . . . the Universe *MUST* be uncountably infinite.

Comment Re:4D or 3D? (Score 1) 337

I was thinking about that 2D hologram theory too. Your idea makes me start to think that maybe all of the "big bang black hole math" actually boils down to nothing -- and -- we're just in a cycle of 3D big bangs/big crunches.

The math makes me hopeful that intelligent creatures like us might be able to holographically survive into the next cycle !

Submission + - Why Not Replace SSL Certificates With PGP Keys? 9

vik writes: The whole SSL process has been infiltrated by the NSA, GCSB and other n'er-do-wells. If governments want a man-in-the-middle certificate they simply issue a secret gagging order to the CA to make them issue one. Consequently "certified" SSL certificates can no longer be trusted. Ironically self-issued certificates are more secure, but not easily verified.

However, PGP/GPG keys can be trusted and independently verified. They are as secure as we can get for now. Why not replace the broken SSL CA system with GPG/PGP encryption keys? Make the NSA-infiltrated stuff obsolete, and rely on a real-world web of trust?

Comment Just send them lots of gas masks (Score 1) 454

If chemical weapons really was the issue -- we should just make lots and lots of gas masks and gas alarms for the people there. We could probably get most of them out of storage somewhere. These can be LEGALLY sent to Syria as humanitarian aid. Virtually everyone in Israel has a gas mask. The cost of 10 or 20 million masks for the people of Syria would be much less than the cost of any military strike.

Comment MIT was a "dutiful" lap dog of the police state (Score 1) 127

Remember that Aaron has a history of conflicts with the US Federal government that long preceded MIT/JSTOR.

In Chicago in 2008, he liberated the pay-walled PACER federal court records.
The FBI investigated and decided he didn't do anything wrong.

He then embarrassed the FBI by doing a FOIA for his file, and posted it on his blog.
This is when I first heard of Aaron -- It really made FBI look like the Keystone cops !

Aaron then proved himself to be a very effective leader and organizer in the defeat of SOPA last year.

Whenever, and for whatever reason, someone in power decided that he had to be "dealt with".
They decided to sic two uncompromising careerist prosecutors on him.
They might have only wanted to attach the "felon" label to discredit him, but both MIT and the prosecutors had been warned of Aaron's fragile mental state, and they pressed ahead. We know the result.
Ortiz has now been politically "rewarded" with the Boston Bomber prosecution.

MIT has shown itself to be a "dutiful" lap dog of the police state.
This is, no doubt, why MIT intervened to block the FOIA request for Aaron's Secret Service file.

But just the fact that a SECRET SERVICE file EXISTS -- shows where their instructions actually came from.

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain