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Comment: Re:Sure it buddy, sure it is... (Score 1) 423

by Deffiz (#39753847) Attached to: If You Resell Your Used Games, the Terrorists Win
For once the standard car metaphor can be replaced by something even more apt: a book metaphor, since this is also a content industry.

Author Richard Browne has come out swinging in favor of the rumored remote incineration features in the next years model PlayStation Orbis and Xbox Durango.

'The real cost of used books is the damage that is being wrought on the creativity and variety of books available to the consumer,' Browne writes. Browne's comments echo those of influential author and Raspberry Pi designer David Braben, who wrote last month that '...pre-owned has really killed classic books. It's killing paperback books in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk.' Both Browne and Braben conflate hating libraries (a thoroughly reasonable life choice) with the supposed evils of the used book market. Braben goes so far as to claim that used books are actually responsible for high book prices and that 'prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells.' Amazingly, no publishing house have stepped forward to publicly pledge themselves to lower book prices in exchange for a cut of used book sales. Publishing houses are hammering public libraries (and recruiting authors to do the same) because it's easier than admitting that the current system is fundamentally broken."


I just can't help imagining these guys, standing in front of a huge pile of burning books, ripping pages from a Gutenberg bible and throwing them into the flames.

Comment: Re:This is a SIGNIFICANT problem (Score 1) 246

by Deffiz (#36305622) Attached to: No Moon Needed For Extraterrestrial Life

Obviously. But the LIMIT on the singularity is arbitrary control over matter, and access to all matter that you have the energy to process. That is, at the minimum (this is using what we know today, not what we would know if we were millions of times more intelligent) you would be able to put all of the solid matter in our solar system (all the planets, all the asteroids, jupiter, the moons, etc) to productive use. (as in, convert it to robots or more computronium or use the elements you don't have a use for as fission or fusion fuel).

...

We could use machines like these to take apart frozen human volunteers and steal the "software" of human intelligence straight from the molecular patterns of the human brain. This would give us strong AI, plus self replicating machinery...ALSO leading extremely rapidly to the singularity.

OK, I'd like to know how we'd mine all of, for instance, jupiter, with an escape velocity of 59.5 km/s
1. Fast enough to have time to make use of the materials before the sun goes "poof".
2. Using little enough energy that it is possible to do it.
3. Wouldn't it be more economical to, for instance, go to another solar system and use more readily available materials there? Spreading out the influence, diluting any signs of civilization?
Furthermore, there already exists factories, called "cells" using machines operating on single molecules called "enzymes". While I have to admit that these are sloppily evolved for the benefit of cells (and/or genes), rather than designed for the purposes of humans, they show little of the more spectacular features your argument seems to rely on. This might, naturally, change, but so far I haven't really heard anything except FUD and dreams (i.e. nothing factual) in that direction.

Comment: Re:This is a SIGNIFICANT problem (Score 1) 246

by Deffiz (#36301378) Attached to: No Moon Needed For Extraterrestrial Life
I personally find "the singularity" interesting, but implausible. You're basically assuming an endless exponential growth of, for instance, computing power and manufacturing capacity. Moore's law assumes exponential growth, but isn't really logistic growth a much more probable scenario? It just isn't as much fun for speculation.

Comment: Re:Um, why? (Score 1) 288

by Deffiz (#34727270) Attached to: 'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide
OK, so nerd rage doesn't do it, huh?
How about "Um, survival?"

If humanity is going to survive for any longer period of time, we have to make a self sustaining colony somewhere other than this mudball. Outside of this solar system would be better, but I can accept another planet in this one as a good start. Even a (semi-)independent moonbase would be a decent investment as a training/prototype/testing facility.

I've heard people argue that "we have plenty of time, we should fix earth first", to that I say:
Off the top of my head I can think of 3 different potential civilization-killer level events that we're overdue for, in the sense that the last one was longer ago than the average time between events - Big asteroid/comet (think dinosaur killer), Supervolcano(es) (enough dust in the atmosphere for a year or three with no place on earth where the temperature goes above freezing) and Large Scale (natural) Climate fluctuations (the last few tens of thousands of years has had some of the most stable and hospitable weather for as long as we can determine, according to some sources; if large scale agriculture fails, how far behind is the rest of civilization? How large a percentage of a society needs to starve before it collapses?).

It is not a matter of "if we go" (maybe not Mars, but somewhere), but "if we survive". If you accept that we should try to survive, it becomes "when we go".

Comment: Re:Race? (Score 1) 286

by Deffiz (#33530496) Attached to: The Real 'Stuff White People Like'
As a biologist, I can inform you that the only reason that "race" doesn't exist is because it is a misnomer. The correct term is "subspecies", but that sounds really politically incorrect. From Wikipedia:

Members of one subspecies differ morphologically or by different coding sequences of a peptide from members of other subspecies of the species. Subspecies are defined in relation to species. If the two groups do not interbreed because of something intrinsic to their genetic make-up (perhaps green frogs do not find red frogs sexually attractive, or they breed at different times of year) then they are different species. If, on the other hand, the two groups would interbreed freely provided only that some external barrier were removed (perhaps there is a waterfall too high for frogs to scale, or the populations are far distant from one another) then they are subspecies. Other factors include differences in mating behavior or time and ecological preferences such as soil content. Note that the distinction between a species and a subspecies depends only on the likelihood that in the absence of external barriers the two populations would merge back into a single, genetically unified population. It has nothing to do with 'how different' the two groups appear to be to the human observer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subspecies

Comment: Re:How secure (Score 1) 491

by Deffiz (#32871400) Attached to: Bitcoin Releases Version 0.3
Shiny stuff is always silly. Unless you have some very peculiar needs, gold is fairly useless. It looks pretty and doesn't really go away, so there is a limited use for it in jewellery, but the only way you can fill your stomach with it is by trading (and the same for a roof over your head, keeping warm etc), and let's be honest - are there really that many jewellers / people how need jewellery around?

Comment: Re:Missing the point... (Score 1) 1115

by Deffiz (#32865192) Attached to: Has Any Creative Work Failed Because of Piracy?

How many walk away because their product will not make a profit... based on how many in the past have failed, due to piracy? You have to have one before the other will happen. So, the question is: have any actually failed? If not, why would they walk away?

NO - the FEAR of piracy is enough; as long as the fear is great enough, you don't need a valid, logical reason to walk away.

Comment: Re: samzenpus: (Score 1) 150

by Deffiz (#32606848) Attached to: How Sperm Whales Offset Their Carbon Footprint
What about trains?! Nobody even mentions the possibility of being the bug on the windscreen of the world? I'm not talking about jumping - you might time it wrong, or bounce/roll so that you survive, I'm talking about STANDING there. As fast and sure as a bullet and more easily available outside of the USA. :P

Comment: Re:The question is still absurd... (Score 1) 1042

by Deffiz (#32506422) Attached to: 2 In 3 Misunderstand Gas Mileage; Here's Why

There IS a benefit to using corn (for now). If we encourage ethanol use, then an infrastructure gets built up which can handle ethanol. When the cellulosic ethanol starts to become more widely available, that can replace the corn-based, and the infrastructure will be in place.

My personal conviction is that using any foodstuff, or anything that can be used as a reasonably efficient animal feed, for ethanol production for fuel (as opposed to e.g. beer) is a very bad idea, in the long run. In the short term, however, I think you're right: we need to get an infrastructure going. One additional concern about 100% ethanol as a fuel, is the energy density. IANAI, but from what I understand, ethanol has a much lower energy density than e.g. BioGas. I don't see much use in creating a dead-end half-assed infrastructure for mixed petrol-ethanol fuels, unless the goal is to transition into 100% ethanol. Also, it seems like in most countries here in Europe, the "green" fuel of choice is BioGas, not E85/E70. One exception is here in Sweden. This means that if you want to import a "green" car, you first need to check that it is compatible with the "green" fuel that is available in your country, and moving from one country to another might mean you need to consider rebuilding your car (a friend of mine is in this situation). We need to select a type of infrastructure that we want to end up with, and choose a path that gets us there.

Comment: Re:Oh, FFS! (Score 1) 107

by Deffiz (#32480660) Attached to: Yahoo Treading Carefully Before Exposing More Private Data
The problem is, if you have to turn it ON, most people WON'T (who looks at the settings page that often, anyway?) - and then "THEY" (Yahoo, FaceBook, Google etc) won't get as many users as they'd like. It's all about volume - only a small percentage pays off (click on ads, the more data/people the better statistics), so you have to increase the flow-through.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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