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Comment: Re:I don't see the problem (Score 2) 135

by Endlisnis (#48573383) Attached to: Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"
Distillation only works with liquids. Comet ice is not a liquid. Even if light water [on the surface] evaporates more quickly, since there is no process to replenish the light water on the surface, all you're going to end up with is a tiny crust of heavy water (a few molecules thick) and then the rest of the ice is going to be the original mixture.

Comment: Re:Misunderstanding the halting problem (Score 1) 335

Take an X-ray machine for example. We know these can kill people (look up Therac-25). However, if we write an overall program that calls a supplied program to calculate the treatment duration, and have a routine to control the machine and which has a hard limit on the duration, then it doesn't matter if the supplied program can, in some circumstances, calculate an excessive duration, because the patient can't get that dose.

What makes you think that "hard limit" enforcing code can't have a bug in it? I assume your answer is that it's such a small program that you can do a formal proof that it has no bugs. Fine, but what about the OS it runs under? Or the memory controller? Or the actual memory? Any of those can be wrong in a way that could, in theory, cause a patient to be given an overdose. If we can make a robot that is more accurate than a human (at practically any task), we probably should (ignoring issues of liability and macroeconomics), but we have yet to make *anything* that is 100%, let alone a computer controlled robot.

Comment: Re:There have been worse outages (Score 1) 133

by Endlisnis (#47765569) Attached to: Time Warner Cable Experiences Nationwide Internet Outage
I don't know what you mean by "analog", but unless you are talking about a single, physical wire connecting you with the 911 operator, then calls have been routed and core lines have been oversubscribed for decades (several). Even before rotary dial, you had to ask an operator to connect you. They probably had more outages than any modern system.

Comment: Re:Easy to ACTUALLY solve (Score 1) 470

by Endlisnis (#45540455) Attached to: EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem
There is no such thing as a compostable plastic bag. There are bags which are LABELLED as compostable. My city (Ottawa, Canada), has a curbside city compost pickup program, but they do not allow any plastic bags (even ones marked as compostable) into that program. The bags gum up their grinders.

Comment: Re:Taxing is not going to fix the problem (Score 1) 470

by Endlisnis (#45540373) Attached to: EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem
Except, who gets the $0.05 when you fail to recycle the bag? Atlantic Canada did something similar with aluminum pop cans, but allowed the bottling company to keep half of the deposit for cans that were never returned. Almost overnight, they stopped producing the more environmentally sensible, refillable glass bottles because they simply made more money off of lazy people who couldn't be bothered to recover the $0.05 by recycling their cans.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.