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Comment: Re:Well, duh (Score 1) 387

by Garfong (#48639453) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Even if I am wrong -- even if the majority of alien civilizations turn out to be biological -- it may be that the most intelligent alien civilizations will be ones in which the inhabitants are SAI.

SAI is her term for "superintelligent artificial intelligence". So she has just written a tautology. Unless you want to get into super-superintelligent or ultra-superintelligent.

And the rest is more of the same.

Or maybe intelligence is weakly ordered, and "most intelligent alien civilization" has as much meaning as "biggest civilization". I.e.: most intelligent/biggest according to what measure?

Comment: Re:Southwest Airlines (Score 1) 48

by Garfong (#48576015) Attached to: Army Building an Airport Just For Drones

Airspace is mostly empty, and air traffic flows along well regulated routes, with many electronic aids/sensors (radar, glide slope & localizing beams for landings, etc.)

The challenge of land vehicles are (1) the unpredictable, dense, environment, and (2) the signalling is mostly visual (lines, stop lights, etc.) which is hard for computers to interpret.

Comment: Re:Why is Android allowing Uber to access the info (Score 1) 234

by Garfong (#48475561) Attached to: Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission

The problem with being able to allow/deny individual permissions is the app developers now have 2^n configurations to test, instead of just one. Which is either going to lead to a much higher testing cost, or apps which are buggier when run with less than full requested permissions.

Comment: Dishonest summary (Score 1) 138

by Garfong (#48372681) Attached to: Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

The report they are drawing their findings from found no wrongdoing on Google's part:

"We found that Ames officials accurately reported H211’s relationship with the Center to DLA-Energy but DLA-Energy believed H211 was performing only NASA-related missions and therefore was entitled to fuel at the cost-plus-surcharge rate. We found that a misunderstanding between Ames and DLA-Energy personnel rather than intentional misconduct led to H211 receiving the discounted fuel rate for flights that had no NASA-related mission." (emphasis mine).

So more like buying gas from a gas station which had accidentally listed the wholesale price than siphoning gas from a friend.

Comment: Re:Wrong (Score 1) 551

by Garfong (#48328147) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Now that we've got that elementary lesson out of the way, on to the Somalian anarchy falsehood. Somalia is currently controlled by thugs and warlords. In other words, Somalia is run by coercive authority, not free association. It may be "illegitimate" or "unofficial" coercive authority, but it certainly is coercive authority, and that means it can't be anarchy, which is a political state defined by the absence of coercive authority, not the presence of it.

Which is all well and good, but a common argument against anarchy is that it's an unstable political system, prone to transforming into a dictatorship or monarchy. This is because (so the argument goes), in the absence of a central government, local thugs would run free taking whatever they want, eventually forming mini-dictatorships were the strongest gangs control their "turf," and the general populace is worse off than under a central governement. It's in this context that the example of Somalia is brought up, because this is (as far as I know) exactly what's happening there.

Comment: Re:Underwater will face the same challenges as Tid (Score 2) 216

by Garfong (#48304403) Attached to: Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea


540,000,000 kWh/year is an interesting way to express power though. Especially when it means that a power plant with 240 MW installed capacity is producing 62 MW average power.

This makes sense if 240 MW is the peak power generation, and 62 MW is average, given the cyclic nature of power generation, but still...

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 547

by Garfong (#48106213) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

My objection to this feature is that (as far as I know) emacs is the only editor that has it. So if you're in a mixed vi/emacs/whatever shop you quickly get a tab-space soup. Worse, unless you're careful you can easily start introducing whitespace-only changes to portions of a file you're working on, making merging changes between branches unnecessarily difficult.

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 547

by Garfong (#48104185) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Really? This has to be something specific to how he had emacs configured, because as a long time emacs user this certainly isn't the default.

On the other hand, emacs has the equally insane default behaviour of assuming tabstops are 8 characters, and if you have more than 8 characters of initial whitespace it will fold it down into the minimum number of characters by replacing spaces with tabs. Fortunately there's a setting which will turn this behaviour off and force emacs to always use spaces.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.