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Comment: It's life Jim, but not as we know it... (Score 1) 304

by GrahamCox (#48452407) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies
If the environment of such worlds has large amounts of gamma radiation, surely whatever life evolves there will naturally be able to cope with it? Maybe our namby-pamby DNA-based life couldn't survive under those circumstances, but it's probable that there are trillions of alternatives.

Comment: Re:Of course it scales (Score 1) 200

by GrahamCox (#48405817) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body
I take it you never managed to actually get through any of his books

And so many unnecessary assumptions on your part as well. Yes, I've read his book (singular; one was enough). I ploughed through it. I wasn't put off by the maths, just his argument. Perhaps using the term "magic" is oversimplifying, but it's what it amounted to as far as I'm concerned.

You can argue about whether he's right or wrong, but using my opinion as a platform for a personal attack on a total stranger just makes you look like an idiot, I'm afraid.

Comment: Of course it scales (Score 1) 200

by GrahamCox (#48399731) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body
it does suggest that the ghost in the machine is just the machine. The important question is does it scale?

Our own brains are proof that it scales, at least if you get the implementation right. Unless you're of the rather woolly Penrose school of thought, there's nothing "magic" involved in the physical implementation of the mind, it's just physics. The devil is in the software model that it runs. We have no idea how that is architected, but experiments like this will probably help to shed some light.

Comment: Re:You think that's bad? (Score 1) 327

by GrahamCox (#48398373) Attached to: Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X
You wasted your money. Apple themselves simply eliminate the temperature sensor when an SSD is installed, as they run cool no matter what. All you need to do is to short out the sensor input (as Apple do) and the system keeps the HDD fans ramped all the way down. This works on the iMac, not sure about the Macbook.

Comment: Re:Most people don't object to public breast feedi (Score 1) 350

by GrahamCox (#48382537) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism
Breasts may be sexual to you, but that's your problem. Are a cow's udders sexual? Not even to other cows, as far as we can tell. I have never understood men's obsession with breasts, even as a straight man myself. I can only surmise that this stems from prevailing attitudes exactly like the one discussed here, that breast-feeding in public is somehow "inappropriate", which in turn indicates an entrenched prudishness in parts of western culture that is simply baffling. It's like how the sight of an uncovered ankle in Victorian times allegedly excited men, simply because it was something the culture denied them. Same with breasts now. Once all women are comfortable everywhere breastfeeding in public, a new generation of men will grow up (in every sense) not being titillated by them. It's that unwarranted obsession which is "inappropriate".

Comment: Teufelsberg listening post (Score 4, Interesting) 151

by GrahamCox (#48348347) Attached to: 25th Anniversary: When the Berlin Wall Fell
One of the installations made obsolete by the fall of the Berlin Wall was the NSA's listening post on the Teufelsberg (itself an artificial hill built from the millions of tons of rubble cleared after WW2, burying a Nazi training camp and the highest point in the city). This should be on the list of any self-respecting nerd's list of places to visit in Berlin. It's really eerie now, largely abandoned though sort of occupied by some sort of artists' commune. You can get into the radomes which housed the antennae, and the acoustics in there are incredible - a whisper will travel around the room and a sharp clap goes around and around. Rumour has it that the flooded basement rooms, which are currently inaccessible, house some strange and dark secrets. The whole place will give you the shivers (and a great view over the city). I visited last year just after the Snowden revelations, and the overwhelming sentiment was the hope that one day the rest of the NSA will go to ruin in the same way.

Comment: Focus on solutions (Score 1) 695

By the look of it 99% of this thread is arguing about whether they're right or wrong, whether it's political, blah, blah, blah. To be honest, it's all hot air and not helping.

How about focusing on solutions? Whether AGW is real or not makes no difference, possible solutions are actually not that hard to achieve - that's what people need to understand, that the situation isn't hopeless, and doing them will be a good thing anyway.

For example, growing a lot of fast-growing plant matter such as bamboo and charcoalizing it, and then ploughing that charcoal into the soil will sequester massive amounts of carbon in a form that stays locked up and boosts agricultural yield by improving the soil. Applied on a large enough scale, it could cut C02 emission in half. The boost to production alone makes it worth doing even if it had no effect on C02. Another easy win is changing farming habits so that grazing doesn't over-deplete grasslands - graze a small area then let it fully recover instead of allowing cattle and sheep to wander at will. All this takes is fencing. The improved grassland will fix another 50% of the C02 emission problem if applied everywhere that vast grasslands are grazed. A bonus of merely changing your fencing systems is massively improved drought tolerance - it's being tried here in Australia and the results are astounding. There, 100% of the C02 problem fixed without even starting on renewable energy. Doing all these things is good regardless, solving climate change is just a bonus.

Comment: Elsewhere in the world (Score 1) 265

by GrahamCox (#48264917) Attached to: Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Breached
It seems that the hoo-hah about CurrentC is local to the USA; I'd never heard of it until this week. Here in Australia most retailers have installed paywave terminals in the last 18 months - it's now almost ubiquitous alongside chip and pin terminals. In fact, it's so ubiquitous that it's becoming a minor annoyance when a retailer hasn't got it yet. I do think that it has reached the point of maximum convenience really - getting your card out and waving it at a terminal is probably about the minimum effort it's ever going to be. Even getting out your phone instead is slightly MORE effort, as it involves (in the case of the iPhone anyway) the extra step of authenticating using the fingerprint scanner. That additional step might be acceptable as it adds a layer of security that your card doesn't have.

However, from what I've read about CurrentC, there's no way that it's going to get any traction. It's nowhere near as convenient and it seems it's nowhere near as secure. It's also conflicted in that it's trying to be attractive to the retailer as well as the consumer - those things can't be easily reconciled. But the killer is that paywave is already here and people are already getting used to that degree of simple convenience - anything that goes backwards now is never going to be popular. The horse has bolted, CurrentC is trying to close the stable door. The fact that some retailers have been forced to turn off paywave because they signed up to support CurrentC betrays their thinking: we know paywave is far more convenient and we haven't got a hope in hell if people get used to it, so let's pretend it never happened.

If I had anything to do with CurrentC, I would be packing my things.

Save gas, don't use the shell.