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Comment Re:I'm scared to speak out against child porn laws (Score 1) 235

To be fair, I'm not sure that "child pornography for gain" should be decriminalized. And if "child pornography" were sufficiently narrowly and precisely defined it would probably be reasonable. (Nothing wrong with pictures of children, no matter what they aren't wearing. The nude picture of a naked child on a bear rug should only raise the hackles of conservationists. Etc. Pictured of forcible penetration, OTOH, are probably reprehensible outside of academic courses on abnormal psychology...and to be handled with restraint even there.)

Then we come to the totally stupid question of whether a drawing of a child engaged in erotic(?) activity is pornography. Unless you can show that the drawing was made from life there's no question of any child being damaged in the creation of the work. So that should totally NOT be considered "child pornography", even though it may clearly be pornography. The sole purpose of child pornography laws should be to protect children, and even then mainly against those who are more powerful than they are. (I am willing to consider mobbing behavior to be criminal, I just think it needs a different class of laws.)

Comment Re:Won't someone think of hurting the children?? (Score 1) 235

Those are legitimate ways to use the terms, but not the only legitimate ways. Minor does, indeed, have a precise definition that varies from place to place, and is based on the foolish notion that there is a sharp difference (other than legal consequences) between one tick of the clock and another. (Usually in application it isn't quite that absurd, but sometimes it is.) Child, on the other hand is a lot fuzzier.

Childe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the Middle Ages, a childe or child [Old English Cild > "Young Lord"] was the son of a nobleman who had not yet attained knighthood, or had not yet won his ...

Comment Re:Won't someone think of hurting the children?? (Score 1) 235

I don't know what country you lived in. Perhaps Australia? That sounds like stories out of the Ozarks from the 1920's, or perhaps earlier.

I *do* know that in the 1950 many of those things were illegal for 14 year olds in the locales where I lived, except that if your family owned a farm they could use you as unpaid labor. And give you an "allowance" that was de facto payment. I also know that migrant laborers never had that kind of rule applied to them, being expected to work if they were going to be present. Usually piecework in a way that was later called illegal.

That said, they *would* often call us young men and women when they wanted something out of us.

As for what your parents would have insisted on... well, if they never did, all I have is your expectation. If they did I would call them abusive. Paying your debts is one thing, getting something on your record and being subject to the abuse of the "criminal justice" system is something totally else.

Comment Re:Books. Heh. (Score 1) 71

That's interesting. Enjoy your giggles. I've got one screen, and if I'm programming, that's what I want to use it for. I find a book doesn't shove my program into the background, cover it up, and attempt to hide it. And this is even without using something that trys to pretend that the front application is the only one I could possibly be interested in seeing.

Comment We can't tell. Perhaps it's a trade secret. (Score 1) 395

There have been several recent announcements by relatively reputable companies that they will soon be building and selling a fusion generator. The details are a trade secret, so we can't reasonably evaluate them. All we can really say is "Somewhere between 5 years and 30^n years.". Perhaps it's a trade secret. They may be building a working reactor right now. Details are secret.

The skepticism above is quite reasonable, but the current crop of rumors differs significantly from prior "sort of" promises. Perhaps this time it's real. Don't hold your breath.

OTOH, it *WILL* require a special mixture of hydrogen isotopes. Different groups are making different promises, and I'm skeptical not only about each of them, but also about all of them. OTOH, I'm not denying it. Skeptical means I'm not going to stop doubting them until I see proof, it doesn't mean I believe they're lying (or even wrong).

Comment Re:Mission accomplished (Score 1) 395

It wouldn't necessarily be that expensive. You just need to redefine your goals. Suppose you build it to supply power to orbiting satellites. That cuts down the size of the plant and limits the requirements for power transmission. For extra credit imagine you could use it to power probes to outlying planets, asteroids, etc. You can still use a pretty low powered maser (IIUC, microwave power absorption works better than light frequencies. Possibly because it hard to build really small antennas.)

Design it to be modular, so you can add on additional generation as needed. This allows all of your other launches to be lighter, as they no longer need to carry along large power supplies. Just enough batteries to act as ballast for when they're out of site of the power station. (Well, human occupied satellites would still need more power capabilities, but then they need lots of other special support, too.)

You certainly shouldn't design your first SPSS with the intention of powering the planet. That would be foolish.

Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 1) 214

Sorry, I never worked out the math. I did talk to a physics grad student about the concept (of refactoring the equations to put all of the distortion into time) and he said it was valid. I was never an advanced math student, and tensors baffle me, so I'm not the person to work out the math. I just throw out the idea from time to time to see if someone else will develop it.

But I do think it would work.

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 263

1) you're assuming that the argument is based on shame. My actual argument was based on potential economic cost. The shame concept could work either way. (It can be pretty expensive to raise a kid, though. And not only in direct costs.)

2) you're assuming that I'm contemplating only official complaints. I have a very hard time imagining a teen going to the police and saying she was raped unless coerced by her family.

That said, I still expect that the official claim of rape would be quite rare wrt even actual rape (especially if you count sexual contact induced by sufficient alcohol [etc.] to render acquiescence illegitimate). I believe that such statistics as are available (poor) validate my belief. Look up "date rape". Also "rohypnol".

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 263

To be fair, girls have more reason to lie afterwards than boys do. I would guess that they deny having been willing much more often than boys do, whether or not the population sampled was willing.

That said, in a "he said, she said" argument, you shouldn't believe either of them. You need additional evidence. Which is what the jury decided.

Comment Re:This seems to give FTL communication (Score 1) 214

No, you can't detect whether an electron is entangled or not. More correctly, you can't detect what it is entangled with since, IIUC it's always entangled with SOMETHING. This is actually one of the things that makes it difficult to do the experiment, as keeping the electron from shifting what its entangled with is difficult. (Actually, different characteristics of the electron can be entangled with different targets.)

Every interaction between particles yields an entanglement, you just can't usually figure out what is entangled with what along what characteristic. So we treat known entanglement as something special. What's special is not the entanglement, it's that we know.

OTOH, I am not a physicist. If I have this wrong, perhaps someone more knowledgeable will correct me.

Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 1) 214

Actually I worked for awhile on a variation of that, but it depends on the presence of mass slowing time, so that particles experience a slight preference to end up in slower time than in faster time. You've got to rewrite the equations to describe space as flat, and all the bending to be handled by variations in the speed of time (WHAT???, but yes). I was assured that this was a reasonable and valid thing to do. I never did learn enough quantum theory to try to convert this into a general theory of gravity, but I think it would work.

But that's just mechanism. Mechanism can't answer "why?". Why demands an agent with a purpose. So the real answer is that English doesn't properly describe the universe, and implicitly attributes to various things characteristics that they don't have. (It may not just be English, perhaps it's a part of the essential human thought process. That kind of assumption could be an asset in detecting a lurking predator.)

Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 1) 214

There *are* interpretations of quantum mechanics which *do* explain the "meaning" of the equations. (I'm guessing that's what you mean by "why".) Unfortunately there are several different interpretations that are consistent with the math. My favorite is the Everett-Graham-Wheeler multiworld model, but it's not the only alternative, and so far there seems to be no way to choose between them. But there are only a few interpretations, so most possible ideas of how things could work, and what it all means, are incorrect.

E.g., if you hypothesize that some god is running things, you need to presume that he's systematically interfering with the experiments (or that he just created the universe 3 seconds ago complete with all internal evidence of consistency). If you do, that is consistent with quantum theory. But it's not a very useful interpretation, as it doesn't allow you to make any predictions. Another useless theory is "When the universe happened to come into being, it was set with a series of values that specify everything that is ever going to happen down the the sub-atomic level from the first instant of existence until the final end. That can be made consistent. (Actually, that one is useful if you combine it with a theory that the simplest possible set of constraints was used.)

The multiworld hypothesis basically says that the universe splits with every quantum interaction, and you move forwards into all of the results with a probability density that reflects the probability of the quantum events involved. At the high level that we interact with things that translates into "an honest die has a 1/6 chance of coming up with a 6". So it's one of the useful interpretations. And the Copenhagen interpretation basically says "Shut up and calculate. No explanation is possible.". Most working physicists prefer the Copenhagen interpretation, because it makes things simpler (without changing the math). There are others. Look up "implicate order" for example.

Comment Re:Wait, physics doesn't work either? (Score 1) 214

I'm not sure I consider those replications, as they are all using the same equipment, and if there were a systematic problem, then there might well be a systematic effect.

OTOH, this is, essentially, a replication of experiments done previously, with a couple of added features, and it's results are consistent with those prior experiments. *THAT* I do consider a replication.

Given the nature of publishing, the study that confirms this one will also need to have some changes. It shouldn't be that way, but journals won't print *mere* replications, you've got to have some extension.

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?