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Comment The future is coming (Score 1) 1

People claiming cryonics is impossible have three real lines of reasoning.

1: Hope hurts. Death has always been inevitable. When something is both undesirable and inevitable, people convince themselves it's what they wanted all along. "Who wants to live forever?" they'll say. But ask them whether they want life-saving surgery and you'll hear their real desires. It sucks to see loved ones go to sleep and never wake up. It's hard to accept our brothers, our mothers, our children, and ourselves will one day no longer exist. And one coping mechanism is to pretend it's better to be dead.

2: Ludditism. It has always been this way, and there's no reason to change. Death was good enough for my mother, for my grandmother, and for her mother and it's good enough for me. Extended life has been promised by hucksters throughout the ages, so it's always a scam. If it doesn't exist, it can't be invented. This is similar to number 1, but the emotional investment isn't in accepting death, but in accepting a state of technology not as good as the world we imagine. It's the same reason people claim(ed) strong AI, flight, the radio, nuclear power, fusion power, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and exponential technological improvement cannot happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these things are inevitable. I'm saying there's no decent reason to say they're impossible. It's trendy and comfortable to dismiss amazing possibilities. As people discard wishful thinking they accidentally discard hope.

3: Humans are special. It's comforting and ego building to believe there's a soul or a unique form of machinery in the human brain. Too sophisticated for religion? just say "quantum". Whether by mystical energy, supernatural entities, or areas of research not yet reached it means to have a brain is to have something that transcends the known rules of the universe.

In these ways we cling to a comforting, stable worldview by refusing to ask how things could be better. These are the shackles we don.

Submission + - Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com)

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn’t impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.

Submission + - In Budapest, You Can Now Use Bitcoin To Pay Your Taxi Driver! - Bitcoin News Cha (bitcoinnewschannel.com)

Bitcoin News Channel writes: Budabest Taxi has just partnered with Coinpay to enable taxi drivers all over Budabest accept bitcoin payments. Although bitcoin is not rather popular in Hungary, the new partnership will allow cryptocurrency enthusiasts use their favorite currency to pay for their trips the next time they decide to hire a cab.

Submission + - Even Einstein doubted his gravitational waves (astronomy.com)

Flash Modin writes: In 1936, twenty years after Albert Einstein introduced the concept, the great physicist took another look at his math and came to a surprising conclusion. “Together with a young collaborator, I arrived at the interesting result that gravitational waves do not exist, though they had been assumed a certainty to the first approximation,” he wrote in a letter to friend Max Born. Interestingly, his research denouncing gravitational waves was rejected by Physical Review Letters, the journal that just published proof of their existence. The story shows that even when Einstein's wrong, it's because he was already right the first time.

Submission + - Boeing Installs World's Largest 'Reversible' Renewable Energy Storage System (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Boeing announced that it has installed a first-of-its-kind 50MW Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) system on a naval base in Port Hueneme, Calif. The fuel cell system, which can scale to 400KW, is unique in that it uses solar power to generate hydrogen gas from seawater, which it then stores until power and it releases the gas into a fuel cell stack to produce electricity, heat and water. Because the system can both store energy and produce electricity, Boeing is calling the fuel cell system "reversible." The Navy's Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center is testing the fuel cell system on a microgrid to determine its viability for use at both remote bases and during overseas military missions.

Submission + - Progress Is Slowing Down, or Why America's Best Days May Be Behind Us

HughPickens.com writes: Take a look back at a popular TV programs from the mid-1960s like “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and what do you see? Like today, middle-class Americans typically had washing machines, air-conditioning, telephones, and cars. The Internet and video games were not yet invented but life, over all, did not look that much different from today. Now flash back 50 years earlier to 1910 and less than half the population lived in cities, Model T’s were just starting to roll off the assembly line, most homes weren’t wired for electricity, indoor plumbing was a luxury, and average life expectancy was only 53. Now Eduardo Porter writes in the NYT that although Americans like to think they live in an era of rapid and unprecedented change, the truth is that the most momentous changes of the 20th century arose between 1920 and 1970 and according to Robert J. Gordon, author of “The Rise and Fall of American Growth," despite the burst of progress of the Internet era, total factor productivity has risen in the last fifty years at only about one-third the pace of the previous five decades. “This book,” Gordon writes in the introduction, “ends by doubting that the standard of living of today’s youths will double that of their parents, unlike the standard of living of each previous generation of Americans back to the late 19th century.”

But that's not the worst part of the story. According to Gordon, the labor force will continue to decline, as aging baby boomers leave the work force and women’s labor supply plateaus and gains in education, an important driver of productivity that expanded sharply in the 20th century, will contribute little. Moreover, the growing concentration of income means that whatever the growth rate, most of the population will barely share in its fruits. Altogether, Professor Gordon argues, the disposable income of the bottom 99 percent of the population, which has expanded about 2 percent per year since the late 19th century, will expand over the next few decades at a rate little above zero. Gordon says that the explosion of innovation and prosperity from 1920 through 1970 was a one-time phenomenon. From now on, progress will continue at the more gradual pace of both the last 40 years and the period before 1920. "If you think about the productivity effects of the computer revolution, they started way back in the 1960s, with the first computer-produced telephone bills and bank statements and went on in the 1970s with airline reservation systems. In the early 80s there was the invention of the personal computer, the ATM cash machine and barcode scanning which greatly increased productivity in retail. And so much of the impact of computers in replacing human labor had already occurred at the time the internet was introduced in the late 1990s. And actually, depending on which part of the internet you are looking at, it was introduced before then. Most of us were doing email by the early 90s. Amazon was founded in 1994, so we’re 20 years now into the age of e-commerce," says Gordon. “There is plenty of room in my forecast for evolutionary change. What is lacking is sharp, discrete change.”

Submission + - Indian Point power plant's radioactive leak is getting worse (nydailynews.com)

mdsolar writes: The amount of radioactive tritium leaking from the Indian Point nuclear power plant is growing, officials said Wednesday, prompting Gov. Cuomo to launch a multiagency probe into operations at the troubled plant.

New samples from groundwater monitoring wells show 80% higher concentrations of tritium compared with when the leak was first reported Saturday.

Cuomo had already ordered the state health and environmental conservation commissioners to investigate the incident. But on Wednesday, he ordered a more sweeping investigation that also includes the Department of Public Service.

In addition, investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are scheduled to visit the plant on Thursday to look into the incident.

Entergy, the company that runs the plant, insisted there is no threat to public health or safety.

“Last week the company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well's radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%,” Cuomo said. “The trends of unexpected outages and environmental incidents like these are extremely disconcerting.”

Submission + - North Korean satellite has achieved a stable orbit (iflscience.com)

AmiMoJo writes: North Korea's recently launched satellite has achieved stable orbit but is not believed to have transmitted data back to Earth, U.S. sources said. Sunday's launch of North Korea's earth observation satellite went smoothly, as recently released footage of the launch shows. The satellite, in a polar orbit at a height of about 500 kilometers (310 miles), still doesn’t seem to be broadcasting any signals, suggesting it is not quite in full operation yet.

Submission + - Kim Jong-un Found to be Mac User

jones_supa writes: He might hate the United States, but he sure digs those designed-in-California computers. You probably wouldn't take Kim Jong-un as a Mac user. Usually, in photos of him checking out military computers, we see the North Korean dictator in front of a PC with a Dell monitor. However, a handful of photos of the supreme leader at his own desk show him with Macs, leading to the assumption that while the military may use PCs, his personal preference is Mac. Reuters correspondent James Pearson, who covers both Koreas, tweeted out a fresh image of little Kim using a MacBook Pro inside an aircraft. There are other images, including a 2013 image of Kim Jong-un at his desk with an iMac. That same year, the South Korean newspaper Chosun published a photo from North Korean Central News Agency, which features an Apple iMac. This might also explain why the country's home-grown Linux distribution Red Star imitates OS X.

Submission + - The new Russian Internet Czar is hostile to US tech companies.

Iamthecheese writes: Bloomburg describes an interview with Russian internet czar German Klimenko. Klimenko

is pushing to raise taxes on U.S. companies to help level the playing field for Russian competitors such as Yandex and Mail.ru. His efforts mirror those of governments across Europe and beyond to squeeze more revenue out of Google, Apple and other multinationals with increasingly complex billing and ownership structures.

The Register provides further perspective on the interview: "Putin's internet guru says 'nyet' to Windows, 'da' to desktop Linux".

Citing Microsoft's capitulation to the US government in honoring sanctions against Russia, Klimenko said that the Redmond software giant had reached the "point of no return" with Moscow and that 22,000 government agencies and municipal offices were prepared to drop Windows right now. "It's like a wife seeing her husband with another woman – he can swear an oath afterward, but the trust is lost," Klimenko was quoted as saying.

A partial translation of the interview is available via Google Translate here.

Moscow Times reports Klimenko is a "Former Owner of Illegal Torrent Website" Torrnado.ru

Submission + - BT Announces Free Service To Screen Nuisance Callers (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: British telco BT is launching a free landline service for UK customers which promises to divert millions of unwanted calls. A dedicated team at BT will monitor calls made to UK numbers, across its network of over 10 million domestic landlines, to identify suspicious patterns, which could help to filter out nuisance callers. The flagged numbers will then be directed to a junk voicemail box. The company has estimated that the voicemail ‘net’ will catch up to 25 million cold calls every week. It explained that to achieve this success rate, it would be deploying enormous amounts of compute power to monitor and analyse large amounts of data in real-time.

Submission + - ZDNet Writer Argues Over Windows 10 Phoning Home

jones_supa writes: Gordon F. Kelly of Forbes whipped up a frenzy over Windows 10 when a Voat user found out in a little experiment that the operating system phones home thousands of times a day. ZDNet's Ed Bott has written a follow-up where he points out how the experiment should not be taken too dramatically. 602 connection attempts were to using UDP port 137, which means local NetBIOS broadcasts. Another 630 were DNS requests. Next up was 1,619 dropped connection attempts to address, which is a Microsoft Teredo server. The list goes on with NTP, random HTTP requests, and various cloud hosts which probably are reached by UWP apps. He summarizes by saying that a lot of connections are not at all about telemetry. However, what kind of telemetry and datamined information Windows specifically sends, still remains largely a mystery, with hopefully curious people doing more analysis on the operating system and network traffic sent by it.

Submission + - IBM Has Blocked SoftLayer Cloud Users In Iran And US-Sanctioned Countries

Mickeycaskill writes: IBM has blocked its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure service in Iran, as well as other countries that are subject to US trade and economic sanctions.

This includes North Korea, Sudan Syria, and Cuba — despite a thawing in relations between the latter and the US in recent times.

The block, reported first by an Iranian IBM customer, said the block came into place on 1 February 2016. These changes are confirmed on IBM SoftLayer’s own legal FAQ page.

“This policy affects all SoftLayer datacenter locations and environments, and blocks access by IP addresses registered to countries subject to U.S. trade and economic sanctions," said IBM.

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