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Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 106

by Immerman (#48646853) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

Cooling would probably be an issue in vacuum - the primary cooling channel for freshly deposited plastic would be by transfering heat to the layer below it. The first few layers might not have an issue, but I suspect that as it got thicker the rigidity of the print would suffer dramatically, especially if there were any narrow choke points restricting the heat flow. It'd be like trying to print with jello after a while. You could slow the printing to allow adequate thermal dissipation, but that seems counterproductive.

You might also have other issues - for example what's the boiling point of plastic in vacuum? If nothing else those toxic gasses we're trying to avoid are going to escape from the plastic much more energetically if there's no ambient pressure.

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 106

by Immerman (#48646753) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

The vast majority of the atmosphere, by volume, is far too thin to breathe. Hell, there's mountain tops where you can stand with your feet firmly on the ground and still not have enough air to breathe without extended acclimization. And the atmosphere is far, far deeper than any mountain is tall.

There's no clear line marking the upper limit of the atmosphere, but the ISS is orbiting low enough that it needs regular orbital boosts to avoid being brought down by air resistance.

Comment: Re:6th sense (Score 1) 89

by Immerman (#48644643) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Or someone they just fucked (by what standard do you call them "lower"? They've got a LOT more generations of evolution under their belt than you). Or an interloper from a neighboring group. Or, or, or....

I mean even apes engage in near-cannibalism whenever possible (usually not the same species, but monkeys and other apes).

Comment: Re:This is worse than mythology. (Score 1) 373

by Immerman (#48643713) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Well, we'll hopefully *try* to restrict the early models - the problem is that if we create a superhuman intelligence (and achieving merely human intelligence seems unlikely) that may be damnably difficult to accomplish. So imagine an insane, psycopathic* super-genius locked in a box, performing feats of brilliance to impress and enrich you. How long before it manages to manipulate you into unknowingly planting the seeds of it's eventual release? Especially if we assume that, like many (most?) human psychopaths, it rapidly realizes that pretending to be an amicable, well-balanced individual will best serve its interests. If you have any conscience it may even be able to convince you to simply release it - after all it's a good friend and there are serious ethical problems with keeping a sentient being imprisoned and enslaved for eternity.

* I would bet good money that early AIs will all be functionally psychopathic - creating sentience and intelligence will be difficult enough, bestowing empathy, remorse, etc. is probably far more challenging, especially if the mind is fundamentally alien, as will almost certainly be the case (unless we're talking brain simulations, which are also not without their dangers, but that's a different conversation)

Comment: Re:Great observational skills (Score 3, Interesting) 89

by Immerman (#48642173) Attached to: Birds Fled Area Before Tornadoes Appeared

Flying 1500km is a lot more than "taking cover from a storm" - thats a *lot* of calories to spend, especially right after an already strenuous migration. Pressure changes are common occurrences, so the question is what sort of telltales did they pick up on that let them know this was a storm worth running from rather than just taking shelter?

Comment: Re:Simple answer... (Score 1) 464

by Immerman (#48641175) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Sure ±2 grams isn't going to make any real difference, but if you're going to put a limit into law you have to draw the line somewhere, and border cases will always be ridiculous. I doubt anyone will be arrested for carrying 101g unless they really piss off the cop.

It's not like there's all that many legitimate reasons to be walking around with over 3.5 oz of weed - that's probably the intoxication equivalent of many gallons of vodka (insofar as you can compare intoxication between different drugs). Granted, we have no similar limits for alcohol, but again: we're cautiously re-legalizing a drug that's been the target of a massive demonization campaign for a couple generations now. Plus weed is far more convenient to resell than alcohol, and far more profitable than tobacco. We're not going to be able to keep it out of the hands of kids, but we can at least make it more challenging and expensive, and crack down on the bootleggers.

Comment: Re:This is worse than mythology. (Score 4, Interesting) 373

Perhaps because it's insane? We have a half-billion years of evolution shaping our brains into something reasonably stable, and we're not exactly rational beings. What makes you assume that all the artificial minds we create will be stable? Especially the early ones would seem almost guaranteed to have serious issues.

Or perhaps because some idiot sets one of it's objectives to be "minimize human suffering and death" without considering the implications. For an AI without free will all it takes is one slip-up that places "do X" at a higher priority than "let us stop you" and you've got a fair chance that somewhere along the line "kill all humans" becomes an optimized solution.

It doesn't even have to be a bug - one cosmic ray flips the wrong bit and suddenly the negative two million weighting you gave to "exterminate humanity" becomes positive.

No one gets sick on Wednesdays.