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Comment: Re:Ozone layer is recovering (Score 5, Informative) 141 141

I can't tell if you are joking or serious, but I'll try to explain. The ozone layer is a completely distinct problem from global warming. The presence of ozone is necessary because ozone blocks UV radiation. Ozone does act as a weak greenhouse gas, as you can see on the list of greenhouse gases here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas but it is one of the weakest. Note that if anything, this would mean you'd naively expect a lower temperature when there's more ozone (in fact the actual relation is more complicated). So the idea that the ozone hole would have caused warming is just deeply wrong.

Comment: Re:What Would We Be Competing For? (Score 1) 421 421

You are made for carbon. The AI can use that carbon and other atoms for something else. Your atoms are nearby to it and it doesn't need to move up a gravity well. And why restrict what resources it uses when it doesn't need to? And if finds the nearby atmosphere "toxic" then why not respond by modifying that atmosphere? You are drastically underestimating how much freedom the AI has potential to do. We cannot risk it deciding what it does and gamble that it makes decisions that don't hurt us simply because you can conceive of possible ways it might be able to achieve its goals without doing so. That's wishful thinking in a nutshell.

Comment: Re:Anthropomorphizing (Score 3, Insightful) 421 421

On the contrary, the primary concern is that people who think it will go well are over anthropomorphizing. If general AI is made, there's no reason to think it will have a motivation structure that agrees with humans or that we can even easily model. That's the primary concern. I agree with most of the rest of your second paragraph is accurate in the sense that it general AI seems far away at this point. But the basic idea that AI is a threat isn't from anthropomorphizing. I recommend reading Bostrom's excellent book "Superintelligence" on the topic.

Comment: Re:Factor of 10 (Score 4, Interesting) 77 77

A big part of the US shuttle program was that it was a compromise that had to do everything for everyone. For example, the initial plan was going to be fully reusable, but since they didn't have the money for that, it had to have the singe-use fuel tank. It also had to do orbital profiles for the military, such as being able to launch, release a single satellite and come down after making a single polar orbit. The plan was to Vandenberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_AFB_Space_Launch_Complex_6 for the launch. The entire idea was a bit silly since the entire idea was to use it to launch spy satellites faster than the Soviets could shoot term down if the cold war got luke-warm (but somehow not becoming an outright hot war). It is possible that this was actually a cover for another orbital profile that hasn't yet been declassified. But the basic upshot is clear: the shuttle had to many different things for many different people, many who never even ended up using it for the desired purposes. If you make something that has to a hundred different things don't be surprised if is very expensive.

Comment: Mixed reaction (Score 5, Insightful) 328 328

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, some of these regulations are clear attempts to just protect the taxi industry from new models. On the other hand, some of the regulations (like having some basic insurance to cover if things go wrong) are pretty reasonable. On the gripping hand, both Uber and Lyft are both just blatantly ignoring regulations in many jurisdictions, and whether or not one thinks the laws should be there, it is hard to think that having cheaper car services is such a compellingly necessary service that it can morally or ethically justify ignoring laws.

Comment: Real problem, bad solution (Score 4, Insightful) 301 301

There is a massive problem in the literature about bias in academia with ideologies of all sides pushing their agenda. This is connected to the amazing situation where nearly identical studies are getting nearly exactly the opposite results. See http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/15/trouble-walking-down-the-hallway/. The idea that everyone who is male is one side of this (complicated) ideological dispute and everyone on the other side is female is incredibly stupid.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 3, Insightful) 734 734

The first year or two in any given country is generally pretty difficult to figure out how US taxes work with them. Once that's done it doesn't become an issue after that. As for US consular services, one gets all the advantages one gets from having another country as backup when something is going wrong. Unrest in a country you are staying in and people need to be evacuated? The US has done that many times for its citizens in the past. It has helped other countries evacuate their citizens as well, but they generally have given priority to US citizens. Have legal trouble in another country? Having access to people from the embassy of the country with the big military helps. US citizens are in many places treated better as a result.

Comment: Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first. (Score 5, Insightful) 734 734

Yes. They don't lose anything by becoming citizens (there are tax issues but they are pretty minor), and being a US citizen has a lot of advantages, like the support of US consulate services. They can then decide which passport to travel on depending on what is most convenient. And they can then donate to American political causes if they want. On the whole the benefits outweigh the costs, and if it really does become an issue they can renounce citizenship later. However, you and they should talk to a lawyer about this first to make sure there aren't any special issues that might come up in your particular case. When in doubt, always go with real legal help not random people on the internet.

Comment: Four factor analysis for fair use (Score 1) 255 255

With the disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer, this seems like fair use. In the US there are four major prongs to evaluate fair use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use. The first is purpose, which as Wikipedia summarizes is "The first factor is regarding whether the use in question helps fulfill the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public, or whether it aims to only "supersede the objects" of the original for reasons of personal profit. " Since there's no profit here, this does well on the first prong. The second prong isn't very relevant here- it just means that because this is a fictional work, the standard is slightly stricter. The third prong looks at the amount of the original material that has been used. Since only a few names, some colors and certain aspects of costumes were used, the amount used is very small. The fourth factor is whether the material dilutes or competes commercially with the original source material. No one is going to go and not by Power Rangers material or not watch the original because of this. There's clearly no competition or loss of profit to the actual franchise. Overall, seems like a clearcut case of fair use even before we talk about the parody defense.

Comment: Re:Simple Explanation (Score 2) 237 237

The problem isn't simple visits. The problem is twofold: no signs of communication and no signs of substantial change to the surrounding environment. We don't see any Dyson spheres or ringworlds or stellar lifting or any attempts at that all of which would be noticeable. If there are civilizations out there they are ignoring massive amounts of resources. Note also that in the scale of a few billion years travel and colonization isn't that big a deal: galaxies are only around 100,000 light years across so even going at 1% of the speed of light and hopping between stars should lead to galactic colonization within a a few hundred million years at the most.

Comment: This is cool but scary because of Great Filter. (Score 2) 67 67

While this is really neat, it is yet more of the accumulating evidence that there are no substantial barriers to intelligent life arising or even arising in the early universe. This suggests that something is wiping out civilizations, possibly something the civilizations themselves all do. This problem is known as the Great Filter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Filter (Strictly speaking the Filter is whatever makes massive, interstellar, civilizations apparently rare, but it looks like most of the Filter really is at or beyond our rough tech level.) The Great Filter could be nuclear war, or epidemics, or biological warfare, or bad nanotech, or possibly something we haven't even thought of that comes completely out of left field. But the evidence for it is growing. This is scary.

Beware the new TTY code!