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Comment: ISS studies (Score 1) 137

by Kevin Fishburne (#49475109) Attached to: Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem
The ISS crew stays in their tin can for six month stints and seem to get along fine (from what we know, anyhow). A trip to Mars would take about six months. We know from interviewing prisoners what complete isolation will do to someone (and it's not good), so assuming a crew to Mars had at least four people I'm not sure there's a significant problem to solve here. Obviously the crew would have to be vetted and have prior experience in this type of situation (such as on the ISS), but as long as they're not sending random volunteers (ahem, certain other attempt to get to Mars) I think they'll do just fine.

Comment: Re:Competition rules (or lack thereof) (Score 1) 236

by Kevin Fishburne (#49475059) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament

...and then you'll get a run of situations where someone spikes whatever the competitors are drinking at the tournament... so that 95% of the contestants end up disqualified, making the advantage that much easier.

The ones who are left are likely drinking mind-enhancing fluids anyway.

Or even likelier, hiring third parties to swing batons at competitors' fingers and hands, rendering them physically unable to move the chess pieces and unable to focus due to the pain. Or playing footsie with them under the table to break their concentration. Or building up a resistance to a nerve toxin over decades, then releasing a small amount into the room to kill everyone but their self. If I were going to cheat at professional chess competitions, I'd probably invent an FTL drive and ask the Vulcans if I could borrow Spock, as he's pretty good at chess. If that failed, I could intentionally become assimilated by the Borg and introduce a virus into their hive mind that both gave me free will and ran Chessmaster 9000. Failing that, I'd probably just have to nuke the entire planet from orbit, then carefully plant evidence that I'd won every chess competition ever held during my lifetime. Any future sentient species a few billion years down the road would be like, "Man, that guy was fucking boss at chess."

Comment: Re:Competition rules (or lack thereof) (Score 1) 236

by Kevin Fishburne (#49475005) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament

Lots of time between moves.

That certainly helps me understand how this could happen without arousing too much suspicion. At least one possible cheating vector has now been identified, if not eliminated. The down side is that it's hard to believe this guy was the only one taking advantage of that sort of strategy, and there's no way to tell who else cheated. Reminds me of the steroid scandal in baseball way back; the whole sport's been stained, with everyone's stats in question.

Comment: Competition rules (or lack thereof) (Score 2) 236

by Kevin Fishburne (#49473363) Attached to: Chess Grandmaster Used iPhone To Cheat During Tournament
Why the frak would they let a competitor get up and leave the playing area at all, much less after every single move? Were they playing in someone's garage drinking cheap beer and no one gave a shit? They should treat these competitions more like a casino, where cheating is expected and overcompensated for by paranoid surveillance, especially when money's on the line.

Comment: Re:How are these related? (Score 1) 201

That is the fault of the No Child Left Behind Act. The act that tied teacher / administrator salaries to the test results. Public schools across the nation stopped worrying about a kids learning and worried about their bottom line. That leads to doing whatever it takes to make sure the test results are positive.

It's easy to be moral and ethical when there's nothing to lose. To blame the mechanic providing the "something to lose" when weak, immoral and unethical people decide to act in their own best interest at the expense of children's education is irresponsible. I find it fascinating when someone shows their true colors under pressure. Most people call themselves "Christian", "good", "decent", etc., but it's not until the shit hits the fan or some bum asks them for a few bucks for a hamburger that we really find out who they are. As an Atlanta resident, all I have to say to these "teachers" is GO FUCK YOURSELF AND ENJOY PRISON.

Comment: Re:We got it... (Score 1) 123

I noticed lately I've begun using the work "frak" when talking to myself without even thinking about it. I said it to the guys hauling away my dead CRT televisions today when signing the bill, realizing only just after the word came out that I'd dropped BSG on them. Frak...

Comment: Re:A couple of crackpot ideas (Score 1) 236

by Kevin Fishburne (#49368905) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

So what you're saying is, the world is a simulation centered right around Sol, and we're suffering from IEEE 754 floating-point imprecision ?

I think KSP found a fix for that.

Well if it were a simulation, it wouldn't really have a center, just one or more "cameras" creating observable datasets. I suspect "they" would have a "camera" near anything sentient to keep them from completely freaking out. Maybe once a sentient being can prove they are in a simulation, as a reward for their cleverness their consciousness will be transplanted from the simulation to the "real world" where they will join the ranks of the "gods". No doubt pure bullshit, but it's fun to think of such things.

Comment: A couple of crackpot ideas (Score 1) 236

by Kevin Fishburne (#49360485) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected
What if, like in OpenGL when you set the near and far clipping planes too far apart, you begin to lose precision on calculations at distances farthest away from the camera. The same thing happens at a certain point when you examine something near the camera too closely; you observe the limit of the floats describing the modelview matrix. This assumes of course that the universe is a simulation and that, being a part of the simulation, we "can't see the forest for all the trees". It might explain the discrepancy between the behavior of matter and energy at quantum scales versus galactic scales and why "normal" (as in Newtonian) physics seems to work perfectly at human scales.

Second, what if there are multiple dimensions affecting space/time/matter/energy/etc. and we and our observations are generally constrained to but a few. If dimensions were like pages in a book, sometimes the words on the next page faintly bleed into the one you're reading if the paper's thin. Perhaps these unexplained phenomena are the result of one or more other dimensions faintly bleeding over into the one we can reliably observe. Dark matter and dark energy could be the shadows of something larger that by our nature we're blind to. To further the craziness, singularities could be gateways that when in sufficient number make the effects observable at galactic scales.

Comment: Re:How fucking tasteless (Score 1) 341

What kind of small, hateful person says "women, children, and other civilians" instead of "people" or "civilians"? How fucked do you have to be to value the life of one person more than another because of their sex or adulthood?

This isn't pretty, but human life isn't equally valuable and there are nearly infinite ways this can be quantified. First, it's subjective, and second, only a handful of reasons a rational person would agree with. Some examples:

Children generally have more time in front of them and therefore are being robbed of more when killed. If you had to choose between the death of a five year old or a 90 year old, which would you be inclined to choose?

If you believe in justice/punishment/retribution/etc., older people are more likely to have committed acts in their life that are worthy of punishment, while younger people are less likely. Obviously that doesn't necessarily mean they deserve to die or that there's actually a connection between their sins and their death, but again if you had to choose between an aid worker and a serial killer being killed, which would you choose?

If the Earth were about to be hit by an extinction event and only 10000 people could be saved via sci-fi-method-of-your-choice, would you select people at random or choose the best-of-the-best with respect to the successful continuity of the species?

If someone points a gun at your head and says, "I'm going to kill you," you are legally justified in killing them in self defense, which indicates at that moment your life is more valuable than the gunman's. Were it not, you'd be expected to simply run away, try to talk them out of it, or use other non-lethal means to stop them.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354