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Comment: Re:Responsible dissent. (Score 2, Insightful) 689 689

Who gets to determine the difference between responsible dissent and irresponsible dissent? A Conservative might claim that comparing George Bush to Hitler is "irresponsible", while a Liberal might say that claiming Obama is not a U.S. Citizen is "irresponsible."

It's best just to let people who are wrong keep talking, and simply ignore them. Shutting them up with the power of the government is a bad idea - because those same powers could be used against people trying to bring attention to government misdeeds, like the people in Boston who were arrested for recording what they saw as police brutality.

Comment: Discrete Math, For Sure (Score 1) 466 466

The first course will be far more useful to you than the second course. You need a solid background in discrete math to prove algorithms are correct and to prove things about their running times. The second course would be more useful to someone who will need advanced math for modeling things. Even if you eventually go on to take the second course, the first will definitely prove useful to you.

Comment: Doesn't Speak to Climate Change Here on Earth (Score 3, Insightful) 114 114

The existence of natural climate change on Mars does not rule out anthropogenic climate change on Earth. The shifts in temperature on Mars happened over periods of hundreds of thousands of years. The climate change we're observing on earth has happened in less than 100 years. There's a huge difference between the two phenomena.

Comment: Re:Why is this a surprise? (Score 5, Informative) 442 442

Fred Brooks put it best in 'The Mythical Man Month:'

"...when schedule slippage is recognized, the natural (and traditional) response is to add manpower. Like dousing a fire with gasoline, this makes matters worse, much worse. More fire requires more gasoline, and thus begins a regenerative cycle which ends in disaster."

Comment: Obvious (Score 1) 259 259

Most likely, I'm missing something here, but this seems obvious to me, as a simple result of the fact that cellular Automata are Turing complete:

A model of the universe is nothing other than an algorithm for converting initial conditions into empirical measurements. Initial conditions and empirical measurements are both describable in terms of numbers. Therefore, any model of the universe is an algorithm for converting numbers into numbers, and thus expressible as a Turing machine. Since cellular automata are Turing complete, any model of the universe is expressible as some cellular automaton. QED, bitches.

As an aside note, the fact that some model (e.g. cellular automaton) is capable of predicting everythign we've experienced in no way implies that the model is 'real' - i.e. that the universe is really a finite automaton / Turing machine.

Comment: My Crazy Idea (Score 2, Funny) 113 113

God is a computer programmer who made the many species by writing in some high level language which is ultimately compiled into DNA. The similarities in DNA among different species are a result of code re-use, and mammals are his (her?) "flagship product." He's currently refactoring the code, to make it more efficient.

Comment: Rights are not Entitlements (Score 1) 1 1

You can't have a right to things, only to actions. For example, you have the right to speak freely or to petition the government, but you don't have the right to food or housing. It makes more sense to ask whether people are entitled to internet access, and i think the answer is most certainly not.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM