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Comment: Worship at the Church of Wal-Mart! (Score 3, Funny) 1304

You can get 50% off all your groceries for a week! Faith holders earn points on every purchase that can be redeemed at any of our outlets in heaven! Switch your religion to Waltonism and start saving today!

(This offer does not apply to purchases of contraceptives.)

Comment: Re:waste of time (Score 4, Funny) 380

by MillionthMonkey (#47327273) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

Every car gets 0 miles to the gallon unnecessarily stopped at a light.

I'm wondering, instead of using red/green switches at intersections, maybe we can have the cars drive through diffraction plates set up around the intersection. Then the wavefunction of you and car can spread out into the intersection via diffraction and arrive randomly into one of several quantum states (outbound lanes) which head toward your destination. If we made cars and their drivers out of bosons instead of fermions, it might work. Only one fermion can occupy any given quantum state. So with fermionic cars, there's always a small probability of quantum entanglement within the intersection between you and some other guy trying to make a left.

Comment: Re:What a dumb waste of energy... (Score 1) 94

OK, I think you see the point, that wasting electricity is one reason why the life of the bitcoin protocol should be kept as short as possible. A better-designed protocol might not need this phase of heavy computation at all. Instead of paying money to an electric company, you might do something else with it to get new "coins". The challenge there would be getting around the need for a certifying authority.

Comment: Re:What a dumb waste of energy... (Score 1) 94

by MillionthMonkey (#47136973) Attached to: As Crypto Mining Grows, Data Centers Begin Accepting Bitcoin

Nobody's stopping you from unplugging your computer, or are they? But this isn't about "we" can do. It's about other people doing things you don't like them to do, such as leaving their computers running performing work you deem unworthy.

Uh huh. Me and 97% of climate scientists.

Comment: Re:What a dumb waste of energy... (Score 1) 94

Why is this so hard for everyone to understand? Why is the idea of wanting to unplug our computers before bedtime so alien to everybody? Running a computer all day to mine a Bitcoin yields nothing to the world except a big finite number and some CO2.

Money is needed as a way for people to handle the flow of resources, not just for handling more money. Dollars can also be handled electronically. They do not consume natural resources when printed except for the piece of paper. A dollar doesn't derive its value from a scarcity of paper.

Mining Bitcoins is environmentally destructive. As time goes on and the keys get exponentially sparser, the system nominally sustains expansion of its monetary base by surfing on Moore's Law forever- which is a failure point since electrical power is becoming the rate limiting factor to Bitcoin production. Bitcoins are a currency that requires cotinuous destruction of real resources just to sustain its monetary base.

These comparisons to running a bank branches are weird. It's not as simple as the "total energy consumed per dollar/Bitcoin transaction". We need bank branches because the public actually has dollars to put in them. Bitcoins are mined by suckers within the scheme, immediately enter the financial stratosphere, and are rarely seen by the public afterwards, simply because they're volatile and not safe long-term investments. Skyscrapers wouldn't disappear or go dark if people used Bitcoins instead of dollars. Bank branches will not close; the public need for them will still exist.

The inherent energy inefficiencies in transferring and handling ordinary money within bank branches is generally considered a nuisance, not a founding principle behind the currency's supposed value. People want dollars because they can be traded, not because finding them consumed someone a lot of work. The energy inefficiencies involved with handling money itself are generally considered to be a nuisance, something to avoid. but now we're sowing a new currency based on the kilowatt-hours that must be wasted by minting it. A Bitcoin economy makes resource scarcity worse to deal with, and it's a bad currency with no usefulness to the vast majority of us.

Comment: What a dumb waste of energy... (Score 2, Insightful) 94

Bitcoin mining is for suckers. It barely covers the cost of electricity. Plowing through large swaths of finite numbers, chugging along 24/7 puzzling away, is the stupidest excuse imaginable for damaging the environment. Can we just move to a system where you freeze a block of dry ice, launch it into space, and get a newly minted Bitcoin?

Comment: Re:Bad syllogism (Score 2) 426

1. something
2. something else
3. ...memories degrade the more you remember them.
4. But memories don't degrade the more you remember them.
5. Therefore memories are not computable.

I just read your post and was going to reply but I forgot what point you were making. I kept thinking about it too long. What really pissed me off though is that you had the nerve to insult my mother or my religion or something. Just know for the rest of my life, I'll be keeping an eye on you, and you'd better be looking over your shoulder.

People who say stupid things piss me off. Yeah, it doesn't compute, I know.

Comment: Re:E=MC^2 (Score 4, Informative) 135

by MillionthMonkey (#46914679) Attached to: Is There a Limit To a Laser's Energy?

E = mc^2 specifically applies only to objects that have nonzero mass and are at rest with respect to the observer. Photons are massless and move at the speed of light.

The general equation is E = sqrt((mc^2)^2 + (pc)^2) for rest mass m and momentum p. If a particle has mass and is at rest, then p=0 so E=mc^2. If a particle is massless, then m=0 so E=pc.

(The "m" here refers to rest mass m0, not the "relativistic mass" m* which is defined as m* = m0 / sqrt(1-(vc)^2)). Relativistic mass is best thought of as a fake concept to hide the ugly sqrt denominator. People can imagine things getting heavier when they're moving, and can keep saying "Einstein discovered E=mc^2". But it still has division-by-zero problems with massless particles, and things don't really "get heavier" when they move, so if you try to avoid thinking in terms of m* you won't get as confused. Neither m nor m* makes E=mc^2 work with photons.

Imagine if a bundle of photons could gather and form a "black hole". The hole and its event horizon would be constrained to move at the speed of light, which you can't, since you have mass. so you might easily escape its event horizon- you wouldn't have time to fall in before the thing was gone. Real black holes have mass and don't move at the speed of light relative to anybody.

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