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Comment Re:Yeah, and? (Score 1) 56

The fact that we cannot yet see how or why we woulld mine these bodies is not a good guide to the futue. All advances build on those that went before. Practical, cheap ways to prospect for rare minerals off earth may well be a necesary link in the chain. I would also note that the new technique may be valuable in future rover missions to places like Titan.

Comment Checklist (Score 1, Insightful) 574

  • Require registration
  • Require some kind of identifying mark on clothing
  • Withdraw certain legal rights to make it easier to target them
  • To make it easier to control them, insist they live in designated areas
  • Think about a final solution

No ... I am not proposing this. I am just terrified this is the direction things are headed. The current hysteria over a few mentally unbalanced fanatics really has me worried. The worst thing that can happen is that the overwhelming majority of Muslims, who are as horrified at the actions of IS as the rest of us, are marginalized and dissuaded from helping in rooting out this menace.

Comment Re:Quicker (Score 2, Insightful) 488

It is not a true Caliphate, because it does not operate according to generally accepted Islamic principles. The rising tide if Islamophobia scares me a lot more than ISIS. The prospect of another holocause in, so called, civilized Western countries is becoming a very real possibility. The fact that the vast majority of Islamic teachers preach against Islamic fundamentalism, in general, and ISIS in particular, is simply ignored. I live in a country with 4 million Muslims and cannot recall a single case of one of them cutting off anyone's head. Indeed, I sometimes buy from a market where the majority of the traders are Muslims, and have never felt in the slightest bit threatened. How many bad experiences with Muslims have you personally experienced? (Please do not say you felt threatened because they dress funny.)

Comment Re:Quicker (Score 1) 488

Why does anyone require 'due diligence' and fact-checking against insane violent assholes ...

While anger is understandable, taking action, before first verifying that you are targeting the right people, leads all too often to miscarriages of justice. It is sombering to note that, even where some degree of due filigence is done, an estimated 1 in 25 people executed in the US are innocent of the crimes for which they are being executed. A majority of those originally locked up for years in Guantanamo are known to have been innocent. Firm action is needed, but only once you have done your best to ensure you are attacking the right people.

Comment Re:True or False (Score 2) 63

When I learnt Boolean logic, it was called Boolean algebra. I think I can still remember most of the rules.

It is sad that most people cannot apply logic to solving problems. With all the facts at hand, too often irrational conclusions are arrived at. That is probably one of the reasons artificial intelligence is so difficult. We do not know how to model irrationality.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 3, Informative) 191

Ubuntu, in the early days, was Debian made easy. You could download and install an early Ubuntu release in about the same time it took you to decide which Debian CDs you needed, and what you probably wanted to install. Of course, for experienced Debian users, Ubuntu offered little new. However, it made the system accessible to the masses.

Comment Re:How about that (Score 3, Informative) 93

The etymology of words is interesting, but has limited application in deciding correct modern forms and usage. As anyone who knows a little German would recognize, the word "learn" is Germanic in origin, explaining the original past tense of "learnt". The trend is towards using regular English endings in words with Germanic roots. Thus, "learned" has been an acceptable past tense of "learn" in all dialects of English for quite some time. Indeed, apart from in British English, the older form "learnt" has almost died out.

Comment Re:Ignore the "humans almost went extinct" bit (Score 2) 54

I guess your post is a troll, but I will provide some context anyway

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Japan in 2011, the biggest to hit the nation in recorded history, generated a tsunami that was up to 40 m high in a few restricted areas along the coast of Japan itself, but less than 3 m everywhere else the waves reached. A tsunami wave from Toba, North Sumatra would need to travel across the Indian Ocean, around South Africa and up almost the entire South Atlantic ocean into the North Atlantic to hit Cape Verde (literally the equivalent of half way round the world). If, indeed, the tsunami was 170-270 m high when it hit Cape Verde, it is frightening indeed to imagine the height across Asia, East Africa and the Western coasts of the Americas. Indeed, the impact would have been so great that I wonder why evidence has not been found earlier.

Comment Re:It's not just Chrome (Score 1) 205

I strongly suspect this bug was introduced when they changed the code to support international characters in domain names. At that time, many of the old unit tests will have needed revision. Regression testing is great, but not effective when the required functionality is significantly changed. This is a bad bug, but not a criminal one. Good developers have been guilty of worse.

Comment Re:Solves part of the mystery. (Score 0) 272

Those buildings were really not designed to protect against that level of failure.

This is incorrect. The twin towers was the first case when the design explicitly considered impact from the largest jet airliner of the time (DC9) fully loaded and the subsequent fire. In fact, we know that two separate studies on this were carried out at the design stage. The conclusion was that the fire would kill but the towers would not collapse.

I take no position on whether additional factors contributed to the collapse. There are so many fanciful theories floating around that it is almost impossible to separate truth from fiction. What I will say is that the investigation was unlike that into any other major failure I have ever witnessed. With both towers failing critical design criteria, one would expect all the evidence to be carefully preserved and a minute examination of the debris to find out why. This is not what happened. Indeed, the initial investigators (from AISC) were not even permitted access to the site for a month, by which time the evidence was already being shipped overseas as quickly as possible. By the time NIST was involved nearly a year later, the vast majority of the steel and other debris had been disposed of.

Given the American penchant for launching lawsuits at the tip of a hat, it is truly amazing that the firms responsible for the design and construction of the towers have never been targeted in civil suits. It would seem that anyone with relatives killed by the collapse would have a prima facie case.

Comment Battery and solar panel technology advances (Score 3, Interesting) 34

This is yet another demonstration of the rapid advances taking place in both battery technologies and solar panel efficiency. A few years ago, I was not particularly optimistic about the medium term prospects for large scale replacement of coal, gas and nuclear power generation by solar. I am more hopeful today.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.