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Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 1) 284

by Nemyst (#47967463) Attached to: Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"
My biggest problem is that 75 is such an arbitrary number. If he lived a few hundred years ago, his answer would've probably been closer to 50. Is anyone seriously thinking that 50 is too old these days? For someone in their twenties or thirties or even fifties, saying that is a bit inane, because there's a pretty high likelihood that medicine will have advanced in the meantime. Most of his justifications come from studies that say that now, something happens. But what of then? Perhaps we'll have solved it. Heck, I frankly don't see anything inherent in aging that means we wouldn't be able to completely reverse the effects of aging in the future. Societal issues would be much larger than medicinal ones there.

Comment: Re:What a question? (Score 4, Informative) 111

by Nemyst (#47957121) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?
Alibaba, socialist? The only thing socialist about it is that the Chinese party calls itself communist. Alibaba is a privately owned but state-blessed corporation with heavy state support. The communist party has a hand in pretty much every large Chinese corporation these days, and in the end they have the final call, and they'll be a lot more meddlesome than even the most pedantic of state regulators in the US.

Plus, you can't even buy shares for Alibaba, you only get shares for a Cayman Islands shell corporation which has a contract to receive the profits from Alibaba proper. You get absolutely no decision-making power, no influence, and frankly little in the way of actual worth.

Comment: Re:Where the pessimism comes from. (Score 2) 191

by Nemyst (#47915045) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

When we write about the future, we don't write about a *plausible* future. We write about a future world which is like the present or some familiar historical epoch (e.g. Roman Empire), with conscious additions and deletions. I think a third reason may be our pessimism about our present and cynicism about the past. Which brings us right back to literary fashion.

I'd argue that we do try to write about the future, but the thing is: it's pretty damn hard to predict the future. What people do is take the current point in time and extrapolate it to whatever point they want, be it tens or hundreds or thousands of years into the future. If TV is big rounded cathodic tubes and is starting to get very popular now, then in the future it'll be ubiquitous, you'll have TVs in your bathroom and they'll have created some really fancy cathodic tube designs, with TVs taking up entire floors of buildings to act as animated billboards.

The problem is that if we look at history, we see it littered with disruptive technologies and events which veered us way off course from that mere extrapolation into something new. The computer was such a technology. The internet. The smartphone. There are an incredibly large amount, some which just slightly changed things, others which had a profound and lasting impact. They're also pretty much impossible to predict, since they're not only a technical event but a societal event. The technology has to catch on.

If you were to try to write sci-fi that followed this pattern, you'd run into the issue of massive divergence very quickly. Your imagined future wouldn't match with reality at all, since all those disruptions didn't actually happen, and perhaps never will, while others you hadn't envisioned did. It's therefore far more relatable to just stick to what's here now and extrapolate, because at least people will be able to make a connection and see where the evolution took place. Plus, many times sci-fi is a critique or a commentary on the time period it was written in, so it makes sense to ground it in that same time period.

Comment: Re:photons are not particles (Score 1, Informative) 129

by Nemyst (#47883965) Attached to: Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light
We can define a photon just fine thank you. It's not because it doesn't fit in a human-scale model of comprehension that there's something inherently fuzzy or mysterious about the wave/particle duality. A photon is both a wave and a particle, exhibiting the properties of the former in certain scenarii and the latter in other scenarii.

Your analogy is also incorrect. A photon is an electromagnetic wave, it's not a vibration propagating through a medium. An ocean wave without the ocean is nothing, it's energy being transmitted through movement of the medium (same as sound). A photon can exist in a vacuum.

Comment: Re:Microsoft has to fight this ... (Score 5, Funny) 123

by Nemyst (#47871419) Attached to: Microsoft Agrees To Contempt Order So It Can Appeal Email Privacy Case
You got that wrong, this is the US providing heavy stimulus for foreign companies creating their own cloud services. They're basically giving free reign to European providers, who do not own a single server in the US, and telling them to go ahead and dominate the market. Europeans should be thanking them, if anything!

Comment: What? (Score 3, Interesting) 368

by Nemyst (#47867189) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+
Minecraft is a PC game first and foremost. The console versions are watered down, limited, pale imitations at best. Microsoft is no longer a PC-centric games publisher (long gone are the days of Age of Empires...). The match makes frankly very little sense, which is why it worries me that it just might happen, and it'd probably cause a massive exodus of the modding community. You can bet that MS wouldn't want dirty modders reverse-engineering their new property's code, and yet destroying the modding community would spell the doom for Minecraft.

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