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Comment: huh... (Score 1) 79

by O('_')O_Bush (#47429161) Attached to: SpaceX Wins FAA Permission To Build a Spaceport In Texas
Seems kind of small. I would have expected a space port to be high hundreds to thousands of acres to buffer in case there was some disaster... not a measely 57 acres... A lot of high schoolers could run across it diagonally in about two minutes.

But I don't know much about the requirements for spaceports.

Comment: depends (Score 2) 468

Quality wise, I think there are minor gains. The biggest gains come from being able to drive nice/high quality headphones at the correct power levels so they sound as they should. Some motherboards can't supply enough power and the headphones sound... gross... because of it.

Also, you can gain a few FPS in some games by offloading the audio magic onto a card rather than do it on the CPU.

Comment: Re: Now thats incentive (Score 4, Insightful) 553

Yea. Their first step is flying cars.

There are way too many uncertainties of what will be technologically possible by 2045 to be worrying about that right now. I'd wait until we actually had some idea of how to make a machine intelligence, and work the kinks out in a closed environment enough that it might actually be given control of something rather than the role of Ask Jeeves.

Comment: Re: he must be bored (Score 1) 101

As I pointed out elsewhere, it is common knowledge to traditional music makers that a vibrating bridge makes the banjo sound. That is why there are instruments like this:

http://www.gardnersdulcimer.com/data/Images_Additional/dulcijo3.jpg

Designed just like this:

http://gibsondulcimers.com/In%20Stock/Baritone%20Dulcimer%2047609/Baritone%20Dulcimer%2047609%20Front.jpg

Except, big surprise, they put a tiny drum head only under the bridge so that the bridge could vibrate and make a more banjo-ey sound.

Comment: Re: Banjo = guitar + snare drum (Score 3, Interesting) 101

Does it need to be written down? It wasn't like the banjo was accidentally made... it was designed that way. That is why there are all sorts of hybrid instruments, like the Dulcijo (dulcimer banjo), where the whole body is designed to be just like a normal dulcimer except for the bridge, which sits atop a tiny drum head like a banjo does.

Bridge+vibrating support for the bridge + vibrating strings = banjo sound has been no big secret for a long time.

It is neat he did math behind it, but the summary makes claims about how mysterious it was, and that sounds pretty ridiculous.

Comment: Re: Most qualified and motivated candidates? (Score 1) 435

by O('_')O_Bush (#47262045) Attached to: Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's
You start with the presumption that he suggested men are being chosen over women and that women are competing.

He was actually suggesting that there are not women to compete with in many positions, and that without offering a handicap to positions they are competing in, diversity is a pipe dream.

I.e. if 70% of engineering jobs have 10% female applicants and the rest have 50%, all other things being equal, the mix may be 78% male, 22% female, from a completely non discriminatory hiring practice.

Not the fault of the company (driven by profit motives) for doing anything discriminatory or nefarious.

Comment: Re: Progenitors? (Score 5, Interesting) 686

by O('_')O_Bush (#47219683) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox
Well, as has been pointed out before, just because life appears to stem from one thing, doesn't mean there wasn't a "Second Genesis" (or multitudes of them, even happening today). However, those other lifeforms have to compete for the same resources as better adapted ones (per natural selection). And then there are things that are "arguably life" that seem awfully close to life and awfully orthogonal to the existing tree, like viruses.

But besides that, what amazes me is that we are not only the most intelligent life on earth (for some values of intelligence), but as far as we can tell, the most intelligent life to have ever developed on earth.

This seems odd, given that there are so many other intelligent life (but nowhere near our level) like cetaceans, some birds (which are descended from Dinos, which had a longer time to evolve in interesting forms- not like early, ratlike mammals, to boot), other primates, some species of octopuses, and I am sure I can think of more examples.

Maybe the trick is having a big brain and a body plan that is flexible enough to do many things, starting with a high metabolism. I would think that a therapod with human intelligence levels would have an awfully hard time building spaceships.

And the brain consumes a lot of energy, which is why human muscles are relatively weak and energy efficient (also for endurance).

In that sense, it is my opinion that life is probably common, but intelligent life is rare, maybe even extraordinary, and probably not inevitable for a planet or system.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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