Forgot your password?

Comment: My hypothesis: Sun of Iron with LENR at surface (Score 1) 137

by Paul Fernhout (#47781135) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

You make good points on the limits of science. Is is possible there is no hot fusion in the sun, and duplicating such a non-existent phenomenon on Earth has been a fool's errand? See also:

I think it possible hydrogen may essentially outgas for statistical reasons at the surface of an iron Sun. It might also be cause by electric currents?

Then the hydrogen fuses at the surface of the Sun's iron-nickel core. The same process may be happening at a lesser scale deep within the Earth (which has an iron-nickel core), both to cause the Earth's heat by LENR and also to produce upwelling hydrocabons from outgassed hydrogen from all the nickel-iron.

In general, the universe may be mostly iron. The history of the universe may be more about iron decaying into hydrogen (for whatever reasons), rather than hydrogen fusing into (eventually) iron.

The Earth from space looks like it is made of mostly air and water. You can't judge a large object by just what covers it. The sun's surface may be hydrogen, but we don't really know for sure what is inside -- it is all indirect guessing. What we know is that the Earth has an iron-nickel core. So why not the sun?

Science is full of data that gets reinterpreted decades later. It was well accepted the Sun was made of Iron until re-interpretation of data in the Early 1900s. Maybe it is time for another bug re-interpretation? Perhaps inspired by the recent scientific reports related to cold fusion / LENR?

Of course, I am at a loss how to disprove my hypothesis... Perhaps people here might suggest ways to do that.

Comment: We need to talk about externalities, fairness & (Score 1) 472

by Paul Fernhout (#47781047) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

I said this years ago -- the change is effectively irreversible and we should accept it and deal with it. See my essay "On Climate Change vs. the Singularity".

CO2 pollution and related climate change is an externality of centuries of human industrial development and fossil fuel burning, as well as likely poor farming practices leading to topsoil loss (a major carbon reservoir), and also livestock production. As a consequence, many people in low lying areas will be flooded, and others will have bad weather and lose harvests, (negative externalities) while some others will get warmer or wetter weather and have bigger harvests (positive externality). Essentially, global climate change is just a bigger example of, say, a valley being flooded to make a hydroelectric dam. Who pays the costs and who gets the benefits?

We could tax fossil fuel use and topsoil loss and livestock production to discourage it and redistribute that tax as a global basic income. But that is not enough because past advantages are not evenly distributed globally. So, we could tax capital as well (including patents and copyrights) and also distribute that as a global basic income to make up for such losses. Then people who are negatively affected by climate change will at least be able to afford to move elsewhere. In general, we could also look at the specific winners and losers of climate change and also look at taxing and redistributing to just those people, but that seems harder to figure out.

Of course, all this is easier said than done without a world government -- and that has its own problems. I can hope that we transition globally to a post-scarcity society in the next few decades (including dirt-cheap solar, hot and cold fusion energy, widespread productive robotics and AI) and many of these issues become uninteresting or trivial to resolve given global abundance. Of course, abundance and such a AI/robotics singularity also poses its own problems. And those issues related to an economic, political, and/or evolutionary singularity in the next few decades may well be more important to think about and plan for than a, by comparison, relatively simpler problem of global climate change.

Comment: Liquid breathing and vitamin D? (Score 1) 106

by Paul Fernhout (#47780931) Attached to: Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts

Some speculations... The US RDA for vitamin D is about 10X too low for adults, so likely all astronauts in the space station have been deficient, which could contribute to bone loss and some other health effects. Also, living in a liquid environment might help mitigate loss of muscle tone by creating muscle-strengthening resistance as astronauts swim in the liquid the same way dolphins stay fit floating essentially weightlessly in water. (Granted, it might not be identical to living in a G-field.) A resistant spacesuit might also provide some of this conditioning too -- however the liquid also doubles as a radiation shield, at the cost of more mass to lift into space. Breathable liquids have been researched, but I don't know where that work is now.

Others have talked about rotating cylinders (like O'Neill space habitats). I'm all in favor of trying that. However, those seem harder to make and maintain and travel between that more modular zero-G Marshall-Savage-Millennial-Project-like-plastic-bubbles with two meter water shields at the exterior for radiation protection. So, it seems like ultimately genetic engineering, nanoengineering, or medicine to adapt humans to zero-G might ultimately be cheaper than rotating space habitats. Or, maybe, like Hans Moravec suggests, space will be the domain of our zero-G-optimized robot "mind children" (and perhaps human minds downloaded into some of them or teleoperating some of them).

Comment: You had a VM w/ VLAN; TechCentral took a big risk (Score 1) 247

by Paul Fernhout (#47761163) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

I cant believe more people aren't pointing out how potentially dangerous what the TechCrunch author, Regardt van der Berg, did was. He gave a potential unknown attacker a beachhead inside the TechCentral network, even if only for a few minutes. That is long enough for someone to potentially have compromised other machines on the network.

The article says: "We have a spare PC in the TechCentral office that has been newly installed and that contains no personal information. I used this machine for the next part of the ploy. I installed the application and provided "John" with the access details. ... Because I did not furnish my PayPal or credit card details, the scammers turned nasty and proceeded to my documents folder. I saw the engineer poking around in some folders, but I promptly disconnected the office Wi-Fi connection. After some research, I found out that they'll delete system files and users' personal documents. Fortunately, I disconnected before they managed to delete files on the dummy PC -- not that there was anything of value for them to delete."

At that point, regardless of what was done to that specific PC, they have to assume the attacker could compromise every machine on their network by exploits launched immediately from that machine in the background at all other computers on the network, like through potentially zero-day exploits such as for unpatched Microsoft issues relating to local workgroup file sharing or other services. They cant assume they knew everything the attackers were doing. That's why it's been said that firewalls, like some lollipops, are "crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle". The article author does not say he re-imaged the PC either. Granted, his informative article that may help many other potential victims was maybe worth the risk, but he should at least make clear to his readership what those risks are and that he understood them and accepted them on behalf of helping his readership.

Contrast with what your setup, where the VM was on its own virtual LAN and so presumably could not get to other machines on your local network. And as a snapshotted VM, you can easily roll it back. Still, if you had installed software, how risky that was would also depend on the exact network configuration and how that VM's VLAN interacts with your gateway to the internet -- as in whether the VLAN to gateway interface via whatever virtualization software you were using was set up like guest networking with isolation from other guests. One mistake somewhere in configuration (or even with no mistakes and buggy virtualization software), and your production network could have been compromised. And as you said, there could be credentials on a test machine like SSH keys and such. You did the right thing by not installing anything.

Granted, it doesn't sound like these examples of scammers are doing internal network attacks, but you never can know for sure what they really intend...

Comment: Examples of nothingness as the fuel for something? (Score 1) 7

by Paul Fernhout (#47747899) Attached to: What is Nothing?

Romulan spacecraft in Star Trek: TNG were supposedly powered by an artifical quantum singularity (a black hole).

Robin Williams' life and comedy can only be understood in light of a deep depression and related suffering throughout his life. No doubt many other artists and creators have that sort of (negative) inspiration.

Michael Ende's "The Neverending Story" has an expanding "Nothingness" that drives the plot.

Jack Chalker's sci-fi Well World series, specifically "The Return of Nathan Brazil", has a spreading nothingness as a rip in space-time created via powerful weapons (the Zinder Nullifier) as a major driver of the plot.

Other examples?

+ - What is Nothing? 7

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "Fraser Crain explores the issue of "Whether there any place in the Universe where there's truly nothing?". That article is also discussed at One comment there by Evgenij Barsoukov uses the rules for finding mathematical limits to compute the probability of the Universe coming into spontaneous existence out of absolute nothingness at 0.6...."

Comment: Insightful point on communities; thanks! (Score 2) 506

by Paul Fernhout (#47744657) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

I'm moving more of my own work from Java to JavaScript, but that is mainly because JavaScript is easiest to deploy almost every where. I generally like Java+Eclipse better for big projects otherwise. However, with tools that compile other languages to JavaScript, and browsers that can get near native performance from JavaScript if written in a certain way, I'm hoping the "JavaScript" approach will continue to gain in benefits because it is just easier to deploy than Java. It's too bad Java app deployment to the desktop was never a real priority (even with Java Web Start). As an example of the difference (including in sandboxing), some school teachers can get fired for installing new software without permission (which could include a Java app which can do anything), but they can use a web browser to load up an educational web page which uses JavaScript to run a simulation without too many worries.

I fought against Java back in the late 1990s compared to using Smalltalk. Back then Java was just a mess and a mass of hype. But I can accept Java is now a half-way-decent solution for many things now that many of the worst rough edges of Java have been smoothed off. I still miss Smalltalk though, and to some extent (not all), JavaScript recaptures some of the Smalltalk flavor and community -- if I squint just right, I can kind of see the entire Web as one big multi-threaded Smalltalk image. :-)

Comment: Calvin Coolidge on Persistence (Score 1) 441

by Paul Fernhout (#47736335) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

From: "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "Press On" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. (Calvin Coolidge)"

Of course, it has also been said: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein)"

Perhaps the difference lies in having some way of validating that you are making some progress through your persistence, even if infinitesimally?

Comment: Insightful! Govt. & US Post Office might also (Score 1) 62

by Paul Fernhout (#47736141) Attached to: UPS: We've Been Hacked

Sharing such rarely changing authentication data is at the heart of the issue as you point out. It seems like a trade-off of convenience and security with some background fraud cost. However, the issue is always convenience for who and fraud for who? In this case, banks have succeeded in mostly privatizing gains from transactions costs from credit card transaction fees while socializing the cost of identity theft to the general public (who have to change their accounts, deal with years of worries, try to straighten out fraudulent charges at riskof not being able to get a job or buy a house, etc.). This is an example of capitalism at its finest from one point of view -- privatizing gains while socializing costs and risks. That is when we need government (as the will of the People) to step in and force banks to internalize the cost of identity theft rather than pass it on indirectly. Ultimately, that might have to be done by big fines for breaches or taxes on unsecured transactions. And if banks had to do that, they would probably rapidly deploy something better because it would be cheaper than raising costs to customers and losing business to other banks that did implement better systems.

Perhaps the only worse thing is when businesses in the USA are allowed to use essentially unchangeable info about a person like date of birth or social security number to authenticate them. Other countries seem to handle this better by having an additional private PIN as part of a SSN. Some also include using the post office as part of the authentication process (like to present your ID at the post-office to approve some transaction or initiate some communications link). I'm surprised the US post office (which handles US passports now) does not get involved with authentication in general, as it seems like a surefire money-maker in the digital age, and the US post office already has procedures in place from passports to verify identity.

Comment: Very well put; see also cancer-preventing foods (Score 2) 185

by Paul Fernhout (#47724559) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Neat post. Conceptually, single-celled organisms can't get "cancer" because, in a way, they are cancer. However, they no doubt can suffer mutations or other genetic changes (like from viruses) that make them survive and reproduce more or less well, all things considered for their current environment. Cancer has to do with a cell deciding not to play nicely with the rest in a body, and to strike out on its own, so to speak. Cancer in general is a bit like a crazy individual or small group in a society trying to take over the whole thing (current US plutocrats?); generally it works out badly for everyone as core services start to fail and the cancer cells are no longer supported by the rest of the body. Cancer is like spammers, who for a quick buck in the short term, are busy destroying email and the rest of the internet that could otherwise bring everyone abundance. Cancer is about "selfishness" where the individual ignores its part to play in the whole and where the whole supports the individual. But since evolution involves variation and selection, the underlying mechanism of cancer via mutation or viral infection also in a sense underlies evolution. So yes, it will always be with us.

I've heard most people in the USA age 40+ years old have cancerous cells in small amounts, but the immune system is continually killing them off to keep them from spreading.

Good nutrition helps with that, like Dr. Joel Fuhrman talks about
"Though most people would prefer to take a pill and continue their eating habits, this will not provide the desired protection. Unrefined plant foods, with their plentiful anti-cancer compounds, must be eaten in abundance to flood the body's tissues with protective substances. Vegetables and fruits protect against all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our societies are plant-food-deficiency diseases. The benefits of lifestyle changes are proportional to the changes made. As we add more vegetable servings, we increase our phytochemical intake and leave less room in our diets for harmful foods, enhancing cancer protection even further. Let's review some of these research findings and then review what a powerful, anti-cancer diet will look like. ... A typical anti-cancer diet should contain at least 4 fresh fruits daily, at least one large raw green salad, as well as a two other cooked (steamed) vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and peas, squash or other colorful vegetables. A huge pot of soup laden with vegetables, herbs and beans can be made once a week and conveniently taken for lunch. Raw nuts and seeds are another important, but often overlooked, group of foods with documented health benefits contributing to longevity. ..."

One thing Fuhrman misses in his discussion is that these compounds are not "Anti-cancer" as much as the human body has adapted via evolution to use these compounds to prevent or fight cancer.

He is right that cancer is best prevented rather than treated. As I've heard, it said, you can either get your chemotherapy every day from fruits and vegetables, or you can end up getting it all at once in the oncologist's office (not that most current chemotherapy is probably worth it anyway).

Fasting may also sometimes help prevent cancer as well as can a ketogenic (fat burning) diet that deprives cancer cells of sugar.

But your point stands that this is all combinatorial (statistical, entropical?) about when something gets out of hand. Even when we have Elysium-like medical beds that get rid of cancer instantly, some computer virus or malicious person may make them work incorrectly. Or, as in the movie, selfish elites can keep the healing beds to themselves.

Comment: Maybe Dr. Smith left the cap off the bottle again? (Score 1) 303

by Paul Fernhout (#47717031) Attached to: Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical
"Don and John come out of the ship asking about carbon tetrachloride. Smith says he uses it to remove stains--he's used it and left the top off. John asks him if he has any thoughts besides his immediate needs---without the carbon tetrachloride they will lose their food supply. They use it as food preservation (NOTE: how is a mystery---it is highly toxic). They will have to eat only non-perishable items and now face a food shortage (what about the hydroponic garden?). ..." :-)

Will Robinson saved the day on that episode, but he had to come all the way to Earth via an alien matter transporter to do it.

Kidding aside, you make a great point!

Comment: Making Silent Running drones for gardening (Score 1) 133

by Paul Fernhout (#47716885) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

A post from me to comp.robotics.misc in 1999 about Silent Running drones which spawned a thread with 32 messages:
Anyone remember the drones (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) from the sci-fi movie Silent Running?

Some links: ...

They have always captivated me, and were an early influence in getting me interested in robotics and AI.

I particularly liked the scene where all three worked together to perform a medical operation.

I've long wanted to build some robots like these for gardening and maintenance. It seems to me that multifuncional drones such as those (with changeable end effectors) would be very valuable in agriculture, by reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers through picking off pests, pulling weeds, and spot applying fertilizer, and by not compacting the soil like tractors.

Has anyone given any though to what it would take to make such drones today?
How much would it cost to build such a system (part cost, design time cost, assembly time cost)?
How long would it take?
How much could it lift?
How long would the battery (fuel cell?) life be?
How well could they be made to walk or climb stairs with today's technology?

Anyone out there started such a project to clone these drones?

Any advice on where to find more information on their design, or maybe the originals made for the movies?

Would that design concept (one armed, collaborative walking robots, three feet high) now be considered obsolete (i.e. compared to the post model in Hans Moravec's latest book "Robot")?

Could a business case be made today for a company to build such robots? Or instead, would anyone be interested in collaborating on an open source design for robots that looked like those?

* * * * * THIS TERMINAL IS IN USE * * * * *