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Comment: Re:Coral dies all the time (Score 1) 123 123

But its a species

Anyone who can refer to "coral" as a species clearly has such a strong grasp on biology as to not be worth paying attention to.

I'm not a biologist in any significant form, but I didn't spend a large chunk of a year learning to identify different classes and genera of coral as fossils (for dating the rocks in which their fossils are found) without getting the message that there have been many, many different species of coral. And I didn't get horrible sunburn the first time I snorkelled on a coral reef without realising that "coral" covers a LARGE amount of diversity. And so far we're only talking about morpho-species, which for-sure are a much coarser division of sessile framework forming Cnidarians than they use themselves. (Corals, if they think, probably don't differentiate much betweens any temporarily-marine vertebrates.)

Comment: Re:That's good (Score 1) 146 146

Google's job is to index the context of web pages.

Not true. Google's job is to make money for it's shareholders, which it does by serving targeted (and therefore, hopefully, relevant) adverts to web users. And it achieves that result by having a very large collection of information about it's users. And it achieves that by being a very popular search engine, which attracts a lot of users. And it became a very popular search engine by having a wide-ranging spider and a good relevance matcher (PigeonRank, IIRC). Being an indexer of web pages is very important to Google, I agree. But it is a very long way from being a core aim (let alone a "duty") of the company.

In terms of achieving business aims, Google's acquisition of information about it's customers by releasing Android, populated with Google apps, may already be returning more of that advertising revenue then the search engine. I can envisage the day that Google decides (on a good business case) stops providing search.

Or sooner, Google stops providing search to non-registered users.

Comment: Re:Sorry most Americans... (Score 1) 119 119

Specifically designed low-altitude parachutes are effective at a few hundred feet. No, it won't save you at extreme low altitudes and velocities, but it's certainly better than nothing.

To quote a friend describing the first of the micro-nuts (rock climbing protection equipment), "they might not stop you, but they'll sure as hell slow you down!".

With strengths (breaking loads) from 2 to 6 kN, you don't need to fall very far for a nicro-nut to pull. But in doing so, it absorbs a considerable amount of energy. And the next one does too. It's not nice, but it really does slow you down.

Comment: Re:Why Is Google Opening a New Data Center In a... (Score 1) 40 40 writes:
Mystery solved.

Noooooooo ! ! ! ! And I thought that Google were the last remaining bastion of making major business decisions on the grounds of a Tarot hand.

What is the world coming to? What did that bastard Democritus start? We should never have banged those rocks together!

Comment: No artificial ingredients ? None ??? (Score 1) 163 163

Well that'll be the whole maize/ Indian Corn industry out of the window. It may have been over a thousand years ago, but some early gene engineer managed to cross-breed at least three separate species of plant to generate the hexaploid entity that is modern Indian Corn.

What do you mean - that's not artificial? But humans did it, not Mother Nature.

I wonder if these almonds have a low enough amount of natural cyanide to be safe to eat? Well it'll be OK, because Mother Nature's cyanide doesn't kill you as badly as artificial cyanide.

Comment: Re:The irony (Score 1) 294 294

Does this tactic ever work for you ?

Sometimes the god-botherer gets the message that they;re being treated with fully-justified contempt and fuck off. Not often, because almost by definition they're idiots, but it works often enough to be worth the effort. Not so often with American god-botherers because they're not used to being treated with contempt for adhering to a religion, but it still works sometimes. I think it's worth the effort.

BTW just what are the consequences of greater reproductive in an ecosystem with finite resources ?

There has been a lot of work done on addressing the subject. If you want to get within a couple of centuries of the present day, then this text might help you get a handle on this not exactly challenging question. After that, feel free to follow papers that cite this source until you have educated yourself to a reasonable degree.

Comment: Re:The irony (Score 1) 294 294

[SIGH] Is suspect that I've got a god-squaddy (or someone who has been "educated" by god-botherers) here. But ...

Death happens whether or not there is evolution in your species, ecology, or whatever your experimental system is. You can have an evolving system and a non-evolving system with the same death rates (organisms dying per day, percentage dying per day, pick a metric) and the death [count or rate] will not distinguish between the two systems. Deaths are not a determining characteristic of an evolving versus non-evolving system.

Deaths are however a way of distinguishing between systems with living organisms and ones without living organisms. The death rate in a system with living organisms is not going to be lower (on the medium to long term) than in the system without living organisms.

Since you seem to be trying to make points straight out of the goddidit handbook, I'll be very explicit about the final step : what determines whether a population evolves is whether some blood lines have higher numbers of offspring surviving to reproduce than in other bloodlines. If there is that differential, then the population will evolve to be dominated by the faster-reproducing bloodline even if the death rates for the two blood lines are identical. If there is not that differential in reproduction, then there is no evolution in that population.

I suppose I could rebut you by asking for your example of a living system which does not have death in it. But that would leave the door open for you to take the goddidit's excuse that "I'm not a biologist", as if that were any sort of excuse for not learning about biology before making comments about it.

Comment: Re:No Plate Tectonics (Score 1) 45 45

Since there's no evidence of any plate tectonics whatsoever like Earth,

Venus doesn't seem to have the same tectonic style as Earth. At the moment. Beyond that ... I'm not going to speculate geologically. (Or even Veneraly. Or Venialy.) One thing that we don't know is how many different styles of planetary tectonics are possible (or if the number is significantly lower than the number of planets).

that heat from tidal forces etc. that builds and dissipates any normal magnetic field...?

Doesn't work : the magnetic field of Earth is generated in the core at temperatures several thousand kelvin above the temperature at which the permanent magnets which you seem to be thinking of cease to work. The Earth's magnetic field is thought to be the result of a self-exciting dynamo - which doesn't have an upper temperature limit, they operate just as well in plasmas in the many thousands of Kelvin, and in fresh neutron stars at approaching a GK (giga-Kelvin ; no, I'm not joking.).

I'm guessing here.

But you're admitting it, which is bizarre and unusual behaviour for Slashdot, and suggests that you might actually learn something.

Comment: Re:Do not... (Score 1) 289 289

But facebook wants to become one.[a public square]

Oh, I seriously doubt it. They might want to e perceived as a public square, or to morph people's concept of a public space into "something like Facebook, but with weather and pigeon shit," but that is a very different aspiration.

For a start, in a public square, you don't have to pay an entry fee, and you don't have to look at adverts. That in itself would be a financial death knell for Facebook ,if they were to become a "public square".

Comment: Re:The irony (Score 0) 294 294

Death isn't a necessary part of evolution. Variation in reproductive success (for whatever reason) is what drives evolution.

But I suspect that if you're touting glib comments like that, you either don't understand evolution, r aren't interested in making comments that have some connection to reality.

Comment: Cry me a river. (Score 1) 127 127

The move is likely to concern online publishers who rely on advertising to generate revenue.

Choose a phrase composed from the following words in any descending alphabetical order : "shit" ; "tough."

If loss of advertising revenue means that I have to choose which websites to pay for my news, mail service, etc, then that's just dandy and fine. Oddly, when I go to the cinema to watch a movie, I choose which one I want to watch then pay (and annoyingly still get some adverts, but by turning up 20 minutes late I can avoid that). When I go to the newsagent, I choose which newspaper I want to read, then buy it. What is different about the web?

Comment: When I get a divide-by-zero, I want ... (Score 1) 1067 1067

Does anyone want their div by zero errors to result in anything other than zero?

I want a divide-by-zero error that occurs in properly validated data to result in a HCF command being carried out.

Further more, I want people writing code for me to actually understand what they're doing, and to analyse their algorithms so that they check data going in, and trap for errors. Yes, it's time-consuming and difficult. But it's also necessary.

Torque is cheap.