Furthest-most? When "furthest" is just not far enough?
Technically it should actually be "farthest" since it refers to a physical distance whereas "furthest" means most distant in a figurative sense. For example you say "furthest from the truth" not "farthest from the truth" but "Cape Spear is the farthest east you can go in Canada" not "furthest east". So to summarize: "furthest-most" should not have a hyphen, should not have the 'most' added since it is redundant and finally should actually be "farthest" since it refers to a physical distance.
As for the origin of the "cold spot" I understood that it was completely statistically consistent with quantum fluctuations in the early universe. So how about we rule out that explanation first before coming up with multiple universes or other crazy stuff.
If you mention Pol Pot they have no idea who he was, if you mention the Armenian genocide they will also have no idea what that is.
I bet they would if you went to regions concerned. The holocaust is well known in the west because we were all involved in the war that was fought to stop it and many families lost members fighting it. We were far less involved in the Armenian genocide, Pol Pots regime or the countless other genocides (like the more recent one in Uganda). That does not make them any less terrible but it does make them far less a part of our history than WW2.
Honestly, Scientology is a religion founded by a science fiction writer who famously said "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."
Isn't this the crux of the debate though: is scientology a religion or just bad science fiction? Indeed perhaps this is a good way to look at it. If scientology is classed as a religion then why not Trekkies or Star Wars fans? There is just as much "religious" fervour in those groups, if not more, and the science fiction is better written.
Properly done, affirmative action simply means getting more of the unrepresented group to apply.
The problem with this approach is that you are making a potentially unwarranted assumption and, even if that assumption is valid this is the wrong way to fix the problem. You assumption is that fewer of one group apply because they are actively discriminated against. This survey challenges the perceived notion that the reason that there are fewer women in science is due to discrimination and suggests that it might actually be reversed. If the reason that one group is under represented is because that group is not interested then there is not a problem. We do not see ballet schools targeting boys because they are underrepresented because its clear that fewer boys are interested in ballet.
The second problem is that affirmative action reinforces the very prejudice that it is designed to address. By lowering standards for one group over another those that get the positions will, on average, be weaker than most. These people will then be used by some to justify their prejudice. In addition the very fact that affirmative action means being prejudiced can be pointed to as an example of why such a prejudice is "ok".
Affirmative action is nothing more than an attempt at a quick fix to the symptoms of a problem which can only be properly cured through education. It's like taking an aspirin and hoping it will cure something like TB: it might bring temporary quick relief from the symptoms but the underlying disease is just masked and still needs to be cured by antibiotics...and in the meantime the person with TB feels fine and spreads the disease to others.
The rest of the civilized world use litres (L)
Actually that vast majority of the world uses litres (l). Only the US (on the rare occasions it uses them), Canada and Australia typically use the capital 'L' for the abbreviated symbol. While both are now accepted abbreviations the original rule was that only SI units named after a person had a capital letter for an abbreviation although in the case of 'l' there is easy confusion with '1' in some fonts which is why some countries adopted the capital letter.
If the average family in Canada tried to grow tropical plants in their gardens using heat lamps in the winter to stop them from dying we would soon be having a major electricity crisis (well at least until the global warming from burning all that coal kicked in). If the average family in California expects to have a lush, green garden then you should expect to have a water crisis.
imagine a life and civilization evolving, looking out at their immediate galactic neighborhood, becoming aware that this weird night sky shape that their ancient ancestors worshiped is a supermassive black hole... and then growing an awareness of what that means for their future
Imagine a life and civilization evolving, looking out at their immediate galactic neighbourhood, becoming aware that this glowing ball of light that their ancient ancestors worshiped is a star... and then growing an awareness of what that means for their future in a couple of billion years when it has heated up enough to terminate all life on their planet.
We don't need to do a thought experiment because we are in almost exactly the same predicament. It might be a couple of billion years rather than a few tens of millions but frankly it doesn't matter either way: on those timescales either we develop the technology to solve the problem or we go extinct. Besides I'd expect any planet close enough to the accretion disk to see it as a disk with the naked eye will be getting fried by the high energy x-rays it emits which is how we detect black holes from half way across the galaxy or even further.
If they're banned from certain US technology and for purpose, then any route around that through any 3rd party would be illegal.
I doubt it would be illegal in China since the Chinese government makes the laws there. Besides governments are known to break even their own laws when it comes to anything they deem to be national security...unless torture is now legal in the US?
Listen, there are smart people in these fields.
Indeed there are smart people but that does not mean that they always get the right answer. In my own field of particle physics there was an experiment a few years ago that persuaded itself that they had evidence of faster than light neutrinos. Everyone outside that experiment, without the expert knowledge of the detector which this group had, decided that this had to be due to a mistake and sure enough it turned out that they did not have a GPS cable plugged in correctly.
Moral of the story: being smart does not make you immune from coming up with stupid ideas. It is never wrong to question new ideas which appear to have flaws. If there is a good reason why such criticisms are wrong the experts should be able to explain why.
...few jetliners crash due to mechanical or a computer system error.
True but isn't that precisely because they have a pilot on board? How many times is there a mechanical glitch or system failure which leads to no serious problem at all because the pilots takeover and do things manually? How many times is there a situation where the pilots can do something creative to save the plane like landing on the Hudson river?
And you know what can do it? Lithium.
I did not argue that lithium was not a fire hazard only that, in the right circumstances, aluminium can be as well so there is still a need to be careful.
Right, as if autoland doesn't exist?
someone WILL hack into it.
It's worse than that - all they need to do is jam it which would be trivially easy to do. For example if you put powerful transmitters into a van, parked it somewhere on the approach path to a busy airport and turned it on you would suddenly have craft who were on approach lose all control and by the time authorities tracked down the van and shut it off who knows how many planes would have crashed.
Remote control planes with passengers on are a stupendously bad idea. There is no way I'm flying on a plane which is not under the control of someone onboard whose life also depends on the plane landing safely. Even with such a strong motivation as that we have seen disaster happen - how much more likely will it be if the pilots are sitting remotely and have even less at stake? Suddenly things like disgruntled employees crashing planes becomes imaginable.
The problem as I see it is that the US governmental system is far, far too rigid and impossible to change to adapt to modern realities e.g. there is no need for a college of electors with modern communications, you no longer need a well regulated militia to defend against invasion etc. However updating archaic rules like that requires so much support from everywhere that it is all but impossible and things like the constitution are used by large corporations with armies of lawyers to overturn laws which they don't like. The result is a government which is frustrated in its ability to do what it thinks is needed and a people who are frustrated by their government's inability to do what is needed.
I think this is one of the perils of being first: they did not know that the system would work so they put lots of safeguards and protections into the system to stop mob rule which make the system too inflexible. Once we knew that the will of the people tended to be more tempered and did not result in chaotic mob rule governing systems, such as those in Europe, which were flexible enough to change could bring onboard the parts of the US system which work without importing the inflexibility. Not that they are without their own flaws but, when those flaws get large enough, there is the potential for self reform which the US, in practical terms, lacks.