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Comment: Only a 0.0248% chance (Score 3, Insightful) 117

Everything I've read said it's very unlikely to hit Earth in 2880. One chance in three hundred does not "likely" make.

Especially since it is actually 1 in 4,000 or 0.0248%. Still I'd actually think it would be a good thing to have the odds a lot higher, like 90%, with a lead time like this of 800+ years. To date the existential threat posed by wars have caused science to make massive advances but this has come at a huge cost of misery and death

Think of the scientific advances that could come from an existential threat that, instead of pitting us against each other, actually puts all of humanity on the same side for a change. In the past 800 years we have come from the dark ages to the internet age. If we can't get it together enough to develop the technology needed to cause a small deflection to an asteroid in the next 800 years then I'd say it was probably time for evolution to give it a second roll of the dice.

Comment: Best for Environment? (Score 3, Insightful) 327

by Roger W Moore (#47667805) Attached to: California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla
It's more that just jobs though. If this factory reduces the cost of the batteries to the point where lots more people can afford to purchase Teslas this could significantly impact air pollution in cities. While you'd need data to really know the answer this might actually be a case where the laws to protect the environment are not actually doing so.

Comment: Re:Can't leave (Score 1) 253

by Roger W Moore (#47666267) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

I don't know about "benefits"...even the abstract says that one of the main triggers to accepting leadership was that the populace had nowhere to go, or that it was too costly to leave.

So really not much has changed. Let's face it if colonizing Mars became possible and cheap tomorrow there would be a mass exodus from the Earth as millions of people left to get away from the dodgy politicians and corporations we all have to put up with today...ironically only to end up with their own dodgy politicians and corporates a century or two later, at least if the colonization of America is anything to go by.

Comment: Flawed Study (Score 1) 557

by Roger W Moore (#47664113) Attached to: Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White
In the conclusions of the study they say that "hardly any better-qualified men were passed over as a result of interventions". However, given the structure of the study, this is only true when the men are forced to compete in a competition with a deliberate sexist bias against them since they did not get to chose their group - it was assigned. Given a choice between applying for a job where the selection criteria are non-biased by gender and one where there is a clear bias which would you choose, assuming that you were the gender biased against? In addition since there is considerable competition in the workplace (for promotions, contracts etc.) it is not clear that by lowering the competition you will actually get the best people for the job. You might get people with better skills but if they cannot use these effectively in a competitive environment their overall performance may be lower.

Comment: GPL more Flexible in this Situtation (Score 2) 191

I think it's the nightmare scenario.

True but this is not specific to GPL at all. What has happened is company A bought code from company B and company B did not have all the correct permissions and licenses under both copyright and patent law to sell that code to them. It's true that company A is now stuck because they cannot sell any product which includes that code but this would be true regardless of whether company B violated the GPL or other license.

If anything company A has more options with the GPL that they would with a proprietary license: if they lack the money to pay for a commercial license for the code for all the copies they have sold then they can choose to release their source code under the GPL as well. Note that it is an option only and not required. The code is infringing and there are two ways to fix this: pay damages and ongoing license fees or release the source code. With a commercial license you would only have the first of these options.

Comment: QED relies on Special Relativity! (Score 1) 224

by Roger W Moore (#47644843) Attached to: Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

Irrelevant to weather it is a success or not. You seem to think that success means 'measured to within a certain accuracy'

Yes actually that is precisely what it means for a scientific theory. The aim of a scientific theory is to model the behaviour of the universe therefore the most successful theory is the one that most accurately describes the universe's behaviour.

Relativity doesnt hold a handle to that. Not even close. Aside from GPS satellites, how has our understanding of relatively improved your life?

Leaving aside that you appear to be confusing Special Relativity with General Relativity, QED requires and relies on special relativity. Hence anything which QED gives us would not be possible without special relativity. You also seem to be confusing QED with quantum mechanics in general. QED has had some useful applications but mainly in medical physics since it only applies to relativistic electrons and high energy photons e.g. PET, electron beam treatment of skin cancers etc. Special relativity also has similar applications e.g. all particle accelerators used to produce medical isotopes rely on it as well as those outside this field e.g. police radar.

Comment: Re:Dark matter and dark energy (Score 2) 224

by Roger W Moore (#47642081) Attached to: Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

There is just as much evidence these criteria are true as there is for dark stuff - currently none.

Not actually correct. The bullet cluster (see Wikipedia) is extremely hard to explain without Dark Matter. This collision between two galaxies has effectively separated he normal matter from the dark matter so we observe a gravitational field bending light where there is no normal matter. Without Dark Matter you are left with the extremely hard task of trying to explain how a gravitational field can exist where there is no matter.

Comment: Re:Oh good lord. (Score 2) 224

by Roger W Moore (#47642031) Attached to: Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

Indeed, QED is the most successful theory that man has ever formulated

No, actually that would be special relativity which has been tested to around 20+ orders of magnitude by cosmic rays as well as (arguably) tests of CPT symmetry which last time I checked (quite a while ago) was at about 18 orders of magnitude.

QED is 'only' at about 12-14 order of magnitude of accuracy (which is extremely impressive!). Indeed since QED incorporates Special Relativity it would be hard for it to be tested more accurately that SR since any test of QED is, by definition, a test of SR as well.

Comment: The Bullet Cluster Makes it Unlikely (Score 4, Informative) 224

by Roger W Moore (#47641925) Attached to: Do Dark Matter and Dark Energy Cast Doubt On the Big Bang?

What if this is a similar case? Like, say, (normal) matter having gravity properties that only become noticeable on a cosmic scale?

Models like this have been considered such as MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics). These models were largely shot down by the aptly named Bullet Cluster. This is a system of two galaxies colliding at a high relative speed. The gas from the smaller "bullet" cluster collides with the gas in the larger cluster causing it to slow down, heat up and emit X-rays so we can see it.

So far so go. However you can also look at the mass distribution by seeing how it distorts the light from galaxies behind the cluster (this is called gravitational lensing). This shows that most of the mass of the smaller cluster has not slowed down and is now separated from where all the gas in the cluster is located. Effectively the collision has separated the matter from the dark matter because, unlike normal matter, dark matter has a tiny cross-section for interacting with itself or other matter. This is exceedingly hard to explain by modifying the behaviour of normal matter since you are observing a gravitational field where there is no normal matter.

Comment: Re:Evolve to cope with environment (Score 1) 54

by Roger W Moore (#47627295) Attached to: Ancient Worms May Have Saved Life On Earth

Increased oxygen levels can cause big problems in part because it's generally toxic, but mainly due to it's combustion enhancing properties.

It is only toxic because we have evolved to deal with air that is ~20% oxygen. Were the content 15% or 25% we would have evolved to cope with that. As for combustion enhancing firstly that does not really apply ~500 million year ago because all life was underwater where combustion is somewhat harder. Secondly the naturally combustable material today all comes from plants hence evolution would presumably have resulted in less combustable natural materials or better fire resistance because, as you point out, plants as combustable as our trees are today would rapidly die out due to fire and so would not evolve.

Unless there is some mechanism which is known to prevent evolution from being able to produce less combustable plant material I don't see the need to require a 20% oxygen atmosphere. There is also no way that lightning can "ignite the atmosphere". To get nitrogen (roughly 80% of the atmosphere) to react with oxygen requires a net input of energy so even if there were more oxygen you cannot get a runaway reaction.

Comment: Evolve to cope with environment (Score 2) 54

by Roger W Moore (#47622267) Attached to: Ancient Worms May Have Saved Life On Earth

Praise our overendowed saviors for keeping us from going extinct before we started

Why would we have become extinct? Isn't one of the major results of evolution that life adapts to the environment in which it lives? I saw nothing in the article to suggest that it would have been impossible for life to adapt to cope with higher levels of oxygen.

Comment: Net waste gain (Score 2, Informative) 143

by Roger W Moore (#47620205) Attached to: Transatomic Power Receives Seed Funding From Founders Fund Science

They should re-position the reactor as a nuclear waste destruction system

I'm not sure that this is really true. The reactor appears to be able to burn already "spent" fuel rods from other reactors but this is not going to result in less radioactive waste but rather more. The dangerous waste is the fission products, not the remaining unburnt Uranium which is practically stable (half lives in billions of years). In this design they will be extracted from the molten salt and will then need to be stored somewhere resulting in an increase in the net waste stored since each fission generates 2 or more daughter nuclei and one common one is an isotope of Krypton, a noble gas, which will undoubtedly take up a lot more volume that than the original uranium fuel pellet it was made from.

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