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Comment: Re:Ah, fluidics (Score 1) 17

One of the articles was about fluidics, the pictures of plates of metal with holes, piled up and bolted together and doing logic operations with boiling liquids and what not.

That is not quite the same, since the goal was logic, rather than chemistry. Fluid/pneumatic logic was used in early embedded ICBM targeting and control systems, because it could withstand a thousand times as much radiation as an electronic circuit of that era.

Comment: Re:The campfire gave rise to two things (Score 2) 58

by ShanghaiBill (#47969593) Attached to: Ancient Campfires Led To the Rise of Storytelling

Campfires gave rise to story telling and conversation, leading to the expansion of the human mind. This started about 400,000 years ago, and continued until the mid 1950s, when television became widespread, and families stopped talking to each other. It has been downhill since then.

Comment: Re:The WHO (Score 5, Insightful) 381

My thoughts exactly. He'll change his mind.

Quite likely, especially since his basic premise is wrong. Many people get dementia as they age, but many others don't. It is not inevitable. I know bright, active people in their 90s. We are making a lot of progress at understanding the causes of Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases of old age. His future may not be as bleak as he imagines. On the other hand, he may already be losing his grip on reality, since he believes that American are "obsessed" with exercising, and doing mental puzzles. A quick glance at obesity rates, and reality TV popularity, should disabuse him of that belief.

Comment: Re:A few hundred extrasolar planets (Score 2) 77

by ShanghaiBill (#47966917) Attached to: Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe

You think the physics of planet formation in our galaxy was somehow magic or something?

The evolution of intelligent live requires far more than "planet formation". The more we learn about Earth's history, the more we realize how long the odds were. First you need a rocky planet in the habitable "goldilocks" zone. Those are common in our region of the galaxy, but are likely less common further out, where there is more hydrogen/helium and fewer heavy elements. Then you need liquid water. The early earth was too hot and small to hold on to water (it lost almost all it's neon, which has about the same molecular weight). So the water came later, from comet impacts. But if you have too many big gas giants, they will suck up all the comets, and you end up with a desert planet like Arrakis (but without either worms or molecular oxygen). Too few gas giants, and you get too many comet impacts, which form a global ocean hundreds of km deep, like Europa. A ocean that deep has no upwelling, so the nutrients sink to the bottom, where there is no energy other then volcanic vents. Even if you get the water level right, too many comet ELEs can wipe out species before intelligence evolves. To few ELEs, and life stagnates, as species evolve into narrow niches.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 2, Insightful) 218

by ShanghaiBill (#47958603) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

Alternatively.. maybe congress could stop cutting their budgets and allow for some extra room.

Or, since the POTUS was never in the slightest danger, maybe we can afford to cut the Secret Service budget even more. The savings could be used for something even more critical to the long term security of our country: debt reduction.

Comment: Re:But your honor... (Score 3, Insightful) 184

by ShanghaiBill (#47958501) Attached to: NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

And now because of this judge, everyone must check their FB Other folder regularly or be subject to summary judgment for failure to appear in court. (I am not a lawyer)

No. That is not what the judge said. He said FB could be used IN THIS ONE CASE. He did not say it could be used generally. In this case, the plaintiff was able to show that his wife was not reachable by other means, and was actively using her FB account. If you have a physical address of record, and you either answer the doorbell, or open and read postal mail sent to that address, then you don't have to worry about your "other" folder on FB.

Comment: Re:Punch cards (Score 2) 113

by ShanghaiBill (#47952517) Attached to: Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

What other storage medium, besides rock carving, can survive an EMP blast?

Nearly all of them. Flash media, including SD-cards, SSD, etc. should survive. A HDD that is powered off, should survive. The biggest threat is to anything that is connected to mains power. The power supply in your desktop computer may die, but a powered off laptop should be fine.

Comment: Re:No more cash in the bank? (Score 4, Insightful) 108

by ShanghaiBill (#47942515) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

I do wish it didn't involve reducing the size of their research operations.

Why? Microsoft has a long history of hiring many top researchers, and then doing very little with the results. It is much better for those researchers to be more productively employed elsewhere. The researchers will have little trouble finding new positions in Silicon Valley, where talent is in high demand.

Comment: Re:Wrong type of machine for Dremel (Score 1) 104

by ShanghaiBill (#47942193) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

I take it you've never actually used a 3-D printer?

I have used both 3D printers, and a Sherline table-top CNC. The amount of operator skill needed for CNC is far higher. You need to be able to plan and code the specific sequence of steps, the spindle speed, gear backlash etc. You need to know about cutting fluids, metallurgy, work hardening, when to use "climb" milling, etc. Even after ten years I still learn something new every time I talk to an experienced machinist.

Comment: Re:Spot on (Score 1) 155

by ShanghaiBill (#47941917) Attached to: Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

Because they sold the rights to sell those items with restrictions on competition (franchises called dealerships)

Baloney. Tesla never sold any franchise rights. Other recent entrants only established franchises because they were required to do so. It is reasonable to have laws regulating how franchises work, so small dealers don't get unfairly crushed after they build the market. It is not reasonable to require a manufacturer to establish dealer franchises.

Comment: Re:Finally, an honest Internet company (Score 1) 71

by ShanghaiBill (#47933957) Attached to: Airbnb To Start Collecting Hotel Tax On Rentals In San Francisco

Can we go ahead and explain to Uber and Lyft that they need taxi licenses and to pay their share or gtfo.

False analogy. AirBNB should pay the hotel tax, because the playing field should be level. But to rent a room, you just need to pay the tax. You don't need to spend a small fortune for a "hotel license". Taxis, on the other hand, are a racket based on enforced artificial scarcity.

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