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Comment Build colonies on Earth (Score 1) 256 256

It always struck me as kind of crazy that anybody talks about building colonies on Mars, the moon, Venus, or anywhere off-world. I like sci-fi as much as the next guy, but the fact of the matter is that we already have a planet with suitable gravity, and breathable air.

We're not even close to using up all of the available space on this planet. Why would we build on Mars when we have Antarctica? Why build on Venus when we have giant empty deserts in Nevada?

On Earth, a cracked window doesn't mean that everybody will suffocate or be pulled apart by a vacuum. Plus, it comes with plenty of raw materials and suitable gravity.

No matter how bad Earth gets pollution-wise, I just can't see off-world colonies as realistic until we use up the land we already have.

leak in your bio-dome doesn't

Comment Re: Lifestyle (Score 1) 332 332

Citations? Here're mine:

USA uses about 1500 m3/capita/year, which is similar to New Zealand (1200 m3/capita/year) and Canada (1400 m3/capita/year). Compare with California alone, we're at 178 gallons/capita/day which is 245 m3/capita/year. That's lower than most countries.

I'm (reasonably) sure that number the 178 gallons/person/day figure is the "urban" per-capita, not the per-capita of the entire state.

The state's per-capita water use is more like 1390 gallons/person/day.

Comment Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 2) 224 224

So you disagree with the patent system, but yet you have some software patents and you want to try to wield them to extract extra money from a potential employer.

It doesn't actually sound like you disagree with the patent system at all.

If you want to do the ethically right thing, don't buy yourself in any deeper. Don't bring them up to your employer, and don't try to charge them extra money when you write code for them that uses the math concepts that you've hoarded for yourself.

Comment Re:Does Minix have much real-time capability? (Score 4, Informative) 93 93

VxWorks?

VxWorks is a great product. It's also waaaayyy outside of the price range of a hobbyist developer. Getting up and running with the VxWorks suite of tools can easily cost 20k (USD), and the recurring license fees are pretty significant as well. I would also bet that auditing the VxWorks source code (or trying to get custom patches in) would cost significantly more.

Comment Does Minix have much real-time capability? (Score 5, Insightful) 93 93

As an embedded-systems guy, I'd _love_ to have a Unix-like where I could schedule events that were guaranteed-by-design to fire within some deadline of when they were scheduled. Then I could host my once-per-kHz hardware service routines on the same processor that was also running my device's web-server.

Minix's microkernel architecture seems like an ideal fit for that kind of use case. If there are any Minix devs reading this thread, how easy would it be for me to make a system like that using Minix?

Comment How broad the results must be (Score 1) 69 69

Assuming an average child-bearing age of 20, 1000 years back would span 50 generations. 50 generations of parentage is well over 1 billion people. How could anybody in the modern world's lineage possibly be traced back to one (or even 4) location?

Government

GCHQ and NSA Targeted World Leaders, Private German Companies 145 145

Advocatus Diaboli sends this news from Der Spiegel: "Documents show that Britain's GCHQ intelligence service infiltrated German Internet firms and America's NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany and collected information about the chancellor in a special database. Is it time for the country to open a formal espionage investigation? ... A secret NSA document dealing with high-ranking targets has provided further indications that Merkel was a target. The document is a presentation from the NSA's Center for Content Extraction, whose multiple tasks include the automated analysis of all types of text data. The lists appear to contain 122 country leaders. Twelve names are listed as an example, including Merkel's."
Programming

Wolfram Language Demo Impresses 216 216

theodp writes "The devil will be in the details, but if you were stoked about last November's announcement of the Wolfram programming language, you'll be pleased to know that a just-released dry-but-insanely-great demo delivered by Stephen Wolfram does not disappoint. Even if you're not in love with the syntax or are a FOSS devotee, you'll find it hard not to be impressed by Wolfram's 4-line solution to a traveling salesman tour of the capitals of Western Europe, 6-line camera-capture-to-image-manipulation demo, or 2-line web crawling and data visualization example. And that's just for starters. So, start your Raspberry Pi engines, kids!"

Comment Only under the right circumstances (Score 1) 192 192

I would completely support Google Glass on police if (and only if) there are penalties to the participating police departments for 'accidentally' losing the footage or having a 'malfunction'. These two things both sem to happen at a shocking rate whenever a policeman is accused of misconduct.

Comment Jefferson (Score 3, Interesting) 489 489

No comment on whether or not the state of Jefferson would ever be able to support itself without the rest of California, but Tim Draper didn't pull that particular state out of the ether. I have some parents that used to live up in North State, and the hill folk there love the idea of Jefferson.

They even have a website: http://www.jeffersonstate.com/

China

Multidrug Resistance Gene Released By Chinese Wastewater Treatment Plants 111 111

MTorrice writes "In recent years, increasing numbers of patients worldwide have contracted severe bacterial infections that are untreatable by most available antibiotics. Some of the gravest of these infections are caused by bacteria carrying genes that confer resistance to a broad class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, many of which are treatments of last resort. Now a research team reports that some wastewater treatment plants in China discharge one of these potent resistance genes into the environment. Environmental and public health experts worry that this discharge could promote the spread of resistance."

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