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Comment: NASA agrees (Score 5, Informative) 182 182

The bottom line direct from NASA is that there's a 12% chance every decade (or 72% chance every century if you do the math) of a direct hit from the sun. Such an event could send us back to the middle ages, or at least cause widespread destruction and panic (no water, electricity, transport, etc. for days, weeks, possibly months, and all or most computer circuitry, including SSDs (though not optical media) would be frazzled).

I'm going to temper that apocalyptic-looking premise with a quote from that NASA article which may provide a little... comfort.

The worst geomagnetic storm of the Space Age, which knocked out power across Quebec in March 1989, registered Dst=-600 nT. Modern estimates of Dst for the Carrington Event itself range from -800 nT to a staggering -1750 nT.

So, that's 'only' up to 3x as bad as an event that happened in 1989, and we seemed to have got through that okay (their power was cut for 11 hours apparently).

Maybe even NASA is over-reacting a bit on this then..... But like CO2 emissions, it's best not to take the chance. It is possible to protect the grid to a large extent if the world cared enough the risk. I think we're talking in the range of $billions of investment to save $trillions of damage when the inevitable happens (definitely a question of when, rather than if).

Comment: Re:Wipe your mouth, Slashdot (Score 4, Interesting) 216 216

You're right. People aren't appreciative *enough* of him.

Let's see. Creates the best car ever, creates rockets for fun and as insurance to potentially save humanity by going to Mars, going to create rockets at least half the price as competitors, and potentially 100x cheaper, wants to save the Earth from CO2 and is beginning to do it, amazing engineer, helped create Paypal (when it was good), open-sourced patents, envisaged design for hyperloop, building the largest battery factory ever made by an order of magnitude or more, wanted to originally research supercaps (great area to study!), cares about quality rather than just money. Put every last penny he had at his own cost in order to save Tesla and SpaceX. Speaks frankly during interviews.

No one like him.

Comment: A single unified OS (Score 1) 133 133

The computer OS is too important to be left to market forces and fickle managers.

There should be a worldwide effort to create a single free unified OS (with a metadata filesystem, and 100% scaleable GUI!) for everyone, which dumps the bloat and legacy code of old OSs (including Linux) and starts afresh. It won't happen now, or even soon, but sometime within the next 1000 years it is almost definite.

Such an OS won't drastically change over the years, but keep with a consistent theme (no flatland design!), only changing if a consortium of thousands of the brightest software engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and designers agree it's for the best. Everyone writes software for it, and there are no worries of cross-porting or compatibility issues. All software will be completely self-contained (no external libraries, or preference files scattered over the OS), and 32 bit would be a thing of the past. Searching for files and programs takes the OS less than 0.05 seconds in all cases.

I would dig that OS.

A commune is where people join together to share their lack of wealth. -- R. Stallman