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Comment Negativity and the Subconscious (Score 2) 247

The old motto "Don't be evil" has always bothered me because the phrasing encompasses two negative things. It is my understanding that the subconscious mind tends to ignore words like "don't", and only focus on the rest of any statement that includes it --which in this case would be a statement that is still a negative thing! So, the new motto "Do the right thing" is, in my view, a vast improvement over the old one. Sure, the subphrase "right thing" is open to interpretation, and we can be sure that sometime someone will choose a problematic interpretation, but for the most part it is quite a positive motto.

Comment A gap not normally considered (Score 1) 91

Each memory address is normally associated with 8 bits of data (not counting correction bits). But processors nowadays routinely consume 64 bits at a time. That means getting the data from 8 different addresses simultaneously. Things would be simpler if they put all those 64 bits at one address --if every single address had 64 bits of data associated with it. In the previous processor generation, gobbling 32 bits at a time meant accessing 4 different addresses simultaneously, and the total accessible address space of the processor was essentially 30 bits instead of 32 bits --while you were allowed to access 4 addresses starting at Address Zero, you were not allowed to access 4 addresses starting at Address One or Address Two or Address Three. It could have been allowed if every address had had 32 data-bits associated with it. With 64-bit processors today needing to access 8 addresses at a time, the total effective address space is 61 bits instead of 64 bits (still a huge number, I know). Anyway, my main reason for writing this is, wouldn't memory run slightly faster if it didn't have to access all the data from 8 addresses simultaneously, but instead just got 64 bits, nicely parallel from any one address?

Comment Re: Nostalgia is nice (Score 2) 124

Nostalgia is nice, but "retro" can accommodate it in a modern way. Like putting more efficient engines in a lighter-weight (composite fiber construction) look-alike, of the original Concorde. Building a modern look-alike might cost less (3D manufacturing for special parts) and be safer, too (no years of age and wear-and-tear on a new plane).

Comment Re:Evidence of error? (Score 1) 365

I think you are not noticing a fundamental point of physics. But before getting to that, a separate point needs to be addressed first. The Type III civilization uses the energy of its galaxy; it doesn't have to generate that much extra energy. Just like a Type II uses all the energy of its star; it doesn't need to be generating the equivalent of a star. One way to make a Type III is by filling a galaxy with Dyson Spheres. So, the only way to see that galaxy at all (besides stars not yet englobed) should be in the infrared or lower, not the visible/higher frequencies.
Now the physics point: Like extracting energy from a waterfall, higher-energy stellar photons can be used to do work, and leave the system as lower-energy photons. But the same total energy must leave as arrives. Else the "system" processing that energy-flow will get hotter and Type II or Type III civilization would overlook such an important thing, in creating Dyson Spheres around stars.

Comment Evidence of error? (Score 1) 365

According to the article linked in the news blurb, "encapsulating the energy of stars by so called Dyson spheres or swarms is one way to harness enormous energies" --the thing that bothers me is, nothing is described about how an advanced civilization using the total output of stars changes the measurable total output of stars. It makes sense to think that light-frequency-and-higher emissions would be reduced, while infrared emissions would be increased --something any appropriately-large dust cloud can do! It seems to me that we should want to analyze visibly dust-free-zones for excess infrared. And radio waves pass fairly well/equally through all dusty and non-dusty zones, which is why radio astronomy is popular, so...what am I missing?

Comment Re:Nonsense. (Score 4, Insightful) 403

"Knowledge is power." Every government understands that. In the USA, so many businesses also know it, that most of the population knows it. PLUS, just about everyone in the USA is also told, "Power corrupts", and how important it is for citizens to be aware of what government officials are doing. There need be no cynicism in simple logic!

Now, if the government could prove it has a way to possess knowledge without becoming corrupted by the power it represents, the situation might be different. Good luck with that!

Comment Re:Ignorance? (Score 1) 237

Yes, the food problem isn't entirely overpopulation-related. However, that's not the only problem mentioned on the page. You explained ONE in terms of it is caused by things outside of overpopulation, but what about all those other problems on the page? If you can't offer alternative explanations for all of them, then overpopulation is real.

Comment Re:Ignorance? (Score 4, Interesting) 237

There are two major types of ignorance, which we can call "passive" and "active".
Passive ignorance is the same as simply not-knowing something. Like, we are ignorant of whether or not there are any living organisms on Mars.
Active ignorance is the deliberate ignoring of facts. See the Flat Earth Society for an example of active ignorance, although there are plenty other offenders, like Creationists who claim the Earth is only a few thousand years old (so explain this), abortion opponents who claim the Earth isn't overpopulated (so explain this), etc.

Submission + - Persons, Exobiology, Dolphin Beings, and Humans (

VernonNemitz writes: On the assumption that many scientists are also nerds who read Slashdot, and knowing that scientists need precise and reliable definitions of words and phrases for accurate communications, I've written a blog article (you mean you haven't yet written one that has an alien-sex scene in it?) that identifies a couple of things that need to be fixed, and which is worthy of getting associated with the FireHose (a sexual thing associated with David Brin's solar-plasma aliens, right?), and might even be worthy of reaching the "front page" of Slashdot. You decide!

Comment Re:Efficiency (Score 1) 904

Steam cars lost out to gasoline engines because of the water problem --they couldn't build radiators good enough to condense all the water that had been turned to steam (after the steam had expanded in the engine). So they had to frequently fill a water tank, in addition to filling a fuel tank. Today, we might be able to build efficient-enough radiators, especially if we go the route of making only 20 HP steam engines in conjunction with something that allows rapid acceleration and storage of regenerative-braking energy, as described in prior posts. You make a 150 HP steam engine for a car even today, and you, too, will probably have to add water at regular intervals. And then there is the efficiency problem, in that car-sized steam engines are probably only/roughly 40% efficient (the steam engines in large power plants manage 50% efficiency partly because of size-scaling). Better things are available, for cars.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss