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Comment: Re:Not the way to economical fusion power generati (Score 1) 109

by Yergle143 (#46341537) Attached to: New Review Slams Fusion Project's Management

I loved that propaganda. However having followed fusion progress across my entire lifetime I think it utterly dubious that it will ever be an economically competitive power source -- on earth.
We should become an electric civilization. The answer is wind wave solar and nuke (yes to Th -- why not).
However what I wish we could do is stop the pretense of affordability and build towards bold understanding of principles. This machine is vastly expensive and we should do it anyway not only for the sheer thrill of it all but to consider that we might want to make use of this technology some other way.
Callisto is a cold place for example. ConEd doesn't have a cable.

Comment: Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (Score 1) 116

by Yergle143 (#46260387) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

The massive media attendance at Comic Con indicates that producing Sci Fi (and I do use the term loosely) is almost the sole occupation of the entire movie, TV, game, and publishing industry. Try going to your local multiplex and not have to choose science fiction as some thematic component. Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

Implied in the Kickstarter funding concept is that somehow the hard core genre fanbase would do a better job of bringing (or reanimating) some much beloved work or franchise. This ignores the role of producers, hard working key grips and this thing called professional actors. It also ignores this thing called accountability. Believe it or not, if something is good, it's good for just about everybody. Being terrified of being cancelled can bring out the best in a work.

Many recent well-deserved box office bombs are the result of betting on the hard core allegiance to marginal sci fi classics. "Ender's Game", "John Carter" etc...without realizing that it's more important to just make a good movie.

I use the term sci fi loosely. Of the REAL uncut stuff all you need are the pulp magazines, cover by Michael Whelan and this undeveloped resource called your imagination. Crowdfunding could really help with the marginal economics of magazine publishing. Who the heck wants to WATCH a bunch of space academics debate how to run a foundation.

Comment: Re:What is Life (Score 1) 185

by Yergle143 (#46062737) Attached to: A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

This "Star Trek Universe" (Transpermination/DNA everywhere/Vulcan hybrids) view doesn't really account for the fact that there is ample evidence of the entire ploddingly long evolutionary history here on earth. For example, there was a very long period of time (from 2.8 billion years ago till 300 million years ago) where the primitive cyanobacteria were the major photosynthetic organism. If life arrived from above it must have been really primitive. Think of it, evolutionary progress could have been expedited 4 billion years with one fishtank's worth of eukaryotes, a can of grass seeds and nematodes.
It's possible that there were plenty of blown up planets in the genesis star cluster, but it really just punts off the issue which is still chemistry.

Comment: Re:What is Life (Score 1) 185

by Yergle143 (#46058485) Attached to: A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

This is undoubtedly true and may be the reason there is something completely missing our understanding of primordial biology. I've always wondered why it took so long for macrocellular life to evolve. To me once you've got the something as bewilderingly complex as the ribosome, connecting a glob of cells up to become a tree should be easy, but this isn't the case. 3 billion years to make a tree.
Life appears early, but why not twice?

Comment: Re:What is Life (Score 1) 185

by Yergle143 (#46058349) Attached to: A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Right. Microbiologists see lots of funny things under a microscope. Since the tools used to characterize little creatures make assumptions (DNA specific stains, PCR) who's to say that there is not something we might have missed? I want to do this. But up to now, no organism has been observed to deviate from the main stem (common chemical library) of life.

Comment: What is Life (Score 4, Interesting) 185

by Yergle143 (#46057343) Attached to: A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Physicists sometimes have it easy. This kind of thing is akin that old joke about treating a cow like a sphere.
Look with the chemical origin of life, that it was governed by physics is not in debate.
What matters are the details, what came first; RNA world, life on a metallic surface, or some thing else?
I have this to toss at so-called astrobiologists who claim that life is spontaneous and easy.
If it is so easy why is there only one kind of life -- 20 amino acids, 4 DNA/RNA bases? To a bio organic chemist the "selection" of this chemical code is arbitrary. Why do we not live in an ecosystem with a shadow "alternative" biosphere? After all life existed for 3 billion years on this planet before even becoming multi-cellular. Plenty of time for chemical weirdos to develop a four base genetic code templating for D chirality beta amino acid chains with side chains made of silicon.
Step off physicists, this field belongs to chemists.

Comment: Dont bank on it yet -- GSK did (Score 1) 34

by Yergle143 (#45749701) Attached to: Scientists Reverse Muscle Aging In Mice

The lead author, David Sinclair, has pursued some very interesting hypothesis. This work dovetails into his findings about resveratrol. The trouble is that there has been a mixed record, to say the least, in others (Amgen and Pfizer) reproducing his work:
Still you never know, so I'm mixing up a nice resveratrol NAD+ cocktail.

Comment: Re:Disciplined Minds in a Big Crunch (Score 1) 308

by Yergle143 (#45627659) Attached to: Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

This thread has to do with Physics. I have a graph I keep around showing how federal funds have been allocated to research by discipline over time. We've been in an age of biology since the late 1970's. But, the same pressures and day of reckoning are at hand. The trouble with physics is, of course, it did its job too well. All the "practical" problems were "solved" ages ago and got spun off to engineering. So too is it with biology research. Eventually the public, and political funders, will wake up and realize there's been almost no advances in say cancer outcome (word chosen carefully) in decades. The basic monies will dry up.

And by the way, the postdoc system should be decried as what it is, a legal system of cross national bondage, and abolished. It should be replaced by a system of contract research, the salaries made competitive with the market, and about half the Ph.D. programs in the country shut down.

Even black holes eventually end.

Comment: Old Codger Reveals All (Score 5, Insightful) 617

by Yergle143 (#44851071) Attached to: How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

You reap what you sow...and what the record companies sowed were generations of unsophisticated listeners that don't know the difference between the popular artists and their next door neighbor and his robot. Musicianship, composition, pshaw. Drum machines and stored samples.
I don't care at all, there's plenty of vibrant and new alternative music -- that being jazz and classical and what's out in the World. Just look.

Comment: Last of the old ones (Score 1) 57

by Yergle143 (#44747099) Attached to: Sci-Fi Great Frederik Pohl Passes Away At 93

Golden Ages end. With Pohl it was his skills as an editor. Pick up any issue of Galaxy Magazine in the 60's and you'll be drawn into how well the thing is put together; and how good the writing is. If you like the Sci Fi genre there really is (current tense intended) no better way to read compelling and idea laden works from new and old writers. And like others from the era, his own novels became interesting rather late. "Gateway" is pretty good. The tropes are compelling. But again, Golden ages end.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182