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Comment: First 5 billion (Score 1) 305

by ZombieBraintrust (#48452205) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

Things are even bleaker in other galaxies, the researchers report. Compared with the Milky Way, most galaxies are small and low in metallicity. As a result, 90% of them should have too many long gamma ray bursts to sustain life, they argue. What’s more, for about 5 billion years after the big bang, all galaxies were like that, so long gamma ray bursts would have made life impossible anywhere.

Wouldn't that also imply that for the first 5 billion years planets in general would be low in metal? So you would have very few planets without iron cores and similer density as Earth. There would be a different chemical mix in most of the universe.

Comment: Halting Problem (Score 2) 332

that a general algorithm to solve the halting problem for all possible program-input pairs cannot exist

The article misunderstands the halting problem. You could replace robots with humans and murder with any descision involing other people and come to the same conclusion. AI does not try to create perfect solutions. Instead you try to create solutions that work most of the time. Approaches that can evolve with trail and error. Ethically you weigh the positive benifits of success against the negative consequences of your failures.

Comment: Interesting (Score 5, Insightful) 120

by ZombieBraintrust (#48380687) Attached to: No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules
Basically it works like this.
1) Amy has a contract to wash Bob's car for $100 month.
2) Carl sues Bob for murdering his dog.
3) The courts can not give Carl a contract with Amy. The courts can only award Carl with property and money taken from Bob.
Basically the courts can't force Amy to work with Carl. They can't force ICANN to work with the plantiffs.

Comment: Re:It's simple if you understand the law... (Score 1) 260

Sure utility patent for the functional part and design patents for the ornamental part. The structure, sequence, and organization of the API is ornamental. The implementation of an API method is functional. You can get copyright on the implementation of the API because the implementation is an expression of the API. The API being a method of operation for the software it is excluded from copyright. (in order to allow multiple expressions of the API)

Comment: Re:It's simple if you understand the law... (Score 1) 260

Any author may explain the truths of a science or the methods of an art that are the property of the entire world and get a copyright in the work. That copyright, however, does not extend to the method or use of the system described. A system is simply not subject to copyright protection. To protect a system, the author would have to apply for a patent and meet the patent requirements.

This is where the method of operation language comes from in the EFF document. They are arguing that that API is a method of using the system.(java) They are arguing that you can't protect java by copyrighting the API. That it should be protected with patents instead.

Comment: Re:It's simple if you understand the law... (Score 1) 260

The idea–expression divide differentiates between ideas and expression, and states that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the ideas themselves.

This came about in a court case where someone tried to copyright a book keeping form they invented. They were attempting to get copyright on the form because they failed to get a patent on it. The inventor carefully thought out how the book keeping form should look like. It was not a mere arrangement of facts or information. The courts rejected this argument. They did not want useful inventions covered by copyright when congress intended for them to be covered by patents. In 1975 congress updated the law to match what the Supreme court ruled.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham