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Comment: Could be worse (Score 3, Insightful) 118

by aprentic (#47482737) Attached to: Preparing For Satellite Defense

The US has military satellites for a reason.
Given that the US has a reputation for invading countries they don't like it only makes sense to defend against them and there are several potential strategies for doing so.
I feel much better about China going the defensive route (get ready to blow up the satellites) rather than the MAD route (start stockpiling nukes).

Comment: Filling Needs (Score 2) 31

by aprentic (#47069865) Attached to: CERN's Particle Smashers List Their Toughest Tech Challenges

I love seeing documents like this.
A lot of cool stuff gets built because someone has a need for it.
My current employer (cloudant.com) got started the same way. A couple of LHC researchers couldn't get the data storage throughput levels they needed with existing solutions so they built a new one.
I'm sure if you look around you can find tons of stuff that comes from papers like this.

Comment: Planning (Score 1) 892

by aprentic (#39114289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would Real Space Combat Look Like?

Space war would probably involve less bang and more planning.
If you had a problem with an other planet/colony/civilization you would start your attack well before the shooting starts.
Maybe you would introduce some sort of nanite or pathogen that activates on command. Then, when your negotiations go to hell you send the signal and, poof, the guys who would have pushed the buttons just fall over.

Comment: Re:I loathe this invitation 'nonsense' (Score 1) 62

by aprentic (#36095524) Attached to: Google Storage Is Now Available To All Developers

"Economist: To limit supply and create more demand for the product"
This might be why a marketing guy would do it but an economist would probably disagree.
A firm should not be able to affect demand by limiting supply. At best they can affect the price and quantity demanded, and that's only if it's a monopoly good.
Demand is a function of consumer choice. If you imagine the econ 101 supply-demand picture it's the convex, downward sloping curve.
If a single manufacturer of a commodity good reduces supply the marginal increase in price should incentivize other manufacturers to supply more. Now a monopoly supplier can reduce supply to maximize their profits but that's only because they move the price-supply point farther to the left (up) of the demand curve.
Caveat: This is the basic supply-demand model. It does not take into account things like luxury goods (which have demand curves with upward sloping portions) or more advanced models that start throwing in all kinds of other factors and interactions.

Comment: Re:I loathe this invitation 'nonsense' (Score 1) 62

by aprentic (#36095494) Attached to: Google Storage Is Now Available To All Developers

"Economist: To limit supply and create more demand for the product"
The might be why a marketing guy would do it but an economist would probably disagree.
A firm should not be able to affect demand by limiting supply. At best they can affect the price and quantity demanded, and that's only if it's a monopoly good.
Demand is a function of consumer choice. If you imagine the econ 101 supply-demand picture it's the convex, downward sloping curve.
If a single manufacturer of a commodity good reduces supply the marginal increase in price should incentivize other manufacturers to supply more. Now a monopoly supplier can reduce supply to maximize their profits but that's only because they move the price-supply point farther to the left (up) of the demand curve.
Caveat: This is the basic supply-demand model. It does not take into account things like luxury goods (which have demand curves with upward sloping portions) or more advanced models that start throwing in all kinds of other factors and interactions.

Comment: Re:Philosophical Question (Score 1) 1486

by aprentic (#35796280) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

So you acknowledge that you have no proof to fight solipsism yet you insist that rejecting it is not an act of faith. You claim that the probability of existence of a Matrix scenario is negligible (and I agree) but can you provide scientific evidence of it? Can you even postulate a testable value for this probability?
You are angry at me for assaulting science but I have done no such thing. I practice a science in my day to day life because I have faith that my senses reflect reality. I just don't pretend my faith in science is anything other than faith.
Maybe it is a misunderstanding. What is the difference between Faith and taking some faith? As I see it either way I end up believing something that I can't prove.

Comment: Re:Philosophical Question (Score 1) 1486

by aprentic (#35793756) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

That's what I'm trying to say. If there is an underlying reality we can't (or at least haven't) proven it. However we assume it exists in some form and that it influences our perceptions.
Take statistics for example. It is quite common to take some sample and test it for mean and standard deviation. However when most people test for these things they assume that the underlying distribution is normally distributed.

Comment: Re:Philosophical Question (Score 1) 1486

by aprentic (#35793586) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

I see what you're saying but my point is that the faith element is actually fairly important. How many people would bother with the enormous effort involved in science if they didn't think it enlightened us about some underlying reality. Even if that reality is as vague as "If I see something happen many times under certain conditions, it will probably happen again."

Comment: Re:Philosophical Question (Score 1) 1486

by aprentic (#35766964) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

If we're dreaming science is much less useful.
I've had many dreams where there is little consistency of natural law. I can fly one moment and then I start falling the next. Any model of the universe I can come up with can be invalid the next second. And when I wake up they all go out the window.
And that's only if I know I'm dreaming. If I don't even know that then I have no reason to believe that my models will have any meaning at all.

Comment: Re:Philosophical Question (Score 1) 1486

by aprentic (#35756292) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

This very question was addressed by Plato and later St. Augustine. More recently it has been addressed in "the Matrix", albeit a little less rigorously. If your attitude is that you don't care about any certainty of knowledge or understanding of fundamental reality that's fine. But you aren't engaging in science .

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats

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