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Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 1) 230

by ultranova (#49199519) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

When they start comparing reality to sci-fi apocalypse movies then there is a problem.

And yet the ability to tell stories - to take a premise and run a mental simulation to see the consequences - is what allows you to plan your actions. Even your ability to walk depends on it. There's no difference in principle between "if I cross the street without looking both ways, I might get run over by a car" and "if I build autonomous weapons, they might turn on me". Heck, the case could be made that all the fictitious stories about a nuclear apocalypse is what kept it from happening, since they made sure no one was the least bit uncertain about the results.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49199357) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Right, and when it comes to power generation deaths are the only metric that matters.

Well, don't keep us in suspense: what are these important metrics we should sacrifice human lives to improve?

Well, what metrics do you think make driving worth while at the expense of human lives? If deaths were the only metric cars would be banned.

...You know, it's okay to admit you didn't think your post through. You don't have to fight every debate to the bitter end if you don't have anything sensible to say. And when the subject actually has effects on the real world, perverting logic to "win" is immoral or even outright evil.

Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 5, Informative) 230

by operagost (#49196063) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

Or he wrote that in the hopes of getting laid.

Probably. In any case, several female scientists were directly involved in the Manhattan Project, so... false. And of course, my favorite genius starlet, Hedy Lamarr, invented a frequency hopping wireless technology for torpedo guidance (which was, naturally, rejected but not because she was female). I guess women just aren't big on gunpowder firearms.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49190735) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

The engineers should have put the brakes to any construction efforts taking place in those locations, based on that fact alone.

They can't. The spirit of the organization employing them does not let them. Their role is to implement the decisions of the leadership and rationalize them. Conforming to their role earns them social capital, and going against costs it. And they can't possibly earn that capital fast enough to pay for keeping a plant blocked for long.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49189779) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Coal with CCS is about the same price.

CCS - Carbon Capture and Sequestration? I wonder if you could drive the price down by keeping the carbon dioxide gaseous and feeding it to nearby greenhouses - possibly through a simple pipe. Heck, if you used the greenhouse products as biofuel in the plant you could create a completely closed loop :).

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 2, Insightful) 379

by ultranova (#49189665) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Which other energy sources?

Ones that will keep my computer running even if it happens to be cloudy and calm and my neighbour decides to use a vacuum cleaner.

Wind, solar PV,

Bit players unless there's a near-miraculous breakthrough in battery technology. At which point solar will require lots of land area and wind will likely have unintended side effects - it's removing energy from the weather system, after all - which means endless rounds of complaints.

solar thermal,

Workable, but requires massive plants. Those are not going to happen - someone will always complain.

wave, tidal,

Lots of promises, few deliveries. And again, these will have massive ecological implications even when working properly.


Unworkable at current drilling technology.


Basically solar power with lots of added inefficiencies. Bonus points for having potential to cause famines if it comes down to feeding the poor or feeding your car.

Comment: Re:Worthless Study (Score 1) 250

by readin (#49186659) Attached to: Racial Discrimination Affects Virtual Reality Characters Too
It sounds to me like this was a test to confirm that the technique gives similar results to what has been shown before. Being able to use computer games to test this stuff makes all kinds of variations cheap and easy to test. Want to see what other colors matter? Want to see if a different position, different lighting, different clothes, etc. matter? A few strokes on the keyboard and you have a new test with all the other factors unchanged. Want volunteers? The game can be distributed world-wide by the internet.

But suppose you go to the department head and ask for a lot of time and money to recruit people all over the world and run a lot of different variations and it turns out that the racism seen in other tests doesn't show up in the computer game at all. You've wasted time and money. So you start small with the people around you, who just happen to be white Italians. You get the response you expect and you've shown your technique is valid.

I'm pretty sick of PC stuff but I don't see this research as necessarily racist or anti-white. I see it as the beginning stage of a work in progress and as something valuable because it demonstrated the usefulness of a new technique.

What I see as potentially racist and anti-white is Slashdot's trumpeting of this incomplete work.

Comment: Re:And still (Score 1) 135

by readin (#49186607) Attached to: NASA Ames Reproduces the Building Blocks of Life In Laboratory

SETI found nothing .. Maybe an alien civilization is in it's dark ages .. couple of hundred years away from inventing the radio.

That is a very real possibility. Or maybe the aliens aren't civilized or even intelligent. Or maybe they're in one of the trillions upon trillions of places SETI hasn't had a chance to look yet. Or maybe they're using transmission frequencies SETI isn't checking, or the transmissions have been wave shifted out of SETI's range. Or perhaps SETI just didn't recognize the signals received.

The fact that SETI has found nothing tells us practically nothing about whether there is life out there. God may have created life (directly or indirectly) all over the universe. We don't have enough knowledge to say for certain yet.

Comment: Re:Easier to Analyze or Change == More Maintainabl (Score 1) 245

by readin (#49186569) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

But I've certainly had cases where I needed to copy and paste a few lines of code maybe even 100 times and then tweak each instance to put in the data values or validations I want.

This leads to bugs where a tweak gets missed in one of the copies (copy, paste, do tweak 1, interruption!, forget tweak 2). It also causes maintenance problems when the person coding a bug fix doesn't know there are a bunch of other places that need to be fixed.

You're right that forgetting to do the tweak can be a problem. But as for not knowing there are a bunch of other places that need fixing, I guess I wasn't clear enough. The repetition gets centralized in a single file so that you can look over all the locations at once.

Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 1) 326

by ultranova (#49185937) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

I think the premise is still quite doable, especially if there were some condition on Earth which prevented agricultural production from reaching its current capacity.

Anything that would leave spaceflight-capable civilization standing would also leave Earth better suited for food production than the Moon. It's an absurd premise, and any attempt to justify it with actual logistics will simply draw attention to it. Just imply the situation is due to "corruption" and leave the details to the imagination of the audience.

Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.