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Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 92

by RockDoctor (#47520987) Attached to: UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life
Why are you expecting them to stop? That's a huge waste of fuel.

Like I said, put them into a ship with big enough storage to drop off a colony-forming ship every 10 generations - let them do the deceleration, mine your consumables, and re-supply the mothership. If that's happening every 10-20 generations, then you've got a release valve for your society (something that we don't have at the moment, but designing a society with release valves is one of the influences you can have across the millennia). And if (again, racing certainty) some of your would-be colonists get freaked by leaving the mothership behind, then the colonists have a release valve as they're establishing their society since there will be a re-supply mission accelerating back to the mothership next generation.

you've confirmed there's a hospitable panet (gravitational lens telescopes are your friend)

Short of manipulating a large (planetary mass?) lump of neutronium (which I'm not sure can exist), we don't have even a vague direction for such an object. And if we had to do that, we might well find it easier to go there (or send robots and relay stations) than to build such a telescope.

would you be happy if our lives today were bound to the vision of some ancient Roman emperor?

Some people seem to want to bind themselves to the pronouncements of some Roman carpenter, of whose existence we're by no means confident and whose diktats are based another half-millennium further back when (putative) his ancestors were slaves. At least we're pretty confident in the existence of the Roman emperors, even if some of them were as mad as a box of badgers. (I'm actually planning a walk along Hadrian's Wall - after that, I can securely attest to the existence of a Wall, with at least legion-marks referring to Hadrian ; after which, disbelieving in his existence would be perverse. In a generation ship, the existence of the ship, and it's constructors, would be hard to ignore.)

Like I said, that's why you build your society with (ir-)regular break points. Whether you have the ship travelling on a loop, or just driving straight(-ish) on for the horizon ... well that might be something that you re-assess every millennium or so. It would be another break point. Maybe you build into the design so that every 10 dropped-off colony ships, you can fission your mother ship into two and then continue to grow each on their chosen routes. Each generation would still need to be making choices, but equally each generation would be subject to constraints (as we are) which were imposed on us by ancestors only a (relatively) small number of generations ago. If you're an American, then almost certainly one of your ancestors chose to travel half-way around the world less than ten generations ago ; if you're not an American, then almost certainly several of your ancestors chose to NOT travel half-way around the world less than ten generations ago. How do you feel about those choices, whichever way they went?

Assuming 20-30 years per generation

Big assumption. The pressure to use medical developments and technologies to extend life is strong. On the assumption that the mammal body plan can't be pushed beyond 200 years, why would you go around doing momentous things like breeding before your 80s? Remember that for most of human history it was reasonably common to co-exist with your grandchildren, but seeing great-grandchildren was pretty rare. I'm trying to think of a mammal (or bird ; I don't know about reptiles or elasmobranchs at all, to cover the disparity of the vertebrates) that does routinely see it's great-grand offspring. If you wanted to change the generation ship people into a new species, that might be one of the most effective ways to do it - change life spans.

Comment: Re:Australis killed Firefox (Score 1) 167

by drinkypoo (#47520527) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

The fact that you didn't just means you weren't paying attention.

That's what I said. I wasn't paying attention, because I shouldn't have to pay attention to make sure they don't do something staggeringly stupid.

Enjoy Firefox while it lasts.

I enjoy it a lot less now with this buggy-ass patch to their hubristic fuckup.

Comment: Re:Australis killed Firefox (Score 1) 167

by drinkypoo (#47520493) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

Face it, you can insist all you want that you're right, and nobody wanted this, and that it was the fault of a couple of idiots, but if that's the case then everyone yelling about this now are the real idiots for letting it happen.

Everything you said is stupid, but you're also a coward so shock, amazement. I didn't hear about it until it was happening, and I shouldn't have to ride herd on the devs to make sure they don't inexplicably waste a bunch of screen real estate and castrate the interface. It should be obvious that's a stupid idea.

Comment: Re:Advanced? (Score 1) 58

by drinkypoo (#47520445) Attached to: Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

Pollution is highly specific to the existence of given technology at a given stage of development.

And as a corollary, a civilization which spends too much time at any given stage is going to collapse again when it uses up its ready resources, and/or renders its biosphere uninhabitable. If we had used up all the trees, for example, on the planet. Many civilizations did deforest astoundingly large areas even before the invention of power equipment. If we had used up all the ready ores without inventing power equipment. If we use up all the fossil fuels without figuring out what to do about the CO2.

Comment: Re:Analogies are poor... (Score 1) 243

by drinkypoo (#47520179) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

My point was that in MS world, you don't have a compiler until you get the SDK (which most people don't even know exists), and most think you only get a compiler through visual studio, whereas in linux it is commonly already there or a 'yum install gcc' or 'apt-get install gcc' away.

If you google for programming for windows, visual studio download is going to be one of your top hits. It's not like this is any different in Linuxland, but that's my point. It's still just a download away. On the other hand, it sounds to me like you're complaining that Windows package management is shit. Obviously, Microsoft should make it possible for you to install package from repos. Oh wait, that's what they're doing now.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 170

by drinkypoo (#47520147) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

So, to give people their "bad car analogy" it's like selling an International DT466 engine in a school bus, a semi tractor, a very large pickup truck, a combine, and a tractor.

The thing is that the DT466, the T444, and even the IDI engines (e.g. A185) were all used successfully in all of those contexts, and people even swap DT466s into 3/4 ton pickups (let alone those other engines.) But shoehorning full Windows onto a handheld would be more like putting one of those engines into a roadster.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 170

by drinkypoo (#47520135) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Here's a real life car analogy... GM in the 80's "unified" all their drivetrains.

It wasn't just GM. Everyone who hadn't already done this (that is, everyone but the Japanese) did this in the 1980s. It is in fact the general trend for all automakers. VW Group exemplifies this tendency today. The 350 chevy continued to be a highly desirable powerplant for pretty much all purposes right through the 1980s, and up until they developed its successor, the LS1.

GM cars from the 80's are considered to be the worst built and least desirable of the company's history. You don't see any of those models still driving around with classic plates on them.

That has nothing to do with the engines, which for the most part were the same engines from the prior decade, and everything to do with American producers trying to compete on cost with the Japanese.

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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Four

Journal by mcgrew

An alarm woke me up at quarter to seven and for once I didn't mind a bit, and in fact I was glad it woke me up. I was in the middle of a really weird dream. A herd of cows was stampeding towards me, only they were running on their hind legs and somehow carrying big butcher knives in their front hooves, all singing a Chartov song while coming at me. Too many westerns, I guess.
It was engine seventeen, somethin

Comment: Re:On fundamentalists (Score 1) 11

by Marxist Hacker 42 (#47518367) Attached to: Chronicle: New girl on the block oddity.

The cursing thing *might* have come from a bit of reverse semitic paranoia. In some far out fundamentalist theologies- Jews are actually revered and considered *closer* to God than Christians ( a strict literal interpretation of the events of the Pentateuch).

Oddly enough, I've noticed this in non-fundamentalist forms of Christianity as well, especially my own Catholicism. There is a reason why Pope Benedict XVI forbade the sacred name from being spoken in Mass, out of respect for our older brethren, and why a good deal of 20th and 21st century theology has been devoted to the consideration of Christianity as a sect of Judaism.

Comment: Re:On fundamentalists (Score 1) 11

by Marxist Hacker 42 (#47518303) Attached to: Chronicle: New girl on the block oddity.

Had a girl who acted like this in my wife's daycare. One day, due to misbehaving, I put her in what we call a "Daddy time out", which is one of the more serious corrective actions we take (spanking's not allowed in our state, and you can even get your own kid taken away). Instead of sitting with me on the couch, she spent the whole four minutes (a minute per year of age) standing ramrod straight, as if I was about to do something to her.

I found out later she had been abused, and her mother had converted to fundamentalist Xianity to get her some free counseling. Due to my Daddy Time Out and her reaction to it, she was removed from the daycare soon after, presumably to one run only by women.

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 92

by RockDoctor (#47517499) Attached to: UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life

Of course, I suppose after generations on a world-ship it's quite possible that not everyone would want to settle down.

I'd say that's a racing certainty. It's not a trope I've seen exercised much in SF (a notable exception being "Building Harlequin's Moon" by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. The necessity for a mutli-generational approach would tend to cramp things like character development (BHM spans a period IIRC of some 60,000 years, as the colony ship has to lay over to carry out repairs, and in the process need to, erm, build a moon. In orbit around "Harlequin." (Niven is Old School SF.)

There are interesting things to think about in such a situation and a mission. Including, particularly, how do you man a mission that is going to be profoundly multigenerational. How do you know you're going to be able to motivate the 79th generation after launch?

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 92

by RockDoctor (#47517329) Attached to: UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life
Those strong magnetic fields would, indeed, change the energies of electron orbitals (indeed, of proton orbitals inside complex nuclei too), but they'd do so in accord with the laws of physics. That would (probably ; IANA quantum mechanical chemist) change the laws of chemistry to be different to those that apply in lower magnetic fields (and lower field gradients too). However the underlying laws of physics will still be the same.

There's a very definite hierarchy of precision and strength of lawfulness in the sciences. If we accept economics as being a science (the dismal science), then it's "laws" are much looser than the laws of biology. (I was reading a paper last night on the laws of social evolution of non-breeding behaviour, couched in terms of probability of various outcomes, and the consequent effects on probably descendent count for each member of the population ; those laws were couched very much in economic terms, of calculating probabilities.) The laws of biology are much stricter ; egg plus egg does not make a fertilized egg ; 23 chromosomes plus 24 chromosomes makes for a pretty fucked-up organism, if it's viable at all ; oxygen metabolic enzymes plus sulphide (or hydrosulphide) ion makes for a broken or non-functional enzyme molecule. The laws of chemistry underlie the laws of biology and are considerably stricter ; in aqueous solution, silver ions plus chloride ions precipitates silver chloride if the solubility product of AgCl is exceeded (assuming no thiosulphate ion in solution) ; argon reacts with fewer elements than xenon, and forms less stable compounds ; silver chloride has the sodium chloride structure at NTP. The laws of chemistry themselves are founded on the laws of physics - those precipitations and crystal structures are basically the result of electrostatic interactions (as are the more subtle interactions of quantum mechanics in forming covalent bonds) ; when people talk about "unknown new laws of physics that will give us FTL travel, I invite them to jump out of a tall building and try to argue for an exemption from the laws of gravity.

In your example, the changes to the emergent laws of chemistry result from adherence to the more fundamental laws of physics.

If you can drag up a few string theorists, I can bring some mathematical philosophers ; we can throw them into a pit and let them fight it out to see if physics or maths is more fundamental to the universe. I'm not a great fan of either marshmallows, or popcorn, but I can bring a barbie and some great venison burgers.

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