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Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by egarland (#47222413) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

I thought that evidence was pointing to us being the product of about 9.5 billion years of evolution. Given that we live on a 4.5 billion year old world, life would have had to survive some sort of space-gap before getting to earth.

If sentient life takes 9.5 billion years to evolve, and the universe is only 13.5 billion years old, life would have had to start evolving relatively fast for it to get this far. The earlier you go in the universe's history, the more rare planets become. Even more rare would be a planet orbiting a star hot enough to fuel life, but also in continuous operation for that long. If it really does take 9.5 billion years for life to reach this level of complexity, and in our case it survived the destruction of a planet to spread to a new one, then the Fermi paradox all-but disappears and likelihood that sentient life is currently extremely rare, or even unique to our planet increases dramatically.

Comment: Thats a good name (Score 5, Insightful) 568

Global warming was always a terrible name because the imagery was all wrong.

Global climate change is more accurate, but still nebulous.

Climate disruption evokes a more accurate picture of what seems to be happening. I personally liked the name "Santa's revenge" from this winter's breakdown of the polar vortex. Melt the north pole, and you'll all get a taste of the cold!

Comment: We made it through the great filter. (Score 1) 608

by egarland (#46842189) Attached to: Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?
The universe is 14 billion years old. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Extrapolation shows that life has likely been evolving for about 9 billion years. We also know that very shortly (in geologic terms) after water arrived on our planet, green slime started spreading. I thought the current dominant theory was that life's origins are extraterrestrial and that somehow it jumped from wherever it started through space to a newly formed earth. If life traveled here aboard the shattered remains of the planet it evolved on, this would seem to indicate that we are the descendants of an extremely unlikely chain of events, which might make us the only life to have survived this long.

Comment: Re:Anything built before 2001 (Score 5, Insightful) 702

by egarland (#46789525) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

We always get a false impression of the reliability and quality of old stuff, because the stuff that sucked and broke got thrown out years ago, and the only things that we still encounter are the ones that were well made. It's true with old houses, old cars, old furniture, pretty much everything. I'm sure there's a law for this phenomenon with some pompous dude's name on it but it's a well established and discussed phenomenon.

Comment: Re:Technology does not destroy jobs.. (Score 1) 581

by egarland (#46726179) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

> Jobs are determined by us wanting to do things.

The desire, *and* the resources. I may want an indoor pool, but if I can't afford it, and neither can anyone else, there's no indoor pool market.

That's why an economy that's constantly drained of its money, withers. Once we fix the forces draining ours, employment won't be the issue it is today. That's why I love Ratigan's classic rant: He outlines the problem well. Not perfectly, but well.

Comment: Good idea. (Score 1) 273

by egarland (#46661613) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

This idea is basically a super-simple hashing algorithm, which are commonly used to turn big hard problems into smaller easier ones.

I see no arguments against this guy's ideas, just ad-hominem attacks and people being insulted that someone try and come up with new solutions to old problems. Don't be that guy. If it won't work, explain why.

Comment: Misleading title... (Score 5, Informative) 641

by egarland (#46661391) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

"I'm not accepting any patches until you fix your bugs" is hardly suspending someone, it's re-focusing them. This is an important part in any software project, and Linus is doing it well here. There's no ambiguity or hyperbole, just straightforward communication identifying issues and prompting action to correct them.

"Start fixing your shit" isn't even remotely the same thing as "stop doing things".

Comment: Re:Videos unavailable on devices; Hulu for free (Score 1) 180

by egarland (#46648769) Attached to: Amazon Launches Android-Powered 'Fire TV' For Streaming and Gaming

I have a full Windows 7 PC hooked up to my TV and the embarrassing thing is that the PC is quite bad at playing video. Almost no media players adjust the output's timing to match the video being played which leads to tearing and stuttering when playing video where the frame rate doesn't match the default refresh rate on your monitor. You find yourself either constantly manually tuning refresh rates, or living with broken inferior video output. The only player I've found that handles this issue properly is the one in Plex Home Theater.

Another thing which is rather silly is that it can't act as a Chromecast server, even though it has chrome, a network connection, and a massive cpu and ram. This seems like something that it would be relatively trivial for Google to create, and would make chromecasting much more convenient because I would reduce the number of times I have to switch inputs to get chromecasting to work.

I've gotten x-box 360 controllers and setup emulators. I've done quite a bit of messing around, and in the end I've found the PC to be quite bad at being a TV media device.

I like the idea of Android rebuilt to be controlled from a remote and running my TV, but I don't like the idea of another Amazon based walled garden. Also, I see this as unfortunate competition for SteamOS, which seems like a much more robust and open platform for solving this problem, and I'd like to see it win instead, but the low price of this offering and Amazon's muscle will make that a lot harder now.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr