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Comment: Re:Fermi paradox (Score 1) 257

by erice (#46836367) Attached to: Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

answer: Space is really big.

A race could have populate half the galaxy's out there and we still wouldn't know.

Space is big but time is also vast. A civilization that build Von Neumann machines could occupy the entire galaxy is half a million years, even with travel at rather slow speeds.

And such a civilization could have arisen any time in last billion years.

Comment: Re:Not really needed anymore. (Score 1) 386

Here's a question though: Who would you say is disadvantaged?

I ask because Princeton did a study and found that if they ended Affirmative Action, the number of black and latino students would drop significantly while the white students wouldn't materially increase. They did however estimate that four out of every five black and latino students would be replaced with an Asian student.

Aren't Asian's supposed to be among those disadvantaged? Because presently Affirmative Action seems to disadvantage them even further.

Asians are not among the disadvantaged. They have a higher median income than whites and that has been true since at least the 80's. Even if affirmative action controlled for the tendency of Asians to apply more to colleges, properly functioning affirmative action would still disadvantage Asians.

Comment: Re:Um, 301 and 302 (Score 1) 72

by erice (#46810923) Attached to: 404-No-More Project Seeks To Rid the Web of '404 Not Found' Pages

Redirects only work when the hosting party makes them work. Which means they usually don't work.

This proposal is not about the simply a way of expressing what page the source document creator intended you to see. If that version is no longer available from the targeted host (and it may have simply changed) your browser can offer to pull up the expected version from the archive. You can kind of do this manually today. As long as the source page is static, you can generally guess that the date of the target page is the same as the creation date of the source. However, it is PITA and many pages are static.

+ - 404-No-More project seeks to rid the Web of '404 not found' pages->

Submitted by blottsie
blottsie (3618811) writes "A new project proposes an do away with dead 404 errors by implementing new HTML code that will help access prior versions of hyperlinked content. With any luck, that means that you’ll never have to run into a dead link again. ...

The new feature would come in the form of introducing the mset attribute to the element in HTML, which would allow users of the code to specify multiple dates and copies of content as an external resource."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Venus assumed to be 200 degrees hotter? (Score 4, Interesting) 135

by erice (#46807303) Attached to: Venus' Crust Heals Too Fast For Plate Tectonics

From TFA:

the Venus model, which was a couple hundred Kelvin hotter,

So, how does it get so much hotter than Earth? It is certainly that much hotter now but that is attributed almost entirely to the greenhouse effect. However, the article earlier states:

Without plate tectonics, carbon would build up in the atmosphere. Venus, which does not have tectonics, shows the results: an atmosphere that is 96 percent carbon dioxide.

So, because plates did not form, Venus experienced a runaway greenhouse effect and high temperatures. But high temperatures are supposed to prevent plates from forming. A little circular, no?

Don't get me wrong: this is interesting work but it doesn't really answer the question of how Venus became the way it is . To close the gap, you need to assume that:
a) Venus started out 200K hotter though some other means (Proximity to the Sun is not generally considered sufficient for that)
b) Venus plate tectonics stalled early on for some other reason, allowing the greenhouse effect to take over.

Comment: "retirement" == terminal unemployment (Score 2) 323

by erice (#46781097) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

Given the volatility of the job market and age discrimination, I will probably "retire" when it becomes clear that I will never get another job. I hope have enough saved up to survive when that happens but I'm not real optimistic. There's a good chance that much of everyone's retirement savings will evaporate as economy rebalances to the inequity of too many people not working and living off of "investments" and not enough people actually producing.

Comment: Social security is wealth transfer, not savings (Score 3, Insightful) 323

by erice (#46780979) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

That's exactly why we have Social Security - it forces people to put aside money so that, no matter what, they have something by retirement.

It does no such thing. Social Security forces working people to pay for the retirement of those born earlier. While there are rules that require paying in in order to collect, those rules have little to do with where the money comes from and the actual dollars you pay in have nothing to do with the amount you collect. What you collect depends on how much money is coming in at the time you collect and politics. There isn't any "no matter what". You always get out of Social Security whatever politicians can and are willing to give. Population demographics means that if you are post-Boomer you will likely pay a lot and get nearly nothing.

Comment: No mysteries solvable within a lifetime (Score 1) 292

by erice (#46720727) Attached to: Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

If you take the Nobel prize evidence as having fundamental meaning (and I'm not sure it does), what it seems to suggest is not that we have only loose ends to tie up. It is pretty obvious that there are still big mysteries left to solve. However, it may be the the remaining mysteries just too difficult to solve within a human lifetime. If the easy problems are solved first and the remaining puzzles become progressively more difficult then, without some sort of intelligence expansion, the inevitable result is that problems can no longer be solved by any sort of directed action. Rather, generations work on a problem until someone randomly stumbles on a solution. Eventually, solutions can not be recognized or understood, even when found and progress stops. The universe might still have mysteries but none remain that we have the capacity to solve.

Comment: Loss of culture for those left behind (Score 2) 510

by erice (#46709813) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

Putting aside the radicalism, there is a legitimate issue: the fix does not work for everyone and those left behind will face a diminished culture as their numbers dwindle. Specifically, those profoundly deaf who reached adulthood never able to hear will never learn to speak even if they get the implant. There are probably others who are medically not able to accept the implant but the articles I have found do not discuss this issue.

Comment: It is a crude marketing trick (Score 3, Informative) 1482

by erice (#46632869) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

But the page changed on April 1, right?

No. It changed on March 31. I think it is simply a marketing trick. Pretend to take a stand. Gets lots of buzz for free. Give the impression that you are still hip. Never mind that for the last year or two, Okcupid has been showing that they don't even care about their own user community. Function has been reduced drastically. Non-mainstream users have been marginalized. Forums are no longer monitored. The only communication that comes out is the occasional obvious lie. "We are working hard and making the site better for you!" (my removing all the features that you used and adding virtually nothing)

Comment: Or maybe heart shape is distorted by gravity (Score 1) 113

by erice (#46626789) Attached to: Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

If hearts became more rounded through increased muscle mass then that could be evidence that hearts performance inefficiently in zero-g. Unfortunately, the teaser articles doesn't say that. Just changing shape could simply mean that heart development is normally distorted by gravity and without gravity, you naturally get a more rounded shape. A third possibility is that the longer shape is muscle mass needed to counteract gravity. Without gravity, there is no need so that extra muscle is lost. I suppose that could be a form of inefficiency since it means that heart is overbuilt for the task.

I might be interesting to study the hearts of hearts of people who stay horizontal. Generally these with be comatose or otherwise bed-ridden without sitting up. Not a perfect analogy, though, since these patients are not getting any exercise while the astronauts are.

Comment: Re:Meet the new boss: (Score 2) 134

by erice (#46589363) Attached to: GNOME 3.12 Released

Session Saving in gnome-terminal was as reliable as anything else in Gnome and highly useful. Where session saving was not reliable is that it didn't work for all apps. But removing the code from gnome-terminal doesn't help that cause. Gnome-shell still supports session-saving which means you it still saves state for Firefox and Thunderbird. (window location and size, mostly. Firefox has it's own session saving ability)

Comment: Re:Meet the new boss: (Score 5, Informative) 134

by erice (#46588467) Attached to: GNOME 3.12 Released

Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.

You mean: "Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss". Gnome keeps removing features. Session saving for gnome-terminal was removed several versions ago supposedly because they have a new way of doing this. Only they didn't actually implement the new way. They just took out the old and left it.

Comment: Re:Because no analog system has (Score 2) 245

by erice (#46513713) Attached to: Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism?

No, it is not. If the remote analog access is by a dedicated wire (and that is what you do in analog), then the attacker has to have physical access to that wire

And that dedicated wire could control digital circuitry or even a conventional computer running software. So what is your point?

The only advantage of analog is that control methods are generally so limited that doing something stupid like sending a critical control signal over the Internet is not possible. However, the cost is very very high and it doesn't do anything that following a policy of never sending controls over the Internet would not do. Further, without such a policy, the security advantage is lost the first time someone gets the bright idea of inserting a repeater.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis