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Comment: Re:B-b-but the thousand monkeys?!! (Score 1) 168

by garyebickford (#47486375) Attached to: New Mayhem Malware Targets Linux and UNIX-Like Servers

Everybody picks on PHP. Like every language it's not perfect, by far. But by several orders of magnitude (my estimate), the vast majority of all vulnerabilities regardless of operating system have directly resulted from design flaws in C (and C++) - buffer overflows, pointer issues, assignment instead of evaluation in conditionals due to missing equals, etc. Even many/most of the vulnerabilities in PHP have been the result of these same C design flaws. While _some_ of those flaws can be argued to be necessary for writing at the bare metal level - device drivers and such, they are completely unnecessary for application programming.

The standard counter argument is that "C programmers (must) learn better programming habits, and deal with those things." To which I merely append, "Some ..." and note that many of these bugs have demonstrably been put there by highly skilled, experienced developers who know better, but just forgot "this one particular time."

It's enough to make one yearn for Haskell, or Erlang, or something. :D

Comment: Re:The crackpot cosmology "theory" Du Jour (Score 1) 214

by garyebickford (#47481787) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

There are lots of plausible reasons for the apparent lack of evidence regarding life intelligent or otherwise, which have been bandied about by many people. Just for starters, maybe we're the first intelligent life. But I wasn't arguing that point. Regardless of these questions or arguments, they are not 'evidence' about warp drive. That's all I'm saying. :)

Comment: Re:Ok, but the thing is ... (Score 1) 214

by garyebickford (#47478555) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

mc^2 + (-m)c^2 = 0

OK, here I go on a wild toot. What if c^2 is negative? I.e. the "speed of light" is a complex number, or a pair of numbers, one of which is real and the other is imaginary? Then we might have c and c^2, and we can define the imaginary C=ic and C^2 = i^2c^2. This is different than the topic of negative mass, of course. I think I just boggled myself.

Comment: Re:The crackpot cosmology "theory" Du Jour (Score 1) 214

by garyebickford (#47478455) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Occam's Razor states that your personal theory that isn't testable is automatically false and invalid. The theory in the article that is testable may be right or wrong but we won't know until testing it.

Actually, no. Occam's Razor (as others have noted) is more or less about choosing the simplest theory that fits the facts. Falsifiability is about whether a theory is testable or not.

I'll just add this irrelevant point: any theory that concerns the Universe as a whole, viewed as a system from outside, is inherently unfalsifiable, even though it may be true. I can say, "the Universe is blue, viewed from outside", and there is no way to prove that, so far.

Comment: Re:The crackpot cosmology "theory" Du Jour (Score 1) 214

by garyebickford (#47478407) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

actual evidence that warp drive cannot be created and it is called the Fermi Paradox.

- that's not evidence. That's a question, for which the answer has not been determined. It's not even certain that the assertion upon which the question is based, "we have not heard from them", is true.

Comment: Re:Negative mass is weird (Score 1) 214

by garyebickford (#47478107) Attached to: Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Ah, the

Pauli exclusion

principle. IANA physicist, but I've never been happy with this here thingy. As the article states, "Wolfgang Pauli gave physics his exclusion principle as a way to explain the arrangement of electrons in an atom. His hypothesis was that only one electron can occupy a give quantum state." This is a principle without an explanation. It's one of those physics things that you have to take on faith, and because nothing works without it. AFAIK there's never been any real explanation of _why_ this principle exists, or what causes it to be true. I suppose this could be considered a kind of physics 'axiom', but that's still not very satisfactory.

Have any theorists tried to construct a plausible universe model where the exclusion principle is not true or not applicable (and everything doesn't just collapse in on itself, of course)?

Oh, BTW - this is just one of many examples where science does, in fact, depend on pure faith. This is a lesson to overly dogmatic anti-religionists - or, as WC Fields once said, "Everyone believes in something. I believe I'll have another drink." :D

Comment: Re:I've been calling for this for 20+ years... (Score 2) 159

by garyebickford (#47442447) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Actually cannabis is the second most common weed in Nebraska - or was a couple of decades ago, and there's no reason why that has changed. The midwest has 'volunteer' hemp growing everywhere. Attempts to eradicate it were stopped after a suit by the Audubon society, as the seeds are a major food source for birds - and hemp has very little THC. Some friends and I personally found a large (40 acres at least) field of hemp in northern Illinois back in the day, complete with beehives. I don't know if this was 'fallow' or being grown on purpose. We nabbed a 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm.

Comment: Re:Need fast-acting yeast (Score 3, Informative) 159

by garyebickford (#47442401) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

Minor point - IIRC weed was targeted by William Randolph Hearst back in the 20s. Hearst owned the largest newspaper chain in the US, and had bought the global rights to the new method for making paper out of wood. His goal was to eliminate hemp as a fiber source for paper. He set up a huge tree plantation in Guyana (or thereabouts) and began a major attack on weed. He began a publicity campaign in his papers about the evils of weed, funded the making of "Reefer Madness", and lobbied and bribed congresscritters to include weed in the Volstead Act as a dangerous drug.

At that time hemp, which is a slightly different variety of cannabis, was a major source of quality fiber for rope as well as paper (and still better than any other vegetable fiber AFAIK). The hemp growing industry was destroyed. But even today, cannabis is a major 'weed' throughout the midwest, and is a primary source of seeds for birds.

Once when motorcycling around the wilds of Illinois we came upon a large tract - probably 40 acres - of hemp, complete with a set of beehives. I have no idea if this was just fallow land or being grown on purpose. We came back with a car and collected one 14 foot plant for a Christmas tree in the dorm. The branches were two feet apart. Smoking was tried, it was pretty much smoking a rope.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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