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Comment Re: In three years ... (Score 1) 216

There should be a beginners programming course for everyone, going over the basics, like what does CPU stand for and what is a bit and a byte. By the end of the course you can have the kids writing some simple programs. This way hopefully most people won't look at the computer as some sort of magic box, and maybe even get a little appreciation for what it takes to be a programmer. Those kids who have the knack can move on to real programming courses while everyone else will at least know how to program "Hello World".

Comment Re: Police? (Score 1) 370

I am reminded of the 70s movie The Jerk, where Steve Martin's character Navin R. Johnson becomes all excited when his name is put in the phone book for the first time. He exclaims "I'm somebody now!" The next scene shows a crazed psychopath picking out his name at random from the phone book to hunt and kill him.

The big difference between the 70s and now is that because of the internet, we are able to perform many of our social interactions anonymously. This simply was not an option in the 70s. Let's face it, with all this anonymous communications, people are more willing to perform actions that will make them enemies, because they don't see any consequences to themselves for their actions. Unfortunately, the big danger from this is that it could potentially lead to the end of the anonymous internet. A large percent of the population don't post anything anonymously (posting primarily on Facebook), and wouldn't care if all internet communications could be traced to their source. If the internet becomes "too scary", you could potentially see an end to anonymity.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

I'm still partial to the Dark Forest solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Personally I think that technological civilizations are rare enough that the first one would develop at least a few million years before the second one in a galaxy. So the first one would dominate any following species and take control the entire galaxy before the Dark Forrest situation occurred.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 0) 365

So, is this evidence of the Great Filter - ?

In fact, the discovery of ET would be bad news. Refer to Nick Boström's "Why I hope The Serch For Extraterrestrial Inteligence Finds Nothing".

I agree. I hope we are the first technological species in our galaxy. Even at sub-light speeds a species could colonize the entire Milky Way in less than 5 million years, so chances are the first technological species will own the galaxy. Any other species will not have control over their fate.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

We can get some idea of the likelihood of some stages by looking at how long in took for them to occur on earth. For instance, it took about 1 billion years for life to form on earth, but after that it took an additional 3 billion years before the Cambrian Explosion, where we saw significant diversification of complicated lifeforms. That 3 billion year gap allows time for all sorts of global cataclysms--we had one that nearly wiped out life during the snowball earth. After the Cambrian Explosion it took a mere half billion years to reach technological intelligence.

Comment Re:Water as rocket fuel (Score 1) 131

Um, no. Water as rocket fuel is separating out water into H and O, turning them into liquid, and burning them as rocket fuel.

Or you can separate the H and O and super-heat the H to a fusion reaction. Or you could pass the water through a hot nuclear core so it shoots out the nozzle at high speed (although in that case it is technically a propellant, not fuel.)

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan