'Would'? Where've you been for the last five years? hello.jpg is positively vanilla by modern standards. People nowadays link you to 2girls1cup, 3guys1hammer, SWAP.AVI, Pain Olympics, anythingatall.on.nimp.org, cp, beheadings, mutilations, massacres, cat burnings, witch burnings... If you're still thinking of good old goatse as the worst thing in the world, wow. Go and hang around on the Russian chans, you'll find what you describe has long since come to pass.
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Eh? I thought we were talking about Radiohead here.
Well, if you have a problem with 'share and enjoy', I suppose you'll just have to go stick your head in a pig.
Plotting only the time journeys that made it onto TV is more than enough of a job. Exploring the rest of the timey wimey ball... well, my monitor has only a two-dimensional display.
Certainly this is unnecessary if we're postulating superintelligent machines perfectly capable of redesigning themselves on the fly to meet whatever situations they encounter. But the road to a Culture GSV is a long one. You might well begin with a swarm of rather dumb self-replicating probes with very limited capabilities - I mean, somewhere down the line there must have been an intelligent designer, and so the progenitor robot would have had to be incredibly basic. But if you give them the means to exchange design details with each other over long distances - this worked, this didn't - then eventually you might indeed have a horde of sexy, sexy von Neumann machines, all procreating and evolving their way to becoming a galaxy-spanning intelligent race in their own right.
And anyway, even if the robots do not exchange design data - if they don't have sex at all - well, most living things on Earth don't have sex either. Doesn't disqualify them from the 'life' category.
No, cash behaves fairly classically. It's the rest of the economy that's quantum. For example, your house might or might not be worth $200,000. You won't know for certain until you try to sell it.
That was created by HAARP as well. As was the Haiti earthquake. And the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Bloody versatile device, all things considered.
There was Balance of Power which was a Cold War sim; you'd normally play that until you got sufficiently pissed off at the endless manufactured crises and then go and play Bravo Romeo Delta until the planet glowed. Myself I was quite fond of Central Intelligence where you were the guy in charge of organising a revolt in some banana republic or other; it had a wonderful simulated society and economy, you'd graduate from organising student leaflet campaigns to stealing explosives from quarries and using them in your freedom fighting to arming and training guerrillas in the woods. Lovely idea, shame about the dreadful interface.
That doesn't mean your hard disk is anything approaching the complexity of a human brain. The amount of information encoded in a neural network is far, far more than the number of neurons in it! 100 billion neurons, each with something like seven thousand connections to other neurons. So more like 700 trillion connections. If each neuron is numbered using a 37-bit ID (enough for 100 billion) then to list a neuron's connections takes 7000 times 37 bits = ~32k. Multiply by 100 billion, that's three petabytes.
Then represent excitatory versus inhibitory (1 bit per neuron? Or do we have to allow grey areas?), activation potentials (continuous? What's the range, and how granular do we need it?), and any relevant hormones or drugs or other chemistry currently in operation on the neural network, and you're looking at some big numbers. Big, but not beyond contemplation: Google must be getting towards that size, the Internet probably got there years ago. We might be able to model the brain as a neural network before too long. That's probably where we find out that all that gooey chemistry stuff that computer scientists don't like to think too much about actually mattered more than we thought...
You would think so, wouldn't you? But it seems that drivers for my USB wireless adaptor are not to be had for anything later than Windows XP, though it's only a few years old. Manufacturer not supporting it any more. In Ubuntu it just works, just as I expected, but to get it working in Windows I had to find out the chipset it used and try a whole bunch of unsupported driver files downloaded from dubious websites until I found one that worked.
I consider myself a reasonably advanced computer user, but on this showing Windows isn't ready for the mainstream desktop. Can you imagine expecting Grandma to handle that sort of mess? No way. The mainstream will stay with Linux and leave Windows to the nerds, geeks and hobbyists who are into the whole 'closed-source' movement.
That wouldn't falsify evolution. Consider the classic Just-So story of speciation. Let there be species X which lives throughout country C. Sea levels rise and the centre of country C is flooded, splitting it into countries A and B. In the new climate, life is easy in country A, but very hard in country B. So the lineage of species X in country A changes very little over the next few million years, while the lineage in country B adapts to its great hardship and changes into something we would call species Y, which we'll suppose is a badass tough variant.
Now let sea levels fall and country C be reunited. Species X and Y are now in competition with each other, and Y wins handily, driving X into extinction across the whole country in very short order.
Millions of years later we dig in what was once country A, and we find fossils of species X and Y. What do we see? Species X was replaced by Species Y - an obviously related successor - almost overnight!
Is that the current name for them? I suppose it was only a matter of time before they moved into the consultancy racket...
Rule 1: No Poofters!
Rule 2: No member of the faculty is to mistreat the Abos in any way at all, if there's anybody watching.
Rule 3: No Poofters!
Rule 4: This term I don't want to catch anybody not drinking.
Rule 5: No Poofters!
Rule 6: There is NOOOOOOOOO Rule 6!
Rule 7: No Poofters!
Well there you go Bruce, them's the rules here in the philosophy department of the University of Wooloomooloo.
The core heat source is actually secondary to this. More massive stars are hotter because they are more massive - the sheer mass of gas that collapsed from a nebula to form such a star provides huge amounts of energy by gravitational accretion. Then, because of being so hot to begin with, they burn fuel faster than their smaller, cooler cousins, and that keeps them hot.
So the largest stars are the ones where the equilibrium is found at a point where the atmosphere is large, sparse and cool, and hence red. This isn't such a star. In a super-hot star like this the radiation pressure comes to predominate over gas pressure, and that has a tendency to blow any surrounding gas clean away. It's too heavy, and, as you say, too hot, and very unstable. So it can't form a well-behaved convective envelope around itself and become a red hypergiant. It remains a very massive, very hot, and very luminous star, but it never troubles the list of the largest stars known.
It's blue, therefore it's hot, therefore it's dense, therefore it's (comparatively) small. VY Canis Majoris would be much larger, even if not so massive - and cooler, and therefore red. Indeed, notice the diagram in the article, showing this star as compared to the Sun. The Sun is visible on the diagram. This would not be the case with VY Canis Majoris!
It's all gas law really, just like in high school physics. pV = nRT. When a star contracts, it heats up; when it expands, it cools. As a supergiant's core switches on and off as it works its thermonuclear way up the periodic table, it may inflate and deflate over and over again.