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Comment: Re: Do you even movie bro? (Score 1) 133

by denzacar (#49156231) Attached to: Why Hollywood Fudged the Relativity-Based Wormhole Scenes In Interstellar

Fixing nitrogen so we can't breathe it? We don't breathe nitrogen, except in the sense that it comes in our lungs and goes out unchanged.

Umm... Yes we DO breathe it, in a sense that its presence or absence in the air that we breathe are detrimental to our health.

Pump more of it in the atmosphere we breathe, changing pressure, we get drunk on it.
Pump it out of the atmosphere, bind it into ground, and we poison ourselves with the remaining oxygen or CO and CO2 - as both the air pressure and concentration of gasses in the air now changes completely.

Nor is there any sign that anybody's having problems breathing on Earth (except with the dust).

You have issues with being able to movie too?

It is a future problem, which would eliminate most air breathing life and most certainly all humans on the planet - IN THEIR FUTURE, AFTER THEY FIRST RUN OUT OF PLANTS.
Not then and there. Maybe not for the next 100 or 1000 years for the whole thing to play out completely. But it is a done deal.
Earth is ALREADY a dead planet.
Even "recycling" people for food will not help.

Again... same way that the REAL horror of "Soylent Green" is NOT "it's made of people".
It's that there is no more plankton in the oceans, while the individual trees and vegetation are viewed as prized statues.

That is why the only solution is LEAVING. Not finding more corn that WILL grow.

The idea of a blight that methodically wipes out one crop after another need some serious explanations.

It does not wipe out crops one after another. It has wiped them all out already.
Scientists have managed to keep creating a more resistant crop, one after another.
And they've run out of crops and (per)mutations. And that WAS explained.
Explaining the exact way the blight works is NOT needed no more than it would be needed to explain the existence of robots. Or cryogenics.

But it is REALLY easy to explain. And bog down the movie with EVEN MORE technobabble.
But if you really need a plot device spelled out for you... and don't want to accept that someone is producing electricity in their world without any power-plants being shown... and you simply refuse to imagine them somewhere beyond the horizon...

Plants ingest the nitrates thanks to nitrogen binding BACTERIA. Some of them symbiotic.
Just have them mutate so that they no longer bind nitrogen in the form digestible by plants, while still sucking the sugar out of the plants.
Or have them start feeding on the plants themselves.

Say we get a bright idea to create vitamin B3 (C6H6N2O) reinforced crops that will at the same time suck out the CO2 from the atmosphere AND create fertilizer (NH3), by creating a mutation of existing nitrogenase equiped bacteria.
Aaaand... we fuck it up.
Bacteria starts eating the plants from the roots up (getting their C there instead of from the atmosphere) and filling the ground with nicotinamide which then gets flushed away by water.

That's just one possible technobabble solution. From the top of the head. Probably requiring a lot of improbable science to work.
But it does not matter any more than the explanation (and the lack there of) of ANY other world-building plot point.
Why are there no MRIs? What EXACTLY do cars run on? What about the rest of the world? What's going on in Australia? Did Madagascar close its ports on time?

Story is NOT about intricacies of microbiology and technobabble. It's about SPACE. And exploration thereof.

Did anybody mention a large war? If so, I missed it.

Robots are former marines. NASA refused to drop bombs on starving people and was shut down because of it.
"Marines don't exist anymore". Or scientists. Or engineers. ON THE PLANET.
Entire planet is agrarian just to produce enough food.
Which is "not so bad". People used to "be too busy fighting over food to play baseball."
"6 billion people" is some distant, incredible, number from back when grandpa was a boy and there was magic everywhere.

It is hinted at huge, global, food riots in the past.
Big enough to warrant the government to ask NASA to bomb the civilian population.
Governments have nukes. Why call NASA?
Unless they want to bomb people with kinetic projectiles as nukes are useless if you want to plant food on the bombarded ground.

That's a war.
Between countries. On "too many people". Between starving people, over food...
The exact flavor and number and exact size(s) of the conflict(s) does not matter. Everyone LOST.
What matters is that the people and their technology level has suffered.


There was, indeed, time travel going on. Main character manipulated the books in a way daughter noticed said "stop" at an earlier time.

Not time travel. Nor a temporal paradox.

The whole point of the wormhole to the other galaxy and allowing for humans to come up with the solution on their own instead of just sending them the blueprints on how to build the spaceships and sidestep gravity - is in NOT violating causality.
It ends up being inter-universe travel.

And that would be of no use to humans of the future, Cooper or the humans of his present.
He would end up sending (possibly wrong) data to a daughter of some other Cooper.

Instead, they "borrow a cow" by creating a tesseract alongside of the 4th dimension of the back of the shelf.
They can create wormholes and grab people and robots dropped into black holes.
Either folding a piece of the universe into a 3-dimensional space along its 4th dimension, or creating a bubble-universe for the same purpose is probably within their reach.

Cooper is thus not communicating from the future - but from a temporary time-space outside of the universe.

He's outside time, not forward in time.
Telegraphing "S-T-A-Y" is him repeating to his past self the same exact words his past self already heard in the past.
AND it is something his daughter was saying, and would be saying, ANYWAY.
No information gets added to or removed from the universe, nor is there any alteration of the timeline, by the movement of information or objects along it.
There is no paradox and there is no time travel.

It's a loophole that allows them to tell the story about wormholes and all the other stuff without violation to the science as we know it.
Which works because... deus ex machina from the future.

But that IS the SETUP of the story.
The deus ex machina is OUTSIDE of the story, in a form of a "What if..."
"People from the future" don't land with their spaceships or appear like Q from the thin air, snapping their fingers - they set up the events long before (or after... or outside... they move outside the time) the events observed.

No deus ex machina lands on the stage - but one WAS used to construct the stage.
It has to be. It's science FICTION.
There is always a hidden deus ex machina in ANY fiction.

Comment: Re:Perception (Score 1) 367

by denzacar (#49153991) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

That's not how it would work. It's cloth. It has ripples and shades.
There would be patterned ripples across the dress where "real" colors would show in shades or highlights.

IF the photo itself wasn't messed up by the camera/software, effectively replacing the color palette in the entire photo.

William Gibson foresaw this in his "Bigend cycle" books.
Hubertus Bigend wears International Klein Blue suits just to fuck with everyone else, as it can't be represented correctly on monitors or in print - note two different whites in the color corrected photo in order to get both the skin tones and the dress right.

Gibson just didn't thought of adding shitty CCDs to the list of technology with issues with reproduction of the color.
Or, illiterate "designers".
She calls it "Royal Blue" in the video.

Sure... If one could get people to wear a computer screen, calibrated to show the web palette of colors.
There will be little difference. THERE. On the screen.
Especially if one's screen is not even close to calibrated.

On the other hand.... Trying to mix those "equivalent" values listed in RGB and CMYK.
In Web-RGB they WILL look exactly the same. And so will the blacks.

Ask the same industry standard company to do it using their other, more professional tool, with full RGB and CMYK gamut...

And just try using the RGB and CMYK values for Ultramarine (essentially IKB).

The color she envisioned on her screen is NOT the color of cloth chosen for the dress, based on the color on the screen.
She wanted "royal blue" but picked ultramarine - because Web-RGB royal blue is closer to aquamarine IRL.
The person designing the dress DOES NOT KNOW WHAT COLOR IT IS.

It's not about "rods and cones" and "everyone seeing colors a little differently".
It's about people using wrong names for colors, often calling many different colors by the same name and the same color by different names.
Then it is about faulty capture technology and badly written color conversion and calibration algorithms.
Then it is about faulty display technology, which can't show the same image under different viewing angles.
THEN, and only then, MAYBE, color perception and ambient lighting might fool the untrained eye.

But it is most likely that in most cases it is again different people calling a shade of red pink and orange.
While trying to GUESS the "correct" color from a crappy photo on a crappy screen.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 344

by dotancohen (#49145219) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

In regards to client handling, you sound like you are at the point where I want to be! Would you mind sharing your SoW with us, or with just me at least? My Gmail username is the same as my /. username. I really appreciate it, and you could possible save me quite a headache as I'm still too young (37) to have made enough mistakes with clients and continually shifting requirements!


Comment: Re:First Fascist! (Score 1) 36

by mcgrew (#49118761) Attached to: Welcome back, SlashPot (thank you failure machine samzenpus)

Coincidentally, I saw this JE this morning right after seeing a report on CBS's morning news program that said that marijuana is by far the least dangerous of all recreational drugs. They found the most dangerous was alcohol, followed by heroin, followed by cocaine. I did a quick search, it doesn't look like they've posted it to their web site.

I've found an incredible amount of misinformation about marijuana. This article says "Those who might remember pot from the 70s - the marijuana grown and sold in Colorado today is up to 10 times stronger."

The difference isn't strength of the pot, it's how its potency is measured and how pot is and was sold. They take the pot, grind up the entire bag and test it.

Today, pot is grown indoors so it has no seeds, and only the buds are sold. In the seventies, they put the whole plant; stems, seeds, leaves and all. Leaves are far less potent than buds, stems have very little THC and seeds have none at all, and the seeds are heavy. I saw pot in the '70s that the seeds were more than half the weight of the bag. So grinding up the whole bag would indicate that it's 10 times stronger, when stoners always threw the stems and seeds away and usually saved the bud for the weekend.

The best pot I ever smoked was in Thailand in 1973-4.

Now, even if pot wasn't the safest of all recreational drugs, even if it were the deadliest, how does your neighbor getting stoned affect you or society at large?

There's a chapter in a book that was required reading in a college history class in the late '70s that shows how incredibly moronic prohibition is. Alcohol and Al Capone

Look at Mexico and Columbia. Prohibition is purely stupidly evil.

Comment: Do you even movie bro? (Score 1) 133

1) It consumes nitrogen from the atmosphere, binding it in the form that humans can't breathe, while eating up ALL PLANT LIFE at the same time.
Humans just managed to create species of plants they need for food which managed to stand out longer.

They got dustbowls because there are no more plants to hold down the dirt. On the entire planet.
Corn is the last EDIBLE PLANT that they can grow. Possibly last plant at all. And that would include plankton.
It's Soylent Green all over again. It's not about the food - it's about the collapse of the entire biosphere.

2) It's a post global war society, REVERTING BACK to old technology.
Think 20th century humans going back to horse and cart.
They still got the science and knowledge, they just don't have the resources anymore.

And they are clearly far more advanced in robotics and AI, they have means of artificially growing humans without a human uterus, they have space planes which can take off from the surface of a planet unassisted, cryogenics...

3) Because the entire setting of the story was picked and arranged by the distant future humans to provide the conditions for present (in the movie) humans to OBSERVE a very specific black hole and then transfer that data back to Earth without violating causality - with the help of a temporary tesseract attached along the universe and then collapsed.
They've scoured the ENTIRE UNIVERSE to find them those exact conditions.

No time traveling or time altering ever takes place nor does any matter or information leave or enter the universe.
All they did was bend the existing space to get humans to a place where data for figuring out anti-gravity could be gathered.

4) "Future utopia" would not exist without the data gathered by observing a black hole for 20 years or so, then dropping an AI probe into it, then telegraphing all that OUT of the black hole without breaking causality, to a specific point in space-time to a specific human with training and motivation to solve the problem and a means of reading the message.

Why aren't they leaving a perfectly good solar system with a slightly used home planet in a goldilocks zone that has only been messed up a little by an ecological catastrophe, and with dozens of planets, moons and asteroids laying around...
I'm guessing smurfs.

Also, what makes you think that it's an utopia?
Those are kids and grandkids of generations of "caretakers". Not explorers.
They've sent the last batch of explorers out to die far away in space somewhere.
They just want to play baseball and eat corn. And "take care" of museums.

Comment: You're talking out of your ass... (Score 1) 133

Lynda Obst and Kip Thorne came up with the the movie, then gave it to Spielberg and Jonathan Nolan to work out a scenario.


It's a project that has its genesis in the two-decades-long friendship between Obst, an astronomy enthusiast who produced "The Siege" and "The Fisher King," and Thorne, the Feynman professor of theoretical physics at Caltech. (When Obst was producing "Contact," adapted by screenwriters James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg from Carl Sagan's novel, Thorne conceptualized a wormhole sequence for the film that also advanced the field of theoretical physics.)

Over the years, Thorne's work on gravitational-wave detectors, which calculate negative space in things like black holes and imploding galaxies, has been at the very front edge of Einsteinian astrophysics. At one point Obst and Thorne were brainstorming about, as Obst puts it, "the most exotic events in the universe suddenly becoming accessible to humans," and crafted a potential cinematic scenario that hooked Spielberg enough to consider directing.

And that version was...
Well, let's just say that Jar Jar Abrams and studio heads would have loved it.
There is sex in zero gravity and a Chinese expedition too. And the robot wears a baseball cap.

Comment: It's usually a. (Score 1) 213

by denzacar (#49093819) Attached to: Sony Offers a "Premium Sound" SD Card For a Premium Price

a. the MP3 player is badly designed. There should be sufficient capacitance to smooth the power level out to within a few percent of standard even at full read or write. Alternatively the audio traces could be routed too close to the data lines or the designer for the DAC may have had a bad day.
This means that the MP3 player was cheap enough that the designers weren't allowed the time to test their design properly.

Let's face it - from the Quality-Cheap-Quick triangle (pick any two) 'a' covers TWO possibilities.
Meaning that it will ALWAYS be present in anything you can purchase with money alone without waiting for years for someone to design and build and test it specially, just for you.

And no... paying premium MONEY for design is not the solution.
Only premium TIME spent on design-testing-redesign-retesting... counts for something.
So one ends up with an overpriced AND outdated 128MB player that plays their 64 bps MP3s without any outside noise whatsoever.
Making everyone in their retirement home jealous of their superior audio bling. Or not.

Which brings us back to SONY, who MAY actually be rectifying a real problem and not selling snake oil.
Should they actually succeed, they are opening further possibilities to future designers who now don't have to care about that one issue anymore.

User Journal

Journal: Triplanetary 1

Journal by mcgrew

I've uploaded a new book to mcgrewbooks.com. Edgar E. Smith was a well known science fiction writer known as "the father of space opera", and Doctor Smith was a food engineer in his other life. The novel I've uploaded is Triplanetary, first published in serial form in Amazing Stories in 1934.

Some of the dialogue is a bit juvenile, but it would make a great movie.


Watch Videos in Synch with Fellow iOS Users (Video) 71

Posted by Roblimo
from the let's-all-sing-together-now dept.
This video is about Dr. Saeed Darvish-Kazem and Dr. Michael Pazaratz, two MDs from Canada, who came up with a free iOS app called WeMesh that lets you share video content with iOS-owning friends in real time. You see the video and so does your friend. more or less simultaneously. Cat videos and 90s music are two categories the doctors say are especially popular on WeMesh, which only works with YouTube at the moment, a shortcoming they hope to change in the near future. NOTE: If you're on the Slashdot main page and click the 'Read' link below this paragraph, the video will autoplay.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke