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Comment Not true (Score 2) 30 30

The most conspicuous organisms have long since been cataloged and fixed on the tree of life, and the ones that remain undiscovered don't give themselves up easily.

Certainly not true if by "conspicuous" they mean "ones you can easily see with the naked eye." Most insect and beetle species are not cataloged yet, and for smaller critters the situation is even worse. Heck, you might even find a new frog species in Manhattan.

Comment Let's go nuclear! (Score 2) 108 108

Oh, wait, we already did.

Carbon 14 dating hasn't been reliable (usable) for wood or other biological material formed since 1950, as open air nuclear testing put a lot of C14 into the atmosphere. This C14 has been slowly leaving the atmosphere, but it's not gone yet.

I think that the writers of the original article were just eager to get some attention, as they surely must have known this.

Comment Re:Key points about AI (Score 1) 236 236

The Turing test is farcically out of date. AlanTuring couldn't have known this, but we humans are full of wetware that assumes that things that appear to be communicating are in fact communicating. Thus we can be fooled by programs such as Eliza (and its successors), which have no understanding of anything at all.

Comment Re:Downlink (Score 5, Informative) 134 134

Downlink speed is limited to 1 kbps (bits, not bytes). 2 kbps if they use a trick involving shutting down power to instruments to boost transmit power.

That's actually a dual polarization mode - this is the first spacecraft with a dual-polarization data transmit capability. (And, yes, it does require more power, and so won't be used until they are well past Pluto and can put things on standby.) Even with that, it will take 16 months to get all of the data back.

Comment Always have been. (Score 2) 77 77

Should scientists be more responsible for communicating their results directly to the public?

Most science articles are due to press agents at a lab or University or a journal or working for conference organizer either putting together and sending out press releases or contacting reporters they know (or both), and that is always done in collaboration with the scientists issuing the results. Scientists who have access to such resources should certainly use them. Scientists who don't are at an disadvantage (IMHO) and should spend some time figuring out how this is done. Technical people tend to underrate the difficulty of good public communication; it is not trivial to do it well.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler