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Comment: Re:Not a Canal (Score 1) 107 107

Interesting stuff!

Mostly forgotten today, but clearly relevant in the past, were distinctions between different natural, open bodies of water. Nowadays most people simply call them "meer" (lake), but when you look at their names and their shapes, you'll see a clear difference between a "meer" (big lake), "poel" (smaller lake, often part of a larger lake complex), "aa" or "ee, depending on region (long, narrow lake), and brekken (small, irregularly shaped).

Comment: Biased by 20th century tech (Score 1) 90 90

While this claims to be about Sci-Fi ships, it's really about 20th century naval ships, and the SF inspired by 2th century navies.

The article is interesting for its historical perspective, but if you pay any attention to that historical perspective, you can't help but come to the conclusion that the taxonomy has been turned upside down several times over the past 200 years. For centuries, sea battles were about a big line of ships delivering massive broadsides, with just frigates in a support role. Then suddenly, we get cruisers and massive iron battleships with a fairly small number of enormous, long range guns in turrets, which rule for a moment and then become obsolete again due to torpedoes and aircraft.

But the current supremacy of aircraft carriers is not something that will translate to space; carriers rule because they combine the advantages of two different media: the speed of small air craft, and the steady platform and durability of a large sea-going ship. But in space, every ship will have those advantages. There's no need for carriers, because any ship can be as fast as a fighter, and any ship can be as stable and self-sustaining as it wants to be. Very likely, fighters won't make any sense in space. The only reason they're so popular is because they're cool, and we're used to them because of our 20th century view. Space navies will be totally unlike modern navies, and any similarities in name between ship types will exist only because we like the names and making up new ones is hard.

Why am I talking about a 20th century view, and not 21st century? Because our current ship taxonomy is entirely the product of 20th century developments. No doubt the 21st century will change everything again, but we don't yet know how. Although unmanned drones will feature heavily. So maybe if we're going to have fighters in space, they're going to be unmanned drones. Maybe space battles will consist of smart torpedoes dogfighting with the smart missiles that try to intercept them.

Comment: Victim? No, but it's annoying. (Score 1) 227 227

I wouldn't call myself a victim for having skills that are highly in demand. Still, a lot of recruiters seem woefully incompetent, for sending me offers from completely different countries (when I'm even losing interest in working outside the city; commuting by bike is definitely a perk).

But even relevant positions come constantly and when I still have plenty of project to work on. I wish I could pass them on to my unemployed non-programmer friends.

Comment: Re:Start with Stem cells and.... (Score 1) 183 183

Mutation is a normal result of human reproduction and a vital driver of evolution. You just don't want it to get so far out of hand that new babies aren't viable. Of course somewhere in our reproductive process those telomeres also have to get longer again. No idea how that works. Might be important, I guess.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

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