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Comment: Re:Ingredients for this thread ... (Score 4, Insightful) 621

by meerling (#49766227) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment
Anything that's likely to take down the entire EU if not handled just right will seriously impact the livelyhood of a large number of us.
Maybe it's just to piss of people who keep asking why various articles are on Slashdot.
If you aren't interested in the subject, don't bother clicking on the link.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 373

by meerling (#49765545) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
Nope, not a GPU. Sure you can use one of those, which is really just a CPU specialized for Graphics, but really all you need is any kind of Processing Unit that can run the program you write. It's just that GPUs are commonly used for math intensive stuff since they've got a lot of optimizations for that kind of thing, and are often an easy upgrade to older hardware.

Comment: Re:Why is the GoldenEye transmitter pictured? (Score 1) 54

by meerling (#49764301) Attached to: Universe's Dark Ages May Not Be Invisible After All
So, do you think the Golden Gate bridge is also a prop and fictional?
After all, it too has been in a James Bond movie.
Here's something to help you out, just look up Aricebo Observatory. It's probably the single most famous radio telescope/observatory in all of science. They've even done documentaries on it. Just look through the catalog of old NOVA episodes. Heck, there's even been research done on the positive impact it's had on the local wildlife by creating a rather interesting location where other human activity is banned.

Just because Hollywood makes up a lot of B.S., it doesn't mean that everything, even if it's cool, is fictional.

Comment: Re:Drowning in microbeads (Score 2) 244

by meerling (#49756775) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads
Let's see, people are talking about beads under 0.2mm diameter. They aren't cubes, so they won't fully fill that space, but we'll calculate it as though they do.
471,000,000 beads a day.
To turn that into a volume we find the cube root, which in this case rounds to 778.
Now those beads spoken of here are again only 0.2mm, so that means we have to divide that 778 beads length on a side by 5 to find out it's 155.6mm.

If we convert that to inches, that means the entire 471 million beads we are talking about would equal a cube about 6.1259 inches across on each side.
That's smaller than a football, which if you didn't know, is 11 inches long.

Of course, if you remember earlier I said we'd calculate those beads as cubes because the math is easier. If we guess that they are spherical, or close enough to that volume ratio, and then we compress the resulting cube of beads down so there is not residual space (look at a jar of marbles, there's a lot of empty space in there that isn't marbles) then the cube we end up with is a bit more than half the size pre-optimization.
Of course I doubt those beads are all that uniform in shape, but it's handy to know how much you are dealing with in a form you can visualize.

Comment: Re:Sudafed (Score 4, Insightful) 333

by meerling (#49721419) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine
True, but for a large scale operation you are going to want to have a bioreactor for both efficiency and scale, not to mention reducing the dead giveaway large quantity of people to tend the more manual methods.
Further complication include issues with production of the new substance possibly interfering with the lifecycle of the host itself. (That's the yeast if anyone didn't get that.) And let's not forget the separation and purification of the desired product.
You do know that they use microbes to make a number of different things, such as human insulin and interferon? Just look up some of the history of those developments, and you'll get a hint of some possible difficulties. Besides, there was a market for large quantities of cheap human insulin & interferon, while the previous methods of production were horribly inefficient and could never even come close to the demand.
I'm going to hazard a guess that the criminal cartels would be opposed to this technology because it would be more expensive to the them to set up, would require workers of a higher skill & training, would cut out entire chunks of their existing structure, and would be easily capable of flooding the market and suppressing prices.
Besides, other than banning the opiate producing strain, which only takes one leak to effectively neutralize that ban, what are you going to do? Ban genetically altered strains of microbes, and tobacco? Sorry, but I'd rather shoot the asshole that tries to do that, my life depends on one of those products, and so do a LOT of other peoples. Maybe you just want to ban the research into making illegal products. That would be a little better, but still futile. Eventually it will be easy enough to do that a talented high school student will someday succeed. Additionally, if it's not banned worldwide, someone will eventually do it someplace it's not illegal, and then there is the distinct possibility that it will get loose.
Of course, there is still something people are not looking at, their strain produces morphine, a controlled, but legal, substance. Yeah, it can be turned into heroin, but so can all the legal morphine which is usually made from FLOWERS that people grow! It's used in medicine. I was once in a hospital ward and I was the only patient not receiving morphine. (The reason for that doesn't matter.) So there IS a legal trade in the product produced by that yeast, but because it can be used to make an illegal one, some people want to ban it. You know, that's not a wise path to tread upon. If something can be banned because something illegal can be made from/with it, how long until everything is banned? You know politicians, give them an inch, and they'll run you over with your own vehicle and drag you a mile down the road.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"