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Comment: Re:fundementally impossible (Score 3, Interesting) 86

by meerling (#47539705) Attached to: Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?
The article actually stated that it was only stable on the short term.
It also seemed pretty obvious to me that the writer wasn't trying to "prove" that star system configuration existed, just that despite it being highly improbably, an approximation of it potentially could exist, at least for a little while. It's kind of like the idea that you could go buy one random lottery ticket and win the jackpot that drawing. It's possible, but it's a lot more likely that you won't, and there's a distinct chance that nobody will win this week, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility.

Comment: Only because they're stupid. (Score 4, Insightful) 435

by meerling (#47468013) Attached to: FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars
A shootout with an autodrive car. Sure the criminal could have the car driving to a destination while they hang out the window and shoot. Of course, the car would go the legal speed, stop at all lights and stop signs, and generally be much safer than any car driven by a human, much less one shooting or getting shot at.
Not to mention it will probably have a police override allowing them to remotely either stop it, or redirect it to a place of their choosing. I wouldn't be surprised if it would even tell the police it's intended route and destination if they asked it.
It will also probably have an emergency responder reaction where if there are sirens from police, fire, or ambulance it pulls over to the side and stops, as that is the law for humans. And as the poster mentioned, a partner could always drive a car so the one riding shotgun could still shoot.

Using it for bombings. What's so different from sending an autodrive vehicle to someplace with a bomb in it as opposed to sending a regular vehicle with a bomb and then leaving it before it blows, or even having some ignorant stooge drive it for you? After all, it's not like you can make the autodrive violate it's programming and plow through a crowd or into a mall. If you really wanted to do that, you could just rig a normal car up with remote controls. It's not that hard or expensive, they do it a lot on mythbusters, so it's not a strange concept to most people either.

Of course, the FBI has way too many people that need to deal with technology that really don't understand it in the slightest. Years ago I had to disappoint an FBI agent that I was helping by explaining to him how things really worked. He was getting samples from all the different printers so that they could make a database to identify what printer printed something like they used to do with typewriters. I had to explain to him that the fonts are totally programmable and have no unique characteristics to that printer. Also, that the inks and toners are actually made by only a handful of companies, and are again, not unique to the printer. He was very disappointing with the information.

Comment: Re:Congratulations? (Score 1) 590

by meerling (#47463341) Attached to: Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman
Because despite having screwed things up from a mythological perspective, they are now trashing their own canon and existing continuity, or at least that farce they consider continuity.

This will probably piss off a lot of fans, not because they dislike women, but more because they are making massive changes to a favorite character, or in some perspectives, a blatant ripoff of the 'real' character.

Comment: Math? (Score 5, Insightful) 202

by meerling (#47443943) Attached to: How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?
"Our observable Universe is a pretty impressive entity: extending 46 billion light-years in all directions, filled with hundreds of billions of galaxies and having been around for nearly 14 billion years since the Big Bang."

The observable universe is observable because there has been time for the light to travel that far, which can not exceed the age of the universe. Therefor, if the universe is 14 billion years old, then the furthest we could see in any direction is only 14 billion light years, giving a maximum, diameter of 28 billion light years.
So why does the summary say it's 46 billion L.Y. across and only 14 billion Y. old?

Comment: Re:And this doesn't seem like a bad idea? (Score 1) 105

by meerling (#47408475) Attached to: Mapping a Monster Volcano
Yes, those explosions are really surface blasts, even the ones up to 25m deep.
It's kind of when you scratch an itch, it's not like it's going to break a bone or anything.
As to being the equivalent of a magnitude 2, so what. A magnitude 2.5 is in the you won't even feel it category as it's less than light which doesn't even start until 3.
A magnitude 1 is said to be the equivalent of blowing up 6 ounces of TNT.

Of course, if you still want to be afraid of that, I know a few dozen "invasive species" you can over-react about, and let's not forget the microscopic amounts alcohol in many of the drinks and foods that kids consume. :p

Comment: Re:Failsafe? (Score 1) 468

No, that would wreck the entire engineering of getting rid of the windows in the first place.
Besides, there are display systems with a reliability that is more than adequate, and it's probably redundant in some fashion just to be sure.

Hey, maybe they have a couple of Oculus Rifts stored in the glove compartment just in case the big screen goes wonky, or they want to play a quick game of Battlefield before leaving international airspace. :p

Comment: Re:Any Memory?? what judge will go on just that? (Score 5, Funny) 415

by meerling (#47397533) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory
Since the dog can't smell memory, it must have been trained to smell something about the electronic components. That's bound to trigger a LOT of false positives in the modern world.

This might be a fun thing to do. Get a lot of old flash drives, sd cards, and the like, the old super cheap ones of course, and stick them everywhere. Under the carpet, taped to the bottom of the drawers, in the hem of the curtain, etc. After 30 or 40 of them, somebody is going to get sick of playing that game, and it might be the dog, If you're really mean, store a picture of a treasure map on each one, and maybe some lists of random hexadecimal numbers.

It'll drive them nuts. To really get the point across when they ask, just tell them the truth, that it's a joke, there's absolutely nothing of value stored on them, and yes, you want them back and undamaged. :P

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.