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Comment: Re:Heh. (Score 5, Insightful) 224

The big problem is that everyone will now remember the fake study and continue to believe it, because the rectification doesn't get nearly as much coverage. People are still refusing to vaccinate children because they're afraid of autism even though the author of that study actually confessed having made the whole thing up.

Comment: Re:Mars One Plan (Score 1) 272

by michelcolman (#49781021) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

I like the way they start out by saying how hard it would be to land on Mars. You mean nobody has thought of that yet? Quick, somebody call Elon Musk and warn him before he sends over a rocket full of people with no way of landing there!

Also, they actually say they might have problems with plants producing too much oxygen. OK, hang on a minute there... Too much oxygen? On Mars? Somehow I don't think that will be such a major problem. Especially when combined with that other problem of not being able to make enough CO2...

I'm not saying it's going to be a picknick. It will be a hell of a challenge to just grow food and get breathable air. It just seems funny how the article emphasizes non-issues while disregarding much bigger problems.

Oh, and we shouldn't send over women because women live longer and are therefore more likely to develop cancer! Right, pick people with the shortest possible lifespan to maximize their... errr... oh, wait...

Comment: Re:Another Significant Hazard: Toxic Mars (Score 1) 272

by michelcolman (#49780963) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

Why don't we simply send those microbes over there already? We've got plenty of candidate lifeforms that "might" be able to survive on Mars. Just send samples of a bunch of those on a next rover mission to be scattered over some area, then see if any of them stick. Who knows, one of them might evolve into something that actually thrives on Martian soil and colonizes much of the planet. Let nature take care of the rest. Some people may not like the idea of "spoiling" the entire planet by importing life from earth (and possibly rendering the later discovery of indigenous life impossible), but if we can introduce life forms that reproduce exponentially, detoxify the soil and produce useful gases like oxygen, it will certainly make it (slightly) easier to colonize the planet once we're finally ready. Of course we won't be able to turn the planet into a giant forest, but it would be better than nothing. And we'd learn a hell of a lot about the evolution of life.

Also, if any catastrophic event happens here on earth, maybe something might come from those bacteria on Mars so life can go on. Maybe this already happened once on a different planet...

Comment: Re:Why not just kill them all? (Score 1) 148

by michelcolman (#49773729) Attached to: Sex-Switched Mosquitoes May Help In Fight Against Diseases

The problem is that, apparently, only two thirds of the females became male. If you would apply this method to a huge number of mosquitoes, there would be a temporary reduction in numbers followed by an explosion of mosquitoes that don't react to NIX. A single mosquito can lay quite a lot of eggs, so the numbers would be up to the old value again in a few generations. The number of mosquitoes is determined more by the environment than by the number of parent mosquitoes.

Comment: Re:Wou would have thought. (Score 1) 50

by michelcolman (#49736013) Attached to: Martian Moons May Have Formed Like Earth's

But how exactly does a planet "snatch" another object? The smaller object starts out at a huge distance from the planet, falls towards it (increasing its kinetic energy), passes by the planet (if it doesn't crash into it), and then... converts its kinetic energy back to the amount of potential energy it started out with, right?

Now if two different bodies would collide while close to the planet, some of the debris might just end up in orbit around the planet. But why would one small object not simply leave the planet again?

(Just an honest question, not saying anyone is wrong, just wondering how it works)

Comment: Re:Thanks to reader sleepypsycho for the poll idea (Score 2) 169

by michelcolman (#49734521) Attached to: When it comes to Slashdot ...

You can disable the Karma bonus. The problem with the bonus is that it adds one to the displayed score, but is not counted for achievements. Once you have a score:5 (which is really score 4 + 1 bonus), people stop modding you up so you never make it to a "real" +5. They can still mod you up one more point, but most people don't know so they don't. And this makes you miss achievements that require a "real" +5 (comedian, for example)

caveat: maybe they have changed the system in the mean time, but I remember it certainly used to work that way.

Comment: Re:The ultimate ugly hack? (Score 1) 264

by michelcolman (#49641461) Attached to: C Code On GitHub Has the Most "Ugly Hacks"

I wasn't talking about Duff's device anymore, just the general normal usage of switch statements and the fact that they fall through by default, instead of the more logical opposite choice of breaking by default and continuing only by choice with an explicit instruction. Someone replied that falling through was useful if a whole list of values needed the same treatment, but I think it would have been better to have a standard where a list of values (and possibly ranges) could be provided rather than a silly list of "case x:case y:case z:".

Obviously, if you wanted to use Duff's device with such a modified switch syntax, every case label would need a "continue" to fall through explicitly.

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