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Submission Let's Not Go to Mars writes: Ed Regis write in the NYT that today we an witnessing an outburst of enthusiasm over the literally outlandish notion that in the relatively near future, some of us are going to be living, working, thriving and dying on Mars. But unfortunately Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream. "First, there is the tedious business of getting there. Using current technology and conventional chemical rockets, a trip to Mars would be a grueling, eight- to nine-month-long nightmare for the crew," writes Regis. "Tears, sweat, urine and perhaps even solid waste will be recycled, your personal space is reduced to the size of an SUV., and you and your crewmates are floating around sideways, upside down and at other nauseating angles." According to Regis every source of interpersonal conflict, and emotional and psychological stress that we experience in ordinary, day-to-day life on Earth will be magnified exponentially by restriction to a tiny, hermetically sealed, pressure-cooker capsule hurtling through deep space and to top it off, despite these constraints, the crew must operate within an exceptionally slim margin of error with continuous threats of equipment failures, computer malfunctions, power interruptions and software glitches.

But getting there is the easy part says Regis. "Mars is a dead, cold, barren planet on which no living thing is known to have evolved, and which harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a veritable hell for living things, were it not for the fact that the planet’s average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit." These are only a few of the many serious challenges that must be overcome before anyone can put human beings on Mars and expect them to live for more than five minutes says Regis. "The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke."

Comment Re:Not the first time... (Score 3, Insightful) 282

Microsoft had XENIX back in the late '80s and early '90s. And, it was available to anyone. I supported many customers on it with our software and really enjoyed working with it. PC people couldn't believe that you could run a 386 or 486 and support multiple users at the same time with cheap dump terminals. And as I type this from a Linux-based Chromebook, I couldn't be happier that *NIX is not only eating Microsoft's lunch, but it is also being served for lunch at Microsoft.

We all saw this coming. And we know where it is all going...

Comment Re:Bureaucracy (Score 5, Funny) 275

Thank you for your request for a [citation needed]. Your satisfaction with our services is of utmost importance to us. Please go to our Web site and download the necessary form or forms in order to complete your request. Obtain the signatures necessary, in the appropriate order, and within the time-frame dictated by the guidelines set forth in the terms of service of your participation in the activity leading to your request. When you have completed the forms, send them by certified mail using the approved services to the appropriate departments, making sure to follow the steps outlined in your training. Your request must include appropriate citations which can be obtained by contacting us. We look forward to providing you with the best [citation needed] possible.

Comment Communication Methods and a True Poll (Score 2) 292

Perhaps ask people go to a place and let their preference be known. Let's call the place a "polling place" and let's call their preference, say, a "vote". We can get rid of the term "poll" and use some new fancy term like "election".

But, polling really does need to change with people's communication preferences. ID verification was ALWAYS a problem on phones. I think that knocking on doors, trusted e-mail, text messages, and other alternatives exist. Harder to do, but oh well. If you want good data, its ALWAYS really hard to do. Good data is very difficult to come across. All data is wrong, but sometimes it tells you something interesting... (something like that...)

The talking heads and candidates care who is "leading in the polls". I don't. I choose my candidate based on what is best for ME and then I ALWAYS vote. I ALWAYS lie to pollsters. Or do I?

Comment This Song? There's Nothing Tricky About It (Score 4, Informative) 386

I don't get the hoopla about how this will change the "industry". This was a case of blatant infringement, much like the Tom Petty issue. If you could not hear that for yourself, then perhaps you should be following another "industry" for your entertainment needs.

I always love the George Harrison case. That "changed the industry" too and was 40 years ago. In that case, it was not so obvious. You really had to be told what to listen for and then it was like, "oh, I get it". And George had to take it from He's So Fine and the Hare Krishna's for god's sake. OK, yeah, the Hare Krishna's sort of had a point because he copied their mantra in the song word for word.

But, George turned it into lemonade by letting the experience inspire "This Song", which was sweet revenge as it more than paid the bills from the "My Sweet Lord" injustice. Look it up, kids, its on the Internet! And while your at it, listen closely to "This Song" and read what the lyrics mean. Heck, it has voice overs from some of the Monty Python crew.

Comment Fishing for Mod Points... (Score 2) 66

I added a few tens of yards to my old Popeil Pocket Fisherman along with a 1-ounce sinker. I am fairly accurate with the PPF, and I can regularly knock out those small helicopter RC/drones from maybe 30 feet away, and can do as good as 60 feet. And that is with them hovering, not really moving. My kids have a bunch from ages ago and we have destroyed 3 this way, and knocked many out of the sky. Again, you have have to be fairly close. I really like it because you can reel it in and nobody ever knows what happened. And, you can always stop by the the stream on the way home and catch a tasty bass for dinner.

Submission Researchers 'Solve' Limit Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

Jason Koebler writes: The best limit Texas Hold'Em poker player in the world is a robot. Given enough hands, it will never, ever lose, regardless of what its opponent does or which cards it is dealt.
Researchers at the University of Alberta essentially "brute forced" the game of limit poker, in which there are roughly 3 x 10^14 possible decisions. Cepheus runs through a massive table of all of these possible permutations of the game—the table itself is 11 terabytes of data—and decides what the best move is, regardless of opponent.