In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell summarizes a series of research which seems to prove that while having enough intelligence for a particular task is a must to succeed in that task, having additional IQ makes next to no difference. This is true for at all levels of complexity of tasks (from winning a Nobel to keeping a daily job) inspected. Being a bright and otherwise nondescript person I am, I would love to see some research contradicting the claim. I suspect there is none.
I strongly disagree. The real SF element in the book is what if we will not have access to stars? What if we improve our technology to magic like levels but fail to find new frontiers? It is probably the most insightful and most relevant SF book he has ever written. Banks puts the planetary system in isolation but having stars just 4 light years away is no guarantee that we will ever reach them. The premise is species-survival level important.
As for "magical" items, like lazy gun, they serve their purpose best when there are no plausible explanations to their inner workings. They illustrate the point of being made by much advanced technological level characters' better if they make less sense. His choice of extreme cartoonishness, rather than SF classic technobabble is a brilliant invention.
The adventure is great too. A real page turner, if you don't stop to think about implications.
Pushing gently over a long time, without any contact is the idea. For rocky asteroids known to be structurally sound, non-contacting may not be important. But pushing with exhaust without landing is a very inefficient idea. To keep spacecraft same distance from the asteroid, you have to waste half of your propellant in the opposite direction.
The escape velocities of many asteroids are very low and the exhaust velocity for high Isp engines are very high. The difference is at least 100 fold. For a net momentum change, it would be enough to not aim exhaust directly to the asteroid. The gravitational capture of propellant is impossible. No special diversion mechanisms are necessary.
I don't praise business or business values. They are dehumanizing to extreme. I just arguing against your idea of working less is business-like.
They are not identical as long as your capability for work is not diminished by being paid more for it. If you manage to finish your work in less time, a business like approach would be investing your remaining time to get paid for something else too.
I think the issue is when you feel that you deserve to work a couple hours a day (or week) and get paid more than other people who work for 10s of hours a week (or day) and be paid the same amount.
I own a business. I'm in the business of selling my labor. Therefore, I'm going to maximize MY profits. That means getting paid as much as I can for as little work as possible. If business owners shouldn't be stigmatized for being greedy assholes, then workers shouldn't be stigmatized for being lazy assholes.
This double standard has to go.
In business, you don't maximize profits by having less of them. Getting paid as much as you can for a particular work is a proper business goal, getting it for as little work as possible is just plain laziness.
If most scientists agreed that world was flat, and you were to somehow decide what to do on that information, the rational course of action would have been assuming the world is flat. The rational course of action does not depend on the physical reality but on the best available information. By definition, that information is judged to be better than its rivals. Whether a theory is better than its rivals is the pertinent question, whether it is actually true is not. "The truth" cannot be known as such, as is the "actual fact."
Barium is not in short supply, although medical grade barium sulphate may be. I guess the mined baryte is never used in medical procedures, regardless of its purity when it came from the ground. Making pure barium sulphate from baryte is straightforward though. Coke, dissolve in sulfuric acid, precipitate. Rinse and repeat if higher purity is desired. Of course this adds a certain cost (precipitated barium sulphate was around 700 $/ton last I checked, in 2007) but that is peanuts for medical applications. One is using a couple hundred grams for the contrast procedure.
I don't know where this article is coming from, but worldwide baryte production is in the order of couple million tons. A day's production is enough to give one billion people the procedure. It is not strategically important at all. I can buy it by truckload at about 200$/ton.
WTF does "they demand respect even when they are in the minority." mean?
Anyway, my original point is, the problem you frame as a *muslim* behavior is actually an *eastern* behavior. Mid eastern muslims' demand for respect for their values is not limited to religion. The majority of people living in the east are not muslims anyway.
Eastern culture values conformity and respect to each other (especially to elders and their beliefs) a lot more than respect for different ideas. If conformity is impossible, the eastern solution to incompatible belief systems is keeping silent about them.
I am atheist living in muslim country. I find it very difficult to defend my beliefs and not offend at the same time. If I chose to defend my beliefs it is usually seen a sign of mischief (which it in a sense is! I know I will offend people, so I can't claim not meaning ot offend.)
Seriously... People have been mocking religion for thousands of years, you don't see the Jews or Christians rioting and killing people every time someone pokes fun at God or Jesus. I'm not counting the middle ages here either.. just the last 200 or so years..
Part (only part) of the problem is the western people tend not to notice that the eastern concept of "respect" is quite different from western one. Eastern people are a lot less tolerant to not being respected, especially when their shared values not being respected. One is not supposed to chant "stick and stones" if he is not/his beliefs are not being respected. If he does so, he is implicitly accepting that he/his shared values are not being worthy of respect. This is a worldview I do not share, but it is as "wrong" as you might assume. It is just different. Killing people due to your prophet not being respected is, obviously, indefensible.
With free energy you can just use many heat pump in a cascade until at the final pump your coolant is pressurized molten metal and your heat exchanger is a mirrored dish at 5000K (or whatever.) Your heat sink is universe. If the spectrum is right, very little of the radiated energy will heat atmosphere. The only reason we don't radiate away our heat is because radiative heat transfer is very slow at low temperatures and using high temperatures is very inefficient.
It would be like magic, almost post-scarcity. Energy is *the* price setter. We tend to think raw materials and technology are more limiting, but actually more energy can substitute both raw materials and technology. For example, it is possible but energy inefficient to separate dilute chemicals.If energy is free, it would be possible to mine *everything* from waste and oceans. If you need a complex molecule, make an organic soup and separate useful stuff. If a certain production process has low yield, do not research ways to increase yield, instead increase capacity, separate, reuse. If farmland is not sufficient, use hydrophonic farms with artificial lightning and synthesized fertilizers. Need water, desalinate. Need water in the middle of Sahara, pump. Need cold air, condition. Make a dome over the a city o a desert; you don't need an impermeable dome if you don't mind using energy inefficiently...