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Comment: Re:I think more people would be interested... (Score 1) 194

Imagine you set up a ridiculously-powerful computer to simulate a universe - literally a particle-by-particle perfect simulation. (You might need this to be a fairly small universe, of course)

The simulation begins with everything in one tiny place and then it explodes outwards, cools down, matter starts to coagulate, etc. etc.

Within the simulation, there was no time before that universe's Big Bang. You could pause and even rewind the simulation and this could never be noticed from inside. The simulation only has 'knowledge' of what happens within the simulation.

Imagine your tiny universe evolves life, and it becomes intelligent. Can you imagine any way, any way at all, that that intelligent life could look at the simulated universe, and from it work out that it's a simulation? Can you think of a way they could find out what kind of computer it's running in? Can you imagine a way they could work out what the universe the computer exists in is like? Can you imagine any way, at all, in which the inhabitants of that universe could ever come to be aware of you yourself, unless you intervened and told them about yourself directly?

The difficulty that that simulated universe would have in working out how the computer works and what the rules of OUR universe are, are AT LEAST as great as the difficulties that we face in working out what, if anything, gave rise to our own universe. Questions like "What was before the Big Bang?" and "What's outside the Universe?" are at best almost impossibly difficult to answer, and at worst as meaningless as "Where's the end of a circle?"

That's why nobody's busy trying to find out. Now because nobody's interested, but because we don't even understand our own universe yet, so how the hell do we stand any chance of working out what's beyond it?

Comment: Shorter copyright (Score 5, Interesting) 480

by oneandoneis2 (#46347845) Attached to: Interview: Ask Richard Stallman What You Will

I believe you're in favour of much-reduced copyright terms - a few years rather than the endless decades of today.

If copyright were reduced to, say, five years, then the vast majority of GNU code would become public-domain - copyleft depending on copyright as it does, this would mean anyone could create a closed-source fork of, say, emacs. How do you feel about that?

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 192

by oneandoneis2 (#46118251) Attached to: Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"

In terms of the actual mechanism: as far as I recall, immune cells develop with a random specificity: It's pure chance what they'll recognise.

If they're exposed to something that they will react to in their development time, they die: This is how we prevent them from reacting to ourselves.

So although it won't do anything to existing immune cells, the persistent presence of peanuts will at least prevent any new immune cells popping up that will react to them.

Comment: Re:concept not engineered device (Score 1) 375

No it wouldn't.

With open-circuit gear this would give you nothing - there's more Oxygen than you need in your breathing mix already, adding yet more would be worthless, if not dangerous (Oxygen is toxic at elevated pp)

With a rebreather, Oxygen isn't the limiting factor - that's why rebreathers only have small tanks attached (unless they're intended for bailout purposes as well)

Even if it existed, this device would be worthless at best and lethal at worst.

Comment: Re:Canonical might suck... (Score 1) 362

by oneandoneis2 (#45260849) Attached to: Debian To Replace SysVinit, Switch To Systemd Or Upstart

Upstart sucks.

Every time I've tried to make new software be controlled by it, I've wound up writing horrendous kludges or (where possible) rewriting the source code to make it more upstart-friendly.

Upstart is to init systems what Unity is to desktops - mostly okay for some stuff, and utter **** for anything else.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.