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Comment: My impression: (Score 1) 903

by orz (#29339817) Attached to: Which Breakthrough Is Most Likely?

Time Travel:
We can't even define it in a way that isn't inherently contradictory or meaningless.

FTL Travel:
Theory suggests that it is fundamentally impossible to do useful macroscopic FTL travel.

Human-level AI:
Historical progress has been fairly pathetic. My guess is that the important factor to look at here is the ratio of computational power of our computers to the computational power of our brains. Historical AI work has been done on computers that were very simple, and for parallel tasks, very slow relative to human brains. As the ratio of the parallel computation power ratio of computers to brains approaches unity however, serious AIs become much more feasible. When the ratio starts to exceed 1 by an order of magnitude or 2, brute-force brain simulations become practical. Assuming that advances in microchip fabrication techniques don't slow down too much in the future, that ratio should reach 1 in maybe a quarter to a half of a century from now, and the brute-force approach should become practical a decade or 3 later.

Discovery of Aliens:
Too many unknowns to say anything meaningful, but my wild-ass guess is that very simple extra-terrestrial life has a significant chance of being present in this solar system and found in the next half century, but solid evidence of independent sentient life will be a long time coming.

Immortality:
We're on the verge of several advances in anti-aging, but there are too many different causes, some of those causes are relatively untractable, and the word "Immortality" sounds awfully absolute. So, not for a long time.

World Peace:
Never. If we achieved it, we'd redefine it to mean something else. Well, I suppose if we managed to make outself extinct, that might qualify. Or temporarily united against some common foe not part of the "World".

Sharks With Frickin' Lasers:
We've had that for years already.

Image

Teacher Sells Ads On Tests 532

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-the-bills dept.
Tom Farber, a calculus teacher at Rancho Bernardo high school in San Diego, has come up with a unique way of covering district cuts to his supplies budget. He sells ads on his tests. "Tough times call for tough actions," Tom says. The price of an ad on a Mr. Farber Calc test is as follows: $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, and $30 for a semester final. Most of the ads are messages from parents but about a third of them come from local businesses. Principal Paul Robinson says reaction has been "mixed," but adds, "It's not like, 'This test is brought to you by McDonald's or Nike.'" I see his point. Being a local business whore is much better than being a multinational conglomerate whore.

Comment: Googling is not difficult (Score 1) 1048

by orz (#16758679) Attached to: Is An Uninformed Vote Better Than No Vote?
Consult the candidates websites. Consult wikipedia. Consult google. Consult friends and family who might be more informed. It's not difficult to find out where candidates stand on the issues of the day, which companies they've (mis-)managed, and their general message and tone. You can probably get a general idea of the candidates in 5 or 10 minutes per candidate, less for those that you reject quickly.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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