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Comment: Re:Not so fast, Thermodynamic laws are pesky thing (Score 1) 155

by rasmusbr (#46773717) Attached to: 'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

The one application that I've heard about that sounds semi-plausible is sandwiching something like this between a solar cell and a liquid cooler. The difference in temperature between the PV cell and the cooler might be enough to yield meaningful amounts power and the waste heat that the cooling system captures could be used for heating.

Comment: Re:City within a Building (Score 1) 98

by rasmusbr (#46766989) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

The first cities which were, curiously, built by hunter-gatherers were effectively a single building that got added to each time a new family moved in. The door of a home was either a hole in the roof or a hole in a wall facing the roof. These sort of cities are still being built today. They're called slums.

Now, before we run off and investigate this exciting idea of having a whole city inside a building, perhaps we should investigate why that idea has been tried and ultimately discarded over and over in countless times and at countless places.

Comment: Re:Google is already doing it (Score 1) 163

by rasmusbr (#46750245) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

Google don't care whether their results are the best for consumers. Their customers are advertisers.

But then Google needs to have a selection of apps that are tolerable enough that you'll use the apps despite the Google ads.

Ad-free apps (often FOSS) might help make the experience as a whole more tolerable, especially for power users, so there's no reason to punish those.

Comment: Google is already doing it (Score 1) 163

by rasmusbr (#46748215) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

This random sample voting idea is already in use on Google play. It came into effect a few months ago. If you open Google play on your Android device you will see a widget that invites you to vote for one of your recently installed apps.

I don't know how well this could work even if done perfectly. The ultimate measure of the quality and appeal of a product is whether or not you will recommend it to someone explicitly (and not just implicitly by liking it on Facebook or G+ or what not). I doubt Google has a way to measure that. Maybe they're working on it.

Comment: Re:Open the pod bay door HAL (Score 2) 71

And if I'm not mistaken, this next flight will also be their first attempt to recover the first stage by propulsive landing. Demonstrating such a capability would be a game changer in itself.

My understanding is that they're going to attempt to "land" the first stage on the ocean surface. If it works as intended the stage will hit the water at low speed and it will be perfectly vertical at the time of impact, which would then indicate that they could have landed it on dry land if they had tried.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 593

Well, in that case that carbon alloy would have to be held together by a mysterious principle previously unknown to us. My understanding is that chemical bonds can only be so strong, at least in the absence of another force pushing the atoms closer together.

If someone found an artifact lightweight enough to hold in your hand, yet strong enough to be invulnerably to anything that we could throw at it, then that would be the most remarkable thing that has ever been recorded. It would take a long time and a lot of testing for people to accept it, but eventually we would have to incorporate it into our world view in one way or another. It would not be a smooth transition however way you choose to make it. Even a supposedly naturalistic explanation such as "hyper advanced space aliens who love Jesus kitsch" would be sufficiently strange that it would give birth to multiple new religions of people who would worship and call upon the aliens. The way I see it you might as well believe in the god of the Bible then.

Besides I've read the Bible and I haven't found anything that proves that the "Lord God" character could not be a space alien. It's a nutty idea, but if there was evidence for it we would have to take that evidence into consideration.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 593

I suspect it will eventually be shown through logical argument (if it hasn't been already) that it is impossible to construct a coherent system of thought. The general trend in physics and philosophy alike seems to be that we progressively find out that the universe is stranger and nastier than we thought it could be, yet sufficiently nice for us to be able to exist.

The invulnerable Jesus toast would be sufficient for me to go through with the water on head ceremony and to place provisional belief in the idea that the Bible is essentially true. It would then take something equally remarkable to nudge that provisional belief in some other direction.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 2) 593

Nothing that breaks the rules can be proven as breaking them, from the inside. What if the exception is part of the rules?

That is only true in a strict sense of the word "rules". If say 99.9999% of space obeys a certain set of rules and 0.0001% breaks them then any intelligent being (intelligence being pattern recognition among other things) would stare at the other 0.0001% and wonder.

For example if someone produced an indestructible toast with the face of Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha, I and many other atheists would be lining up outside whichever church, mosque or temple we were lead to.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 593

Let's simplify.

Conway's game of life creatures became sentient.
They discovered they are made of cells.
They said "Look, THE INFINITESIMAL CELL is always created from NOTHING. If things happens FROM NOTHING, there is NO NEED FOR A CREATOR, so THERE IS NO CREATOR, and besides NOBODY ever witnessed something different THAN THE DETERMINISTIC APPLICATION OF RULES. How smart are we?"

So the guy at the PC said to himself "Thank you for nothing, guys" and went making himself coffee.

And the creatures were sensible. After all, if the guy at the PC wanted the creatures to figure it out he could easily have programmed the game with elements that blatantly break the rules of the game. Perhaps he could have made indestructible walls the shape of a guy sitting at a desk with a computer on it. The creatures would eventually have mapped it and marveled at the mysterious pattern.

Comment: Re:Rediculous (Score 1) 291

Aha, and the nano machines that have evolved inside cells prove that it's a project worth pursuing. You could even start by merely high-jacking existing cellular machinery to do your bidding. Once you get a good grasp of how they work you could try to design new ones, machines that evolution hasn't stumbled on.

Comment: Re:Prophylactic immunization (Score 1) 351

by rasmusbr (#46704733) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

Just the titles of some of the footnotes of the paper should give you a good idea...

"The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians"
"The epidemiology of infectious diseases among South American Indians: A call for guidelines for ethical research"
"Massacre of the Brazilian Indians"
"The Defeat of the Brazilian Indians"
"Die If You Must: Brazilian Indians in the Twentieth Century"

It sounds like they'd need body armor and rifles more than they'd need vaccines to protect themselves.

Comment: Re:WOWZA! (Score 1) 240

by rasmusbr (#46704197) Attached to: How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

I for one probably spend close to $50 a year on apps and I also "never" buy apps. Except when I need one and don't want to be bothered by ads. Those one-dollar, two-dollar, or four-dollar purchases add up over the course of a year.

I tend to think of paid apps as lottery tickets. Most end up being uninstalled within a day or two. Some end up being wonderful utilities that I use several times a week.

Comment: Re:Weren't they already dying? (Score 1) 351

by rasmusbr (#46703207) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

And yet GP is correct.

On the graphs, there is a line for "pre 0", which is ~5x as high as the "year 0" line.

So, why are we blaming contact for the primary problems, if population fell by 80% (to the year 0 levels) from pre-contact?

Well, those 80% are presumably the ones that died when they came into non-peaceful contact by the less than peaceful Europeans who broke new ground.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.