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Comment Re:Out of reality and into highschool-physics-land (Score 2) 350

It's worth noting adaptive optics for a camera isn't the same as trying to focus a laser beam onto a tiny point thousands of kilometers away. The shape of the earth's atmosphere is somewhat forgiving anyways, from outside-looking-in. It refracts light to a point instead of diffracting outward, for one thing. Then, there's the matter of just looking at light bounced off the sun instead of trying to take a laser designed to melt things. Here, you have the problem of trying to focusing your infrared doom beam onto a point using onboard optics, without melting things where you don't want them melted. ie: your onboard optics.

Comment Out of reality and into highschool-physics-land? (Score 1) 350

Wow, you found mathematically perfect lenses that do not have any surface imperfections?

A manufacturer that can guarantee zero alignment error (even down to the nanoradian!), and a crack team that can design for absolutely no thermal expansion/contraction problems?

A lens form for vanishingly-near-zero aberration (Certainly, someone of your intellectual caliber would, after all, know lasers have variations from their stated value due to manufacturing flaws), and constructed from a material that has near perfect transmittance in the given wavelength of laser?

Please, do tell me how you will manage to correct for the small but nonzero amount of atmosphere at high altitude, which would also introduce diffraction that would have to be corrected for in real time to hit the target with that 'microns wide' beam while also attenuating the amount of light from scattering and absorption.

I'd also love your opinion on spacecraft thermal management, and how you'll put this umpteen-kilowatt laser in orbit and fire it without melting the laser discharge tube, the metal holding the tube, the optics focusing the beam onto a microns-thin point that'll put even more thermal stress on the spacecraft's optics than the target's own, and also how you'll fire it without melting the rest of the spacecraft. Furthermore, I'd like to hear how this thermal management solution, laser, optics package, and spacecraft bus will be small and light enough to fit on a small, lightweight military booster that can be launched on a moment's notice without providing warning to enemy state actors to attract cruise missiles or other ballistic bombardment.

Please try to keep up, here. I'm genuinely curious.

Comment Re:Poison in the ecosystem (Score 4, Informative) 106

Lucky us, it's not poison in the conventional sense. The injection is an agar medium that encourages the growth of pathogenic bacteria, in doing so artificially inducing lethal illness which kills the starfish by bacterial consumption, without introducing any harmful toxins into the ocean. I dug up the paper here, it's actually what my first concern was, bioamplification of the toxin from decomposers to higher-order predators. While COTS seem susceptible to the disease, with other nearby healthy ones, left uninjected, sometimes also becoming infected. Bonus points, another species they tested fared well. (They do note further research necessary, though.)

Comment Re:It only can become slavery... (Score 1) 150

The Chinese Room only makes sense so far as there's a guy manipulating the input and output, who has office hours and goes home to his wife and kids after a long day's work of processing unintelligible Chinese. When there isn't a guy manipulating said input and output - when it's a machine within a larger machine, capable of its own sustenance when provided an input of energy as any other living being, the argument falls apart. I do feel we're a bit premature to start discussing the topic of AI rights and what's the difference between term and murder, but any machine that can demonstrate intelligence and agency, and can be reasoned and communicated with, has to be considered perhaps not exactly "human," but a person of some sort in the sense of the law, entitled to rights and protections as any other.

Regardless if it's the familiar doped silicon buried in a unimpressive beige box, or the machine we all too often forget is no more 'magical' than a CPU; a pile of boring wet matter with a smattering of weird chemistry, the brain. The Chinese room is at best misdirection, because it replaces an internal organ in which the mind of a being resides with an office like any other - cable bills, taxes, or Chinese, it's irrelevant. Unless, of course, you wish to imply that humans too don't display intelligence or the ability to experience because the individual neurons don't.

(Besides, corporations are people too, so wouldn't offices also be, in America?)

Submission + - Commenters to Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

theodp writes: On Friday, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston sought to quell the uproar over the appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the company's board of directors, promising in a blog post that Rice's appointment won't change its stance on privacy. More interesting than Houston's brief blog post on the method-behind-its-Condi-madness (which Dave Winer perhaps better explained a day earlier) is the firestorm in the ever-growing hundreds of comments that follow. So will Dropbox be swayed by the anti-Condi crowd ("If you do not eliminate Rice from your board you lose my business") or stand its ground, heartened by pro-Condi comments ("Good on ya, DB. You have my continued business and even greater admiration")? One imagines that Bush White House experience has left Condi pretty thick-skinned, and IPO riches are presumably on the horizon, but is falling on her "resignation sword" — a la Brendan Eich — out of the question for Condi?

Comment Re:Level of public funding ? (Score 1) 292

I hope you never drove on public roads, went to public schools, visited public parks, flushed your toilet into a public sewer, or filled said toilet with water from the public water supply. And if you want public health, safety standards, transportation, sanitation, or anything resembling civilization, that's something you should pay for with your own bank account! There's zero authorization to make me a slave to your common, collective good that benefits everyone, because... because...

Comment Re:Except they did release micrographs. (Score 1) 140

He's used to make my comment sound like maniacal rambling? Why, it already does! (Muphry's law strikes again...)

I'll admit I was kind of fuming after reading the petition, especially because that dumbass tried to pull a CSI with over-zoomed images that can be anything. So yeah. Totally cocked the grammar up, but eh. Would be nice if Slashdot had an edit feature, and if retroactively changing posts for argument's sake is a concern, just leave "this post was edited on Feb. 31st, 20XX" or whatever on the bottom and add a Wiki-style history feature to see what the previous form/s were.

Comment Except they did release micrographs. (Score 5, Informative) 140

If this idiotic shitstain spent more than five hard seconds looking at the processed press release images, forgetting to take his meds, and crying conspiracy, he would've discovered that the Mars Exploration Rover site on JPL actually releases every single raw image the second it gets downlinked from Mars, including photos that deny claims of not taking micrographs, and also ignorant of basic traits of the MERs (well, MER now - RIP Spirit), such as the relatively low resolution of its sensors compared to modern standards, the microscopic imager just having a resolution of 1024x1024 and a working area of 3.1cm square at operating distance, and because it doesn't have an light on it like MSL/Curiosity's MAHLI, isn't as good at taking photos of things on the ground, like a little rock on the surface of mars.

In fact, there's even hazcam images of the arm being swung into place, denying that the rover never got close, and that it's actually just the really small rock it is.
Before arm placement, and after.

Anyways - oh look, close up, in focus images of a mushroom. Not. I hope this fuck gets laughed out and never returns.

Comment Re:terrorism! ha! (Score 1) 453

God, I hate it when people bring this up. A bacteriophage does NOT infect eukaryotic cells, and more importantly their route of infection is tailored to exploiting bacteria. One of the most common model bacteriophages, T4, is in fact reliant on gram-negative anatomy by searching for lipopolysaccharides and porins to bind to.

So how to regulate it? Well, how to even regulate humans creating tailored cats to catch rodents on their trading vessels, that would then evolve is tricky...
Then again, considering cats are the new overlords of the internet, that's a bad example.

Comment What a heap of crap. (Score 1) 362

Do you really not get the irony of mentioning the civil rights movement while speaking about "patience, compromise, and steady change?" Do you know why there was this relatively sudden burst of demonstrations, protests, marches, and so on and so forth? Because for the past fifty years since the Atlanta compromise, gradualism was mainly used by the government as an excuse to do nothing about existing issues with no real plans on the agenda for integration. From 1895 until the 1950s, "patience, compromise, and steady change" did jack shit and only served to retard progress. That's why there even was a civil rights movement. People didn't feel like spending generations as second class citizens, waiting patiently for their great-grandkids to have a future they won't be around for and can't say for certain will even come around. There is no way to have slow, steady change on an order less than many generations, because thoughts and cultural memes get entrenched and passed from parent to child, and the only thing that'll force them out is conflict.

What you're talking about are all symptoms of a dysfunctional society and a refusal of the new social strata, and your examples are riddled with holes and victim blaming, especially because Bradley Manning couldn't've released his information piecemeal because between the volume of data and the constant threat of feds busting down your door, and regardless of what the law says there's nothing right about fifty years in jail for a few minutes in a closet unless you're taking someone's life, and then constant legal issues to the point where you kill yourself just to escape. While you're saying to stop vilifying opponents who well earned their reputations and stop glorifying leaks, what's really being said, be it your intent or not, is to just shut up, bend over, and hope it'll be over quicker this time. Change doesn't come from people lining up and merely wishing things were different, and attitudes like those don't make it happen at all. Stop blaming the victims and look who's really making people into martyrs.

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid