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Comment Re:One handed clap (Score 1) 103

There is enough energy in, on, and above the planet to provide for current needs, and for projected needs into the arbitrary future. Wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear sources of energy can be -- and are! -- deployed more and more as energy scientists and energy engineers find ways to get to them and exploit them. There is no scarcity of energy on this planet, there is only a lack of access. So asserting that we need to use all this energy efficiently is misguided at best, and really doesn't help with the real issue, which is access.

Let me rephrase this, slightly. Protesting we need efficiency when there really is no scarcity is the same misguided idea behind using fiscal austerity measures to fix broken economies. Just like with energy, there is *plenty* of money out there. And just like with energy, the problem is figuring out how to get to all that wealth and redistribute it so that everybody can benefit from it.

Comment Re:A workplace tool for the minimum-wage class (Score 1) 71

maybe a little irony, but not much. Anybody who needs data while remaining situationally aware is going to benefit from AR technology -- SAR, EMT, firefighters can all benefit from AR, and they are hardly minimum wage jobs. A google glass competitor called Recon Instruments may have found a pretty nice niche market for their retasked snow sports HUD. Its called the Recon Jet, and I have a first generation pair. It came out around the same time as GG, but cost less than half ($700 vs. $1500 for GG) and definitely look a lot hipper than GG, more like a fancy pair of Oakleys. They are great for engine and gear telemetry at track days on my Ducati, and they are fucking awesome for nav and topo when I'm skiing and snowboarding. My friend is a smoke jumper, and her western US team is actively evaluating them in the field. If Recon Instruments comes through on even half of what this promo vid promised two years ago, AR is going to be more than nerd candy, and definitely won't be confined to drudgery as you suggest.

Comment Re:The usual media spin (Score 1) 207

You mean some sort of theoretical future problem means we have to drop everything, abandon our successful economy, and adopt socialism IMMEDIATELY, without any debate? Yeah, sure.

Just a quick quiz: do you know what socialism thinks about people who don't work? Those who don't work won't eat, either. Socialism is about work, not lazy idlers. You don't believe me, I know, so here's an informative quote from someone who knows socialism much better than you do.

"You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can't justify your existence, if you're not pulling your weight, and since you won't, if you're not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we can not use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can't be of very much use to yourself." -- George Bernard Shaw, communist

Socialism is not as well defined as you seem to think it is. And dude, using an out-of-context quote that was originally made by Shaw in support of eugenics in general -- and Stalin's idiotic Lysenkoism in particular -- is pretty much indefensible. plonk.

Comment AI isn't the problem, but computers still are... (Score 1) 207

AI, at least on Turing-complete architectures, cannot and will not happen. Roger Penrose pretty much put the final nail in the AI coffin nearly thirty years ago when he (rightfully) pointed out that there are non-algorithmic aspects to cognition and consciousness (prereqs for intelligence in anybody's book) that can't even be simulated, let alone replicated, on a Turing machine. He based his argument on a novel but quite defensible interpretation of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. Look up the Halting Problem, if you need a concrete example of why AI Just. Won't. Happen.

With that said, the next likely apocalypse is going to be economic, and it is going to happen because of computer-enabled high frequency trading. Peta-FLOP scale compute clusters at brokerage houses with single digit pings to stock exchanges, running trading algorithms written by ex-physicists and ex-mathematicians that were originally designed to parse peta-byte sized data dumps from supercolliders, are what we need to worry about, not HAL 9000.

Comment Re:Refusing to accept cash? (Score 1) 440

I thought all countries (in the developed world, at the very least) had laws stating in one wording or another that it is illegal for a business to refuse payment in the country's official currency?

Well, perhaps they do. Your point, sir? What is preventing them from changing the law? Maybe a little history is in order. After the failure of the Bretton Woods agreement when the US pulled out of it in 1971, national currencies became fiat, i.e., they have value only because the government says it does. If the government decides it no longer has value, then by fiat, it no longer has value. Remember, currency is just a tool, and like any tool, it can be abandoned when it has outlived it's usefulness. Hopefully, Swedish authorities will also legislate protections against abuse of transaction data, but we will have to wait and see.

Comment Re: We should differentiate between the two (Score 1) 141

There is not a regime on earth that bans things that it does not consider harmful to the people. Remember that.

False. In the US, for example, bans can and are enacted when local governments decide that something needs to be banned, even though the federal government says it shall not be. Case in point: Abortion. The federal government decided in Roe v. Wade that a woman's right to opt for an abortion is protected, meaning that the procedure cannot be banned at the state level. Yet it is effectively banned in most states of the former Confederacy, because those state legislatures enacted laws making it practically impossible for abortion providers to practice, thus effectively banning abortions in those states. Thwok, ball's in your court.

Comment It's not *that* much of a mystery... (Score 4, Interesting) 207

if you think about it for a moment in terms of the weak anthropic principle, gravity has to be very weak, because it is cumulative. The Weyl curvature of spacetime, which is the metric tensor that governs the propagation of gravity in free space, acts across the entire Einstein manifold, i.e., everywhere at the same time. If gravity were any stronger, it is pretty unlikely that matter as we understand it would be able to exist long enough to produce objects like humans capable of asking that question.

With that said, it is not really an important question question on its own, as the over-hyped intro suggests. The important questions pretty much are looking for explanations as to why the universe behaves so differently at different scales and velocities. Important questions in physics and cosmology are more along the lines of "Why are our two most successful theories about the nature of the universe, quantum mechanics and general relativity, incompatible with each other?"

Comment Empirical Adequacy vs. "Absence of Evidence" (Score 5, Interesting) 157

Remember the Michelson-Morley experiments? From the pov of empirical adequacy, those negative results actually were confirmations of a more correct theory that was still eighteen years away. The classical, Newtonian paradigm, useful though it was (and still is, at non-relativistic velocities) needed to be tweaked to accommodate new evidence -- in the MM case, the lack of confirmatory results. When you use a model to ask a question about the universe, you have to be willing to change your model when the answer you get doesn't fit anywhere in your model. That is science. Anything else is religion, i.e., you ignore the answer or discredit the question, which is what the scientistific priesthood did to MM after they failed to find evidence of the "luminiferous aether." which was the dominant relig^H^H^H^H^H paradigm of the day.

So put the pitchforks and torches away, at least until science can come up with an altered holographic model to explain these results.

Comment Re: 3.5mm? (Score 0) 412

This. I've never understood why everyone wants the phones to keep getting lighter and thinner, with things like a glass back, only to then have to put them in a giant bulky plastic case to protect them, entirely defeating the purpose. People (mostly tech journalists) complained about how the Samsung S3/S4 felt with its plastic back, but you could actually get away without putting it in a case, which seems to be true of fewer and fewer phones these days (certainly not the iPhones or the S6).

Hmmm. I have never seen an iPhone in a case. Hiding those patented curves in an unaesthetic box would truly defeat the purpose of having an iPhone. I have an iPhone for one reason -- herd acceptance. At meetings with clients, for example, it is sometimes useful to flash the bling to blend in. I have a venerable Galaxy S5 for the other 23 hours of my day, safely ensconced in a Lifebox. Most tech types are sceptical of arguments grounded in social behavior, I know, but it pays to acknowledge that a large number of humans care deeply about how they are perceived by others. Jobs made himself a wealthy, wealthy man by pitching his products to people who care more about how they look holding it, than what they can do with it. Sleek is sexy, and therefore sells much better to people who need to be perceived as sexy.

With that said, there are great functional reasons to reduce the size of certain components, if for no other reason than to leave more room for battery, as several people already have mentioned in this thread. Eliminating external physical ports would help ruggedize any phone, and simultaneously make it easier (read: less expensive to manufacture) to make it look sexy. And not having to deal with cables every fucking day is a win for me. Finding a micro-USB port is goddamn hard for those of us with failing eyesight and deteriorating motor skills. The only cable I have to deal with now on a regular basis (~ weekly) is the micro-USB charger for my BT headset; I installed a $40 wireless charging kit on my aforementioned S5 and I'm loving it.

Comment Re:he should know better (Score 2) 319

It is incredible how many people bring "free speech!" up in conversation where it is not warranted.

It's actually more incredible how many people think that freedom of speech is only a concept in relation to governmental restrictions on communication.

Obviously private party restrictions on speech aren't a violation of 1st Amendment rights, but it should be more than obvious that freedom of speech can be threatened by private restrictions on speech by refusing access to media, venues or physical places which are commonly accepted as public spaces.

uh, what? what does the first amendment to the US constitution have to do with a group of british theater owners deciding what can and can't be seen on their theater screens, which are located in Britain, and not in the US?

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 373

Columbus was sponsored by a wealthy and powerful sovereign government.

He was indeed. But many follow on missions were privately funded. Governments funded the development of better compasses, sextants, chronometers, and better ships, as well as the initial voyages. But within a few decades, the spice trade, slave trade, and sugar/rum trade had made oceanic voyages profitable enough for the private sector to dominate.

Careful -- expand your horizons a bit. Your southern europe biases are showing. Government funded development of navigational tech and tools did occur and was helpful, as were the (morally dubious, in the case of the slave trade) motivations of commercial profit.

But -- profit in and of itself is not a sufficient, or indeed, even a necessary condition for exploration. The islands of Polynesia were explored, settled and exploited at least a millenia before Europe even knew the earth was round, using only naked eye observations to navigate.

And what about northern europe's contribution to exploration? When Erik the Red and his kin went a'viking, they took it across at least one ocean, with only their own eyesight to guide them.

Comment Re:Feedback welcome! (Score 1) 37

Hello Andreas,

I've been a happy civ addict for decades now, and I've been playing free civ on my linux based systems since I first heard about it on the civ fanatics site back in the early 2000's. I think civ has had to evolve to remain competitive in the gaming market place, and the producers and developers who assumed the mantle after the initial market success at Microprose have done an excellent job at it. And I certainly include in that all the modders and the fine folks like you who gave us free civ and all the great mods that enhance and improve (and fix!) the game we love so much.

But -- and I would really lilke a dev's opinion on this -- where does Civ go from here? To me, Civ started out as a resource management game, fun and absorbing at the same time. Multiplayer mode in CivNet extended that to something to share with friends and fellow civ fanatics online. But with civ 3, the resource management aspects of the game started to share the limelight with RPG elements. by the time of Civ 4, the resource management aspects of the game seemed to stop evolving, and the RPG elements started to get more and more of the developer's attention. By Civ 5, especially the BE version, the game stopped evolving along resource management lines, and seemed to be focussed by the devs on improving and enhancing the RPG elements. Is Civ going to continue to focus on RPG-style play at the expense of the resource management game?

Comment Re:I just want to charge at the current specs (Score 1) 75

Wake me when vendors actually agree on a common way of drawing the required power from the USB chargers. Sure there's a standard published but when will vendors actually follow the current standard, or in the case of Apple follow any standard at all.

uhh,,,what? not an apple fanboi here, but why does apple need to follow a standard? standards are for companies who are selling products in a competitive market place, but don't want to have to compete on *everything.* Since Apple is really not competing in the same space as LG, Samsung, Motorola, et al, they do not need to follow every standard adopted by those other companies or even a fraction of those standards. standards promote interoperability between market competitors, and that is it, full stop. Standards are useful if you are competing where interoperability gives you a market advantage. That is a battle that Apple has dodged, quite successfully. As Sun Tzu and Miyamoto Mushashi point out again and again, only fight battles you are likely to win. Apple is competing in the design space, not the tech space, and that is probably why they are the wealthiest company in the history of the world, and with just a minuscule market share, to boot. Think: Apple is not about how well the tech works with the competition, but what the tech does for the consumer who purchases it. It's called choosing your battles, and Jobs chose well, dying an incredibly wealthy man.

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