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Comment: Re:The timing of technology. (Score 1) 117

by scotts13 (#49075445) Attached to: Another Star Passed Through Our Oort Cloud 70,000 Years Ago

It's a joke, you see. If we wait, eventually a star will come close enough that we can just hop on over to it. Thus interstellar travel with no extra technology needed, apart from that which would keep us alive if another star were that close.

Love it. You simply throw a rope around the passing star, and it yanks you right off the planet. For the less-than-alert reader, if you can accelerate to the speed of a passing body... you don't really need that body.

Comment: Re:Multiple formats (Score 1) 251

by scotts13 (#48916217) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

It almost doesn't matter as long as it's more than one medium, stored in more than one place. I keep copies of everything on HDDs (and sometimes tape) here at home, but also copy the most vital stuff onto 3.5" magneto-optical disks (Fuji DynaMO -- they never caught on but they've been super reliable) and keep that in a safe deposit box at the bank. $25/year is pretty good for getting my life's work back if my house burns down. If you do choose a removable medium, make sure you keep a spare drive too. It'd be a shame to have pristine media you can't read.

I've been using two HD copies and a DynaMO for years. Magneto-optical drives require both light and magnetism to write, and are predicted stable for 100+ years. However, I no longer have confidence that drives will be available when my primary and backup ones die. I'm shifting over to three HD's; at 59 years old, they'll last me long enough

Comment: Some people like to tinker (Score 2) 592

by scotts13 (#48844205) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

...or have other specialized needs. Apple hardware has an unparalleled build quality; no one disputes that. The only question on that front is whether you find it worthwhile to pay for that quality. My Apple Laptop is dual-boot; Windows at work and OSX at home. Both work perfectly. My home system previously also had a Linux boot volume; that worked well too. However, for MY purposes, it did nothing that other Unix variant, OSX, did not - and it was trickier to install and maintain.

So the answer is, specific needs (like my absolute IE9 requirement at work) or just like to play with the OS.

Comment: Re:Do they float? (Score 1) 33

by scotts13 (#48646355) Attached to: New Record Set For Deepest Dwelling Fish

I think one way to fish is to drop a grenade or TNT stick into a body of water. Then, at least some of the fish float to the surface.

Is it realistic to think we could explore life in the depths of the ocean by dropping depth charges and waiting to see what comes up?

In the same way we could learn about the culture of foreign countries by nuking them and examining the radiated spectrum. The search for knowlege only occasionally involves explosives.

Comment: Re:Not unexpected. (Score 5, Informative) 141

Ultimately, I value my time enough that I will generally not purchase things I think will break and require fixing or taking to a repair shop. I'll spend extra on a dependable product. Apple computers have shown to not be dependable, despite being more expensive...

Yeah, factually untrue. Industry statistics show Apple products to be consistently the most dependable you can buy. If that's not good enough to meet your standards for reliability, what does?

Comment: Re:chain of evidence (Score 1) 216

See, all that would be hard, and could take a while. Also, "criminals" tend to be mobile and surreptitious. An ISP, on the other hand, is visible and stationary. If you can just shift the blame to someone you can actually reach, "doing something" becomes much easier.

Comment: Save us some time (Score 1) 173

by scotts13 (#48426689) Attached to: US Gov't Seeks To Keep Megaupload Assets Because Kim Dotcom Is a Fugitive

Might as well stop fooling ourselves that we're a nation of laws. The actions of the US government are indistinguishable from those of an unlimited monarchy; they take what they want. Soon the burden of writing, re-writing, and re-interpreting little laws to justify it will be onerous, and they'll stop.

Then we won't have to (and indeed won't be allowed to) waste time talking about it.

Comment: Re:there is a solution to law enforement for profi (Score 2) 398

by scotts13 (#48195181) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

it will require a constitutional amendment

1. no government entity (fees, fines, tolls, tariffs, settlements, and seizures) may use non-tax monies for any of its operating expenses
2. all non-tax revenue are distributed evenly amongst the citizens of the collecting jurisdiction on an annual basis

People who break the law or use limited government services still pay. People who don't break the law and don't use services are rewarded with an extra tax refund. And politicians can't be sneaky about the amount of money they spend since 100% of it will have to come directly from taxes.

Of course this will never happen because of entrenched power and the 1% benefiting from the current system fleecing the general public.

This. PLEASE! I've been saying it for years.

Comment: Re:Really? This is a problem! (Score 2) 398

by scotts13 (#48195159) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

You can't count on law-breaking as an income model, or you by definition automatically have no moral right to claim it's for safety. The ultimate goal of whatever system you put in place is to put itself out of business. Instead, the system is put in place to serve itself and NEVER accomplish it's goal of stopping people from breaking the law.

But it's the system we HAVE. It's not called the corrections industry for nothing; one of the largest businesses in the country is catching people and punishing them. There's a reason we have the largest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. If there were no crime... the cops, lawyers, prison guards, surveillance equipment company employees, would all be out of work. For heavens sake, if you're a patriot and love your country, support it by breaking the law today!

Comment: Re:The problem with this is where to stop (Score 1) 366

by scotts13 (#48161729) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Also, how is wholesale genetic engineering for positive traits like this really different from eugenics? I don't get it.

Largely in that "eugenics" is a word associated with a Very Bad Politician and therefore cannot be said in polite company. All it really means is "The practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population." A noble goal, to be sure. Like many things, however, eugenics can be practiced the innocuous way or the horrifying way.

Comment: Re:Changing the system? (Score 1) 366

by scotts13 (#48159221) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Wouldn't the embryos change by the simple action of observing it?

For obvious reasons, you want to do your culling before fertilization occurs. In Heinlein's story, they examined the otherwise-wasted polar body thrown off during the development of the cell. The genetic content of the final cell can be inferred from that. Not sure how well that would work out, real-world; but the story was written in 1942, and the idea hasn't been discredited yet (that I could find).

Comment: Science fiction has solutions for this (Score 2) 366

by scotts13 (#48158763) Attached to: Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon

Positive side: Heinlein's "Beyond this Horizon"
Negative side: Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons"

If we don't do the first, we get the second. There's a reasonable argument that natural selection isn't working anymore, and in fact may have been reversed. At one point, poor eyesight or ADD meant the sabre-tooth edited you out of the gene pool. So, we'll have to add the chlorine ourselves. I'm not sure we should be editing genes directly, but selecting the best gametes from the available pool (for a given set of parents) à la Heinlein almost HAS to be done at some point.

Comment: Re:For me? yes. (Score 1) 481

by scotts13 (#48064995) Attached to: Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

They're one of the few species i dont eat on purely ethical grounds. Cats and dogs I wouldn't eat on nutritional grounds, or other higher-order predators for that matter, but I guess that could be argued to be another sort of ethical reasoning.

A few years ago I saw a YouTube clip of a scuba diver whose camera was literally stolen by the octopus he was filming, who then proceeded to taunt the diver and make him give chase to wrest it back from the cephalopod. Holy shit! I thought, that sea creature is trolling this guy! And with that i decided i would no longer eat them. "Ability to troll" may not be a very scientific (or very high for that matter) bar I guess, but it apparently is mine. YMMV. Damn shame too, as i used to love eating them.

Agreed. While I've never easten octopus, I have previously enjoyed squid, something I may re-consider. Arbitrary, perhaps - but they're personal standards.

"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".