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Comment: Re: A win for freedom (Score 1) 1314

by silentcoder (#47360505) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

>How would you resolve this in law? I'm assuming you want to allow this guy not to make a cake for the KKK, but wouldn't want him to be allowed to put up a sign saying "no disabled" or "no whites" in his shop. Or are you saying you would just let people arbitrarily discriminate on the grounds of personal bigotry?

Actually - much as I despise the KKK I would say the real matter comes down to the cake. If it's just a plain cake with no symbols or anything- then he SHOULD have to bake it, he may dislike their beliefs but the mere fact that they would consider coming to him proves they can't be all that sincere in them to begin with. He can't deny little Timmy a birthday cake because he thinks Timmy's dad may belong to the Klan.
On the other hand if it's a Swastika Cake with the letters "KKK" on it he can freely refuse to bake it.

There is no discrimination involved in that at all - he is simply choosing not to sell a particular product, that's no more discrimination than Herbalife having qualms about selling heroine.

Comment: Re:A win for freedom (Score 1) 1314

by silentcoder (#47360413) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

And what about that same right for workers ? Should employers be able to mandate what religion their workers ascribe to ?
If not, then they also do not get to mandate which religious morals their workers have to obey on their own time.
And that means- their right to religious freedom on contraception ENDS at whether THEY (the employers) USE it. They get ZERO say in whether anybody else does, OR how said people obtain it.

Your freedom ENDS where mine begins. My sex life is none of my employer's business, nor is what contraception I use or do no use. They have no right to know it, and any opinions they have on it they can keep to themselves since they have no right to enforce those opinions on me.

Comment: Re:How low can you go?(power density) (Score 1) 152

>If it's not testable, then by definition it is not science.

I said it's HARD to test, I didn't say it's impossible.
The REASON it's hard to test is because it's a theory about what may have happened billions of years ago - and billion year old samples are kind of rare. The big bang theory was hard to test for the same reasons and took decades to become accepted - back in the 1960's it was laughed of as glorified creationism.

The whole point is to test the theory because this IS a 2 billion year old sample.

Comment: Re:How low can you go?(power density) (Score 5, Interesting) 152

>What bollocks. I think the actual question to ask is how it's possible to create the conditions for an very large (the size of the mine)and extremely low density (the concentration of natural ore) nuclear reactor.

No bollocks involved - those laws depend on the fundamental constants. Scientists have speculated for decades about the possibility that these may have been slightly different in the distant past - and thus the laws of physics would not be exactly the same.

This is quite controversial, mavericky science because it's very hard to test - but it's actually become less so in the past 20 years or so because some evidence from astronomy (in particular the cosmic background radiation) is suggesting that they may have been slightly different in the very early days of the universe.
Oklo offers a chance to look more recently (on a universal scale) but still a long time ago - 2 billion years, about half the lifetime of the planet.

If there had been subtle and slight changes over the years - then 2 billion years ago should be enough to detect some - much smaller even than what cosmic radiation data has hinted at, but on the same line (that said there are other theories that could explain the radiation data - the question is unanswered at the moment since none of them have any other supporting evidence yet either).

Now there's no proof the fundamental constants have changed at all since the big bang, but there's no proof they haven't. For most physics it's perfectly adequate to assume they have always been constant, but if they weren't and we could determine that, it would change a lot of our understanding of physics - particularly the physics of the early universe.
By factoring in those different values we could possibly explain a lot of the other things which currently remain open questions.

So while it's unlikely - it's nevertheless and most decidedly NOT bollocks. It's maverick science for sure - but it's still science and still done according to the scientific method. If it yields results those results will be greatly valuable.
Just because there's a 99.999% chance your theory is a dead end, doesn't mean it's not proper science to damn well test it and make sure.

Comment: Re:A foretaste... (Score 3, Interesting) 89

by silentcoder (#46830605) Attached to: The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

Don't be so sure, we think of history as the big things politicians, generals and kings do - but historians tend not to care much about those, if only because they are already as well documented as they are going to be.
Generally historians are more interested in the end in how ordinary people LIVED at that time.

One of the most valuable archeological digs ever found from the Roman occupation in Britain was an old trash-heap, because on it we found lots of things which were thrown away as worthless then - but because of that were valuable now as they hadn't been preserved through the usual channels. We found a letter sent from Rome to the wife of a Roman soldier telling stories of what the family has been up to. We found an early forerunner of the ipad (a wax covered slab on which you could scribble notes with a stylus, a quick heat-up let you smooth out the scribbles and reuse it).

Some of the most insightful pictures we have of more recent events like the American Civil War or the Anglo-Boer war were pictures no newspaper would publish - family pictures which show what the fashions were for example.

The point is - there is absolutely no way of predicting upfront what will have historical value someday, and the things we tend to assume will have none have a tendency to become the most valuable EXACTLY BECAUSE it was NOT valued at the time and this means that to future historians - those will be rare finds.

Comment: Re:That micro-floppy (Score 1) 276

>I think the progression was something like: PCMCIA->CF->MMC->SD, and USB Flash (and other stuff like Sony's MemoryStick) branched off around the same time as MMC.

It's possible that this was a South African magazine - at the time laptops (and thus PCMCIA ports) were pretty much the exclusive terain of executives here - normal folk (even in companies) had desktops.

I do remember that the article itself concluded that the most likely winner was going to be JAZ Zipdrives... instead they died a quiet death not long after.

Comment: Re:That micro-floppy (Score 4, Informative) 276

> signposts the idea of miniature storage.

Indeed, it is still the standard icon for "Save file to disk" almost 2 decades since the most likely disk destination became "the hard drive".

I remember back in 1998/1999 somewhere one computer magazine ran an article on "what will replace the floppy disk" ? Many ideas were touted, in subsequent letters most readers were betting the farm on ever-cheaper and faster rewriteable optical media as cd-burners got cheaper too.
Nobody saw the USB flask coming until it was upon us - let alone it's more recent offspring like the MicroSD.

Comment: Re:Why do people listen to her? (Score 1) 588

by silentcoder (#46748823) Attached to: Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

Not to mention:
*Measles is fatal in a significant minority of cases - an immune herd rules out those cases being exposed before vaccination.
*The people most likely to have side effects from vaccination are the ones who also need it most - they are the people who will DIE if they get the REAL thing.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.