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Comment: Re:Ummm, (Score 2) 105

by stevelinton (#42018303) Attached to: NASA Discovers Most Distant Galaxy In Known Universe

Assuming the astronomers are right, the way it happened is this:

About 420 million years after the Big Bang, this clump of gas formed into a small galaxy and emited a lot of light. At that time, about 1 billion light years away, and moving away at close to the speed of light was another clump of gas.

13 billion years later according to clocks on that other clump of gas, the light "overhauls" the other clump of gas, and is seen by Hubble.

There are other points of view that assign different numbers to some bits of this, but they all agree on the actual facts.

Comment: Re:How do they measure this? (Score 1) 76

by stevelinton (#41254455) Attached to: Florida Researchers Create Shortest Light Pulse Ever Recorded

It is EASY to create the world's shortest laser pulse: emit a single photon. It is monochromatic, coherent (so it meets the laser defninition), and has the shortest possible pulse. .

No, by cleverly combining multiple photons of different frequencies you can produce a pulse that concentrates its energy in a shorter timespan. Calling it a laser pulse is actually stretching a point a bit, it is triggered by laser light, but the pulse itself is not monochromatic.

Comment: True, but obvious (Score 4, Insightful) 201

by stevelinton (#41047743) Attached to: How Technology Might Avert an Apocalypse

It's true, of course, that there are many more apparent imminent catastrophes (AICs) than actual catastrophes, especially as we are still here to argue about it.
Some AICs arise from incomplete understanding, some from politically motivated woolly thinking and will go away if ignored. Some are real risks and we just get lucky. Others are partially mitigated by actions taken in response to the apparent threat (Y2K for instance). Some may be fully genuine threats averted by prompt action. Nuclear war between NATO and Warsaw pact in the 60s or 70s might be argued to fall into this category. CND and others successfully undermined the notion of "winnable nuclear war" and made sure that no Western politicians would risk nuclear war.

However, NONE OF THIS MEANS THAT THE NEXT ONE WILL NOT BE REAL. Probably it won't, but we can't just assume it isn't a real threat because the last one wasn't. We have to study each plausible threat, do our best to estimate the risk and where the risk appears significant, do what we can to mitigate it. The universe does not owe us continued existence, let alone continued civilization.

Comment: Re:0 bars (Score 1) 366

by stevelinton (#39614183) Attached to: Google Earns $2 Per Handset; Apple, $575

I'm talking 10 years out, as I have said a couple of times. I doubt there will be zero bars anywhere in Europe or North America except perhaps national parks by then. Anyway, the JS could probably support most of your work locally and resync when it gets a chance.

Plugging hardware in is the equivalent of installing an app. Standardized interfaces and pre-approved standardized products. My guess is that compiling and installing software IN 5-10 YEARS will feel like installing a PCI card or DIMMs now -- not impossible, or unheard of, but a bit scary, voids your warranty and not something most people do.

Comment: Re:My 10" laptop fits in a handbag (Score 1) 366

by stevelinton (#39613141) Attached to: Google Earns $2 Per Handset; Apple, $575

Software development will form just as negligible a part of the personal computing market in 10 years as it does now.

That said, my best guess: the IDE will be running partly in Javascript on your browser and partly on a server. Installing software on the thing you hold
will be about as strange as installing hardware on it is now. Not unheard of, but old-fashioned and unusual.

Comment: Re:My 10" laptop fits in a handbag (Score 1) 366

by stevelinton (#39612855) Attached to: Google Earns $2 Per Handset; Apple, $575

It's my understanding that any device for creating, as opposed to a device primarily for viewing, will require some sort of "special training or experience."

This is often true, but the handful of exceptions have been HUGE hits -- mobile phone cameras with facebook integration, for instance. The content created is mostly not very interesting to anyone except the creator and a few friends, of course, but that's hardly new.

There will always be niche markets. My personal guess is that in ten years they will basically all be presented as peripherals for your phone/tablet. They may, in fact, be many times more powerful, and essentially take over when you are using them, but the experience will be a continuation of the "smartphone" experience, in the sense that your preferences/identity/data/etc. will all be the same.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long