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Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 1) 52

If you argue that sending astronauts to Mars is pointless, could you not also argue that all exploration of the planet is close to pointless, when you consider the expense? Yet we still do it (I'm a great believer in space exploration) because who knows what a rover might discover - and who knows what an actual astronaut might discover?
Sometimes you just do things anyway, even though the spreadsheets disagree. Let's get some people up there!

Comment Re:No, the code-of-conduct will not harm go (Score 1) 358

> If you don't know what constitutes respectful behavior, then maybe you weren't brought up right.

I know what *I* think is respectful behaviour, (and I daresay we would largely agree were we to compare notes). However it won't be me pointing a finger and brandishing a copy of the CoC to get someone drummed out of town. In my view the sort of person who will use this will typically have an arcanely complex definition of respectful behaviour, doubtless involving odd new pronouns I've only vaguely heard of.

To quote Cardinal Richelieu:

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

Comment Re:No, the code-of-conduct will not harm go (Score 1) 358

"treating other people in a respectful manner". Sounds nice doesn't it? Who could possibly object to that? Trouble is - no-one knows in advance what constitutes "respectful", and Microaggressions can mean whatever you want them to mean. I think I'm a generally polite sort of person, not prone to trading insults, but I wouldn't like that threat hanging over me

Comment Climate change hogging the spotlight (Score 2) 319

I wish other (arguably more pressing) environmental concerns could get half as much attention as climate change. The shocking level of plastic pollution in our oceans for example. Why can't we have a big international panels on that? Could it be because fixing that would require actual work, rather than just dreaming up more ways to tax and control the population.

Comment Re:Give it time (Score 2) 114

"Geoff Hinton knows how the brain works"

IBM's Watson doesn't understand anything. It just measures statistical correlations between pairs of things. Same for Siri

IBM's chips are based on spiking neurons. These will let existing algorithms run extremely fast, and are very useful, but are not "how the brain works".

There are fundamental (large) gaps in our understanding of how we think. We don't really know how it works at all, despite the hype.

Comment Not the only game in town (Score 2) 364

There are alternative theories, and they probably ought to get much more attention than they do. I think the fact that science is a career for people these days, makes them more keen to play things safe.

For example, Professor Mike Mcculloch's MiHsC seems to predict a variety of otherwise anomalous observations rather well, without endless fudge factors. He's a respected academic, but seems to get little mainstream scientific attention.

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie