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Comment: Not Sure Why (Score 1) 162

by thasmudyan (#42495651) Attached to: Rusty Foster Isn't Dead

If this is a publicity stunt, it's certainly horribly misguided. It's been a while since I last went there so I just headed over to kuro5hin to see what if anything is going on. The place is an absolute dump now. There is little if any content, just an endless stream of trash posts and comments. It doesn't look as if Rusty or in fact any other moderators mind at all.

For some reason this really gets to me. With all the residual fame and search engine glory it would be so damn easy to just go in there, throw all the garbage out, terminate the trolls, modernize the site, and open up for business again. Why is Rusty not doing anything?

Comment: Re:No, not really (Score 1) 396

by thasmudyan (#40548931) Attached to: LHC Discovers New Particle That Looks Like the Higgs Boson

Designing a functional FTL drive with the knowledge of today is the equivalent of a prehistorical human observing a lightning strike and then speculating about electrical household appliances. Yes, we have made some observations, we can even grasp some of the phenomena intuitively and mathematically, we do have some idea of the power behind the thing, but actually accessing it and doing things with it is so far off it's not even funny from today's perspective.

So yeah, if you told a cave dweller that some day everything on earth will be powered by vast amounts of electricity, he'd have to assume this would involve incinerating the planet too.

There is no parade to rain in on, but I do think it's premature to argue categorical impossibilities like the one you're citing - not only from a logical perspective but also historically people like you have almost always been proven wrong. People like me also get proven wrong all the time, the only difference is that sooner or later something almost like the thing we envisioned does come along. Let me put it this way: tech/sci optimists are always on the advance, whereas naysayers have to retreat constantly.

The Alcubierre drive is just one approach to warp drives that we cobbled together with our extremely limited understanding today. If we knew a lot more about the nature of gravity and spacetime (and let's face it: to manipulate it in this fashion we'd have to) I'm sure we'll come up with tons of new ideas.

Comment: Re:No, not really (Score 1) 396

by thasmudyan (#40543131) Attached to: LHC Discovers New Particle That Looks Like the Higgs Boson

Even if the impossibility of negative gravity and/or gravity dampening does hold up, there is still a million cool things we could do if we could manipulate positive gravity directly without having to expend the usual amount of energy - especially things for space flight such as true artificial gravity*, efficient nuclear fusion, cheap launch technologies, fast propulsion systems and even FTL drives. Not that this technology is even remotely within our reach, but if we discovered some kind of catalyst for manipulating the Higgs field directly that would really open up the universe for us, science fiction-style. Should we ever be able to make something like this work, this would be the biggest thing since mastering electricity.

* though on second thought that would probably require the capability of negating gravity or at least the option to put it in a tightly confined loop to be really useful for making spaceships habitable.

Comment: Re:Has he ever actually talked to users? (Score 1) 980

by thasmudyan (#38334678) Attached to: The Condescending UI

I can see where you're coming from, but I worry about the fact that "power users" are nobody's core audience anymore. What does consequently catering to the lowest common denominator do to a society? We now have UI that actually spreads tech illiteracy to a whole generation of young people, how is that a good thing? I also worry that we're losing any but the most basic functionalities, instead we're increasingly having advanced features being handed down to us "auto-magically" and behind the scenes whenever the UI designer sees fit - a process that lacks transparency and dis-empowers the user in a tremendous fashion. As users we're now spending a lot of time on deceiving the UI, tricking it really, into whatever we actually want it to do (and software gets better at thwarting us at this with every version that goes by).

And people who say that I can always drop OS X in favor of some open source pseudo-GUI wrapper around a commandline don't get it, either.

Comment: Re:Biology Question (Score 5, Informative) 255

by thasmudyan (#38313258) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle

Crohn is not an autoimmine disease, it's a bacterial infection

While this is technically not a lie, it's at least a very misleading statement that obfuscates the underlying problem. Crohn is a disease of the immune system. Newer research indicates that it might be a deficiency in some immune cells' ability to produce immuno-modulating agents that are needed for a coordinated response to bacteria occuring inside the colon. This allows those bacteria to stage an attack on the colon's tissue. The bacterial infection itself is, however, just a symptom of the immune defect.

Comment: Re:Money... (Score 2) 1880

by thasmudyan (#38022560) Attached to: What's Keeping You On Windows?

The Mac Mini is hampered mainly by its very slow hard drive. At work we recently replaced the hard drives of a couple of (very old, like 1.8 GHz Core Solo) Mac Minis with smallish SSDs, this made a whole lot of difference. Of course, if you need raw CPU power, this isn't going to help you - but if your typical usage profile is just "normal" productivity apps, this will definitely give your Mini a new lease on life.

As an aside, I then bought an SSD for my MacBook Pro - wow, the battery life and performance of this thing is just incredible now.

Comment: Look in the mirror, Google! (Score 4, Insightful) 397

by thasmudyan (#37947220) Attached to: Google Tweaks Algorithm As Concern Over Bing Grows

If they don't know why they're slipping, they should take a long hard look at their own front lawn instead of glancing nervously sideways at Bing. Google Search is getting more worthless by the day. Each time they "tweak" the algorithm it gets worse. The quality of the search results themselves isn't even the most problematic issue.

The main problem is that Google refuses to search for the actual terms you entered. They search for things that are sometimes kind of related to what you're looking for and they don't even show you which parts of your search term they ignored! The only way you're getting a real search result out of Google is when you trick it into doing its job by putting quotes around every single word of your search term (and even then it sometimes ignores you). It's mind-boggling to me how they fucked this up so badly, but it sure doesn't look like they're even aware of the problem.

Comment: Re:They do not mix. (Score 1) 1345

by thasmudyan (#37551736) Attached to: Science and Religion Can and Do Mix, Mostly

When one is a scientist, i.e. when he/she believes in the scientific method, he/she cannot believe in religion, for the simple reason that, when the scientific method is applied to religion, religion is falsified.

Exactly. I never understood those people who claim to be scientists and religious persons in one. If they're religious, they simply cannot be "real" scientists. They may still perform scientific work, but their mindset is clearly religious. In many cases, the difference between performing scientific work and being a scientist may not be so important for day-to-day activities, though.

I also guess there are many ways to support and overcome the obvious cognitive dissonance - for example, by moving the realm of the supernatural into areas that are not covered by whatever research is being performed. I vaguely remember a religious astrophysicist who acknowledged and believed in the veracity of the scientific models of the universe but couldn't bring himself to "believe" in evolution.

This trend of combining religion and science into an unholy chimera worries me, especially when the underlying assumption is that the two must somehow be brought together (by force if necessary) for our lives to make sense.

Comment: Re:Discovered within hours of its explosion? (Score 1) 182

by thasmudyan (#37314390) Attached to: See a Supernova From Your Backyard

Our reference frame does not magically cause a photon to travel 21 million LY in zero time, so this did not happen hours ago for anybody. Just because information travels at the speed of light doesn't mean events don't happen before we see them. By your line of reasoning, the Big Bang just happened because photons from around that time are still hitting our detectors today.

It's amazing how many people get this stuff wrong. I blame physicists who make it a habit to formulate anything related to relativistic effects (or quantum physics for that matter) as misleadingly as humanly possible.

Comment: Re:Streisand effect? (Score 3, Insightful) 297

by thasmudyan (#37216804) Attached to: RealNetworks Sues Dutch Webmaster Over Hyperlink To Freeware

Damn'd. Now RealNetworks will confiscate all the /. servers. See what have you done?

Not only that, apparently they'd have the power to confiscate all the desktop and laptop computers of Slashdot editors' families as well if interpret this precedent correctly. To me, this is the most disturbing part of the entire thing. There is no way all of their computers are connected in any meaningful way to the site that this guy ran. Also, it's apparently enough to be related to an alleged copyright infringer in order for them to come and take your stuff away.

Comment: Re:Hey, idiots (Score 1) 467

by thasmudyan (#36722296) Attached to: When Software Offends

Then I'm wondering: if this code is not used for, you know, actual panty shots - where is all the consternation coming from? Lots of projects have not-so-clever names that are in no way connected to how they work. If the stink caused over this non-issue was actually enough to make a developer quit the project, then it's a big red flag for everyone to stay the hell away from this toxic community.

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