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Comment: Re:Just look for their vacuums (Score 1) 80

by tnk1 (#47740801) Attached to: Spot ET's Waste Heat For Chance To Find Alien Life

That is probably going to be the major problem, a Dyson sphere may just look like any other star. The waste heat will likely be some large percentage of the star's output, even with a Dyson sphere. What you'd probably get is an object radiating like a larger, dimmer version of the star inside it. If that is an unusual range of radiation for natural processes, you may be able to distinguish it. If it is close to the range for a natural red giant (for instance), we're out of luck.

Comment: Re:Thermodynamics (Score 1) 80

by tnk1 (#47740791) Attached to: Spot ET's Waste Heat For Chance To Find Alien Life

It does put a constraint on the aliens we can find, although it probably wouldn't need to be a galaxy spanning civilization. Outshining an entire galaxy enough to be detected individually can be done by a single star going supernova. While a Dyson Sphere or Swarm or other megastructures would probably not get to that level, they may emit their heat in a range that is very unusual for natural processes. If so, you filter out all light but that in the expected range and it becomes quite clear where those heat sources are.

Of course, even a single borderline Type II civilization would be an incredibly advanced civilization compared to us, but there could be a fair number of them out there, if such advances are possible. If anything, it would be a good thing to know.

Comment: Re:Just red tape? (Score 1) 142

by tnk1 (#47686629) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

In certain categories, yes. I would hesitate to make a blanket statement to that effect about the entire infrastructure.

It does have the benefit of being newer, mostly because they've had to either build it for the first time, or replace the crap they used before. However, that issue is not fully remedied all over China and not in all sectors.

Comment: Re:Just red tape? (Score 1) 142

by tnk1 (#47686617) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

I've always seen the "deaths due to..." as being difficult to really make sense of, unless they deaths are somehow gruesome, unusually painful, or immediate.

The way to look at this is to set a goal: all people in a certain area should be able to live to 90 years of age with nothing more than effects of aging. Then you start determining what are the lowest hanging fruits for obstacles to hitting that target. Is it coal plant exhaust? Fatty foods? Not enough sex? Simply genetics? Whatever it is, get a list and figure it out statistically based on what is actually happening in death statistics and diagnoses of chronic illnesses.

Generate a plan to deal with the low hanging fruits. If it IS coal, then the death argument starts to become immediate and less abstract.

"You will probably not live to a healthy 90 years old if we use coal or nuclear," is something people can grasp. As long as the true low hanging fruits are unveiled, people will start seeing this list makes sense because people are now living to 90 years old and mostly healthy when they get there. If coal is on that list, it WILL be removed from use.

On the other hand, if coal or nuclear is not the problem, and it was something else entirely (like a certain gene or a behavior like smoking), then perhaps all the frantic arm waving about coal or nuclear plants should be reconsidered. Money and investment (and political action) should be diverted to ending smoking or gene therapy, perhaps.

The worst part of these debates is the fact that I can so rarely get some numbers that I can attach to outcomes. Yeah, we know it's bad to suck in some coal or uranium on a daily basis, but does that extend all the way out to the parts per million amount of residue that I get anywhere that is not actually a mine or plant?

Comment: Re:It's not going to work (Score 2) 136

by tnk1 (#47686525) Attached to: Bezos-Owned Washington Post Embeds Amazon Buy-It-Now Buttons Mid-sentence

I agree that ads are distracting, and they do decrease my enjoyment of reading, but not so much that I need to block them or refuse to look at material with advertisements.

"Cheapness" is also something that is a false value. If I have a reason to trust the words on the page of a story with distracting formatting and ads as being a higher class of journalism than something in a pristine, well formatted, advertisement-less site, I will continue to read the sloppy site and glean what I can from it. I will also tolerate the ads to support the site, unless I know of a better way for them to obtain support.

The reality is that in this current world, we're in the Wild West of content, but in the past, that was the case as well. Copyright and such came about and was effective because you could control a physical medium to some degree, but before that, you'd get ripped off flagrantly. It used to be common for the latest plays and such to end up in unauthorized performances in places like the American West, because no one could enforce that. In those days, you took the money you could get, and relied on patronage for the rest. And to be honest, I think we may need to return to patronage if we want a truly ad-free environment, but patronage has the stink of aristocracy or old money to it, but could be democratized by something like Kickstarters on a wider scale. Just be ready for our understanding of the creative business to change.

Point being, if the Washington Post simultaneously becomes both low quality and ad ridden, it is doomed. However, that is not necessarily the case if it actually uses that money to maintain a certain level of quality in its reporting and analysis.

Comment: Re:Crime ignored? (Score 2) 214

by tnk1 (#47686443) Attached to: Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

Yes, those are likely what we'd call Section 8 or subsidized housing. That's there to allow minimum wage workers to live close enough to their low paying jobs so they they can wait on the rich people who live in the area. The high crime rate in those areas is not necessarily guaranteed, but given the socio-economic realities, is quite probable.

Math might be a way to find the real gems in the rough, but let's be honest with ourselves and admit that unless the math has a lot of data and a very finely tuned model, it isn't going to expose value that millions of people haven't been able to find on their own via trial and error.

Comment: Re:the math is flaky (Score 2) 214

by tnk1 (#47686383) Attached to: Figuring Out Where To Live Using Math

The math doesn't have to be flaky, he just may not be factoring in all of the variables.

The fact is that humans are better at this by evaluating it ourselves because we can work out all these variables with our brains a lot better than any program can. We're very good at figuring out what we like and what we don't like. You might say we have instincts for that.

That said, the math may expose places that he might want to target for further investigation. I'd say this would be a worthwhile exercise if he uses the as a way of narrowing down a list, and/or perhaps applying the math more generally to a huge super set of obscure locations to generate some locations he hadn't considered previously for inclusion in his evaluation.

Comment: Re:Black Magic is the reason! (Score 1) 109

by tnk1 (#47686319) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

Any material from an Earth-Theia collision would settle into predictable orbits shortly (in geologic time) after the collision. Presumably, this is well understood by scientists and they would pick material that is not from that predictable band.

Understand that space, despite the gigatons and gigatons of material out there, is not an unpredictable or chaotic place. It isn't just ping-ponging all over the place, messing people up. If you obtain material from a comet, asteroid, or even a particular type of meteor, you can model where it came from pretty well by determining its orbit, as well as materials analysis of its components. There are just some rocks out there that could not have formed on Earth or on the planetoid that may have produced the Moon.

As for the evidence, the Big Bang is still the current mainstream theory as far as I know, and I do watch carefully for any significant changes to major cosmological theories. I'd like for one of them to succeed, because then things would get interesting, but while there have always been contenders, they're nowhere near as accepted. Don't grab on to the fact that there exist alternatives... there's always people who are working on them in good faith, but good faith does not mean that they are any more correct or accepted than the crank theories out there.

Don't get me wrong, there's more to find out there, but as time marches on, the discrepancies are getting smaller and smaller in well studied fields. The belief in a 6,000 year old universe was the product of Biblical interpretation, not scientific investigation and everyone knew it. It wasn't science making a mistake, it was simply NOT science at all. And Christians didn't necessarily believe it either, it had been posited by ancient and medieval scholars that the Earth was old and that the Bible timeline was not going to be precise. Arguing that there must be a bigger universe because we've found certain things is the same sort of argument as saying that the Speed of Light is not real because we broke the sound barrier, so we just need a faster spaceship. That's not how it works.

We know that the Webb telescope will let us see more, but the we have already have calculated the extent of the non observable universe from principles. If space-time meets certain properties and has certain values, we can extrapolate the size of the universe from existing data in the same way that I can give you a reasonably accurate circumference of the Earth by measuring shadows at noon on two relatively close places on the planet and applying certain calculations. I don't need to circumnavigate the Earth to do so, I only need to go far enough away to make up for the imprecision of my instruments. This was done accurately even in Ancient times by only having to measure in Greece and Egypt, a trivial distance. It can be done for the whole universe in the same manner through theories and observation of stellar bodies.

Comment: Re:because... GOD! (Score 1) 109

by tnk1 (#47686151) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

A change to the density of the universe is likely what triggered a phase change in space-time to bring us to a now-accelerating expansion of the universe. Movement of the mass of that cat away from a storage facility with a number of tons of heavy metals could well have prevented the density figure in this part of the universe from reaching a critical point which causes another phase change.

Of course, the problem with that is that the change would then have happened about an hour later when came over to inspect a recent shipment, but hey, even the standard model has currently stated limits, right?

Seriously, let's get over the religion vs. science twaddle. The existence of a universe with an omniscient, omnipotent Creator who doesn't want to be seen by us is identical to a universe that has no Creator. For whatever reason, that Creator, should they exist, wants you to take it on faith. So let's stop trying to disprove the deities, when we can't do so, and let's stop trying to prove the deities, when they clearly don't want you to be able to. Thanks.

Comment: Re:Big Bang is RELIGION (Score 2) 109

by tnk1 (#47686053) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

There's nothing wrong with the anthropic principle, it just can't be used as the explanation of what is happening. It is not a physical theory.

It simply states that, "the existence of the human inhabitable universe proves only that the existence of such a universe must be possible, because we are here to observe it." It's almost tautological.

It doesn't prove nor disprove deities, or the scientific method, or any theories derived therein. It is only useful for logically refuting the unproven assumption that our existence ipso facto assumes that the universe was designed specifically for us.

That said, it does not disprove the intelligent design theory either, it just points out that there do exist other explanations for the facts. So yeah, it's a valid point to make, but we still might be living in a big terrarium.

Comment: Re:Thats a no brainer! (Score 1) 109

by tnk1 (#47685999) Attached to: Why the Universe Didn't Become a Black Hole

Dark "energy" is probably a false description, or a misleading one. Dark energy is thought by many to simply be a property of space-time itself. It isn't being added, it is just what happens to space-time in this configuration or density.

Much like a rubber band will be elastic up to a certain point, and then full stop, the universe could also hit such a point with no warning (because that point has never been reached before) and then change its acceleration again, or even suddenly boomerang back. Until we know the properties of space-time itself, there is potential for a lot of surprises that science may be entirely unable to predict based on a complete lack of data.

Comment: Re:Don't worry, Uber et all will end up regulated. (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by tnk1 (#47589143) Attached to: The Great Taxi Upheaval

I don't think there is anything wrong with the idea of regulation.

However, regulation can be turned into a false barrier to entry when the regulatory system becomes a system with its own constituency, such as the labor unions, medallion holders, and bureaucrats. In those cases, where regulation might simply be updated to take into account new technology or ideas, the regulation blocks consideration of new things, and the constituencies have no interest in making any changes because they like their safe and familiar modes of operation.

Not to mention scenarios where members end up investing in regulatory artifacts like medallions, which have value due only to artificial scarcity and then something comes along and makes those less valuable. They're going to want to protect those investments, even if the underlying system they represent is outdated and less efficient.

The real problem isn't regulation, it is the effect that regulation can have, if allowed to harden into a particular structure that does not respond to outside forces adequately.

Comment: Re:Headline is wrong. (Score 4, Insightful) 122

by tnk1 (#47584607) Attached to: Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

The headline is fine, the summary is wrong. If you want to be precise.

He is stating there will be a rate of 100,000 cars per year. That is what the headline said and what he said. Neither the headline, nor Musk said it would be 100,000 cars for 2015.

The summary, however, did put the line in that says: CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car company would deliver 100,000 vehicles next year.
That is what is incorrect.

Although a production rate of 100,000 cars per year will eventually create an actual 100,000 cars in a year, it will only do so once the rate reaches that level and sustains or exceeds that rate for an entire year. In this case, the last of the 100,000 cars actually produced in a single year at that rate would be finished sometime in 2016.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas