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Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 1) 230

by ultranova (#49199519) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

When they start comparing reality to sci-fi apocalypse movies then there is a problem.

And yet the ability to tell stories - to take a premise and run a mental simulation to see the consequences - is what allows you to plan your actions. Even your ability to walk depends on it. There's no difference in principle between "if I cross the street without looking both ways, I might get run over by a car" and "if I build autonomous weapons, they might turn on me". Heck, the case could be made that all the fictitious stories about a nuclear apocalypse is what kept it from happening, since they made sure no one was the least bit uncertain about the results.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49199357) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Right, and when it comes to power generation deaths are the only metric that matters.

Well, don't keep us in suspense: what are these important metrics we should sacrifice human lives to improve?

Well, what metrics do you think make driving worth while at the expense of human lives? If deaths were the only metric cars would be banned.

...You know, it's okay to admit you didn't think your post through. You don't have to fight every debate to the bitter end if you don't have anything sensible to say. And when the subject actually has effects on the real world, perverting logic to "win" is immoral or even outright evil.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49190735) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

The engineers should have put the brakes to any construction efforts taking place in those locations, based on that fact alone.

They can't. The spirit of the organization employing them does not let them. Their role is to implement the decisions of the leadership and rationalize them. Conforming to their role earns them social capital, and going against costs it. And they can't possibly earn that capital fast enough to pay for keeping a plant blocked for long.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 379

by ultranova (#49189779) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Coal with CCS is about the same price.

CCS - Carbon Capture and Sequestration? I wonder if you could drive the price down by keeping the carbon dioxide gaseous and feeding it to nearby greenhouses - possibly through a simple pipe. Heck, if you used the greenhouse products as biofuel in the plant you could create a completely closed loop :).

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 2, Insightful) 379

by ultranova (#49189665) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Which other energy sources?

Ones that will keep my computer running even if it happens to be cloudy and calm and my neighbour decides to use a vacuum cleaner.

Wind, solar PV,

Bit players unless there's a near-miraculous breakthrough in battery technology. At which point solar will require lots of land area and wind will likely have unintended side effects - it's removing energy from the weather system, after all - which means endless rounds of complaints.

solar thermal,

Workable, but requires massive plants. Those are not going to happen - someone will always complain.

wave, tidal,

Lots of promises, few deliveries. And again, these will have massive ecological implications even when working properly.


Unworkable at current drilling technology.


Basically solar power with lots of added inefficiencies. Bonus points for having potential to cause famines if it comes down to feeding the poor or feeding your car.

Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 1) 326

by ultranova (#49185937) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

I think the premise is still quite doable, especially if there were some condition on Earth which prevented agricultural production from reaching its current capacity.

Anything that would leave spaceflight-capable civilization standing would also leave Earth better suited for food production than the Moon. It's an absurd premise, and any attempt to justify it with actual logistics will simply draw attention to it. Just imply the situation is due to "corruption" and leave the details to the imagination of the audience.

Comment: Re:Should be more common (Score 1) 457

All too often we assume that dealing with trolls is like pissing in the wind but a few crushing responses now and then (being made "famous" and getting fired) is a start.

Yes, exactly: you feel better for a while but risk getting made an example of for some minor (to you) crime someone happens to be crusading against.

It's not that dealing with trolls is futile, it's just that the unintended side effects of any effective response tend to be far too negative.

Comment: Re:Uh ...wat? (Score 1) 457

Actions have consequences. [...] He's not responsible for what people do with the information. [...] If you can't handle the consequences or potential consequences of your actions, THEN DON'T FUCKING DO THEM.

So which one is it? Are people responsible for the (predictable) consequences of their actions, or are they not?

Comment: Re:Are we looking through the center... (Score 1) 157

by ultranova (#49173069) Attached to: Astronomers Find an Old-Looking Galaxy In the Early Universe

We don't know that the speed of light was always as it is now.

For speed of light to vary, either photons must have mass (so they don't need to move at c anymore), or the constant of nature c would need to vary over spaceitme. Either of these would have massive effects on pretty much everything: photons mediate electromagnetic force, which not only underlays all of chemistry, but combines with strong interaction to define stable elements and how much energy nuclear reactions release, while c defines the very structure of causality itself.

So frankly, in this case "it's an alien movie" is a more likely explanation.

Comment: Re:FDE on Android doesn't work as of yet (Score 1) 119

by ultranova (#49172811) Attached to: Google Backs Off Default Encryption on New Android Lollilop Devices

Latency and bandwidth are distinct measurements.

But they aren't independent. A device that has high bandwidth and high latency must be massively parallel (since for a sequential device bandwidth is simply inverse of latency) and have massive internal buffers to hold all the data being processed. That seems pretty unlikely for implementing such a simple algorithm, unless of course the implementation is purposefully broken.

Comment: Re:this is one more reason (Score 2) 136

by ultranova (#49158391) Attached to: Under US Pressure, PayPal Stops Working With Mega

It's about avoiding unnecessary risk.

It's about having your cake and eating it too. Banks and credit card companies have succesfully integrated themselves into the society so it can't function without them. They're too big to fail, and can thus take insane risks and the profits associated with them, secure in the knowledge they'll get saved on public dime should those risks turn sour. So why should society not force them to pay the price: make them serve the public good even when that's not in their personal best interests?

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.