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Comment Re:Put your money where your mouth is. (Score 4, Interesting) 247

Actually, Congress did give NOAA more money for a new supercomputer. The computer hasn't materialized because NOAA is locked into a single-source contract with IBM. As TFA mentions, IBM just sold its supercomputer division to a Chinese company (Lenovo). It seems some people are antsy about the implications for a Chinese company providing the computer behind a critical national security capability (weather prediction).

Comment Peace and Physics aren't even the same committee (Score 1) 276

As others have pointed out, the Peace Prize is inherently political in nature. What should be emphasized is that it's also given out by an entirely different committee, in a different country.

Peace Prize: Norwegian Nobel Committee
Physics and Chemistry Prizes: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Physiology or Medicine: Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)
Literature: Swedish Academy

Economics (not really a Nobel): Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Comment Re:More of an "Engineering" Nobel (Score 1) 243

Technically, the prize goes to "the person who shall have made the most important 'discovery' or 'invention' within the field of physics". Insofar as 'inventions' are considered engineering, they fall within the scope of the physics prize. The 1912 prize, for example, went to the inventor of an automatic regulator for lighthouses.

Comment Re:Wait a sec (Score 2) 772

You're confused about fundamental vs. derived theories in science. As another poster said, when you start asking questions like why do natural laws exist?, "this is not the realm of science": it's philosophy.

We can explain evolution in terms of more fundamental mechanisms: selection, mutation, etc. With gravity, there is (currently) no underlying theory. And if we found one, you'd just ask why that theory exists. At some point, you hit the bottom, and it doesn't mean you understand the theory "less", it just means you've finally reached something that isn't describable in terms of something else.

Watch Feynman's attempt to explain this in the context of magnetism to understand this better.

Comment Re:The silence for the Whales will be deafening (Score 5, Funny) 178

And wow! Hey! Whatâ(TM)s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ⦠ow ⦠ound ⦠round ⦠ground! Thatâ(TM)s it! Thatâ(TM)s a good name â" ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

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