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Comment Re:Too little, too late (Score 4, Insightful) 259

This is why I've simply decided not to buy another EA game. Battlefield 3 was the final straw for me - 3 downloads of around 2Gb each in the first three months? Any you have to download them to continue to play online? And the patches required are only a few Mb and the rest is DLC which you have to download whether you want to pay to have it activated or not?

To top it all, when I tried to contact them to see if patch-only downloads were available (I'm on a slow connection that 6Gb of downloads would swamp) I was told I didn't have the right date of birth. I ended up having to use the UK Data Protection Act to get hold of my account details, and sure enough my DOB was correct. The data also included "customer offered 15% discount" - which was news to me.

I give up , I'm simply not going to buy another £40 coaster from them, I have enough of those.

Comment Re:Clear bias against the oil industry (Score 3, Insightful) 416

Because demand for oil will drop as we switch to non-fossil fuels like fission, fusion or (heaven forbid) wind/wave/tidal/solar? Because they have to keep the shareholders happy, which isn't necessarily correlated with any kind of foresight or long-term common sense? Because it's all about money, rather than preserving the environment which makes the concept of money possible? I don't know, I'm as mystified as you.

Comment Clear bias against the oil industry (Score 4, Funny) 416

These studies only show what they do because most of the world's scientists are funded by the anti-oil lobby, who have so much money that the oil industry find it difficult to compete. Imagine if you were on an environmental archaeologist's research salary - that's got to be in the tens of thousands of dollars a year, why on earth would you accept the measly hundreds of thousands of dollars that the oil industry can afford to pay their researchers?

(That's sarcasm, by the way.)

Comment Re:FTL (Score 1) 80

1. As you accelerate toward the speed of light (so-called "relativistic" speed), your mass approaches infinity. You reach a point where you can't generate enough reaction to "push" the ship any faster.

Incorrect. You can always push the ship faster because the relativistic mass never reaches infinity, it just asymptotically approaches is. Yes, it gets harder to accelerate the ship, but at no point does it become theoretically impossible.

Time passes more slowly for *you* on that ship, but that's not much help to the people back on Earth who are waiting to hear from you.

Indeed. As I pointed out. Just because I won't be able to tell people about it doesn't mean I wouldn't want to go!

2. Bussard ramjets, which theoretically scoop up interstellar hydrogen for a fusion drive have another problem. First, no rocket can accelerate faster than its exhaust. Second, physicists have worked out the math and even if you could make the "scoop" as perfect as possible, the drag of collecting interstellar hydrogen itself places a top limit on your speed (about 1/2C, as I recall, but I could be wrong). 3. At higher speeds, minor things like cosmic rays and solar wind become lethal particles. (This is being discussed right now as a real problem for a simple Mars mission -- spending a year in space could result in the astronauts glowing in the dark before they get back to Earth!) Ergo, you'll need better shielding.

I never suggested Bussard ramjets, but you're right, they're certainly not the great solution that some SF paints them as. What I had in mind was some variation on a particle accelerator as a drive, that way you can pump relativistic energy into, for example, single protons and use those to give the ship an arbitrarily large push (using Orion Project style shock absorbers to smooth the ride out), this way you get the maximum thrust for a given amount of fuel, you just need a silly amount of energy to do it. With current or near future technology this energy source is likely to be fusion reactors, and as we'd be using a form of water as the fuel for the reactor and possibly as a source of reaction material this becomes a realistic material to use as radiation/high energy particle shielding.

If I had to design a starship I'd start with an asteroid.


Submission + - Google glass will identify people by clothing ( 3

recoiledsnake writes: A new technology built into Google Glass, dug up by New Scientist, takes Google Glass from interesting to down right creepy. Google Glass can now pick a person out of crowd based on their fashion style. The system, InSight, developed in partnership with Google, will take a nice little moment to assess the clothing in frame, and then point out exactly where your friends are in busy settings like a bar, concert, or sporting event. It could probably point you out in a protest, or shopping mall too. We previously discussed the disorienting effects on the wearer of the device.

Submission + - Copyright Trolls Order Wordpress to Disclose Critics IP Addresses (

TrueSatan writes: Notorious copyright troll Prenda Law have sent a subpoena to Wordpress attempting to force the disclosure of all IP addresses related to two Wordpress hosted sites that specialise in monitoring and encouraging action against copyright trolling. The sites in question are and . These sites state their aims as "To keep the public and fellow victims informed and to ensure that through activism, trolls make as little money as possible."...aims which almost anyone bar a copyright troll, or lawyer acting for one, might well applaud.
  Prenda Law's demand is not for a subset of addresses that might have posted in a manner that could be construed as legally defamatory but for all IP addresses that have accessed these sites irrespective of the use made of them.
Prenda Law have filed three defamation lawsuits already against the individuals who run fightcopyrighttrolls and one has been dismissed

Dietrolldie release the following warning:

“As there is a possibility that a release could occur, the public IP address (date/time stamp) could fall into the hands of Prenda. I would expect that they would then try to cross-reference the IP address with their list of alleged BitTorrent infringement IP addresses,” .

“If you have ever gone to this site or since 1 January 2011, you may want to contact WordPress and tell them you want them to refuse this overly broad request and at least wait until the issue of the case being removed to the Federal court is answered, before releasing ANY information,” DTD concludes.

Comment Re:FTL (Score 1) 80

Nope, it's far more simple than that, thanks to Einstein's discoveries. All we need is a ship that can produce a 1g thrust over a long time. This is still a big technological jump from where we are now, but it's well within the realms of known physics. With a 1g thrust we could be on the other side of the galaxy, 100,000 light years away, in just over 22 years of ship time. That's relatively easy, no pun intended, and doesn't require any fancy new physics. The Earth time for the journey will be around 100,071 years, so there's no coming back or sending lots of emails home, but if we simply want to get humans out there it's not a problem.

The bonus is a 1g acceleration solves a lot of the medical problems like muscle (inc heart) wastage and mineral leaching.

Comment Re:Search isn't enough. Social network analysis is (Score 2) 41

We need to allow app makers to do the things and offer the services we can't, the really intrusive stuff that we need plausible deniability over, and by monetizing our data via licensed app services which perform tasks which we find morally ambiguous we can keep our new and desperate shareholders happy in both ways.

Comment Re:Too late... (Score 1) 121

Yes, IF that planet really is lifeless. A single tiny non-terrestrial colony of bacteria would answer some of the biggest questions in biology and xenobiology, you have to know you've not infected the planet to use that data.

Genesis is a wonderful power, but you've got to make sure you don't overwrite an existing matrix for the science to be any good, even if it's only a Ceti-Alphan earslug.

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