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Comment Re:Can we finally, finally, finally (Score 5, Insightful) 405

Now, now...

Galactic suburbia isn't quite so bad. Nice and stable. Helps to keep those planetary orbits from changing too much or too quickly. I mean a good wallop a long time ago to create the moon is all well and good. But after a while you just want to settle down. We really don't to get pelted with comets and planetoids all that often.

Things are a lot tougher closer to the core. It's simply much to busy. Nearby stars bustling together. Everybody taking these whiplash commutes around the central black hole. Pesky neighboring stars who keep perturbing your Oort cloud sending debris down on you regularly. Many young stars just cannot handle it. Oh they seem successful; the get nice and big. But they just explode. And let me tell you, you just don't want to live where you could get shot up every few million years or so.

Comment Re:No problem here (Score 1) 148

Isn't the text you copied EXACTLY what the GP said?

Are you interpreting the "Constitution" in "Constitution or Laws of any State" to mean the US Constitution? Wouldn't it be a much more straightforward interpretation that this is referring to state constitutions?

You seem to be suggesting this reads basically:

This [United States] Constitution and [laws and treaties] ... shall be the supreme law of the land ... no matter what the [United States] Constitution and any State law says.

The overall context and purpose of that sentence seems to make it patently clear that is rather "{Constitution or Laws} of any State".

Comment Re:Dark Matter (Gravity); please explain (Score 4, Informative) 114

The dark matter halo around our galaxy is theorized roughly as a large sphere, not just extra mass along the flattened wheel of the spiral. Look at the graphic here: http://startswithabang.com/?p=656

That's a lot of extra room. So much so that even when those researchers calculated that our solar system should have 300 times the dark matter density compared to the galactic dark matter halo, this only ends up being a very tiny fraction of the earth's mass in dark matter bound to our solar system. See: http://www.universetoday.com/15266/dark-matter-is-denser-in-the-solar-system/

So basically, it's going to be rather difficult to detect dark matter nearby.

Comment Re:HA HA, only kidding (Score 1) 277

You may jest.

But I seriously wonder if something like this may not be better overall.

This is along the same sort of thinking that IP-over-Carrier-Pigeon may actually have sufficient bandwidth for your needs as long as you are willing to accept the rather high latency.

While we're considering things that are 30-years out...

For the sake of discussion, let's presume the existence of a space elevator. Then we set up a constant chain of sending and receiving boxes with... well... your springs.

The "boxes" and "springs" are well open to interpretation. I imagine sufficiently advanced flywheels may be better than springs. But better still might be something chemical, nuclear or anti-matter. In essence these are just batteries of some kind or another. We send them up to our fancy sail and cable to get charged up. Then we bring them down and ship them wherever we may need them.

You see, the concept of a laser or microwave to beam down the energy seems problematic to say the least. Too wide a beam and too much energy loss. Too narrow a beam and you need to target something far from civilization. But too far from civilization means increased transmission loss. And this doesn't even begin to address the issue of country A constantly destroying country B's satellite lasers because they really don't like country A having the ability to toast country B.

Comment Re:Game changer (Score 1) 309


GP has the wrong perspective here (New World at learning of the New World vs. Europe at finding the New World).

It's not as if WE are the galactic globetrotters here. Just the thought that some other race up there could at whim rain down rocks for fun might drive quite a few people into hysteria.

Now if we simply found another similarly technologically advanced species and are starting a conversation with a 50-year latency... then yeah. Let's just hope they have better stuff than Single Female Lawyer coming our way.

Comment Re:I say let them cheat (Score 5, Insightful) 439

Earlier in my career I had great disdain for an aspect of my company's culture that seemed to venerate degreed folk simply because of the degree denying or holding back promotions of clear subject matter experts simply because they did not have the degree usually appropriate for that level. True to form, I was promoted immediately after getting my Masters. Nonetheless, I really did believe most of what we did could be trained "on the fly".

Then something changed.

I had the opportunity to mentor someone who hadn't yet finished a Bachelors degree.

I showered them with documentation, with web-based training, with tutorials and direct training. It didn't help. Others may have done well. This individual couldn't, on their own, complete the most basic assignments and froze instead of using many avenues to overcome problems or misunderstandings.

It's not a matter of what you learned to get your degree. It's that you learned how to learn. Completing a degree demonstrates your ability to complete a long-term project presumably with all the initiative, time-management and general project planning that entails.

Cheating your way through short-cuts all of that.

Comment Re:Well? (Score 1) 981

Two six-sided dice.

Chance of a sum of seven?

Are there 36 possible outcomes? Really? Why? We're only interested in the sum. Addition is commutative. We don't care about order.

So again are there really 36 possible outcomes?

If you're attempting to count possible sets and [3,4] is the same as [4,3] to you, then maybe not. But if you're attempting to calculate probabilities of rolling a seven, you'd better be clear that there are 36 possible outcomes and you must count [3,4] separate from [4,3] as you calculate your probabilities.

Or... chuckle... come on over here and let's start some serious gambling...

Comment Start the studies by reviewing former studies (Score 1) 311

I would encourage anyone and everyone to read the 1968 Condon Report:


Please don't be distracted by criticisms of the report. It's all too easy to shift into a mode of supporting your side in a perceived debate. As such, many may immediately be biased that this Internet version of the report is hosted by a Skeptics organization.

If you really want to see criticisms of the report, you can start with Wikipedia:


But I strongly encourage all interested parties to read this report. Even if you believe there must be something there, you need to know how to weed out false positives. And the Condon Report should amply describe how prevalent those are.

From an anthropological point of view, however, it would seem there are tons of things worthy of study here.

Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 1) 650

It would seem prudent first to ask whether we have any data to suggest there is much CO2 in the stratosphere. If we do have measurements to show it is there, why deny this observation simply because you are not yet aware of the mechanism?

Then maybe relevant data (such as historical trends) could shed some light on methodologies for such transfer.

Suggesting that it must be some sort of anti-gravitation mechanism we could harness for transportation seems a bit premature.

If you really are interested in researching this (which... ahem... your tone belies), you could start with these sites:

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 1324

By and large there seem to be a number of different factors that tend to position Catholic schools rather well.

First, they are private. They can turn people away. Don't minimize the challenge upon public schools to "leave no child behind".

Second, almost certainly (on average) the parents of children are both better of financially and more likely to be involved in the education of their children. Both of these mean (on average) these parents will influence things rather positively.

But another rather subtle issue is teacher pay. It seems (again on average) public schools pay better. Catholic school teachers probably have to like what they're doing quite a bit or at the very least have quite a bit of dedication if they could just pick up and get a raise down the street.

Comment Re:Ha! (Score 4, Interesting) 177

There are many things like this where you can alienate of confuse your customer base so much that you simply doom any chance to rollback to your previous state.

There was a wonderful "dollar" theater around here. It wasn't really all that big but it was well liked and got a fair amount of business. One day for whatever reason, they changed to become a full-fledged cinema. It seems they thought their volume would justify switching.

Well... one-by-one all their customers found out they were charging full-fare and running the latest films. And one-by-one, these folk scratched this theater off their lists. If someone was seeking a dollar theater, this was no longer one of those. If someone wanted to pay full-rate, this theater couldn't hope to compare with the major cineplexes. But when I mean folk nixed it, I mean completely. Everyone just moved on and forgot about it.

They vainly attempted to change back to a dollar theater. But they had no more customer base. Hardly any at all. They closed shop entirely soon after that.

The Internet and Web is a vastly larger marketplace than the neighborhood movie market. It would seem far easier for people to find what you're pushing somewhere else.

Comment Re:FTL Information? (Score 3, Informative) 236

Are you kidding? Many people did love and would love the idea of hidden variables! It'd be like telling the children there most certainly are presents in the closet, but presents they can know nothing about and must not peak. The kids would be angling for their first chance to get in there.

Hidden variables would mean a deeper understanding of which we are ignorant - fun stuff to keep chasing down.

No, it's not that Quantum Physicists just don't like Hidden Variables.

It's that a pretty clever chap figured out a way to test whether Quantum Physics involved Hidden Variables (without really needing to know much about them). Once he (and a few others) refined these ideas and actually did some tests, the results were clear. And as our instrumentation gets better over time, similar testing has more and more profoundly demonstrated Quantum Physics simply does not depend on Hidden Variables - it's just that weird.

Look up Bell's Theorem.

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