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Comment Re:Data not conforming to predictions (Score 1) 336

We've had about 15 years of near stasis, and recent results show that the heat isn't 'hiding' in the ocean - it simply doesn't exist, though CO2 continues to rise.

Please stop making up "facts" and pretending they're real. It's trivially easy to find actual data on the subject. Fact: every single year from 2001 on has been hotter than every single year on record prior to that, with the sole exception of 1998. No, the climate did not magically stop getting warmer in 1997.

Comment Good idea (Score 1) 1168

This sounds like a good idea to me. Sen. Rockefeller clearly thinks he knows how the results will come out, but I tend to trust the National Academy of Sciences to do an honest study of the subject, not just write a rationalization for someone's preconceived beliefs. If there really is a connection between violent video games and real world violence, I want to know about it. I'm not going to deny the possibility just because it conflicts with my preconceptions. And if they conclude there's no connection, maybe Sen. Rockefeller will even accept that. (Yeah, right, but I can still dream!)

Disclaimer: I'm a gamer. And frankly, I find some of the more violent games out there pretty disturbing and choose not to play them.

Comment Re:I like how the summary answers its own question (Score 1) 735

But the simple, plain fact of the matter is that, unless its being subsidised by the taxpayer, oil costs more than your solar panels for the next 15-30 years, depending on where you are and how capable your system is.

There, fixed that for you. It depends where you live, of course. But oil is very heavily subsidized, and that does a lot to make it seem cheaper than it really is.

Comment Re:Politicians have it wrong.... (Score 1) 544

That's part of what I meant by "but not entirely". There certainly are exceptions. You aren't really talking about "most of human history", though, just about the advanced civilizations that have appeared in the last 6000 years or so since the development of agriculture. In tribal hunter/gather societies (most of human history), even the leaders are usually expected to work.

Comment Re:Politicians have it wrong.... (Score 1) 544

Exactly. The real problem is our assumption that every single person should work, and if they don't, they're a drain on society. For all of human history that has largely (but not entirely) been true. But once you reach a point where a machine is better suited than a human to do a particular job, the rational decision is to have a machine do it. And as the fraction of jobs that are best done by machines steadily grows, the need for humans to do them will decline. And that's a fine thing. It's the reason we created those machines in the first place. They exist to serve humanity, not the other way around.

Comment Re:What this means (Score 1) 259

A symmetry doesn't mean there are multiple universes. It describes a property of our single universe.

Think of a square in a plane. A square has lots of symmetries. You can rotate it around its center by 90 degrees, or 180 degrees, or 270 degrees, and it remains unchanged. You also can mirror it about its center horizontally, or vertically, or across either of its diagonals. Any of these operations leaves the square completely unchanged. But that doesn't mean there are many different squares. There is just one square with lots of symmetries.

CPT invariance is the same way. It doesn't even make sense to talk about a "second universe" that is "a complete CPT reversal from ours". That second universe would be completely indistinguishable from ours. It would be exactly the same universe, in the same way that rotating a square by 90 degrees leaves you with exactly the same square. CPT invariance just means that our universe can be described in two different ways that are completely equivalent. Neither one is the "right" description or the "real" description. Both of them are equally good descriptions.

Comment Re:Quick question then (Score 2) 259

Yes, and not just photons. Any particle will follow the same path backward, as long as you also reverse its charge (which has no effect on a photon, since they're uncharged) and parity (which I think flips the polarization of a photon, but don't quote me on that). What CPT invariance really says is that there are two ways of describing the universe that are exactly equivalent in every way. They predict exactly the same result for any experiment you can ever do. But what one description calls "forward in time", the other one calls "backward in time".

Comment What this means (Score 5, Informative) 259

The summary is a bit confusing if you don't know what it's talking about. The title is even worse, since it implies the exact opposite of what it actually means. Let me try to explain it.

First: physicists believe that the "arrow of time" isn't a fundamental property of the laws of nature. There's no fundamental difference between "forward in time" and "backward in time". The laws of physics operate identically in both directions. So why do those directions seem so different? Why do objects fall down but not up? Why can you make an egg into an omelet, but not an omelet back into an egg? Why can you remember the past, but not the future? This turns out to be a property of our local region of spacetime. More precisely, we live very close (a mere 13.5 billion years or so) away from a point of incredibly low entropy (known as "the big bang"), and that creates an entropy gradient throughout our region of spacetime. What we call "forward in time" simply means "the direction of increasing entropy", or more simply, "away from the big bang".

A good analogy (not involving a car - sorry!) is the direction "down". It seems obvious to you that one particular direction in space is fundamentally different from all other directions. Objects fall down. They don't fall in any other direction. Yet to person on the other side of the earth, the direction they call "down" is completely different from the direction you call "down". That's because the "arrow of gravity" is not a fundamental property of the laws of nature, just a property of our local region of space. "Down" means "toward the center of the earth." In the same way, "forward in time" means "away from the big bang".

Second: what I just said swept a few details under the rug. You see, the true symmetry is not time reversal (which would imply that simply reversing the direction of time would leave all laws of physics unchanged), but a slightly more complicated symmetry called CPT invariance. That stands for Charge, Parity, and Time. It says that if you multiply the charge of every particle by -1 (so positive charges become negative and negative become positive), flip space as if in a mirror so that your left and right sides are reversed (a "parity inversion"), and reverse the direction of time, then all the laws of physics are left unchanged.

Scientists had previously observed a violation of CP. That is, swapping only charge and parity is not an exact symmetry of the universe. If CPT is an exact symmetry (which scientists generally believe), that implies that T is not - changing only the direction of time without also swapping charge and parity should change the laws of physics. But testing that experimentally turned out to be very hard to do. Well, they've finally done it. And the results are exactly what people expected: it appears that CPT really is an exact symmetry of the universe.

Comment Re:Misguided... (Score 1) 214

I don't know where you get the idea this is about surviving an apocalypse, because it's not about that at all. It's about helping society and promoting progress. The article makes this point very clearly:

Fifty tools aren’t a hedge against the apocalypse, although if most of civilization is wiped out, survivors with Factor e Farm plans may at least have something to work with. What Jakubowski is trying to prove is that people can live without the help of corporations. A few years ago, his attempts at utopia kept being undermined by the costs of repairing his farm equipment. So he decided to cut out the middleman and forge his own gear. “If you’re going to try to build any kind of sustainable, model community, you find out quickly that the tools you need break down and are expensive,” he says. “Without fixing this situation, you’re always left conducting business as usual.”

After Factor e Farm completes its “Global Village Construction Set,” Jakubowski expects communities around the globe to use these tools, spurring an explosion of innovation as people take his tractors and drills and build even better ones. Eventually, this virtuous circle will yield equipment rivaling that made by market-leading corporations—a tractor that is 90 percent as good as a John Deere (DE) at a fraction of the price. Showing up established corporations is critical to Jakubowski, because, he says, they spend too much time obsessing over patents, spending millions on commercials, and generally getting in the way of progress. “We are calling our work the Open Source Economy,” he says. “We can collaborate on the machines and publish everything openly. We can reduce all of this competitive waste. You have to start somewhere.”

Comment Re:one problem (Score 1) 201

I'm curious how practical you find it in day to day use. This sort of vehicle seems like it could be really incompatible with existing infrastructure. It's too wide for many bike lanes, too slow to mix with cars, it doesn't fit on bike racks which rules out taking it on buses and trains. How do you work around those problems? And what do you do with it when you reach your destination? How do you lock it up?

Comment Just a troll (Score 1) 277

This is complete nonsense. It does not mean "many apps are spying on users." It means those apps have permissions which could let them spy on users if they wanted to. In other news, 100% of Windows apps have the ability to spy on users, because Windows doesn't have a fine grained permissions model like Android does. Does that mean 100% of Windows apps "are spying on users?" No, and it doesn't mean Android apps are either.

Comment Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 2) 49

Just consider the frightening implications of this:

...Every cell in your body will now need its own IP address. We haven't even completed the transition to IPv6, and its address space is already at risk of being depleted!

...They've designed a new internet, and built viruses into the very lowest level of infrastructure! And you think malware is a problem today?

This sounds like a disaster in the making.

Comment Re:Drug Patents (Score 1) 315

Yes, that's exactly what they said in the article. From the summary: "They single out pharma, and suggest other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it."

That's the whole point. If the problem is that drug development is really expensive, you create laws to support drug development. You don't create a generic patent system that applies to all industries, even ones with no need for it, and provides exclusive rights to all inventions of all sorts, even when there's no evidence that doing so helps society. The bias should be to interfere in the market as little as possible and do so only when there's a clear benefit. Instead, our current system tries to interfere as much as possible and refrain from doing so only when... well, I was going to say, "only when there's a clear harm," but actually it doesn't even care about that. It just tries to interfere as much as possible and never refrain, even when there's a clear harm.

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