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Comment Re:Epidemic? (Score 0) 687

No, it would take evidence that these are actually a problem beyond a few alarmists over-reacting when they see a green light. The optics in a hand-held laser are cheap and even with good optics, no laser beam lacks divergence. The laser I use for pointing out stars to my son spreads about ten centimeters for every 100 meters. By the time such a beam would hit a cockpit, it could easily spread to over a meter across and anyone seeing it would be exposed to 1/1000th the brightness of looking directly into the beam at arm's length.

This is just the latest technophobe scare story. No different than worries about x-rays from color televisions, behavior effects of video games, gangs hanging out at arcades, etc.

Comment Re:Smile! (Score 1) 265

Personally, I think I'd prefer to let a few people get fake IDs now and then rather than force all of us who need ID to drive to put up with a facial recognition system. I promise you this will find more and more uses in a "post-9/11 world" where bureaucrats fall over themselves to grab more control.

Comment Re:Health effects in children (Score 3, Interesting) 439

That same article states:

"Yes, 35.8 percent of children in the study have lumps or cysts, but this is not the same as cancer," said Naomi Takagi, an associate professor at Fukushima University Medical School Hospital, which administered the tests.

"We do not know that cause of this, but it is hard to believe that is due to the effects of radiation," she said. "This is an early test and we will only see the effects of radiation exposure after four or five years."

Comment Re:Hard sci fi or Soft sci fi? (Score 1) 100

I understand where you're coming from. I grok. We reach. Etc.

Back to "Cold Equations", I don't think there's anything in it that says "we have FTL" or "here's artificial gravity", but there's discussion about a colony on a world that isn't in our solar system, and at one point, the way one character walks on the deck of a small space boat is described.

Anyway, if you have time and an interest, give it a read: here's a copy.

Comment Re:Hard sci fi or Soft sci fi? (Score 1) 100

Oh, you're right about that ... there's always a few vehement objectionists on any issue, and the "nerdier" the subject, the louder--


they can get. Have you ever read Godwin's "Cold Equations"? I think that's one of the hardest SF stories I've ever read, given that the characters involved were very tightly restricted in their actions by (some would say carefully crafted) limitations of technology. It's a classic of SF literature, and yet, at the time it was written, many of the subjects directly addressed were years away from possible and even unproven. Indeed, the setting implies the existence of an interstellar civilization, and the actions of the characters even imply artificial gravity. I would be very interested to know why someone would consider that story to be soft SF.

Comment Re:Hard sci fi or Soft sci fi? (Score 4, Insightful) 100

"If there's anything in the story that's beyond current physics, then it's not "hard sci-fi", and that includes artificial gravity (except that made by rotation), FTL jumping/warp drive, etc. "

I think your criteria for hard SF is too restrictive. Traditionally, the difference between hard and soft SF is that hard SF focuses on a realistic and logical application of science and technology, while soft SF focuses on social or non-scientific issues in a fictional setting.

While some authors prefer to restrict themselves to a rigorous application of known-science only, others allow notions such as FTL and/or artificial gravity to creep in to enable their stories to be told. Peter Hamilton, Arthur C. Clarke, Ben Bova, Isaac Asimov, Robert Forward, James Hogan, and many others have written arguably hard science fiction stories that break the rules you've defined.

I'd argue that hard/soft sf exists on a continuum ranging from the extreme of authors who would meet your criteria, to the extreme of authors like Ray Bradbury who prefer to write social commentaries with murky applications of science at best.

Comment Re:Photographer should say "Go ahead" (Score 1) 667

The owner of the photograph didn't punish her. He notified her through legitimate, legal means that she was misusing his work. If anyone did something wrong, it was GoDaddy for shutting down all her sites, and she should have gone batshit crazy on them rather than the owner of the copyrighted material.

Comment Re:Seriusly America (Score 1) 735

The full statement is:

"This provocative billboard was always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people's attention.

"This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message. We found it interesting that the ad seemed to evoke reactions more passionate than when leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence. We leave it to others to determine why that is so.

"The Heartland Institute doesn't often do 'provocative' communication. In fact, we've spent 15 years presenting the economic and scientific arguments that counter global warming alarmism. No one has worked harder, or better, on that task than Heartland. We will continue to do that -- especially at our next International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago from May 21 -- 23.

"Heartland has spent millions of dollars contributing to the real debate over climate change, and $200 for a one-day digital billboard. In return, we've been subjected to the most uncivil name-calling and disparagement you can possibly imagine from climate alarmists. The other side of the climate debate seems to be playing by different rules. This experiment produced further proof of that.

"We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland's friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment. We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the 'realist' message on the climate."

You're right and I stand corrected. Well, actually sit at the moment, but you're still right.

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