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Comment Re:Same as last time (Score 1) 559

theoretically 100% recyclable. ... You just cannot say as much for the hydrocarbon fuel going through the tank of a regular automobile.

Well, if you're going to put it that way, I'm pretty sure that most of the bulk nitrogen, H2O and CO2 which come out of an internal combustion car's tailpipe are in fact in high demand as feedstocks for quite a lot of self-replicating nanobiochemical recycling units, or what we like to call in the business, 'plants'.

Care to recalculate the percentage of car exhaust emissions which is actually non-recyclable vs the amount of a Lithium-ion batttery that can be?

Comment Re:Don't flatter yourself (Score 1) 115

if you can use replicators to instantly manufacture anything and holodeck to believably simulate any experience... then why would you fly to other stars (or continue innovating)?! I personally would spend all my time in the holodeck, and reality can go **** itself.

And that's how the Borg got started. It's cheaper and more fun to jack your eyepiece directly into the holodeck than mess around with costumes and emitters.

Comment Re:Minutes ago I invented a solution (Score 1) 180

Combine that with a deadman switch that releases the code unless you check in.

So, um. This deadman switch will presumably not be in your house, otherwise it will get turned off when the snipers turn up. So it's up in the Cloud somewhere?

Which means you just uploaded the encryption key to your super-secret encrypted file to a server you don't control. And your ISP probably are mandated to keep packet logs of all your net traffic. So the government just talks to them, finds out the IP address of your remote server, talks to the hosting company, drops all the servers you host.. and there goes your deadman switch.

(Of course they can't guarantee that they find your deadman in time, but you can't guarantee that they can't. How good a gambler are you?)

That way, not even torture can get you to reveal the secret.

That's nice. Now you get tortured to death and you can't even get them to stop it. And they walk away free because you don't even have the thing they think you have. Win-win, I guess?

Comment Re:how long will this behavior be tolerated... (Score 1) 180

Go read the "Wool" Omnibus from Amazon now, by Hugh Howey or something. The prequel is... not as good. The above line is a fair condensation of those 400 pages, but the Wool Omnibus is good.

I second, third and fourth this. Go read it right now. (Think, um... City of Amber meets Doctor Strangelove as told by George Orwell and Stephen King... and that's pretty much Wool. It's your basic "cosy catastrophe nuclear bunker last refuge of humanity ark" story. Only not cosy, at all.)

It's a heck of a read, and the premise is probably only a paranoid nightmare from a sick brain.


But then I remember that actual people who thought themselves sane built nuclear weapons, were perfecty prepared to burn the entire world down to protect their ideology, and that those same kind of people still train to use them, and I throw up in my mouth a little.

Comment Re:Unadvantages! (Score 2) 312

Might as well program the next Mars rover in PHP.

Now that's just silly. Of course something mission-critical like a space probe won't be running PHP.

It'll be running jQuery on node.js.

what do you mean the latency from our data center on Pluto is lousy? look at the cost savings we get from the free cooling!

Comment Re:Oblig xkcd (Score 4, Insightful) 167

Unfortunately that chart doesn't work for any kind of ingested radioactive substance, and it's kind of disingenous for Randall to present it as if it's a meaningful comparison. There's plan radiation, and then there's radioactive contamination in dust, liquid or aerosol form, and the second one is the gift that keeps on giving.

IANAhealthphysicist, but I can read Wikipedia, and I'm pretty sure you get a lot more radiation damage to your cells if you eat or breathe in a radioactive particle than if you sit next to the same number of bequerels on the bench, because your body can incoporate the radioactive emitter directly into your cells for the entire rest of its (maximum of bioactive and radioactive) lifespan, and your skin won't screen out the alpha radiation like it does for an internal source. Iodine-equivalents are pretty nasty since although they have a half-life on the order of days, if they get inside you they dump all that radiation into your thyroid, which is not a good place to have it. Long-term, Radioactive strontium is the worst because it replaces calcium and so binds directly to your bone marrow, which is not good for leukemia. And potassium-equivalents are in the mid range, with a half-life on the order of months to years and they are bioavailable, but not permanently so. As far as we know.

Oh, and a lot of those last have been dumped into the ocean by Fukushima, and are now inside fish. Do they bioaccumulate up the food chain? We're not really sure, but we'll probably find out. It's a wonderful science experiment!

tldr: Don't eat, drink or breathe radioactive gunk. It's worse for you than it looks.

Comment Re:24 yo? (Score 4, Interesting) 429

Using terminals and lynx and other stuff is completely valid

And don't forget that in the Microsoft enterprise-backend administration world (which appears to be following a tech trajectory diametrically opposed to the shiny-flashy-broken all-Surface-no-substance Windows 8 world), there is a very strong trend back toward the console, via Powershell.

Things go round and round and round again, but even on Windows, the command line endures and conquers.

By the way, Powershell does some things much, much better than any current command shell on Linux. When are we going to get a bash-alike that is based on piping arbitrary objects? (And Powershell objects are pretty neat, they're not just raw .NET objects - they're dynamically reconfigureable-at-runtime things much more in the old Smalltalk spirit than anything that came after C++). Ruby would probably do it, if someone could add piping support to it and hack up the libraries to make it interface with all the various incompatble object OS and object systems under the Linux/X hood.

Comment Re:Moral objection (Score 1) 393

We have established that the brain is the interface between person and physical reality, but that is it. And it is not complete.


There's an interesting textbook called Irreducible Mind released in the last few years which details the multitude of evidence acquired over the last century and a half that something very interesting and strange is going on with the mind-brain interface, and that not only is it not established that the mind is the same thing as the brain, but that it's pretty well established that the mind, whatever it is, can exist decoupled from the brain, and can under some circumstances (and quite possibly a lot more commonly than that) access information that there is no physical model for the brain being able to access.

Also take a look at Extraordinary Knowing which documents much of the same material but in a more newbie-friendly way. Still scientific, just not as heavyweight.

Yes, this stuff is weird. Yes, it's often onsidered taboo to research. Yes, it's very hard to "scale up" and make behave in industrial settings. But it appears to be real, and it has a lot of implications for the computational and simulationist approaches to general artificial intelligence.

(Mainly, that it doesn't look like even simulating the physical structure of the brain will get any further toward simulating an actual human mind than modelling a person's house would get us close to simulating that person. If the brain is shaped by the mind, and not the other way around, then sure, you'll see correlations, you may even be able to infer behaviour from physical structure - as you would be able to guess my personality if you looked at my house. But that finite physical structure will not be the mind, because the mind/inhabitant is much larger than the brain/house and contains much unexpressed detail. Quite possibly an infinite amount of detail. We simply don't know what the mind is yet, but we are starting to get a picture of what the mind isn't.)

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

That unelected officials are prone to spending vast sums of other peoples money on boondoggles is practically a cliche at this point

How about those crazy Eurocrats, eh! All with their unelected science officials making science funding decisions and all! It's like a madhouse! With scienceing! A mad sciencehouse!

So, um. Completely unrelated question - which ballot is it that the project administrators with funding authoritiy over at DARPA, NASA, the National Institute of Standards, the Department of Energy, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation, stand on again?

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