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Comment Re:Cool! (Score 3, Informative) 182

That is basically the GP's point, a snow covered data centre is like an igloo, the heat generated by the servers/people inside can't escape so it becomes a lot warmer that the surrounding ice, but due to the large amount of ice it's thermal inertia ensures the walls don't melt. You need to get past the ice to dissipate the heat effectively. Old English pubs with 3 foot thick stone walls don't need heaters when full for exactly the same reason.

Comment Re: Epic Fail. (Score 2) 182

It doesn't matter what you call the system, if the gap between rich and poor is small (say a factor of 10) then people are generally happier. Obscene disparities in wealth do nothing but fuel revolutions. The "American dream" boils down to wanting to be mega-rich, they want the wealth gap because they believe they are "exceptional" and will one day leap across it in a single bound. The US would probably work a lot better for everyone if it simply stopped arguing with itself about money.

One of the major reasons why an American can pay up to 10X as much as an Australian for inferior health care, is that the American system is obsessed with finding and eliminating people who are "getting something for nothing". Not just the government but also the hospitals and private insurance companies. There's a veritable army of government and private accountants all spending $5 to save $0.50. Here in Oz the doctor bills the government directly. It's the doctors and hospital admins who are monitored for fraud by cheap automated statistical analysis.

Comment Re:Millions of years of life-supporting conditions (Score 1) 312

Personally, I think a day/night cycle is needed for life to get started

The convection currents around deep sea volcanic "vents" do the same job. Panspermia and abiogenesis are not mutually exclusive, despite the "either or" argument manufactured by the mass media.

I think panspermia is a long shot, but given the length of time and the size of the universe it's almost certainly happened somewhere at sometime. Volcanos could also be a mechanism for single celled life to leave a planet. It's said that rocks as large as a houses were blasted into obit by Krakatoa and some types of lichen have survived on the outside of the ISS for more than a year. The landing on such an interplanetary flight would be very difficult to survive since the rock is likely to vaporise on impact. Even if it survived and landed on a habitable planet, the locally evolved life forms would more than likely out-compete it by simply eating it.

Comment Re:"With its overtly Christian message" (Score 1) 1251

There are dozens of commandments in the old testament, more than a few on the correct treatment of slaves, women, cattle, and other "property". Strict Jews expect all of them to be known and obeyed. Christians narrow it down to ten, and George Carlin managed to get it down to two, but rule based morality (including western law) really all boils down to one golden rule found in virtually every religion - "do unto others".

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