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Comment Re:interacts badly with neighbor opinion (Score 4, Insightful) 230

That's a horrible idea. America is already in trouble because we've become a nation of consumers instead of manufacturers... just about the only advantage we have left is a slight lead in innovation.

Becoming a leader in alternative energy technologies could have enormous benefits for America, such as reversing the dynamic of wealth flowing out of the country in exchange for foreign energy. I'd much rather put American scientists and engineers to work on the problem rather than getting foreign experts to build it for us (and racking up debt by paying them with money we don't have).

Comment Re:Giant Space Ocean? (Score 1) 183

Thank you for the very interesting link. It is indeed true that you can exceed the speed of light from the perspective of a distant observer... the only restriction is you cannot exceed the speed of light within your local space-time reference frame.

I like to think of space-time not as a sheet that gets warped, but as a dynamic, flowing thing, like a river. Space-time flows towards objects with mass, and free-falling objects are stationary with reference to the flowing space-time river. Standing on the surface of a planet means the space-time rushes past you towards the planet's center, so the act of standing still on the surface means you're moving relative to the flow of your local space-time. (Hence the act of standing in a gravity well versus flying in a ship at relativistic speeds are equivalent... both involve motion relative to the flow of space-time). The event horizon of a black hole is simply the place where the speed of the inflowing space-time equals the speed of light, and inside the black hole the space-time flow exceeds it.

The interesting question is what happens to the influx of space-time at the bottom of the gravity well, or at the singularity of a black hole? It obviously doesn't "pool up" like a physical substance (it's probably more akin to the flux of a magnetic field, "flowing" in the same sense), but it's got to be originating from somewhere.). I like to think there is probably a conservation of space-time, and that for all the space-time that disappears into a gravity well, the same amount gets added back into the overall space-time fabric, driving the expansion of the universe. It would be an interesting interpretation of dark energy.

Comment Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (Score 1) 406

Currently we believe they were far more stocky and muscular than modern humans (from looking at the way their muscles connected to the bones), and they appeared to be more robust (several severely fractured bones show signs of healing).

I think the most interesting difference is that their children appeared to mature faster than ours, taking only 11 years to become fully-grown. (I think the evidence for this is still debated). Even though interbreeding evidently took place, it seems to me they were nevertheless very different.

Comment Re:More fragile complexity (Score 1) 68

Agreed. A much simpler solution would be a little toggle switch you could hit to drop the car into electric-only mode at your discretion. However, such an obvious solution has the disadvantage of not requiring your car to track you and record voluminous details on your commuting habits, which is the real reason behind this innovation.

I don't want "smart" tech, I want obedient tech. And if I was was worried about efficiency, I'd put bigger tires on my truck to get the whole cat in one pass.

Comment Good (Score 4, Interesting) 36

Senior Judge Ronald Whyte's ruling in the Hynix case was bizarre anyway... I'm glad it got overturned. (He had concluded that Rambus wasnâ(TM)t anticipating litigation when the shredding took place.) Under Whyte's ruling the bar for being convicted as a spoilator of evidence was set impossibly high.

Comment Re:Vote NDP! (Score 1) 177

That's a good system if you don't value long-term planning, subject-matter expertise, or doing anything that involves any degree of effort or sacrifice.

California has a system pretty close to what you describe with their proposition system. Their finances are a mess because the voters love propositions which increase spending, but reject the necessary tax-increases to pay for it all. The problem is compounded by the fact that it is usually the most radical fringes who bother to vote on each proposition, so policy tends to get shaped by the most committed lunatics.

Finally, who would set the agenda? Who would write the questions that go on the bill-boards to be voted on? Any smart politician would be sure to pick the most divisive issues to excite their base and drive a wedge through the opposition. Why do you think the Republicans put gay marriage on the ballot in so many States in 2004?

Thanks but no thanks... as bad as the politicians are, the real source of the problems in our democracy is low-information voters.

Comment Re:Naah I disagree (Score 3, Insightful) 377

They are so precise they even give the percentages down to the first decimal place... they're that good! I'd be impressed if they even got the ordinal rankings right over that stretch of time (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc), even moreso if they could ballpark the percentages (30-ish %), but then again i suppose that's why I don't have people paying me to predict things.

Comment Uh, about that Nobel Laureate... (Score 4, Interesting) 52

Google boasts that they've assembled a "panel of acclaimed scientists including Nobel Laureates, tech visionaries and household names". The only Nobel Laureate on their list is Kary Mullis, who has a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction. His bio conveniently does not mention his AIDS denialism, Climate change denial, and his belief in astrology.

It's too bad I'm no longer a teenager... I'm sure would you have loved my project "Why Astrology is Bunk, and AIDS Denial is Dangerous"

Comment Re:How fast was that galaxy moving? (Score 1) 196

The speed of light is the limit on how fast you can move relative to your spacetime reference frame. Spacetime itself can move at any arbitrary speed... for example, the speed of spacetime flowing into a black hole exceeds the speed of light inside the event horizon (as far as we know). This is why it's impossible to escape once you've crossed the horizon... your maximum speed relative to space time is less than c, while the spacetime your moving against is moving inwards faster than c, dragging you backwards like a powerful river overcoming a slow swimmer.

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