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Comment Re:A banana is part of the problem (Score 1) 641

Turing computers will never be sentient, although computers can fool you into thinking they're sentient if programmed cleverly. I can see idiots in the future wanting to give computers rights.

Maybe some day we'll come up with an electrochemical computer, like a Blade Runner Replicant. But before we make a sentient machine we'll have to understand what sentience is, how it comes about, and how it operates. So far, we're so clueless about sentience that we don't even know how to research it.

Submission + - Low-cost System Uses Passing Vehicles to Generate Electricity (

Zothecula writes: Over the years, various researchers have developed systems in which the weight transferred through cars' wheels onto the road – or through pedestrians' feet onto the sidewalk – is used to generate electricity. These systems utilize piezoelectric materials, which convert mechanical stress into an electrical current. Such materials may be effective, but they're also too expensive for use in many parts of the world. That's why Mexican entrepreneur Héctor Ricardo Macías Hernández created his own rather ingenious alternative.

Submission + - Tesla Faces Off Against Car Dealers In Another State: Ohio

cartechboy writes: We've seen Tesla run into regulatory issues in Texas. And North Carolina. This time, it's Ohio, where car dealers are playing an entertainingly brazen brand of hardball. The Ohio Dealers Association is backing an anti-Tesla amendment to Ohio Senate Bill 137--which turns out to be an unrelated, uncontroversial proposal about drivers moving left when they see emergency vehicles (The bill is headed for adoption.) The sudden and subtle amendment would ban Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to customers, who place their orders online with the company after learning about the Model S in company-owned stores. A hearing on the amendment was suddenly scheduled for today; Tesla is fighting back by outlining the economic benefits to Ohio--after taking some legislators for a ride in the Model S (a Tesla tactic that has worked before).

Comment Re:The Animus may be possible (Score 1) 118

Of course there's some made-up shit in any science fiction -- dilythium crystals, mitichlorians, grabonic radiation (that one's mine), but most "technobabble" is actually real words, or words made up from Greek or Latin roots that describe the fictional technology (like "tachyons"). A literate, educated person can make the meanings out by context.

I wrote about that in my journal today. A friend read Nobots and some of the words weren't in her vocabulary. "Those big words -- are they real or can I look 'em up in a dictionary?" Of course, she's not a nerd.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Nobots Chapter Nine

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"I brought a copy of my book with me," I told Mom, "But Mike bought it."

"What book?" she asked, puzzled.

"I told you last time I was here. I wrote a book."

"No you didn't."

"Yes I did." Mom's eighty four years old. She frowned, a kind of puzzled look on her face... like maybe I did tell her but she forgot. She's still young for her age, goes bowling every week.

"What kind of book?"

Submission + - "Top-Down Causation" could Explain the Presence of Order in the Universe

eagletonian writes: In a recent interview mathematician George Ellis questioned the "bottom up" causation paradigm prevalent in science, where forces between particles are considered the only kind of physical causation from which chemistry, biology, and even our minds are emergent. Instead Ellis argues in favor of the possibility that " these emergent higher level structures, such as cells, neurons, and the brain, have causal powers in their one right". This "top-down causation" recognizes that higher levels can control the lower levels by setting constraints on lower level interactions. You can find details of Ellis theory in his paper published in the Annals of Physics.

Comment Re:food (Score 2, Funny) 641

I agree. Free them all. There's no reason for an advanced, "civilized" human society to treat living, sentient* creatures as products to consume.

I belong to redneck PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals.

Now stop trolling me, son, before I make you explain exactly what "sentience" is and how it can be proven.

Excuse me, a cheeseburger awaits.

Comment Re:Jerry Was A Man (Score 2) 641

Heinlein invisaged chimpanzees genetically enhanced to be more intelligent and more like humans.

Yes, I'll give you that. But remember that Heinlein was probably a racist, the story was written in 1947.

Of all these things, probably the most important is that they don't think like humans. At all. Chimpanzees do not understand non-verbal communications even as much as dogs do. They're just not people.

Well, I don't know about chimps, but dogs and cats are people. Folks consider their animals family (and mine have helped me through hard times).

They're still my property.

Comment Re:You may think it troll, flame bait, etc, but... (Score 0) 641

That "troll" moderation was completely uncalled for. Someone with mod points, please rectify it. It was a valid point -- if this abomination actually gets through the courts (and I'll flap my arms and fly to the moon if it happens), will animals have reproductive rights?

The whole thing is silly. Monty Python silly.

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