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Comment What exactly is life? (Score 1) 109

If an atomic/molecular/yet-unguessed-at structure can be held in stasis for 10K-to-50K years, and then (re) animated, what exactly is life?

The two most basic indicators of life are a) replication of itself and b) information gathering via DNA or some other mechanism.

The common result of life is an overall increase in entropy, although it decreases for subsystems.

But what exactly is it? When can we make it in the lab from scratch?

Comment According to the bean counter CFO (Score 3, Insightful) 95

Ruth Porat:

"Google to Pay New CFO Ruth Porat More Than $70 Million":

She's worth 10's if not 100's of millions of dollars and yet she's still working. This is just a salary bargaining ploy nonsense. That's why the article doesn't make any sense.

Comment Re: I know... (Score 1) 456

I do like contrarians, as they force me to examine my position, which I appreciate. As the saying goes, "If you don't understand your opponent's position, then you do not truly understand your own."

For Carrie Fisher, she was a central character, Princess Leia, in George Lucas' 1977 epic hit, "Star Wars", which redefined cinematography and the cinema. Thus, she became a part of cinema history. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, C3PO, R2D2 and Vader are all part of cinema's pantheon. Because it all came together for a brief shining moment in that movie, which went on to influence the cinema till this day.

That's why she was a noteworthy figure. And she nailed the role. She may not have done much nearly as noteworthy since, but being part of an epic is very hard to follow up.

Comment ooo, I like this game (Score 1) 351

In order to stop [universally agreed bad thing], we must control/penalize [thing associated with it].

In order to stop [school shootings] we must control/penalize [video games]
In order to stop [school shootings] we must control/penalize [guns]

In order to stop [human trafficking] we must control/penalize [porn]
In order to stop [human trafficking] we must control/penalize [prostitution]
In order to stop [human trafficking] we must control/penalize [strip clubs]

In order to stop [obesity] we must control/penalize [certain foods]
In order to stop [obesity] we must control/penalize [lack of exercise]

In order to stop [impaired driving] we must control/penalize [alcohol]
In order to stop [impaired driving] we must control/penalize [marijuana]

In order to stop [car crash deaths] we must control/penalize [driving]
In order to stop [car crash deaths] we must control/penalize [pedestrians]
In order to stop [car crash deaths] we must control/penalize [roadborne transport of fuel]

Comment Re:I agree. (Score 1) 219

The problem being that China has been viewing the long game for decades and the longer people let them play by some of their key rules,

Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead." Keynes is seen as the Moses of modern economic thought. This mentality explains quite a bit about US economic and business policy.

Comment Re:Examples? (Score 3, Informative) 335

In my brief 40 years as an American, I was born into a world where we were supposed to be scared of Russians. To being told that the Russians weren't a threat. To being told that the Islamists that the CIA funded to fight the Russians were the threat. To now being told that the Russians and the disciples of those we trained to fight the Russians are a threat.

"We have always been at war with Eastasia." -- George Orwell, "1984"

Comment Oceans have life at different layers (Score 1) 67

Oceans have life at different layers, so why not gaseous atmospheres of varying densities?

Unless there is something magical about life, its seeds are embedded in the fabric of the universe. Earth coalesced out of a dust cloud and without any human intervention, life appeared and evolved to what we have today. This is a natural process. That it could occur in circumstances other than earthlike does not strike me as farfetched. OTOH, we still can't spontaneously make life in the lab so we don't know all its secrets, and perhaps in reality, our knowledge is very limited (you don't know what you don't know).

Comment Re:What about the primaries? (Score 2) 1430

Lessig's big TED talk was on "Lesterland" - about how big money in the primaries selects the two parties' candidates. His focus was reforming that process so that the will of the people would be the primary deciding factor.

Trump was opposed by the big money in the primaries.

I heard a Democrat complaining that Trump received a disproportionate share of favorable media coverage and a high volume of media coverage during the primaries. It is my sincere belief the big media was trying to help select the most unelectable candidate for the Republicans.

I am frankly baffled why Lessig is supporting Clinton. She is the epitomy of what he railed against. I guess he has unspoken views which are more important than his stated ones (money in politics).

Comment Controlling the flow of information (Score 1) 272

I've been reading/hearing about people wanting to gatekeep/curate the news for the masses for many years now. This latest election will push that effort into overdrive.

Educate people about what the Internet is, but don't allow greater controls on the flow of public information.

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Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau