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Comment Re:So glad I don't work with her (Score 1) 290

Best case I think would be auto-dictation with voice attachment, so that you could send a voicemail, with all the convenience of recording such, and have it automatically (and accurately) converted to text [...]

Google Voice transcribes my voicemail and emails it to me. It's *wonderful*! It's usually reasonably accurate too, especially if you know the caller and can squint your ears a little and read it in their voice. Even when it's complete mambo dogface banana-patch it's at least worth a laugh.

Comment Re:Heu.. ???? (Score 1) 396

This is a serious question from a Unix user who is curious about PowerShell... I like the idea of piping objects around. Does it play with anything outside the .Net ecosystem? Is there some sort of platform-agnostic object notation or broker that would let me exchange objects with external (non .Net) programs? Say I write a script in Python. Is there any way to export the Python objects such that PowerShell can manipulate them?

Comment Re:Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 3, Insightful) 250

Or because no one has found a way around that pesky speed-of-light barrier, and the vast distances simply make inter-species communication, let alone travel, utterly impractical. This has always seemed, at least to me, the least romantic but most pragmatic answer to the question of why we don't meet aliens, or even hear from them.

I can't buy that, either. Intelligent machines must be possible -- after all, we're just meat machines, and unless there's some divine entity handing out souls there's nothing particularly special about us naturally-evolved organisms that couldn't be duplicated in an artificial organism. So it should be possible to purpose-build intelligent machines and send them out as interstellar probes. Make it so the intelligence can hibernate for the journey by powering down.

Now, let's say the probe is only moving about the same speed as Voyager, 17 km/s. We know that's easily achievable. At that rate it'll take about 17,000 years to travel one light-year. So let's say our robot probe travels 100 light-years to a nearby star (1.7 million years travel time) and sets up shop. After another 300,000 years it's ready to launch two more probes. Each of them goes 100 ly and repeats. At this rate it only takes 2 billion years to span the galaxy, and we end up with something like 10^300 (2^1000) probes. Maybe we ought to build in a limiter that stops reproduction when a probe hits an already colonized system...

Mind you, that's with some really pessimistic numbers. And it doesn't even need machine intelligence, I just think a machine has a better chance of functioning after a couple million years of travel than a hibernating meat popsicle does.

Comment Re:How About Some Actual Data... (Score 4, Insightful) 182

Without all of the data ("two dozen known carcinogens" in an unknown concentration), this could still be a net gain for Floridians. There are plenty of substances that the rest of the developed world believes to be inert in small doses, but that "are known to the state of California to cause cancer" at any dosage. If they are loosening the regulations on some substances using actual data to devise allowable limits, and again using actual data to further restrict those chemicals that are harmful, then perhaps this change is completely above the board, and inline with the best interest of the people. Drinkable water is a disappearing resource, so practical guidelines (do I need to mention using actual data again?), seems a prudent course of action, and this article doesn't provide enough information to determine if these changes are indeed practical or detrimental to consumers.

I came here to say the same thing. Let's see the data, not just the knee-jerk "chemicals are bad" screed. Spare us the fear-mongering.

Comment A weapon's a weapon (Score 1) 983

I don't know why "with a robot" is a complicating factor. Would a police sniper have been justified in shooting him? If yes, then I don't care what the weapon is. Take the guy down in the most expedient manner with the least possibility of harm to anyone else. If the use of the sniper was not justified, I still don't care what the weapon is, they're doing it wrong.

In my mind that's the only question. Was the use of lethal force justified? I don't know, but with multiple officers already down I'd say it's clear they tried other possibilities first. I'm willing to concede that the force may have been justified. And at that point, as I said, I don't really care what weapon is most expedient.

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