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Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

That would require the Earth to be very very special indeed, and I just don't see it.

Not at all. For example, I just generated a random number between 1 and 1e9. It was 869,502,332. By your logic, therefore, that number must have been very, very special. But no, it was just really improbable and that number happened to come up.

It may very well be the same case with life. Life could just be extremely improbable, and Earth just happened to be "the number" that was picked. This is what the Anthropic Principle is all about. Our perceptions are colored by the fact that we're here, so we think, "Since the Earth is not special, therefore, other planets must have life like Earth." It might just be that Earth was the lottery winner.

I said this in another post, but I'll say it again: The best evidence against life being common is the fact that it only happened once on Earth. It's fairly conclusive that all life on Earth has a common ancestor. If abiogenesis were easy and common, it wouldn't just stop once it happened one time, it would happen continuously over the billions of years since it happened for us. But it didn't.

And honestly, life on Earth being completely unique in the universe isn't that hard for me to believe when I look at the utterly insane complexity of cellular machinery. But again, extreme improbability doesn't matter when we're deal with the anthropic principle. We don't sense how long it took for intelligent life to pop up, just like we didn't sense the 13 billion years until you and I were born to think about all this.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365


We have zero evidence for life being likely, except wishful thinking in the form hand-waving like the utterly useless Drake equation. On the other hand, we do have some suggestive evidence that life itself is improbable. The biggest evidence is that, as near as we can determine, it only happened once on Earth. If life was probable, it should have continued to re-occur, but we're fairly certain that all life has a common ancestor.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

More like, "it's how it was in the beginning. We all know at this point it's a dumb idea and a huge mistake, and Reddit has proven that editing can work and work well, but we're too set in our ways to admit it's a mistake and thus we'll call it 'working as intended' and pretend that it serves a purpose." See also: Deleting accounts.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 1) 365

> I think life at the single cell level might be fairly common. I actually think the single cell is the hard part. People underestimate just how INSANELY complex single cell organisms are. I don't mean a little complex, I mean crazy complex. Look at this animation of DNA replication: One side is duplicated straightforwardly... the other side has to be taken apart, flipped around and reassembled... and this is only one example. It gets even crazier from there. We tend to think of cells as "simple life forms", but they mind-blowingly complicated machines. It would not shock me at all if there was no other example of single cells in the entire universe.

Comment Re:Evidence of the Great Filter? (Score 5, Insightful) 365

My personal opinion is that life is really, really, really, REALLY rare. It only seems like it ought to be common because of the Anthropic Principle. We're can observe ourselves and thus it seems like life is easy. But everything would be exactly the same if we were completely unique in the universe. In fact, if the universe were cyclic and it took 1e1035 universe cycles for life to happen, things would look exactly the same. We simply have no basis for knowing how probable it is. Given how insanely complex we are, I suspect that it's exceedingly rare.

Comment Re:You are the product (Score 1) 167

You say that like it's a bad thing. As far as I'm concerned, I love the fact that I can trade demographic data for various online services. I'd far rather give them that than have to shell out real money. And as a bonus, I get ads that are potentially actually useful to me, rather than (say) feminine hygiene products.

Comment Re:It's about the license (Score 1) 318

I agree with Kozz. I would also add that while a comment submission form or the like might not need or even benefit much from the use of JavaScript, there's plenty of other things that do. Putting out a request such as "we're launching a campaign to demand that companies, governments, and organizations make their sites work without proprietary JavaScript" seems so baseless and ill-conceived that when I first read it I checked the date on the post to see if it was April 1st. What's the proposal for the alternative? The web platform is built on open standards, the majority of which (more than in any other ecosystem), is driven by open source implementations. For those hackers among us, the web is our oyster and it has fostered a great deal of innovation in the exact way that the FSF has worked to foster it in other ecosystems (e.g. Linux). Assuming that there is a noble and sane goal behind this call to action (which I'm still having a hard time believing), the way this article is written does it no justice. I imagine that this article has become the laughing stock in offices across the country and the world this morning. Presumably not the effect the FSF was looking for ...

Comment Re:Recursive? No, very iterative. (Score 1) 622

I was making the arguments that others make to dislike the languages, not my personal feelings. There's no such thing as a perfect language. The arguments against Ruby (as I understand them, I haven't used the language all that much) is that it's very slow and the community is full of asshats.

Comment Re:Java Not Realtime Capable (Score 1) 622

To be fair, Minecraft is a (surprisingly) quality program that is written in Java. It's also a total memory pig and is much slower than other 3D games, though also to be fair, it's a quite complex 3D environment (infinitely changeable), so it's hard to compare to games with more static worlds. But it does show that it's at least possible to write a good game in Java. It does occasionally freeze up, however, probably doing garbage collection to my son's infinite annoyance. :)

Now, a fair comparison is comparing the Java version of the Scratch environment to the Flash version, and the Flash version is about 5-10x the speed.

Comment Re:Recursive? No, very iterative. (Score 1) 622

Java can nearly as fast as C for very small pieces of code where the runtime can do straightforward JIT compilation, that is true. If you define that as "where Java is used", then your claim is true. However, for code of any size or complexity, Java slows down tremendously. Why do you think Java is "slow on the desktop"? It's because desktop apps are applications of size and aren't trivial pieces of glue code.

Or, to put it another way, if Java isn't inherently slow and is "as fast as C" as you claim, why would there be an exception around desktop apps or "graphics in general"?

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