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Comment Don't get your Hopes Up (Score 5, Informative) 153

It MIGHT be habitable. It MIGHT have an atmosphere. It MIGHT have water.

Chances are, it's actually tidally locked. One side gets daylight all the time and the other... well... it doesn't. It probably has had it's atmosphere stripped away. If it has water then it will all be frozen on the dark side (water evaporates on the hot side and gets locked as ice in the dark side).

Theoretically it could be a hot, but livable (except for being arid) 30C average on the light side and cold (but livable) -30C average on the dark side. Theoretically there is a comfortable zone half way in the transitional area. Don't get me wrong, this is by far our best chance at extra-solar life so far- but odds are you couldn't board a spaceship with a tent and some potatoes and start living there tomorrow as a farmer.

Definitely a great place to send a probe if we ever get the technology.

Comment New Technologies... (Score 1) 366

I don't mind new technologies. Improving Bluetooth audio, improving the Bluetooth standard to support better audio. That's all fine, and may lead to the improvement of audio in the future.

However, the technology of the headphone jack is so simple, so universal, so useful- I feel like removing the headphone jack seems a silly move. I'd rather a slightly thicker phone than no headphone jack.

Now... with that said, I don't actually remember the last time I used a headphone jack on my phone anyway. I think for a large number of people its not going to make a difference. I'm curious how many people who are lamenting the loss of the headphone jack actually use it. I suspect it is a minority of users who use it today.

Comment Re:Eleven reasons to be depressed abou the future (Score 1) 282

1. Self-Driving Cars: Self-driving cars exist today that are safer than human-driven cars in most driving conditions. Over the next 3â"5 years they'll get even safer, and will begin to go mainstream.

Hackable cars, easier surveillance, depressing.

2. Clean Energy: Attempts to fight climate change by reducing the demand for energy haven't worked. Fortunately, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs have been working hard on the supply side to make clean energy convenient and cost-effective.

Expensive energy, depressing.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality: Computer processors only recently became fast enough to power comfortable and convincing virtual and augmented reality experiences. Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are investing billions of dollars to make VR and AR more immersive, comfortable, and affordable.

People avoiding the real world more, depressing.

4. Drones and Flying Cars: GPS started out as a military technology but is now used to hail taxis, get mapping directions, and hunt Pokemon. Likewise, drones started out as a military technology, but are increasingly being used for a wide range of consumer and commercial applications.

Flying bombs and deathtraps, depressing.

5. Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence has made rapid advances in the last decade, due to new algorithms and massive increases in data collection and computing power.

It'll enslave us all, depressing.

6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone: By 2020, 80% of adults on earth will have an internet-connected smartphone. An iPhone 6 has about 2 billion transistors, roughly 625 times more transistors than a 1995 Intel Pentium computer. Today's smartphones are what used to be considered supercomputers.

NSA can process the taps locally, depressing.

7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: Protocols are the plumbing of the internet. Most of the protocols we use today were developed decades ago by academia and government. Since then, protocol development mostly stopped as energy shifted to developing proprietary systems like social networks and messaging apps. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies are changing this by providing a new business model for internet protocols. This year alone, hundreds of millions of dollars were raised for a broad range of innovative blockchain-based protocols.

Economics, depressing.

8. High-Quality Online Education: While college tuition skyrockets, anyone with a smartphone can study almost any topic online, accessing educational content that is mostly free and increasingly high-quality.

More know-it-alls who can't think rationally on the market, depressing.

9. Better Food through Science: Earth is running out of farmable land and fresh water. This is partly because our food production systems are incredibly inefficient. It takes an astounding 1799 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. Fortunately, a variety of new technologies are being developed to improve our food system.

Soon we can kill off all the animals and plants and replace them with factories, depressing.

10. Computerized Medicine: Until recently, computers have only been at the periphery of medicine, used primarily for research and record keeping. Today, the combination of computer science and medicine is leading to a variety of breakthroughs.

Combine this with AI and VR, what could possibly go wrong, depressing.

11. A New Space Age: Since the beginning of the space age in the 1950s, the vast majority of space funding has come from governments. But that funding has been in decline: for example, NASA's budget dropped from about 4.5% of the federal budget in the 1960s to about 0.5% of the federal budget today.

The rich will either force the poor up into space, or go themselves to escape the pollution, depressing.

So is it safe to assume that you are cautiously optimistic about the future?

Comment Re:More like 11 reasons to be depressed about tech (Score 1) 282

I think that's what we need to do... not give up beef- but drink reclaimed water. We need better ways of "refreshing" water so that it is reusable. If all the water from sewage was cleaned enough - it could more than produce enough to keep all the cows in the world rolling in as much water as they could drink...

2/3rds the planet is covered in water. There's lots of water- we just need to work on better ways of reclaiming it and cleaning it. Technology can and will do that. We're short now. We may be short in the near future, but long term water will not be an issue.

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