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Comment Re:Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 1) 387

That's possible, but I think it's unlikely. If Trump were to regulate wind and solar into oblivion, local energy prices would go up and the power companies would simply import power from Canada and Mexico where wind and solar would still be legal and still be cheaper. They'll buy whatever energy is the cheapest. If that's not domestic power then so be it. Money will cast the final vote.

Sadly we don't have the same freedom of choice with internet yet.

Comment Coal is a campaign punchline (Score 4, Insightful) 387

Coal isn't coming back. It's something that sounded good to Trump's fans on the campaign trail, that's all. The coal industry employs fewer people than freaking Arby's. Fixing the coal industry would be like using a teaspoon to bail out a sinking Titanic. Middle America has far bigger problems that the dwindling coal industry.

Only reason why it's an issue at all is because it sounded good on the campaign trail for Trump's supporters. It's dog whistle politics, not an actual energy plan. To everyone else it sounds like Trump is saying "Coal is the future and will meet our energy needs cheaply and effectively!" Which it absolutely won't. But to his fans, it sounds like this: "Rust belt and former mining communities will get their jobs back and be prosperous again!" Sadly, it doesn't actually mean that either. Deregulate all you want, wind and solar are still going to be cheaper.

I feel bad for those folks in coal country counting on this guy to fix things for them. He isn't going to. He isn't able to. It'll be pretty bitter when they realize that.

Comment Anyone surprised? (Score 4, Insightful) 341

Trump got into power by nothing but bluster. He isn't going to be able to deliver on more than 5% of what he promised on the campaign trail. With a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives he STILL couldn't repeal Obamacare. With the deck stacked entirely in his favor he still can't deliver.

America, you've been had.

Comment Ok, about this premise: (Score 1) 288

The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. For example, people who are awake have been shown to have more diverse neural activity using this scale than those who are asleep.

Do we actually know that? I'm sure you see more brain activity in an awake person than an asleep person. But does more brain activity automatically directly correlate to higher consciousness? I guarantee if you are hooked up to an EEG and I smash your thumb with a hammer, you'll see a sudden jump in all sorts of diverse brain signals and a lot of activity. I'd hardly call it higher consciousness though.

Comment Kaboom (Score 1) 1222

Ok, as to the sound thing perhaps I should clarify.

The scene is outside the ship and Jupiter explodes. You see the flash of light from the explosion and the sound at the same time. That wouldn't happen for a couple of reasons that I'm sure you know - light travels much faster than sound, and in space there is no medium to transmit the sound anyways. Yes, I'll grant you that if you were on the surface of Jupiter you would indeed hear a great kaboom in the instant before you died, I'm sure. But point being the crew on the Leonov wouldn't hear a kaboom. The wind rushing by noise as the shock wave passes is brilliant however. I thought they did that bit well.

I realize that when something explodes in a movie the audience needs the audio cue of a kaboom noise or they don't know it's an explosion, so I give them a pass on it.

Comment 2010 (Score 4, Interesting) 1222

Not a popular movie, but it's my favorite. It accomplishes the almost impossible task of thoroughly explaining 2001, for a start.

Other things I like about it? HAL 9000 redeems himself. We find out what his problem was and who was responsible. Then HAL sacrifices himself to save lives.

Another nice bit - the science in this movie is just about 100%. The zero gravity, the air brake scene, the actual 3d environment of space where the Discovery is simply tumbling. Space ships aren't moving around like flat horizontal pieces on a chess board. The only flaw I can find is when Jupiter ignites there is a sound, which of course there wouldn't be. But that's about it.

It's a great story and it's told very well.

Comment Re:February 1978 ... (Score 1) 857

I remember seeing one at the Radio Shack too, only I was too young to buy it. My first computer program was something I wrote on a piece of paper after I conned my mom into buying me the Basic book for the TRS-80. I lied to her one day and told her I was going to the park, and instead rode my bike halfway across the county to type it in. She'd have had a heart attack if she knew. I was 9 years old.

So as one fan to another, here's something for you. =)

Comment C64 (Score 1) 857

Which, as it turned out was a really great first computer. Simple enough to where you can pick up assembly easily, and it had a host of other languages to use as well. I actually learned C on my C64, which started my career in software. I wouldn't be where I am today without my C64.

My only complaint was the lousy 1541 disk drive that would eventually scramble any disk in it, given enough writes. Made programming super difficult having to back up your disk to a second disk every time you changed something.

Comment Re:Another point to consider - truck drivers (Score 1) 168

Well maybe, and maybe not. My opinion is that we are at the start of something new and never seen before. In the past - your statement has always been 100% correct. Something new always did come along. People that sold buggy whips and horse harnesses were put out of business by Henry Ford. But they could go work for Ford building cars, so no loss.

But now, that may not be the case. Automation is making ALL jobs scarce. If computers take up 3.5 million truck driving jobs, can we move those 3.5 million people into computer construction? No. There aren't going to be 3.5 million computer jobs made. Maybe a few hundred thousand, at best. And this is happening in all industries - farming, coal mining, warehouses, construction, you name it.

I can give you an example of what I'm talking about. I'm a BSEE by trade. I'll bet that if you let me select a team of 5 of my friends, we could easily design a robot that could pick lettuce inside of a year or two. It would drive itself down the rows, steer using GPS and cameras, use those cameras and computers to identify the heads of lettuce using a nice neural net type program so it can tell lettuce from a rock, and would pick up more than 95% of all the lettuce in the field. This robot would take the dozens of workers per farm that manually pick lettuce and replace them with a single gadget. And that's it - there isn't anything beyond that. As soon as robots are picking lettuce, the lettuce picking industry is over. Nobody will ever work there again. No new jobs will be created from this final step. And if the workers move down the field to a carrot farm, my five guys are still making robots and it would be just as easy to make a carrot picker.

We really are entering a new age, right now. Automation is just now beginning to make most labor unnecessary. We really need to think about how we are going to deal with this.

Comment Re:Another point to consider - truck drivers (Score 1) 168

Exactly! That's exactly the problem summed up. That's how this whole thing will be viewed initially. "You're unemployed? What a loser! Just go get a job." But there aren't going to be any to get. The economy simply won't be able to absorb 3.5 million unemployed people. For instance, what about Amiga3D's post upstream, his 70 year old uncle. What if the Automotive Singularity hit when he was 65? What the hell is he supposed to do, go to college?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the tech. This will save lives, be more efficient, all that. But socially there will be a downside. A lot of people are going to be hurt by this. And they don't have to be. We know it's coming, we could be getting ready for it - but we're not. It's going to be a huge problem.

Comment Re:Another point to consider - truck drivers (Score 1) 168

My father was a truck mechanic, which he did until retirement. We had a nice house growing up.

My concern is that this entire industry is set to evaporate, suddenly and most likely catastrophically. As a mental exercise try to imagine what it would be like for the economy if suddenly 3.5 million people became unemployed. I spend a lot of time worrying about this. It's going to be terrible. And worse yet, we aren't currently doing anything about it. This would be the perfect time to prepare for it because we know it's coming. But we're not.

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