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Comment Re:It's not money... not unlike US green back (Score 3, Insightful) 62

Which isn't saying much, as that ten dollar bill is fiat money, and is good only so long as the government's credibility holds up (which for the US government is ... well, not very well.)

Every country in the world is trying to put their wealth in dollars. US government credibility (or rather, the credibility of the US treasury and the Fed) is pretty goddamn high.

Comment Re:Who is Kurzweil? Why should I care? (Score 1) 192

I think life is probably fairly common. Intelligent life very likely much less so. Even on Earth, intelligence is a solution to the problem of survival used by only a small fraction of organisms, and even among the organisms that use intelligence as a solution, that intelligence doesn't have to be at the level exhibited by a rather small number of tool-using animals.

But it's going to be a long time before we figure out whether intelligence is rare or not. I don't think SETI is the answer, since incidental transmissions (like TV and radio) only propagate out a few light years before they become indistinguishable from ordinary background radio sources. No, I actually think we'll ultimately identify other civilizations through advancements in optical and radio telescopes which will betray tell-tale signatures like pollution in the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets. That's still many years away, but eventually we're going to build large scale space-based interferometer array that will be sensitive enough to image continents and oceans on exoplanets.

Comment Re:Slashvertisements (Score 1) 220

There seems at the moment about a 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 chance of Trump actually being elected. While he's showing better performance than expected in some states, it still seems that Hillary has the advantage. But there's a helluva lot of time until November, and who knows, maybe Trump will finally start acting like someone who wants to be President, as opposed to someone who wants to mount the most expensive comedy routine in history.

Comment Re:Cheesy 80's movie excuse (Score 1) 713

You seem to miss that HRC is not the DNC. Why would the DNC having poor network security have anything to do with Clinton, or reflect on her at all? Because they're both from the same political party? What?

I agree that HRC != DNC (...sort of...) but that level of nuance is useless for damage control since the average voter will equate the two.

Comment Depends (Score 4, Interesting) 32

You know those commercials that sometimes come on local stations late at night for "Consumers Cellular"? The ads sell it like a cell phone provider for old people, since they always have sixty-somethings being hip with their no-contract cell phones and buying slutty red dresses to see if they can interest their hubbies in one more roll in the clover.

What you may not know, is that Consumer Cellular is actually a really good provider. You pay as you go, you can use practically any smartphone, including the iStatus from Apple. They mail you out a sim card and away you go. Data, calls, texts, it's cheap as shit. If you pay attention to what you're doing and know your way around, you can even avoid giving them real information, so it's the anonymity of a burner phone and the convenience of a major provider. And no contracts.

My wife has some Cadillac plan from one of the big providers, but when my contract was up with AT&T but my phone was still good, I figured, "What the hell?" and tried Consumers Cellular. It works great, has coverage wherever the other companies have coverage and AT&T can just suck my dick.

Comment Re:Who is Kurzweil? Why should I care? (Score 1) 192

I'm particularly troubled by these comparisons of DNA to source code. First of all, any programmer that would create code as sloppy and filled with junk sections would probably be canned. While the analogy works in simple terms, the way DNA and RNA encode and then transcribe that back into proteins is far far more complex than how a computer runs code. In some ways, DNA is far superior, because it tends to be a lot more fault tolerant, but in other ways it is much less efficient and tends to be much more error prone (which is a good thing, those transcription errors are one of the major ways in which life evolves).

Ultimately the analogy fails because cells are not computers. They do not function like computers. DNA could almost be more compared to something like a printing press, except that on occasion letters get inserted into the process, sometimes even entire sequences, and on other occasions letters go missing, not to mention the odd occasion where another press's sequence of letters get transferred.

It is a useful analogy for introducing certain concepts surrounding cellular activities and protein production, but it remains an analogy only at that basic level, and fails on the details.

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