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Comment What kind of simulation.... (Score 1) 830

...allows its denizens to *even consider* that it might be a simulation? Isn't that what brought down The Matrix? On the other hand, this might be just the thing to allow atheists and theists to peacefully co-exist: the latter can advance the axiom that *everything* is God's will (since it's, presumably, His simulation) -- and the former can relax realizing that *nothing really matters* since it's all just an illusion anyway...

Submission + - Did Peter Schorer just solve the Collatz Conjecture? (

Randym writes: Recently, Peter Schorer published the latest version of his potential solution to the Collatz Conjecture: a famous unsolved halting problem in mathematics. (Short version: X starts as any integer > or == 1; if X is odd, newX = 3*X+1; if X is even, newX = X/2. Does newX *always* eventually arrive at the number 1?) To quote from the abstract: "Our proofs are based on a structure called “tuple-sets” that represents the 3x + 1 function in the “forward” (as opposed to the inverse) direction. In our proofs, we show, by a simple inductive argument, that the contents of the set of at least one tuple-set are the same, regardless if counterexamples exist or not, and from this we are able to conclude that counterexamples do not exist." Read his short, simple paper and decide for yourself.

Submission + - Is methane-based life the next big thing?

Randym writes: With the simultaneous announcement of a possible nitrogen-based cell-like structure allowing life outside the "liquid water zone" (but within a methane atmosphere) announced by researchers at Cornell and the mystery of *fluctuating* methane levels on Mars raising the possibility of methane-respiring life, there now exists the possibility of a whole new branch of the tree of life that does not rely on either carbon *or* oxygen respiration. We may find evidence of such life here on Earth down in the mantle where "traditional" life cannot survive, but where bacteria has evolved to live off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene.

Comment Re:Great Satan (Score 3, Insightful) 510

' "New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said.'

Ah, yes -- that small vicious group that call themselves "The Congress". Vile bastards, those... Claiming to 'represent the people', yet imposing insult after insult upon the very people they claim to represent.

Comment Re:Facts please. (Score 1) 548

You are incorrect. That particular smutpocolypse already happened in 2010. What they are going after now is things which are perfectly legal which seem "bad" -- and it's all being driven by some right-wing rag in Great Britain (you know, land of the page 3 girls...). If you are getting your news from the BBC, you are already a little late to the story.

Comment Unlikely metabolism... (Score 1) 79

'This organism has had to figure out everything on its own,' says Amend, 'it splits water into hydrogen and oxygen for metabolism.'

It's hard to believe that geochemist Dr. Amend said that about Desulforudis Audaxviator, since D. Audaxviator is completely intolerant of oxygen, and its sulfate reduction mechanism is right there in its name!

If anyone had bothered to follow the links in that article, they would have found this useful article that quotes the original discoverers of Desulforudis Audaxviator: "Tullis Onstott classified the microbe under the genus Desulforudis for its ability to get energy from sulfate and its rod shape... Living deep underground for such a long time has also stripped D. audaxviator of the ability to use oxygen as an electron acceptor in its metabolic pathways, thus making it a strict anaerobe. Instead of oxygen, sulfate is used as an electron acceptor...These [2157] genes allow the microbe to live in almost all conditions except in the presence of oxygen." (my emphasis)

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In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.