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Comment Re:Cloning for organ farming (Score 1) 233

How much could I replace/upgrade before the death of my self? I wouldn't even know if it happened (err, being on the death is the ultimate end outlook of life) which means I shouldn't waste my time on concerning myself with such questions.

Greg Egan actually tackles this question with a great amount of rigor (he's also a mathematician) and clarity in his short stories and novels. Highly recommended.

Comment Re:Cloning for organ farming (Score 1) 233

What if, instead of moving each cell across the room, the cells were transported to another location via a hypothetical teleporter - and a doctor at the other end re-assembled you according to the same process. Would you then be the same person? What is the real difference between the two methods of re-assembly?

The real difference is that, from what I'm aware of, the use of quantum entanglement for teleportation results in the information being transferred and the physical cell material being destroyed. Or is this not correct?

Yup, let's assume that 'teleportation' is just instantaneous destruction followed by accurate re-production of the cell in question. So you feel that the destruction of the physical cell matter makes a difference - let's mix it up then.

What happens if 99% of the cells are transported by normal means, and 1% are teleported (i.e. destroyed and recreated.) Still the same person, right?
What happens with escalating percentages? Do you stop being the same person at the 50% mark? The 20% mark?

Comment Re:Cloning for organ farming (Score 1) 233

I would never ever step into a teleport, the physics of them means it's a new copy and the original is destroyed in the process. I am really curious though as to how many would use them knowing this? To be it's an instant death machine, I cease to be and the clone continues on until he takes a teleporter.

So let's say a doctor puts you into an induced coma, freezes you, manually moves each of your cells individually across the room, then reassembles them while preserving all connectivity between cells. They then thaw you out and restart your heart. Are you the same person?

What if, instead of moving each cell across the room, the cells were transported to another location via a hypothetical teleporter - and a doctor at the other end re-assembled you according to the same process. Would you then be the same person? What is the real difference between the two methods of re-assembly?

Final scenario. You slide one meter to the right on a rolling office chair. All your cells have been translated in one spatial axis by one meter. Are you still the same person? How can you be sure?

Comment Re:Distinguishing conflict from disagreement (Score 1) 1152

Thank you for sharing your position in such a clear, non-combative, and well-reasoned way. By your definition, which is a fair one, I would be an agnostic. However, I would choose, for clarity's sake, to call myself an atheist - and here is why.

You define an 'agnostic' as someone who holds no opinion on the divine. While this differs with the common dictionary definition, I believe it is a good definition in its own right. Yet, your position seems to be one where you seem to prefer to be accepting of those who profess a religion. Personally, I see this as an opinion on the divine in and of itself - the opinion that it is reasonable for someone other than yourself to hold a belief in the divine.

In a hypothetical world, let's say there are those who believe that their world is supported on the back of a turtle, those who believe that can be no cosmic turtle, and those who profess that it is impossible to know either way. Let's say that the inhabitants have in fact no way of obtaining evidence for or against the existence of anything beyond their planet's atmosphere. Those who say that it is impossible to know are in fact correct, but there is really no reason for them to respect the opinions of members the other two schools of thought! That would be tantamount to neither agreeing nor disagreeing when presented with an argument that had no evidence or basis. A reasonable person would disagree! If this were not the case, we would be smiling and nodding at every person who made an unwarranted argument.

You may ask, "What is the harm in being non-judgmental when presented with an unwarranted argument or claim?" Well, I propose that in the extreme case, you'd end up having to agree that any given claim was at least possible. "Four-leaf clovers bring me luck" - might be true! This is pretty much unfalsifiable. "Twinkies double your odds of getting cancer." - You'd have to give this claim credence, until someone funded a double-blind study - which probably won't ever happen. Et-cetera, et-cetera.

Sorry for my rambling argument - but I hope you can catch my drift. What I want to say is that, just because we cannot falsify a theory, does not mean we should give it any credence - we should treat the unknown as what it is - unknown. And because pretty much all human thought, reason, and action functions on the basis of evidence or simply past experience, something that is unknown and unknowable should in my opinion simply be classified as non-existent.

(Sorry for my poor argumentation, but when I say non-existent here, I don't mean it as a hard statement, but rather that we should prune the idea from our ontology - in the same way that we don't say that there "might or might not be invisible rubber-duckies in space" or that there "might or might not be a monolith on Europa" etc.)

Comment Re:study shows 99% people believe the word "scienc (Score 1) 84

Sure, everything is a "belief" just like everything is a "theory," but that's just playing with semantics. I agree that you CAN'T verify ANY empirical fact beyond a shadow of a doubt, but that doesn't mean you imagine everything will lose its mass tomorrow and you'll just float off into space, right? (Among a multitude of other possible scenarios)

You're not making the distinction between reasonable belief and unfounded or poorly founded belief. Reasonable belief follows a chain of reasoning that is at least based on empirical observation and extends some level of trust to other people to make reports about empirical tests to us. I.e. we observe that people with such-and-such traits are generally not liars, and people who publish fake papers are found out at a rate of X%, therefore we have a certain level of confidence that what we read is actually what was observed by these people. A chain of trust, which is != to a chain of blind trust.

tl;dr It is reasonable to believe that on average, scientists, unlike shamans, perform empirical tests before making claims.

Comment Re:If you ask nicely enough... (Score 1) 77

Removing the DEFCON 2 warnings for self signed certs will be the first step in the right direction.

SSL is not about encryption. It is also about trust.

Please tell us how it is a better idea to trust an unsigned site at the other end of an unencrypted connection MORE than a self-signed site at the end of a SSL connection. If sites with self-signed certs trigger a warning on browsers, then every site served in the clear should as well. A good compromise would be not to display the lock icon for sites with self-signed certs.

Comment More prior art (Score 1) 140

I wrote a simple prototype for this back in the '90s, and submitted a marginally upgraded version as coursework circa 2002. On hindsight it's not a terribly useful system, it defends against shoulder surfing and not much else. My feeling back then was that a scheme such as this would be useful for ATMs, but given the sophisticated camera + card scanner attacks being employed today, I doubt it'd be much use.

Submission + - Japan:Caesium measured, melt down may have started ( 5

Anonymous Coward writes: "A japanese media broadcaster (NHK) as well es German and Reuters report a possible start of a melt down in Fukushima 1/1 as caesium, a by product of melt downs was measured near the reactor: 'The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says nuclear material cesium has been detected near the Number One reactor at the Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant. The agency says the detection indicates that some of the nuclear fuel at the reactor may have started melting, because cesium is produced during a nuclear chain reaction' (NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation)."

Comment Happy Student (Score 4, Interesting) 286

I'm currently teaching myself linear algebra with the aid of Khan's videos, and I couldn't be happier with the quality of the material.

The fact that his work is steadily garnering more attention is a good thing in my view, since it increases the likelihood of more excellent videos being made available for free as a result of donations, grants, etc.

Comment Re:Reversible? (Score 1) 392

No. Think about it - in space, to "slow something down" means the same thing as "speeding something up," that is, changing an object's velocity (commonly known as acceleration.)

As such, you'd have to spend energy to accelerate toward your target, and when you were about to reach it, decelerate (i.e. accelerate in the opposite direction) in order not to go past it.

Another way to think about it is that in your inertial frame, you are always resting. So there is no kinetic energy to "absorb" to slow down since you aren't actually moving, from your point of view. Of course, that small planetoid in front appears to be moving towards you at a large rate, but good luck "absorbing" the kinetic energy from that impact :)

Submission + - NASA Confirms Jupiter Impact (

An anonymous reader writes: "Following up on a tip by an amateur astronomer that a new dark "scar" had suddenly appeared on Jupiter, this morning between 3 and 9 a.m. PDT (6 a.m. and noon EDT) scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, gathered evidence indicating an impact. New infrared images show the likely impact point was near the south polar region, with a visibly dark "scar" and bright upwelling particles in the upper atmosphere detected in near-infrared wavelengths, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths." GD — Follow the link to Nasa for a lovely shot of the scar -

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