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Comment Re:No terraforming? (Score 1) 147

Something similar to the Geobacter genus might be a good candidate, considering they can metabolise a wide range of organic compounds including hydrocarbons like oil and use iron oxide (something Mars has lots of) instead of oxygen. Not sure on the temperature ranges they can survive or their liquid water requirements but that's part of what this mission is about, to find out if there are micro-environments on Mars capable of supporting single celled organisms.

Comment Re:Not new (Score 1) 94

In that it doesn't DEModulate the signals before communicating them to the IC nor would it be MOdulating any signals to send to the phone's soundcard as all of the sensors would be on the phone itself unless you were doing something with tactile feedback. Essentially we're just talking about a wire connected to the controller.

Comment Fetch me my slippers! (Score 2) 94

Not sure why everyone is getting so excited about the controller interface being through the audio port since that is old hat and hardly the most interesting connotation of this idea. I'd be much more excited about the possibilities of having a ready built platform with camera, gps, wifi, bluetooth, speach recognition attached to physical actuators. If you were smart enough about the design of the app or provided enough of an interface so that you could program your own behaviors, this could be truly revolutionary for home robotics.

Comment Re:Nothing unreal exists (Score 1) 373

Information has no extension (to use Descartes' terminology - it has no length, width, or height)

I'm sorry, that's just silly. In case there's some confusion, I wasn't attempting to talk about some fuzzy headed concept of information as an existence unto itself. What I meant by 'information we have been given by our senses' was the collection of impulses that have run along our sensory neurons to stimulate the systems of our brains. This 'information' is very measurable, unfortunately Descartes missed out on that information by a few hundred years. As for pain, I don't doubt the existence of the feeling of pain but I do affirm that it does not exist separate from the physical systems that perceive it. Even emotional pain has been shown to trigger the same sites in the brain responsible for interpreting physical pain. The 'FEELING' of pain is just that interpretation of those signals as processed by particular centers in the brain, as is pleasure and even higher emotions which, while much more complex in some ways, still rely on the same underlying functions.

There are no 'spooky' forms floating around inside our heads however, I am not saying that our perception of the world is not an impressive and wonderous mystery. It is very true that we do not know exactly how consciousness arises from the human brain but we do know that the human brain is necessary to the existence of consciousness. We do not need to rely on any imagined elementary particles just because we do not fully understand consciousness, making such a leap makes no sense and I'm not sure why you're trying to sneak it into the conversation without a proper explanation.

Comment Re:Nothing unreal exists (Score 1) 373

Nothing exists in our minds apart from the information we have been given by our senses or that which is a product of the biological processes of our brain. All thought exists physically within our brain as neurochemical interactions, to say otherwise is to presume that there is some as yet unobserved action that does not depend on physical forces going on inside our heads. You cannot say that a concept, abstract or not, exists entirely divorced from physical reality. To do so would be to assume the existence of a reality (if you could call it that) not related to any known physical process and in no way connected to our own, in which case you might as well be talking about the existence of God.

Comment Re:It's life, Jim (Score 1) 112

And equally unscientific to dismiss the possibility out of hand without further investigation. We're only just in the early stages of making accurate enough measurements to determine the presence of liquid water. To use a rough analogy, it's as if we've just sighted land through the ship's spyglass and we're already dismissing the possibility of it being host to plants, animals and even potable water.

Comment Re:If only we had a space program ... (Score 1) 112

But I'll probably get modded down for blasphemy, or for the crime of preferring to post anonymously.

If you provided even the barest of sources to back up your assertions you probably wouldn't be. Anonymous posting is only looked down upon because it provides no guarantee that you have any interest in a discussion and it can be easily abused to harass people. It's not like /. asks for your social security number, just make an account with an anonymous email.

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