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Comment Re:Or... maybe your assumption is wrong (Score 1) 272

What's wrong with connecting dots? We project the past into the future routinely and reliably. Why can't it run backwards? Epidemiologists certainly do that. Consider today's cinema ... audience sizes, production cost, production values, censorship, graphic content, crew size, number of awards. It scarcely matters which parameters are picked as long as they can be measured. Next, examine those parameters for the 1990s, 1970s, and 1950s. From those data points, you can infer trends. From those trends, you can probably make a decent guess as to when motion photography was invented.

Comment Re:I thought this was over and done already? (Score 1) 335

Slashdot is also remarkably conservative. You see this regularly in terms of computer technology (anti-Wayland, anti-Gnome, anti-Windows 8....) but it is also true in terms of American politics. Climate change is going to require coordinated large scale governmental actions through incentives and regulation. Libertarians don't like it so they pretend there is no underlying problem

It is generally true that the past has too many constituents and the future doesn't have enough.

Comment Re:Must past this test (Score 1) 508

3. You get bored, distracted, and fall asleep behind the wheel ... especially on long straight highways. 4. You are limited in how many hours per day you can drive. 5. You are expensive. This is why the premier application (note I did not use the term "killer app") for self-driving vehicles will be in long haul trucks.

Comment Don't do this. (Score 5, Interesting) 589

Long ago, I worked at a commercial lab where tanks of H2, 02, and N2O (nitrous oxide) were used for flame or plasma ion detectors. For fun, we used to launch "Hindenburgs" ... large trash bags filled with hydrogen plus a latex glove filled with the oxydizer and trailed by a fuse of burning paraffin film. The balloon would sail off into the night sky and detonate at a safe altitude and distance downwind. Usually. Our antics abruptly halted when one exploded prematurely just a dozen feet off the ground. The concussion and heat convinced us to give up our fun.

Comment Self Portrait? (Score 1) 94

Can this tell us something about the shape of space? The fabric of space could form a loop such as a sphere. Think of the arcade game Asteroids. I have wondered if the Hubble deep field images are something like a self portrait photo shot in a very large house of mirrors. The loop is so big, in fact, that we are seeing our own galaxy and all others repeated at intervals of time in the past. The minimum homogeneous volume would also place a lower limit on the size of the loop.

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