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Submission + - Can civilization reboot without fossil fuels? (

An anonymous reader writes: We often talk about our dependence on fossil fuels, and vigorously debate whether and how we should reduce that dependence. This article at Aeon sidesteps the political bickering and asks an interesting technological question: if we had to rebuild society, could we do it without all the fossil fuels we used to do it the first time? When people write about post-apocalyptic scenarios, the focus is usually on preserving information long enough for humanity to rebuild. But actually rebuilding turns out to be quite a challenge when all the easy oil has been bled from the planet. It's not that we're running out, it's that the best spots for oil now require high tech machinery. This would create a sort of chicken-and-egg problem for a rebuilding society. Technological progress could still happen using other energy production methods. But it would be very slow — we'd never see the dramatic accelerations that marked the industrial age, and then the information age. "A slow-burn progression through the stages of mechanisation, supported by a combination of renewable electricity and sustainably grown biomass, might be possible after all. Then again, it might not. We’d better hope we can secure the future of our own civilisation, because we might have scuppered the chances of any society to follow in our wake."

Comment Re:Pros vs Cons (Score 1) 1713

Yeah but the UI on the t91mt sux ass (my opinion) and the muti touch is not responsive for simple shit like smooth scrolling. That being said, the 499 iPad has only 16gb storage so that's kind of a bait and switch. At least for my needs, 32gb is probably the least I'd want. And the 3g probably can't be used for tethering of any kind.

Comment Pros vs Cons (Score 1) 1713

- No Flash
- No WebCam
- No Microphone
- No Multi-Tasking
- No HD Video (1024x768)
- No Front facing speakers
- Great for watching Porn
- Will greatly enhance the experience of taking a dump
- Bright Screen, good viewing angle
- 140k apps already
- Seems very very fast and responsive
- Thin and light
- Unlike Kindle, no night light required
- Price (of base model)
- Battery life

Comment Re:Small print (Score 1) 521

yeah, using a Shuffle as an audio source for your home stereo is kind of lame... but it sure beats having to run back across campus to grab your laptop so that you can hook it up to your buddies stereo and play some of your music.

Also, the whole thing about not being able to hook up your shuffle to the car stereo kinda sux too.

Comment Re:App Store Games (Score 1) 521

just like the Wii didn't stop PS3 or Xbox360 sales.

huh? The Wii certainly has cut into PS3 and Xbox360 sales.

But to your larger point, I pretty much agree. I think the iPhone competes with the DS a little bit, but only on the fringes for buyers like me - older buyers who maybe would have bought a DS for long trips, but are fine with free iPhones casual games to kill some time now and then.


Submission + - Frogs species discovered living in elephant dung ( 2

rhettb writes: "Three different species of frogs have been discovered living in the dung of the Asian elephant in southeastern Sri Lanka. The discovery--the first time anyone has recorded frogs living in elephant droppings--has widespread conservation implications both for frogs and Asian elephants, which are in decline.

Apparently the frogs feed on the many invertebrates present in elephant dung."

Comment you can nit pick errors and ommisions on my part.. (Score 1) 461

but the larger point still stands. The original poster is just plain wrong when he claims that Germans 'outperform' other countries - they simply do not. They are about average.

As I said in my first post 'Germans have made great contributions to science and technology.' Perhaps you didn't read that part because you felt the need to come up with a list of more German 'greats,' - which was one of the more pathetic things I have seen someone post on slashdot. You didn't even come up with a good list, and some of them are pretty debatable.

We could sit here all day and site this or that scientist/innovator from this or that country, but I guarantee you that if we did just that, even the most ardent German nationalist would ultimately be forced to admit that Germany is about average.

Ask yourself if you really want to join in with this German delusion of superiority. The facts just don't bare out the argument, and historically, the results have been tragic - perhaps for Germany more than anyone else (holocaust victims excluded).

And what of the original post that started this all off. Do you support that as well? Why single out Africans? How about native Americans, Mongolians, Kurds, etc etc? Different parts of the world developed at different rates. Civilizations, and their associated technological and scientific innovations have come and gone. Northern Europe (including Germany) was once a land of barbarians. When people from all parts of the world are given a chance to get a higher education and participate in the scientific process of discovery (such as in America, and to a lesser extent in Europe today), then we find that we are all about the same. Differences have more to do with the kind of institutional racism (and sexism) that original poster espouses.

Comment So your obviously a racist troll, but anyway... (Score 4, Interesting) 461

Your list of German achievements is not really that impressive in the scope of history. Lets break it down:

The first car. I think a frenchman was actually the first, but the real innovation was Henry Ford's mass production assembly line, not the automobile itself.

Calculus. Leibniz and Newton are not co-inventors - not really anyway. Basically they both built on work done by others including al-Haythem and other decidedly non-German mathematicians. The difference is that Newton did something truly amazing (and innovative) with it.

Quantum physics. As you say 'developed part of the foundation.' Quantum theory developed gradually, with contributions of a lot of people from a lot of places. It was not like Einstein's theory of relativity, which was a real breakthrough (although it too relied on the field equations of Maxwell (an Englishman) and other past theories. Einstein was from Austria by the way.

So all your examples are sort of 'me too' or 'i helped out' innovations. You would be better off to look at the French (Curie, Pasteur, or even Descartes). Or the English (Darwin, Newton). Or the Italians (Galileo, Marconi, etc.). And I am just picking a few of the bigs from Europe (since I am not readily familiar with the history of science outside the western world - my bad).

And lets not forget the Americans. There is no ethnic identity associated with being American, but one could argue that is their strength - the mixing together of scientists who hail from all parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking about life the universe and everything.

So to bring it down to your level, what have the Germans really innovated, uniquely and on their own? How to start (and loose) two world wars? How to best gas Jewish people?

But seriously, the Germans have made great contributions to science and technology. That can not be ignored. But not more than many other nations. They are about par for the course.

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