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Comment Re:Counterintuitively? (Score 2) 172

Sorry, but you've hit 3 problems.

First, your definition is twice flawed. It infers that your definition is correct without proof. And your definition requires death, when evolution is a process of transition of traits in organisms. Death is a coincidence, but neither causal nor integral to that transition.

Your question is equally flawed: questioning research only because the research focuses on a stage, because it doesn't include all stages.

Last item first: when we study something, science allows focusing on just part of it. When multiple parts are understood, we can then step back and study the collection, too. Sometimes good ideas at the stage level don't succeed at a wider scale (system, cycle, n-body, etc.) because of externalities to the initial scope. Often we find a better model that addresses all parts, but scientific method never insists that study must solve things beyond their scope. That's WHY we define scope in research.

Now, for the rest, let's treat this like some other technical 'nibble' off a bigger problem (xor as a part of two's compliment, Limits in calculus, the two-body problem in physics, catalysis, backscatter of particles):

If you break down any life cycle (including your definition), one 'moment of evolution' has nothing to do with death: reproduction. It has to do with a child having different traits than the parent. Mom may or may not die. The child may or may not die. The trait may lead to a genetic advantage with far-reaching effects, or doom the child. For this study, we don't care. We care that a synthetic organism was able to reproduce, and progeny changed traits. TFA talks of an abiotic, self-replicating system that they made, that can change traits. It's brilliant stuff, offering insight into evolution, and it is a significant building block to a bigger picture.

Nice work, Nowak and peers!

Comment Stupid Comment (was:Stupid summary) (Score 1) 168

> The word "watching" invokes just observing passively without doing anything to disturb the system.

UmNo... do you understand Schrodinger? The whole delta-p delta-x vs. h-bar of the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle? Because at subatomic particles isn't passive, by definition. The idea is that a photon is so energetic that it gives small particles a hefty kick. There is no such thing of 'just observing passively', there's just 'big things move imperceptibly when observed, small ones move more'.

Besides, this isn't about that. Quantum Zeno is about instability being 'stabilized' by measurement being constant. It's settlied science: quantumly weird, predicted, utilized in industry, and this is another example of it.

And your last sentence is trollery. Particle physics often involves teams that build and maintain the beam labs. What kind of know-nothing thinks that naming everyone changes the science? If a paper comes out that says "Here's a picture of the Higgs Boson", it's great science regardless of the entire CERN team getting a credit on the authors list.

Comment Re:Well worth reading? (Score 2) 150

> Asimov's essay, which is well worth reading in its entirety:

No, it isn't. John Cleese's thoughts on the matter are much more thoughtful and thought provoking.

Even if Cleese's work is more insightful than Asimov's, it doesn't make Asimov's uninteresting or not worth reading.

Yeah, that comment brings to mind folks that insist they are arbiters of funny, and that they *have* a sense of humor.

Except this time people are trying to nail something inchoate down and they're back behind everyone's shoulder saying 'no, you're all wrong.'

Comment Re:Well worth reading? (Score 3, Interesting) 150

Both are good. Interestingly, Asimov's contrived sinecure/forum resembles the BBC comedy writing teams decades ago: a paycheck, a roomful of brilliance, a target (funny but broadcastable) and free reign to be as ludicrous as is needed. Doug Adams, Monty Python, Laurie & Fry, The Young Ones -- all describe their BBC time very warmly. Ditto friends from

Oh, and you most remind me of someone who says '... and I *have* a sense of humor.'

Comment Re:Build for peak, not average (Score 1) 120

I agree, but net traffic peak isn't suited for well-engineered designs. Maximums become absurd. When building a bridge, design is for maximum load x a safety factor (10, often). You put weight points equalling a fleet of big heavy trucks (65,000lbs GVW) on the bridge model, bumper to bumper, and do static/dynamic loading. You model 120-mph winds, or 150 or whatever.

The archtype here is 'slashdotting'. Peak load isn't a value you look up in a handy reference. It isn't an estimate or '10x what you've seen for a peak so far'. In the internet age, peak is whatever the fuck the internet is willing to throw at you. I run a tiny site with a few hundred hits per day. When we've published something that got MASSIVE attention, our little '$6/month' shared-hosting drupal site got half a million hits in the first 12 hours one time, 120k the other.

If my blog was a bridge, it'd be some rural span that sees a car every 4 minutes. A 1-sigma peak is 20 in a minute (wooo!). My site can handle that. At 500k hits in 12 hours, or the local peak moment of 200k hits in an hour, that's 3000 cars per minute. The car analogy is big trucks stacked fifteen deep vertically, creating a third lane up the middle, carrying 25 tons of rocks apiece...

Frankly, I'm amazed my little shared-hosting ISP (A Small Orange) still puts up with us after 3 such nuisances (resisting a bogus copyright takedown, forwarding the issue to me).

Short of Amazon/Rackspace cloud designs, it SUCKS to buy hardware that sits idle. Good engineering in frugal organizations for stuff like this is to build conservatively, track load, have a departmental fund for scaling up when load is consistently too high, and if you're lucky having a proxy or dynamic-content-shedding plan in place to deliver key static content, etc. It's not a rack of pizzaboxes for today, when a single app/db pair can dish out the content the other thousand days of the project's production life.

Comment Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 198

Well put. As long as we insist that the most viable metrics are economic, things won't improve. Quality can be shaved, paychecks can be squeezed, headcounts can be reduced, pollution can be diluted, teachers can be dissed... all introduce hidden costs.

The only great teachers I had that stuck with their crappy paychecks were second incomes into households (a working spouse), retired military (so they also had a pension), and a couple of magnificent lunatics that knew they were getting screwed but cared too much about teaching to step away. Kudos to every one of them, but like that bad 'Karma' remark by Microsoft CEO Nadella, they deserve better.

Comment Why aren't there versions (Score 4, Interesting) 533

Why all this silliness on a moving target. Much like USB 1, 2, and 3, network 'Category' notation and in a human-oriented alternative to the acronym soups for SCSI, PCI and other communication protocols WHY THE HELL AREN'T WE PUSHING FOR a standard that can keep pace and inform users trivially/ steadily:

  • B1 - roadband 1 - More than 250Kbps down, 150Kbps up.
  • B2 - Broadband 2 - More than 4Mbps down, 500Kbps up
  • B3 - Broadband 3 - More than 10Mbps down, 2Mbps up
  • ... etc, as time dictates.

Or some other ranges. I don't care about these specific numbers. I just hate that an ISP thinks they deserve to control the definition.

Comment Re:so the T-1000 shouldn't have frozen? (Score 1) 182

OK, for starters, I also groaned about the absurdity of a freezy T-1000. From day 1, that's bugged me. But there's a LOT of bad physics and bad biology going on in the movie. But the T-1000 being 77K? That seems unlikely due to the physics of the rest of the show:
  • A system at 77 degrees kelvin would need a massive, elaborate heat-exchange system to maintain that temperature throughout everything. If this were a design aspect, it would need even more elaborate systems to prevent failure due to heat/fire. Energy consumption for cooling is one of the most inefficient mechanisms, so this would also bump up their magical-power-generator demands a few notches. But hey, what's impossible times ten instead of merely impossible energy storage and heat exchange.
  • More importantly, every time the robot had steady/sustained contact with other mechanical devices / systems, they'd have extreme-cold failure modes. The throttle and brake grips on the motorcycle. His 'not-really-boots' on anything they touched (foot pedals). Firearms (especially the automatic actions) get sluggish and failure-prone around 20-below F, which is about 150 degrees kelvin hotter than you're suggesting. Anything that didn't have specialized extreme-cold lubricants, or (worse) did have residual-water, would start to seize up. Rubber would become brittle. Explosive activity would cause cracking: guns might crack more with each gunshot (at areas in contact with the T-1000) until they rather explosively failed.

Incidentally, liquid-metal self-modifying systems, like the monster in 'The Thing', are just far enough beyond science fiction to be called fantasy. Laws of information storage density pretty much make molecules capable of cataloging a myriad of design specs large and complex enough that they'll be brittle, and the resulting creature would likely be designed to be able to hemorrhage off damaged cells (and shrink) during emergencies and reacquire material slowly later. Under steady gunfire or in a fire, these things would either cruft up fast or steadily get smaller faster than they could assemble replacement molecules

(relevant cite: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bo... "Although single origins are sufficient to direct the replication of bacte-rial and viral genomes, multiple origins are needed to replicate the much larger genomes of eukaryotic cells within a reasonable period of time. For example, the entire genome of E. coli (4 Ã-- 106 base pairs) is replicated from a single origin in approximately 30 minutes. If mammalian genomes (3 Ã-- 109 base pairs) were replicated from a single origin at the same rate, DNA replication would require about 3 weeks (30,000 minutes). The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the rate of DNA replication in mammalian cells is actually about tenfold lower than in E. coli, possibly as a result of the packaging of eukaryotic DNA in chromatin. Nonetheless, the genomes of mammalian cells are typically replicated within a few hours, necessitating the use of thousands of replication origins.").

So, new material can't just be instantly assimilated, so the monsters in both should get smaller... and smaller... and smaller, if fought steadily. So... let's make the biophysics for this problem plausible: A few hits on T-1000 by gunfire and rocket launchers, he splatters everywhere, and a T-900 marches at you. Then a T-800, etc. At T-25 size, he jumps into an air duct and runs away. Two weeks later, he resurfaces full-size. Meanwhile, that splatter residue has a few working molecules that have slithered out of a crack between floor and wall to a nearby desk in the Precinct, been ingested as part of Officer Stadanko's jelly donut, and he's not answering phone calls. Yep: the Thing, but with a three-week infection period like Ebola. Much harder to hunt. So, if mechanical or biological generation WAS possible, and constrained to sane physics to where steady, sustained significant damage had an effect, you'd think either of those monsters would have had some guidance that nondetection and stealth were more important than speed. They didn't need to rush.

Comment Re:"Net neutrality", my ass. (Score 1) 91

I pick **D** -- Any or all of the above, as deemed appropriate by a Public Utilities Commission and economists / engineers they supervise.

We do this. A LOT. Public Utility regulatory bodies have MORE THAN A CENTURY OF PRACTICE IN NEARLY EVERY STATE, in multiple similar infrastructure types. Stop pretending this is impossible. It's a shitty straw man invented by the same deregulatory wonks that got us into this mess in the first place.

I'm neither Socialist nor Libertarian. Both are false utopias with no shining example. I like REGULATED MARKETS. CUZ THAT SHIT JUST WORKS.

Comment Re:What are you downloading? (Score 1) 355

I get pretty close to there, especially during summer and christmas breaks. Teens, multiple netflix/hulu/youtube/etc streams, gaming and my telework via VPN. The perfect storm. Streaming 5G on a day off isn't incredibly hard. Three simultaneous feeds makes it trivial.

FWIW, my ISP briefly was selling a 50Mbps service with a 50G monthly cap.

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