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Comment Re: Golden age of remakes maybe (Score 1) 1220

Memorable lines from The Martian:

  • Science the shit out of this.
  • Remember that astronaut ... nice funeral for? Turns out he's alive and we left him on Mars. Our bad. Sincerely, NASA.
  • Mark Watney, Space Pirate.
  • Mars will come to fear my botany powers.
  • if you didn't want me to go through your stuff, you shouldn't have left me for dead on a desolate planet.
  • I admit it's dangerous, but I'd get to fly around like Iron Man.
  • Once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, I've technically colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!
  • and I had to look this one up to get it all: "By the way, physicists, when describing things like acceleration do not use the word "fast". So they're only doing that in the hopes that I won't raise any objections to this lunacy, because I like the way "fastest man in the history of space travel" sounds. I do like the way it sounds... I mean, I like it a lot.... I'm not going to tell them that."

Great SF, near-future, heavy on triumph of humanity working together and science over superstitious antiscientific woo-woo.

Comment Re:Is it marketable? (Score 1) 198

Nah, bro. All that shit is DIY if you're willing. The internet has fix my appliance websites and repair parts vendors. I've done every aspect of homebuilding from pouring a quarter-acre of concrete and stamping it, to plumbing gas & water (PEX is amazing), craning in trusses (my crane truck and operator was about $80 an hour or $600 a day... worth every penny) and sheathing / shingling roofs, etc. Phones... don't even come in here with how DECT6 at $100 for several extensions isn't as good as 1970-80 tech, let alone cellular. And my cellphone is fixable... until it is discounted from $800 to $200, whereupon parts costs outweigh replacement. Cars and computers last longer. A 20" screen is cheaper and better. We have so FUCKING much maker / DIY activity it is impossible to keep up.

There are problems with incomes stagnant and costs soaring. Corruption, a shitty misimplementation on neoliberal trade policy: they're to blame.

But if you're not doing the stuff your dad did... try it. Some of us still do. That part's entirely up to you.

> Can't do that no more, new building codes and other laws demand that you hire some "professional" to do it.
> Professional only means here that he's doing it for money. Not that he has any fucking clue.

Oh, and fuck that. Anyone that says they're incapable of (laundry list of DIY) then whinges about code and clueless 'professionals'... fuck that right out. Code = do things safely. And that professional knows something, if they're doing stuff you're claiming is impossible.

Comment Re:This article is bullshit (Score 1) 540

I came to question your number. Mad props for self-checking, even if after the fact.

The numbers are still dreadful. I'm sure you know this, but for others: Ignoring all the ways that we have underemployment and people no longer seeking, going from 5 to 8% unemployment is a catastrophic number. If we presume we have 160-180* million people working in the US, and 10 looking, a million lost trucking jobs, 4.6 million lost food prep jobs, a few million lost medical support and diagnostic jobs (this time we'll automate out the white collar), a few million clerical and bureaucratic jobs, etc... automation will devour everything. I can see us having a tolerable number of edge condition jobs (a command center team doing truck dispatcher/controller instead of a hundred drivers, one on-call medical expert for multiple clinics using remote diagnostics, someone to stock and clean and secure the burger place, and fewer and fewer people that havent been replaced: tattoo artist, chef, hairdresser, repair and maintenance techs)

This will be messy.

*(aaand THAT is why I blinked hard at the idea 100 million of them flipping burgers).

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.

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