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Comment Re:I'll know it is modest when (Score 1) 341

Ummm... no, it isn't. It's especially ironic that supporters of the Constitution would say this sort of thing, because the Constitution has a *very* specific and prescriptive definition of "treason" in it:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

(Article 3 Section 3)

Comment Guru (Score 1) 623

People can and do learn to write code in numerous ways. However, every really *good* programmer I've ever known (and I've known some spectacular ones), has learned to program at the feet of a guru (or in my case, a string of gurus) that taught them to respect the machine.

Anyone can learn to optimize algorithms. It takes wisdom to know when and why to do so. Anyone can learn to write a sort function. It takes experience to know which one to choose, and why... and not only that, why it matters. Anyone who programs will eventually learn how to debug their mistakes. It takes insight to learn the Tao of the Debugger.

It's possible for someone to learn these things on their own (obviously the first hackers did somehow, eventually), but if you learn them early, from someone that you deeply respect, a) the lessons *stick*, and b) you don't have to spend your time and effort learning them on the job later, so you have time to focus on all the other things you need to learn to do whatever you end up doing.

Comment Re:Camera's have more problems than Lidar (Score 1) 199

Yes, well, human eyes have around a million times more dynamic range than a digital camera (about 20 stops vs. 10).

So the answer is: your eye compensates via a number of mechanisms not available to cameras.

So "[getting] to be half as near as good as peoples [sic] eyes" will require an improvement in cameras of about 500,000 times.

Comment Re: Holy crap! (Score 2) 1109

While this is true, it's also true that people who are really suicidal will find *some* way to kill themselves.

1/2 of all suicides are done with guns in the U.S (17,000 out of 34,000). Yet, the U.S. suicide rate is completely typical for Western European counties where there are almost no guns (and where guns are rarely used for suicide).

The only reasonable conclusion is that guns are just the most convenient and certain method that happens to be available to suicidal people in the U.S.

Comment Bad title is bad (Score 3, Informative) 293

I fully understand why people have a visceral reaction to the idea of patents on human genes, but the fact is that these are not patents on human genes, they are patents on artificially extracted and purified forms of certain gene sequences that do not occur in isolation in nature.

People do own their own genes, as they occur in their bodies.

From the Federal Register:

A patent on a gene covers the isolated and purified gene but does not cover the gene as it occurs in nature. Thus, the concern that a person whose body ``includes'' a patented gene could infringe the patent is misfounded. The body does not contain the patented, isolated and purified gene because genes in the body are not in the patented, isolated and purified form. When the patent issued for purified adrenaline about one hundred years ago, people did not infringe the patent merely because their bodies naturally included unpurified adrenaline.

Comment Living rooms are not double-blind ABX environments (Score 1) 749

My biggest problem with the way that both audio researchers and audiophiles approach this is that human perception is not scientific or rational.

It doesn't matter whether the difference between sample A and sample B is real or perceived, because when I'm actually listening to music, that is 100% perception, and I *do* know (or think I know) a priori which sample I'm listening to.

The scientific approach is great (mandatory, really) when you're doing science. I will go beyond saying that it doesn't actually help much at all with determining what you will enjoy. I assert that more often than not it actively *decreases* your enjoyment of the experience itself.

Of course, one can certainly enjoy understanding and appreciating the science behind it, leading to more enjoyment overall... I'm speaking purely of the perceptual portion of the experience.

Comment Causality, schmausality (Score 1) 235

I *still* haven't seen any explanation of how this will avoid violating causality, in the way that *all* methods of getting from one reference frame to another faster than light does.

Of course, maybe that just means the universe is acausal. Weird, and a bit troublesome for our puny simian brains to wrap themselves around, but I suppose the universe doesn't care.

Comment Not the flying (Score 1) 590

While it's absurd to think about solar powering an airliner's *flight*, it's not *entirely* crazy to think that solar power could take up some of the slack for non-critical on-board power needs, such as lights, entertainment electronics, etc., at least during the day, and reduce the power load on the APU, and thus cut fuel consumption a tiny bit.

Current solar panels wouldn't work due to weight, but you could imagine the roll-to-roll printed photovoltaics that have been talked about being doable.

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