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Comment Re:Meaningless (Score 1) 745

"What's truly frightening is how many religious nutjobs look forward to doomsday. And they vote. For populists who pander to them."

Perhaps as frightening is the notion, openly espoused by many, that, since the return of Christ and the Rapture are coming SOON, there really is no point in planning for the long term future, no point in saving the environment, invest in R&D and infrastructure, etc. And in fact, hastening the "end of days" would be a good thing...

Comment Re:Torn -- Damage done by the terrorists... (Score 4, Insightful) 405

"This couple purposely and specifically destroyed their phones and computers before going on their rampage. Do you really thing they left incriminating evidence on the guys's work phone?"

Its interesting to consider that by leaving their iphone in the situation they did, this terrorist couple may end up doing far more damage to US society than their shooting spree...

Comment Re:Genetic diversity and human lifespan (Score 1) 121

why is this issue a "mystery"? seems pretty obvious that biology/evolution would need to constantly explore/develop better genomes and, given limited resources, it means that every organism needs to die at some point, an expiration date. It facilitates the propagation of successful genomes while also allowing for the evolution of new ones (new solutions).

Comment Re:higher dimensionality order... (Score 2) 112

Looking at a pine tree or maple tree from its top and it looks like a bunch of leaves mashed together (2D projection), but seeing the full 3D view or around from the side, and there is obviously quite a bit of order. For a lot of messy desk-ers, there *is* order, it is just not necessarily apparent from a simple outsider's view, one who doesn't understand the higher dimensionality of it...

Comment Easy to top: Toshiba 610CT, DEC MVAX3, HP200LX etc (Score 1) 332

Easy to top 18+yrs:
- Toshiba 610CT, 1995 (20+yrs), Pentium 90, currently running FreeBSD as a webserver
- DEC MicroVAX 3/3500, 1987 (29 yrs), currently running Ultrix
- HP 200LX, 1994 (22 yrs), running DOS.
- several 486 PC's running DOS or FreeBSD, still in active (even daily) use (from about 1990, 25 yrs). Also a 486DLC CPU PC (pre-i486, circa 1992).

The above are all still in active use, some machines with uptimes >3 years (time between reboots).

In addition, many old machines, still functional, though not really in active use, including:

SUN SPARC II workstation
DEC 11/03, 11/23, 11/73, MVAX2 (1980-1987)

Comment Tape drives (Score 1) 307

actually, its tape drives, followed by power supplies, then disk drives... very difficult to find a reliable tape drive technology... power supplies and disk drives are probably about equal in their problems (failure rates)... but it is easier to protect yourself against a disk drive failure than a power supply failure because disk drives have very standard interfaces and sizes whereas power supplies are more specific to the housing of the PC...

Comment Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 420

"Oh, so RGB={0,0,255} isn't "quantitatively blue", huh? Horseshit. If there is no red, no green, and %100 blue, then the color is quantitatively blue."

You've missed the point... the question is NOT "Give me an example of something that is liikely to be blue". Sure RGB=[0,0,255] on a standard commercial display device, viewing with a wide range of background conditions and lighting is very likely to appear blue to a normal observer.

But that is not real life and RGB only exists in the confines of a display device, not the real world where can have almost limitless levels of light energies of all different wavelengths and spectral signatures. Even in RGB space, could you reliably tell me whether a pixel in a visual scene that has values [100,100,120] will appear to be blue or bluish? NO YOU CANNOT.

The question of "is there a quantitative BLUE" is instead the question of "Is there a quantitative description of what about the physics of a visual scene (or light stimulus) that will ALWAYS appear to be BLUE, and DEFINES what blue is"... there IS NOT, certainly not a simple one, though we can come up with approximations based on physiology and psychphysics.

Comment Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 420

"Put it into to Photoshop and eye-dropper the colours. They are quantitatively light blue and dark brown." NO. As several of the neuroscientists interviewed have tried to explain, there is NO such thing as "quantitative color"". Color is a PERCEPTUAL phenomenon that is INTERNAL to the individual perceiver (human). Physics has nothing to say about color, and color is not a function of any simple physical or quantitative system. Color is certainly tied to wavelength or any other similar quantification of physical properties. You can't just make measurements using Photoshop and determine color (nevermind the FACT that there is no dependable mapping between RGB GUN values and actual photon/physical output of the display device you are using to look at the image).

Comment forest/trees, tries to get big stuff right, utterl (Score 1) 289

Nice that Nolan tried to get the big science in Interstellar right (although I didn't buy the depiction of the giant tidal waves), but so many logic and other science errors made the film. The most ridiculous is why 12 humans were sent to scope out tiny patches of promising planets when they clearly had the technology to send out hundreds of smart probes to do the scouting work and report back accurate, untainted data. Even Coop could have first sent out TARS to explore the planets before risking human landings. Other silliness like the solid clouds, or the manner of liftoff from the water planet (with the huge gravitational waves), or the presence of so much free oxygen on a lifeless planet, or the logic of even consideration the viability of choosing a planet with such large time dilation issues just ruined the film...

Comment Helium shortage, US govt effed-up (Score 1) 116

Helium is a totally nonrenewal resource, extremely valuable for thousands of important applications like MRI machines and other superconductors, and yet the US govt is selling off its reserve at cutrate prices that encourages party balloons and other wasteful uses. Helium will likely become a scarce resource that impacts national security and we're being stupid about managing its future supply.

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