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Comment Re:What about heat dissipation (Score 1) 84

Not really. This is more like the shape of the circulatory system. The difference is that the angle at which veins/arteries split off has to do with surface tension, turbulent flow, and various other things that don't affect the topology of internet links. And affect coolers moving large amounts of air through large tubes less than coolers moving smaller amounts of fluid through smaller tubes. There is, however, a large similarity to the vein branching patterns of leaves, probably because that moves a thick fluid (thin sap) at the lowest possible pressure.

Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 1) 210

Oh, and I don't want to sound like the coalition hasn't done anything bad. They've actually had their worst incident in quite some time (perhaps the worst during this entire conflict) during the SDF siege of Manbij, after misidentifying a crowd as fleeing Daesh fighters; they killed dozens of civilians (including a number of children), with some reports over 80. That was about a week ago. Much of the Syrian opposition issued a unified demand that they stop the bombing (even though they're also fighting Daesh). They've long been very uncomfortable with how close the coalition is working with the SDF (Kurds, primarily) - they accuse the Kurds of ethnic cleansing arab villages in order to build "Rojava" (their Kurdish state in Syria)

I'm trying to think of the last time they specifically hit a hospital however. They recently captured the hospital in Manbij, but it wasn't bombed in the process.

(Honestly, if you asked the opposition the worst thing they'd done, the NySA would probably argue that it was abandoning them right as the assault on Al-Bukamal began, in order to pursue the Daesh convoy fleeing from Fallujah... they and their sleeper cells really got slaughtered because of that one)

Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 4, Informative) 210

I follow the Syrian conflict very closely and there's a new hospital or clinic hit by airstrikes about once a week on average... sometimes more, sometimes less. It's not always clear which airforce (Syrian or Russian) is doing it, but more often than not when the distinction can be determined it's Russian. There was a multiple clinic hit in Idlib about a week ago, while an ambulance was hit in Aleppo 4 days ago.

It's really a meat grinder over there :(

A lot of the time the hits on civilian targets are accidental. Sometimes they're on purpose. Most of what Russia uses, and virtually all of what the Syrian air force uses, are "dumb bombs". For the past month the vast majority of Russia's air power has been directed at north Aleppo (Handaraat / al-Mallah, primarily), so there's been a great amount of white phosphorus and cluster bombs, but in denser-populated areas near Castello Road they use a lot more high explosives. So there's a lot of potential for accidental hits. On the other hand, in many cases it's hard to interpret the attacks as anything but deliberate attacks, particularly on hospitals that are treating wounded rebels - multiple hits on the same target, targets with no conflict in the immediate area, with no obvious targets of value nearby, etc. They do a lot of "double tap" hits on them as well.

Just in case anyone isn't aware... this isn't "ISIS" that they're focusing on. Daesh (ISIS) doesn't exist in Aleppo, let alone Idlib (further), let alone Latakia (even further), let alone the freaking Jordanian border which they've been bombing recently much to the anger of the Pentagon (whose "New Syrian Army" is there trying to take Al-Bukamal from Daesh and cut off Daesh traffic to and from Iraq). When they do bomb Daesh, it''s overwhelmingly in two areas: Palmyra and Deir ez Zour. The latter is a Syrian government pocket in the middle of Daesh territory that they've been struggling to hang onto for a long time, against constant assault. The former is well known. One exception: the government forces, with some Russian air support, tried an assault from Ithyria toward the Daesh city of al-Taqbah, but they were basically baited into a trap and suffered massive losses. They retreated back to Ithriya and haven't retried since then.

Oh, and while we're talking about Syria, two things of mention:

1) The massive "factory of death" southwest of al-Safira exploded last week, with a huge earthquake that rattled houses 50km away, was visible 75km away and audible 100km away. Hopefully that'll reduce the barrel bomb and elephant rocket attacks... at least somewhat...

2) There's a lot of chatter that Nusra is imminently going to break with al-Qaeda. This would be huge if it happens, but I'll trust it when I see it.

Comment Re:So much for the singularity (Score 1) 84

FWIW, I believe that even our current technology is sufficient to "achieve the singularity". The thing that's lacking is software. The thing that would be changed it how widely spread the "superhuman AIs" are. Possibly also how fast they are. (You could do it with cog-wheels if you didn't worry about speed.)

Also, I haven't seen anything that would cause me to revise my expected date of 2030 plus or minus 5 years. Even that "plus or minus" doesn't really belong there. as there won't be any sudden change at any particular point. In that sense it's like dropping into a black hole. You don't even notice when you pass the Schwarzschild boundary.

That said, don't believe any particular projection about what happens when you "pass into the singularity". There's not only one, and we've already passed through several. The transitions from vacuum tubes to integrated circuits was one "technological singularity". Nobody could predict ahead of time what it meant, or not accurately. E.g. IBM never foresaw the personal computer.

The thing called "the Singularity" these days generally has to do with AI, but if you look back at the original papers that was just seen as one path, and it's not like the other paths haven't been being developed in parallel.

Comment Re:Here's more credible evidence of Trump-Russia t (Score 2) 210

A more assertive US? From the guy who wants the US to leave Ukraine to Russia, and overrode the Republican party on the platform issue? Stating that he wants to give Putin a free hand in Syria? Insists that there's no evidence that he kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries? The guy who's exchanged repeated back-and-forth praise with Putin on the campaign trail, with fawning language like "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond" and "a very bright and strong leader"... so much of a bromance that people in Eastern Europe have started painting murals? Are you talking about the same Donald Trump here?

Comment Re:XKCD Predicted this (Score 1) 52

The sad thing is that Spirit could still be with us today too if things had played out differently. When Spirit got stuck a lot of their early attempts to get out so that they could get to a good wintering grounds were in vain. However, right near the end they came up with a clever way to "swim" the wheels through the sand and were nearly out when winter hit and they had to leave it in a poor location... where it failed to wake up the next spring, most likely due to excessively low internal temperatures.

Curiosity is great, but the cost of Curiosity-style rovers is just so high. When I think of all that could be done with the Mars 2020 budget (Curiosity-style clone).... ugh. I would have rathered they make incremental improvements to a Spirit / Opportunity style design than a Curiosity one. Maybe more / larger radiothermal heaters so that they're not as cold-sensitive and improved wheels and flash storage, for example. Get their price down to ~$350M USD per mission (from $410M/rover for Spirit & Opportunity) rather than 2,1 billion USD per mission (aka Mars 2020, down from $2,5M for Curiosity). Send a new pair for $700M with new sets of instruments to new areas, save $1,4 billion, and put, say, $800M toward a new Titan mission and $600M to a new Venus mission.

I just don't like how Mars keeps becoming more and more of a money pit that sucks the funds from exploration of every other part of the solar system.

Comment Re:Encryption (Score 1) 224

I don't know whether they have the right to demand it, but they certainly have the power.

The solution is to use a password you can generate from a key based around a popular book, and carry the key written on a piece of paper that you use as a book-mark (not the same book). (You *could* even e-mail it to yourself as long as the book isn't known.) Then use that to decode some encrypted file out on the net that contains the information you need. (Contact information, etc.)

It's a bother, but easily doable. Just be sure to resave the work encrypted in your drop box, and erase all intermediate stages before the next border crossing.

Comment Re:Basic Math time (Score 1) 442

I acknowledge what you are saying as a big problem. But a part of the answer would be cutting our welfare programs entirely, including the administration of same. Removing most SSI programs (the incompetent would still require care and oversight). Etc. There would probably also need to be higher taxes on income, say an average of $10,000/year (which equals your proposed initial Basic Income).

This isn't actually my preferred approach, I'm merely explaining why your objection to it is invalid. My preferred approach is the linear income taxt:
    y = mx + b
y is the tax,
m is the tax rate,
x is the income, and
b is the negative of the "base income level"
It might be more appropriate to raise x to some power, say the 1.2 power. There should be NO EXEMPTIONS. All income must be counted from whatever source. Income is defined as "money that you receive". For practical reasons this would probably only apply to money that went through a financial institution. It would not apply to barter (so don't raise that exponential too high).
In this formulation the "basic income" is equivalent to the amount that the income tax pays you if you have no other source of income. (O, yes. That is income, and therefore taxable.)

Comment Re:Read some Engels (Score 1) 442

While I understand your point, I don't necessarily agree with it. Plagues come in multiple forms. Amphibians are currently experiencing one that has driven many species to extinction...and we've only got theories as to why. One guess is that multiple sub-critical doses (i.e., doses that appear to cause no harm) of various environmental toxins (weed killer, fertilizers, etc.) has weakened their immune systems. Are you going to assert that we aren't experiencing the same actions?

It's true that increased wealth tends to decrease people's rate of reproduction, so that may suffice. It isn't certain, however, that it will suffice if people have lots of time on their hands and no economic pressures. My point was that SOME way will be needed.
P.S.: If I understand the data accurately, the correlation is less with wealth, per se, but more with female education, electric lighting, and TV. I suspect that video games and the internet would also count, but the data I was looking at was too old to include that. And even current data is to "old" to include the latest generation of sex toys.
P.S.: Another factor that was left out is security during retirement. In traditional societies that depended on care by your children. Remove that reason and part of the goad towards larger families is removed.

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interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language