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Comment Re:Old Man Yells At Cloud (Score 1) 207

Neither Einstein nor Hitler were orders of magnitudes greater intelligence than the average human- Albert was smart, but nowhere near the potential of AI.
Neither Einstein nor Hitler could process data from all around the world from millions of inputs at the same time.

Einstein and Hitler were both mortal and had a finite life span.

However, even though both Einstein and Hitler were singular humans with limited capabilities and lifespans that could not begin to have the potential impact of something like AI, there is a "meta" version of both personas that was somewhat inspired mythically by the actual humans, that continues to live and influence people today. This meta-Einstein and meta-Hitler are un-embodied ideas which are no longer constrained by mortal limits and you might argue are actually more powerful today than they were in when their namesakes were alive because there are millions more people supporting the mystique behind them and often even operating on behalf of these meta-beings (aka, the idea of the person not to be confused with that person's actual ideas).

These meta-beings (anthropormophizing a set of ideas to be represented by a popular figure) can even be extrapolated from an entity who may or may not of even actually existed in real life (e.g., meta-Jesus or perhaps AI).

To borrow some contemporary lingo, once created, key to the power of this meta-being (which is really an un-embodied idea even though it might be "named" after someone that inspired it) is dependent on if it "goes viral" or not. Unfortunately, "going-viral" is almost an autonomic reflex of our societal-organism over which we have little conscious control. The analogy of a "virus" is pretty good since the idea is not a real organism (or person), it depends on the societal-organism's infrastructure for reproduction and propagation. Once the "virus" takes over part of the infrastructure, the influence if as large (or even larger due to multiplicative effects) as the infrastructure it overruns.

The immunity response to "bad-viruses" of our societal-organism, is not unlike a real-organism's immunity response. If it can remember an idea is bad, the societal-organism is better at containing it before it gets out of hand. If the idea has mutated a bit, or the response would create some complicated inconsistencies (e.g, good for some parts of the organism, bad for some parts), the immunity has a hard time mounting any defense and the virus is more likely to get a permanent foothold or even take over.

Nobody knows if AI is a "good-virus" or a "bad-virus" with respect to our societal-organism, but I'll go out on a limb and say it's probably good for some, bad for others which mean the if it ever goes viral, it will be very hard for our society "immunity" to stop it. Let's hope it's a good idea... Our society's immune system has yet to kill meta-Hitler probably because some of the ideas represented by meta-Hitler are potentially good for more than a small part of the societal organism.

Comment Re:Can anyone please explain (Score 2) 32

The big deal is about big transactions. This most likely isn't going to be used in the consumer credit card / debit card market, but more likely in the large purchase department. Buying a car/house? Waiting a few minutes vs hours/days for credit reports to return. Transferring millions/billions of dollars between accounts, who's auditing it? Blockchains significantly reduce the amount of work in this department while essentially eliminating fraud, since the dollars can be tracked from transaction to transaction.

Actually, this technology is targeted a contractual transactions in the financial realm (think bank cash claims, credit default-swaps, derivative securities that rely on precise timing, etc.). As far as I can tell, there no concept of proof-of-work or mining, but it's purely a distributed financial ledger concept for banks to use. The block chain concept and the chain history being held simultaneously held by multiple partner institutions simply makes the ledger un-eraseable (any corrections need to be recorded by future transactions, not erased). Unlike bit-coin, there isn't intended to be a single global ledger of all transactions everywhere, but a ledger per domain.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 3, Informative) 184

Well, unlike Mars, there is no reason to set up a permanent colony in Antarctica.

Oh, wait... maybe a permanent settlement on Mars is pointless as well? :) Apart from the whole "backup location for humanity, in case Earth gets creamed by an asteroid no one saw coming" thing. That has some far-fetched merit of sorts. However, due to the extremely hostile environment there, chances are that a Martian colony has a much higher probability of failing than civilisation on Earth in the first place, at least for centuries to come. So even in the most optimistic scenarios, it will be the thought that counts w/r to Martian settlement.

FWIW, Early European settlements in North America not only had a high probability of failure, they did fail, prolifically.

Here are a few well known examples...
1526 San Miguel de Gualdape (Georgia) - failed due to food shortages, disease, native attacks
1527 Jungle Prada (Florida) - abandoned after native attacks
1541 Cap-Rouge (Quebec City) - failed due to harsh winter, scurvy, native attacks
1562 Charlesfort (South Carolina) - abandoned due to fire destroyed supplies
1565 St Augustine (Florida) - survived!
1566 Fort San Juan (North Carolina) - failed, burned by natives
1570 Ajacan Jesuit Mission (Virginia) - all killed by native attack
1585 Roanoke (Virginia) - abandoned for some unknown reason ("lost colony of Roanoke")
1599 Tadoussac (Quebec) - failed due to harsh winter, scurvy
1607 Popham (Maine) - failed due to harsh winter, fire destroyed supplies
1607 Jamestown (Virginia) - survived!

I expect a few spectacular failures in the early attempts to colonize Mars. In a way, these new-world colonies were about as isolated as Mars (difficulties in financing voyages meant that colonies could be unsupplied and on their own for 2-3 years at a time). Although there won't be any natives attacking on Mars (or *are* there natives?), the things that undermined many colonies were disease, fires, and the environment which will be all real problems in any Martian colony.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 1) 184

Really. Criminal conviction, huh? Programmer in prison? Are you even listening to yourself?

Write a divide by zero error and have your ass cheeks divided in federal prison.
Infinite Loop errors requires infinite butt pounding.

This is Europe. EU prisons are not at all like US federal prison.

Then again, wasn't it Italy that in 2009 tried and convicted some Earthquake scientists on manslaughter charges (although their conviction was ultimately overturned, they did spend time in jail) for downplaying the chance of an earthquake. All of this was after a *different* scientist was accused with being an alarmist for predicting the same earthquake a month earlier by analyzing radon gas emissions. If you are a scientists in Europe, damned if you do, damned if you don't

Comment Re:space agency cooperation? (Score 2) 244

Which leads to the question: does NASA not share its magic recipes with the ESA?

You have to look back at the history of the ExoMars program to answer that.

Originally, NASA was a partner and was going to supply a sky-crane decent module and Atlas rockets for payload launch to the program.

Then 2012 budget cuts forced NASA to withdraw from the program. Undaunted, the ESA then brought on Russia as a partner to supply those critical elements of the program and of course the USA and Russia are on such good terms about exchanging technology...

I hope that clarifies the situation...

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 244

everybody that has worked on mars missions.

I worked on MGS, and can tell you that to be successful with most missions, you have to have a much higher level of quality compared to normal.

Oddly, if ESA, Russia, CHina, etc wanted to really test this, they would send a duplicate around the moon and then land it on earth.

That would test just about every subsystems in similar ways.

Since you worked on MGS, you probably know people at Nasa that would tell you that landing on earth is totally different than landing on mars (mainly because of the atmospheric density).

Comment Re:How Sound Reasonable Politics Is Mean to Happen (Score 1) 620

Actually, what they're doing is the definition of liberal progressivism, also known as "regressive liberalism". I had to look it up because I wanted to know why I, a traditional liberal (free as in speech), was getting lumped in with all the "check your privilege" types. And while I agree that it appears anti-democratic for one company to severe ties with another due to ideological differences, both parties are exercising their freedom of choice. Believe it or not, it's actually logically consistent. It's just one more casualty of this toxic election.

That's simply because being a partisan is not a federally protected class... Actually, it's kind of weird that being a partisan isn't federally protected after that whole McCarthyism thing, but I guess that whole thing is a distant memory...

Comment Re:How Sound Reasonable Politics Is Mean to Happen (Score 1) 620

To further this argument, calling out political supporters is basically McCarthyism revisited. I'm not sure the "left" wants to revisit that era.

On the other hand, maybe this behavior is a natural reaction of narcissistic people holding the upper hand (aka the instinct to "bully"). The instinct of the bully is to attempt to undermine any support for the person being bullied by calling out and shaming/shunning anyone that shows any support for the target. By maintaining a culture of fear, the bully is able to project their power and further their agenda.

It may be natural, but we can be better than that. We *should* be better than that.

Submission + - Clinton Campaign, DNC Coordinated With Organizations To Incite Violence At Trump ( 7

Kneo24 writes: In a video shown by independent investigative reporter James O'keefe, you can see that there was collusion between Clinton's campaign and the DNC, to incite riots and violence at Trump's rallies. One of the key operatives states: "It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherfucker."

Submission + - The death of dark matter? (

slew writes: A team led by Case Western Reserve University researchers has found a significant new relationship in spiral and irregular galaxies: the acceleration observed in rotation curves tightly correlates with the gravitational acceleration expected from the visible mass only.

This correlation appears to be true of galaxies that would be apparently dominated by "halos" of dark matter in the current standard models which include dark matter to explain the mass/rotational anomalies in such galaxies.

The observations that enabled this result are the infrared measurements by the Spitzer space telescope which are considered more accurate indicators of stellar mass.

Unfortunately this new result does nothing to explain the observation of galactic expansion or apparent dark energy. So it is probably premature to throw in the towel, but hey settled science is too boring ;^)

Comment Re:what about security? (Score 1) 550

People are scared of random things. I drive a diesel car (in the US) and can't count how many times people have showed grave concerns about my ability to find fuel.

~700 miles (1100 km) per tank I think I should manage to find a station that carries diesel.

I think concerns are driver dependent. I used to know someone who would only fill up $10 cash at every fill up and seem to revel in getting near empty. Basically he was Kramer on Seinfeld's "The Dealership" episode. If he had a diesel car, I'm sure there would be grave concerns about his ability to find fuel...

Comment Re:Uh, the name... (Score 1) 275

It's not "Asgard", it's "Ásgarðr" (if you want to modernize the spelling, at least do so as "Ásgarður" - or if you want only English letters, at least get the pronunciation right with something like "Ausgarther"). That's an eth, not a d; an á, not an a; and it's not nominative if you drop the ending. And it's already a place name, it doesn't need a suffix to make it one - let alone a suffix taken from an entirely different linguistic branch. That's like naming a place "Beijing-ia" or "Tamil Nadu-ia"

Get over it. In English, there are lots of appropriated proper nouns that are "mispronounced" in common usage that aren't likely to change. There have recently been a few exceptions that have reverted after centuries of use like: Beijing -> Peking, Mumbai -> Bombay, Kolkata -> Calcutta, but there are of course others like Hong Kong that haven't (and aren't likely) revert to a more phonetic spelling.

FWIW, in Chinese it's quite a bit worse. Many place names pseudo-phonentic transliteration and country names often with a forced "Guó" (meaning country) at the end (e.g., Mei-Guó for America, Ying-Guó for England and Dé-Guó for Germany). Then again, like many languages, there are some so-called exo-nyms too like (Jn-Shn aka, gold-mountain, aka California).

Although English gets a bad rap for appropriation of words, in German, this is an "interess-ieren" phenomena of lots of exo-nyms with Germanic roots.

What's really confusing is when Italians call Munich -> Monaco (di Baviera)...

Comment Re:Yanks (Score 1) 326

Maybe because it really wasn't our fight in the first place. Europe had been fighting amongst itself for 1000 years until it knocked everything flat and left itself ripe for Communist takeover. Along came the "Yank" Marshall Plan to help rebuild and "Yanks" paying for defense and for the first time there is sustained peace and prosperity.

Maybe you don't think it was our fight, but Germany thought the USA was fair game and Germany tried to form an alliance with Mexico to take us out prior to WW1 (fortunately Mexico ratted them out).

As for the Communist takeover of Europe being a result of war, how do you explain how it took root in central/south America? Central/south America wasn't knocked flat in any wars that I am aware of? The rise of communism was probably inevitable in the world and after it got a foothold, spread by economic influence.

The Marshall Plan was basically a way to create a powerful "EU" to counter Soviet Union's influence to prevent a Communist takeover of Europe. The Marshall plan (and later iterations) served to simultaneous muscle out the Soviet Union's economic influence and the "EU" style economic arraignment required by the aid plan made it harder for the USSR to fragment and pick-off a country reducing the USSR's economic leverage and therefore political influence. In some ways it wasn't defense, in the cold war, creating the framework for the EU was really offence. Sadly, it's all starting to fade again (e.g., Brexit)

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