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Comment Re:Saw this coming years ago. (Score 1) 201

A lot of people think if they stand to make $1 on a $1 zillion project they should do it, but the real world doesn't work that way.

$1 profit is *way* more than some startup businesses plan for (many have no plan at all for profit, only market share), and yet they often still do it and sometimes raise billions of dollars in the process...

Let's take Twitter as an example. They currently have about -$2B in retained earnings (mostly convertible debt). There is no current business plan to pay this back and their most recent strategy was to attempt to sell the business and eat the debt (and their most recent suitor Salesforce has walked away). Yet Twitter is a real world company "zillion" dollar project...

The problem with Google Fiber was they didn't have enough dumb investors to soak (they only had Alphabet)...

Comment Re:Paranoid Russia (Score 1) 977

Actually, my question is, what do any of these three nations have to gain by invading any of one another? We all have the same stuff, which is to say that we all have land, water, oil, and mineral resources. Even in that case, where they have a shared border so it's relatively convenient, what is there to gain? Certainly nothing that couldn't be had cheaper at home.

You are forgetting the geo-political angle. One countries loss in influence is another countries gain. It isn't about the land, water, old and mineral resources you have in your own backyard, it's having control next to your backyard. Japan started by annexing Manchuria as it's start to dominance over Asia. Italy took over Somalia, Eritria, and Abyssinia, Germany simply took over territory like Austria and Czechoslovakia. War really didn't start until Germany invaded Poland.

This is why this whole Ukraine/Crimea and South-China Sea events are so disturbing, one hopes that this isn't some sort canary in the coal-mine...

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 977

It's not a race but it is used by racists as a proxy for race, since most muslims aren't white.

Most Christians aren't white either...

Although the US and Europe have less than 50% of the Christian population, only about 70% are white... In other geographies that make up the rest of 2B Christians, the dominate areas are Central/South America, Sub-saharan Africa, the Asia Pacific which only have a small fraction of whites. There are about as many Christans in Sub-Saharan Africa as all of Europe combined...

Of course you can't explain statistics like this to racists...

Comment Re:If they can observe its gravitational effect... (Score 2) 215

... then they must surely know what direction it lies in, from the sun. Working backwards from there, they should be able to narrow the area to search sufficiently that they ought to at least figure out exactly where they need to be looking to find this object.

The researchers did not infer the existence of this new planet from looking at the sun tilt, the tilt was reasoned to be potentially explainable by a theorized planet that we haven't discovered yet.

The planet in question was inferred by looking at the statistical orbital distribution of Kuiper Belt Objects. They have a general idea of it's orbital inclination for this mysterious new planet they only have a general range of mass (~10x earth) and orbital distance (~20x Neptune's orbit). That makes a pretty big chunk of space to search for a relatively small object that is not luminous among very slowly moving objects (~15K year orbit).

The original analysis that suggested this new planet is currently only statistical using orbital dynamics, not some specific N-body problem they are solving. They are only attempting to estimate the potential orbital objects that could cause of perturbation of the Sedna-like objects and KBOs relative to long term evolution of orbits. AFAIK, to do their analysis they replaced the orbit of the planet with equivalent massive "wires" that traced currently know orbits because the planets orbit in a timescale much shorter than the proposed planet (and thus exchange angular momentum between themselves and a distant perturb-er which they are analyzing at different timescale). Statistic analysis also showed it likely to have a perihelion opposite to the aggregate distribution of the KBOs. This means they only have a few orbital parameters for this object relative to long-term orbital evolution, not a realistic way of determining where along this 10K-20K year orbit it actually is today.

Comment Re:Privacy Defined (Score 2) 113

Anything that another person can see, or hear, or record, simply is not private. We have established a few exceptions such as talking to one's doctor, or minister. But what we have going on is a situation in which people are demanding the right to lie, to be secretive, to do wrong, or to be able to deny their own behavior. Frankly if you sun bathe, nude in your back yard an airplane can snap a photo easily these days. there is simply no real difference between a plane at 2,000 feet and a drone at 100 feet. There is a reason that Trump could molest or that Cosby could drug and rape people. Imagine if voice recordings and hidden cams were totally legal in all situations. How much fraud on a used car lot could be prevented? And we don't even want to think about the number of cheating wives and husbands would be caught and exposed.
              If the TRUTH shall set us free we must do everything humanly possible to allow total scrutiny of every individual so that truth permeates every aspect of our lives . Imagine every word in a business being live and available for anyone in the world to watch and preserve. Maybe your talcum powder that just killed you would not have contained asbestos. And how low would your taxes be if all economics were wide open for all to inspect?
              The real issue is not about drones. It is about whether we like a world filled with lies and crimes or a world in which truth permeates every bit of everyone's lives.

Let's see... If "the truth" would permeate all interactions, I suspect that authoritarian regimes would rule the world as they would be able to quash all opposition before they could get organized... I suspect that people trying to leave dominating relationships (assuming the actually abusive ones are caught by authorities), would have their efforts thwarted by their partners. The only reason you want to hide is from the person who has the power which could be the government but it could easily be your mother, father, or spouse...

Not so sure I want to live in that zero privacy world. But if you want to be a Borg, you are welcome to it...

Comment Re:Old Man Yells At Cloud (Score 1) 210

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) 185

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) 185

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) 636

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...

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"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll