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Comment Have they re-enabled Miracast? (Score 3, Interesting) 164

I spent a few hours trying to get Chromecast working on a TV on a subnet at a large university, and it simply cannot do it. Chrome cast will only work on a /24. Miracast will, but Google disabled it on their Nexus line, for no greater reason than trying to push Chromecast.

So Google, do you care about making your customers happy, or some random mid-level MBA at the Googleplex who thought they were Dr. Evil when they came with the idea of reducing functionality?

Comment Re:Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 1) 250

That goes a bit in hand with my #3 theory. I suspect that once a species is capable of interstellar traffic, they may have a different definition of "prime real estate" than a planet orbiting a star. Maybe they start congregating near the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy for abundant energy, materials, and easy gravity slingshots to anyplace/anytime they want.

Comment Re:Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 1) 250

So we only have evidence that life started only one time in earth's 4.5 billion years of existence. To me this is profound.

I don't believe it's as profound as you think. Life probably evolved quickly once it was created, and any subsequently created life was quickly out-competed by earlier lifeforms who had a better foothold.

For all we know, new life may be arising on earth today, but it would have a hard time surviving, let alone dominating, against bacterial and viral species who were survivors of a few billion years of survival of the fittest.

Comment Depends on your definition of "life" (Score 4, Interesting) 250

Bacterial life appeared on this planet basically the instant asteroids stopped bombarding the planet. For all we know, life was created and destroyed several times before the Late Heavy Bombardment ceased. So it appears that simple bacterial/viral life may be commonplace throughout the cosmos. Indeed, there are tantalizing signs that Mars and Titan may harbor some form of life.

On the other hand, complex multicellular life only appeared in the last billion years, which suggests that the leap from single-cell -> multicellular life is somewhat difficult. Our sun won't be conducive to life in another billion years, so complex life "barely" made it here.

I would love to be wrong, but given the fact that planets appear to be commonplace throughout the cosmos, and we have yet to hear from anyone, it starts to shift the odds towards one or more of:

1) Complex life is relatively rare and widely separated in space and time.
2) Complex life doesn't survive long-term (nuclear war, grey goo)
3) Complex life does survive, but for some reason doesn't communicate or colonize other worlds (a "Prime Directive", or perhaps they "sublime" in the Ian Banks/Culture sense)

I actually lean a bit towards 3 myself, but humanity will eventually find out, one way or the other.

Comment Much better nowadays! (Score 3, Informative) 351

I tried my first veggie burger about 20 years ago, and I remember wondering when the FDA started considering sawdust a vegetable...

Now, I eat Gardein teriyaki chick'n and a few others quite regularly. I'm still waiting for the whole "cheaper than meat" part to kick in though.

If you haven't had them yet, give them a try, you'll be surprised, and once they get costs down, it'll change the world.

Comment Re: That's the state of the universe then... (Score 1) 268

I think I can partially answer my own question. The protons and neutrons in the nucleus can be described as being in a sort of quantum fluid with essentially no viscosity. So Although in some sense the nucleus is hard and almost incompressible, it's more like a superfluid than it is like a crystal. So I'm guessing that the "pear" shape is an unexpected nucleon wave function. Again I'm no nuclear physicist but maybe the situation is something a little bit like that?

Comment Re: That's the state of the universe then... (Score 1) 268

I am not a nuclear physicist, but I still don't get the distinction here. Nuclei are formed through processes that are full of asymmetries. For example, two nuclei collide, or a neutron is captured, or whatever. Is there some theory that asserts that nuclei must obey certain symmetries regardless of the constituent parts? These are unstable nuclei to be sure. Maybe they are an excited state that decays via gammas to a more symmetric one (which could be even less stable)? I'm not sold here but hoped some slashdotter could help illuminate this better.

Take snowflakes for example. They aren't all perfectly symmetric even though the bonds have a certain symmetry. The history of their formation manifests in the shape of the snowflake and causes deviations from the prevailing symmetry.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 1080

I like to think about various different market sectors, and how capitalism succeeds and struggles in these sectors. The auto industry is, for the most part, a good example of capitalism at its best. It still has issues with safety & emissions regulations -- pure market forces would favor lower costs over safety, and definitely favor lower costs over low emissions because the individual car owner doesn't suffer exclusively from their own car's emissions. And there are globalization market effects to contend with, as well as monopolistic tendencies.

Service industries are also great in free market economies, like hair salons and auto shops. Though auto shops do benefit from sleazy tactics that are hard for the average consumer to detect. But a haircut is easy, you know exactly what you're getting and what you're paying. How about the tipping culture though?

I think where capitalism struggles the most today is in information industries like software, news, music, etc where the per-unit production costs are zero or are dwarfed by "development" costs. In these industries, I believe the efficient market hypothesis no longer applies because one of its predicates (an aspect of scarcity) is no longer true. These industries are becoming larger and more important today, so it's not surprising that capitalism itself is being challenged.

This doesn't make me "reject" capitalism, because it still has tremendous value and use. But I don't expect it to work very well in the not-distant future without some significant modifications. And no, I wish I knew what those modifications might be but I don't.

Comment Demand, not supply... (Score 4, Insightful) 125

Instead of getting the Government to fund computer science education, how about we just require computer companies to pay competitive salary? It doesn't require any tax dollars, and it's just crazy enough to work.

The problem is, the past 30 years have taught MBA's that *they're* the ones who are supposed to get the $200k salary, and the computer engineer is the one who's supposed to have a Masters and 20 years of experience in a 3 year old language and work for $60k until their job gets outsourced to India.

The problem will largely go away once the computer geek's biggest problem is "Do I buy the BMW or the Mercedes", and the MBA's are crying themselves to sleep, praying they can pay their student loans off before they hit 40 and are too old to spreadsheet.

Comment Re: So what? (Score 1) 133

AFAICT, snaps is no worse in this regard than any other packaging system out there: dpkg, rpm, pacman, etc. Am I right? Is all this fuss about the claim of better-but-not-actually-perfect sandboxing? Admittedly there is this gaping hole in X11 security (the way it's implemented in any case), which has been around for decades. But the article makes it sound like snaps are a new kind of bad. I don't think that's true, but hopefully some slashdotter will set me straight.

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