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Comments

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After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

32771 Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (219 comments)

Given that we may be nearing some energy crisis you could think about what it might cause. Looking for it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...
you can find talk about decentralization which means a break up of a system into smaller units. I think this is what might be happening, Europe is basically used up having an aging populace and diminishing resources, whereas Asia has lots of young people and some ambition to get their hands on resources. Since there have been signs in the past that energy demand has been outstripping energy availability, I would guess that for the US to keep its position in the world it has to find new resources and keep competition and resource use low. With the current system the finding of new stuff has long been passed, so its hampering other peoples development and reducing energy expenditure now.

Europe is a competitor but not as much as Asia, I would expect Europe to become some kind of backwater and less useful to the US in the future, which would mean the fracturing of NATO. This spy scandal and Ukraine appears to be the start of this process.

about 2 months ago
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Robotics Engineers: "We Don't Want To Replace Humans. We Want To Enhance Humans.

32771 Re:The problem is... (124 comments)

But yes, there are far fewer owners than what we perceive of as "people without some sort of guaranteed income". The probability that the latter group accidentally starts eating members of its group is far higher.

about 3 months ago
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Robotics Engineers: "We Don't Want To Replace Humans. We Want To Enhance Humans.

32771 Re:The problem is... (124 comments)

For how long and who is the more efficient machine?

about 3 months ago
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Robotics Engineers: "We Don't Want To Replace Humans. We Want To Enhance Humans.

32771 Re:The Asimov opinion (124 comments)

From the little I know about the story I would say the robot had a remarkable sense of ethics. After all he decided for the patient to be more independent after the operation not less so. To make the point differently, If you had two options, either mechanical prosthesis or organ replacement made in the lab, the mechanical part would make you more dependent on society providing for replacement parts whereas biological replacements are repaired by yourself. The latter would give you far more freedom to be yourself so to speak. Conversely I would suspect that robotic societies have the room for far higher degrees of integration than is possible with biological beings right now. (I would not say though that biological beings are not integrated into a society at all just in case anybody gets this crazy idea.)

about 3 months ago
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The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

32771 Asimov wasn't so deluded (339 comments)

From:
http://www.asimovonline.com/ol...

Let me add as a teaser:

"...
And out there beyond are the stars.

And the interesting thing is that if we can get through the next thirty years, there's no reason why we can't enter into a kind of plateau which will see the human race last, perhaps, indefinitely...till it evolves into better things...and spread out into space indefinitely. We have the choice here between nothing...and the virtually infinite. And the nice thing about it is that you guys in the audience today, when I say guys I mean it in a general term embracing gals...when you guys in the audience today will still be barely middle-aged when you will know which choice has been made.

See, I've been so shrewd that I fixed it so that I was born in 1920.

[group laughs]

Which means I'll be safely dead."

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

32771 Re:Translation... (784 comments)

Both statements may turn out to be wrong. The first, because we already see global warming/extreme weather events affecting harvests and people with less money to spend, tend to riot when hungry, which I would call a sign of the beginning chaos (so far people blame oil prices, but this is changing).

The second because lets admit it we will follow the BAU and worst case scenarios regarding CO2 output since nobody will screw up the economy on purpose. Since we will have exponential CO2 growth at ~2% according to the following article:
  http://www.heatisonline.org/co...

You can conclude that we have our contribution doubling every ~35years, which means that as the 35year younger you can not complain since your own generations contributions are just as large as the older.

So while the world may only officially end in 2100 (some say 2050, due to feed backs and societies inability to deal with cognitive biases and understanding complex non-linear systems) there is a fat chance that an uncomfortably large number of people will get some raw deal much earlier.

about 3 months ago
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Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

32771 Re:Because ... (150 comments)

Sure, you can come up with a better model for industrial society. The main point I tried to make is that people have connected machines with slavery for quite some time now mostly to illustrate the role machines fulfill in society and to provide some proportion. My main interest is related to energy flows in industrial civilization so I nudged the discussion into this direction, any more thorough discussion would probably not deal with slaves all that much.

You could also argue that slavery deserves more mention as a topic on its own, other people have made remarks toward that end already.

about 4 months ago
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Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

32771 Re:thanks for posting that (150 comments)

While I did contemplate things on my own when starting on the energy/thermodynamics trip I soon noticed that other people had done a lot of work before me. The post above covers some range of views over time, it begins with a Victorian at the start of the fossil fuel age, continues with Rickover at the dawn of the nuclear age, and implicitly ends with some people at resilience.org that are heavily influenced by "The Limits to Growth". I could have gone the Terence McKenna Route on the other hand which would have given me the opportunity to point out how thoroughly he understood our situation and spun it forth into his "humanity must achieve transcendence" theme.

Regarding your view that "civilization cannot exist without cheap labor", I could imagine that one could rephrase that as specialization/increasing complexity needs increased energy inputs. From here http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs... "This means that growing complexity implies growing energy consumption.". Since we appear to be in the process of failing with that (net energy wise) I'm really frustrated with news about a new gilded age, this is exactly the opposite of McKenna's "universe as novelty generator" view (Non-equilibrium thermodynamics doesn't sound flamboyant enough), also it just means decline.

So please go forth and continue to be original, also note that going Native American may not be possible due to our waste problem called global warming.

about 4 months ago
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Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

32771 Because ... (150 comments)

"The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends."

OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Supposedly the greeks had 30 slaves per citizen and we have around 100 slaves energy wise. The topic has also been mentioned here:
http://www.resilience.org/stor...

about 4 months ago
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Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again)

32771 Something everyone could agree to (568 comments)

How about calling it climate terrorism? Of course it will start some finger pointing but the main polluters are a minority - maybe 2 billion. So on a global scale this kind of language could actually fly.

about 4 months ago
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Expert Warns: Civilian World Not Ready For Massive EMP-Caused Blackout

32771 Re:TSA-like Money for Fear (271 comments)

You should also add that around 100 nuclear power plants (in the US) have to survive such an event. If they are not going to survive it then you have to prevent your opponent from taking over your country or provide some credible deterrent while you have not sunken into chaos yet, i.e. with some nuclear assault.

I have strong doubts that anybody openly just starts an EMP attack and then does nothing (apart from the sun), I would rather expect this to happen after some conventional warfare has not yielded results and a nuclear attack is next on the list (the one out of Kahns book).

Given that previous high altitude tests all used fairly large yields in the 100kt to Mt range I would doubt that terrorists would be able to pull this of credibly. Assuming some conventional conflict is already taking place I would think that the countries involved would have some time to prepare for nuclear escalation. Also there is some chance that your economy will have tanked some time before hostilities break out, just because the global economy might have fallen apart that provides access to foreign resources. So from that end I would rather expect some slide into disaster instead of some catastrophic event.

Actually I would rather worry about net energy decline and climate change since those issues will kill more people with greater certainty and in agonizingly slow motion.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

32771 Re:Farming (737 comments)

Not just that, also note the scale at which western societies are not farming societies anymore. In my neck of the woods we have 2% aging farmers that are on average 40 years old. Comparing that with Thailand's 50% I would expect quite a bit of restructuring to be necessary if we were ever to return to a farming society, not to mention the event of some catastrophic decline.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

32771 True (737 comments)

The twenty minutes will turn into a few hours when people have to walk out of the traffic jam. This might give you some time to flee.
For the shits and grins I actually tried the walking part for my particular city and the 20minutes turned into 2-3 hours. It was an incredibly pleasant day for the hike, but my feet hurt like hell afterward due to inappropriate footwear (sandals).

about 5 months ago
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Study Rules Out Global Warming Being a Natural Fluctuation With 99% Certainty

32771 Why now? (869 comments)

They could have thought about a study like this when they first started thinking about the green house effect and climate change:

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/121...

But no, temperature recordings normally start mid 19th century, that is tardy. Now if they had actually started doing something against climate change around 1950

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~ep...

that would have been wise, alas ...

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly Firewall For a Brand-New Linux User?

32771 Re:You're a "brand new Linux user" (187 comments)

You could also set up some kind of DMZ where you use a router with firewalling capabilities between broadband and your home network. This gives you some security now while you are still experimenting. Also it is a good idea to not trust your router and set up your own firewall in addition to it. Beyond that you may also protect us from your experiments that way.

You can also try to scan/hack your internal firewall with tools like nmap to see how it is holding up. Here is a list of a few links:
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc791...
http://www.netfilter.org/index...
http://nmap.org/
http://www.wireshark.org/

Also there is user friendly in case you have been missing it so far, http://ars.userfriendly.org/ca...

about 5 months ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

32771 Re:How about (285 comments)

Ha, ha, the Dorset Naga, this just makes my day. I always thought that Indian cuisine filled an enormous void in Britain, but this is just way out there.

Alright, now would you be so kind to hand me the spicy peppermint sauce, hi, hi, hi, ...

about 5 months ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

32771 Re:How about (285 comments)

Actually my experiments with Scotch Bonnet (capsicum chinense) have never really allowed me to taste much beyond the hotness. Fortunately there are other spices around that are strong enough to get through the hotness. Thai curry contains a number of them usually.

Also the hotness supposedly has an appetite suppressing effect:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

about 5 months ago
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NASA-Funded Study Investigates Collapse of Industrial Civilization

32771 Re:Counting on Surplus (401 comments)

I don't think that the type of system is important to our standard of living, energy input on the other hand appears crucial however. The type of system develops with the energy input available, I doubt that we could have a much different system from what we have.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Aerosols Responsible for Warming Arctic?

32771 32771 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

32771 (906153) writes "Researchers have found that the arctic climate might be to a degree dependent on aerosols besides the usual culprit the greenhouse gasses. The following article http://www.universetoday.com/2009/04/09/aerosols-could-be-responsible-for-artic-warming/ explains i.e., that to achieve a quick reduction of arctic temperatures, it might be better to reduce aerosol output first since they are much shorter lived than CO2 but have a similarly strong effect on temperatures as CO2."

Journals

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linux powered weather ballon

32771 32771 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The N prize caused me to look this up

http://vpizza.org/%7Ejmeehan/balloon/

http://www.balloonsdirect.com/weather_balloons.htm

A dense paper about launch regulations:

http://www.colonyfund.com/Reading/papers/NH_rocket_contents.html

some more
http://www.seanet.com/~ssstolt/regs/faaregs.htm

the real thing:

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr;sid=411c0579c5834b8dfae3aee3e75392dd;rgn=div5;view=text;node=14%3A4.0.2.9.9;idno=14;cc=ecfr

seems like the rocket has to be guided to allow a predictable orbit, thats tough.

some mass ratio calculations assuming 1-4km/s exhaust velocity and 7km/s orbital velocity.

? exp(7/4)
%8 = 5.754602676005730436866499705
? exp(7/1)
%12 = 1096.633158428458599263720238

Sweet they only put actual vehicle costs on the budget not the more costly licensing and other bureaucratic issues. Somewhere I found mention that launchers actually don't make such a large portion of the launch costs but all the other stuff like range operations.

Exhaust speed obviously matters. Here is a nice table for engines

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecraft_propulsion

High exhaust speed requires difficult to handle fuel, consider staging. Staging might need even more control systems and structure and drive up the price+weight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistage_rocket

High altitude thrusters seem to be simpler.

Here is a starter book for liquid engines.

http://www.risacher.org/rocket/

Liquid oxygen might require insulation, more weight added.

More engines:

http://users.cybercity.dk/~dko7904/motor.htm

a practical one:

http://pages.total.net/~launch/ss67b2.htm

giving 0.8 km/s ve.

You will start at zero g what will do that to the fuel?

Enough for today. Zzzzzzzzz...

Another day has begun.

The Nprize group had this to say about SpaceX - snide bastards:

http://groups.google.com/group/n-prize/browse_thread/thread/0b5284d796c13a07#
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=891228&id=1&qs=Ntt%3Dsp-8056%26Ntk%3Dall%26Ntx%3Dmode%2520matchall%26N%3D0%26Ns%3DHarvestDate%257c1

The Introduction states: There must be no recontact between the separating bodies, no ...
38 years is a lot of time to forget something.

The idea with the cannon as last stage should be silly since most explosives don't store much energy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

also the acceleration is nasty.

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Onion Stream about Wow

32771 32771 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Have a look at this:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/warcraft_sequel_lets_gamers_play

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