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NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

Al Al Cool J Astronaut versus Cave Man (157 comments)

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

about 2 months ago
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Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields

Al Al Cool J Re:Sorry but (179 comments)

Playing devil's advocate...

2001 had music over top of space scenes. You can't hear music in space, never mind Dolby surround sound, so this was wrong. I think there was also music playing on ancient Earth, which is before music was invented.

I've also seen subtitled versions of 2001 (and lots of movies praised for their realism). This is wrong. When people speak in real life, glowing words don't magically appear beneath them.

One can argue that these are cinematic conventions that improve people's enjoyment. The music has emotional impact, and the subtitles make it easier to understand what is happening (especially with foreign languages). But then why can't things like space sound effects (which add impact) and visible lasers (which make it easier to see what is happening) also be considered cinematic conventions? It all seems a bit arbitrary to me.

about 5 months ago
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Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus

Al Al Cool J Re:Distance and Radiation make it a moot point.... (112 comments)

Then send the follow-up mission in the first ship, and then send the colony ship in the faster ship second. The faster colony ship gets there first, and the follow-up ship arrives second. :-P

If your objective is to get as many ships to as many stars as quickly as possible, then there is simply no benefit to waiting for faster ships to be invented.

about 5 months ago
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Proposed Indicator of Life On Alien Worlds May Be Bogus

Al Al Cool J Re:Distance and Radiation make it a moot point.... (112 comments)

Sure, and in every sci fi book, the next generation drive beat them there. Sometimes spending more time on the colony than the travelers spent getting there.

I've seen that argument many times including in at least one physics journal. I believe it is one of the stupidest arguments ever put forward by scientists.

There are billions of stars in the heavens. So why would you ever send a next generation ship to a star that you've already sent a ship to?! Send your next generation ship to a different star. There are plenty to chose from.

about 5 months ago
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Iran Builds Mock-up of Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carrier

Al Al Cool J Oceans Eleven (298 comments)

Their plan is to come in at night and steal the real Nimitz, leaving the duplicate in its place

about 6 months ago
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New Information May Narrow Down Malaysian Jet's Path

Al Al Cool J Surely the US knows where the plane is (227 comments)

The NSA and other US intelligence agencies have gone to insanely extreme lengths to avoid another 9/11 - like monitoring the majority of the world's electronic communications. 9/11 was done using commercial jets as weapons, so surely one of the highest priorities would be tracking every commercial jet that could be used to attack the US or its various military installations, embassies, factories, etc around the globe. Just imagine the shit storm there would be in the halls of power if terrorists pulled off the same trick AGAIN. Nobody in intel would risk that.

So if they are going to all the trouble of monitoring everybody's texts and gmail, surely they know what happened to MH370. It would be utter incompetence for them not to.

So why aren't they saying?

about 6 months ago
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NASA Knows How Mars Got a Jelly Doughnut

Al Al Cool J So in other words... (61 comments)

NASA are saying it is not a man-made object or the result of natural phenomena, but rather that it was put there by a probe from another planet!

dun dun dun

about 8 months ago
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MIT Develops Inexpensive Transparent Display Using Nanoparticles

Al Al Cool J Re:A little misleading (87 comments)

Yes and no. By tuning the particles to very specific frequencies they can make the material more transparent than something that scatters light in general.

Screens that scatter general light already exist - a fairly well-known example is a DILAD screen, which uses microscopic bubbles. MIT's screen looks to be significantly more transparent than a DILAD screen. DILADs work best with rear-projection, while MIT's seems geared for front-projection. DILADs are used for advertising displays, trade shows, and - most famously - Hatsune Miku concerts.

about 8 months ago
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200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

Al Al Cool J Re:Please REPEAT (628 comments)

This is a nerd site, not a tech site. Non-human intelligence, sentience, and the rights of those possessing it seems like a reasonably nerdy subject to me. Plenty of sci-fi books and shows have examined those themes.

about 8 months ago
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Dial 00000000 To Blow Up the World

Al Al Cool J Edge Case (306 comments)

The really funny thing is that 00000000 is a potential edge case. There could have been a bug in the system where 00000000 is rejected because it's misinterpreted as a null value. Out of a billion possibilities, they chose the one that might not actually have worked.

about 9 months ago
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Nebraska Scientists Refuse To Carry Out Climate Change-Denying Study

Al Al Cool J Easy (640 comments)

Technological civilisation rises,
which eventually causes climate change,
which eventually causes technological civilisation to crumble,
which eventually allows the climate to recover,
which eventually allows technological civilisation to rise again,
etc.

There's your cycle. Study that.

about a year ago
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Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

Al Al Cool J Not convinced (247 comments)

How do we know Snowden wasn't a CIA plant? that the leak wasn't a CIA effort to try and rein in NSA operations, freeing up budgetary funds to go to CIA operations instead. And that this is the CIA working to disavow their man?

Clearly the CIA and NSA need to spend more time spying on each other and their own employees, and leave the rest of us alone.

about a year ago
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Solar Eruption To Reach Earth Soon

Al Al Cool J Re:NBD, it seems (159 comments)

The CME was the Sun's defense mechanism when it saw the comet coming right at it. It ejected in self-defense.

about a year ago
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Can There Be Open Source Music?

Al Al Cool J Re:Wrong question... (183 comments)

I think you are conflating different ideas. Here is how I break it down:

well known - play the music for many people; how many have heard it before determines how well know it is
likable - play the music for many people; how many like it determines how likable it is
popular - both well known and well liked
good - find a bunch of outspoken pretentious assholes who care far more about being recognised as music authorities than would any normal person; what they say they like is considered "good"

about a year ago
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The Text-Your-Parents-Your-Drug-Deal Experiment

Al Al Cool J Re:really? (267 comments)

"got 2 grams for $40" - the story is really about the US adopting the metric system

about a year and a half ago
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Kepler-62 Has 2 Good Candidate Planets In the Search for Life

Al Al Cool J Re:power level of a detectable signal at 1200 ly ? (79 comments)

Or, they could use a star itself and modulate the light coming from it, like stellar semaphore.

One method that has been proposed http://www.iterate.com.au/SETI/SETI.htm uses a swarm of self-replicating robots. Given raw materials to work with it could in time create a large enough structure or cloud in front of the star so as to be able to send a signal to a large percentage of the heavens. This would be detectable over much greater distances than 1200 ly.

about a year and a half ago
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How to Get Conjurer James Randi to Give You $1 Million (Video)

Al Al Cool J Re:Pro tip (219 comments)

Let's say I have the genuine ability to tell if the number of grains in an unoponed sugar packet is even or odd, 60% of the time. How is it trivial for me to demonstrate this ability? I wager that wouldn't even get past Randi's application process as it would be deemed unfeasable to test. I've read their case files, that is how the process works - if they don't think their amateur investigators with limited resources and budget can test your ability, then you get rejected right off the bat.

Discovering new science is hard. Most of the stuff that is trivial to demonstrate was discovered long ago. That's why we build thing like multi-billion dollar supercolliders, because Higgs Bosons just don't fall into our laps. It takes effort to detect them. It's why we have scientists.

If 99.99% of people with claims of the paranormal are frauds or deluded, then you need very careful and propper procedure to identify the 0.01%. Any moron can claim to debunk psychics, and they'd be right almost all the time, even if their methods are hopelessly flawed. A brick with the words "debunked" painted on it could do the job and be right 99.99% of the time. But it would never find the 0.01%.

Kudos to Randi. He's parlayed his little dog and pony show into a nice little livelihood, making money off the arrogance of skeptics through appearance fees and books. You'd think skeptics might be more skeptical of a man who spent decades perfecting the art of deception and manipulation, but apparently not.

about a year and a half ago
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How to Get Conjurer James Randi to Give You $1 Million (Video)

Al Al Cool J Re:Pro tip (219 comments)

I don't. The point is that a professional magician is specifically trained in deception and trickery. When a magician offers you a chance to win some of their money, it is safe to assume that the game is hopelessly rigged in their favour. That is what magicians do.

about a year and a half ago

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