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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Garfong Re:Well, duh (336 comments)

Even if I am wrong -- even if the majority of alien civilizations turn out to be biological -- it may be that the most intelligent alien civilizations will be ones in which the inhabitants are SAI.

SAI is her term for "superintelligent artificial intelligence". So she has just written a tautology. Unless you want to get into super-superintelligent or ultra-superintelligent.

And the rest is more of the same.

Or maybe intelligence is weakly ordered, and "most intelligent alien civilization" has as much meaning as "biggest civilization". I.e.: most intelligent/biggest according to what measure?

10 hours ago
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Army Building an Airport Just For Drones

Garfong Re:Southwest Airlines (48 comments)

Airspace is mostly empty, and air traffic flows along well regulated routes, with many electronic aids/sensors (radar, glide slope & localizing beams for landings, etc.)

The challenge of land vehicles are (1) the unpredictable, dense, environment, and (2) the signalling is mostly visual (lines, stop lights, etc.) which is hard for computers to interpret.

about a week ago
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What Canada Can Teach the US About Net Neutrality

Garfong Re:Need a better opinion (80 comments)

I never expected to see a (Score:4, Insightful) post asking for the opinion of Bennett Haselton.

about two weeks ago
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Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission

Garfong Re:Why is Android allowing Uber to access the info (234 comments)

The problem with being able to allow/deny individual permissions is the app developers now have 2^n configurations to test, instead of just one. Which is either going to lead to a much higher testing cost, or apps which are buggier when run with less than full requested permissions.

about three weeks ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Garfong Re:"Getting whiter" (496 comments)

As the city gets whiter, it reflects more light, which is bad for cities with long, cold, winters.

But why is it bad for Seattle?

about a month ago
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Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group

Garfong Dishonest summary (138 comments)

The report they are drawing their findings from found no wrongdoing on Google's part:

"We found that Ames officials accurately reported H211’s relationship with the Center to DLA-Energy but DLA-Energy believed H211 was performing only NASA-related missions and therefore was entitled to fuel at the cost-plus-surcharge rate. We found that a misunderstanding between Ames and DLA-Energy personnel rather than intentional misconduct led to H211 receiving the discounted fuel rate for flights that had no NASA-related mission." (emphasis mine).

So more like buying gas from a gas station which had accidentally listed the wholesale price than siphoning gas from a friend.

about a month ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Garfong Re:Wrong (551 comments)

Now that we've got that elementary lesson out of the way, on to the Somalian anarchy falsehood. Somalia is currently controlled by thugs and warlords. In other words, Somalia is run by coercive authority, not free association. It may be "illegitimate" or "unofficial" coercive authority, but it certainly is coercive authority, and that means it can't be anarchy, which is a political state defined by the absence of coercive authority, not the presence of it.

Which is all well and good, but a common argument against anarchy is that it's an unstable political system, prone to transforming into a dictatorship or monarchy. This is because (so the argument goes), in the absence of a central government, local thugs would run free taking whatever they want, eventually forming mini-dictatorships were the strongest gangs control their "turf," and the general populace is worse off than under a central governement. It's in this context that the example of Somalia is brought up, because this is (as far as I know) exactly what's happening there.

about a month and a half ago
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Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

Garfong Re:Underwater will face the same challenges as Tid (216 comments)

Neat.

540,000,000 kWh/year is an interesting way to express power though. Especially when it means that a power plant with 240 MW installed capacity is producing 62 MW average power.

This makes sense if 240 MW is the peak power generation, and 62 MW is average, given the cyclic nature of power generation, but still...

about a month and a half ago
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LAX To London Flight Delayed Over "Al-Quida" Wi-Fi Name

Garfong Re:This was no AP. (339 comments)

I would say at least three. An alternate parsing is as Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork. I.e. if you're looking for a terror network, use this one: it's free!.

about 2 months ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Garfong Re:2,266,800 (407 comments)

If I remember correctly, prisons are punitive (i.e. post-conviction), jail is not (e.g. people who have arrested but not yet processed, pre-trial but not on bail, etc.)

about 2 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Garfong Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

My objection to this feature is that (as far as I know) emacs is the only editor that has it. So if you're in a mixed vi/emacs/whatever shop you quickly get a tab-space soup. Worse, unless you're careful you can easily start introducing whitespace-only changes to portions of a file you're working on, making merging changes between branches unnecessarily difficult.

about 2 months ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Garfong Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

Really? This has to be something specific to how he had emacs configured, because as a long time emacs user this certainly isn't the default.

On the other hand, emacs has the equally insane default behaviour of assuming tabstops are 8 characters, and if you have more than 8 characters of initial whitespace it will fold it down into the minimum number of characters by replacing spaces with tabs. Fortunately there's a setting which will turn this behaviour off and force emacs to always use spaces.

about 2 months ago
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Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

Garfong Re:Costs (315 comments)

I'm not holding my breath -- fusion power has been 20-30 years away since the 70s.

about 2 months ago
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Belkin Router Owners Suffering Massive Outages

Garfong Re:In retrospect (191 comments)

I think you need to review your boolean logic. !(a && b) is equivalent to !a || !b

about 2 months ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Garfong Re:Discovery? (742 comments)

Getting a lawyer to send a nasty letter is cheap. Filing a lawsuit and going through discovery is expensive.

If you can get what you want from a letter, why bother with the lawsuit. On the other hand, if the letter doesn't work, you can always escalate to the lawsuit with little money lost. The letter probably also puts them on notice they need to preserve evidence.

about 2 months ago
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NASA Eyes Crew Deep Sleep Option For Mars Mission

Garfong Re:Just Go Nuclear and Get There Quick (236 comments)

Which section says that? Searching the Outer Space Treaty for the word nuclear, I can only find prohibitions on nuclear weapons, not nuclear power. IIRC the USSR launched several small nuclear reactors into earth orbit.

about 3 months ago
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Earth Gets Another Quasi-Moon

Garfong Re:Capture it (54 comments)

Not this again.

I'm assuming you're just trying to be funny, but the usual formulas for gravity as a strictly attractive force apply only in an inertial frame. But it's possible, using calculus, to change the co-ordinate system to derive comparable laws of physics for a system which follows the Earth. In this frame of reference, gravity is much more interesting. So it's entirely possible, that from the point of view of an observer on the Earth, Earth's gravity is pushing this asteroid away.

And for what it's worth, as far as I remember we've never made enough 0 net charge antimatter to directly measure the force of gravity between antimatter and matter, but the assumption is that antimatter and matter attract. Otherwise funky stuff like time travel and warp drive would be possible.

about 3 months ago

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