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Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

HuguesT Re:Does the job still get done? (658 comments)

It is already illegal to work more than 35 hours a week in France, but it hasn't worked out so well.

yesterday
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A Mismatch Between Wikimedia's Pledge Drive and Its Cash On Hand?

HuguesT Hosting the content is king (274 comments)

What is important in wikipedia? Obviously the content. The content is essentially provided by volunteers. The pages design is nothing special. Google provides the search. What does the WMF do? They host the content, and they are making millions while essentially doing nothing productive. Sure they must pay for bandwidth and hosting the data, but this is really very little compared with the money they spend on other things. The pages are each very lightweight. The full content of Wikipedia probably does not exceed a few TB. In today's age, any large company would be happy to host WP for nearly free in return for the goodwill it would generate.

I admit I feel cheated by the WMF intrusive, blatant and disrespectful grab for donations.

about three weeks ago
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Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

HuguesT Re:Woodward (289 comments)

Thanks, I've read the book. The first part is a introduction to Mach effects. The second part reads like a lab book to a great extent (description of experiments, matching of theory to seen results, etc), leading to experimental descriptions to demonstrate the existence of these effects. The authors makes some interesting benchtop experiments. He sees some new physics happening, including very small reactionless thrust effect, in the order of a few microNewtons, that he cannot explain away with obvious side effects, like heating, varying electromagnetic fields, and so on. He has the theory for it, but not fully developed. It seems a little ad-hoc. This is still great, but this is not yet new real physics, and this is not yet useful. Someone else needs to redo the experiments and confirm them. We need to see if the effects can scale to something not so tiny.

The last part of the book is speculative with wormholes and so on. The authors is careful to draw attention to the work of others, well-respected physicists like K. Thorne. It is fun to read.

In summary, with the author's theory, if it were correct, and if it scaled, it *would* be possible to build Startrek-style engines. We are not *quite* there yet.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Making a 'Wife Friendly' Gaming PC?

HuguesT Re:lag ? (720 comments)

don't want to nitpick but the propagation delay is a bit more than 1 ns per foot. Light travels at 11.8 inch per nanosecond, i.e. 1.017 ns per foot.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematics Great Alexander Grothendieck Dies At 86

HuguesT Re:Fields medal is like a Nobel prize. (49 comments)

Most *people* do that. If only it were limited to academics, life would be easy. But no. Taxi drivers, assistants, hairdressers, dentists, you name it.

about a month ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

HuguesT Re:Discover life? (221 comments)

We have built machinery that can be used to replicate the same machinery (e.g. 3D printers), but not by themselves. This is hugely difficult: even making simple plastics is hard work and requires lots of resources.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

HuguesT Re:Discover life? (221 comments)

Not by itself. Enough said.

about a month and a half ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

HuguesT Going to space is not a question of entrepreneurs (594 comments)

Many people on this thread mention the parallel between aviation progress in the first half of the 20th century and what is happening now with SpaceX, Virgin galactic, and so on.

The difference is essential though. In the beginning of the 20th century we simply did not know enough about fluid dynamics to make aerodynamic flight happen easily. This is still a tough field (turbulence, etc) however we have made huge progress. We can model it relatively well, we essentially know now how to simulate it, etc. The basic equations (Navier Stokes) have been known for a long time, and thank to a huge theoretical, computational and practical effort, we now have cheap, save, available, commercial flight for everyone.

In the case of space dynamics, things are actually fairly simple. We have known about minimum orbital speed, escape velocity, and so on since Newton. We've made measurable progress with chemical rocket engines since then 1950s, but the principles were known at the time. We know how much energy we need to expend to reach space. We know how to navigate space, We know how to do it.

We actually know that we *cannot* do it cheaply at present. What we need to reach a new level is a lot of basic research in materials to build space elevators, better ion drives, perhaps nuclear engines in the future. At the moment we cannot send humans effectively beyond low Earth orbit, and again, this is not cheap. It is not so much a question of entrepreneurship, it is a question of long-term, constant investments. As in several decades.

about a month and a half ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

HuguesT Re:Nether is your weekend in Las Vegas (594 comments)

This is hugely misinformed. In the 19th century people built flying gliders and even a few prototype planes in their backyard. They did not need equivalent 19th century billionaire to bail them out, and very few of them died. This is because the physics of flying is easy and safe, once understood.

Now we already know that the physics of space travel is difficult and dangerous. We've been there. People have died. We have no easy solution. No amount of starry-eyed entrepreneurship is going to change that.

about a month and a half ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

HuguesT Re:Fuck you Wired (594 comments)

Known physics, the actual economy, and dwindling resources are not on our side.

Actually, the price of travelling by boat has basically increased over time. This is due to the fact that boating is mostly for pleasure. Who crosses the Atlantic by boat nowadays ? Not the poor.

In the case of Virgin Galactic, starry-eyed people believe that some day everyone will get to travel in one of these hypersonic planes, but I don't see that happening. The reason is that it is much much cheaper and immensely less dangerous to fly economy with any carrier. Basically the longest flight is something like London-UK to Auckland-NZ. That currently takes about 30h. Of course it would be nice to do it in 2h but this is not essential. The Concorde did not make supersonic flight happen for the masses. It was only for the very rich / super busy and would have stayed that way forever had the Concorde continued to be exploited.

Concurrently, really going to space (i.e. > 100km altitude, reaching orbital velocity) is going to stay hugely expensive using chemical rockets. There is basically no known technique that can make that cheap and safe, until we build a space elevator. Going to the Moon is essentially pointless: nothing of value to do there, and I'm not sure we will manage to send people to Mars within this century. This is hugely hard, barring some unexpected advances in thrust technology.

about a month and a half ago
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Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For

HuguesT Re:Some people like to differ on this topic! (594 comments)

This needs to be said a lot more often, however you need a mix of small / large companies. Small companies have very little visibility and cannot invest the millions or billions of dollars needed for some projects.

about a month and a half ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

HuguesT Re:Makes sense to me (583 comments)

The only sensible remark here.

about 2 months ago
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Getting Lost In the Scientific Woods Is Good For You

HuguesT Re:Obvious (51 comments)

Most people think that scientist are strange people who have amassed a huge amount of very precise facts about an extremely specific field, some of which might be useful (facts or fields), but most of which are useless to the common people. The prototype is the scientist lady in the TV series "Bones". Scientists are assimilated to dorks who have not only not an ounce of creativity in them but also no social skills.

In reality scientists need to be extremely creative in their work, and need to have the humility to accept that they know or understand only a tiny amount of the world that is around us. It is very easy and quick to tread into the complete unknown. We cannot at present even reconcile the most established theories we have about the way the world works (relativity and quantum mechanics).

about 2 months ago
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Getting Lost In the Scientific Woods Is Good For You

HuguesT Re:The hardest part.. (51 comments)

No, that is easy. Most paths in science have never even been tried.

What is hard is to find a path that leads to somewhere. Then just as hard it getting the somewhere you discovered to be accepted by the scientific community. Think plaque tectonics, relativity, quantum mechanics, even something as fundamental as cosmology, and so on.

about 2 months ago
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OEM Windows 7 License Sales End This Friday

HuguesT Re:Time to "stock up" from NewEgg ... (242 comments)

First you need a friend with an Apple computer and OSX 10.6.8 or later installed. Then you can download the 10.8, 10.9 and 10.10 version of OSX for free on the Mac App Store. If you do not own Apple hardware but want to try these OSes anyway in a VM for instance, it can get a little involved but is generally doable.

about 2 months ago
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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

HuguesT Re:For Starters (320 comments)

Contrary to a somewhat popular opinion among car hotheads, the least reliable component on any car is usually the driver. While on the road, drive safe. If you want to have fun with your car besides enjoying the scenery, go racing.

about 2 months ago
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What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

HuguesT Re:Driverless Trains are Here (320 comments)

Underground/Subway/Metro or some other specific lines with zero interconnection running as a loop, yes. They are all akin to a long, horizontal elevator, with lots and lots of sensors and other feedback systems built into the track. They make a lot of sense because they carry a lot of passengers over short to medium length lines over the very same tracks all the time. The longest automated network is the Vancouver skytrain, which is about 70km long.

General-purpose train lines, with something unlike single-purpose engines running on open tracks with interconnection ? The page does not list any. It is still too difficult for automated systems.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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French supreme court neutralizes 3-strikes law

HuguesT HuguesT writes  |  more than 5 years ago

HuguesT (84078) writes "The Conseil Constitutionel, the French equivalent to the US Supreme Court, ruled today that a mere "authority" cannot cut Internet access to Internet subscribers within the frame of the new HADOPI law recently voted by French parliament. In the new law, after a warning by email and another by registered mail, French Internet subscribers could have had their access cut off for a duration ranging between 2 months and one year, without possibility of defence or due process of law, if they were accused of illegally sharing copyrighted material. They could only appeal of the decision before a court of law. The CC "sages" or wise men, ruled that this was unconstitutional on two grounds: the presumption of innocence and freedom of communication and expression. Now the laws has basically no point. The French communication minister, Christine Albanel, has vowed to return to parliament with a new law still implementing the 3 strikes in a new, as yet unknown way. For the time being, strike one for democracy and freedom!"
Link to Original Source
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Gates foundation deathly side-effects

HuguesT HuguesT writes  |  about 7 years ago

HuguesT (84078) writes "An long and detailed article from the L.A. Times points out severe, unintended side effects of the health policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. This foundation has given away almost 2 billions US$ to the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria worldwide. Thanks in no small measure to this effort, the death toll from AIDS in most of Africa are finally levelling off. However, the money from the foundation is earmarked to the fight against these three diseases, to the detriment of global health. Sick people can also be hungry and not able to ingest healing drugs. Doctors in these countries prefer to be well paid working against AIDS than poorly working against all the other health problems, which creates a brain drain. Numerous children also suffer from diarrhea or asphyxia due to lack of basic care. The paradox is that countries where the foundation has invested most have seen their mortality rate increase, whereas it has improved in countries where the foundation was least involved."
Link to Original Source

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