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Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

LongearedBat Re:Not really. (219 comments)

I sometimes like to play with the idea that we're being observed, specifically because it highlights why they probably would avoid contacting us.

Socially advanced species would probably not want to destroy us, because if we become space faring then we've earnt the right to join the galactic community.

On the other hand, we would be the equivalent of orcs: we like rough sports and martial arts (ah, the art of moving a sharp piece of metal right through...), we pride ourselves on our combustion engines (planes, cars, boats, sure those engines pollute, but it's high tech man), we still practice slavery (even if don't like to admit it), we're still very corrupt and often lack respect for each others safety, we breed uncontrollably, and we wage war.

We would be a veritable plague.


Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

LongearedBat Re:World's highest dick-waving contest (238 comments)

I went to the top of Burj Dubai* in May last year, and I couldn't see anything that made it look useful for anything other than a tourist platform. If such buildings eventually bring in more tourist dollars than they cost to build, then I suppose they serve their purpose.

* Does that mean that I mounted Dubai's... oh, let's not go there.


Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

LongearedBat Stop with the tabloid news, please! (169 comments)

This is just from today:

Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not
Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets
Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked
US CTO Tries To Wean the White House Off Floppy Disks

Perhaps some of those are interesting topics and it's just me who is picky. But really, topics such as these are why I came to /. :

Experiments Create Particles Out of a Vacuum Using Neutrinos
The Missing Piece of the Smart Home Revolution: The Operating System

about three weeks ago

Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

LongearedBat Re:Let's do the math (307 comments)

10% of infinity is...... hmmm, carry the one... Um 7?


about 2 months ago

Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

LongearedBat Re:obvious reasons (376 comments)

Alas, what you say applies to so many more countries than just the US.

In my opinion, we need a new, more evolved version of democracy. It seems that most (all?) variants of modern democracy suffer from the same issues:

1. Imbalanced media ownership.

2. A party winning elections. It would be better if parties shared decision making based on proportion of public support. Yes, many governments are meant to work that way by voting in parliament, but in practice that doesn't seem to actually work due to reasons such as party loyalty and ...

3. Decision making ministers/senators. I get that minister/senator are different roles, but my point is that each person is responsible for far too much. Instead we ought to have spokes people and team managers, but actual decision making should be left to specialist teams, a form of democratic technocracy.

Reasons for 2 & 3 are:

- No one party or senator/minister to lobby or bribe.

- Because all parties can expect to be partially in power uninterrupted for the long haul, that ought to reduce short term thinking.

- You don't have politicians making decisions on topics they have no training nor experience in (in my country most politicians are lawyers) such as various technologies and sciences, education, medicine, etc.

The problem is, of course, getting career politicians to agree to such changes.

about 2 months ago

What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

LongearedBat Re:Hindsight is 20:20 (523 comments)

If you're being sarcastic: Point taken.

If you're being serious: That might cause a political catastrophe 'cos of the "scary fallout"*. But I doubt it would cause a nuclear catastrophe, 'cos I don't think a chain reaction can be triggered in a small amount of fuel grade plutonium by merely hitting ground (even if it is at high speed).

* It's not actually fallout per se, because it's not a consequence of a nuclear reaction, but a chemical reaction (fire). But it would be a scattering of radioactive particles, which were extracted from the ground in the first place. So they go back to where they came from.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust - that sort of thing. ;)

about 2 months ago

Meet the 36 People Who Run Wikipedia

LongearedBat Re:What's wrong with hierarchy? (140 comments)

Depends on your perspective.

For just about all large groups of people to function cohesively, they need some sort of system. Systems where managers keep the functioning from stagnating is common because such systems generally work (yes, good managers do exist). Think of it as a team with different roles.

Your perspective seems to be that management roles are higher in a hierarchy, and that the higher ranking can force their will upon the lower ranking. If that's all the experience you've had, then I really do feel sad for you.

My perspective is that all those roles are equally valuable parts of a cohesive team, where good managers don't mind being told when they're making mistakes, because they feel part of the team. This is what I'm used to.

about 3 months ago

The Largest Ship In the World Is Being Built In Korea

LongearedBat Metric units, please!!! (275 comments)

So... there are Imperial units and even banana units, but still no metric units?!? Sure, I can roughly work the specs out in my head, and call me lazy, but it would be so much nicer if one person did it once when submitting the summary.

According to this there are only three (yes, 3) countries left in the world that don't use metric units: US, Myanmar and Liberia. ie. Lots of slashdotters around the world who won't be used to imperial.

Please, could we make an unwritten rule for /. that metric units are always included? Don't need to replace the imperial values, just put the metric values in brackets.

about 3 months ago

Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

LongearedBat Re:Let me FTFY (294 comments)

Money shouldn't be speech. When money is speech, then those with more money get more say.

In principle I don't have a problem with that. (Personal opinion.) But in practice people are selfish, and that selfishness leads to speaking loudly for things that are not always good (in fact, usually quite bad) for those who can't pay for their speech.

Free speech ought to mean that no one is hurt for what they say. Pity that what ought to be and what is are not the same.

about 3 months ago

Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S

LongearedBat Re:Performance (283 comments)

6: They are quiet.

Ironically, that'd probably be the one turn off for motorcyclists. Imagine a group of Hells Angels taking off on silent Harley's.

about 4 months ago

New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise

LongearedBat Re:So many practice doing it wrong (192 comments)

When telling my martial arts students to try to practice correctly I often say:

If you practice doing something a lot, then you become good at doing it.
If you practice doing the wrong thing a lot, then you become good at doing the wrong thing.

That's where tuition is so important. A good teacher will guide students into correct technique, and identify and teach away bad habits as soon as possible.

Another thing I tell my students is:

I can teach you skills, but only you can practice them into art/mastery.

about 4 months ago

Study: Multimedia Multitasking May Be Shrinking Human Brains

LongearedBat Re:Not a new concern (87 comments)

if our electronic devices are seen as augmentations, then doesn't our total cyborg person remain just as intelligent?

I think no, because crucial aspects intelligence include understanding and creating thinking, which none of these devices can help us with (yet?).

about 4 months ago

Bioethicist At National Institutes of Health: "Why I Hope To Die At 75"

LongearedBat Re:Only 5 years of retirement (478 comments)

My father died last year, just as he was retiring. On his deathbed he told me that over the years people had said to him "Why do you spend all your money on 4WD's and gadgets? You should invest it.". But, had he done so then he would have missed out on the long camping trips with my mother, travelling overseas, doing the things he wanted. So now he could "give Death the finger", as he put it. His only regret was to have missed out on spending time with his grand children teaching them botany, entomology, etc.

Before that he'd tell me to work hard so I could enjoy my life when I retire.

The lesson he realised then was what I often say: Enjoy what you have while you have it, because nothing lasts forever.
And even if you think things are bad now, they could be worse, and might be worse in the future. Even times of suffering can be looked back upon with the positive light that comes from the distance of time and greater life wisdom (often gained from those very times of suffering).

about 4 months ago

The Raid-Proof Hosting Technology Behind 'The Pirate Bay'

LongearedBat Re:Raids are like censorship. (144 comments)

Sure one can fight oneself. One can start by shooting oneself in the foot. ;-)

about 4 months ago

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

LongearedBat Re:illogical captain (937 comments)

No. The second option is the most logical, because no evidence either way is just that: no evidence

Only if we have evidence that Bigfoot does not exist, will the first option be the most logical.

That is different from what is most likely. It is still most likely that Bigfoot does not exist. (Which is why not believing in Big Foot is still a fair call.)

For example: It is suggested that Yeti might be a type of bear. Had we accepted that Yeti don't exist due to lack of evidence, then we'd never make the effort to make such a discovery. In fact, often we even reject any supposed evidence. But by accepting option 2, then the case is not closed until we have some evidence, one way or another.

Who knows what other "woo-woo" ideas might have some truth in them. I like to give the example of St Elmo's Fire. Of course angels don't dance on masts, but by at least looking into it, we found there was some truth behind the stories after all, and so we learnt something.

Disclaimer: I'm not a God believer, because there are so many easy logic traps that God simply doesn't make sense, at least not in any way I've ever heard of.

about 4 months ago

Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

LongearedBat Re:Empirical Data Trumps Information Theory (211 comments)

the educational system is far worse then generally assumed.

Yep. The education system even fails to teach spelling.

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist. ;)

about 5 months ago

Architecture That Changes Shape In Response To Heat

LongearedBat Wouldn't "shade scales" be better? (34 comments)

Think of those plastic pieces in the video, but as separate pieces arranged in a lattice similar to that of fish scales. Each scale would have a hinge on top and heat would cause the scales to push themselves off the wall. Then, when they get hot, they would shade the wall, but when cool could lie flat to create a partially (leaky, I'm sure) insulating air pocket between the building wall and the scale wall.

Seems simpler, and if a few scales fail, then they could be easily tageted for replacement.

about 5 months ago

Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

LongearedBat How? (364 comments)

How to distinguish whether the phone user is driving a car or riding a bus?

about 5 months ago

3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

LongearedBat Re:Anthropometrics (819 comments)

There is not nearly enough competition in the airline industry to lead to improvements driven from capitalism.

I thought it was the other way round... tough competition being the driver for cramming as many people as they can into as few flights as possible to make ends meet.

This is unfortunately the time where government needs to step in for the general well being of society.

Yeah, it does seem so. Not holding my breath for it happening though. Given that airlines operate across countries they'll be able to make such decisions very difficut to get through.

about 5 months ago


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