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Comments

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Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

PhilHibbs Re:Article not written by nerds (158 comments)

It's possible that an organism might resemble the hexagonal parts of a buckyball but not the pentagonal parts if the pentagonal parts are uneven or convex.

Although this looks just like a normal icosahedron. I can't find a transalation other than an automated one.

about two weeks ago
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Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

PhilHibbs Re:What is life? What is a virus? (158 comments)

Consider the continuum as it extends over time and space. Everything is and/or was a continuum, but occasionally holes and tears in the continuum occur that cause the appearance of hard distinctions between species.

about three weeks ago
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The Video Game That Maps the Galaxy

PhilHibbs Re:Drake's equation did it in 1961 (28 comments)

Drake's Equation hasn't predicted anything, because no-one knows what the vaues of any of the variables are.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

PhilHibbs Re:Hello Americans (340 comments)

And you seem to like our language. Please treat it with respect.

about three weeks ago
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

PhilHibbs Re:My two cents... (210 comments)

Google shouldn't have to make intelligent decisions as to what needs to be removed. It should all be automatic. Either everything is removed, or nothing is removed. Only by court orders otherwise.

So I should be able to request that searches for "microsoft" should not go to "microsoft.com"? And Google should be forced to honour that?

Those people, who want to be forgotten, should go after those hosting the material, not the search engine pointing.

The reason that going via the search engine works, is that it is possible. Many content platforms don't have easy mechanisms for identifying and removing content, and many are hosted abroad (whereas Google is active in the EU and can therefore be instructed by EU authorities). Slashdot, for instance, has only ever removed comment content once to my knowledge and they made a huge deal over it. Search engines, however, have enough layers of indirection between the search box and the results that adding a rule to exclude certain results from certain keywords isn't all that difficult.

I don't think that the "right to be forgotten" is a good idea. But saying "Instead of doing it via a route that is possible, they should do it via a route that is impossible" isn't a helpful contribution. Just say it's a bad idea, rather than suggesting an impossible course of action.

about a month ago
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California Legalizes Bitcoin

PhilHibbs Re:California also legalized using polished turds (162 comments)

Bitcon is NEVER mentioned.

It IS mentioned.

The assembly member that proposed it, in the press release announcing the passing of the bill, talks about BitCoin, Amazon Coins, Starbucks Stars, and Diablo II Stones of Jordan*. Of course the legislation itself doesn't mention BitCoin, since the section that it repeals pre-dates BitCoin, and when you're repealing a section, you just say "Section X is repealed", not "Section X is repealed because BitCoin".

*One of these is a lie.

about a month ago
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California Legalizes Bitcoin

PhilHibbs If making currency was illegal... (162 comments)

...and money laundering and sanction evading are illegal... and they can fine foreign banks for those activities that were carried out overseas... could they have fined banks for issuing currency overseas?

about a month ago
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Trio of Big Black Holes Spotted In Galaxy Smashup

PhilHibbs Re:Please explain (74 comments)

If we are looking at the system from "above", like looking down on a plate on which peas are rolling around, then the apparent distance between them is the same as the actual distance between them. If we're looking at them edge-on, then we don't really know how far apart they are. The apparent distance sets the lower bound for the actual distance, but the upper bound is unknown. And yes, there's always a degree of conjecture in astronnomy. All we can really say is that there are three black holes near the centre of that galaxy, and they are almost certainly in orbit around each other.

What people don't seem to understand is, science relies on publishing of un-proven theories. You observe, model, predict, publish, and eventually you will be either proven right or wrong. Without the "publish" step, especially in long-term sciences like astronomy where it could take centuries for a theory to tested (such as, "will that comet return in a hundred years"), you could make a thousand contradictory predictions and then publish the one that happened - by co-incidence - to be correct. If you limit yourself to a single prediction, which turns out to be correct, then you are worth paying attention to. My mum is always saying "Scientists keep getting things wrong, therefore all science is rubbish". Getting things wrong is crucual to scientific progress.

about a month ago
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A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

PhilHibbs Drexel? (501 comments)

Could they find a name that sounds more like a James Bond villain?

about a month ago
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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore

PhilHibbs Re:TL;DR (124 comments)

Scroll down to TTYM.

about a month and a half ago
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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore

PhilHibbs Re:Urban Dictionary (124 comments)

In the context of "smoking a fag", if you take "fag" to mean "homosexual person", then "smoking" might mean "setting fire to" or "shooting". As in, "let's go smoke some gooks", as you might hear in a Vietnam movie.

about a month and a half ago
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Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

PhilHibbs Re:meaningless, unless the geothermal is new (387 comments)

The continents move over hotspots, which is why the Hawaii island chain exists. I don't know much about the Antarctic continental plate, whether it is moving or not, but it may have drifted over a hotspot some time in the last few million years.

about 1 month ago
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Geothermal Heat Contributing To West Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting

PhilHibbs Re:where is west (387 comments)

Walk towards Greenwich and turn left.

about 1 month ago
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In the year since Snowden's revelations ...

PhilHibbs Re:Missing option. (248 comments)

That's like including an option "I never vote in Slashdot polls".

about 2 months ago
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Evidence of Protoplanet Found On Moon

PhilHibbs Re:Somewhat confused (105 comments)

I haven't read the Science article yet, but from the BBC report it seems that the differences between the isotope ratios in moon rocks and earth are still a lot smaller than expected. This would suggest the Theia hypotheses to not be true, contrary to what the title says. I'm going to track down the original paper, because this BBC article has me somewhat confused.

The absolute terms "true" and "not true" are not appropriate for a hypothesis like this. There may be some parts of it that are accurate, but for instance the size, mass, velocity, density distribution etc. of the Theia might be wrong, or the physics in the simulation might be wrong, etc.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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UK company creates free energy

PhilHibbs PhilHibbs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

PhilHibbs writes "The Daily Mail and Wired Blog Gadget Lab are reporting on an apparent free-energy device from British company Ecowatts. Scientists are "still not clear about the science involved here, because the physics and chemistry are very different-to everything that has gone before", but independent tests carried out by Jim Lyons at the University of York "were getting 150 to 200 per cent more energy out than we put in, without trying too hard." It "involves passing an electrical current through a mixture of water, potassium carbonate (otherwise known as potash) and a secret liquid catalyst, based on chrome." So, stick that in your pipe and... get hot water out of it, I suppose. Maybe."

Journals

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"Why have you made me a Foe?"

PhilHibbs PhilHibbs writes  |  about 11 years ago

Because your comments contain something that I object to. Not the content, I'm happy to read your differing opinions, but something in the structure of the comment. Most likely, your comments contain a "sig" that is not removed by the "Disable Sigs" checkbox. If you insist on overriding my preferences and adding a sig to the body of your comments, or you indulge in any other formatting tricks that spoil the slashdot experience, then you are my foe.

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Which? on CD copying (story submission)

PhilHibbs PhilHibbs writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Computing Which?, an entirely independent UK consumer magazine, is running a report on Apple, Sony etc.'s confusing stance on copyright. "Rip, mix, burn", but "The products that we produce ... are licenced to use for material for which [the consumer] holds the copyright". The article advocates the explicit legalisation of personal CD copying. (Can anyone work out what the BPI are saying in the last paragraph?)

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