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Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

Ramze Re:What difference would it make if we were "it"? (334 comments)

This is the crux of the "intelligent life out there" argument. We literally have no idea how probable intelligent, industrialized life is to develop - even on planets proven to have life and what time scale or necessary events must take place for it to arise. Apes likely became intelligent on Earth because of extreme changes in habitats and multiple near-extinction events which forced survivors to adapt and adopt tool use to compete and thrive. Maybe such evolutionary pressures are rare, and maybe species that endure them find other survival methods or simply go extinct. Animals only need to be "smart enough" to survive and breed. It may take extraordinary events to push them into an arms race for intelligence to better control and shape their environment.

I personally think life is common - as its components are common, and many chemical reactions necessary for life can happen with a solvent (water) and energy (sunlight) without life. I think intelligent life capable of spaceflight is exceedingly rare. Dolphins, dinosaurs, parrots, and octopus rarely dreamed of space flight, I think.

Life may exist nearly everywhere that conditions allow - as it likely spontaneously came from natural chemical reactions on Earth (or was seeded from another world where it spontaneously came into being), there's no reason to believe it's not a natural event itself which is likely to occur wherever it can given enough time. To say that such life would evolve into an intelligent, tool-using being capable of interstellar communication or even interplanetary flight is quite another issue entirely.

From an evolutionary perspective, intelligence may be highly overrated.

about two weeks ago

60% of Americans Unaware of Looming Incandescent Bulb Phase Out

Ramze Re:What is the best way to buy some in bulk? (944 comments)

No. The electricity is certainly wasted if it's being spent to turn electrical resistance into heat. Any HVAC guy can tell you that electric heat strips are a terribly inefficient way to produce electricity and that it's actually FAR, FAR more efficient to suck heat out of the freezing air outside using a heat pump than it is to generate heat using electrical current through a metal filament or even heat strips designed to generate heat (as backup or extra heat for use in addition to a heat pump to heat things up quickly).

about a year ago

Why the MIT Blackjack Team Became Entrepreneurs

Ramze Re:Because they had the money to become entreprene (61 comments)

I think you're missing the point. Index funds follow the market which has always trended upward at that rate over time -- even including the great depression. It's considered a safe bet to earn 10% per year in an index fund (like the S&P 500) on average over at least a period of 10 years (gives time for full recovery of any economic downturn).

about a year and a half ago

A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8

Ramze Re:Bitching is the name of the game (578 comments)

"everyone says" -- really, Everyone?!?!?

I don't know what polls and sales figures you were looking at, but Win95, WinXP, and Win7 were all winners from the get-go. Win98, Win98SE were OK, WinME was crap, Vista was crap (SPs fixed that, so it's basically Win7 now)... and Win8 is crap without a start menu shell utility. (Win2000 was also loved in businesses, but XP added much needed media features while increasing some bugginess. XP SP2 and SP3 were welcome upgrades).

The fact is that touch-tech is useful on small devices that lack keyboards but is mostly useless on a desktop, projector, or TV, so it was asinine for Microsoft to make it the primary interface for Windows 8. The Start Screen is also poorly designed for he same setting, so equally asinine to have it replace the start menu. These are real problems that need to be addressed for usability - including workplace safety and disabled user's ease of workflow.

That said, Win 8 has some great tech under the hood & I like using it with Classic Shell as my start menu w/ the charms crap turned off.

about a year and a half ago

A Tale of Two Tests: Why Energy Star LED Light Bulbs Are a Rare Breed

Ramze Re:Still waiting (314 comments)

Makes me wonder why they don't have a test for how many on/off cycles one can handle. Incandescent bulbs can go for nearly 100 years if their power source isn't disrupted or turned off. It's always the power spikes that blow a bulb -- usually when you turn one on.

about a year and a half ago

Google's Schmidt Says He 'Screwed Up' On Social Networking

Ramze Re:Google totally dropped the Social Networking ba (252 comments)

I don't disagree with any of your points save for the "End of Facebook" bit.

I use Facebook for a lot more than what you describe. Perhaps it would be the end of twitter - assuming there was an easy way for others to subscribe to your posts?

more than 3 years ago

Milky Way May Have Dark Matter Satellite Galaxies

Ramze Re:Mark my words (174 comments)

Obviously, there are gravitational distortions in space-time that current theories cannot explain. The idea that there is some sort of exotic matter creating those gravitational distortions is an untestable hypothesis (unless you know of a way to go out and collect the dark matter which may exist in these regions to run experiments on it).

It is equally likely that those regions of space are experiencing distortions due to some unknown natural distortion in space-time's structure itself or are caused by an interaction with another universe in the multiverse. It's also possible that our current model of how gravity works is incorrect at large scales due to other factors we don't yet understand. In any case, the distortions are at such a large scale and at such great distance from us that any hypothesis will be difficult to test.

"Dark Matter" is just a word for "something out there we can't see is causing gravitational distortions we can't account for." There's no reason the cause has to be some form of matter we haven't seen yet. Particle physicists haven't a clue what kind of a particle would have mass, but no interaction with light. People assume the distortions are caused by mass because all known distortions our theories work for are caused by mass, but all known normal mass particles also interact with light or emit light. So, people simply make up hypothetical particles with mass, but no interaction with light -- because they NEED for them to exist to fit their assumption that mass in our universe is causing the distortion.

I think it's far more likely we don't yet understand some aspect of gravity on galactic scales than there is some sort of magic form of matter that makes our current equations make sense in the areas that currently make no sense to us whatsoever.

more than 3 years ago

Firefox 4 Beta 9 Out, Now With IndexedDB and Tabs On Titlebar

Ramze Re:Status Bar??? (537 comments)

Exactly where do firefox devs get their marketing research from that tells them what features their users would like to keep and which they'd like to remove or change? I'm sincerely curious because I never voted for this, never got a pop-up questionnaire even on a beta version that does marketing research and has Feedback capabilities (What you like and don't like), and yet the status bar was simply GONE with an update. Who makes these decisions and based on what data? The devs personal feelings or actual responses from users?!?!?

I now have an extension to replace the status bar (status4ever or some such thing) and another extension to replace the capability to set my minimum tab width -- which was also removed unceremoniously so one couldn't go to about:config and set it anymore. The devs received this as a BUG and replied with "It was never a feature... just a setting we removed and don't intend to put back." So, if there weren't an extension for me, I'd be scrolling forever to see my 40+ tabs open (on just one set of Tab Panorama tabs on a wide-screen monitor).

Why are features removed rather than made optional??? Extensions to get old functionality back are inferior b/c they aren't maintained by FF and could contain buggy or insecure code -- or end development suddenly.

Honestly, it's changes like these that send loyal users to Chrome. Chrome is minimalist + extensions to do what you want. Firefox has always been defaults for most users + lots of customizations + extensions if you need/want them. Firefox and Chrome target different market segments. If you strip out features and require people to get an extension to add the utility back... those people may as well switch to Chrome.

I'm already running Chrome half the time -- I'm testing it out preparing for what may be an inevitable transition to it from Firefox. Most of my friends, family, and co-workers use Chrome exclusively now.

In my opinion, Firefox can't hope to compete head-to-head with Chrome on speed, bug fixes, release dates, etc. etc. Google has far more resources. Firefox should instead target features (especially for power users), flexibility, and security while Google targets the average person that rarely has more than a few tabs open at a time. I'm not saying Firefox shouldn't stay competitive... but when someone asks "Why should I use Firefox instead of Chrome," one of my answers used to be that Firefox was very customizable... with lots of options and you could do about anything in about:config... it's just not true now. I'm still using an about:config option to let my "close tab" button remain on the far right rather than on each individual tab. When that option goes away forever (as I'm sure it will at this rate), I'll switch to Chrome -- unless I find another extension to add that back, too.

more than 3 years ago

France Planning Non-Windows Tablet Tax?

Ramze Re:"Planing?" (227 comments)

Why not simply state, "The dog should have been walked." or "The dog should have been walked by now." with the implication that it has not been done, it should be done immediately -- if that was the intended meaning?

more than 3 years ago

Tron: Legacy — Too Much Imagination Required?

Ramze Re:It's a Fantasy movie not Scifi (429 comments)

science fiction
A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.

Science fiction is FANTASY -- by definition! Your statement : "if every single aspect of the movie is scientifically impossible it's FANTASY not science fiction." has no merit for the examples you listed.

Starwars -- space travel, life on other planets, robots with sophisticated AI (all science fiction)
WALL-E -- robots with sophisticated AI, life aboard a space ship, ecological disaster due to human pollution (ditto)
The Thing -- intelligent alien life (ditto)
Back to the Future -- time travel with paradoxes, ripple effects, etc., hoverboards, flying cars, fusion powered vehicles, etc. etc.
The Iron Giant -- giant alien robot

If this were the 1800's, you'd probably complain the works of Jules Verne weren't sci-fi either.

more than 3 years ago

GM Criticized Over Chevy Volt's Hybrid Similarities

Ramze Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (657 comments)

You make an excellent point. The impending energy crisis will not be caused by a shortage of energy, but by our infrastructure which currently lacks the ability to harness, store, and distribute existing sources of energy to sustain our current use. Heat, light, mechanical energy (wind, running water), chemical energy (burning fossil fuels, biodiesel) , nuclear energy (from fusion or fission.... uranium or thorium), etc. are abundant. Fossil fuels may be dwindling, and it may take some time to replace such energy-dense matter -- particularly oil and natural gas which can be easily transported to refuel vehicles and/or heat homes. We will invest in research & expensive new infrastructure when the time comes and the expense can be shown to be economical.

more than 4 years ago

Some Netflix Users Have Rated 50,000 Shows

Ramze Re:Evidence (134 comments)

I've rated about 3600 titles... but honestly, you don't have to watch an entire movie all the way through to give it a one star "I Hated it" or two star "I didn't like it". Sometimes I'll play a low rated movie for 15-20 minutes or so just to see if it's an under-appreciated gem -- or I'll play a 3 star movie and skip around waiting for it to pick up, then close out and rate it w/ 2 stars because I didn't enjoy it.

5,000 titles isn't that impressive when you consider every TV show, documentary, and movie you've ever seen in your whole life. I rated over 2,000 titles my first day or two of Netflix just to seed the algorithm with my preferences. If I had rated every children's show (Barney for example) with one star instead of simply clicking "not interested", I would easily have over 4,000 rated by now & it's only my second month of Netflix.

My guess is most people just don't bother to rate things b/c of the time involved in clicking the ratings for each one. I swear, rating over 2,000 titles was like playing whack-a-mole for hours.

more than 4 years ago

High Fructose Corn Syrup To Get a Makeover

Ramze Re:What the hell? (646 comments)

First, thank you for an interesting theory that is worth researching. I had not thought about the possibility of enzymes being included in the product. It would be interesting to know what portion of enzymes survives the process, packaging, storage, temperature fluctuations, and human ingestion to be able to affect the digestion of other foods. My educated guess would be very little, but it would be interesting to find out. It would also be interesting to know if the types of enzymes used could even function at human body temperatures if they arrived unharmed in the digestive tract.

There is no doubt that ingesting sugar could lead to a "sugar spike" in the bloodstream, but it's unlikely to cause any harm in a healthy individual. Your post implies sugar spikes cause Type II Diabetes. While sugar spikes can be a symptom of Type II Diabetes, there is no evidence that they are a cause of the disease. In fact, there is quite a lot of evidence suggesting sugars do not contribute directly in any way. They do, however, contribute to obesity which is a considerable factor. One could ingest large quantities of fruits for a quick fructose rush immediately followed by sucking down pixie stix for their sucrose topped off with several spoonfuls of honey (which is similar to HFCS) daily and not develop diabetes from it.... unless they got fat from it & lack of exercise.


It's a bit odd that you attribute Type II Diabetes as being caused by a sugar spike b/c the body couldn't produce enough insulin -- when type II diabetes is generally caused by insulin resistance. The pancreas pumps out enough insulin just fine -- just not enough relatively b/c the body resists using it. It's the body's cells that resist absorbing the sugar with the help of the insulin that is the culprit.

The most prescribed treatment for type II diabetics is to avoid fatty foods and start exercising regularly b/c more than half the cases are caused, at least in part, by being overweight. People generally know that diabetes is a sugar-related disorder, so it's easy for people to get confused and mistakenly link the intake of sugar with being one of the many contributing factors that causes the disorder.

more than 4 years ago

Stand-Alone Antivirus Software?

Ramze Re:Use Windows Embdded, not XP Home (159 comments)

I've found the "Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP" can be very helpful at locking down exactly what can be changed on an XP build... including allowing changes, but wiping them after a reboot.
It's now called "Windows SteadyState 2.5"

more than 4 years ago

New York Times Bans Use of Word "Tweet"

Ramze Re:News flash (426 comments)

Perhaps in your social circles, but not in mine.

There's only one person I know who even uses the word "tweet." Everyone else I know thinks it's stupid. Most people I know that use twitter still say "sent a twitter alert", "sent a twitter update", "posted to twitter", or "follow me on twitter" because "sent a tweet" and "follow my tweets" both sound about as stupid as Steve Ballmer sounded when he talked about "sending a squirt" or "squirting" data between devices.

No one can say for sure, but my money is on "tweet" becoming as archaic as it is juvenile & it will be largely forgotten.

more than 4 years ago

World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered

Ramze Re:What temperature does this work at though?! (72 comments)

Cut your arrogance, sir. "Not Yet" implies that it's something that is believed to be possible to achieve... which it isn't.

Any physicist will tell you that super-conduction depends on keeping atoms in a specific tight arrangement. At room temperature, there is too much movement of atoms and space between them even in crystalline structures to allow for superconductivity. Superconductivity is a state of matter. There are no super-conducting gasses or liquids (and there never will be!) and there will very likely never be any super-conducting solids at room temperature -- ever. The hottest temperature known for any material to super-conduct is 133 kelvin = -220.27 degrees Fahrenheit. That's not much warmer than liquid nitrogen at around 77 K.

It's not arrogance to say that superconductors will NEVER work at room temperature... at least according to the laws of physics as we understand them.

The colder super conductors work because atoms mesh into a quantum state only possible at cold temperatures. The hotter ones appear to work by aligning electrical spin of electrons -- a completely different method, but it too stops working above a certain threshold of heat. Heat adds motion and disorder to the system causing a breakdown in the state of matter.

To clarify, there will NEVER be a room temperature superconductor. It's literally impossible at room temperature to achieve the state of organized matter necessary to provide superconduction. To say otherwise is as ridiculous as saying one day we'll have a super-conducting gas (duh... gasses can never super-conduct either... nor can liquids).

There, fixed that for ya...

more than 4 years ago

World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered

Ramze Re:What temperature does this work at though?! (72 comments)

"Not Yet" implies that it's something that is believed to be possible... which it isn't.

Any physicist will tell you that super-conduction depends on keeping atoms in a specific tight arrangement. At room temperature, there is too much movement of atoms and space between them even in crystalline structures to allow for superconductivity. Superconductivity is a state of matter. There are no super-conducting gasses or liquids and there will very likely never be any super-conducting solids at room temperature -- ever. The hottest temperature known for any material to super-conduct is 133 kelvin = -220.27 degrees Fahrenheit. That's not much warmer than liquid nitrogen at around 77 K.

So, to clarify... superconductors will NEVER work at room temperature... at least according to the laws of physics as we understand them.

FTFY... anonymous coward with pie in the sky dreams and no understanding of the topic

more than 4 years ago

Solaris No Longer Free As In Beer

Ramze Re:Fuck the market (392 comments)

Capitalism works, in theory, by survival of the fittest and is subject directly to consumers' support providing for their self-interests. It is the perfect solution for creating the fittest organizations to provide the goods and services people want at a price they want. It is fueled by people's selfish needs to grow and prosper by working hard as well as their selfish needs for goods, services, and the perception of wealth. It's really the only system that allows for a certain level of greed. Socialism is perfect in a perfect world with a benevolent, wise dictator where everyone agrees that we should all do equal work for equal pay and equal outcome... and the dictator tells us all what we should make, how much, and of what kind, shape, color, etc. etc.

The standards I use to say other systems do not work is that there hasn't been one yet that worked. The USSR tried and failed. Do you know that there was once a glass company that told its workers they would be paid by the hour, so they worked long hours and produced almost nothing? Then they were told they would be paid by the square inch produced, so they produced thin sheets of glass that would easily snap. Then they were told they'd be paid by the weight of the glass, so they added lead and other heavy metals to the glass and made it too thick to fit into standard window sizes. Eventually, they had to state every specification for the product and how much to be produced. It would've been so much easier if the company's income were based on the demand. Command Production and Quotas implemented by the USSR had detrimental consequences USSR

All systems have flaws -- they just take time to surface. Even capitalism requires government interference to provide laws to prevent monopolies, price-fixing, fraud, etc... but I have yet to hear of a system that works better to allow the masses to prosper.

more than 4 years ago

The Bloodhound Will Stay On the Ground At 1,000 mph

Ramze Re:Motor cars weren't (242 comments)

car is a general term for any conveyance for passengers or "cargo"... elevator cars, boxcars, cable cars, etc etc... and yes, it was a general term for a cart, chariot, carriage, etc as well. Basically any area for storage or passengers on a vehicle is the "car"

It's origin is the Latin word for a Celtic / Gallic 2 wheeled wagon which was generally pulled by an animal such as a horse.


more than 4 years ago


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