How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War
Think of an EMP as a beam weapon....
Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016
It seems to me that the energy utilities need to restructure their billing. I suggest dividing it into two parts, one of which is related to the need to pay for infrastructure maintenance and expansion, while the other is related to the energy they sell. The first part could be charged to every customer equally. The second would depend on energy usage. In places where the customers can sell energy to the utilities, the most reasonable answer was devised and implemented in various places years ago: Just install a second meter and think of the energy company as a middleman. You can't sell to the middleman at the same price you buy from him --and when you are a customer selling energy to the utility, you are essentially selling it to some other customer of the middleman. It would make sense for your sales price of energy to be equivalent to what the utility pays to generate it.
US Midterm Elections Discussion
I should have specified a longer-term history than just the past few years. Here is a nice long and detailed list. Enron, for example, and the recent banking-crisis-caused Recession, are Republican scandals, because they have never been interested in making sure businesses do honest dealings, and they block Democrat attempts for such oversight at every opportunity. (It is possible that the Democrats want to over-do it, but History shows we need more than Zero oversight, of business dealings.) Attempts to repeal the Clean Air Act is a Republican scandal (they don't care if they poison more millions of people with air pollution). Nixon was a Republican scandal. Reagan and Eisenhower weren't, but their underlings most certainly were scandalous. Attempts to reduce the Minimum Wage is a Republican scandal (millions of people are already living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and they want to make the situation worse?). Attempts to increase numbers of skilled foreign workers is a Republican scandal (preferring cheap labor over American labor; whatever happened to companies being willing to do OJT?). The entire Republican economic "trickle down" policy has been proved to not work, yet they still push for more of it, because it financially benefits them, and very few others. And per that list presented at the start of this message, lots more Republican politicians have been associated with financial shenanigans, than Democrat politicians.
US Midterm Elections Discussion
If you step back and look at the history of scandals associated with political power, you might notice that, in general, Democrat scandals have tended to involve sex and drugs, and hurt a few people (along with the status of a high political office). Meanwhile, in general, Republican scandals have tended to involve money and power, and hurt thousands or even millions of people. It's tempting to predict that, if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, some sort of money/power scandal will result. One example: They might repeal part of Obamacare, the part that the Supreme Court associated Congress' power to tax --while keeping the part that requires everyone to get insurance. Because, after all, the majority owners of most big insurance companies are, largely, Republicans, and therefore would directly financially benefit from such a scandalous change. Remember that the preceding is just a possibility/example. If some sort of money/power scandal does happen, it will take time to plan, time to become manifested, and time to be discovered/exposed. So, it will be a while before anyone knows for sure, whether or not it was smart to give Republicans control of the Senate.
Google Announces a New Processor For Project Ara
Sounds like the start of making each phone module into a nano-computer. Each nano-computer controls only its own module, running a nano-OS. The nano-OS would only need two things: a way to plug in a driver for the particular hardware of the module, and a communications program so all the modules can be coordinated. One particular module would have, as its "driver", the coordination program, producing the overall result with which the end-user interacts.
The Benefits of Inequality
I tend to agree that other social animals also mostly are not quite so egalitarian. However, the way it is expressed is more about "alpha male" dominance, among animals, while among humans it is more about "social power". On the other hand, we can easily form groups to resist some current Authority figure. When our species emigrated from Africa, for thousands of years human tribes split and went separate ways because of social divisions. After the accessible world was filled with hunter-gatherers, then came more serious inter-tribal competition for resources, and the first battles. Meanwhile, something Robert Heinlein wrote appears to have been valid the entire time [paraphrased here]: "Any government can work if power and responsibility are matched." So the masses of low-status citizens can basically say, "Sure, you can have the social power, but you had better use it to deal with these responsibilities...." That is the advantage seen by those masses of low-status citizens, for themselves: less responsibilities.
Hackers Demand Automakers Get Serious About Security
One of the simplest ways to lock down a computer is to physically lock it away from access. Originally car-makers did that --you needed physical access to the computer (usually inside locked hood compartment) to do anything to it. Now they have connected it to radio waves. That is the main security hole. Go back to a solid wired-only connection, with the connection point(s) behind locked doors, and a significant chunk of the security problems goes away.
Floridian (and Southern) Governmental Regulations Are Unfriendly To Solar Power
One problem is that the politics has overlooked two important things. First, those power companies build "base load" capacity plus "peak power" capacity. Often the peak-power capacity involves a different and more-expensive source of energy than the base-load capacity. Meanwhile, peak-power capacity is most often needed in the middle of the day (like for running lots of air conditioners). Well, solar power is pretty much ideal for matching the peak-power needs. There could be a legal compromise between customers installing some solar power, enough to handle their peak needs, and customers installing so much solar power they don't need the power company at all. This would save the power companies the investment in those peak-load power plants, while the customers generally simply wouldn't be producing levels of power such that they might want to sell some over the grid. The second important thing is the fact that as population rises, the need for more base-load power keeps going up. The power grid can currently handle the current-base-load plus current-peak-load, and as the overall load increases, the grid needs to be enhanced. Well, again if customers can have solar power adequate to handle their peak needs, then the power companies, by not needing peak-load power plants, can also save on investing in upgrades to the grid for a while. They would only need to do that when the total base-load production rises to equal the current total of base+peak.
Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis
If we concentrate on fusion, not fission. Today there are a number of researchers who think that the theoretical problems of fusion have been solved enough that all we need to do is invest money in actual hardware. But the existing entrenched interests keep opposing such investments. Well, that's what THEY say, anyway. But they are certainly right that fusion, when perfected, will be less problematic than fission, especially with regard to wastes.
TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes
The TSA is probably thinking that if the battery in your gadget doesn't work, it might not actually be a battery...so, just to be on the safe side....
Hospitals Begin Data-Mining Patients
If a hospital sends you a reminder like that, you can be sure a bill for it will soon follow.
Building the Infinite Digital Universe of No Man's Sky
I'm imagining ten thousand different players exploring in ten thousand different directions, and every time something is procedurally generated, it either needs to be remembered for the next player to come along to that same location, or the generator has to be super-well-done, to reach a given point from ten thousand different directions, and the same landscape/space-scape/whatever gets generated every time.
Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light
There seems to me to be a slight error in the original article. Neutrinos have been determined to possess mass. It is only a slight amount of mass, but it precludes them from being able to travel at exactly the speed of light. How close to light-speed do they normally travel? I can't say. But it is reasonable to think that the distance from Supernova 1987A to Earth should have led to a slightly later arrival time, for neutrinos, than if they had actually traveled at light-speed.
The preceding relates to another thing, the quantum-mechanical mechanism for interfering with the actual speed of light. Those pairs of virtual particles that form also have mass. That means, while they temporarily exist, they also cannot be traveling at exactly light-speed; they have to be traveling slightly slower.
Toyota Investigating Hovercars
There is a new-ish technology out there for making flying machines, and they can be roughly automobile-sized. Perhaps Toyota should consider teaming up with the inventors....
The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes
Something they might not have taken into account is the "view it again" factor. Sure, the manufacture of DVDs has a significant environmental impact. But when not simply thrown away after being purchased, it means that saving a movie for a few years, and then seeing it again, does not have the same environmental impact it did the first time. It might be interesting to see how many "views" are needed to make owning a DVD a better environmental bargain that streaming its content.
NASA's Plan To Block Light From Distant Stars To Find 'Earth 2.0'
It occurs to me that this might be a good thing for a satellite equipped with a solar-sail, to be used for. It wouldn't have to worry about running out of fuel, maneuvering from one location to another, which the space telescope might be aimed at.
Linux Sucks (Video)
So long as other operating systems suck worse. Kind of like "democracy is not really a good form of government, but all the others suck worse".
GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet
I think I want a phone with a slight modification, that lets me jack into the car's antenna.
Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable
You missed the point, regarding E.T.s --each such species (even if only one per hundred galaxies) represents yet another way that Nature would have found to build a brain that can host enough consciousness for self-recognition. With hundreds of billions of galaxies out there, one such type of brain per hundred galaxies would mean there are billions of ways to build such brains. And so I repeat, anyone who thinks "no variant of computer hardware will ever be able to do that" --especially when we are deliberately copying brain-designs into our computer hardware!-- is just not thinking clearly.
Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable
"Non-computable" does not mean "non-copy-able". In other words, consider the sort of consciousness associated with recognizing oneself in a mirror. Humans are not the only animals that can do that. Among those that can are quite a few other primates, dolphins, elephants, some species of birds (certain parrots), and even the octopus. So, think about that in terms of brain structure: Birds have a variant on the basic "reptilian brain", elephants and dolphins have the "mammalian brain" extension of the reptilian brain, chimps and gorillas have the "primate brain" extension of the mammalian brain, and the octopus brain is in an entirely different class altogether (the mollusk family includes clams and snails). Yet Nature found ways to give all of those types of data-processing equipment enough consciousness for self-recognition. And after you include however-many extraterrestrial intelligences there might be, all across the Universe, well, anyone who thinks "no variant of computer hardware will ever be able to do that" is just not thinking clearly.
This post relates to the preceding "Web of Trust" post. I'm putting my Public Key on the Internet in multiple places, where people can access it and see that it is the same data in those different places --and where, presumably, only I had the ability to post that data in all those places. At this writing the data can be compared at this site and this site, and is downloadable from here as a file that can actually be used for things like verifying digital signatures. (You could also open the file with a text editor and compare its data with the data below.)
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v1
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Web of Trust
Think about the number of different sites you typically visit, and the number of sites where you joined to become someone who could post some sort of content. You've probably used different passwords at those sites, which means that, in general, you are the only person who is able to access your accounts at all those sites. Now suppose you fired up a "Pretty Good Privacy" program like "GnuPG", and created a Private Key (that you keep secret) and a Public Key that you post at multiple web sites. Since this would be the same data at each site, and it is assumed that only you can access your accounts at all those sites, it logically follows that there is a high probability that no hacker has posted a Public Key while pretending to be you. You have basically used the Internet to create a Web of Trust that authenticates you! Think about that in terms of SSL Certificates and Certificate Authorities --they charge big bucks to verify that you are you, so that the SSL Certificate you get from them can be trusted by others. But instead of that, you could create a "self-signed" certificate, and associate it with a "digital signature", which you also post at multiple web sites. Again, when the same data is at multiple places that only you can modify (and when the data includes a list of those places), it follows that others can trust that your self-signed certificate is practically as good/valid as one issued by a Certificate Authority.
On Defining a "Fair Reward" for IP
If China Should Be Punished --A Modest Proposal
Amend the Constitution (fill some gaps)
"Assassinate the President"