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New Review Slams Fusion Project's Management

Yergle143 Re:Not the way to economical fusion power generati (109 comments)

I loved that propaganda. However having followed fusion progress across my entire lifetime I think it utterly dubious that it will ever be an economically competitive power source -- on earth.
We should become an electric civilization. The answer is wind wave solar and nuke (yes to Th -- why not).
However what I wish we could do is stop the pretense of affordability and build towards bold understanding of principles. This machine is vastly expensive and we should do it anyway not only for the sheer thrill of it all but to consider that we might want to make use of this technology some other way.
Callisto is a cold place for example. ConEd doesn't have a cable.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

Yergle143 Sci Fi is Mainstream; Good Sci Fi always rare (116 comments)

The massive media attendance at Comic Con indicates that producing Sci Fi (and I do use the term loosely) is almost the sole occupation of the entire movie, TV, game, and publishing industry. Try going to your local multiplex and not have to choose science fiction as some thematic component. Of the top 10 box office hits of 2013, nine are sci fi (only the Fast and the Furious 6 is not)...

Implied in the Kickstarter funding concept is that somehow the hard core genre fanbase would do a better job of bringing (or reanimating) some much beloved work or franchise. This ignores the role of producers, hard working key grips and this thing called professional actors. It also ignores this thing called accountability. Believe it or not, if something is good, it's good for just about everybody. Being terrified of being cancelled can bring out the best in a work.

Many recent well-deserved box office bombs are the result of betting on the hard core allegiance to marginal sci fi classics. "Ender's Game", "John Carter" etc...without realizing that it's more important to just make a good movie.

I use the term sci fi loosely. Of the REAL uncut stuff all you need are the pulp magazines, cover by Michael Whelan and this undeveloped resource called your imagination. Crowdfunding could really help with the marginal economics of magazine publishing. Who the heck wants to WATCH a bunch of space academics debate how to run a foundation.

about 7 months ago

A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Yergle143 Re:What is Life (185 comments)

This "Star Trek Universe" (Transpermination/DNA everywhere/Vulcan hybrids) view doesn't really account for the fact that there is ample evidence of the entire ploddingly long evolutionary history here on earth. For example, there was a very long period of time (from 2.8 billion years ago till 300 million years ago) where the primitive cyanobacteria were the major photosynthetic organism. If life arrived from above it must have been really primitive. Think of it, evolutionary progress could have been expedited 4 billion years with one fishtank's worth of eukaryotes, a can of grass seeds and nematodes.
It's possible that there were plenty of blown up planets in the genesis star cluster, but it really just punts off the issue which is still chemistry.

about 8 months ago

A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Yergle143 Re:What is Life (185 comments)

This is undoubtedly true and may be the reason there is something completely missing our understanding of primordial biology. I've always wondered why it took so long for macrocellular life to evolve. To me once you've got the something as bewilderingly complex as the ribosome, connecting a glob of cells up to become a tree should be easy, but this isn't the case. 3 billion years to make a tree.
Life appears early, but why not twice?

about 8 months ago

A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Yergle143 Re:What is Life (185 comments)

Right. Microbiologists see lots of funny things under a microscope. Since the tools used to characterize little creatures make assumptions (DNA specific stains, PCR) who's to say that there is not something we might have missed? I want to do this. But up to now, no organism has been observed to deviate from the main stem (common chemical library) of life.

about 8 months ago

A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

Yergle143 What is Life (185 comments)

Physicists sometimes have it easy. This kind of thing is akin that old joke about treating a cow like a sphere.
Look with the chemical origin of life, that it was governed by physics is not in debate.
What matters are the details, what came first; RNA world, life on a metallic surface, or some thing else?
I have this to toss at so-called astrobiologists who claim that life is spontaneous and easy.
If it is so easy why is there only one kind of life -- 20 amino acids, 4 DNA/RNA bases? To a bio organic chemist the "selection" of this chemical code is arbitrary. Why do we not live in an ecosystem with a shadow "alternative" biosphere? After all life existed for 3 billion years on this planet before even becoming multi-cellular. Plenty of time for chemical weirdos to develop a four base genetic code templating for D chirality beta amino acid chains with side chains made of silicon.
Step off physicists, this field belongs to chemists.

about 8 months ago

Six Electric Cars Can Power an Office Building

Yergle143 What they really need to study... (296 comments) how many Nissan Leafs it takes to power an array of Nuclear reactor cooling pumps just in case of a Tsunami, Earthquake, Volcano, Mothra, Gamera or a Howls Moving Castle incident.

about 9 months ago

Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

Yergle143 Re:Disciplined Minds in a Big Crunch (308 comments)

This thread has to do with Physics. I have a graph I keep around showing how federal funds have been allocated to research by discipline over time. We've been in an age of biology since the late 1970's. But, the same pressures and day of reckoning are at hand. The trouble with physics is, of course, it did its job too well. All the "practical" problems were "solved" ages ago and got spun off to engineering. So too is it with biology research. Eventually the public, and political funders, will wake up and realize there's been almost no advances in say cancer outcome (word chosen carefully) in decades. The basic monies will dry up.

And by the way, the postdoc system should be decried as what it is, a legal system of cross national bondage, and abolished. It should be replaced by a system of contract research, the salaries made competitive with the market, and about half the Ph.D. programs in the country shut down.

Even black holes eventually end.

about 9 months ago

Cow Burps Tapped For Fuel

Yergle143 From the mind of David Lynch (85 comments)

The best Dune adapt has been there first.
Great tech, now I can add another reason why I'm a vegetarian.

about a year ago

How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

Yergle143 Old Codger Reveals All (617 comments)

You reap what you sow...and what the record companies sowed were generations of unsophisticated listeners that don't know the difference between the popular artists and their next door neighbor and his robot. Musicianship, composition, pshaw. Drum machines and stored samples.
I don't care at all, there's plenty of vibrant and new alternative music -- that being jazz and classical and what's out in the World. Just look.

1 year,6 days

He Fixed 300,000+ Machines - America's Oldest Typewriter Repairman Dies At 96

Yergle143 Re:300,000 Machines? (201 comments)

Maybe he'd have given a more accurate number if he knew how to use a computer.

1 year,8 days

Sci-Fi Great Frederik Pohl Passes Away At 93

Yergle143 Last of the old ones (57 comments)

Golden Ages end. With Pohl it was his skills as an editor. Pick up any issue of Galaxy Magazine in the 60's and you'll be drawn into how well the thing is put together; and how good the writing is. If you like the Sci Fi genre there really is (current tense intended) no better way to read compelling and idea laden works from new and old writers. And like others from the era, his own novels became interesting rather late. "Gateway" is pretty good. The tropes are compelling. But again, Golden ages end.

1 year,17 days

Math and Science Popular With Students Until They Realize They're Hard

Yergle143 This just in: Science is Hard (580 comments)

The Onion has reported on this ground breaking finding exhaustively.

about a year ago

Neuroscientist: First-Ever Human Head Transplant Is Now Possible

Yergle143 Hybrid aka Zaphod Beeblebrox (522 comments)

So we can attach the head but it won't have motor about attachment to a functional headed torso and call it done? Then run for President of the Galaxy.

about a year ago

A Different Approach To Making Alternative Fuels Practical

Yergle143 You can get food from algae (90 comments)

Whenever algae comes up I like to cite a noted expert from the area for 50 years:
Look the main problem with algae is that it is really a new form of agriculture. And everything people tout as an advantage cuts the other way. At best it is carbon neutral. Now tell me how many desert ponds are located by a source of CO2?
Don't get me wrong, I think Solazyme has nailed it, there are a lot of great things we can do with algae. It can be a food for example; chemical feedstock.
As a fuel...for the infrastructure of ruining vast desert landscapes we'd do far better pumping coal gas CO2 back into salt mines.

about a year ago

Writer Jack Vance Dead At 96

Yergle143 Read Jack Vance Aloud (83 comments)

His books are so very very well written. And when it comes to colors and places and properly placed latinate adjectives that leave you scrambling for your dictionary, there are few better. And the most important thing to know about Jack Vance is that he recognized the most alien of places is the construct of human culture.
I can't imagine even one of his books made properly into a movie unless Punctilio becomes trendy.
To the outsider go pick up any of his books on E-bay, pour yourself a glass of wine by a cozy fire, and let yourself go. How about "The Last Castle" as a start.
And so funny...

about a year ago

12 Dead, 50 Injured at The Dark Knight Rises Showing In Colorado

Yergle143 The feel good hit of the summer (1706 comments)

My 2 cents on this thing is the danger of those trend setting Coloradans...Columbine set off a worldwide wave of copycat carnage and mayhem; the novel angle
here is the overt targeting of "entertainment". You reap what you sow; did the comicCon culture inadvertently create misfit class of individual who identify with the Super Villain? The promotional campaign for "Batman" now IS the promotional campaign for these violent and evil acts.

I kind of wish Frank Miller had never made Daredevil cool.

more than 2 years ago

Airborne Prions Prove Lethal In Mouse Studies

Yergle143 Open Access Closed Access -- Give me an RO1 (116 comments)

Forgive my wrath, nothing personal, this is science.
"Cell Free" -- are you kidding me -- in vitro? Readit. I have thirty more papers just like it stored in my, "I may write a grant on this someday" folder.
Wikipedia guided me to this one -- not fancy PNAS -- also open BMC veterinary research [1746-6148] Konold (2008 recent) volume: 4 issue: 1 page: 14
Scrapie OPD (Original Prion Disease) Bunch of Sheep, some have Scrapie, PrPd positive. Biosafety 4 (who cleans up the manure). The mama sheep (who go by the scientific term of Ewes) are observed to pass on scrapie to their lambs through their milk. Alright. They didn't separate the lambs receiving scrapie milk from the nulls other and then
"A subsequent sample collected from control lambs revealed PrPd accumulation in two of five lambs eight months after mixing with scrapie milk recipients suggestive of an early stage of infection via lateral transmission." Oops! Boy that scrapie milk sure travels. Please give these guys more money to set some better controls. Virus ahoy my hearties!

more than 3 years ago

Airborne Prions Prove Lethal In Mouse Studies

Yergle143 Prions: Bunch of Hooey (116 comments)

Wow. Those genetically modified mice "tga20 transgenic mice overexpressing PrPC" bred to be hyper-susceptible seem to be highly susceptible. After 15+ years of this "ice 9" business I'm still waiting for results that in any way meet Koch's Postulates. Oh yeah, let's stop calling this protein "prion" and start calling it a proteinaceous "toxin" which is what it is. Moreover, since this Nobel Prize winning hypothesis in no way seems to conform with the reality of widely spreading communicable encephalitis in sheep, beef and mule deer why not entertain the notion that this is a slow virus and that the symptomatic misfolded protein is a mere phenotype, possibly detrimental, but not causal. Oh yeah, figuring this out would mean working with big smelly farm animals and we prion people don't like to get dirty.
Meanwhile Laura Manuelidis is fighting the good fight against overwhelming odds.

more than 3 years ago



Virtual Laptop Reality Reveals Cabinets of Wonder

Yergle143 Yergle143 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Yergle143 (848772) writes "A Cabinet of Curiosities (or Kabinettshrank or Wunderkabinett) is a Renaissance phenom characterized as a collection of objects gathered up and displayed in elaborately carved wooden cabinets. Progenitors to the modern Museum, the Cabinets served as an attempt to systematize the natural, artistic, historical and religious world; juxtaposing collections of the real and the unreal (a narwhal's tusk, shells, minerals, a saint's fingernail). The results, to the modern eye, are generally strange but the deliberate assembly and creation make them fascinating to behold. Los Angeles is the home of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, an attempt to faithfully recreate the wild sensibility of diorama Now the Getty Museum is offering a high tech 3D way to interact with a delicate example of a Kabinettschrank."
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