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Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

Yergle143 Magic Powers and Interstellar (289 comments)

The Newtonian Physics was far more compelling than the Einsteinian Physics in that film. For example the space station link up scene and of course the part where Matt Damon punches Matthew McConaughey in the face. I only wish they could have had it that Matt Damon was punching Matthew McConaugheyin the face near the Event Horizon so it could last forever to an outside observer.

about three weeks ago
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Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

Yergle143 Life Lessons from Kerbal (223 comments)

Hey Kerbal has taught me a lot about this kind of thing
1) Solar panels everywhere..hates it when I run outta power
2) Put a protruding strut on the top of the lander just in case your lateral motion causes you to topple
3) To stick the landing a bit of mystery goo can me most efficacious.
4) Get some mods...Philae looks like it was crafted from Vanilla parts.

about a month ago
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Earth's Oxygen History Could Explain "Darwin's Dilemma" In Evolution

Yergle143 What about the Plants (78 comments)

There's still a big problem that low oxygen concentration does not solve.
If life began 4 billion years ago...
And first photosynthesis goes to 3.2 billion.
Imagine then a long period of low O2 until
Precambrian explosion 500 million years ago...
First land plants 450 million years ago.
Why couldn't land plants have evolved much much sooner? The complex bodyplans
of animals are not required for the development of large plant life.
My guess is that two things limited life early on, cold temperatures and dangerous UV
radiation.

about a month ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Yergle143 Sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand (571 comments)

I agree with you that this is hype until proven.

There are now a dozen or so "alternative" fusion designs out there pursuing the dream of fusion energy and almost all have the property of predicating the work on a sound theoretical foundation but with little practical experimental support. Modeling plasma is notoriously hard.

Why didn't Lockheed Martin just build the prototype and then announce Q > 1 when there were actual results?

about 2 months ago
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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

Yergle143 Re:Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Falling Tide Sinks (283 comments)

Cancer --> paradigm targeted immunotherapy --> CLEOPATRA
http://www.gene.com/media/pres...

Cardiovascular --> paradigm mAb targeted cholesterol knockdown --> Regeneron
http://www.fiercebiotech.com/s...

Advanced genomic typing of chronic conditions plus harnessing of an arsenal of immunotherapeutic approaches coupled with targeted inhibitors could IMHO pave the way to lasting benefit for a good number of patients. This is 21st century impact medicine...it took a while to develop

You asked, I have my delusional opinions too. The grant money is indeed hard to come by.

about 2 months ago
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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

Yergle143 Re:Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Falling Tide Sinks (283 comments)

I lump stroke in with cardiovascular. Restoring motor function to the paralyzed would impact about the same percentage of those afflicted by schizophrenia so ...touche....although it can be argued that one is worse for society than the other.

In no uncertain terms I think that some great advances are in the pipeline in all of these areas but that the current crop of hyperspecialized underemployed scientists are casualties of a lost decade of gross over promises to both policymakers and the public.

I mean a few years ago it kinda sounded like squirting in a bunch of stem cells would have Chris Reeve up in no time. Who would have thought it would be much much harder?

about 2 months ago
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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

Yergle143 Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Falling Tide Sinks All (283 comments)

The Pauper Post Doc Army is collective punishment for lack of significant clinical advancement in Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia.
The financial state of biomedical science is intimately linked to positive human health outcomes -- not the number of papers published.
The society will not endlessly support an endless horizon of scientific bio-wimsey. As someone commented, ask what happened to Physics.

There are ways to keep going in science and you may have to work at the BENCH rather than inhabit an office and lord it over underlings.

Having delivered all this doom and gloom, I actually think the future for science is bright.

But smaller. Less is more.

 

about 2 months ago
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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 10 months ago
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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 10 months ago
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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 a year ago
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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 a year ago
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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 a year ago
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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 a year ago
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Six Electric Cars Can Power an Office Building

Yergle143 What they really need to study... (296 comments)

...is 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.

1 year,7 days
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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.

1 year,12 days
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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
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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.

about a year ago
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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.

about a year ago
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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.

about a year ago

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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 http://www.mjt.org/. Now the Getty Museum is offering a high tech 3D way to interact with a delicate example of a Kabinettschrank. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/05/getty-museum-lets-you-take-a-look-inside-its-cabinet-of-treasures-virtually-that-is.html"
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