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The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

surd1618 consider the view of Iain Banks here (378 comments)

I don't recall which book, but in one of the Culture novels, it was stated that swarms that grew exponentially in all directions were always eradicated by other races. It was viewed as a problem that arose from time to time. This is supposing that there are hard limits to all technology, and that many races reach those limits. On the other hand, it seems clear in that world that the Minds are the most advanced known creatures, so machines do win out.

Of course top-down constructed machines, built by other machines, are going to win out. I take that as a given just based on the fact that we can build calculators.

2 days ago
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

surd1618 Re:bah (176 comments)

I was setting economics aside, because I thought that the parent was too.

2 days ago
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

surd1618 Re:bah (176 comments)

This was absurdly hard to research, because I only needed some specific seemingly simple facts.
It takes an adult about 1 mg of THC to feel subjectively 'high', and even if hash is only 20% THC (it can be upwards of 60%), and even at only 20% delivery efficiency, that's only 25 mg of hash. That would be a very small amount of cocaine.
I *could not* find specific gravity of THC or cocaine. I looked on pubchem and elsewhere
Based on Google images, a kilo of cocaine looks a little bigger than a kilo of hash to me. If cocaine was not ~10 more valuable by weight, then I'm pretty sure that it would not make a difference which one you were smuggling in terms of physics.

3 days ago
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NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

surd1618 Re:it can be air filled (198 comments)

They can die in storm or turbulence-related accidents, making the whole mission much more dramatic and Hollywood-worthy.

4 days ago
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

surd1618 bah (176 comments)

It bears responsibility for helping turn the '80s into the "Cocaine Decade" in the U.S. because it became much more difficult to import the the heavy and bulky drug marijuana into the U.S. through Florida...

BS... THC is more psychoactive, by weight, than cocaine. By this logic, why didn't hash win out, or for that matter, heroin, or synthetic opiates active in the lower microgram range? People love coke, simple as that.

4 days ago
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No More Foamy Beer, Thanks To Magnets

surd1618 Re:It's rotten barley water (130 comments)

Actually, you have to begin sprouting it in order to make malt, so the grain needs to be relatively fresh.

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

surd1618 Re:Still not buying it (1051 comments)

I pay for vaccines that are not covered by insurance.

I am speaking for myself and don't want to be construed as speaking for you, but I think this sucks. They ought to be free, considering that most of the people who are most at risk don't want to pay extra for them. I remember working public-facing jobs, not making much money, having to weigh the cost of getting a flu shot (or the extra effort of a free one, which amounted to roughly the same), against the risk of catching the flu (and possibly passing it on to my coworkers or the public).

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

surd1618 Re:No (1051 comments)

The parents ought to go to prison if that happens. If an outbreak causes death or disability, then all of the parents who refused vaccinations should go to prison. That ought put a stop to this BS. Just figure out the total prison sentence for all of the injuries, and divide it equally between all of the parents of unvaccinated children at the same institution. It's not a perfect plan, but I think it would be effective.

about a week ago
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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

surd1618 I just use noscript (698 comments)

I block most everything by default and have gradually learned exactly what scripts to allow in order to access the content I want. It's a little tedious but I'm completely used to it and don't have to think about it. Of course, remembering which sites to temporarily allow googleapis to run on would drive many people nuts.

about two weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

surd1618 Re:Summary of Trailer (390 comments)

Why didn't they put three crystals in the handle to produce a V-shaped hilt, with the beams all emerging from the same point?

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

surd1618 Re:Needless complexity or necessary evil? (413 comments)

It's funny that a lot of people who are against regulatory systems, support the free market, and so forth, are all for districting. In a totally laissez faire system, cities ought to dominate, because the way people live in rural areas, especially in the US, is egregiously wasteful compared to city dwelling.

about three weeks ago
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I'm most interested in robots that will...

surd1618 Re:Basic jobs, but not to avoid talking (307 comments)

Let's see, what do I want to do today? Wash windows and dishes and laundry, or go to my ESL class and spend time with my son? Decisions, decisions...

about a month ago
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Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising

surd1618 Re:Comcast tried to steal $50 from me (223 comments)

The *only* reason to offer some sort of price promotion later instead of just giving you the discount up front and making you sign a contract (even for three months of service) is so that they can roll the dice on customers signing up after being enticed by the promotion, and then not claiming the promotion. Rebates work the same way.

Partly agreeing with others here have said, I can think of two other reasons. One is to get customer information. The other is to hold money a little longer, so that there is more money available for the company to use.

about a month ago
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Germans Can Get Free Heating From the Cloud

surd1618 What About Bitcoin Mining? (148 comments)

If you live in a small space, maybe bitcoin mining could be a little closer to profitability if it heats your space.

about a month ago
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The Math Behind the Hipster Effect

surd1618 People Are Defined By What They Do (176 comments)

Everything else is like alms, except for attention instead of money. The amount of vitriol directed at people for putting on a front to get noticed a little bit, is silly, when you consider what really matters in life. It might seem like a geek's pipe-dream, to think that the day will come when people are defined by what they do instead of what they consume. However, the truth is, that this day has already come, and in fact the (tiny) amount of attention we collectively pay to people for how they dress or spend their free time is just a pittance that we put forth to keep the world from being a very very hard place for most people to tolerate. So, I like hipsters a little, but mostly I am just concerned about myself and what I am doing or can do. I would probably espouse some hatred for their ilk conversationally, but I don't really mean it.

about a month ago
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President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

surd1618 Re:ISPs don't want to take Cogent's money (706 comments)

Residential broadband networks were never engineered as video delivery systems.

Damn the cell phone networks for needing to be upgraded to accomodate people who quit using landlines!

about a month and a half ago
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Buying Goods To Make Nuclear Weapons On eBay, Alibaba, and Other Platforms

surd1618 I hope this doesn't lead to gallium regulation (260 comments)

I'm still in university, and I might want to do grad work in semiconductors. I hope I don't need special permissions to get a hold of gallium, which is a pretty innocuous material (unless you're an aluminum can).

about a month and a half ago

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