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Comments

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Enzymes Make Electricity From Jet Fuel Without Ignition

tulcod Re:Efficiency (78 comments)

That is not how fundamental engineering works.

What do you think the first solid-state transistor looked like? A neat P-N junction on a silicon wafer, produced by one of those fancy ASML fab machines in Korea? Do you think the first solid-state transistor was capable of speeds anything like what we expect today? Do you think it was "efficient" for any meaning of that word?

The first solid-state transistor was a piece of plastic jammed into a block of germanium. It was dirty, crooked, difficult to make, and generally a pain in the ass.

But it was a proof of concept. It took a lot of additional engineering to make it usable in actual electronics. And then a lot more to make it smaller. And then a lot more to make it scalable. And then years and years and years and years of research brought us to what we know today as a transistor.

But the first transistor was just an impractical oversized proof of concept.

The research in this article is important. It shows that what was always theoretically an option is actually possible in practice. Scalability, efficiency, effort to produce - none of that matters at this stage. Obviously that would all be interesting next steps, but this shows that the principle works. And that is damn interesting.

about two weeks ago
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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

tulcod AI as our only defense against AI (583 comments)

If you regulate AI, and try to limit its influence, all that's going to happen is that hobbyists and/or terrorists will work it out on their own eventually, and /that/ could be dangerous.

If you want to protect yourself against the dangers of AI, setup some AI that you *know* will protect you, because it is designed as such.

If any superhuman AI is possible, then it *will* happen, and if it can be evil, then you better have a plan to defend yourself. Since we supposed the evil AI to be superhuman, we can't defend ourselves.

So we better start building something that will.

about a month ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

tulcod Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (398 comments)

That's quite an accusation you're making there. Do you have any kind of reliable source backing up this claim, other than someone else claiming the same thing on some gaming forum you like to visit for your monthly dose of conspiracy theories?

In other words, [citation needed] biatch.

about a month ago
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Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage

tulcod Re:Couples where one partner says, "Well yeah but" (447 comments)

Well sure, but
- does the one partner saying "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation" cause the death of the spouse, or
- does the death of the spouse cause the partner to say "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation", or
- is there a third explanatory factor causing both the partner to say "Well yeah, but correlation doesn't equal causation" and the death of the spouse?

about a month ago
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Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

tulcod Wait, these are for real? (72 comments)

IANAA, but this sounds like an extremely unstable setup. What am I take make of this?

- Is the research reliable?

- How can such a thing be stable? Is there any particular process that keeps one star inside the other?

- What even /is/ such a body? If you were to travel from the outside to the midpoint of the body, would you encounter two barriers of destructing heat, with some emptiness (I'd like to say "vacuum" but of course space is not exactly a vacuum) in between?
Or is it actually just something entirely unlike what you would imagine when someone says "star within a star"?

about 2 months ago
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It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

tulcod Classic Khan pseudoscience (243 comments)

Your brain doesn't "grow" when you exercise it. It develops.

And to dispel another myth: your brain cells die and divide like in any other organ. But "growth" is definitely the wrong word here.

These kinds of mistakes are why you don't use Khan academy, and the old-fashioned sources are just more precise.

But congratulations on figuring out yet another key to life, allowing you to tell other people exactly how to live theirs - after all, that's really the only purpose of science, isn't it?

about 2 months ago
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Rosetta Achieves Orbit Around Comet

tulcod Doesn't an orbit require gravity? (54 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but based on the little I learned from KSP, I don't think anything can reasonably get an orbit around a comet due to its lack of mass.

about 4 months ago
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Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

tulcod Re:Not to be snarky (538 comments)

I've had it with these references to the "IT wonders". You can't base your life plan on the successes of four (!) individuals.

about 5 months ago
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New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

tulcod Re:Poorly Designed Roadways Addressed By This (243 comments)

Less sensation of control loss is not a good thing. If the road was built badly (ie. opposite banking) then the driver should be aware of that, instead of thinking that he has control while in fact he doesn't.

This technology is a gimmick not unlike the pneumatics famous from the 80s (?) cars.

about 5 months ago
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Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

tulcod Times sure are changing (147 comments)

When Intel buys or invents some kind of a new chip process, everyone applauds. When engineers use 3D printing to save a crippled boy's life, everyone celebrates technology. Stick an arduino in a tumor and people scream in ecstasy.

But when the item of cloning comes in the news, suddenly people back away and ask what it's all good for. Because us humans are not allowed to mess with that.

Come on people. We invested thousands of years trying to understand the tricks of physics and evolution. We have now got to a stage where we can apply these tricks ourselves and see what we can make of the world.

Will it turn out for the better? Absolutely nobody knows. But telling scientists not to mess with this takes us back to the middle ages, where scientific incentives were influenced heavily by religious and cultural beliefs.

Let us show ourselves that we no longer need that. This is the time to end that society of religion and culture. Messing with life, and bringing back the extinct, those are exactly the kind of things that go against all rules of religion that we have adhered to for the past x thousands years. Humans are the new god on planet earth (and beyond?).

about 6 months ago
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Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

tulcod Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (137 comments)

I have always thought of the travel of electricity as the flow of the electromagnetic waves.

Then how does DC electricity "travel" from your phone charger to your phone? (again, there are no electromagnetic waves, even though there may be fields. a wave is a changing field.)

about 6 months ago
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Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

tulcod Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (137 comments)

How do you think electrons repel each other?

Electromagnetic fields, which do not "travel" in any reasonable sense.

The speed of light thing is actually more complicated if you involve relativity and quantum field theory and stuff, which is why I used the word "roughly" to protect myself exactly from people who pretend to know physics. If I had said "exactly at the speed of light", some theoretical physicist would have made some remark about this or that field theory or standard model solution or whatever kind of physics that I don't quite understand.

about 6 months ago
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Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

tulcod Re:Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (137 comments)

(on top of that, there are no electromagnetic waves travelling along a wire conducting DC current)

about 6 months ago
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Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

tulcod Offtopic: on the speed of electricity (137 comments)

a short length of wire [...] sized to represent the distance electricity would travel in a nanosecond.

You cannot see such a piece of wire. Electrons drift at a speed in the order of 0.0002m/s, giving you a wire length in the order of 10^-13 meters.

Electromagnetic waves "travel" roughly at the speed of light. But when someone talks about the travel of electricity, the thing that people think about is the flow of electrons, not the electromagnetic waves.

about 6 months ago
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Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?

tulcod Protests are a display of effort (76 comments)

One thing that definitely plays a role in this discussion is that in big street protests, a lot of people have to come out of their house and basically waste their day for this one cause. This in itself shows how strongly they feel about certain issues.

This is much more difficult in the case of internet protests: we all know how little facebook likes mean.

If you want to make web-based protests work, you will somehow have to incorporate an element of effort, which - since the only tissue we have online is that of information - is going to have to have some intellectual ingredient. Indeed, the many discussions we are having on this very website can be seen as minor protests.

about 7 months ago
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93 Harvard Faculty Members Call On the University To Divest From Fossil Fuels

tulcod Re:What does it mean to divest? (214 comments)

Harvard has a sick amount of money, and they *can* afford to miss some of it. If they "lose" money by not investing in oil, they will still be able to fund many students' tuition fees (because Harvard is not /just/ a school for the rich, although arguably you need to be in higher income classes to be admitted in the first place).

If Harvard "loses" money or otherwise does not have the budget they projected, nothing changes.

about 7 months ago
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MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

tulcod Re:No. Non-compete != Non-disclosure (97 comments)

OP here. Thanks for this answer, you are right - this was my confusion. Mod parent up.

about 7 months ago
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MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

tulcod Uhm... since when are non-competes a bad thing? (97 comments)

Don't they stop employees from taking any kind of IP and running away with it, which would basically kill the industry?

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Dutch party votes for internet filtering

tulcod tulcod writes  |  more than 3 years ago

tulcod (1056476) writes "The Dutch government has accidentally passed a law on net neutrality, enabling ISPs to filter internet traffic based on "ideological motives". The PvdA (labor party) accidentally voted for this exception to the Telecomwet (telecommunications law), which, on its own, does not allow such filtering. PvdA intends to repair their mistake."
Link to Original Source
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AMD to receive first DisplayPort certification

tulcod tulcod writes  |  more than 6 years ago

tulcod (1056476) writes "AMD has received the first DisplayPort certification for their Radeon HD 3400, 3600 and 3800 products, as well as the new 780G motherboard chipset, which includes a Radeon HD 3200 IGP.
"AMD has been a driving force in the development of DisplayPort," said Bill Lempesis, Executive Director, VESA. "The ATI Radeon HD 3000 series of graphics cards are the first source devices to achieve DisplayPort certification.""

Link to Original Source
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Pidgin 2.2.0 Released

tulcod tulcod writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tulcod (1056476) writes "Pidgin 2.2.0 contains the results of several major Google Summer of Code branches bringing some new, extraordinary features. We have a new protocol, MySpaceIM, a bunch of new features for an existing protocol, XMPP, and nifty new certificate management to make sure your IM server is who it says it is."
Link to Original Source
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Is copyright a good thing?

tulcod tulcod writes  |  more than 7 years ago

tulcod (1056476) writes "Recently, someone at my school, a man who's about 60 years old, told me his opinion (in person) about copyrights. He clearly thinks copyrighting is a bad thing. I doubt he's part of the scene (and it seems implausible he has ever downloaded, for example, music), but there are probably a lot of people agreeing with him. I don't really know what to think of it. Obviously, pretty much all of us have ever "stolen" media. But I think it's implausible any of us did that with objective goals. So is the old man at school correct? Is copyright a bad thing for everyone?"

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