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Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

Did you actually read Aurora? It's worth examining his argument in detail instead of dismissing it outright. KSR suggests that a viable biosphere is a matter of scale that human beings may not be able to achieve even with access to large amount of solar or other energy. As for health, KSR muses that exposure to Earth's biosphere may be vital, even if a space shelter is otherwise well-shielded from radiation and endowed with artificial gravity.

Comment Re:Science fiction != science fact (Score 1) 154

Umm, you are aware that that is science FICTION right?

Umm, you are aware that fiction (and especially science fiction) often serves to set up thought experiments, right? Why get on my case for thinking hypothetically, when it is a pretty normal human activity? In fact, science-minded individuals are more likely to do so than the average.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

IIRC, KSR depicted the colonized solar system as being dependent on resources from Earth, and workers on outer planets regularly returned to Earth to maintain their health. While humans could live on the outer planets for some time, they could not have maintained that residence without the mother planet.

Comment Re:If the singularity doesn't happen... (Score 1) 154

You might enjoy reading Kim Stanley Robinson's last novel Aurora which muses that life might be a planetary phenomenon: human beings are inextricably tied to Earth's biosphere and can never move beyond it. Even large generational starships might be unable to maintain a viable biosphere as waste like salt begins building up in the wrong places. (KSR was spurred to write Aurora in part by the critical backlash against his idealistic vision of terraforming in his famous Mars trilogy of two decades ago).

So if the Singularity never happens and human beings can never transition to machine bodies from biological ones, we're not going anywhere.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 1) 162

Who gives a fuck? How does this affect anyone at all? I don't know anyone who has or needs anywhere close to this amount if storage.

I can definitely imagine needing the 15TB one in a few years. After being more of a classical literature and music person for most of my life, I've been getting into film. The canon of great films consists of hundreds of titles, at least. In the past you'd have to be lucky to live in a developed country with a well-stocked library, or have a truly massive disposable income to buy all the DVDs yourself. But people today have an incredible opportunity, regardless of their means or location, to educate themselves about this (or any other) art form thanks to torrent communities.

When you're downloading Bluray rips at full quality, where a single film can be 25GB, then storage space starts filling up quickly. One could delete after viewing to save space, but who knows, maybe someday you'll want to watch a particular title again or show it to a friend or loved one, and at that point there might not be any seeders left on the torrent. So, if storage gets cheap enough, then it's worth keeping it all on disk.

Comment Re:Of course not (Score 1) 643

There was an interesting article about Japan's increasing number of abandoned homes due to the contraction of the population. One problem that this brings is that people who do want to live in their ancestral home or move out to the country, may not be able to get utilities provided, because it simply costs too much to maintain utility infrastructure for so few inhabitants.

There is also the issue of finding enough caretakers for the increasing elderly when the workforce is ever smaller. Unwilling to invite mass immigration, Japan has tried to invest in robotics in elderly care, but these efforts might not be enough.

Comment Makework (Score 4, Insightful) 1145

He suggests instead focussing on the neediest people first, possibly by subsidizing jobs programs.

In today's world of increasing automation, how many of those jobs are essentially going to be makework? Or part of marketing efforts that try to convince people they need something frivolous that they don't have? Is the current economic system so inevitable or desirable that those things are preferable to just letting people stay home?

Comment Gibson envisioned a similar thing (Score 1) 50

In his most recent novel The Peripheral , about a near-future America, William Gibson also envisioned one's mobile phone eventually being usable a virtual-reality headset. Since so much functionality (bank cards, photography) is being integrated into the mobile phone, then it seems a safer bet for a company than trying to introduce awkward standalone hardware into the market.

Comment Re:Misleading topic (Score 1) 103

If you're using Tor instead of something like Freenet, you deserve what's coming.

Freenet, where once quantum computing breaks commonly used encryption algorithms, everyone is going to be revealed to be hosting child porn (unwittingly, but still) on their computers. Yeah, sounds like a really worthwhile network. :rolleyes:

Comment Re:Why do people think self driving cars will catc (Score 3, Interesting) 622

Some have suggested that self-driving cars will lead to a decline in personal vehicle ownership. Instead, people will rent a car from a membership pool when they need it, paying a simple fee per use or per month instead of bearing all the costs of insurance, inspection and registration on themselves.

Comment Re:This is a case of time or money (Score 1) 94

And if I had the time, I certainly wouldn't be wasting it watching movies, aka pop-culture training.

It has been over a century since cinema has been recognized as a valid form of art. Sturgeon's law applies, of course, but among works of film are some timeless contributions to world culture. Why do you assume that people who buy such a home theatre would only be watching vacuous pop-culture films in it? Men like Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni had their own fancy home theatres, and the films they screened for themselves and their guests were mainly the work of their fellow auteurs.

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