Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Let's not forget... (Score 1) 99

Your theory requires a constant level of habitable terrain that humans merely need to move fast enough to exploit. It totally ignores the more likely scenario -- The Sahara will remain an uninhabitable dessert, and North America, South America, Australasia and Eurasia will join it.

Why do you believe that your scenario is more likely, when it's not a scenario with any support in the climate science as documented by the IPCC?

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 1) 1042

We have no scientific reason to believe consciousness is anything special. It's likely an emergent phenomena arising in complex enough systems.

(One of today's other news is that apes have been shown to experience theory of mind, something we usually attribute to happening in humans at the age of ~4-5 or so)

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 1) 1042

This argument is even worse, since it depends on assuming things exist (i.e., futuristic civilizations running simulations) that we have NO evidence of.

On the contrary, we know of an advanced civilization running millions of simulations. Our own. There's no reason to believe we will stop, or that the simulations won't become more advanced over time.

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 1) 1042

Could be. Nick Boström is the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford - a well renowned philosopher with a solid base in logic:

He holds a B.A. in philosophy, mathematics, logic and artificial intelligence from the University of Gothenburg and master's degrees in philosophy and physics, and computational neuroscience from Stockholm University and King's College London, respectively. [Wikipedia] ...and you?

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 1) 1042

Actually, no, neither of those are arguments against Boström's logic. We only require one single civilisation (of which we know for a fact that there's at least one) for it to become statistically likely that you and I are living in a simulation.

If there are more that statistics become even more overwhelming. And there's no need for any travel.

Comment Re:When did "The Matrix" become a religion? (Score 5, Insightful) 1042

The argument is of course not Musk's, but Nick Boström's:

ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.


I cannot find any flaws in the statistics. I thus agree we're _likely_ living in a simulation.

Comment Re:But... (Score 4, Informative) 220

To find the plastic-eating bacterium described in the study, the Japanese research team from Kyoto Institute of Technology and Keio University collected 250 PET-contaminated samples including sediment, soil and wastewater from a plastic bottle recycling site.
Next they screened the microbes living on the samples to see whether any of them were eating the PET and using it to grow. They originally found a consortium of bugs that appeared to break down a PET film, but they eventually discovered that just one of bacteria species was responsible for the PET degradation. They named it Ideonella sakainesis.
Further tests in the lab revealed that it used two enzymes to break down the PET. After adhering to the PET surface, the bacteria secretes one enzyme onto the PET to generate an intermediate chemical. That chemical is then taken up by the cell, where another enzyme breaks it down even further, providing the bacteria with carbon and energy to grow.

Read more at:

Comment Re:What exactly are they doing with it? (Score 1) 62

Why would anyone spend hashing efforts on those blockchains? And if you "solve" the need for hashing by making the blockchain private within a group of companies, where you expect none of them to attack the blockchains integrity, then your product is no different from having a MySQL database with restricted login ...

The reason Bitcoin exists is that they're the tokens distributed to make people spend efforts on hashing the blockchain. Without tokens you have no hashing. A blockchain thus cannot exist without a currency (defined as the value of those tokens).

Comment Re:we were just heading back into an ice age. (Score 2) 221

There have been several glacial/interglacial periods over the last 120,000 years.

No. Since the last interglacial 120000 years ago (the Eemian, warmer than the current) and the one we're living in (the Holocene) there has only been a glacial period (cold ... ).

It seems the paper thus says that our current interglacial is the warmest interglacial since the last interglacial. That seems very uncontroversial.

Regarding the XKCD graph it's contradicted by its own source. The graph claims to use Marcott et. al 2013 as a source (see top right). Now, study the graph carefully. Then read the following from Marcott 2013 (the abstract, even):

"Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history."

Now study the XKCD graph again.

Slashdot Top Deals

Got Mole problems? Call Avogadro at 6.02 x 10^23.