Ben B.'s Comments

I look forward to the day where many other body factors can be altered by delivering a DNA package, perhaps by virus. Perhaps they can cure nearsightedness, or encourage teeth to grow straight; alter tendencies toward weight gain, or otherwise tune metabolism.

There's a great deal more promise in this than accomplishment, but it certainly is wonderful to see them get this far.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
> Should a 24-year-old cop be expected to know what a musician looks like, 45 years after he peaked?

Should a cop be bothering a pedestrian, committing no crime?

Or, if walking around, standing, or looking at a house is a crime, shouldn't we get those laws repealed?

Bod Dylan or Joe Schmoe, the cop was wrong to accost him. The only question in my mind is, are the laws responsible, or was the cop responsible?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
No, the recession won't be over soon. On the contrary, it will deepen significantly and other social problems will erupt as the politicians continue to destroy the ability of small businesses to survive, as they artificially keep property values high by interfering with the natural correction that erupted recently, as they continue to waste our time and energy and treasure with useless, pointless, incredibly badly planned wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as they continue to interfere with wages, as they exercise coercion and repression of the citizens on subjects of personal choice (sex, drugs, speech, privacy, travel, property ownership, the ability to carry money, etc.), as they continue to erode the constitution and ignore the specific authorizations they have to act, as they continue to pump money into banks that failed to exercise correct judgment, as they print money we have no resources to back up, as they indebt our children, spend our social security funds, violate their promise to never use our SSNs for anything but retirement accounting, interfere with free trade over borders (both state and national)...

We're going downhill fast, and there's no fixing it. Hold on tight.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
One of the cool things you can do is find applications that were written (well) in C. Most modern apps are C++ or Java, etc., and they require a lot more horsepower to run at the same speed -- because these languages are loaded up with default memory management, huge and sluggish object libraries, and more.

But take an old (or new... there are some developers that still swear by it) C app and put it on a modern machine... and it will *fly*. Really, the speed of some of the better written applications on the newest hardware is quite astonishing.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
> But I defintely don’t agree with Ben B.
> - However tragic for the animal in
> question- or in some other cultures
> in Days and cultures Past even the dead
> adversaries… that has been the cultural-natural
> way of things.

Slavery was cultural. It was never admirable. The Inquisitions were cultural. They bear only the very worst of messages from their perpetrators. Repression of women was (and is... I'm looking at you, moron Arabs) cultural. It was never admirable.

Anthrax is natural. It is not beneficial. Cyanide is natural. You still shouldn't ingest it. Animal venom is natural. Doesn't mean you should go out looking to be snake-bitten, or collecting tissue that has gone necrotic from a brown-recluse's bite.

Learn to see the world for what it is, not with some nonsensical veneer of "cool" you manufacture because something is unfamiliar or foreign. Sometimes, when something is discovered that looks odd or highly unusual, it isn't because "cool" people did these things or it's "a lost art." A lot of past practices were stupid at best, and superstitious nonsense at worst. Putting a dead animal in your wall is one of those things. Reacting in any other way than respectfully and carefully interring it and sterilizing the area where it was found is barbaric, not to mention stupid.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"Adds charm"?

What a gross idiot this person is. Dead cat in the wall. Mummies -- an absolute insult to the natural process of nature's recycling of materials. Superstitions causing such bizarre practices.

Reading this was like running into a goodly chunk of what is wrong with people all at once.

*I* thought "charm" was what employed when serving tea and speaking politely and kindly without pouring said tea down your guest's blouse.

Apparently, it's not for this maroon. It's a dead cat in the wall. Go figure. "Charming."
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
OTOH, we built this [pic taken last Halloween] for our cats...

...for about $75.

Plywood, paint, a few electrical fixtures, screws and a couple of 2"x4"x8' studs, sliced and diced.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Just keep in mind that the glassware is now considered "drug paraphernalia" and that it is illegal to own in some states, must be registered in others. And that doesn't even begin to address the issues of the chemicals themselves.

Here's a depressing, though informative, read on the issue:
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Governments, courts and judges take a huge risk when they commit these kinds of abuses against families. Eventually, they'll do it to the wrong person(s); and some lessons will be learned.

Unfortunately, they'll almost certainly be the wrong lessons.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Ok, I just can't let this one pass. :o)

1) Sounds, as far as we're concerned) are vibrations in a gas. If you (or a story character) are in a spaceship, you will hear vibrations in the gas you're breathing. Therefore, if any varying field, such as (but not limited to) a magnetic field, impinges upon the ship's hull, the hull vibrates, the gas vibrates, and you will hear it if the amplitude and frequency range are compatible with your hearing. Likewise, if physical objects impact your ship, or weapons cause damage on it, you'll hear that, too. This is a perfectly good explanation for many sounds in space.

2) Faster than light travel: Our understanding of physics is incomplete. With the successful teleportation of information having been achieved recently, to say that travel (going from point a to point b) at rates faster than c is impossible is to assume facts not in evidence.

3) Dodging lasers: No one will be dodging lasers visually. But space battles may occur over distances significant enough that a laser may take a finite, useful time to transit the distance from weapon to target. If the detection of the emission can be made using another form (such as teleportation of information, which we can do already), then we might be able to analyze the emission vector and not be in the way when the beam arrives; this information might be displayed in a heads-up format for the pilot, giving the exact impression we see a laser beam -- that can be dodged because it isn't *there* yet. Also, just because something manifests in a beam configuration does not mean it is either a laser, or light, or that the initial beam carries the deadly payload. For instance, we have weapons now that emit two IR laser beams that after a few moments, significantly ionize the air they are traveling through. Once ionization is complete, the weapon routes a high voltage charge across the two emission points, effectively "tasering" the target at the other end. If one detected the initial IR pulse, dodging is perfectly practical. In that case, you'd need IR sensitive goggles to see the beams to dodge them, but that's also practical. Any weapon that emits light as a side effect, but where light is not *the* weapon might be dodged, depends on what is being delivered to the target, and just how fast. Finally, if someone shoots a laser at you and misses (quite possible), you *will* see it, and you may have time to duck before they fire again. The beam gives you a vector to the source, and that tells you which objects in the area might be between you and them.

4) Aliens similar to us: The claim here is based upon the idea that humans evolved only on earth. This has not been established. They may have been seeded here -- as humans or even as pre-animal cells -- and elsewhere. In which case we will could easily find similar forms elsewhere. Quite aside from this, our forms are reasonably efficient forms, and if one accepts that evolution generates, over time, efficient forms, similar forms are likely, especially in a large universe with many planets.

5) Alien interbreeding: Can you say genetic engineering? I knew you could. Even if an alien uses a different form of encoding bodily form and function, there's nothing saying that advanced engineering could not duplicate form and function such that we could have it, too. From here, it's not a huge leap to imagine an alien and a human collaborating on some offspring based upon their own codes. And as for sex itself... if you don't think THAT would happen, you're just silly. And then there are parasites. You're not a womb, per se, you're a food store and temporary shelter. Perfectly reasonable.

6) Brain-sucking aliens: Various body parts have various nutritional loads. And tastes. Etc. This is why I can't be in a room where liver is being cooked; and why I get almost dizzy with anticipation when a T-bone is being cooked. Some people eat brains, liver, heart, etc. If an alien form finds anything about our nutritional load attractive (and not outright poisonous), there's no reason to think that it wouldn't have a preference for one part of your biology over another. Again, we're down to compatibility for nutrition; and that remains to be seen. As a potential for a story line, there's nothing wrong or incorrect about it.

7) Aliens that change volume / shape significantly: Have you ever watch a sea anemone? I have on ein my fishtank. At one point, it is a large, tentacle-waving entity, capable of grabbing a large fish, shoving it in it's two-inch wide mouth, and digesting it in its several inch-across stem. But later, when the lights are out, the entire thing shrinks to about the size of a nickle, plus some thickness. It does this by using water to inflate its cells. Likewise, an octopus can demonstrate to you significant strength at one moment, and the ability to oooze underneath a sill the next. While I am not aware of an animal that does these tricks with gas, as opposed to a fluid, it is certainly well within the realm of possibility that such an animal might evolve somewhere. The basic trick is to use the gas or fluid in the environment for most of your volume, and to have stretchy cells. There might be other ways to do this as well, but this came right to mind. And as for built-in camouflage... that's well established on land and sea.

8) Time travel. One can go forward, all it takes is enough energy to get you going faster than the things around you are going. The faster you go, the more the time differential increases (tau.) Backwards... I'm inclined to agree. But I would also hastily point out that there's a great deal we don't know about physics and the basic structure of the universe as yet. So I'm not going to rule it out for SF.

9) Gravity scams? I must watch and read different SF than the author. Ii have seen, and read, many stories where folks were bouncing around in low gravity, or had to wear power suits to get around in high gravity. Steve Perry posits characters who, raised on heavy gravity worlds, are very strong; they are purpose-bred mutants who can take the load. Starwolf posited a man raised on a slightly heavy gravity world (Varna) from childhood who successfully adapted and enjoyed many benefits. James Blish wrote about building a bridge on Jupiter using remotes, because the gravity was out of the question. Forces similar to gravity on spacecraft can be controlled currently by spinning the vessel, and we saw this in 2001; given that this is the case (and it is), then why not one G? Just design the structure for it and you're good to go.

10) Planetary sameness... come on now, this is really stretching it. First of all, the assumption is that the planet is ok to settle on. This implies similar gases and gravity. Which in turn imply similar geology. We're evolved for a particular spectral environment as well, and so blue skies (oxygen present in compatible amounts, Raleigh scattering) are likely. As far as erosion and rocks go, sedimentation, these are not things limited to our planet alone. Just look at the martian terrain. Nope, not going to give you this one, either.

So the reader is ten for ten -- wrong in every case. SF has it right; though I will certainly give you that some writers - Asimov, Benford, Blish, DeCamp, Hogan, Silverberg, Zelazny - are a lot better at painting a likely picture than others, or anything that's been filtered through the collective idiocy of Hollywood inc. I am always reminded of the scene in "The Majestic" where the writer is sitting there, and the high up muckity mucks are discussing his script, and the one is pacing around and goes "I know! Let's add a dog! Everyone loves a dog!" Oy. Or "Soylent Green is People!", from "Soylent Green" (the movie title), but actually from "Make Room, Make Room", by Harry Harrison, a wonderful novel where soylent green was, in fact, seaweed and had *nothing* to do with any key plot element other than the difficulty of obtaining foods as we currently know them.

[tips hat]
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Page 1 of 3       next | last

Profile for Ben B.

  • Member Since 2012/08/09



  • Threads Started 39
  • Replies Posted 0
  • Likes Received 0
  • Abuse Flags 0

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More