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Books / Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Last post by lonely moa on Today at 03:23:38 AM »
"Gratitude", Oliver Sacks.  Lovely short book.
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General Discussion / Re: What to do with a math degree
« Last post by MikeHz on Today at 12:17:03 AM »
As an aside, I also have a totally useless degree. Mine is in English Literature. But, it has helped me greatly in my profession as a stationary engineer. None of the fucks I work with can compose a goddamn sentence. Put me right to the top.
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I do now. When I was 17 I had not idea what I was doing in terms of finding doctors or anything like that. The reason they finally figured out what was wrong with me was because I was in so much pain I passed out at work.

The ER trip a few months ago was for a depression related issue
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General Discussion / Re: Useless fact of the day
« Last post by MikeHz on Today at 12:03:27 AM »
Most common bird in the world is the domestic chicken. However, the most common wild bird is the red-billed quelea,  found in Africa. About 10 billion of these sparrow-sized birds abound.
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Skepticism / Science Talk / Re: Half of all missions to Mars have failed
« Last post by Tassie Dave on December 08, 2016, 11:06:08 PM »
I think it is amazing that almost 50% make it.

Manned flight would take some of the variables out of the equation for landing.
100% of manned landings onto the moon's surface were successful with much less sophisticated craft than we would send to Mars.
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Skepticism / Science Talk / Half of all missions to Mars have failed
« Last post by daniel1948 on December 08, 2016, 10:41:23 PM »
According to the current episode of Astronomy Cast, 53% of all missions to Mars have crashed and died. The problem is that without an atmosphere it's really difficult to slow down a spacecraft to landing speed. And the atmosphere of Mars is too thin to be of much use for braking. The bouncing ball method is impractical for anything much bigger than the Curiosity rover. Retro-rockets work, but it's really hard to get them just right. Given how tricky a successful landing is, a manned mission better be preceded by several (at least) unmanned trials. Until that time, it's Russian Roulette with bullets in half the chambers. You've got a 50/50 chance of a spectacular crash that kills everyone on board.

I wonder how many of those Mars One volunteers would still volunteer if it were made clear to them that there's a 50/50 chance their ship will crash into the planet at a thousand miles an hour.

Of course the nine-month trip in a crowded space capsule would discourage me. I can't even take the idea of a 16-hour flight to Asia.

I really admire Elon Musk. I love my Tesla car and I'm looking forward to getting a Model 3 with self-driving technology. But I think his Mars ambition is nuts.
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I think its safe to say it favors species that  desire to continue into the future.  Which is really why I think any intelligent species will at least want to spread out to multiple star systems. 

I don't think we need more than one sample to say, natural selection favors survival. 

Most humans want to continue into the future. Other species just want to eat and have sex. We only know of one planet with life, and only one species that has created a technological civilization with written records. To extrapolate from our own limited experience of ourselves to other hypothesized technological civilizations is speculative at best, and groundless at worst.

I don't think we can say that a platypus wants to continue into the future. If the term "want" can be applied to it at all, it likely wants to eat, have sex, and avoid pain. If sex leads it to become pregnant and give birth, it wants to care for its young. There could well be technological civilizations "out there" in which the individuals just want to eat, rub dirt under their armpits, grow protuberances on their noses that eventually break off and become new individuals, and avoid pain. Perhaps they will want to continue into the future. Perhaps they will want to colonize the stars. Or perhaps they won't.

But wanting to colonize the stars will get you nowhere if you cannot circumvent the absolute limit of the speed of light or you live for a few million years.

I repeat what I said above: The most likely answer to the Fermi paradox is that interstellar travel poses insurmountable obstacles.
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Tech Talk / Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Last post by SQ the ΣΛ/IGMд on December 08, 2016, 10:10:50 PM »
Honestly, in my experience, the ease at which things are to fix is totally counterintuitive.  I've been on both sides of a conversation where something was much easier to fix, and much harder. Sometimes even an expert really can't tell easily without a detailed investigation.

I'm an aircraft mechanic. I'll  get a job with the problem on a job slip. When I get out to the gate it can be a totally different issue. It might be real simple or a total disaster.  Before I get out to the plane I am thinking how to fix the problem. I really don't know until I get there.

I'm in this boat somewhat too. I'm a tech versed in almost all aspects of IT but concentrate on industrial computer to machine electronics. I have the same situations at times. We think it's this. Turns out it's that and usually much more complicated than they had thought. They being the bosses that have no technical training.
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Health, Fitness, Nutrition, and Medicine / Re: LCHF and healthy eating
« Last post by lonely moa on December 08, 2016, 09:44:09 PM »
We should ask an actuary.
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Music / Re: Instrumental music to code to
« Last post by Andrew Clunn on December 08, 2016, 09:32:04 PM »
I will give that a listen during work tomorrow.
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