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About dansmithers

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    Robert Blacke
  1. The only reason to build a Dyson sphere would be to harness it for usable land area-stars are by no means the most efficient way of converting hydrogen into energy(even less so than fusion in a magnetically-confined reactor, due to the vast majority of gas being in the unused outer layers). It would still be a good symbol of cultural and economic dominance though, just like the Great Wall of China
  2. As far as relevance- according to the results(sorted by demographics), only about 85% of post-grads know the difference between astrology/astronomy.
  3. The whole idea that an AI would either want to or need to "conquer" us is just as absurd as assuming that we wanted to "conquer" the wolf and make it into a dog. Any AI capable of defying the combined forces of Earth would be smart enough to leave us alone(or domesticate us).
  4. ITT: They see he rollin', they hatin'
  5. Ray Kurzweil is a technological singularity theorist- "Manned" in this case means "operated by a transhuman intellect".
  6. "Artificial constraint"? Obviously the engineers are running of drawing paper, did you think that stuff grows on... Oh yeah, right.
  7. Biology, technology-it's all just baryons(and a few mesons I guess) in the end. The only difference is the specificity of the systems(biology, as a rule, can and will do most anything it's mechanically capable of doing). It's sort of like the difference between an Orion drive and a VASIMIR engine- both solve the same problem, but in vastly different ways and each comes with its own pros and cons. All told though, I do love me some flashy tech.
  8. To quote a problem solver:
  9. Well, if Kurzweil is correct, we'll have manned* interstellar travel in less than 100 years**. *for certain definitions of manned **10 thousand year travel time notwithstanding
  10. It could be useful, assuming its meta-stability doesn't make it nonflammable. And, of course, assuming that you could modify an engine to burn it.
  11. Humanity is so hard to define that I'd like to break the question into two parts: Many people(especially sci-fi writers, apparently) define "Humanity" as the sum total of human culture/books/religion. By this metric, humanity might not evne last the next thousand years, much less the next billion. Think about how much we've forgotten about our own 10000 year long history, and you'll get an idea of how hard it'd be for us to even have a chance of reading Shakespeare in the year 12015 Secondly, a more hard and fast definition is humans as a species. Obviously, in a billion years we'll have evolved, but intelligences descended from the life of Earth will almost certainly be around, in one form of another.
  12. Uh... what? Every law in science started out as a theory. Laws are laws because they are generally accepted theories, not because they are universal truths
  13. I installed 0.90 last night and built a rocket to go to orbit. It had six SRBS attached by radial separators, all in the same stage. When I launched it and tried to detach the boosters, only one detached, then the next with the next press of space, and so on. This resulted in a crash. Why is this? Is there some tweakable I'm missing?