Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by KSK

  1. That scientist probably just killed themself. You probably want an actual physicist to answer this rather than someone who's relying on vague memories of a 'thermodynamics for chemistry' lecture course that he endured thirty years ago but here goes. The change in Gibbs Free Energy (delta-G), of a chemical reaction tells you whether it can happen or not. Delta-G = delta-H - T x delta-S, where delta-H is the change in enthalpy (heat absorbed or released by the reaction), T is the temperature (in Kelvin) and delta-S is the change in entropy. For a thermodynamically favourable (read, allowable) reaction, you want a negative delta-G. For exothermic reactions that doesn't tend to be a problem since delta-H is already negative. For endothermic reactions (positive delta-H) - well they just don't happen unless the associated change in entropy is high enough. So your entropy reducing or eliminating field probably scuffs up a lot of rather important biochemistry, which tends to be bad for one's health. No doubt it would scuff up a lot of other chemistry too, but I doubt your dead scientist is going to be in a position to care too much about that. Aside from that, think of any situation where you want disorder to increase. Things dissolving. Gases expanding. Stuff like that. Not going to happen if entropy can't change. To take one benign example, imagine dropping a lump of sugar in your tea (we'll ignore the fact that sugar in tea is an abomination that Cthulu themself won't go near). Imagine that lump of sugar dropping to the bottom of your mug - and not doing anything at all. Because it can't without increasing entropy.
  2. To be perfectly honest, I don’t much care if we’re on either - and I don’t recall mentioning Bezos at all, so the point is moot. But what I meant is that, whilst IFT was impressive and a big step forward over IFT2 and IFT1, there’s a way to go yet before it’s a workable disposable rocket, let alone the fully reusable, chopstick landing (or whatever method ends up working), in-orbit refuelling, Artemis landing beast that it’s intended to be. Yes, yes, test flight, iterative improvement etc etc. I’m well aware of all that. And, with their track record, I’m certainly not betting against SpaceX to deliver all of the above eventually. But what I don’t give a damn about is Elon vapourware about the next super-duper-double-the-payload rocket, because it doesn’t make much difference if your rocket carries 200 tons or 400 tons if you can’t get it to point the right way. Frankly it feels like a distraction tactic and judging by the shift in comments on this thread it’s worked beautifully.
  3. And V5 will have a warp drive on the back, and V7 will usher in world peace and first contact with the Vogons. Or something. How about getting this rocket consistently pointing in the right direction first, and doing all the other things too, before flapping your everlasting gums about the next one? More prosaically, I'd prefer bread today than jam at some unspecified Elon Time tomorrow.
  4. Go - whoaah - mit, Comder! Are you out of your —yikes— —wowza— — ow-my-ears— mind?!
  5. One of the nice things about working from home, is being able to pop on some tunes if the afternoon's dragging a bit. So, after a bit of big hair rock, the algorithm decided to throw a certain well-known Journey piece at me... Resisting the urge to bust out the air guitar and <shred> was tough - but I'm a professional. And yeah, that song and this strip will forever be linked in the bowl of mush that passes for my noggin these days.
  6. IIRC, Elite Dangerous’s map was partly based on real life data and partly on a fairly sophisticated procedural generation system based on a proper simulation. The trading part? Unsure but probably not too crazy if you think of foodstuffs and such as luxury goods. In-game you wouldn’t trade foodstuffs between Earth-like worlds anyway since you’d almost certainly be trading between two agricultural economies dealing in much the same sort of goods. You’d be better off shipping them to some mining colony or an industrial station orbiting a mineral rich hall of rock somewhere. In which case I could see 20 tons of fresh fish being a desirable alternative to Space Rations or 3D printed burgers or whatever. As to how realistic the whole Elite economy is, I suspect the answer is ‘not very’ but it makes a nice gameplay loop.
  7. … who are sporting the very latest in high performance running shoes.
  8. Ahh, the High Impulse Propulsion by Particle InvErsion drive? Sounds groovy!
  9. I'm going to have to read that Deepmind paper because I'm genuinely curious to know how they're defining AGI. Whether or not I agree with that definition is another matter, but I think it would be useful to know what it is for discussions like this.
  10. I’m not sure that table is so helpful. Take calculator software for example - I’m willing to bet that it could be used to perform tasks up to at least Level 3 on that scale. Likewise, I reckon that image generators could be used to spit out work at Levels 1-3, possibly 4, depending what you prompt them with. I’m also slightly alarmed that 50% of skilled adults are less competent than Siri within its range of tasks.
  11. Following up from @Shpaget’s post, the combined mass of the Apollo CSM and lunar module was about 43 tons. Peak acceleration of the Saturn V was apparently about 3.9g. If they could do it in the 60s, I’m pretty sure it’s a problem you could handwave away. Also, why does the 1000 ton vessel require a 300 ton drive core rather than a 100 ton one? (Given that the 300 ton vessel requires a 30 ton core). Not that it’s important, I’m just curious. As for crew capacity, that’s difficult to judge purely from vehicle mass, but if you want some numbers, a Boeing 737 can hold about one to two hundred passengers depending on model, and has a dry mass of just over 41 tons. High gross weight max takeoff is just over 79 tons.
  12. Magnets huh? Well they’re close enough to magic that I’m convinced. Shows what the last guy knew though. He swore that his air car ran on pure water and got 150 miles to the gallon.
  13. Maybe it’s just me but I thought that last post had definite overtones of Q (from James Bond rather than Star Trek. ). ”Now pay attention 007 Mr Dilsby…”
  14. Man, that alarm is getting a workout. Ahhh - who cares... For Science! For Kerbfleet!
  15. Forget about Dyson spheres and other such namby-pamby concepts. Real spacefarers deconstruct their star systems to build pusher plates for yottabomb powered Orion drives...
  16. A motto to live by. I am of course referring to the risks of consuming overly hot tea.
  17. Seriously though, yotta is a ridiculous scale to be working in. For comparison, the Sun weighs about 2 million yottagrams.
  18. Well yes, Yottaton level bombs are enough to dramatically rearrange continents. I’m doing this on a phone with a notepad app, some not entirely sober mental arithmetic, and a lot of web searching - so I may well have screwed up my powers of ten somewhere along the way - but I reckon a 3 Yottaton bomb is enough to make 50 bomblets, each of which is sufficient to completely dismantle the Earth. As in, send each of its constituent atoms to escape velocity so that they can never coalesce again under gravity. Or probably enough to make star sized mounds of popcorn if you wanted a light snack for everyone on the bridge of your death star. @Codraroll The three is useful here. 1 megaton is about 4x10^15 J, so multiplying by three lets us round up to the next power of ten. You know - in case dismantling 5 Earths wasn’t enough.
  19. This is something I’ve pondered myself. Basic premise is that wormhole travel is a thing but (borrowing a concept from Greg Egan), it only allows travel at lightspeed. So yeah - how do you run a galactic civilization when communications and travel times are limited to c? Beyond a few obvious things - long-lived species, use of some kind of suspended animation etc., I didn’t really come up with anything conclusive. I suspect there’s a good story in there somewhere but it may be beyond my writing skills!
  20. Probably. As you said, the goalposts are always moving. If somebody came up with a model that moved beyond mere description and basically wrote an internally consistent first draft paper without being led through the process by its metaphorical hand - then I think at that point I'd agree that the question of whether the model was actually intelligent, or just faking it, was irrelevant. By first draft paper, I'm meaning something that sets the background for the new dataset in terms of what's been observed before, describes the new analysis, and then presents some sort of meaningful conclusion from that analysis. Is it consistent with previous results? Does it invalidate previous results. Does it have any wider repercussions? Does it suggest any new avenues of research? It's probably unrealistic to expect anything quite as pithy or insightful as Crick & Watson's "It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material" but that's the kind of thing I'm getting at.
  21. Wouldn't it be more correct to say that the AI had discovered a new correlation between a set of images? I doubt it had any concept of what a tumour marker was, what a biopsy slide was, or the implications of discovering one on the other.
  22. They've got a way to go yet though. Forget the title of the article - IMO that particular picture is sort of OK in an exaggerated for clarity way. The rest of the diagrams though - and their captions - are just typical LLM mashups. Superficially convincing in that they look sort of like the real thing, but actually meaningless.
  23. I think I sprained an eyeball reading that article and the Ars Technica equivalent. Because nothing says asserting dominance like panicking at the bogeyman and bodging together a slightly larger flags and footprints mission. You won the Space Race guys. You won it on July 20th 1969. Outside of the Space Force hawks, I'm pretty sure that the public response to anything China does on the Moon is going to be a hearty meh, or a a golf clap followed by a snarky 'you're only 50 years late to the party'.
  • Create New...