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Profile: LeadPal
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User Name: LeadPal
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: Male
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Joined: Sunday, July 26, 2009
Last Visit: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:44:43 PM
Number of Posts: 461
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Stephen Hawking Warns Against Contacting Aliens
Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:40:18 PM
nooblet wrote:
I can't read the rest of the article, but what about deadly diseases that aliens may be carrying that would be harmless to them but fatal to us?

Pretty unlikely, as the differences in our biology would be huge. Too big a barrier for any organism to jump. It's more likely that their flesh would be made of deadly poison, but that would probably go both ways, so it's still less significant than the OMG ALIENS factor.
Topic: Unusual Dishes
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:38:57 PM
rluna wrote:
I wouldn't mind trying a bit of human.

I, too, believe it's important to be a humanitarian.
Topic: Generation Gap
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:54:38 PM
The issue here isn't that the younger generation isn't as smart as the older generation--it's that most of the world isn't as smart as the posters on TFD. If the girl in the OP was following the Word of the Day, she'd have no trouble identifying colours. Dancing
Topic: susurration
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:17:29 PM
The variant "sussurus" is one of my favourite words. It's difficult to use unobtrusively, but it's highly poetic, being both assonant and alliterative.
Topic: sentience
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 9:42:14 PM
"Undifferentiated" in the sense of "not specialized". A sentient being isn't necessarily intelligent enough to think about anything in particular. A horsefly is aware of its surroundings, but its decisions are based on instinct, not thought.
Topic: sentience
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:32:55 PM
Sentience is not to be confused with sapience, the ability to reason. Many animals are sentient, but only humans are sapient. Indeed, that's why we're Homo Sapiens.
Topic: Cymothoa Exigua
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 3:16:24 PM
It gets worse. Cymothoa exigua has acid blood, and it reproduces by implanting its spawn into humans. I think Ridley Scott did a documentary on them.
Topic: Polar Bear Origins Fairly Recent
Posted: Monday, March 15, 2010 1:54:34 PM
Carmelo wrote:
Sure, sure, but what is the difference between the white and the brown, beside the color?

Enough that neither could survive for long in the other's habitat. The most important difference is insulation: polar bears are astonishingly good at retaining heat.
Topic: Google predicts PCs gone in three years.
Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 3:23:53 PM
Fascinating prediction. Now, let's look at what'll actually happen.

http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1278413

Garter Research wrote:
By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. According to Gartner's PC installed base forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013. By 2013, the combined installed base of smartphones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter.

Given that these analysts made this prediction before John Herlihy came up with the same date, I'm going to say he saw this press release and figured it would make a good sound byte if he exaggerated it. (Evidently, he was right).

It should be obvious that 1.78 billion PCs is not an insignificant market. Furthermore, most of these smartphone will be in the hands of current PC owners; unless wireless Internet cards improve considerably in the next three years, they'll probably still get a lot from their networks at home, just to take advantage of the greater bandwidth.

So, in short, the idea that PCs will be obsolete by 2013 is completely silly.
Topic: Meaning of your existence
Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 2:55:20 PM
Dreamy wrote:
We could always generalise and express personal opinions as though they were fundamental axioms...that could be meaningful to some.

Which is exactly what everyone does. No one anywhere actually knows what the meaning of life is; even the idea that life has a different meaning for everyone is itself an opinion, for there's still the possibility that all humans do have a single purpose.

That must sound nihilistic, but I find it comforting. I have no way to possibly know if I'm doing anything wrong with my life, at least in a cosmic sense, and since I have no way to know, why should I worry about it? I'll just keep striving towards whatever I desire. Satisfaction is reward enough.