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Everything posted by John

  1. I guess it would suck if someone harboraing ill intentions towards our government found a way to send the command from the outside, heh. Spy plane flying around, suddenly all its computers die, plane crashes, there you have it.
  2. It is my belief that any encryption algorithm we create will ultimately be crackable. The human mind can work a way to crack any technology it creates to prevent cracking. As for it being proven mathematically impossible, you're limiting yourself to our current understanding of mathematics. A while ago there was no 0, and/or there were no negative numbers, and/or there was/were no [insert most of the other stuff in our mathematical system]. Mathematics is evolving all the time, and using our current understanding of it to say something is certainly impossible isn't valid, in my opinion. For the physics aspect, much the same applies, as was briefly mentioned in Radical Edward's earlier post.
  3. My vote for Linux stands, although FreeBSD shouldn't be listed as a separate option, since it is, after all, a flavor of Unix.
  4. Heh, seems my posts are mainly going to be links to others' knowledge, rather than my own knowledge. For a good description of shock, check out this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000039.htm
  5. I'm sure most of you have heard and/or read the story by now, as it's been out for several months, but I still find it intriguing. I'm wondering what you all think about this development, and its implications. Perhaps this would be better placed in the ethics forum, however. For those of you who haven't learned about the technique of controlling rats by remote, check out this article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/05/0501_020501_roborats.html
  6. I remember watching a television program about HIV and AIDS, which mentioned prostitutes in Africa who were apparently immune to HIV. The show had a wonderful 3D rendered sci-fi representation of the human body as a futuristic city, with all sorts of things traveling through, but that's unimportant here. I found an article online which briefly describes a similar trend: http://www.aegis.com/news/newsday/1998/ND980701.html
  7. John


    Making body parts is a wonderful prospect for medicine, and I don't see any ethical problems there (or perhaps I'm just short-sighted). As for full human beings, I don't know. The religious view that a clone wouldn't have a soul doesn't seem logical to me, assuming we even all have souls in the first place. A cloned human would be just another person developed in a womb and growing on this world. The fact that it would share DNA sequences with another person shouldn't preclude its possession of a soul. Aside from that, I see no real problems with cloned humans, as long as we remember to place more emphasis on the "human" part of that than the "clone" part. However, human beings do tend to value their individuality (this even includes those who spend their lives trying to imitate and impress other people), so I suppose that could pose a problem. Humans tend to fear the unknown, and that's even true with new technology. Cloning is a pretty famous process now, but the idea of using that ability on ourselves still falls into the realm of enigma, so it tends to alarm and frighten most of us. If it comes into being, and human cloning becomes an everyday process, I'm sure we'll all grow used to it in a few years, and look back, laughing, at our concern over the ethical issues.
  8. Of the posted options, I'll choose Linux. If you want customization, Windows doesn't come close. There are loads of window and file managers available to run with the X window system. If you want to talk about stability and vulnerability, then I've seen no evidence that Windows rivals Linux, except perhaps XP. And if Linux is vulnerable and unstable, at least a knowledgable coder has the chance to correct the problem for himself and post the solution on the Net for everyone else to download. ::shrugs::
  9. Well, if you want a language to use for an introduction to programming, then I'd recommend Python. It's cleanly designed, has relatively painless syntax, and is pretty useful--Perl without all the cruft. As for the debate over whether to choose C or C++, that's an old argument bordering on holy war. Both sides raise valid points. I would choose C, simply because it's more compact than its somewhat object-oriented cousin. Learning the bigger language is all well and good, but if you're just getting introduced to the language, then I'd say it's best to start with the smaller, and work up to the larger.
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