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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Wow, lots of stuff in this thread! I'm interested in a lot of these subjects so I'll jump right in:
Human mind: The human brain isn't "faster" than a computer. Computers operate at near the speed of light, whereas neurons in your brain use chemical reactions to create and carry charges around. A brain, however, is a massively parallel computer, meaning it executes millions of operations all at the same time, whereas a contemporary CPU does only a fraction of those operations, but blindingly fast. That's why a computer can do math so much faster than us, but can't do any of the complex things we do so easily, like recognizing faces or playing music or learning languages.
Also, we don't just use 10% of our brain, or whatever percentage you may have heard. This is one of those ubran myths that became popularized a few decades ago. Modern neural imaging hardware like a functional MRI machine can see which parts of your brain are active as you do various things. We now know that we are using almost all of our brain, all the time. A simple task like reading a sentence may require the use of several regions of our brain at once. Again, this is why the brain is so powerful: parallel processing.
Wind power is unrealistic. A wind turbine takes up a lot of space, is dependent on atmospheric conditions, and simply does not produce enough energy to be a feasible power replacement.
Nuclear power is where it's at! Nuclear reactors used to be dangerous, dirty, and inefficient. However, nuclear fission has progressed remarkably in the last few decades. Current level IV reactors are very efficient, powerful, and almost completely clean. The old designs of reactors created all this waste that needed to be disposed of, but modern reactors do NOT! Yes, that's right, no nuclear waste. Look it up!
Perhaps in 50 years we'll move from fission to fusion. This is a complicated subject that I don't know much about, unfortunately, but basically we are able to achieve fusion right now, but the power output does not match or exceed the power input. We have to improve our ability to manufacture lenses and materials to improve the efficiency, but within 100 years we might have working, clean, safe nuclear fission. That's what powers the sun, folks.