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Comment Re:Justice system (Score 4, Interesting) 177

We don't find people filming murders for sexual gratification. If that were the case, then that could very well become illegal too.

Although fake kiddie porn is just as illegal as the real thing, filming fake murders for others' gratification (hopefully not sexual, but who knows) is big business. Hollywood makes billions on it. Ditto first-person shooter games.

Something is screwed up somewhere.

Comment Re:It's already happened before. (Score 1) 168

It'll probably never fly, but authors should start negotiating a reversion of rights clause into their film contracts that requires a money-making film every few years, not just a film every few years.

I think the Hollywood accounts' heads would explode. (By traditional Hollywood accounting, no film ever makes money, so the suckers who settled for a percent of the net, rather than the gross, never see a penny. All the income flow is shuffled around in a giant shell game.)

Comment Re:Remakes are seldom worth it (Score 1) 168

Since the first (or maybe second) Jurassic Park movie we've had the CGI technology to something like The Mote In God's Eye or Ringworld.

Probably ain't ever going to happen, the plots require too much thinking for the average movie audience. (And these are not particularly cerebral books.) (But man, can you imagine the ensemble cast of Ringworld done by somebody like Joss Whedon? Sigh.)

And I shudder to think what they'd do with Footfall. Probably turn it into another Tom Cruise vehicle like War of the Worlds.

Comment Re:If you don't have riveting hero(s).... (Score 1) 168

Hell, the character Violet in The Incredibles was a better Sue Storm than Sue Storm (let alone Jessica Alba) will ever be.

For that matter, The Incredibles was a better Fantastic Four than any of the Fantastic Four movies, even though Johnny Torch.. er, Jak Jak was just a baby. And when I was a kid, FF was my favourite of the Marvel comics. (Not saying much, I'm a DC guy from the Silver Age.)

Comment Re:Sounds Great (Score 1) 66

Meanwhile, in a worldwide collapse due to war or an asteroid, Type 2s find themselves losing weight and the need for insulin. Their arteries clear, their blood pressure drops, their life expectancy skyrockets...to 60.

Once Type 2 kicks in, losing weight isn't going to magically reverse it, alas. It may well help with the other things, but I know some skinny (formerly obese, but not morbidly so) T2 diabetics. Lots of additional exercise might help, although if you're pushing 60 it gets harder to add muscle mass

Comment Re:Sounds Great (Score 1) 66

There's a significant difference between the $25/vial Novolin R and N insulin and the $200+/vial stuff like Levemir (insulin detemir) or Lantus.

The former are short-to-mid term acting insulins, they act quickly but wear off quickly, whereas the latter are longer lasting (but a bit slower to act). You're paying for the convenience of not having to check your glucose multiple times a day, and having to stick yourself maybe once a day instead of at every meal. (Well, okay, you're paying for the patents, but that convenience is one reason people are willing to pay it.)

Of course were it me, I might be willing to put up with a certain amount of inconvenience for another couple of thousand dollars a year in spending money. (Not just inconvenience, there's probably a higher risk of under- or over-dosing with the shorter-acting stuff than the extended release stuff. So maybe not.)

Comment Re:Just delete it (Score 2, Insightful) 204

This. Links in email are dead to me. I don't follow them, my mail client doesn't follow them, it's just so many wasted bytes. And that includes e-cards from friends/relatives. You want to send me something, send it to me, don't ask a third-party to.

(Sure, I make an exception for links I'm expecting (have asked for) but even then I'll copy them to my browser. HTML in my email is turned off.)

Comment Re:Would have saved itself (Score 2) 220

Actually, it would have been super cool if the first successful recovery of the first stage had been an emergency abort!

Something like this actually happened on the fourth or fifth flight of the DC-X test vehicle. It had made several successful launches, hovers, and vertical landings and the test profile had it going to higher and higher altitudes and doing some interesting maneuvers. Anyway, on the nearly fatal flight, due to wind conditions in the launch area, hydrogen gas (it was LH2/LO2 fueled) collected near the base of the rocket and ignited in a mild explosion at launch, with the shockwave blowing off some of the DC-X's airshell. The rocket continued climb-out, shedding more pieces as it went, as the observers watched. Pete Conrad (the astronaut, who as part of the DC-X team was controlling the flight from the ground) calmly clicked the "abort" sequence on the control computer. The DC-X stopped its ascent, hovered to burn off fuel (to lighten the load on the landing gear) and then landed safely.

Try that with any other rocket. (The DC-X's engines were modified RL-10s, much more deeply throttleable than Falcon's Merlin engines.)

Comment Re:Holy Jebus (Score 4, Informative) 220

And the depressing thing is that every one of them is there to prevent recurrence of a dishonesty that actually took place in the past.

And sometimes it's not even dishonesty, just stupidity. This was probably more true in the earlier days of aerospace. In a book about the design and construction of the Lunar Module (I think it's Chariots for Apollo, but could be wrong) there's a section on how many of the subcontractors had to be taught clean-room and quality techniques. There's one episode where one of the Grumman managers goes out to some paint pigment company who happened to get the contract for the silver-zinc LM batteries (because they had supplies of the right materials) and sees the batteries being assembled -- in a dirty shed by people who are smoking cigarettes while doing the assembly. (They threw out the entire batch, trained everyone how to do things the aerospace way, and set up a clean room, and AFAIK there was never a problem with the LM batteries.)

On the other hand the ladies sewing space suit pressure garments at the Playtex Girdle factory knew the astronauts' lives depended on what they were doing, and did it right the first time.

Comment Re:Potholes? (Score 1) 183

Having to heat the road itself completely negates that, as there's a LOT of road out there.

Actually heating the road is easy, with a little creativity. I was going to suggest adding plutonium to the road mix, but the same end could likely be achieved more cheaply by just using nuclear waste. Solves the waste problem at the same time.

Of course, there may be some undesirable side effects....

Comment Re:MUMPS criticism (Score 1) 166

but it was invented in the 1970s, before the concept of OOP had even been invented.

If it really was the 1970s, then it came some years after SIMULA-67, aka "ALGOL with objects". (I.e., SIMULA-67 was to ALGOL more or less as early C++ was to C.)

Everything in CS is (probably) older than you think. Including many of its practitioners ;-)

Comment Re:Probably an overreaction, but... (Score 2) 431

In Canada, a teen couldn't just go into a store and buy it, and even getting hold of large quantities of potassium nitrate was challenging.

Don't know how old you are, but when I was a kid in Toronto in the mid-1960s we could (and did) go down to the local drug store and buy potassium nitrate in 1-pound containers. Ditto sulphur, so long as you weren't stupid enough to try to buy both at the same time. (At least we never tried that, we just assumed that the cashier would be at least as knowledgeable as us and figure it out. Maybe not.)

Our sixth grade teacher did admonish us (not directly, but the class as a whole) about the dangers of such homebrew, with a few anecdotes of kids who had lost various body parts through doing stupid things like using metal implements to mix the stuff (sparks!), or treating it a bit too cavalierly.

Comment Re:Paranoia (Score 3, Informative) 431

Don't you know that most explosives work via a reaction with oxygen in the air?

Actually no, most don't, unless you're talking about fuel-air explosions (which can be bloody huge!). Most solid or liquid explosives use an oxidizer that's part of the mix -- or don't use an oxidizer as such at all, but rather their rather unstable molecular configuration degenerates to a lower energy state with much release of energy and component parts (most high explosives).

Comment Re:Microsoft loves Unix (Score 1) 265

"They ported the Unix for a Radio Shack system"


Xenix was based on a source license from AT&T (the original, not the renamed Southern Bell) of Bell Labs' Version 7 Unix. Microsoft also made Xenix ports available for a number of other systems.

Plenty of other companies also made licensed ports of V7, which they couldn't call Unix (or UNIX) because AT&T wouldn't license the trademark. For example, Amdahl made UTS which ran on their IBM 370 clones (as well as on IBM hardware).

"Just think, with VLSI we can have 100 ENIACS on a chip!" -- Alan Perlis