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Comment Reasonable Explaination (Score 1) 71

An AC in the comments section at Techdirt made this point:

They don't want people arguing against specific patents in public comment submissions. They think if they permit that it will lead to a flood of patent protests which would suck up the resources intended for evaluating the actual comments. So they erred on the side of being too restrictive, it really isn't anything more than that.

Comment Re:Follow Koenigsegg (Score 1) 328

The Tesla broke down. Both of them. Top Gear stated so on the show. This was before Top Gear got footage that addressed their concern over battery life and charge time, which were legitimate. So they used existing footage while talking about the problem. This is after they explained both cars had broken down for other reasons.

Top Gear acted responsibly within the constraints they found themselves in. Because both Tesla cars had broken down.

Did I mention that both the Tesla cars broke down?

Comment Re:55 miles is pretty good, and not the point (Score 1) 369

My guess is that they weren't exaggerating it, but didn't have access to the specialized wall charger. Using the mobile charger, according to Tesla's own website, can take nearly 48 hours using the most basic wall plug, and 6 hours using the heftiest. I think it's reasonable to assume that Top Gear didn't rewire their garage just for a test-drive of one car.

And both cars broke before they were able to fully drain them. They weren't pushing a working car into the garage, but a broken one. They didn't film them running out of electricity because neither of the cars lasted long enough to get to that point. However, they wanted to address the important point of the drawbacks of a pure-electrical sports car, so they had to use the footage they had.

Comment Re:55 miles is pretty good, and not the point (Score 4, Insightful) 369

As far as the Tesla, the review painted the roadster as a car that goes "whoops! ran out of electricity without warning" which is stretching it.

No, the review didn't paint any such image. I've seen this opinion expressed repeatedly, and it's just not the case. In the episode, both cars broke down, with the brakes failing on one and the engine overheating in the other. That was explicitly stated. They gave the Tesla an entirely fair shake in the episode.

Comment 55 miles is pretty good, and not the point (Score 5, Insightful) 369

A lot of the reporting seems to focus on claim it would only go 55 miles. As far as track cars go, that's pretty good. The Ford GT would only go about 60 before it would empty it's tank. A series earlier, they figured a Ferrari 599 only got 1.7 miles per gallon on the track.

Apart from reliability issues (both Tesla cars broke in various ways), the biggest flaw the cars had was that while the range was on par with regular track cars, when you ran out of fuel in the other cars, you took a few minutes to fill up and could go back out. The Tesla, on the other hand, was done for the day as it took something like 12 hours to recharge.

That was the damning conclusion of the Top Gear episode, and it was entirely accurate. Even if Tesla has improved the recharge time, it's still hours long. Tesla is just trying to distract from that fundamental fact - despite the fact it's marketed as a sports-car, it's not suited to track use. Even if people have no plans on taking it to the track, it's allure is tarnished by that fact.


Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy 1277

0ryan0 writes "Utah lawmakers passed a bill today to force public school teachers to teach that the USA is a republic, not a democracy, because a 'Democracy' would have 'Democrat' in it." The good news must be that all issues of unemployment, finance and social service must be resolved in Utah for their legislature to spend time on this. It must be a utopia!

Comment Re:Dangerous Thinking (Score 2, Insightful) 611

Soviet naval doctrine had a different set of constraints to work with than the Americans. It's naval doctrine more closely resembled pre-war Germany. Both are physically connected to the theater of operations they'll be fighting in, and both are situated such that their fleets must traverse straits to gain access to open oceans. As such, unless they were deployed ahead of any armed conflict, it would be very hard for the Soviets to deploy any large surface fleets during a war. They would either have to station the fleet in the north, which only has seasonal access to the Atlantic and must go around the tip of NATO member Norway, traverse Baltic by Germany, Denmark and Norway, or the Black Sea through NATO member Turkey. Oh, and despite this, they did try to build proper carriers. Honestly, I'm not sure why the Soviets even bothered making large ships. They were mainly a tool of statecraft, I suspect (and a matter of prestige). Their large submarine fleet made the most sense given their constraints. They didn't need to control the oceans, just deny control of it to the Americans. Same with Germany vis-a-vis Great Britain in both world wars.

Comment Re:Controversial? (Score 2, Insightful) 284

It's more complicated than that. There are those who believe in genetic diversification, and see genetic manipulation as a threat to that, much as they see GM crops along those lines. This is more of a niche ethical argument, but it's out there.

Additionally, and this is the ethical argument that Charles Krauthammer, (hardly a "spiritualist" and he's pro-choice), that it becomes an ethical dilemma if we create life simply to destroy it. At that point, there is a breakdown in the fundamental moral underpinnings of our concept of "natural law" and fundamental rights, and you encourage a very real threat from an ethical slippery slope.

One of the common arguments against cloning and genetic modification from Christians (although it is espoused by non-Christians as well) that society will become increasingly intolerant of "defects", and that people considered such (like those with Down-syndrome, or even physical defects) will be considered "sub-human".

Lastly, there is a worry that the "human" status of those cloned, despite being human, will be less than we attribute to those we consider "human".

Our "enlightened" view of humanity took a long time to achieve. A lot of people (myself included) feel that we are pushing the limits of our shared morality is capable of dealing with. The fact that a lot of people aren't even considering the implications of these scientific advancements don't do much to alleviate that concern.

Comment Re:others trying to force their morales on us (Score 1, Flamebait) 284

Well, let's take this a step further. Hypothetically, let's say that there isn't a sanctified right to life for fully grown humans. Those who are a drag on society (the homeless and mentally ill, the generally useless) should be resources for those that are contributors. Let's say a CEO is suffering from a failing liver. If he gets a replacement, he can continue to run his company for years to come. He can generate a great deal of money for a great many people. His blood matches a homeless man who is a drain on society - everyone has to pay to keep him alive. Because, using this ethical framework - and using your moral argument that simply because someone don't recognize another's right to exist they shouldn't be interfered with - should the CEO decide to take the homeless man's liver, thereby killing him, you wouldn't have a problem with it.

I just don't understand the position you take. Heaven knows you aren't the first person I've heard take it. I'm not sure how to classify it - I'm hesitant to call it pro-choice or pro-stem cell, because I know people who fall into that crowd but understand the serious ethical implications of the argument. But this argument, that science should be unconstrained by ethical and moral considerations, and the fact it's so prevalent on Slashdot, is downright scary. Or perhaps it's not that you're arguing that it should be unconstrained, but that you're not willing to entertain opposing points of view as to what has a right to exist as a human being. But, you haven't argued against it, and I doubt you even understand it, but rather rejected it out of hand. That isn't insightful but ignorant.

The traditional argument of freedom is that your rights end at the other person's nose begins. There is an argument about that line of demarcation. It's not a minority opinion either, and you don't have the right to dismiss it out of hand simply because it's inconvenient to think about.


AVG Update Breaks iTunes 185

nate_in_ME writes "After getting a positive from the AVG virus detector while playing music on iTunes just a few minutes ago, I did a bit of research. It appears that AVG has recently pushed an update to the virus definitions that flags every iPod/iTunes related file as being infected with the 'Small.BOG' trojan. Interestingly enough, AVG does not have any information on this particular virus in their virus encyclopedia. Discussion on the Apple forum is up to 4 pages and climbing. One user there had an interesting thought: 'Maybe Palm has some shares in AVG...MUAHAAAA!!' (on page 3)."
The Military

F-22 Raptor Cancelled 829

BayaWeaver writes "Slate reports that the F-22 Raptor has been cancelled by the Senate. At an estimated price tag of $339 million per aircraft, even the powerful military-industrial-congressional complex couldn't keep this Cold War program alive in these hard times. They look very cool though and have appeared in movies like Hulk and Transformers. But not to worry too much about the future of the military-industrial-congressional complex: the F-35 Lightning II begins production next year! As a side note, in 2007 a squadron of Raptors became deaf, dumb and blind when they flew over the International Date Line."

Comment Re:Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice (Score 3, Interesting) 1376

Well, Christopher Hitchens (whom, while I disagree with him, do admire) is a polemicist and makes a living at stirring things up. But you're being intellectually dishonest when you reduce those who disagree with him on religion as being little more than thugs. For every Richard Dawkins you cite, I can come up with a theologian like William Lane Craig or C.S. Lewis. Should I judge atheism by the rantings of my college's atheists when they said the Christians killed Galileo (they didn't) and that the Church thought the world was flat (they didn't)? Or should I accept that there are loudmouthed idiots in the world?

Europe has been moving towards a concept of religious tolerance that puts it at odds with the concept of free speech. This is evident in the reaction towards the Danish cartoons and British clamping down of criticism of Islam in recent years. To me, it doesn't seem inherently Christian, nor "religionist" in nature, but rather pan-European trend, that is a trend of the cosmopolitan bureaucracies that make up the EU.

I am a little bit sad that the common reaction on Slashdot has been to try and be as offensive to Christians as possible. For those that RTFA:

"In fact, the new law is a very modern phenomenon. Rather than harking back to the days of God-fearing, or at least priest-fearing, Ireland, the blasphemy law has more in common with contemporary politically correct measures of social control."

So not exactly imposing papal doctrine on the masses. Going after Christians is petty and vindictive, especially when they have as much to lose with this law as anyone.


Bugatti's Latest Veyron, Most Ridiculous Car on the Planet? 790

Wired has an amusing writeup that accurately captures the most recent ridiculous addition to Bugatti's automobile catalog. The $2.1 million Veyron sports over 1,000 horsepower, a 16-cylinder engine, and a top speed of 245 mph. The guilty conscience comes for free. "That same cash-filled briefcase could buy seven Ferrari 599s or every single 2009 model Mercedes. You could snap up a top-shelf Maybach and employ a chauffeur until well past the apocalypse. Hell, in this economy, $2.1 million is probably enough to make you a one-man special-interest group with some serious Washington clout."

He's dead, Jim.