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Comment: Rumor: Fox Is Planning an X-Files Revival (Score 1) 298

by eldavojohn (#48904215) Attached to: Best 1990s Sci-fi show?
In the news recently are rumors that Carter, Anderson and Duchovny will reunite for new X-Files episodes. Fox has sorta confirmed this.

I own all the DVDs, a couple years ago I rewatched them. I may come off as a rabid fan at times but the background music was atrociously horrid. Also the story arc plot became overly convoluted and impossible to explain at times. That said, one of the most convoluted characters (Krycek) was my favorite. Aside from several minor valid criticisms like that, I really think it's a great platform for modern storytelling.

I do have to ask myself, at times, if there is some level of insane conspiracy theory today that we owe at least in part to those people watching X-Files when younger. I have to admit that the 9/11 inside job truthers movement claims could have been ripped from the pages of an X-Files script.

My biggest concern, of course, is whether or not it could still be fresh. With recent high quality additions to television canon, we'd have to be prepared for Chris Carter coming back at us with a 90's angle when episodes like Home really aren't as shocking anymore. The bar has been raised (thankfully).

Right now, The X-Files is going to occupy a contextual place in television history like The Twilight Zone. A revival could very well tarnish that. On the other hand, I've never felt like I really received closure on the whole story arc ...

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 150

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 2) 289

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

Comment: Re:Yawn ... (Score 2) 225

by GameboyRMH (#48884227) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Futurists tend to be right about technology but far too optimistic about the economy, causing their technically accurate predictions to fall flat on their faces.

Likewise, IoT is simply too expensive to take off any time soon. These devices need to be in the single-digit prices to make sense to the average joe, and they're currently in the triple-digits.

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 5, Informative) 790

by hey! (#48878045) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

As a cyclist, I can attest a Prius is not a totally silent vehicle. Nor, I am sure, is a Tesla although I've never encountered one on the road. The reason is tire noise.

For a modern car traveling at 20+ MPH and not accelerating, tire noise is the dominant sound. You can easily hear a car traveling at speed from a hundred yards or more away, almost entirely from the tire noise. The engine of a well-maintained car traveling at a constant 30 MPH might as well be totally silent.

At low speeds such as would be encountered in a parking lot or congested city street the engine noise is dominant, particularly because the car is doing a lot of accelerating and decelerating. At those speeds I think a modest synthesized engine sound is a very good idea, especially when you consider blind people and even more especially service dogs, who would have to be re-trained for some other kind of noise. There would be no need for the artificial sound once the car is at cruising speed.

Comment: Re:Splits the community in half (Score 1) 790

by hey! (#48877805) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

If you play a synthesized noise back through the car's sound system the energy wasted is negligible. And arguably, anything that serves a purpose isn't wasted, so long as it is done with minimum energy needed.

I actually kind of like the idea of synthesized sounds. Think of it as being like haptic feedback. Anyone who's ever driven a car with an exhaust leak knows the powerful illusion it creates that the car's engine has lost power. So why not use sound to convey feedback about what the car is doing -- in this case using lots more gasoline.

In fact I'd take it further. If the oil is low or past due for changing, why not pipe valve tapping sounds into the passenger compartment? Or if the pressure of a tire drops maybe impart a thrum to the steering wheel.

Comment: Re:Internet cables? (Score 1) 415

by hey! (#48877483) Attached to: Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

A jacketed linear medium which carries data is called a "cable" whether it's RG-6 coax, Cat 1 UTP, or fiber. And if that cable carries Internet traffic, it's perfectly reasonable to call it an "Internet cable". The only problem I have with "cut the Internet cables" is the superfluous pluralization, which I suspect is the product of an analogy with "cut the telephone wires", which in contrast is technically accurate because a telephone cable carries a twisted pair of wires. But if people use "Internet cables" because they're not precisely aware of what's in the innards of a cable, we'll just have to accept that. When people use a word it becomes their property, no matter how ignorant or uninterested they are. They always win in the end because it take no effort to sustain ignorance and lack of interest in the details.

I understand the impulse to language pedantry; my particular bugaboo is is the contemporary use of "broadband", which sets my teeth on edge. It's futile to object to how people use and understand a phrase. It's the result same inexorable process that makes Shakespeare incomprehensible to modern audiences without special training, and which will make *Star Wars* incomprehensible to future generations. I've seen fairly radical changes in my own 50 year lifetime, like the disappearance of the verb "shall" from everyday speech.

Comment: Re:Person who worked in mosquito control here. (Score 1) 661

by hey! (#48873007) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Almost certainly would have been stolen for agricultural use. I've supported teams going to Africa and theft is extremely common in many of the places DDT would be needed the most. And it's unlikely that the theft of DDT would result in more people being fed in the long term, for reasons to numerous to go through.

In any case your post illustrates the problematic mindset I alluded to: the tendency to imagine DDT as a panacea, and a substitute for expertise and forethought. Eliminating DDT caused pest control to get a lot smarter and intelligently targeted, which was a good thing, and leads to more sustainable gains. Admittedly it''s harder work to make smart, informed decisions, than to spray and pray.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker

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