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Comment: Re:The arc is long (Score 2) 185

by Chris Mattern (#48667831) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart

written by Longfellow after he'd lost his entire family (wife included) during the Civil War:

Someone seems to have embellished the tale a bit. Longfellow did not lose his entire faimly in the Civil War. The poem was written after his eldest son Charles was wounded, not killed, in battle; he wouldn't die until 1893, eleven years after his father. His wife was burned to death in a household accident in 1861. He wrote a different poem about that death, "The Cross of Snow", eighteen years later.

Comment: Re:youmail (Score 1) 224

by Chris Mattern (#48666163) Attached to: The Slow Death of Voice Mail

I don't see anything particularly impolite about the truth: "I saw your number on the voicemail and decided it would be faster to call you back right away instead of listening to it. So what's happening?"

The *real* problem with not listening to the voicemail is if you get stuck playing phone tag. If there was useful information on that voice mail other than "Call me back" you're not going to learn it from the original caller's voice mail prompt.

Comment: Re:Waste of Time (Score 2) 317

No, that's just how Gene sold it to the network: "Wagon Train to the Stars", to quote his concept document. But Gene intended that to be a trojan horse--he wanted to take the chance to also touch on larger issues. "A masterwork of American Literature"? No, not really, although they did have master science-fiction writers do some of their scripts (Theodore Sturgeon on "Amok Time" and "Shore Leave", Harlan Ellison on "The City on the Edge of Forever", Robert Bloch on "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Catspaw", and "Wolf in the Fold", Norman Spinrad on "The Doomsday Machine") But it also used be more than just non-stop action, too. Not anymore.

Comment: Re:what a load of crap (Score 1) 283

by Chris Mattern (#48661145) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi

"in order to protect their internal Wi-Fi services."
I'm soooo sure that's the real reason and it has nothing to do with money.

Of course it's the real reason, and it has everything to do with money. They want to protect their internal Wi-Fi services from external competition.

Comment: Re:Bar joke (Score 1) 83

by Chris Mattern (#48653923) Attached to: How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market

I wasn't aware that Obama was accused of being an illegal alien.

Good lord, how could you miss all the birthers? Some of them just claim Obama's not a native-born citizen, but some are willing to go all the way to illegal alien. None of which is true, but it hasn't stopped people from claiming it.

Comment: Re:Like many inventions ... (Score 4, Interesting) 246

by Chris Mattern (#48650957) Attached to: The Magic of Pallets

Time was, surface vessels got their fuel the same way: all the enlisted plus the ensigns passing sacks of coal.

In the US Navy, they made a contest of it, too, starboard watch against port watch. If you made the ship list enough (because you filled the coal bunkers on your side so much faster), your side got extra leave.

Comment: Re:um.... (Score 1) 155

by Chris Mattern (#48647719) Attached to: Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

They did some of that (so it is inaccurate to say NASA did all the hard work). They successfully created a suborbital rocket that didn't need to deliver its payload to a soft landing. That was a necessary intermediate step. Getting a man to the moon required quite a bit of additional work, however.

I have a very small mind and must live with it. -- E. Dijkstra