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Comment Fastest-growing industry (Score 1) 343 343

Well there you have it. As consumerism continues its long rise, bullshit is ultimately produced in ever-increasing quantity. It became significant in the 20's, was rocket-fueled in the 50's, and has dominated the economy for a few decades now. Bullshit is the fastest-growing industry and more and more media, politics, and government is devoted to it.

Comment Re:Headline exactly wrong (Score 1) 477 477

As a consumer I'm fine with DVD quality, so Blu-ray solved a problem that didn't exist. I have (well, a friend is storing at my house) a Blu-ray player and an HD-TV, but when I'm at Redbox and a title is available in both DVD and Blu-ray, I get the DVD because it's $0.25 cheaper. Blu-ray resolution isn't worth 25 cents! Same thing with sound. The flatscreen TV has mediocre sound compared to the good bass possible with the deep cabinet of a CRT screen, but I haven't found it worth my time and room space to hook up some external speakers. Mediocre sound is good enough for the conceptual quality of most sound tracks. So the industry is far past the point of diminishing returns as it tries to get me excited about 3D or 4K technologies.

There are only so many good writers who get produced, and they only have so many inspired moments per year. That's the bottleneck for movie quality, not tech.

Comment Re:c++ has greatly improved, also thanks to STL (Score 2, Interesting) 435 435

The trouble with a language giving tons of rope to hang oneself is, on a team project, there will always be some coders who will in fact hang themselves, and in doing so hang the whole project. That's why C++ is OK for small/one-coder projects, but Java is the language of choice for big teams. Of course the whole project can also be hanged by the designers and architects...

Comment Will we be forced to face the traffic nightmare? (Score 1) 367 367

One of the examples of boiled frog syndrome is how we've become accustomed to suckier and suckier traffic as population growth, development, and rising consumption have put more and more cars on the road, which are driven more and more miles per year. This has happened as the political will to undertake large infrastructure projects has dissolved with the rise of small government ideology. Essentially no cities that had their major growth after the 1950's are able to provide a functioning transportation system. We've been distracted from this fact by cars getting more comfortable and more entertaining, as music systems and especially cell phones became a major source of relief from the tedium of traffic jams. If all cell phone use in cars is banned, watch for the lack of good rush-hour transportation to come to the front in local politics.

Comment Re: Redefine hunting. (Score 1) 397 397

The reaction-time problem for bows or guns can only be solved by the individual ethics of the hunter. I'm sorry for hunters that botch the job, regardless of the type of equipment used. Patience matters. A poor sense of respect for the environment has degraded many fishing sites too. A substitution of technology for patience, skill, and a knowledge (and therefore respect) of game is the hallmark of the shallow hunter. This loss of depth (reverence?) is the hunter's loss, not just the prey's.

Comment Greenspan's right (Score 4, Interesting) 516 516

People in all societies get their ideas of what's necessary, and what's enough, and what to buy, by looking at the people around them and comparing it to their own situation. The don't use any kind of empirical or absolute measure, unless they're chronically hungry or in similar dire straits.

Comment Re:huh? (Score 1) 860 860

That's why I set my 80-year-old mom up with Linux. All she does on her old hardware is browse, email, and a bit of writing. She finds Ubuntu desktop in classic mode easy to use, after XP, and LibreOffice Write easy to use, after an old version of MS Word. In contrast, the newer MS desktops and the tool ribbon of newer Word releases are beyond her comprehension. Trust me, we tried. What Mom *doesn't* do is battle with viruses, compatibility switches, and bloatware. Mom doesn't really get it that she's running Linux. It just works, for her. And for me, with minimal support issues. Even better, the Ubuntu LTS releases give us prompt security fixes (at least compared to MS, and that's before they de-support an OS), and a clean and easy upgrade path. Her hardware and software cost over the last decade has been essentially zero, as all of the software she runs is free, and I upgrade her hardware for free with a cast-off 5-year-old computer when her's is about 10. Linux is a great solution for much of what XP is used for.

Comment Rather like poison gas (Score 1) 401 401

By definition, weapons of mass destruction are rather indiscriminate in their effects, killing innocent civilians. They're can only be aimed approximately. AGW of course is only a WMD metaphorically, not literally, as it didn't arise with the intent to kill, even if it does.

Comment meanwhile kit building is doing well (Score 2) 473 473

The stagnation of design in the factory-built market was caused by a few jury decisions to hold manufacturers liable for crashes, not by government regulation. The liability problem made USA manufacturers stop introducing bold design changes. The "51% rule" holds that if the customer builds an airplane himself, then he's the manufacturer and assumes liability. This has caused all of the interesting design progress to show up in the kit plane market instead of in the factory-built market. (Two examples are composite construction and canard wings, although both features are available factory-built from non-USA manufacturers.) Government regulation has helped bring new pilots into the fold with the recent introduction of the Sport Light Aircraft pilot's license.

Separate from the airplane price issue, though, is that that geeky guys that might have become private pilots are diverted today into electronics and software. "Tech" used to mean airplanes.

Disobedience: The silver lining to the cloud of servitude. -- Ambrose Bierce

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