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Comment Re:He she said (Score 1) 578

Not only that, but it flew over it twice. You can clearly see how the bomber made a big oval loop, overlapping exactly twice over Turkey. Thus whatever they were targeting was along that overlapping path that crosses through Turkey. More than likely there were hitting targets right on the border of Turkey or extremely close to it.

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 578

Didn't we elect someone to get us the hell out of some sandy region where everyone hates everyone else

That is exactly what has caused this. Iraq was not nearly stable enough to take over its own security. As soon as the USA pulled out, 100+ former Saddam Hussein military officers formed ISIS. Then in addition to that, Obama funnels weapons to Islamic "moderates" to topple Assad, further destabilizing the region. There's pretty much nothing Obama could have done any worse to inflame the Middle East and result in the formation of ISIS.

Comment Re:it was just too long (Score 5, Interesting) 174

Agreed. Before I even saw the first movie, I said, "I'd rather have a 9-movie series doing The Lord of the Rings rather than 3 long movies about The Hobbit."

I had a couple issues with LOTR - one being Aragorn's "reluctant hero" portrayal in the movie. In the books he knew his lineage and his destiny. He took 5 minutes just saying his name and rolling off his bloodline and claim to the throne. He carried around Narsil for pete's sake.

However, my biggest gripe is totally cutting out the moral lesson LOTR teaches. That was in the form of Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire. Both teach the same lesson (especially the Scouring of the Shire), which is that we are responsible for making the world a better place. It is up to us as individuals to play that role.

Comment Re:In other words... (Score 2) 387

NASCAR is intended to be a racing skills competition, not an engineering skills competition. The performance capabilities of the cars are capped in numerous ways so that ostensibly drivers with the best skills accumulate the most points over the season. This is pretty much true of athletic sports too. Take baseball for example. Is it possible to engineer a bat that can hit a ball further than the bats used in MLB? Absolutely. However, not only would that give individual competitors an unfair technological advantage, but it would also damage the historical aspect of the sport and any attempts to try and compare the performance of modern athletes to those that played 100 years ago.

Finally, NASCAR is raced in oval tracks that are more spectator friendly than F1. For example, the Martinsville track was built in 1948. The cars must be capped in a number of ways to limit the risk to spectators who are much closer to the track (and in some tracks, the spectators surround every inch of the entire track).

Comment Re:Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 1) 519

Yeah yeah yeah. Everything is relative. Just can't pin anything down at all can we? Keeping religion out of the discussion, as "evil" is actually a religiously defined term, we can more generically discuss "evil" in terms of human decency. Is the killing of large numbers of people because they do not share the same beliefs (and they simply want to be left alone to go about their lives) evil? I think in terms of humanity, globally, universally, yes it is. Being "cerebral" and saying that evil cannot be defined and we need to dance around issues and consider ever demented viewpoint is bullshit. That attitude is part of what is going wrong with modern advanced society. This mindset that "morality' is something that doesn't really exist. Nor is "evil". Or any of these foundational concepts that our societies sought in order to take us from from being mere hordes of savage brutes to where we are today.

So, in the context of this politician, we have someone who was merely trying to spout of the standard PC garbage (there is no right and no wrong and blah blah blah) that he thought liberals would like, and he failed.

Comment Cloak and dagger (Score 5, Insightful) 289

I think there are a couple things going on here. First off, Russia (as in Putin and the government) desperately wants this to be an accident or something they can at least claim to be an accident (and by accident I mean some massive mechanical failure of the plane where it spontaneously broke into pieces during the safest part of flight when cruising). A successful attack by ISIS is the last thing they want, because up to this point Russia appears strong and unassailable in their air campaign in Syria. If this was an attack by ISIS it shows that Russian people have been directly attacked and are vulnerable. So I would imagine Russia would drags its feet as much as possible in admitting it if this is indeed an attack by ISIS, although the direct involvement of so many other countries in the investigation may make that difficult.

The other thing going on is US intelligence. This crash happened in one of the most intensely watched areas of the world. Sinai is the buffer area that lies between Israel and Egypt. In addition to the US's spy satellites, drones, etc, Israel certainly has its own close surveillance of the region as well. It has already been leaked that US satellites detected a "heat flash" while the plane was at altitude. More than likely the US or Israel has direct evidence that a bomb went off in flight, but the information is too sensitive (for example, betraying just how good the US's surveillance technology is) that no one can officially and unequivocally state that it was a bomb.

That pretty much leaves one other semi-realistic scenario, which is that a repair made a long time ago has failed. Again, that is very unlikely, because a structural failure of that kind would happen when the plane is under maximum stress - during the take off and climb. Not when the plane is at altitude and cruising along with very, very little stress on the airframe. Further, pictures of the tail after the crash show the tail is still attached to the fuselage. The type of tail failures in the past with the Airbus (like flight 587) were the rudder, not the entire tail. With the Russian plane, the entire tail section was intact and attached to the rear fuselage, but separate from the plane. That is a gross failure of the entire fuselage itself, not the tail failing.

It's very likely that both the US and Russia already knows for certain what happened - if it was a bomb it would be extremely obvious from examining the wreckage.

Comment Re:They have no plan (Score 4, Informative) 188

If you don't have solar power stored in a nice dark box inside a Faraday cage, along with (at least) a radio and anything electrical you need to survive

We're talking about a solar flare, not an EMP from a nuke at ground zero. The only reason massive solar flares damage things is because we have millions of miles of wires stretched across entire continents acting like massive antennas absorbing the energy from the flare on a massive, massive scale. The primary risk is the infrastructure itself going down - mainly in the form of tens of thousands of power transformers being destroyed. It's also possible that anything plugged into the grid can also be damaged, similar to a lightning strike, however in all likelihood the grid would be damaged before it can transfer the power of the solar flare into homes (it would be a slow build up over time - hours and maybe days - until it cooks the transformers and other equipment designed to regulate power).

So Faraday cages and the like to protect from solar flare are, well, about as useful as tin foil hats. Main thing is to disconnect your house from the grid via your main breakers when we know CME strike is imminent (and of course we will know about many hours in advance).

Comment Wolf3D, Doom, Quake... (Score 5, Insightful) 309

And here we come to the crux of what it means to be a truly great developer. Optimizations, both memory and performance, are difficult. Anyone can throw something together that is slow, bloated, and requires tons of physical resources to work half decently. Just like you can write anything you want in Visual Basic, because, after all, it is turing complete.

So this brings me to my subject - Wolf3D, Doom and Quake. What made those games amazing weren't the algorithms. Most of the concepts, like binary spacial partitioning, and the various 3D mathematics involved to translate and transform points, etc, have been around for close to a century now. What was amazing about those games is that they ran very well on the incredibly slow and RAM-limited hardware of the era. It took tremendous amounts of pre-processing and every trick in the book for those games to be lean and mean enough to not be a slideshow and have decent rendering quality.

Which brings us to the counter example of all of that: Batman: Arkham Knight.

The trouble with a lot of self-made men is that they worship their creator.