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Comment Re:I hate it because it's terminally unfunny (Score 1) 171

I didn't care for BBT, either, but pretty much all laugh-track sitcoms sound like that when you remove the canned laughter. Friends, for example, fares no better. The whole pacing of the show is designed around the laugh track.

So are the jokes. The laugh track clues you in to laugh, so they don't have to work really hard to make the script work. They basically hook an audience with a few characters they engage with and some stock lines, and then just repeat the formula. Once they've got them, people really feel strongly about the characters; it acts more like a soap opera than a comedy.

Eventually, people realize that they're hearing the same few jokes over and over, and check out. But a show can last a surprisingly long time on its own momentum plus the occasional shark-jumping (adding in new elements to the story line).

Not my thing; I find I prefer single-camera sitcoms, which are shot more like movies and tend to be more comedy-drama than pure sitcom, and they usually lack a laugh track. But I guess it's all up to people's tastes.

Comment Re:Issue is more complicated (Score 1) 453

And yet she's perfectly willing to mock, abuse, and deride people on her own turf where she's the one in charge. This is just another case of hypocrisy from top to bottom. She wants to be an "equal" but she also wants everyone to bend over backwards to accomodate her and treat her gently. She talks about things being "toxic" but is toxic herself to anyone she disagrees with... when she's the one holding all the cards.

Comment Re:Hmmmm (Score 1) 453

Well, this is what you get when you have a project run by rock star developers.

Now it would be better if people were more mature in their communications, but the bottom line is that (a) they're smarter than almost everyone else they know, (b) they know their work better than anyone else and care deeply about it, and (c) they get results. Under the circumstances have no reason to act like grown ups. They're not only rock stars, they're still churning out hits.

It's no wonder that they take the attitude "the world has to take me uncensored, and if anyone doesn't like that then it's their problem." It's a perfectly understandable attitude, but it's not an admirable one. Trying tact first won't necessarily make you more successful, especially if you're a rock star. But it won't make you less successful either; after all if tact fails the option of publicly humiliating someone by showing how much stupider they are than you is still open. What it will make you is a better person.

Comment Re:Normal mission mode (Score 1) 197

I've not read the book, but everything in the movie indicates that the normal mode did involve a large amount of delta v for Hermes to enter and leave Mars (and Earth) orbit.

Hermes was in stable orbit the entire time they were down on the surface for the mission, which is how they were able to evacuate at the beginning without worrying about the proper time to rendezvous with Hermes.

The issue was that Hermes was intended to have enough fuel to leave Earth orbit and get to Mars, enter and then later leave Mars orbit, then return to Earth and enter orbit there. As such it was provided with enough fuel to accomplish those maneuvers, along with the usual safety margin, but no more.

(Spoilers after this point)

So when it came time for the fly by they'd already used all the fuel needed to get into and out of Mars orbit on the last pass. As well as some of the fuel they would have used to get back into Earth orbit before they decided to change the plan. As well as a little more re-accelerating for the Earth slingshot. Meaning that from a very rough "number of maneuvers" viewpoint they'd already used somewhere over 3/4ths of their fuel, not counting the safety margin.

So at the point they got back to Mars they didn't have nearly enough fuel to enter orbit, which is why they needed to do the flyby pickup. Likewise the ascent vehicle was never intended to reach high orbit, which is why they needed to lighten the load so much.

Hermes would have been coasting back to Earth on fumes after that, with barely enough fuel to decelerate on arrival and no margin for error. In fact, although it wasn't mentioned in the film, it's possible they were intending to return without even enough fuel to fully brake on return and there was a plan to send up a booster with extra fuel to meet them as they arrived.

Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 1) 128

The medallions avoid a couple things,
- drivers charging on a hail unsafely then haggling over who can carry them
- lots of empty cabs driving around

Gas prices and the expense of operating a vehicle in the city takes care of the second. Taxi companies won't run cabs if they're not making money, so the problem is self-limiting. Medallions only serve to artificially limit supply.

Comment Re:Don't they all? (Score 1) 36

As a rule of thumb, the colder electronic components are, the cleaner their signals are, the faster they can run, etc. All the fastest overclocking gets done via subzero temperatures (though this is dangerous as condensation of water from the atmosphere can cause catastrophic short-circuits).

Comment Re:Stronger IP protections (Score 2) 224

I'll put it to you like this - with stronger and longer recent IP protections recently, have you noticed a decrease or an increase in creative output?

"Creative output"? No change whatsoever.

Indie authors and musicians are not "sharply on the rise". There's just a new word, "indie", invented to make it seem like it was something that didn't happen until millennials invented "being creative while making hardly any money". And to think that stronger and longer IP protections is the reason behind the rise of indie artists is just dumb. Do you really believe some kid making music with ProTools in his bedroom cares about whether or not his grandchildren are going to share in the profits?

The people who say "stronger and longer IP protections is good for creativity" are almost universally people who have never done anything creative.

Comment Re:In favor (Score 1) 224

While I appreciate patriotism, I personally feel that we should be trying to make life better for humanity in general, rather than greedily holding onto wealth in the USA.

So write a check.

Taking at face value the Wharton study quoted above

A business school thinks what's good for corporations is good for humanity? What a surprise.

Coming back to TPP, it has some leaked aspects that I think are truly terrible, such as the intellectual freedom troubles. Those criticisms I consider reasonable, and I can appreciate why that would cause an informed and intelligent person to oppose the TPP. On the other hand, a kind of knee-jerk hatred to trade agreements in general appears to drive much of the opposition, and I think of those anti-trade arguments as having no moral standing, just like the ones put forth by the sugar lobby.

That's like saying, "I can appreciate people being against cancer, but I just do not understand the opposition to disease in general."

Comment Re:So less space and fewer tuners... (Score 1) 78

It's more about the overall viewing experience than pressing the button. Ads interrupt the story being told. Even if it's only for a moment, kicks you out of the story and you take a moment to re-adjust. Especially if you overshoot and have to scan back to find the part where the show resumes.

Hardly the worst crime in the world, but this is all about entertainment. Your feelings about it aren't incidental; they're actually the only thing going on here.

Interestingly, sometimes those interruptions are built right into the show. If you watch some TV shows on DVD, without the commercials, you'll find that there are weird shifts and repeats. They're where the commercials went, and they're bringing you back into the story after a break. With no break, it looks a bit odd, though anybody who's ever watched regular TV has no trouble figuring out what just happened. And are usually glad they didn't have to sit through the actual commercial.

Though increasingly, the best TV is often on networks that don't have commercials at all. Their target isn't divided between the advertisers and the audience; all they want is for people to like it enough to subscribe to the channel.

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 154

The notion of "risk" kind of breaks down for extreme events like that. In one sense it's not unreasonable to put the model value of your own life at "infinity", since for you at least the entire universe literally comes to an end.

That would be just a quaint little artifact leading to the usual paradoxes that come when you arbitrarily set infinities, but it actually matters for more realistic risk assessments like health care and safety standards. You end up asking questions like "how much is a human life worth, in dollar terms?" and needing actual answers. The answers are always upsetting to people, no matter how high they are.

In my opinion it means that the whole notion of risk assessment becomes dicey when it comes to death. We want objective answers, to match the real objective dollars being spent, on something that's fundamentally subjective. "Infinity" is clearly not a good answer in that context, since those infinities always lead to absurdities, but I'd bet it's the most common answer people would give. Getting people to agree on some other, more useful answer is always fraught.

In any problem, if you find yourself doing an infinite amount of work, the answer may be obtained by inspection.