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Comment: Re:What's the matter with Canada? (Score 1) 116

by DarthVain (#49091133) Attached to: The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill

You forgot politics and politicians...

All the stuff above aside, the basic fact is that the Conservatives united the right (Alliance/Reform, PC), and moved towards center (or at least perceived to by some people). The center left is shared by two other parties that basically just cannibalize each others votes... So baring some crazy thing, it is no surprise that the Conservatives have a distinct advantage and won, simple numbers. The PQ is not a federal party. Their only significant impact recently was loosing so badly and catapulting the NDP to prominence for the first time ever really.

Of course anytime the topic of "coalition" was mentioned, all three were quick to throw it down, like being called a communist in the US.
The Conservatives hate the idea because they would lose.
The Liberals hate the idea because they want all the power.
The NDP hate the idea because their party would likely be absorbed and a bunch of politicians would be out of a job...

Also change is hard. The reason we still have a stupid voting system and ridings is that it give advantage to the Cons/Libs, which most people vote for, so there is very little impetus for change (i.e. why would I want to change a system that elects the party I like?), which breeds apathy, which means less people vote... etc...

Comment: Re:I love you man (Score 1) 305

by DarthVain (#49038009) Attached to: Alcohol's Evaporating Health Benefits

You can die from drinking (not breathing) too much water. It is called hyponatremia and can lead to "water intoxication", and it can kill you in extreme cases.

There was an example a few years ago where a radio station had a contest among a few contestants on who could drink the most water, and the winner would get an Xbox I believe. A woman died as a result.

Anyway, it wouldn't be millions however, and Alcohol is certainly more dangerous. Anyway they don't call it in"toxic"ation for nothing...

Comment: Attack On Titan! (Score 1) 119

by DarthVain (#49037939) Attached to: NASA Releases Details of Titan Submarine Concept

"...the waste heat from the generator would cause the liquids around it to boil..."

Because there is nothing like studying marine life by boiling it... My only question is will they equip the submersible with a garlic butter sauce or not, because without it, I don't see it being a worthwhile endeavor.

Comment: Meow! (Score 1) 191

by DarthVain (#49037861) Attached to: Apple Invests $848 Million Into Solar Farm

LOL! I have heard this argument before. The Cats killing more birds statistic is an urban one, i.e. most of the birds they are killing are of the urban variety, like pigeons (rats of the sky), and other "pest" birds. Those big solar towers are not located in urban areas, but rather the countryside. What birds they may or may not be killing are of the more important variety...

Not that I say that it is significant, or that I am against this sort of power generation (personally I think it is fascinating), only that the cats kill more birds than solar towers, while "technically" true in volume, is a bit misleading and BS insofar as an accurate comparison goes... The same goes for window strikes really, that is an urban issue, and the type of birds are not going to be the same.

Comment: "Missing" Feature (Score 1) 121

by DarthVain (#49037803) Attached to: VLC Acquiring Lots of New Features

I use VLC when I have to, because even with all the tweaking and technical magic I do, I cannot get Windows MP to reliably play all video formats, and/or reliably display all subs. I have gotten to the point that I can get MP to handle 90% of things, but there are still 10% of things that I have to boot up VLC.

Why use MP? Only one reason: Media Center uses MP. That's it. If I had a media center, and here's the important part, that I could use with a standard windows remote, that wasn't Windows and was't MP, I would do it in a heartbeat. While I have to do all sorts of trickery to get MP to work with anything, VLC just works, without a lot of fooling around.

So the ONE feature they could have added to VLC that would made a huge difference (and I am sure for a lot of others) it would be to add a Media Center interface and remote support. I have tried a number of third party VLC addons and skins that pretend to do the same, but unfortunately they all suck, and they all seem to be half done. Currently I can use my remote a little bit with VLC, but it is limited to play/stop and volume, that is it. I can't browse my library of videos, I have to physically walk over to my computer and click with a mouse to start the thing.

Anyway if they are looking to take over market share, that would be the way to do it. Frankly I am amazed they haven't yet.

Comment: BS. Apples and Oranges. (Score 1) 309

by DarthVain (#49025635) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

I'm a big fan of wind power. However wind power cannot go it alone, and alternate renewable are NOT enough to take up the slack. One is a periodic generator, which if there was infinite (or at least sufficient) storage we would not be having this conversation. However storage is even harder than generation. Nuclear is a base generator. I think it can do better, but the difficulty is that the money and resources have not been going into R&D for many years now, partly because of popularity (or lack of it), and partly because non-renewable is cheap and easy so why bother.

That said, wind weirdly enough has seemingly just as many detractors to it's construction. They take up a large foot print of land. They get tons of resistance from "environmentalists", for killing bats, birds, looking ugly on the landscape, and perhaps more importantly, affect the real estate values of those people that can afford to be green and generally live in the country or on the waterfront.

Anyway, in a perfect world, we would have a lot of wind power, and just enough small scale closed loop advanced nuclear options to cover off when the wind isn't blowing.

I seriously doubt any nuclear option slows the progress of wind power. The biggest thing that slows wind power are land owners who don't want wind power in their neighborhood. So basically NIMBY. Unfortunately like a lot of renewable energy, wind is also pretty geographically dependent. It just so happens that those areas also usually have the highest land values, which have the people with the biggest lobby (i.e. wealthy people).

Comment: Makes Cents! (Score 1) 690

by DarthVain (#49018705) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

This actually makes a lot of sense, not sure why more countries including my own don't do it. Probably because even the poor here are energy hogs. Anyway not only is it a good way to help those at the bottom of the earning power allowing them to spend on other things, without promoting electricity waste (because it is effectively capped). It also great from the standpoint of the energy companies. At a certain point, all that billing and collection and accounts is a waste of time for them due to the values involved. Not to mention, but lets face it, a lot of poor default on their bills for obvious reasons, then going after debts, collection services, forgiving debt, admin overhead etc... I am pretty sure they would LOVE the government to cover that, as it is secured money, and they know they will always get paid...

Of course this is Greece we are talking about so maybe not! :) Badda Boom Boom! Try the veal!

Comment: Re:Buwahahhhhhhaaahahaha (Score 1) 117

by DarthVain (#49018513) Attached to: Google Earth Pro Now Available Free

LOL yes exactly this. I also work in GIS, and specifically in this particular field.

I'll add to everything you just said, plus anyone who has ever used Google Maps, should know that some of their stuff is out of date, some of it very out of date. Parcel data changes all the time. I am willing to bet that whatever Google maps uses is significantly out of date. The data also tends to be pretty expensive also to acquire as its maintenance is also. So anyone that uses this as anything other than to get a general idea is fooling themselves. The world of land registry and titles is improving, but much of it is stuck in an archaic system, Some of which is due to the simple vastness of the legacy records out there, and also due to some specific legal requirements that exist. I have access to systems and data that the public doesn't, and even then, to get a definitive answer, you need go through a more manual process.

As you say, EVEN going through the manual process can be a challenge (if doing it for legal purposes), and a bit of a historical lesson. Depending on when and where the land was surveyed different methods may have been used. I recall my Dad who was a lawyer looked into some land my grandfather owned, which ended up being some of the first land given out by the King. It pretty much pre-dated any kind of survey method, and was mostly based on features that may or may not exist anymore or that may have changed. All hand written, in an ancient book. I also recall an example when I took a course on land registry about a property dispute, where the description included a river, which of course changed its course to give more land to one land owner, and less to another, then trying to prove the old track of the river... etc... In some instances more art than science unfortunately.

Anyway it is still pretty cool that the software is free, and it does include some of this information. Though I do see it causing headaches when people in the public using it, assume it is accurate, take it as gospel, then make decisions or engage lawyers/land registry/government into it... Hopefully there is a big disclaimer on the data (not that anyone will read or pay any attention to metadata in my experience).

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas