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Comment: It's been tried... (Score 1) 48

Funny enough it's been tried as a business concept, though under different circumstances. In the mid-90s a company called AngelCorp wanted to build a series of manned aircraft that could loiter at high altitudes for long periods of time to provide high speed internet access. This was shortly before DSL, CableModems, WIfi and T1/T3 connectivity at the workplace would pretty much saturate that market. Bad timing.

Scaled Composites built one ship, the Proteus, a beautiful, revolutionary aircraft that is still in use today for many other payload missions such as airborne laser testing. The Proteus was also the uncle of White Knight I, the mothership for SpaceShipOne.

  The odd thing is, the AngelCorp website still exists, frozen in time.

With advances in battery propulsion and cheap UAV / drone guidance systems, it could be a workable thing for providing temporary access to remote regions.

Comment: What is really happening here? (Score 1) 952

by Bruce Perens (#47930483) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
We are in a War on Faith, because Faith justifies anything and ISIS takes it to extremes. But in the end they are just a bigger version of Christian-dominated school boards that mess with the teaching of Evolution, or Mormon sponsors of anti-gay-marriage measures, or my Hebrew school teacher, an adult who slapped me as a 12-year-old for some unremembered offense against his faith.

Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 952

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: clean hands doctrine (Score 1) 210

by hawk (#47904007) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, and try to get it on the internet, you need a shrink far more than a lawyer . . .

anyway, the clean hands doctrine is a rule from "equity," not "law". It only applies to equitable relief, such as injunctions, not to suits for money

hawk, esq.

Comment: Isn't that enough? (Score 1) 288

by Okian Warrior (#47895475) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

I know everyone is all over Uber and and the other one because the cars are "nicer" and the service "better" than cabs. But [...]

Um... isn't that enough?

Firstly, you're wrong about the liability.

Secondly, you are confusing the possibility of injury with its probability.

If the probability of injury is small and the cost of injury is also appreciably small, the expected cost of using Lyft or Uber may be much less than the expected cost of using a cab.

For an example, if a ride-share is $6 less than a cab fare, and if there is an average of 1 injury every 100,000 rides, then if the average injury costs less than $600,000 then it's a better deal for everyone to use the ride share.

Using this reference, cabs crash about once every 300,000 miles.

Also note, the number of crashes in regular driving has decreased dramatically over the last few years, probably due to increased safety measures in vehicles and modern roadway improvements (Denver Barriers around bridge supports, for example).

And in any event, most people have health insurance. At the very least, a significant portion of riders would have health insurance - enough to reduce the risk by a further factor of four or more.

SHELL GAME is where you can't win. CASINO GAME is where the odds are against you. Uber and Lyft seem to be decidedly in the passenger's favor.

Cue the irrational fearmongering reply: "unless you are the one injured, then how would you feel!".

Comment: Have we lost judicial oversight? (Score 3, Interesting) 288

by Okian Warrior (#47895361) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Apropos of nothing, when did we allow unelected regulators complete authority over the law?

It seems that every regulator now has the authority to declare something illegal, judge that an infraction has occurred, assess fines, and force collection.

If someone is in violation of a regulation, shouldn't the regulator present their evidence before a judge? Don't we want an unbiased 3rd party to chime in on whether the law is clear, whether the evidence merits a violation, and whether there are extenuating circumstances?

The policy of default judgement by fiat, with a "go to court to reverse it if you think you've been wronged" is a recipe for injustice and corruption.

When did we lose judicial oversight of our regulations? Did it happen slowly, or was it a sudden change?

Comment: Science at its best (Score 1) 291

by Okian Warrior (#47881311) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

The debate on this issue is far from over, and it'll take years to sort out all the contradictory evidence.

Once again, science is reduced to debate and belief. Medicine is rife with these sorts of "schools of thought"(*), it's almost as bad as economics. This is not the "more refined theory supplants approximate theory" that one finds in, for example, physics. It's "yeah, this looks good and makes sense, so we're 'gonna go with it" science.

This is what allows vested interests to decry science in favor of their own agenda. Who is the average person supposed to trust when scientists keep making and overturning bad conclusions, in the face of authority figures pushing their own agenda?

All I see here, in this forum, is appeal to the difficulty of experimentation. If the original single experiment is so hard or expensive to reproduce, should we be basing our conclusions on the single experiment?

Scientists need to kick it up a notch.

(*) As a typical example (dozens more are easy to find), Helicobacter pylori was identified as the source of gastric ulcers, yet the medical community didn't believe the results for many years. The amount of suffering and loss that occurred while this "school of thought" was slowly overturned is incalculable.

Comment: Re:I don't drink coffee. (Score 1) 228

by Mr Z (#47877491) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

For me, both coffee and beer took a certain amount of acclimation. For coffee, I started out 'candying it up' with a ton of sugar and cream/creamer. And then one day I said "the heck with it" and started drinking it black. Within about a week or two of drinking it every day, I found I actually really liked it. Now you can't keep me away from it. I drink half a pot to a pot of coffee a day, and don't shy away from espresso.

It was a similar story with beer. I started out with really smooth beers (Red Dog was the choice for a fairly smooth, inoffensive beer at the time), and then one day I decided I was going to try all sorts of varieties whether I liked them or not. I started with the beer I had tried and liked least (Guinness Extra Stout—this was before they had the widget cans), and made that my exclusive beer for awhile. After a couple six-packs, I found I really appreciated it, and my palate was now open to a much wider range of beers. I've tried a few hundred different beers since then, and found it quite an enjoyable journey.

I think with both, there's the 'bitter' aspect to get over. Once you get past 'bitter', you can taste the rest of the beverage and enjoy it.

Comment: Re:I don't drink coffee. (Score 1) 228

by Mr Z (#47877467) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

Try a Rochefort 10 sometime. It's a delicious (and potent) Belgian beer with carmelly goodness and very, very little hops to it. It's liquid candy.

When I tried to brew a clone recipe of it, the recipe called for a ton of Belgian Kandi sugar and grain, but the only hops were aroma hops added in the last few minutes of the boil. The clone came pretty close. (I think the differences were in the yeast, and the temperature profile during fermentation, really.)

Comment: Re:Make round-up ready beans (Score 1) 228

by Mr Z (#47877443) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

I've actually visited a coffee plantation in Puerto Rico. The fresh ground coffee I had there was delicious, too. But, then, I voted for "bioengineer all the major vitamins," as I drink between half a pot and a pot of coffee a day. (It doesn't need more caffeine; I enjoy the flavor and too much caffeine means I'd get less of the flavor! But I also enjoy the caffeine so no decaf either, please.)

Or did you mean "everyone voting for Roundup Ready?"

Comment: Re:How do we actually know? (Score 2) 203

by YttriumOxide (#47875297) Attached to: 5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

I could harvest 5m gmail names from google searches, and then publish them with bogus passwords and create panic. Is there some statistic that says how many of these were real passwords?

Statistics, probably not. But to confirm they're not just all made up, I checked a few of the ones that were obviously a password for another site (one of the '+' addresses) and after 4 tries, found one that worked (on the 'other site', not on gmail). So they're definitely not just 'made up' passwords; they just aren't necessarily a password that was ever actually used for the email address they're associated to.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal

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