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Comment Re:None of the people I know that Like this Show.. (Score 3, Informative) 211

Go to a con sometime.... you will encounter every geek stereotype you can imagine. While one might legitimately argue that the characters on BBT are exaggerations of what the the average geek is probably like, if what I encounter whenever I go to a con is any indication at all, I would say they are probably not more than a standard deviation or so away from the norm,

People who attend cons are self-selected groups, and trying to determine a "norm" from such a group would be a mistake. It is also a positive feedback loop, where edge-of-the-curve geeks flock because they create an environment where they're comfortable.

It's like going to a smoking lounge in an airport, counting heads, and saying that "smoking is the norm".

Comment Dilbert? (Score 1) 211

I didn't realize the show was supposed to be about geeks. I thought it was ironically portraying the disconnect between the academic pursuit of science and things that happen in the real world.

I've never seen it.

I take it they intended to do "Dilbert in hard-science academia" but were about as effective as liberal artists usually are when they try to portray anything on the physics or engineering side of the fence?

Comment Don't they all? (Score 1) 38

DARPA-funded research into on-chip liquid cooling has resulted in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) liquid-cooled device that can operate at 24 degrees Celsius, versus 60 degrees Celsius for an equivalent air-cooled device.

So do most FPGAs need an external heater to get them up to 60C before they'll operate, or don't they all work at 24C?

Or do they mean that this one WILL only REACH 24C WHILE running?

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 395

The reason for keeping weapons such as knives out of schools (or anywhere else) is to reduce the chance of fights escalating and becoming deadly.

What has been shown to reduce the chance of "fights escalating and becoming deadly" is training in the use of knives and guns, not bans on their possession. Children and young adults who have had such training have about the same rate of "delinquency" - but the "crimes" they commit are almost never violent. (They also know what they're dealing with and what to do about it if someone DOES start misusing a knife or gun.) Kids who learn about guns and knives only from entertainment media (where blood and agony are not shown) and other kids are the ones who commit the violence.

On the other side of the world, I did not need any sign or rule to know that if I sneaked my dad's shotgun into school, I'd be facing certain suspension.

On this side of the world young adults used to bring guns to school when they were going to the range or hunting after school (or had been hunting at dawn before school) with no perceptible problems - up to the latter half of the 20th century. Interestingly, that's when the child-rearing fads started "protecting them" from information about weapons.

Comment Man bites dog. (Score 1) 388

The rest of us keep being treated routinely like criminals without the media getting interested, because we aren't the mayor of Stockton. Why should this guy get special treatment (by [...] the press) just because he's a minor elected politico?

Dog bites man isn't news. Man bites dog is news.

They slipped up and used the tactics they usually use on civilians on a civilian official. They don't usually do that, so the event was newsworthy.

Whether it leads to action against the TSA, just a little more care on their part to identify VIPs, or squat is yet to be seen.

Comment The problem wth tyrants is they're friendly ... (Score 1) 245

Until someone decides ... That being evil is the right thing to do. You know, ends justify the means and all that jazz...

(At the risk of precipitating a storm of posts misapplying Godwin's law...)

One of the big problems with tyrannical systems and the tyrants who end up running them is that they're attractive. The rhetoric sounds nice. The people setting then up and running them are sweet, reasonable-sounding, and persuasive (at least at first and/or to those they need to support them to obtain and keep power), and so on.

Then, after they've driven their "nice" ideas into their horrible, but inevitable, ramifications, and (if they) are eventually stopped, the historical record ends up showing you just their opponents' propaganda, painting them as obviously hateful. So people get the idea that bad uses of power LOOK repulsive. Then they don't recognize similar stuff when it develops in the future (or even the SAME stuff if it reappears - as one high-school history teacher showed by using Hitler Youth techniques on his class for a week, with just enough deltas to make their origin not recognizable until after the great reveal.

IMHO the change in motto from "Don't Be Evil" to "Do the Right Thing" is a (probably accidental, but nonetheless actual) giant leap down "The Road Paved with Good Intentions".

Comment So maybe it's a feature? (Score 1) 142

You can open it, yes. But unlike for any book that is indexed, such as the books on an e-ink Kindle, it loses your place in a manually opened book from the SD card as soon as you close it.

So you CAN read the book. But it FORGETS WHERE YOU WERE LOOKING when you close it, because it doesn't run an "index feature".

That sounds like the "index feature" consists of the tablet remembering:
  - What books you read.
  - Where you were reading them.
even after you delete the books themselves - or remove the read-only media containing them.

How convenient for government security agencies looking for readers of banned books, police looking at whether you read something about a technique that happened to be used in a crime near you, and so on.

Seems to me that having your book reader NOT keep a record of what titles you've read is a feature, not a bug.

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 1) 183

Then why aren't you calling for the same (or, really, much more) stringent regulations on the millions of casual noobs, instead of the comparative handful of people who happen to regularly use the technology as part of the bucket of professional tools?

What makes you think I'm not calling for regulations on noobs? The fact that I'm explaining why commercial pilots have more stringent regulations on them doesn't mean I'm not in favor of regulations on others, too.

The vast majority of reckless behavior involving these devices is at the hands of idiotic beginners

That doesn't mean there shouldn't be regulations on the commercial pilots.

Comment Re:You don't own the sky (Score 1) 183

What about people who live near an airport? Are they entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their property?

You mean people who bought a house next to an airport because it was cheap and then complain that there is noise from airplanes? Like the people who buy houses next to the railroad tracks and then complain about trains going by?

Hopefully a combination of laws and common sense will apply to drones: basically "thou shall not annoy your neighbors with great regularity".

As common sense, that's not a bad rule. As a law it would be atrocious. I'm annoyed by the cooking smells coming from my next door neighbor's house. Should that be illegal?

Comment Re:You don't own the sky (Score 1) 183

The disparity in our opinions are likely lead to stupid laws like having to have a flagman 50 feet in front of a horseless carriage.

You're right. In this analogy, your position would be that any horseless carriage on the street is violating your right to peaceful enjoyment of the street and that no horseless carriages should be allowed anywhere but on someone's own private property because they're scary.

I'm certain there can be compromise, but it is doubtful if you continue to insist you have a right to invade my space.

I'm certain that no compromise is possible as long as you keep trying to claim every molecule of air over your head as your private airspace and that any incursion whatsoever is stripping you of your basic right to life. As long as you keep using phrases like "invade [your] space" when you are talking about the airspace over that tiny part of the planet that you claim ownership to, then no progress can be made.

This issue has been long decided. The FAA regulates from the surface up, not from some arbitrary 500' limit that you want to impose. An aircraft in the space over your head is not destroying your life.

Comment Re:It's the driver's responsibility (Score 1) 278

This thread started with "They believe their right to walk into traffic" so OF COURSE it's about people being run over.

I didn't say it wasn't about people being run over. I said it wasn't about drivers claiming the right to run people over just because they were violating traffic laws. Please read the words before you reply.

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 1) 183

how is that Clearly Something Else Entirely?

I'll answer your question because it doesn't have the inane hyperbole of the previous guy.

It's different for the same reason that the guy who charges you $50 for a short flight from your local county airport to the nearest big city so you can catch an airline flight has to have a commercial pilot license while your friend who does it as a favor to you doesn't. And why the guy who is flying that commercial airline aircraft has an even higher level of certification and ongoing standards.

That reason is that there is a financial incentive to the pilot and profit involved. Lots of people here rant on a regular basis about the awful profit motives of greedy capitalists and how money is the goal, but here we're turning a blind eye to that.

The guy you pay to do your gutter inspection doesn't get paid if he doesn't do it. He gets paid more if he does ten in a day than if he does one in a day. He's got more incentive to overlook safety issues. Is the aircraft completely airworthy? Are there weather or other hazards that are being dismissed because "it will probably work out ok?"

Second, as a consumer, it is assumed that you don't know his skills or abilities and are trusting that he's got them. You know your own skills, and have a good idea of your friend's, but you have no way of judging a stranger's piloting skills until it is too late.

That's why it is established legal precedent that a commercial pilot of any aircraft has a higher level of training and certification than a recreational pilot is required to.

And why is my own use, or that other safety-minded, business-reputation-at-stake adult's use of a small quad

What makes you think the profit motive hasn't degraded the "safety-minded" nature of the guy you're paying to do the job? And "business reputation"? Just how much do you really know about the internal operation of a business? How many shoddy workmen are still in business -- and if your belief that a "business reputation" would protect you from them, how are they still in business?

a twelve year old noobie kid who says, "Sure, mister, I'll get some pictures of your rain gutters for free!

It is your decision based on your knowledge of the twelve year old kid, and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY if things go wrong. When you pay someone you 1) don't know them from Adam and 2) expect them to be the ones who take responsibility for any problems.

the guy who does it every day and cares about his reputation

If every businessman cared about "his reputation" and that "reputation" had any enforcement properties attached to it, we wouldn't need laws about commercial service providers at all, and there would be no shoddy or incompetent workmen selling services to the unsuspecting public.

You will lose an important tape file.