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Comment: Re:Even better, reflect true cost of cell phones (Score 2) 61

by swillden (#47536091) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

And are you seriously telling me if she gets an iphone 64 GB 5S it's the same price as if she gets the $20 special?

In many cases... yes. The most expensive phones have an up-front cost in addition to the two-year commitment, but if you get the most expensive phone you can without an up-front fee, then there is no price difference between that one and the cheapest phone.

Yes, this is ridiculous.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 789

"spazzies"? Really? You know, before the car accident that screwed me up, I was perfectly normal. Now that they've done surgery to correct the issue, I'm perfectly normal, with a little extra titanium hardware. We're all one car accident away from having the same issues. That is, unless you never leave your mother's basement.

Comment: Re:Dang... (Score 3, Informative) 121

by jc42 (#47535075) Attached to: Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

Interesting. Science is wrong, and "creationist parks" get the blame.

Hmmm ... This isn't really a case of scientists being wrong. The old images of dinosaurs have generally been "artists' interpretations" of the evidence, and scientists generally agreed that they had little evidence of the outer appearance of dinosaurs. Skin and other soft tissues don't fossilize too well, and we haven't had many samples until recently.

And the idea that birds are close relatives of or descended from dinosaurs isn't new. It was suggested by none other than Charles Darwin himself, based on similarities in the skeletons. Many of his colleagues agreed, but they even more agreed with the reply "Yeah, that's certainly interesting; can you find us some better evidence?" The situation stayed that way until the 1970s or so, because birds don't fossilize well. New fossil discoveries finally supplied enough evidence so that in the 1980s, the birds got officially reclassified as a branch of the dinosaurs.

But it was still well understood that there were a lot of loose ends, and Further Research Is Needed. Were feathers a development of the birds, for flight? Or had their non-flying ancestors had feathers, perhaps for insulation? The evidence wasn't nearly good enough, and it was left as an open question. Over the past decade or so, the evidence has trickled in, and this report seems to be filling in the gap. People who've followed the story aren't surprised; they're just happy to read about the evidence.

In any case, it never was a case of "Scientists thought that dinosaurs didn't have any sort of fur or feathers, but they've been proven wrong". It was more like "We didn't have the evidence, since feathers don't fossilize well, and now we've collected enough evidence that we can be pretty sure that those old artistic interpretations reptilian dinosaurs with bare skin were inaccurate; most of them (except the largest) probably did have feathers." This isn't considered a criticism of the artists, of course, since they didn't have evidence either, and many of them stated repeatedly that most of their drawings included a large shovel-full of conjecture. It was expected that, as evidence trickled in, they'd have to revise their drawings a lot.

But it likely is a good example of non-scientists saying "Scientists proved wrong" when the scientific data goes from "we don't really know ..." to "we've found the evidence ...". This is sorta the flip side of the constant "Those scientists just wasted time and money doing research to prove something that we knew all along" comments from people who have little understanding of what science is all about (and have always "known" things based on no evidence at all).

(Actually, since I first read about this topic back in the 1970s, I've been rooting for the tyrannosaurs having big, colorful cockatoo-like crowns of feathers. But that's just me, and I'm still waiting. But I won't be surprised either way. ;-)

Comment: Re:We can't live without these things? (Score 1) 198

by bmo (#47534815) Attached to: How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

And here's the teenager with no life experience whatsoever.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to rebuild just a power substation? Do you have any idea how few EEs, techs, riggers, and laborers we have to rebuild them en masse?

You don't. That much is plain.

backup generators

What fucking backup generators? They don't exist.

Call up National Grid. Ask them how many "backup generators" they have for a Carrington Event situation. The laughter should be loud.

--
BMO

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 789

Ya.. There are are a bunch of whiny bitches here. :) The same ones who complain about kids, or the fact that I bypassed the lines in the courtesy wheelchair, because I couldn't walk through an airport.

Thanks. I am so delighted it got fixed. It only took about 1.5 years and a half dozen "expert" doctors to find one who knew what he was doing. I had sympathy for people who couldn't get around before. Now I have a *lot* more.

Comment: Re:Vote (Score 1) 176

Here's the key point to all of this: If you only have one option for a phone company that's because it's unprofitable to serve the area you live in.

You're full of shit. I live in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco and have almost no Internet service options (which is what we're talking about in this article - Internet service). Any provider not hamstrung by regulations favoring incumbents would make an absolute killing here. Comcast has the monopoly (I don't care what you call it) on high speed Internet access in my area and has refused to do anything with it except raise prices through the roof while making my Netflix stream play like ass.

While I sympathize with my rural neighbors, I can't think of a single legitimate reason why their choice to live in difficult-to-serve areas means that I have to have shitty, expensive Internet in the heart of the world's high-tech capital.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 255

Hallam said it best: there has never been a time when humanity has successfully and peacefully coexisted with nature.

That would be a nice quote, but it contains an implicit assumption which is seriously wrong: That there is any distinction between humanity and nature.

It's not surprising that we tend to see ourselves as distinct from the rest of nature, because we are dramatically different from all other forms of life around us, and not just because we're self-centered, or even because we're objectively hugely more successful than any other species. We're dramatically different because we're the only species we know of that is capable of creating explanatory knowledge, of conjecturing and criticizing ideas, individually and in collaboration, to understand how and why things work. Many species on Earth are capable of learning, but as far as we can tell it's all "behavioral" learning; understanding merely that specific behaviors cause specific results. Sometimes the results of that level of understanding can be quite sophisticated, as in the animals who can create and use tools in complex sequences to accomplish goals, but it's still on a completely different level from the ability that humans have to deduce deep explanations of the structure and nature of the universe, and how to manipulate it.

Regardless of the temptation to view ourselves as separate from nature, though, we're not. That doesn't mean we won't benefit from applying our understanding of the rest of nature to maintain the elements of it that are beneficial to us. Obviously, we're better off if we don't make the world a worse for ourselves -- the flip side of that is that we are better off if we make the world a better place for us, so stasis is not the goal. That's really good because stasis (aka "sustainability") is impossible.

Comment: Re:We can't live without these things? (Score 2) 198

by bmo (#47531743) Attached to: How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

Really? This would be devastating? We can't live without electricity, electronics, water pumps?

Can you farm without electricity? Gasoline? Do you have all the pre-electricity farm equipment that would allow you to grow food without a tractor, power tools, etc? Does your well pump even work without electricity? I'll bet it doesn't. I'll bet you can't really live off the grid unless you're Amish or Mennonite. You simply don't have the pre-industrial technology to get along in such a world.

Many in cities and suburbs, after 3 or 4 weeks, would wind up going out into the country to forage if they could find gasoline to pump (and gas pumps work with electricity!), because the supermarkets would be empty and all the food in the refrigerators/freezers would have spoiled after only a few days.

To your "off the grid" house. Probably.

inb4 "I have an arsenal of arms to keep them away"

Your best defense and survival depends on your neighbors. Because one lone person with a stash of food and arms can be out-sieged by the outside world.

I would suggest watching "The Trigger Effect," Episode 1 of James Burke's "Connections" series. Anyone (sensible) who watches that and looks around at the technology that supports all of us will come away with the conclusion that if it seriously went away for a month, we'd be fucked. The shit would so seriously hit the fan that your incredulousness indicates you are either completely out of touch with society at large, deliberately myopic, or some teenager that hasn't lived life enough to have any kind of broad view. Good luck with that.

--
BMO

Comment: Re:That's great, but ... (Score 3, Interesting) 117

practical long distance EVs at a reasonable price and/or can recharge in less than half an hour

The price may or may not be reasonable, depending on your budget, though it definitely is for a non-trivial number of people, but the Tesla Model S fulfills the other requirements today.

My Nissan LEAF doesn't, though it's still a very practical car that easily manages all but a small fraction of my driving.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 789

Only if you're lucky. Well, I think SW does that. No other airlines I fly do. I don't really care about kids. My ears have never really tolerated flying much, so I have to use the pressure relieving earplugs. Wearing noise cancelling headphones over them, I can barely tell the engines are running, much less screaming children. :)

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 4, Interesting) 789

No, you really want them to board first.

For the last year, up until last month, I was barely able to walk. I still had to fly for work. I boarded flights with the kids and anyone else that needed help.

The parent doesn't just stow their stuff and sit down. They stow the kids bags, get the kids to sit down, shut up, buckles on, no you can't go to the bathroom, blah, blah, blah.

For me, it took me about 4x as long just to get down the airway. A guy barely walking down the ramp with passengers walking normal speed definitely held up the flow, no matter how much room I tried to leave. I still got held up by the parents with kids, and I didn't care. I'd just sit on the nearest armrest until they were done.

You don't want me, or the parents with kids slowing you down. People are assholes enough boarding planes.

If you wait for them to board last, now you'll have parents trying to stow bags in the last few spots (if there are any), trying to get the kids in their seats at the same time, and having the kid(s) climbing over other passengers.

For me, barely able to walk, if I had to take the window seat, that would mean everyone in the other seat(s) would have to move. Walking on a cane, I wasn't able to just squeeze by anyone, especially if there were no good seats available. It was still hard just to get *to* the window seat.

And before any of you complain, since surgery I can walk fine. The cane is retired at least for another 30 years.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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