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Comment Re:Sigh... (Score 1) 71

Of course there are things that can be done about it, at least by a handful of superpowers back here on Earth.

If any of those powers see this as a big enough threat (and this is a pretty big if), they have the political, economic, and military means to take action. Since there is no practical means of doing this in space, any actions would be between the nations of this world.

At face value, I don't think that this is going to be labelled as a big threat simply because the cost of the exploitation of space is going to be prohibitive for the foreseeable future. That being said, that prohibitive cost also makes the economic exploitation of space suspect. It wouldn't surprise me if many nations see that suspect behaviour as have short or long term military objectives.

Comment Build ... (Score 1) 269

The main benefit is building is getting to decide where you want to spend extra money, and where you're willing to cut corners.

A second massive benefit is that you can ensure that you're getting standard parts. That makes fixing an expensive piece of equipment cheaper and easier, while facilitating upgrades to increase the longevity of your investment.

You'll also know exactly what you're getting. Prebuilt systems tend to provide partial specifications, highlighting selling points while glossing over or even ignoring everything else. Compare that to building your own. You're typically getting far more complete specifications for each component. In some cases, you can even go deeper (e.g. researching the chipset on a mainboard).

Gaming PCs aren't like gaming consoles. Even if you're satisfied with the systems performance and stability, you may be spending between two and ten times as much while expecting to keep up with contemporary games (i.e. game developers are constantly raising the bar on PC games). You may as well do it right.

Comment Re:Smearing? (Score 3, Insightful) 290

Traitor in the sense that he betrayed the various agencies involved in espionage, sure.

Traitor to the American people, and to a large extent citizens of the free nations of the world, that is an open question.

Unfortunately, it will remain an open question because there is virtually no possibility of him receiving a fair and open trial. Even if we ignore all of the cries for his execution, the laws that he allegedly broke ensure that he is tried by parties associated with the prosecution.

Comment Re:Report back in several releases ... (Score 1) 94

I use Linux on my desktop. It has an AMD card and uses AMD drivers. So I do have a vested interest in better performance and stability in their products.

That being said, I am also a realist. AMD is a business, and they're there to make money. If they have to invest too much money into making Linux drivers, it hurts their profitability. If they have to divert too many resources away from Windows and towards Linux, hurts their profitability. I am not arguing that these are excuses for poor support, or for giving lip service to Linux, but Windows is clearly their priority.

Suggesting that Linux graphics is a priority though, that's kinda absurd. The Linux desktop is a small fraction of the market.

Comment Re:I gues you deserve what you get... (Score 1) 323

The major one is you lose all your emails when your webmail provider shuts down.

A lot of people switched to free email services so that they wouldn't lose their email address when they switch providers (may that be a consumer ISP or institutional provider). In this respect, I suspect most people benefited. The popular services have been available for approximately 10 to 20 years. How many people have had the same ISP for that time?

(Yes, I know there are other ways of handling this. None of those ways are particularly cheap or accessible. On top of that, at best, they just insulate you from a provider shutting down. That is to say, you still have to scramble to find a new provider when one shuts down even though you may be able to keep your address.)

Comment Re:What a coincidence! (Score 1) 424

I wholeheartedly agree.

My first exposure to Star Wars came when I was 20 years old, when a coworker was shocked that I never saw it and lent me his tapes. When I told him what I thought of it, he conceded that it wasn't a very deep story and that you probably had to watch it as a kid to like it.

But my favourite assessment was by Robert Sawyer who noted, among other things, that the good guys weren't very good. (Better than the empire, to be sure. But that's not a very high level to aspire to.)

Comment Re:Differentiate? (Score 1) 137

I am left wondering about that claim as well. Even people who are okay with the lawful interception of communications are unlikely to buy a phone for this reason, and people who deal with confidential (albeit legal) communications will not want be able to purchase these phones for that reason. Then there are people who expect their privacy to be respected, who are almost certainly going to avoid these devices for that reason. Then you have the paranoid crowd who won't touch it. And all of that is before you consider people who are breaking the law who, admittedly, BB probably doesn't want as customers purely from the perspective of their business' image.

Comment Makes sense as a campaign issue ... (Score 1) 118

Looking at the issues mentioned in the summary:

- economy: the government does not have direct control over the economy. At best, they can hope to attempt to influence economic development. Yet they cannot make promises.
- illegal immigration: the government does not have direct control over illegal immigration. At best, they can hope to attempt to deter illegal immigration through expensive or draconian policies. Again, they cannot make promises.
- terrorism: the government does not have direct control over terrorism. At best, they can make the life of terrorists harder but they cannot hope to stop terrorist activity and detecting it is extraordinarily difficult. Once again, they cannot make promises.

- space: the government does have direct control over federal agencies (e.g. NASA) and its contractors. While they cannot violate the laws of physics, they can certainly have fairly reliable results if they consult with scientists, engineers, and administrators to ascertain what is realistic. In other words, they can make promises.

Incidentally, none of this is specific to space exploration. Figuring out what you have some degree of control over should be one of the things that anyone considers when evaluating campaign promises.

Comment Re:Let's just throw out all the rules of English t (Score 1) 151

I'm actually surprise that "they (singular)" wasn't already in the dictionary, and never really understood why some people opposed it. It sure beats all of the debates over using "he/she", or people saying that the use of "he" or "she" is not meant to imply gender, or people arguing that "it" is valid or disrespectful. Not only is "they (singular)" in common use, there is enough redundancy in the English language that you can figure out whether it is singular or plural, it avoids the politics of "he/she", it does not require explanations of inclusivity, and it does not use a word that is typically associated with inanimate objects.

Comment Re:Typical Liberal Thinking (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Read the bloody article.

The first hint that this isn't purely about "liberal demoncrap" is that it is filed under business, not environment. The second hint is that they're talking about aging plants that won't be shut down if they are upgraded with carbon capture. It is also possible that other upgrades or maintenance is necessary, but unmentioned. In other words, cost is a factor here. The third hint are mentions of economic and political issues, such as energy security.

There are other subtle (as in subtle as being hit by a sledgehammer) issues being mentioned, none of which indicate that environmental considerations are secondary issues.

Comment Re:So averaging things which look like a face... (Score 1) 103

Maybe. Maybe not.

I suspect what they're saying is: take a bunch of inanimate objects that are identified by an algorithm as having the properties of a human face then average them together. What you end up with is something that looks more human than any given image.

Then again, that probably isn't surprising. You would expect the algorithm to identify things as human faces if the computed values are within some range, with the range being roughly centred on the average. The natural consequence being that the average will appear more human than any given image when the algorithm is fed any unbiased sample. I suspect that the noise sample was trying to suggest that isn't the case by showing that the average of the images identified as faces does not necessarily produce an image that looks like a face. If that is the case, it probably doesn't prove what they were trying to prove. It probably shows that the face identification algorithm focusses upon the eyes and mouth, so those where the only vaguely identifiable features in the averaged images. On the other hand, the inanimate object sample was pre filtered by people, and those people probably took additional features into consideration (e.g. the general shape of the face). Since the average was applied to a subset of those images, the result naturally showed more facial features.

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