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Comment PseudoTV on XBMC (Score 4, Insightful) 329 329

I don't know if it is integrated with Netflix yet (or ever) but it address the exact use case you're describing. Picking random stuff from the set of all videos I have access to, group them logically into thematic clusters and just keep throwing content on the screen without the user having to invest any mental energy in choosing what to watch beyond "I feel like switching from the comedy channel to the science fiction drama channel."

I've been surprised to see how many people like this method of interfacing with their video content libraries more than selecting something they'd like to watch.

Comment What would you recommend by Tom Kratman? (Score 1) 587 587

Of his work, I've read "A Desert Called Peace" and it seemed to be pretty much nothing BUT heavy handed political messages mixed with wish-fulfillment, so I haven't felt the desire to read more of his work since. Now it's possible A) I simply happened to pick one of his lesser work works and he has also written other much better books B) his writing style appeals to lots of people and I just happen to be an outlier, but another explanation is C) the people who really enjoy his work do so at least in part BECAUSE of the political messages, instead of enjoying the books regardless of the political views put forward. That's not unique to one end of the political spectrum obviously, which is how this whole controversy kicked off in the first place, but the solution isn't to error in the opposite direction, it's to get the focus back on the whether a book/short story etc is enjoyable regardless of political messages.

You also mentioned David Weber, who is a great example of someone whose political principles don't match my own, and, while his views are reflecting in the stories he tells, the books are still plenty entertaining (usually anyway, I don't know what happened with the Safehold series but even there the problem wasn't the politics), and clearly his work shouldn't be penalized because others don't agree with his politics. Come to think of it, from his writing I'm pretty sure Marko Kloos (one of the Sad Puppies backed nominees) and I wouldn't agree politically, but his Andrew Grayson books are excellent, and I'm really happy to see him nominated for Lines of Departure this this year.

So in summary, I agree with you on the general principle of not letting differences in political views get in the way of enjoying or recognizing good writing, but based on my N=1 dataset, I would suggest Tom Kratman may not be a particularly good example to use in making the case to a broad audience for getting politics out of the Hugos.

Comment I think you may have a math error (or I could have (Score 4, Informative) 117 117

Here are my numbers:

20 light years = 2* 10^14 kilometers
70,000 years = 2.1 * 10^12 seconds

Therefore two stars are moving apart from year other at ~100 km/second which is right in the range of what would have been expected.

Comment Ordered List (Score 1) 388 388

Presumably if one were a corrupt government contractor, one would start with China and Russia and work your way down until you find a government who doesn't already have a copy of the plans? ...on the other hand TFS says "FBI agents made contact with him, pretending to be with the Egyptian government" so maybe he was just going to sell them to whoever bothered to ask.

Comment Re:Not clear this is actually a 3D map (Score 1) 94 94

You are right, my working assumption was that this was a method for overlapping visible light photos. While I know there are approaches to convert multiple photos from different angles into a 3D reconstruction, everything I've seen in that area either require photos from a LOTS of angles or produces 3D models that are so full of artifacts as to be useless. Having actual distance-to-surface measurements as lidar provides is a very different ballgame and certainly would have big implications.

Comment The obvious retort (Score 5, Insightful) 575 575

Holder, please investigate why is the NSA putting so many children at risk. But conducting extra-legal (and arguably extra-constitutional) collection of data for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with child abductions, they're driving the adoption default encryption across the US and across the world, making data unavaliable to police and emergency responders in critical situations. Won't the good folks at the NSA please think of the children?

Comment It's not the space, it'd the food. (Score 2, Insightful) 326 326

It's not finding places for people to live, it is finding land to grow the food necessary to feed people in the style to which they have become/are becoming/will become accustomed to. Basic food prices have been spiking for the last several years, although it hasn't shown up in significant changes in the super market yet because most of the cost of processed food comes from the processing not the ingredients. (If the price of corn doubles it adds only 11 cents to the cost of a quarter pound hamburger: After years of stability, the rate at which virgin forest land is being converted to agricultural production has also started to increase again, likely because increases in crop productivity has slowed to a crawl in many of the most productive agricultural regions of the world:

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder