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Comment: Re:Since when (Score 4, Informative) 487

by Mal-2 (#49561223) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Since when is Sucralose better than Aspartame?

Ask someone with phenylketonuria. I once went to a restaurant with a group, one of whom has this disorder. When he ordered a drink, he specifically said "NOT diet, I can't have phenylalanine". They brought him Diet Coke. He drank enough that some time (maybe twenty minutes) later, he had a freak-out and would have gotten all of us tossed out if he hadn't had enough sense to explain to us what he thought was about to happen. The restaurant quickly reversed tack to make sure they weren't going to get sued, while one of the people in the group had to drive him to a hospital to make sure he'd be OK.

Comment: Re:That's a...polite...way to put it. (Score 1) 173

by Mal-2 (#49504241) Attached to: FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches In Nearly All Trials Before 2000

Again, misleading does not necessarily mean they knew it to be untrue. They could have bought into the propaganda themselves.

Agent Smith sets up misleading guidelines setting a particularly low bar for matches on fingerprints, knowing what he's doing could net the wrong people. Agent Jones follows those guidelines and testifies on the assumption that they are sound. Both the court and Agent Jones have been misled, and Jones is not guilty of perjury. Smith did not testify, thus is not guilty of perjury either. A crime has probably been committed, it's just not perjury.

Comment: Re:That's a...polite...way to put it. (Score 1) 173

by Mal-2 (#49503589) Attached to: FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches In Nearly All Trials Before 2000

It's not perjury if you really believe it to be true. Merely being wrong is not enough. Being shown to be wrong may discredit a witness, but it does not in and of itself demonstrate perjury. Perjury requires intent.

If you were told that a match to a certain level of confidence is sufficient to make a case, and you testify that your samples matched to that level (because it turns out that's a very low bar), how is that perjury? Even if your initial assumption is wrong, you are reporting what you believe to be true.

Comment: Re:Would the abandoned spectrum be useful for data (Score 1) 293

by Mal-2 (#49503165) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

There's nothing fundamentally different about the 88-108 MHz band compared to the 2 meter band (144-148) except that it has four times the bandwidth. Any transmission mode that works well at 2 meters will also work well in the FM band, as the propagation characteristics are substantially the same.

Comment: Re:AAA studio? (Score 1) 169

by Mal-2 (#49488649) Attached to: 2K, Australia's Last AAA Studio, Closes Its Doors

It could also be related to the ranking of minor league affiliates to Major League Baseball teams. A teams are typically rookies, or veterans well past their prime who are looking for a way to move into coaching or some non-playing role (but they're still good enough to show off some skills). AA teams are sort of Purgatory. If a prospect doesn't move through this level relatively quickly, statistics say he probably never will. AAA teams are where the replacement-level Major League talent is being held in reserve, or fine-tuned, or where injured players go to sharpen up after time off, etc.

What would be interesting in this grading system is that AAA is not the top, as the entire system is a feeder for The Show. What would the equivalent be in game studios? I have no idea.

Comment: Re:No "IP" laws on Mars! (Score 1) 137

by Mal-2 (#49475381) Attached to: Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem

One thing that needs to be taken care of is to make sure there is no copyright or any other form of so-called "intellectual property" on Mars. Not only will this save lifes by not having to worry about patents / design marks and whatever they come up with next, this also allows the Martians to have complete, full access to whatever media they want (think U.S.S. Enterprise-class storage systems with "the complete cultural accomplishments of planet Earth"), and create and share freely among themselves.

When sample-based hip-hop is only legal on Mars, only Mars will have... wait, what was the down side again?

Comment: Re:Antarctica (Score 4, Insightful) 137

by Mal-2 (#49475065) Attached to: Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem

Not any more isolation than expeditions to Antarctica in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Less, actually. There were no telegraph lines on the Antarctic expedition, and I don't know how effective radio was (not very in the late 19th century obviously). Aside from when the two planets are on opposite sides of the sun, communication will merely have high latency. We'll be back to sending podcasts and video messages, not chatting on Skype, but it's still quite a bit better than what those early explorers faced without even leaving the planet.

When the two planets are on opposite sides of the sun (which is what, a period of less than a week happening less than once a year?), a third point will have to be used to "go around", reducing bandwidth and adding to latency, but it's still better than nothing.

Comment: Re:Game of Thrones (Score 2) 106

by Mal-2 (#49471883) Attached to: In New Zealand, a Legal Battle Looms Over Streaming TV

This is all set up so they can rake over the richer countries without entirely locking themselves out of the less wealthy countries.

In a world with region locking: "Let's charge $50 in Burgerland and Poutineville, because they'll pay it. But we also want to make some money off their neighbors to the south, who won't pay $50. (Maybe they can't, maybe it's the burned DVDs for sale on the street for $2.) But now we have to stop the people we want $50 from, from importing the $10 copies. Region locking!"

In a world without region locking: "Let's charge $50 in Burgerland and Poutineville, because they'll pay it in order to have the content right now. We'll wait until the popularity goes down so that it's worth no more than $10 anywhere, and only then will we send it to places they'll only pay $10." By that time, those $2 burned DVD vendors have saturated the market so it's not even worth $10 there any longer.

However, it seems to me there is a form of "region locking" that follows the same general divisions. It's called a "language". Don't ship discs with all languages, just the one relevant to the buyer. Monolingual Americans are not going to watch Game of Thrones in Spanish just to get it cheaper.

Comment: Re:butt-hurt Turks (Score 3, Insightful) 249

by Mal-2 (#49470867) Attached to: Turkish Hackers Target Vatican Website After Pope's Genocide Comment

The dominance of Mayan and Aztec culture is long gone, but empires rise and fall. Tho populations themselves, however, largely survived and are still the genetic backbone of the region. Have you actually been to southeastern Mexico or Central America? If you have, you'd know the Mayan bloodlines are still exceptionally common. There may be (almost certainly is) a level of economic oppression going on due to race, but as a race, Mayans are aanything but dead. I can't speak for Aztecs (although many people identify themselves as such) because I haven't been to the areas where they might claim dominance. In any case, not even the members of the class themselves claim to be endangered. They are not. Their culture is another matter.

Comment: Re:Thought Experiment (Score 3, Interesting) 32

by Mal-2 (#49453847) Attached to: Stars Form Near Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole

Scientists used to believe that no life would exist at the bottom of the sea around hydrothermal vents do to the kack of light, high heat, and toxic chemicals. Then they visited the hydrothermal vents in subs and found them teeming with all sorts of crazy life, violating their expectations in the most extreme way possible. Perhaps the same holds true for planets near supermassive black holes. And that that's where most of the life is in the galaxy. And that Earth is a bunch of intra-galactic hicks living out in the sticks. Which is why we haven't found any evidence of extra-terrestrial life yet.

The problem with this is a simple matter of time. The stars thus created don't have the luxury of billions of years, or tens of billions of years in the case of lower-mass stars than our sun, to evolve complex life. It would also be a problem that, if they were to survive long enough to evolve a space-faring civilization, they would need to find a way to carry the escape velocity from the black hole in addition to all of the other energy necessary just to get away from their home planet.

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.