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Comment: Freefall (Score 1) 526

by Mike Van Pelt (#49140299) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Heh... some of this reminds me of some of the goings-on in the "Freefall" online comic strip. Among all the slapstick humor is a good bit of serious discussion about what personhood really means, and when does an AI (either electromechanical, or biological) have it.

One of the characters has been introducing the robots to religions... plural. All of them.

Comment: Depends on whether the extensions I use get signed (Score 1) 196

by Mike Van Pelt (#49033719) Attached to: Firefox To Mandate Extension Signing
I don't go nuts with extensions, but there are some I really need to use -- LastPass, Tree Style Tab, Certificate Patrol, NoScript. The "big ones", of course, will get signed, but some of these (like Tree Style Tab) seem to be an "individual working in his garage" type plugin. Will it get signed? If not... that's a problem.

Comment: Re:Majority leaders home district (Score 2) 176

The real risk of the waste site is increased expansion of human civilization which puts a lot of humans near the site.

Well... go to Google Earth and take a look at what's already there in the general area of Yucca Mountain.

Search for "Sedan Crater" and start scanning south. That moonscape of craters? Atom bomb test craters, every one, lined with completely uncontained fission products and whatever plutonium didn't get fissioned. (Which is a substantial fraction of each bomb's load.)

I submit that what is already there is a much bigger hazard than anything that would ever be put in the Yucca Mountain repository.

Comment: This is unlikely to end well (Score 1) 328

Germans, in general, are not willing to work 60 hour weeks to support Greeks working 20 hour weeks. All the necessary reforms are things that are anathema to the new Greek administration, who (by all accounts) intends to double-down on everything that has made the Greek economy what it is today. We'll see how that works out for them.

Comment: How good is your insurance? (Score 1) 238

by Mike Van Pelt (#48858925) Attached to: Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

With insurance, you don't really know for sure how good it is until the day you hope never comes happens, and you have to make a claim. Do they drag their feet or low-ball payment of the claim? Do they drop you? Do they hike up your rate?

My car insurance is kind of on the middle-low end of cost. I get ads for other insurance that could have cheaper premiums. But... With my current insurer, I have had a few experiences with having minor and not-so-minor claims, and they have treated me well, and not dropped me, and not jacked my rates up.

I don't think losing that kind of peace of mind is worth some marginal rate decrease.

Comment: I want unbundling. (Score 1) 448

by Mike Van Pelt (#48767703) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For
From TFA:

There are surely examples of people who would be better off in an era of cable unbundling, such as those who watch only a very small number of channels, none of them high-fee sports channels, with great regularity.

That describes my viewing exactly. (Ditto Empty-V and its myriad tedious clones.)

Comment: Re:Hegel strikes again? (Score 1) 719

by Mike Van Pelt (#48668877) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'
When you say "Material must be handled over and over again because containers break down" it shows you have not bothered to even look at the actual proposals for how to deal with the waste; what was actually going to be put into the repository at Yucca Mountain. (Or, you're being deliberately disengeuous, but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.)

Comment: Re:Second hand view from a teacher (Score 1) 351

by Mike Van Pelt (#48668743) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

... it was a missed opportunity to give the "best children's book ever written" a proper adaptation.

It wouldn't work. And I'm not saying that to be cruel, but a major part of the viewing audience would have seen LotR first and quite frankly hate the Hobbit done according to the book.

This. Tolkein's story "grew with the telling"; he'd done all this imaginary mythology background stuff, epic poetry, and tales. He wrote some of it up as a childrens' book, "The Hobbit".

"The Lord of the Rings" came later. At the time he wrote "The Hobbit", he didn't realize that the ring Bilbo found was The One Ring. I'm not sure the whole "three for the elves, seven for the dwarf lords, nine for mortal men, and one ring to rule them" thing was developed in his mind at the time.

Jackson chose to adapt "The Hobbit" as a prequel to "Lord of the Rings". That decision is ... controversial. But it was probably necessary, given that the "Lord of the Rings" movies existed.

Yeah, it should have been one movie, maybe two. Sauron showing up Just Does Not Work in the continuity; in LOTR, they didn't know Sauron had returned at the beginning of the story. There are a lot of things I wish Jackson had done better, or differently.

And too much Coyote Physics, way, way, *WAY* too much Coyote Physics, especially in the second movie. I enjoy Roadrunner cartoons as much as anyone, maybe more, but I don't want Coyote Physics in something more serious.

Still, my biggest beef of all with Jackson was from the original "Lord of the Rings" movies; wrecking Faramir's character was a huge blunder.

Oh, well, I still found them mostly enjoyable,

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.