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Comment: Re:I think the bigger issue (Score 4, Informative) 24

by MillionthMonkey (#48676831) Attached to: Net Neutrality Comments Overtaxed FCC's System
See link: Half of the petitions were anti-NN, and mostly came from a Koch-backed organization's form letter:

Dear Mr. Wheeler, As an American citizen, I wanted to voice my opposition to the FCC's crippling new regulations that would put federal bureaucrats in charge of internet freedom, and urge you to stop these regulations before they're enacted. If the federal government goes through these plans to regulate the internet, I know that the internet will change -- and not for the better. [ INSERT VARIANT PARAGRAPH COMMENT HERE ] Like many Americans, I believe that the internet should remain free of government control and unnecessary regulation -- just as it has for the last twenty years of unprecedented growth. Please stop the FCC's dangerous new regulations, and protect the future of internet freedom here in America. Sincerely, [APPLICANT NAME] [APPLICANT HOME ADDRESS]

As for the "VARIANT PARAGRAPH COMMENT", apparently you were given several selections to choose from, including the following:

The Internet is the biggest economic, intellectual, and artistic success story of the century, and it rose up because of free people, not stifling government. The federal government needs to keep its hands off the Internet. It is not broken, and it does not need to be fixed. It is the federal government, not the Internet, that is broken, and in need of fixing.

One can make an appeal to justice for persecuted cable companies:

Before our government can handcuff a citizen, it must have some reasonable evidence that they have done something wrong. Before the FCC places regulatory handcuffs on Internet providers, shouldn't the government present evidence that they have actually done something wrong?

Or maybe this is your style:

The ideological leader of the angry liberals calling for you to reduce the Internet to a public utility is Robert McChesney, the avowed Marxist founder of the socialist group Free Press. In an interview with, McChesney said: âoeWhat we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility...At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.â In a country of over 300 million people, even an extremist like McChesney can find, perhaps, millions of followers. But you should know better than to listen to them.

Comment: Re:How ghey (Score 1) 43

by MillionthMonkey (#48667375) Attached to: NuSTAR Takes Beautiful X-ray Image of Sol

If we start doing major exploration of deep space we're gonna need to use less ambiguous names for the sun and moon, as other planets may have a sun and moon.

We will never do major exploration of deep space where we get closer to another star than to this one. If we do, humanity can define two constants in file headers.

Comment: Re:from the what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this dep (Score 1) 291

by MillionthMonkey (#48655023) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens
My "Brainfuck for Dummies" book will have a lot of buggy sample code now that Amazon has decided I can only make 1 decrement per 10000 instructions. So I have to implement Brainfuck unit tests... and I just finished the chapter on how to write the code delinter and the JIT compiler!

Comment: Razors and blades (Score 1) 415

My wife has a $100 color HP printer; each ink refill costs $60 but she's become attached to it. The printer won't print unless it's a "genuine HP cartridge" with DoD level 5 DRM and ink that costs more than Zafrio Anejo tequila laced with polonium 210. It should be spraying powdered rubies, emeralds, and sapphire, not marked-up food coloring. And when their overpriced black cartridge runs out, they trick you into wasting all your remaining cartridges by combining all three to make black.

I ended up pulling my ten year old laser printer out of the closet (tucked next to a ten year old Win XP laptop), got a third party drum cartridge for $15, and now I can print things without having to decide whether it's worth the ink.

Carly Fiorina left HP's reputation lying in pieces on a seafloor before she switched to a more appropriate career. Now we have Satya Nadella who is synergistically pumping Microsoft's reputation down a fracking well. After Microsoft fully transitions its business model from software to cable compary fuckery,, he'll change careers and become a Senator.


NSF Accused of Misuse of Funds In Giant Ecological Project 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the $15000-for-porpoise-sweaters dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The National Science Foundation (NSF) and a contractor have been accused by both an audit and by Congress of a significant misuse of funds in a major ecological monitoring project costing almost a half a billion dollars. From the article: "With a construction budget of $433.7 million, NEON is planned to consist of 106 sites across the United States. Arrays of sensors at each site will monitor climate change and human impacts for 30 years, building an unprecedented continental-scale data set. Although some initially doubted its merits, the allure of big-data ecology eventually won over most scientists.

But a 2011 audit of the project's proposed construction budget stalled three times when, according to the independent Defense Contract Audit Agency, NEON's accounting proved so poor that the review could not be completed. Eventually, DCAA issued an adverse ruling, concluding that nearly 36% of NEON's budget proposal was questionable or undocumented.

When the NSF green-lit the project, the agency's inspector-general ordered the audit released on 24 November, which found unallowable expenses including a $25,000 winter holiday party, $11,000 to provide coffee for employees, $3,000 for board-of-directors dinners that included alcohol, $3,000 for t-shirts and other clothes, $83,000 for "business development" and $112,000 for lobbying."

Comment: Flare stars (Score 3, Informative) 62

by MillionthMonkey (#48512171) Attached to: 'Mirage Earth' Exoplanets May Have Burned Away Chances For Life

Ok, I understand that, but isn't it possible for an ice bearing comet (or several) to impact the planet at some later time when the sun was cooler? Surely those planetary systems have their own equivalent of oort clouds?

The whole reason that a red dwarf is so dangerous to live around is its low gravity. It can hurl flares from its surface that ascend far out into space and reach its tight little "habitable zone", and its planets will occasionally orbit through a flare and get zapped. The flares are channeled and accelerated by electromagnetic turbulence that originates from deep inside the star. Even after the surface temperature of its photosphere finally declines, the star will continue to flare until it shrinks down to a white dwarf (which has no habitable zone at all, since its starlight is extreme ultraviolet radiation that can easily blast water molecules apart). Since M-class stars typically have expected lifetimes of trillions of years, you'd have to wait a long time to see it happen.

Comment: Re:Helium shortage, US govt effed-up (Score 1) 116

Air is 5 ppm helium and 15 ppm neon. Neon lifts balloons too, but we don't use it because it's too expensive to recover from the air, and recovering helium is even more inefficient.

We'll never run out on any timescale that matters, the loss to outer space is only concern over geological time spans.

NOTHING is a concern over geological time periods! The Sun will eventually swallow the Earth- but nobody seems to care too much. Helium depletion on Earth will be a blip on a geological time scale, but during that blip helium will be just a memory to several thousand generations.

Helium is for sissies anyway. I don't care if Donald Trump commutes to work in a blimp refilled with freshly scented helium-3 every morning. MY airship has a pedal-powered generator to pump current through a electrolysis chamber. Hydrogen works so much better than helium anyway... it really gets you high.

Memory fault -- brain fried