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Comment: Re:This is great and all... (Score 1) 174

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, congress does pretty much whatever it wants of late. Interstate commerce? nah... Intrastate commerce is so much more fun to regulate. Warrants to search? nah... so much more fun to just search as is convenient. Property rights? nah... they'll take your land for commercial reuse, it's potentially much more profitable. Ex post facto law? nah... sometimes, that's just the thing. Shall make no law? Oh HELL no. Rights that shall not be infringed? Oh, ho ho ho, isn't that quaint.

"Jurisdiction" ... what a funny old word. :)

Comment: Re:This is great and all... (Score 1) 174

...but it should also be pointed out that when you bring said mined assets back into the USA, congress does have jurisdiction, and that's what this law primarily addresses, although it may also have direct implications for how US government crewed spacecraft will treat US citizen or corporation owned spacecraft carrying cargo.

Comment: Re:Al Franken? (Score 0, Troll) 81

Agreed. Not so sure about Ronald Reagan not being a good representative of the people, he's highly respected. I recall a recent poll on how people felt about the Presidents we've had in the last 50 years and Reagan ranked highly if not on top.

While making a good joke takes intelligence I doubt that is what people were thinking when they voted for him. I think they voted on name recognition. The guy was a clown before his political career. He played complete idiots on TV. Reagan had his time as a clown in the movies (Bedtime for Bonzo!) but he also did serious roles.

I just don't recall Franken ever acting seriously even when not in character. I only saw him being a goofball. Steve Martin is another clown that has shown himself to be very talented and intelligent. I just cannot see him running for elected office because when I hear his name I think of the line, "I was born a poor black child."

I'm just baffled on how this guy got into office.

Comment: Al Franken? (Score -1, Troll) 81

When I hear his name what first comes to mind is the skit I saw of him playing as a inept news reporter with a fake satellite dish on his head. I find it hard to take anything this guy says seriously regardless of the topic.

How do clowns like this get into office? In this case "clown" can be taken literally.

Comment: Great! Let's get started. (Score 1) 380

by blindseer (#47422361) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

I think it's a great idea to have electric cars and 60% of our electricity come from nuclear power. I don't believe this because I believe AGW is real, I believe this because I think basing an economy on foreign sourced energy is a very bad idea.

Whether AGW is real or not the world needs to stop giving gobs of money to Mideastern dictators. They just use that money to build themselves palaces so they don't have to look at the people they exploit, or they build armies to wage holy wars on their neighbors. If nuclear power becomes more common then we'd stop having these resource wars over diminishing oil resources. Uranium and thorium are common enough that no one should have to fight over it.

People will still fight wars of course. They will just have to be more creative in coming up with a reason besides oil.

Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 2) 102

by blindseer (#47422267) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

Plutonium has a half life somewhere between thousands and millions of years. It's too stable for use as a dirty bomb. For something to be a radiological threat it would have to have a half-life on par with a human lifespan, or much shorter.

Typically a dirty bomb is used to scare or kill people off long enough that the area is abandoned but not so long that the attacker could not take over the area for their own use. Even if the attacker did not want to make use of the bombed area, and just wanted to deny it's use to anyone, something with a long half life is still undesirable. The longer the half life the more material the bomb would have to carry to irradiate a given area. With a half life of thousands of years there would have to be 100x more material than if a material with a half life of tens of years.

A more practical dirty bomb would use something like cobalt, tritium, cesium, strontium, or polonium.

Another problem with plutonium in a dirty bomb is that it's relatively inert chemically and very dense. Cleaning up plutonium would be almost trivial since it does not collect in the body, sinks like a stone in water, and only reacts with the most caustic of chemicals. Tritium would make drinking water and plant life radioactive for decades. Strontium likes to collect in the bones and irradiate people from the inside out.

Plutonium on the other hand likes to wash off, collect at the bottom of things, isn't taken up by plant or animal life readily, and has a half life so long that even if it collects in the body is unlikely to decay within a human life span.

You know, I scare myself sometimes that I know this stuff.

Comment: De river, she is deep (Score 2) 586

by fyngyrz (#47417253) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

"Complex" is not for laymen. There is only so much that you can do with any "appliance". Beyond that, you actually have to know what you are doing. This "problem" has nothing to do with programming.

This. Thinking about the web apps I've written, most of them required fairly deep knowledge in the area of the app -- auroras, photography, specialized group management, history, genealogy, measuring instruments, Chinese, retail procedure -- all areas an interested party could potentially bring to the table.

But the tools to instantiate, manipulate and present those ideas? Those simply don't exist in "amateur" form -- I had to create them. And in doing so, I used knowledge starting with HTML and CGI and CSS, but which extended well into Python, (replaced Perl), C, SQL, a fair bit about the underlying structure of the host OS(s), knowledge of how to structure an application in the first place, and to wrap it all together, a fairly deep knowledge of what's efficient and what isn't.

Now I will admit that I am particularly resistant to Other People's Code, partially because I am unwilling to be subject to other people's bug fix schedules (or lack thereof), and permissions (or lack thereof) and functinonal choices (or lack thereof); and partially because the more stuff I write, the more handy tools of my own I have to bring to bear on the next problem that depend on no one but myself and the host language(s) -- which frankly is quite enough dependency for me anyway. Plus it's been writing all this stuff that's made me a decent programmer in the first place. So even if there *were* a library out there to generate general purpose readout dials, I wouldn't have used it; the result would have been the same. All my own code. Not the least bit reluctant to reinvent the wheel.

Still, the idea of making all that stuff both available and trivially usable (and that's what we're talking about here, because a non-programmer will have to hit this at a trivial level) seems to me to have been tried multiple times in multiple venues, and to have failed every time. Personally, I think it's because as programmers, we underestimate the complexity because we've internalized so much; we can't see the actual level of difficulty very well, because it starts out relative to our own skills. This has resulted in quite a few attempts to "make it easy", and none of them have hit any serious stride. The best any of these can boast is a small following making very limited applications, if you really want to stretch what "application" means.

I don't think the idea is ready to fly. The only context I can visualize this actually working is where you have some *very* smart software that can take an abstract description and write code *for* you. That software would have to be (a) very damned smart and (b) conversant with an enormous range of general human knowledge. Right now, as far as I know, that's the precise description of a competent applications programmer. And nothing else.

Comment: Re:Normal? (Score 1) 586

by fyngyrz (#47416991) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Ideas don't arrive in convenient order. Interruptions occur. The world is not a smooth surface, it's full of bumps, pits and detours. Sometimes (as here) there are even reasons to top post. Such as, so someone will actually see it. So get over it. Notably, the AC comment you're objecting to contributed more to the conversation than yours (or mine) does. There's a lesson there.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer