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Comment: Re:Germany should pay war reparations for WWII (Score 1) 720

by PapayaSF (#49770019) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Maybe if the Greeks paid their taxes this would not have happened.

Ah, the old "if only the government had more money, it wouldn't be bankrupt" idea. But of course it doesn't matter how high your revenue is, if you constantly spend more than that. See also: the United States.

Comment: Re:Germany should pay war reparations for WWII (Score 1) 720

by PapayaSF (#49769959) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment
Excellent point. Not only was Poland more devastated by WWII, they suffered from Communist rule for 44 years afterwards, and yet have recovered pretty darn well since 1989. Meanwhile, Greece has gotten themselves into this hole because they still cling to failed socialist economic thinking.

Comment: *Why* there is too much noise (Score 0) 56

by PapayaSF (#49555461) Attached to: Declassified Report From 2009 Questions Effectiveness of NSA Spying

Commenters above have talked about the signal/noise problem, and they're right, but I don't think anyone has talked about why this problem exists. I have no direct evidence, but I'd bet that after 9/11, there was a high-level conversation in the administration something like this:

"There might be terror cells all over the US, and we might be hit again! Can the NSA watch the electronic communications of all Muslims in the US?"

"Sure, but we can't be sure of knowing who they all are. Besides, it would be considered discrimination to only surveil Muslims. If that ever got out, there would be charges of "racism" and it would complicate things with Saudi Arabia."

"Right, we can't admit that there's a religious war being waged against us. Better to just surveil everyone. Can you do that?"

"Um, sure, but we'll need a really big budget increase."


Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 1) 174

by PapayaSF (#49548625) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

"What use is a newborn baby?"

I shouldn't have to point this out to geeks, but the Apple Watch is only the start of something. It will be years before it really comes to fruition. And remember, unlike some companies (*cough* Samsung *cough*), Apple doesn't come out with a bazillion products and then sees what sticks. They tend to heavily research and internally test things beforehand. The size of the rollout tells me that they are pretty confident this is a worthwhile product (and product category) that will catch on.

Comment: Re:Define "affordable" (Score 1) 540

by PapayaSF (#49516509) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

In the Bay area anyone making under $350,000 is considered low income.

About five years ago I discovered that a San Francisco hospital considers anyone who makes under $44,000/year to be a potential charity case. This is helpful when an overnight in intensive care costs $26,000.

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 1) 587

by PapayaSF (#49425393) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political
Female authors have long used male pseudonyms. According to Wikipedia, "In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability since boys were the main audience for fantasy." Increasing one's marketability is not really evidence of "exclusionary" practices.

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 1) 587

by PapayaSF (#49419997) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political

Well, James Tiptree Jr would disagree with "never been exclusionary".

C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett published science fiction and fantasy decades before Tiptree did. Did any other them get any flak for being women? Probably. But none of them were "excluded," and all were celebrated to one degree or another.

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 4, Interesting) 587

by PapayaSF (#49416385) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political

AKA the issue should never have been one of inclusion. It needs to be one of ending exclusion.

Except that science fiction and science fiction fandom has never been exclusionary of women or racial minorities or gays! That's what makes the SJW crusade in fandom so bizarre. They come up with bogus issues like "#racefail," which was the supposed scandal that most WorldCon committees consist of white people. Well, such committees are all entirely voluntary, and AFAIK there's never been a single instance of anyone ever been turned down as a volunteer because they're black or gay or whatever.

I've also read that fandom needs more minorities because some minorities feel uncomfortable at conventions because "there aren't enough people who look like them." Well, whose fault is that? Fans are there because of a love of the genre. Why make a big deal about your race? I've also read complaints about fans asking well-meaning but awkward questions about race, e.g. "What's it like to be black and into science fiction?" Stop the presses! A nerd asks a friendly but awkward question?!? That's never happened before!! And, of course, we have the contradiction that white fans are "supposed to" be more aware of race, but heaven help them if they say something in the wrong way, whatever their intentions.

Comment: Re: Oh, Okay (Score 1) 587

by PapayaSF (#49416275) Attached to: Hugo Awards Turn (Even More) Political

I feel that Shute's work is science fiction too, but it was not marketed as science fiction when it debuted

That really doesn't mean anything. Science fiction has long been considered a ghetto, and so publishers avoid the label when they have a Big Name or a book they think they can sell to mainstream readers. They don't want to turn off mainstream audiences, and they figure the SF readers will find it, anyway. See also: all but the earliest Vonnegut books, The Lomokome Papers by Herman Wouk, and many others. I'd be willing to bet that the current bestseller The Martian by Andy Weir says that it's "fiction" or a "novel" and not "science fiction."

Comment: Re:Yawn (Score 3, Insightful) 94

I mean, it looks like a great device, but I fail to understand why people think it is some brilliant new idea or super fantastic breakthrough.

"No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame." —Rob Malda, 2001

Many have said this before, but Apple's strength is really not "brilliant new ideas or super fantastic breakthroughs" (though they have those at times). There were personal computers before the Apple I and II. There were GUIs before the Mac. There were smartphones before the iPhone, and tablets before the iPad. So why were those all breakthrough products? Because Apple did them better than other companies did. Especially in the second Jobs era, and since, they do vast amounts of research and testing and refining to make the products great. They make hard design decisions, they don't just check off feature lists, and they make things that they think are good (in other words, they don't simply aim to satisfy customers). Plus, they now have an ecosystem of software that integrates well with their hardware, which is designed to work with their software. Add all that together, and you get breakthrough products, even if they may not be the first examples, or match a competitor feature for feature. Trust me: in five years, the Moto 360 will be remembered only as the Nomad of smart watches. All smart watches will soon start to look and act like Apple's in the same way that all smartphones now look like descendants of the first iPhone.

And the Apple Watch does use inductive charging, with a MagSafe cable.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor