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Comment: Re:Thrift store (Score 1) 411

by Andy Dodd (#48904345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Yeah. The reason you can't find 3-button mice are because scroll mice provide everything they did and more. Honestly I find it easier to position my fingers since the middle "button" is significantly different in feel than the others.

The only issue is that on SOME mice it's too easy to accidentally scroll.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48897151) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

There is no reason that we have to pick one and abandon work on the others. I don't see that the same resources go into solving more than one, except that the meteor and volcano problem have one solution in common - be on another planet when it happens.

The clathrate problem and nuclear war have the potential to end the human race while it is still on one planet, so we need to solve both of them ASAP.

Comment: Re:JJ has a chance, maybe (Score 1) 418

by schnell (#48887755) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Maybe I'll give the Zahn novels another try. I mainly just remember finding the prose pretty stiff.

Nobody was going to nominate Timothy Zahn for the Nobel Prize in literature, you're right. But by and large his books (not just the Thrawn trilogy) made for entertaining stories that kept you turning pages and enjoying the experience. Even the Thrawn books had some lame plot elements (I personally believe that anytime you introduce clones into a novel or comic book you should go to Writer Jail for a mandatory 3 year sentence). But they were always fun to turn off your brain for a while and read. The same thing goes for most of the "Rogue Squadron" books.

Sadly, the rest of the Expanded Universe varied wildly from interesting and fun (Luke and his son's Force User Road Trip in "Fate of the Jedi") to dull (many of the earlier EU books) to depressing (most of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion which was just a way to induce PTSD in the next generation of Jedi) to full-on WTF (the Jedi council holding press conferences in "Fate of the Jedi" or the string of '90s book after book about zOMG somebody cloned the Emperor [again] or is rebuilding the Death Star [again].) There were some real gems in the EU but you have to pick through a lot of crap to get to them, and even then you won't get the full impact of some of the plot/character arc elements if you didn't wade through all the dreck that came before. So your time is probably best served avoiding all but a few of the most highly-reviewed ones.

Comment: another booking at the Hobbit Hotel (Score 1) 792

by epine (#48887479) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

If you don't notice a flashing green light barely in your peripheral vision I would start to wonder if you ought to be driving at all.

At my height, the steering wheel blocks out half the dashboard. And, no, I can't fix this problem with a phone book (even if such a thing was still available).

My problem is that I'm forced to recline to a halfway recumbent position to keep from mashing my head into the ceiling.

In many vehicles I end up reclined so far back that I can barely reach the steering wheel. And, no, this is not because I have short arms. It's because the rear passenger window has now entered my peripheral vision. If this strikes you as strange, then I suspect it's been a long while since you spent any quality time with sin/cosine. (I have a wine bottle a mere 2" too tall for one of my cupboard shelves. If I tilt it to 45 degrees it fits just fine.)

So then I have to crank the seat forward until my knees are striking the front dashboard. Strangely, I don't find this uncomfortable for my legs, unless I wish to move them.

My peripheral vision is now roughly oriented toward the driver's seat-belt pulley, and my eye level is horizontal to the tint line on the windscreen. By the time I get the steering adjusted to a comfortable position, it's almost a certainty that half the dashboard is occluded by the top half of the steering wheel.

I can't see stop lights, either, if I'm first to the light and I've pulled up to the stop line, unless I use the old ear-to-shoulder trick—or I spot some other aspect of the intersection control synchronized to the light I'm waiting on.

What look like large vehicles from the outside are usually just as bad. Sure, the cabin height is increased, but usually they take most of it away with a higher seat height (to better accommodate all those fancy seat motors whose very existence makes the seating position you most desire impossible to achieve).

You should book a week sometime in the Hobbit Hotel. It will do wonders for your imagination concerning the circumstances that others face. Probably you should do this before participating in the design of any mechanical thing to be used by anyone other than a jet fighter pilot (whose physiques are carefully restricted to the design environment).

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48887305) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Sure, there are going to be mediating forces in the environment. Melting is an obvious one. The positive feedbacks have been getting the most attention because they are really scary. It appears that there are gas clathrates in the ground and under water that can come out at a certain temperature. The worst case is that we get an event similar to Lake Nyos, but with a somewhat different mechanism and potentially many more dead. The best case is a significant atmospheric input of CO2 and methane that we can't control.

I don't think I have to discount Trenberth. He's trying to correct his model, he isn't saying there is no warming.

Comment: Lucas: Highest form sci fi (Score 1) 418

by michaelmalak (#48886785) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

Science fiction reaches its zenith when it is commentary by analogy to the present human condition. The original trilogy reached this as it was Lucas' protest of the Vietnam War. This was evident even before Lucas' public statements, from the 1976 novelization and its prologue Journal of the Whills. The prequels were, from the strict standpoint of plot and political commentary, a satisfying fulfillment of this 1976 prologue. That the prequels were released during the Iraq War, a mirror in many ways of the Vietnam War, couldn't have worked out better for communicating Lucas' original 1970's message. Everyone caught on for Episode III, but it was all there in Episode II as well. Episode II was released so soon after 9-11, though, that most people weren't able to key in on it then.

The prequels suffered by having too large a budget. Lucas did better in the original trilogy when budget constraints forced creativity. In the prequels, Lucas felt obligated to have ridiculously short filming schedules for the human actors, and then to leave most of it on the editing room floor so as to not waste all the CGI footage. But the stories in Episodes II & III were outstanding.

Now that Star Wars is in the hands of the Bono-seeking corporatocracy, I have dim hope of any continued criticism of government and monopolies -- and certainly not of any drawing of parallels between the Dark Side and contemporary power structures.

Comment: Re:Censorship? (Score 1) 415

by epine (#48885977) Attached to: Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

Actions sometimes send messages, but they are not speech.

Non-verbal actions are not speech (excepting deaf people and Italians and anyone with secure tenure in hard rock D-block and postural nuance of a clever hostage being photographed by his or her kidnapper), but often they are speech acts (in cases too far multitudinous to list here).

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48884865) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax


McKitrick is an economist out of his field. Trenberth and Fasullo cite many of their other papers and the publications to which they were submitted, but it seems mostly not accepted. But their conclusion seems to be that there were other times in recent years that the rate of warming decreased for a time only for it to return to its previous rate. I only see the abstract for Kosaka and Xie, but they state "the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase."

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48882193) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

I imagine that the major financial companies make this part of their economic modeling. Most of them do publish weather-related and climate-related advisories regarding commodity and company price trends, etc. How detailed do they get? The wouldn't tell and I am the wrong kind of scientist to ask. Can we make a government or public one? Yes, the level of detail is the big question.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48882135) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Oh, do I have to qualify that for you, like the hottest outside of a period of Milankovitch Forcing? Gee, maybe the Earth's orbit changed, like back then, and we just didn't notice.

Let's take a look at one of the references you cited:

A section of a draft IPCC report, looking at short-term trends, says temperatures are likely to be 0.4 to 1.0 degree Celsius (0.7-1.8F) warmer from 2016-35 than in the two decades to 2005. Rain and snow may increase in areas that already have high precipitation and decline in areas with scarcity, it says.

It sounds like we have reason to be alarmed.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang