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Comment Ark of the Covenant! (Score 5, Funny) 330

Red Mercury is totally bogus. If they were smart, they'd go to Ethiopia and swipe the Tabota Seyen -- the Ark of the Covenant. There's your super-weapon. I mean, all you have to do is carry it in front of your army, and it just wipes out your enemies in masse! The Ethiopians themselves have used it multiple times in battle.

Did you guys *see* what it did in Raiders of the Lost Ark? That movie was totally fact-based! ;)

Submission + - Texas narrowly rejects allowing academics to fact-check public school textbooks (csmonitor.com)

jriding writes: AUSTIN, Texas â" Top Texas education officials rejected Wednesday letting university experts fact-check textbooks approved for use in public-school classrooms statewide, instead reaffirming a vetting system that has helped spark years of ideological battles over how potentially thorny lessons in history and science are taught.

Comment Re:GOVERNMENT's commitment? (Score 2) 109

I see much evidence that major governments -- and major environmental groups -- don't really take global warming seriously and don't really want the problem solved. You can judge them by their actions.

If they really took it seriously, the environmental groups would all be backing nuclear power instead of fighting it.

If the US government took global warming seriously, they'd allow new reactor designs instead of forcing companies to go build in China because they have given up on ever getting anything approved in the USA.

If the world took global warming seriously, we'd have massive programs to develop nuclear fusion reactors. It would be like the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Program. I have to grit my teeth when the UN announces ten billion dollars in financial aid to sinking island nations, but nobody can cough up 1/50th of that for a new research reactor.

Comment Re:Typical Liberal Thinking (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Natural gas is a stopgap -- and a highly useful one. I would compare natural gas to a hybrid car, like a Prius. It still burns petroleum fuel, but not as much, and it still pollutes, but not as much, and it can help fill the gap until pure battery electric cars are perfected and take off.

In the case of natural gas power plants. . . For now, they're much better than coal. For the future, solar power and nuclear fusion will eventually kill them off.

Comment Re:Typical Liberal Thinking (Score 1) 109

Where's your logic? Why ask a bunch of rhetorical questions when you could look up the answers yourself in five minutes? Maybe because you don't really want to hear the answers. . .

Coal is the dirtiest and most lethal power source by many measures. Yes, we've introduced a lot of environment and safety regulations on coal mining. Yes, we've put scrubbers in the smokestacks and largely gotten rid of acid rain. Coal is much better than it used to be -- but it's still the worst, by far, when compared with any other energy source in widespread use. And we still haven't gotten CO2 sequestration proven and deployed. THAT is why they want to get rid of coal power plants.

Comment Re:Understand the Allure (Score 1) 231

it enforces readability without requiring too many extra characters

I agree... over the past five years or so I've migrated to python, both in web development and a lot of scrips I wrote for use in house for special case "things." It's a great combination of brief (as little as 1/10 or less the size of equivalent Java) and yet structured and readable.

Comment Re:Smart man (Score 1) 378

A generational ship would have to be huge, and therefore insanely costly to build and push across interstellar space, and SLOW. Which means that your crew's distant descendants, when they arrived, would find their destination already long since colonized by AIs who got there much more quickly and easily, and probably any earth-like worlds already colonized by humans who were faxed across and synthesized by the AIs.

A generation ship is one of those things that might be technically possible if there were no other way, but there are other ways, and they are so very much superior.

Comment He's Right (Score 5, Insightful) 378

His position is very sensible, and I honestly don't understand all the massive backlash against it.

I guess I can understand some resentment from people who've grown up on Star Trek, at being told it isn't going to play out that way. But seriously now. . . Star Trek was never even hard SF. It was a 1930s pulp sci-fi concept resurrected into a 1960s TV show, and it was fantasy from the beginning. Slashdot is supposed to be news for nerds. Nerds should know this. We should be smarter.

I also wonder how many of you read TFA? Let me help you out: "Some find this to be negative—an absolute statement of limits and thus of giving up. My job here is to prove the opposite: humans exploring the universe with nanotechnology robotics, bio-molecular engineering, and artificial intelligence is something that is exciting and positive, and is based on an optimistic view of the future."

He's not saying we can't explore space with human crews and colonies. He's saying it won't make sense to, because we'll have much better options. Human beings are very costly to keep alive in space, much more than machines -- so we'll send the machines. With uploading, we may *be* the machines.

In fact, I'll go further. I think we should *explore* Mars with manned missions -- because today's robotics technology is too limited, it would take centuries to explore Mars with robots at the pace we're going. But I think we should *settle* Mars with robots. In this case Futurama is probably a better guide than Star Trek. . .

Fry: So let me get this straight. This planet is completely uninhabited?
Bender: No, it's inhabited by robots.
Fry: Oh, kinda like how a warehouse is inhabited by boxes.

Yes. That's Mars.

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 1) 350

Frankly, that's pretty dumb. I hear people repeat that old diatribe over and over, and have yet to actually see anyone do it - nobody wants the hassle of an accident, whether you're at fault or not. The best response is simply easing off the gas, create a larger gap in front of you so that you won't have to break as hard should traffic in front of you stop, and the slower speed will reduce the damage should the person behind you still hit you. If it's not inconvenient (i.e. the traffic to your right is going slower than you) then yes, move over to the right and let the idiot pass - it's just not worth getting all worked up over it.

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 1) 350

What's the problem with people wanting to go faster than you? You want to drive slower, they want to drive faster. Maybe they're dealing with an emergency or late for a critical job interview - we've all been there at some point in our lives. Just move out of the way instead of "sticking it to 'em". If you think they're driving dangerously, call the cops and report it.

Transactional Analysis (a.k.a. "The Games People Play."). People cannot help but to think of interactions with others as "games," and do what they feel necessary to "win."

Frankly, I don't get it - I'm generally the faster driver on the road, and it boggles my mind when people go out of their way to block me. When someone wants to go faster than me, I let them... what does it matter to me? They're not the ones that are going to make me miss the next light or anything - it's the slow ones that do that.

I'd also like to point out (although off topic to this sub-thread), that many lights - especially around rush hour, are timed. If you go slow, you end up missing all the lights. All those hyper-milers waste more gas (and more gas from everyone stuck behind them) idling at red lights, and then accelerating from zero. It's not always true that you make all the lights getting up to and maintaining speed limit speeds - there's only so much they can do with light timing, but in some situations it most definitely behooves you to go faster. I guess my biggest peeve is that, a couple of weeks after moving where I am now, I knew how the lights were timed in the morning on my way to work, and afternoon on my way home. Why other people living here for 20 years still don't get it is very frustrating.

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 2) 350

No. I watch very carefully when I'm driving, "l3v1" and "danbert8" are right.... I see it constantly here, people in other lanes with NOBODY behind them... it seems like people don't know how to even coast a bit, if they're not stepping on the gas, they have to be stepping on the break.... or something, I don't know, but when I see people speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, in the lane next to me, with NOBODY behind them, I have to conclude the world has far too many idiots. I've also been far behind people that I subsequently caught up to - single lane roads where you'd just periodically see them breaking. I honestly don't think that many people are breaking (at least around here) for tailgaters, because I see tailgaters all the time, too, without the people being tailgated breaking.

And like l3v1 pointed out, people don't signal to change lanes...

I've actually had this discussion with a group of coworkers, while we were working on site in another state, including people from outside the U.S., and I say you should always signal a turn or lane change no matter what - it's NEVER bad to signal, it's sometimes (if not often) bad to not signal. "Bad," in this case, doesn't even necessarily mean dangerous - signalling sometimes is just an act of common courtesy to let people know what you're doing - it might not even be another car, it could be a bicyclist or a pedestrian. There were actually a couple of people who argued against it... it was unbelievable. And the guy that swore up and down he always signaled "when necessary" was weaving across all the lanes and didn't signal once.

The bottom line is that far too many drivers lack common courtesy, common sense, and are oblivious to the effects they're having on the world around them. The sad thing is that ONE person going slow on the interstate can create a dangerous situation for hundreds of people, even for people just trying to go the limit, even five or six lanes out. I witness this every day on my commute to work. All it takes is one in a hundred to drive that way to screw things up for everybody, and it's more like 5 or 10 in a hundred that drive that way.

And along with his freeway comment - if there's more than two lanes, the right lane should be for people entering and exiting the freeway, especially in urban areas where there exits are frequent, but my biggest pet peeve is that people don't use the on-ramp to accelerate up to the speed of the traffic they're going to have to merge with.... 45, even 35MPH all the way down the ramp... then reach the end and can't understand why they can't merge in with traffic going 70MPH (yes, that's the limit where I get on the interstate).

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 1) 350

"Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. It affects about one person in every one million people per year worldwide; in the United States there are about 300 cases per year. CJD usually appears in later life and runs a rapid course."

Sometimes we should all just know all the initials people throw around (LOL!) But sometimes not.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"