The problem with iText is that it used to be MPL, but the maintainer got ticked off at commercial users several years ago and changed to license to AGPL. Apparently now they're relaxing the license for a fee, but they've changed their mind before - no guarantees that they won't change it again.
Considering that this is a statement made by a US agency, and the primary purpose of such an article is to convince the people that are defunding them, primarily the US taxpayer, to continue to fund them, the football field unit is completely appropriate. This is particularly true because most US high schools, and some middle schools have a permanent football field near them, and even parks have football fields temporarily set up from time to time. Anyone in the US who has tried to get an education, and even those who have slept during class, are likely to have walked by football fields enough to understand what the size of them is.
It is certainly more likely that someone in the US will have a feel for the size of 1/2 a football field than 50 yard sticks or 150 ruler lengths. There are very few other standard sized objects on that scale that people have real world experience with. The reality is that most in the US that understand 50 meters will approximate that to 50 yards, and then imagine that distance compared to a football field. NASA is just doing that conversion for those that don't have a feel for meters, and for those that don't realize that a football field is 100 yards.
But, I can close the lid of my laptop and it goes to sleep, open it and it wakes up. I don't have to write wpa-supplicant files by hand, worry about wireless drivers, or anything else. I can watch my DVDs, I can watch internet videos if I want to (as much as I bitch about youtube culture and whatnot, there are occasionally things worth watching that happen to live inside of an embedded flash player), my battery life doesn't suck and I spend a lot less time beating my head against the wall due to "not quite 100% compatible" issues.
Same here. I run Fedora, and I haven't had trouble with any of the above in years - it just works (though I don't watch many DVDs on my laptop, so, to be fair, I can't comment there). Fedora has come a long way in terms of networking and video, and I've heard that Ubuntu has as well. In fact, I've found that some of my cellphone videos play fine on my Fedora laptop, but don't work at all on my wife's Windows 7 laptop. When I moved away from Windows, I piloted with a Mac for awhile, and while the UI was pretty, it drove me absolutely nuts. The editing keys and shortcuts were different for every application. Also, Apple has no concept of a true docking station/port replicator, so every time I had a meeting, I had to unplug and re-plug ten different cables. I also had to carry around a bunch of extra accessories, like a dongle just to connect to a projector. It was so frustrating that when I was told that I had to choose, I happily sent the Mac packing and have used Fedora ever since.
It would be nice if I could get Quicken and Word for Linux, but I found that Word on Mac converts strangely to Windows also, and in some cases worse that OpenOffice, so I didn't see that as a worthy advantage.
Shadows could be softer
They only mention three bounces per pixel, and do not mention samples per pixel. They also don't give any detail about their light sources. If they maintain point light sources, the shadows will always be hard no matter how many bounces or samples they take. If they allow area light sources, and sample it properly, they can do that with a single bounce. And you can do some pretty nice stuff with three bounces.