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Comment: All or nothing (Score 1) 12

by TWX (#48477339) Attached to: Researchers Discover an "Off Switch" For Pain In the Brain
I'm curious if this'll be an all-or-nothing thing, or if there are degrees of gradation. Pain itself serves good in that it prevents one from doing things that cause it, so we don't injure ourselves.

Also makes me wonder if pain caused by emotion or stress would be affected, and to what degree. It's been said that emotional pain is a physical response, the body literally making itself ill or hurt, so I wonder.

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 3, Interesting) 103

by TWX (#48476805) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs
We tended to scream because we were forced to pay for Microsoft's software when we bought computers, and despite non-Microsoft software being the preferred software for some types, Microsoft bundled their lesser-software with their OS and even when we changed to something else, made it prompt to try to become the preferred application again.

When I open my web browser, if it's Microsoft's, I default to Microsoft's Bing search engine. If I choose a different browser then I probably default to Google, but I can change it and it stays changed. I am also not required to use Google as my default start page, and I can visit any site on the Internet that I choose. I am not required to use a search engine if I know the URL that I want to go to, and even if I use Google to search for the name of another company that does something that Google also does, I get that company's result first, not after Google's own product. Funny enough, Bing's search for "maps" brings up Google's maps for me as the top link.

I don't think that Google takes away the consumer's choice in the way Microsoft's policies do. Microsoft doesn't provide links to competitors' software. Google may provide links to their own services first, but they don't provide only links to their own services.

Personally I think they'd have a much better argument, though still incomplete, arguing on Android instead in how it uses Google Mail and other Google services, but since Apple is so strong in phones and tablets that would be hard to support.

Comment: Re:"Should we go back to paper ballots?" (Score 1) 119

by TWX (#48476713) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County
The input hopper is just where one places the ballot so that the machine pulls it in. It's not a multi-sheet hopper. One puts it in, hits the button on the machine, and watches it get drawn-in through the machine then deposited in the output hopper, which act as the ballot box.

The ballots are not printed on-site, they're printed in advance of the election. It's a lot less expensive to print en masse than to print in real-time, and so long as the polling place has enough ballots, it's not a problem.

The only way that I would think live-print would work is if the idea were made to revolutionize voting, in that when the voter arrives at any polling place in the state, scanning their voter ID would generate the appropriate ballot for their jurisdiction. This would allow voters to visit polling places that are near work or are not busy if their primary polling place is too busy or awkward to get to.

Unfortunately the current trend is to make it harder to vote, not easier, and even then, issuing voting credentials is already a problem in places that require some kinds of ID to vote, so for it to work, there'd have to be a public-interest push in getting ID to everyone that's registered, and in using the MVD process to also issue the voter ID cards to new registrants.

Comment: Re:Try deepfried at least once (Score 1) 96

by TWX (#48474681) Attached to: I prefer my turkey ...

Seriously, it's AWESOME!

Deep Fried Turkey is MEAT CANDY!

I'm going to blaspheme according to some, but I think it's better than bacon! And I love bacon! If it wasn't such a damn mess and so hazardous to make it, I think that deep-fried Turkey would supplant bacon as the principal bad-for-us meat product.

Comment: Re:"Should we go back to paper ballots?" (Score 4, Interesting) 119

by TWX (#48471199) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County
I guess the other thing that I like about it is, if the power goes out, or the machines all suddenly don't work, or if there aren't enough machines, or if a vulnerability in the machines is discovered and cannot be corrected, the voter can still vote in the same way. It becomes the election office's job to figure out how to count the votes in that set of circumstances, but it's still possible to have the election.

Comment: Re:Next step - Semiconductors (Score 1) 69

by TWX (#48471121) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space
I wonder if a mixed-gender crew could really handle a long space mission without being set up to be intentionally polyamorous or hedonistic, assuming that sex in such an environment is possible. Let's face it, the people we'd send on a long-term mission need to be in the best shape of their lives when the leave and need to have the kind of physique that remains healthy and wiry without a whole lot of exercise, so it'll be filled with sexually-desirable people. If the crew factionalizes on sexual lines or finds members fighting or ostracized then it could fail in its mission.

The only solution that I see is to recruit people that will be polyamorous without developing excessive jealousy. Our society officially doesn't approve of such an arrangement, though popular culture fantasizes about it more than society wants to admit.

Comment: Re:Room for further research.... (Score 1) 178

by TWX (#48470809) Attached to: Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency
I vote we use the entire discographies of Tiffany, Yoko Ono, and Hansen. And by entire discographies, I mean all of the discs minted.

I don't mind listening to AC/DC from time to time, and power conversion aside, there are much worse acts whose work could be destroyed^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hused for this.

Comment: Re:"Should we go back to paper ballots?" (Score 5, Insightful) 119

by TWX (#48470781) Attached to: Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County
Yeah, I think that the answer is, "yes, we should go back to paper ballots."

I like optical-scan. You mark the paper ballot with a pen with indelible ink, connecting the two marks next to the candidate's name, then put the ballot into the input hopper and watch it go through the machine and get deposited in the locked output hopper. Granted, you don't get a display to confirm that your markings were read right, but if the system is designed right then a subset of polling stations at random is audited by hand, and if the results are too far out of line then the entire election is audited by hand. Plus, you can actually perform the audit without anything more complex than a desk with an inbox, an outbox, a pencil, and some paper. Some light might help so one can work at night.

Even optical-scan isn't foolproof; the ballot can be messed up if someone is an idiot or the machine that does the counting could malfunction or be tampered with, but at least there's a fairly easy way to recount if needed.

Comment: Re:Next step - Semiconductors (Score 4, Insightful) 69

by TWX (#48464765) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space
I think that now that the craziness that was building it so incredibly slowly is over, it's actually doing something useful in that it's teaching us what it takes to live in space, and giving us means by which to test living in space where the consequences of screwing up are relatively minor. We've already learned the full-Russian approach and gained insight from their moments, and ISS is allowing us to see if we've learned from those mistakes.

I look at it along similar lines to Biosphere II down near Tucson, Arizona. It was the first major attempt to build a self-sufficient (within the scope of allowing for the ambient conditions in the local climate to influence heat) habitat that was supposed to be independent of outside assistance. It failed, but why it failed is important and can be learned from. Unfortunately I don't think that those lessons are being applied to the original facility, so we're not continuing to learn in ways that we should, but hopefully all of the studies of what happened will inform future scientists and engineers of the pitfalls in their plans and designs.

Comment: Re:Next step - Semiconductors (Score 5, Insightful) 69

by TWX (#48464425) Attached to: ISS's 3-D Printer Creates Its First Object In Space
it's that you can't stock Digikey on the space station, but can "print" all of the knobs, buttons, and switches you need when one breaks. It reduces the number of spare parts needed in inventory and might offer a solution for a broken part that was not anticipated for, or to make something new when otherwise macguyvering a temporary solution.

think of the cheese spacer from the pizza box scenario as the eggheads are prototyping a solution.

Comment: Re:Delete Your Facebook Account Already (Score 1) 188

by TWX (#48453667) Attached to: Married Woman Claims Facebook Info Sharing Created Dating Profile For Her
Oh, believe me, the smartphone has been an extremely useful tool. I've gone from pager and carrying a palm pilot (technically a USR Pilot 5000), to an alphapager and palm (a newer one), to a semi-dumb phone with a few capabilities (Moto Razr V3), to a T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream), to a Samsung Galaxy SII. My wife has followed a similar path but without the pagers and with an analog cell phone in the mix. Neither of us would voluntarily give up our smartphones.

The crux of it is, we don't have our lives revolve around the smartphones. We use them as a means, not an end, and they're far from the only means at our disposal.

If someone took the time and effort needed to correspond in a meaningful way by way of personal letter then I'd probably consider them a friend, but I don't really expect that to ever be the case again.

Save gas, don't use the shell.