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Comment Re:Who's saying it is a warp drive? (Score 1) 416

I've seen several gushing articles -- things I saw linked to on Twitter, glanced at, thought "Yeah right" and didn't give a thought to bookmarking -- claiming that there was some kind of space-time warping effect detected in the Em-drive.

It is difficult to know where along the chain of articles-quoting-articles that "WARP DRIVE!" got added to "reactionless thruster."

Comment More recent example: Brin's Existence (Score 3, Interesting) 104

The first, ummm, say two-third's of David Brin's Existence is a mix of short stories (altered a bit since their publication) and a new framework that ties it all together. It works pretty well.

The last third takes place many years after the intrigues of the first part, using a subset of the initial large cast. It is threaded around an updated version of a very old story, "Lungfish," which is arguably the keystone.

Comment Cheap entertainment for obsessive planners! (Score 1) 480

I buy tickets for the state lotteries each week. Relatively low payouts compared to Powerball, with a greater (but still infinitesimal, 1:6,000,000 or 1:2,000,000) chance of winning.

It is entertaining, for an OCD-ish planner like me, to jigger with figures (inflation, taxes) and imagine what kind of lifestyle and payouts to relatives the week's jackpot would support.

FWIW I'm an extremely aggressive saver, have a rigorous household budget, and live a modest lifestyle; there's a good chance I'll be able to retire by 60. My lottery ticket money comes out of my "movies, toys, and other fun stuff" budget.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 545

It's important to note that this is a clear violation of the exempt employee rule.

With some exceptions, the base pay of a salary basis employee may not be reduced based on the "quality or quantity" of work performed (provided that the employee does "some" work in the work period). This usually means that the base pay of a salary basis employee may not be reduced if s/he performs less work than normal, if the reason for that is determined by the employer. For example, a salary basis pay employee's base pay may not be reduced if there is "no work" to be performed (such as for a plant closing or slow period), and a salary basis employee's base pay may not be reduced for partial day absences. However, employers may "dock" the base pay of salary basis employees in full day increments, for disciplinary suspensions, or for personal leave, or for sickness under a bona fide sick leave plan (as for example if the employee has run out of accrued sick leave).

If the company is regularly doing this, employees classified as exempt could turn around and sue for unpaid overtime wages.

Comment Re:This is supposed to be the *WAY* they do their (Score -1, Flamebait) 392

The Republicans controlled congress until 2007.

In case you missed that, let me say it again.


It takes some kind of serious disconnect to blame things that happened in Congress on members of the party that were OUT OF POWER WHEN IT HAPPENED.

Comment What I do when I get these calls (Score 1) 251

These scammers also have web pages that offer "AOL technical support," "PC technical support," and so on, with 800 numbers prominently listed. So if an un-aware person (like my Aunt . . . ) hunts for help via Google they'll often end up getting in touch with these jerks.

I have a couple of variant responses worked out:

"So, in India, do they use the term 'con artist' or 'confidence trickster'?"

"So, does your mother know what you do for a living? Did she teach you to be a crook or did you go bad on your own?"

"Sorry, I only have Linux machines. I don't think you'll know how to fuck them up."

"Oh, good, I was waiting for your call. Let me go to the server room and pick up there."

"Oh, good, I was wondering what was happening. Let me turn the computer on." (Put down receiver, wait.)

Comment Re:And all because a copyright expired! (Score 1) 127

Sirnomad99 notes that there were other influences. Jon Peterson, author of the scholarly gaming history Playing at the World, suggests that Tolkein and LOTR was just one influence among many. The Conan stories, Pratt and de Camp, Leiber and Vance are all specifically mentioned.

In fact . . . I just picked up the book and turned to page (117) where I'd last left off. There are quotes from Gygax where he suggests that Tolkein is not the be-all and end-all authority on the nature of fantasy creatures.

Oh . . . I actually have a set of the Ace paperbacks! They're not impressive. The special characters look hand-sketched, and the cover art is mediocre.

Comment Fund the research by building in targeted ads! (Score 1) 87

Google* and others should be willing to pour big bucks into the research. We may as well bow to the inevitable and let them build DRM, mandatory personality profile tracking, and advertising insertion right into artificial memory creation standards.

* New motto: "We'll figure out what 'evil' is and then not do it."

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne