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Comment: Re:Too busy for a pipe dream! (Score 1) 253

by billlava (#44510469) Attached to: Elon Musk Admits He Is Too Busy To Build Hyperloop

And automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in the US. But we still do it.

Off by a LONG shot. Heart disease causes almost 20x more deaths. So does Cancer. (source, source) Plus, people driving cars at least feel like they are in control of the situation (even if they are still likely to be hit by some other maniac.) When hurtling through a tube at 600 mph, you are at the mercy of the odds and nothing else.

Comment: Word form collisions (Score 2) 478

by billlava (#44301367) Attached to: Describe Any Location On Earth In 3 Words
Words are harder to remember than they'd like. Say I tell my friend to meet me at "award.tricks.fish" (an example from their page, somewhere in NYC) but he remembers "award.trick.fish". Suddenly he's buying a plane ticket to Chicago, which is all just the same, because I accidentally travelled to "awards.trick.fish" and ended up just outside London. Plurals, gerunds, past tense and other word forms that have different endings make this a really unwieldy system for conveying precise information verbally. It's easy enough electronically, but then why not just make a google maps short url link and stick it in an SMS? Problem solved...

Comment: It's not Google, it's the copyright holders (Score 5, Informative) 141

by billlava (#40552417) Attached to: YouTube-MP3 Ripper Creator Takes On Google
It's long been a well-known secret among technologically capable people (like you, dear reader) that it's very easy to download the video files for youtube videos. Extracting the audio is just another simple step away from that. Google has ignored such services in the past because they really don't care if people download these videos or the music on them. Sure, it might eat in to their revenues a little bit, but not much, since most people will just keep coming back to the site anyway.

The real issue here is that copyright holders (those big evil RIAA members) never realized how easy stripping music from youtube videos actually was. That's the only reason they let all their music go up on the site (albeit slathered with advertising and overlays.) Anytime someone draws attention to how easy getting the audio (or video) actually is, it makes copyright holders skittish. They think that this guy has somehow discovered some sort of technological loophole that allows him to download the files in a way others can't (he hasn't.) Google is probably under tremendous pressure to shut this guy down, and they'll do it just so that nobody starts asking questions about why it's so easy to do what he's doing anyway.

Better that one man takes the fall (and just shuts down his site) than that the whole world suffers losing unfettered access to youtube source files.

Comment: First sign something is wrong with the company: (Score 1) 230

by billlava (#40534827) Attached to: RIM CEO: 'There's Nothing Wrong With the Company'
The first sign that something is wrong with the company is when the CEO feels obligated to say, "There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now."

It may not be the thing that he's trying to reassure us about (it probably is,) but RIM sure looks and acts like a duck that isn't going to be saved. Now Mr. Heins is just quacking like one.

Comment: Re:So from here on out ... (Score 1) 2416

by billlava (#40481761) Attached to: Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional
There are at least two huge differences. First, auto insurance is not required at a federal level. This argument was never over whether any level of government had the right to impose such a requirement. States, for example can and do. Second, and probably more important, not every person in the country has to have auto insurance. If a person rides their bike everywhere, or takes the bus, or hitches rides with his friends, he doesn't have to have auto insurance. There, governments (state governments) have said, "IF you choose to drive in our state and on our roads, then you MUST be insured to a minimum level." In the case of Obamacare, there is no decision to do something (other than continue breathing) that would require you to buy a product. You simply must do it. You must purchase insurance not to your own satisfaction, but the government's.

Comment: Re:Campaign Confusion (Score 1) 245

by billlava (#40159311) Attached to: Ask Candidate Jeremy Hansen About Direct Democracy in Vermont
That's a good point. I think the best tactic to combat this would just be to play up the 'tyrannical majority' argument in its most generic sense. Everyone (religious people, atheists, gays, heterosexuals, traditional minorities, and increasingly middle class white people) likes to think that everyone else is out to get them and would gang up against them if given the chance. You don't even have to suggest it to each group, just put it out there in a general way and everyone will think you're talking about them.

Comment: Will all data collected be public? (Score 1) 245

by billlava (#40158853) Attached to: Ask Candidate Jeremy Hansen About Direct Democracy in Vermont
And if so, how soon? Will you allow participants to view results of a survey/poll immediately after they vote, or before? Or never? What about all the demographic data you will likely tie to each vote? Will that be available (in an anonymized form) for public inspection? That could be just as interesting as the prospect of a poll-informed internet representative.

Comment: Re:Russians did it before these guys (Score 2) 263

by billlava (#39343945) Attached to: Camera Gun Would Let Hunters Get Killer Wildlife Shots

The Photo Sniper was initially made for the Russian market. The text on the camera body, on the pistol grip and on the container was in Russian. ÐÐzÐÐz ÐÐÐÐ(TM)ÐYÐÐ means FOTO SNAIPER (Photo Sniper). The container was usually painted in the typical Russian grey hammerite colour.

Does Slashdot STILL not properly render unicode text? I recognize those characters as being Russian characters in UTF-8 being rendered as Latin-1. Shame on Slashdot! ?

Comment: Well... I have two PCs and a Laptop at home (Score 1) 296

by billlava (#39294611) Attached to: My PC use accounts for __% of my computing time
and a PC at work. The PC at work, by necessity, takes up the bulk of my computing time, nearly 6-8 hours a day. One of my PCs at home dominates that time, but sometimes I sit on the couch and code or browse the web on my laptop while watching tv. I'm really not sure how to answer this question, but I put the amount of time I use my main PC at home as 'my pc' or about 20-30% of computing time, I estimate.

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