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Comment Re:Proof that you don't want govt spending your mo (Score 1) 107

Imagine Soros and the Koch brothers and all the wealthy of either party building and equipping their own aircraft carriers at their own expense as a public benefit. Imagine the same people sponsoring ad-free television channels to keep people entertained as a public benefit.

And they do. You wouldn't hear about Soros and the Koch brothers otherwise. They just didn't consult you first on what they should be spending their money on any more than those ancient Greeks did.

Comment Re: Ban ALL NUKES NOW (Score 1) 93

but are *you* willing to talk face-to-face to the families of the victims of these incidents when they occur and explain why Nuclear energy was the right choice while their relatives skin is melting off their bodies?

I'll just note here that no one has had to do that yet due to the (no doubt peculiar) lack of victims with melting skin, So I doubt I'd have to leave my fortress of solitude the next time a TMI or Fukushima happens due to the continued absence of skin melting.

Comment Re:Was there any doubt? (Score 1) 93

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not.

Cool quote bro, but in reality lots of mammal species don't live in equilibrium with their environment. They just die off a lot when the food goes away. Which is what humans do too when that happens. BUT humans are unusual in being able to radically alter their environments through agriculture and urbanization to allow many more humans to survive.

Comment Dilbert? (Score 1) 243

I didn't realize the show was supposed to be about geeks. I thought it was ironically portraying the disconnect between the academic pursuit of science and things that happen in the real world.

I've never seen it.

I take it they intended to do "Dilbert in hard-science academia" but were about as effective as liberal artists usually are when they try to portray anything on the physics or engineering side of the fence?

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 399

The reason for keeping weapons such as knives out of schools (or anywhere else) is to reduce the chance of fights escalating and becoming deadly.

What has been shown to reduce the chance of "fights escalating and becoming deadly" is training in the use of knives and guns, not bans on their possession. Children and young adults who have had such training have about the same rate of "delinquency" - but the "crimes" they commit are almost never violent. (They also know what they're dealing with and what to do about it if someone DOES start misusing a knife or gun.) Kids who learn about guns and knives only from entertainment media (where blood and agony are not shown) and other kids are the ones who commit the violence.

On the other side of the world, I did not need any sign or rule to know that if I sneaked my dad's shotgun into school, I'd be facing certain suspension.

On this side of the world young adults used to bring guns to school when they were going to the range or hunting after school (or had been hunting at dawn before school) with no perceptible problems - up to the latter half of the 20th century. Interestingly, that's when the child-rearing fads started "protecting them" from information about weapons.

Comment Man bites dog. (Score 1) 390

The rest of us keep being treated routinely like criminals without the media getting interested, because we aren't the mayor of Stockton. Why should this guy get special treatment (by [...] the press) just because he's a minor elected politico?

Dog bites man isn't news. Man bites dog is news.

They slipped up and used the tactics they usually use on civilians on a civilian official. They don't usually do that, so the event was newsworthy.

Whether it leads to action against the TSA, just a little more care on their part to identify VIPs, or squat is yet to be seen.

Comment The problem wth tyrants is they're friendly ... (Score 1) 245

Until someone decides ... That being evil is the right thing to do. You know, ends justify the means and all that jazz...

(At the risk of precipitating a storm of posts misapplying Godwin's law...)

One of the big problems with tyrannical systems and the tyrants who end up running them is that they're attractive. The rhetoric sounds nice. The people setting then up and running them are sweet, reasonable-sounding, and persuasive (at least at first and/or to those they need to support them to obtain and keep power), and so on.

Then, after they've driven their "nice" ideas into their horrible, but inevitable, ramifications, and (if they) are eventually stopped, the historical record ends up showing you just their opponents' propaganda, painting them as obviously hateful. So people get the idea that bad uses of power LOOK repulsive. Then they don't recognize similar stuff when it develops in the future (or even the SAME stuff if it reappears - as one high-school history teacher showed by using Hitler Youth techniques on his class for a week, with just enough deltas to make their origin not recognizable until after the great reveal.

IMHO the change in motto from "Don't Be Evil" to "Do the Right Thing" is a (probably accidental, but nonetheless actual) giant leap down "The Road Paved with Good Intentions".

Comment So maybe it's a feature? (Score 1) 143

You can open it, yes. But unlike for any book that is indexed, such as the books on an e-ink Kindle, it loses your place in a manually opened book from the SD card as soon as you close it.

So you CAN read the book. But it FORGETS WHERE YOU WERE LOOKING when you close it, because it doesn't run an "index feature".

That sounds like the "index feature" consists of the tablet remembering:
  - What books you read.
  - Where you were reading them.
even after you delete the books themselves - or remove the read-only media containing them.

How convenient for government security agencies looking for readers of banned books, police looking at whether you read something about a technique that happened to be used in a crime near you, and so on.

Seems to me that having your book reader NOT keep a record of what titles you've read is a feature, not a bug.

Comment Re:No real place for it (Score 1) 306

I'm always on the hunt for ideal archival formats for digital media.

The ideal archival format has a few properties, ranging from most theoretical to most practical:

- a completely unencumbered specification and a completely unencumbered implementation
- a highly portable, f/oss reference implementation
- excellent quality vs. usability (e.g. lossless quality, but small to store and fast to decode)
- support in popular general purpose computing environments
- supported in popular dedicated hardware devices

FLAC gets the first few of those, but not the last one -- plenty of dedicated hardware audio players don't deal with FLAC.

Because of this, I use MP3 for audio - which theoretically gives up the first few points, but as a practical matter, those points are irrelevant, and MP3 completely dominates the industry on the last few points.

If Vorbis or FLAC or any of the things that get the first few points correct had ubiqoutous device support, I might be willing to re-rip everything into those formats for a great blend of long-term archival and easy-to-consume on any device convenience. But nothing is like that for audio.

Similarly, if I thought there was going to be a fantastic lossless image format that did everything well and was going to be massively supported and was completely unencumbered, i'd want to move everything over to it. I'd want my future digital cameras to start shooting it. I'd want my whole tool stream and whole life to just be about that format.

Comment Re:Because the drone is smart small light (Score 1) 183

I'd prefer to leave drone as a strictly autonomous thing as the name implies (to my mind, at least).

You can do that, if you like. But it's worth noting that "drone" as used elsewhere implies a significant lack of autonomy, such as a male social insect whose sole purpose is to breed with prospective queens or someone with a slavish devotion to a bureaucracy or ideology.

A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected.