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Comment: Kdenlive, SlowMoVideo, Pencil (Score 4, Informative) 223

by captainpanic (#48863397) Attached to: The Current State of Linux Video Editing

Kdenlive
Kdenlive is great if you just want to edit some holiday movie or pictures. In my experience, the resulting movies look good, and any ugly problems can be associated with the limitations on my camera, not Kdenlive. It's an easy user interface, and it only gets complicated when you want to do more advanced effects (the complexity comes from the number of options, meaning you have to go through some menus and try out a bunch of things). Btw, last time I used Kdenlive, I used Linunx Mint 16, and had no problems with audio (or any problem in general). Also, the crashes that I used to experience in 2012 seem to be gone completely.

SlowMoVideo
I also used SlowMoVideo, to make slow motion videos and to speed up videos (which I then put into Kdenlive to become part of a larger project). It works, although its user interface has a rather steep learning curve (not the most intuitive interface). It lacks a simple method to just slow down or speed up a movie by a factor two. It appears that the makers expect people to want to use the full range of options all the time. (I realize that asking for less options will upset some people... sorry).

Pencil
Finally, I also used Pencil to make some animations. In my case, quality was poor, but that says a lot about my drawing skills, and little about the program. What I missed a lot was an easy method to stitch a series of pictures together into a movie. I think that Pencil claims to provide one, but I never got it to work. In desperation, I used some awful command-line tool and it took me ages to figure out the exact code to type in to get the desired effect.

Comment: Re:Very admirable (Score 1) 206

by captainpanic (#48810501) Attached to: China's Engineering Mega-Projects Dwarf the Great Wall

High speed trains are awesome, and they're great for prestige and getting customers to buy that technology. Yet they're out of price range for the majority of customers.

Yet they are only a fraction of the price of European high speed rail tickets. I would guestimate that the costs per traveled kilometer on Chinese high speed rail is only 25% of that in Germany or France.

So, yes, it is relatively expensive to travel by high speed rail for the Chinese and many cannot afford it, but it is not ridiculously expensive either. Their economy is growing fast, and every year millions more people enter the income range where they can afford the high speed rail, so it makes a lot of sense to expand the network to accomodate for these new passengers.

Comment: Jealous (Score 5, Interesting) 206

by captainpanic (#48809465) Attached to: China's Engineering Mega-Projects Dwarf the Great Wall

Yeah, the article reads as if written out of jealousy.

Infrastructure is a good thing to build, as long as it is necessary. When it will be used, infrastructure is an economic multiplier. The article suggests that China is building far too much infrastructure, and then gives examples of unused infrastructure. But looking at their map (picture in article), they are building mostly subways in megacities (good idea), container terminals (good idea, the Dutch do the same), high speed rail (good idea), canals for irrigation (debatable, but hopefully low maintenance and long lifetime once completed), and a few crazy projects which may eventually flop.

The funny thing is that China does not care if a handful of multi-billion dollar projects fail to deliver, and fail to have an economic payback. As long as the majority of the projects perform, they win.

The Western economies are stuck somewhere between economic conservatism and economic fear. Corporations do not dare to invest this big, because for a corporation this can be a make or break, and that risk is too big. Also, corporations require a 3-5 year economic payback, whereas infrastructure typically has a much longer lifetime, and is only an enabler, causing economic growth, not immediate profit. Western governments do not dare to invest this big, because every dollar spent is analysed and they must win the next elections.

Basically, we cannot do these kinds of projects, because we all fear for our pension and fear that we lose what we have. And we are jealous of the Chinese who can do this, and we talk ourselves to sleep with articles like this that predict that the Chinese got it wrong after all.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 4, Insightful) 319

No, freedom of speech is the freedom to offend (or rather, "criticize") your government. And that is why it is so frightening that governments are now tightening their grip on information that is spread on the internet. Sure, they might catch some (rather naive and dumb) terrorists as a side effect. But they are also more likely to be informed who is disagreeing with the government.

Other than planning actual terrorist attacks, nothing else may (yet) lead to actions by police... but all the juridical groundwork has been done for a good police state.

You cannot give up liberties to give you more protection. There will be a time when the lack of liberties will pose a greater threat than any terrorist can ever do. Maybe not today, but certainly some time tomorrow.

Comment: Calling BS (Score 2) 300

by captainpanic (#48752703) Attached to: The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

Organisms using energy stored in star: PLANTS
Organisms devouring stars (as in taking away actual mass of the star): how? It's a high energy plasma out there, how will you get any structure in that?

Are we done yet? This is just some toy of some people who definitely need more hobbies, making 500 euro available for a good joke.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 2) 150

by captainpanic (#48607415) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

But humor is language dependent. And so is in fact every communication. And therefore so is culture. So, language partially defines a culture. And therefore is we were to drop all other languages and adopt English as a language, cultures (or at least parts of them) would soon diminish and disappear. And the world would become that much more boring.
Cultural differences are not impossible without language, but different languages make it easier to diversify.

It's a good idea to have one or two main languages in the world that everyone speaks (English, Spanish and Chinese are all good choices)... but let people speak whatever they want.

Comment: Re:At the risk of sounding pretentious, (Score 1) 246

by captainpanic (#48357651) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

There is absolutely no way you are going to get the $100 billion required for a Mars mission by producing a freaking reality show.

No? The 2014 winter Olympics cost over 50 billion. The London Olympics cost over 14 billion. I am confident that the first Mars mission is at least 10 times as interesting to an advertiser as the Olympics. Imagine a Mars explorer opening a cold Coca Cola bottle a few minutes after landing. That's worth Coca cola's entire annual advertising budget (which is 3 billion), because they can use that in so many other advertisements. The first walk outside on Martian soil, wearing a sponsored space suit will generate billions in advertising money. There are plenty of advertising possibilities, because a show like that would basically cover some people's lives. They wear clothes, they live somewhere, they eat and drink, clean themselves, etc...

There are enormous technical problems to be solved... but large corporations will be very interested to have their names mentioned... Five times as much is spent every year on advertisements (global market is 489 billion).

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...
http://news.magnaglobal.com/ip...

Comment: Data is incomplete (Score 3, Interesting) 63

by captainpanic (#48308325) Attached to: Study: There's a Wi-Fi Hotspot For Every 150 People In the World

I tested the data for my own country (Netherlands). That website claims we only have 10 hotspots in trains, while all our intercity trains now have wifi. Also, municipalities should be having only 25 hotspots, while entire city centers have free public wifi now. It's a load of rubbish, this website.

I understand it is difficult to get the data... but if you equate the lack of data with "zero", then you make a mistake.

Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 352

Step 1 is being taken - all kinds of organisms (incl. plants) have been carried up to the ISS.
Step 2 should - probably for safety reasons - be build as an attachment to the ISS. It should however operate independently.
Step 3 should be part of step 2, as it is relatively straightforward to get sufficient data in advance to make it so.
Step 4 is the big leap, but I agree that the Moon is probably the logical testing ground for it.

When will this happen? As soon as there is another Space Race. And China is the only country that can start that.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 4, Informative) 488

by captainpanic (#48025945) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Because there isn't really a good pie yet, they take far too long to pay off and can be dangerous to air traffic and wild life if they are A. in the wrong place, or B. installed incorrectly.
Oh, and if they don't have overspec'd components, they can cause a phenonom called "flicker" which is destructive of delicate electronics like your fridge, washing machine, A/C, and computer.

- Pilots have sunglasses.
- Wildlife have no problems with a flat piece of silicon that doesn't move. (Cars kill them by the millions though).
- And your electric circuit should have a fuse and other safety features that prevent fluctuations in the power.

How many of you trolls are volunteers, and how many are paid to troll by the coal/oil/gas lobbyists? This is just another scare tactic, just like everybody is now convinced that wind turbines kill birds, when in fact it is cats that kill birds.

Now move along, there is really nothing to see here.

Comment: China has a government that adapts to changes (Score 1) 261

by captainpanic (#47982069) Attached to: Obama Presses China On Global Warming

While Western nations (certainly not just the US, but also almost all of Europe) have reached a democratic impasse in which very little changes, China seems able to reflect on changes internally and externally, and develop drastic new regulations when necessary. It can self-correct. I could give a long explanation why this is true, but Eric Li explained it a lot better in a TEDx presentation. It's 20 minutes, but very relevant when comparing governments of China and US (and other Western countries).
https://www.ted.com/talks/eric...

I would not be surprised if China adopts its own pollution and climate regulations that are beneficial for the country, where benefit can include anything they think is relevant: e.g. health, economy. And it might be that these are more strict than we have here, or not. Time will tell. But they will decide on their own terms. Don't forget that China has to import a lot of fossil fuels, while it has most (all?) resources needed to produce sustainable energy production (solar/wind), and they also already have the factories within their borders. There may be a large economic incentive too.

I see Obama's challenge only as an excuse for the USA's lack of action.

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley

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