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Comment: Re:Enh as much as I dislike Oracle... (Score 1) 31

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#46785245) Attached to: Oracle Deflects Blame For Troubled Oregon Health Care Site
I'd assume that their legal team would be running around the company quietly busting skulls if they didn't.

"Incur significant legal exposure during the course of fucking up a high-profile project for a government client" isn't one of those good strategies.

Doing one or the other can actually be surprisingly lucrative; but both, less so.

Comment: Re:Not Evolution (Score 1) 34

by Tablizer (#46784513) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

This is the theory of abiogenesis, not evolution. Evolution is how life changes, not how it got started.

But life probably cannot start until evolution helps it along. Something that was half-alive probably had to be shaped further by evolution to become true life.

For example, an early molecule that was perhaps either too poor a replicator (sloppy & broken) or too accurate a replicator (exact clones) would have reached a dead end if evolution didn't start pruning the copies to find the Goldilocks range of imperfection level (mutation) in the replication process necessary for continuing life.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 592

What if your concept of absolute determinism as implied here is actually not absolute and has limitations?

Then it wouldn't be Conway's Game of Life, would it?

A person or two mentioned Conway's Game of Life. Unless I specifically say so, I am not binding myself to only mentioning that one thing and never moving on to any related ideas which happen to be outside its scope. And I didn't specifically say so. Therefore I see no value in pointing that out.

Comment: Re:This isn't news... (Score 1) 154

by causality (#46784435) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

This is probably more than just shit-slinging. The more reasons they have to create more paperwork and more time in court for an individual plaintiff, the more money it costs on both sides in legal fees. How much would it cost in legal fees to fight the validity of just this point of the EULA? They don't care if they lose the individual battle, they have much deeper pockets for legal fees than an individual, or even a class in a class-action lawsuit, so delaying and/or running the plaintiff out of money means winning the war.

Am I the only one who thinks the entire notion of a "class-action lawsuit" was a bad idea?

If a company materially harms 250,000 individuals, let them defend against 250,000 individual lawsuits. That would be a massive disincentive against harming people. Having to pay lawyers for that many separate lawsuits would be a lot more like the predicament (during a standard isolated case) of the one individual trying to have a legal battle against a huge multination corporation. Seems fair to me.

Plus in many class-action lawsuits, only the lawyers really win. The former customers might get a $10 coupon or something like that.

Comment: Re:so? (Score 1) 154

by causality (#46784315) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

They're different. You're actually signing (or clicking through) something with them. This sounds like they're trying to say if you like them on Facebook (no EULA pops up when you like something) that you can never sue them. This will never stand up in court.

Is there any chance that the lawyers who knowingly and intentionally come up with such ideas and try to implement them could be disbarred? Few measures would more effectively discourage the practice.

Comment: Re:The power of EULAs only goes so far (Score 1) 154

by causality (#46784295) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

It's no less trifling than the average Slashdot user obsessing over what operating system/software people choose to use.

The difference being, there is some chance the Slashdot user was actually involved in producing that software (or has enough expertise to competently discuss its merits and faults). There's also a chance they're responding to people who chose to use shoddy software when better alternatives were available, and are now complaining about the results.

Comment: Re:Drop Dropbox (Score 1) 446

by causality (#46784241) Attached to: Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

A personal file server doesn't offer anything in the way of backup.

That depends on where it's located.

If you took it upon yourself to assume "right next to the machine being backed up" or "running on the same machine to be backed up" then don't ascribe to me your own assumption. It was no accident or omission that I said no such things.

It's also impractical for someone who doesn't have a system that runs 24/7.

Right, just like a pilot's license is useless to someone with no access to an aircraft. Personally I deal with that by running the file server 24/7. When you enable various power management options and have a clue about SSH and your favorite shell, it's really not a problem. If that doesn't describe you, find another solution. Simple and much more productive than complaining that there is no Final Ultimate Answer that is 100% suitable for all people at all times.

Comment: Re:Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (Score 1) 195

by Animats (#46783889) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s.

The reason was different. Diesels cost about 3x as much as steam locomotives pre-WWII. But by the 1950s, diesel engine manufacturing was a production line process and the price had come down.

The real advantage of diesel over steam was that steam locomotives are incredible maintenance-intensive. Here's daily maintenance. That's what had to be done every day, by a whole crew. That's just daily. Here's 120,000 mile maintenance, done about once a year for a road locomotive. This isn't an oil change; this is a full teardown, boiler replacement, and rebuild.

Electric cars don't have that big an edge over IC engines at this point.

Comment: Re:The power of EULAs only goes so far (Score 5, Informative) 154

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#46783233) Attached to: Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Indeed. Good luck arguing in court that someone gave up their right to sue. The legal profession tends to be awfully sceptical of such measures, and none more so than judges. While it might stand up if, for example, all parties agreed to use some reasonable form of binding arbitration instead, it's hard to imagine the big company would get anywhere against the little customer under these conditions.

Comment: Should we say hello? (Score 1) 169

by Animats (#46782353) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

We could send radio signals that far, with the big dish at Arecibo. If they have intelligence, and radio, we can communicate with a 1000-year round trip time. Maybe we should transmit some of the proposed canned messages to other civilizations every month or so.

If there is other intelligent life out there, it looks like they're a very long way away. Too far to talk to round trip, even at light speed. None of the known extra-solar planets within a few light years look promising.

Comment: Re:Festo has been doing this for years. (Score 1) 36

by Animats (#46781831) Attached to: The Squishy Future of Robotics

Right. Traditional pneumatics is rather dumb - most of the time it's on/off, with air cylinders pushed up against hard limit stops. Positional control of pneumatic cylinders works fine, but it takes proportional valves, feedback sensors, and a fast control system. Until recently, industrial systems tended not to get that fancy.

I was interested in using pneumatics for running robots back in the 1990s, but the available proportional valves back then were big and expensive. One useful model of muscles is two opposed springs, and a double-ended pneumatic cylinder can do just that. You can change both position and stiffness, separately. You can simulate a spring, and recover energy. Someone did that at CWRU a decade ago, but the mechanics were clunky. Festo does that elegantly with their new kangaroo. Very nice mechanical engineering.

Shadow Robotics has a nice pneumatic robot hand. Shadow has been doing pneumatic flexible actuators for many years, but now they have good controllability.

Comment: Re:Partial statistics (Score 1) 115

by hairyfeet (#46778719) Attached to: Steam's Most Popular Games

To me the point when HL2 shit the bed is when they pulled a Bioshock Infinite and fell in love with a gimmick...the gravity gun. In HL2 the GG was just another weapon, used in a couple of spots but other than those spots it really wasn't required. What did we get for EP 1? Gravitypaloza. By the time I was being forced to shoot basketballs at striders I was just sick of the stupid gravity gun, just as I got sick of infinite shoving that damned skyhook under my nose going "Isn't this neato"? Sure it was, before you BECAME ANNOYING ABOUT IT!!

As for so many games not played? Bundles, simple as that. You can get so many bundles on Steam that you soon end up with dozens of games and you only have so many hours in the day so...there ya go. Between the big Steam sales and Humble Bundles I probably got a good 50 games in a couple months, just not enough time to play them all before the next killer bundle comes along.

Finally as for Steam being "bloated" on OSX.....ever stop to think that OSX simply isn't very well suited as a gaming platform? Because on Windows you are looking at maybe 60Mb (I have Raptr AND Steam running and barely am using 100Mb) and from what I understand the Steam for Linux also runs quite well, which leaves OSX looking as the culprit from where I sit.

Comment: Re:McArdle is astute (Score 1) 5

by mcgrew (#46778449) Attached to: Obamacare is Not a Single-Payer Conspiracy [Bloomberg]

However, if there is anything in which I have confidence, it is this administration's commitment to slow, methodical, blame-laden screwings of the lower- and middle-class.

In what way has the lower and middle class been screwed by the present administration? I'll agree that the previous administration was great for the rich and crappy for everyone else, but I posit it's slowly improving.

The lower and middle classes have been getting royally screwed for at least half my life, and I retired earlier this year. The screwings started with Reagan's Capital Gains cuts, which caused an orgy of hostile corporate takeovers leading to layoffs and lowered hours. I was hurt badly when my employer staved off an attempted corporate pirate raid.

No, that suppository arrives with the Clinton Administration. I reckon she's wreckin'.

I certainly hope so, it would be nice for the US to raise to the level of the rest of the industrialized world from our historically barbaric health care "system". American health care is far from #1 in any measure except cost; ours is the most expensive. It's neither logical nor rational.

As to Clinton, if she's elected and half as good as her husband the country will be in fine shape. It would be incredibly hard for her to be anywhere as bad as George Junior, the worst President in my lifetime (AFAIC we've really only had two good Presidents in my lifetime, Eisenhower and Clinton, and as I was very young I could be wrong about Eisenhower but love that interstate highway system, as well as his cautions about a military industrial complex).

I'm more worried about Illinois. Dillard was Chief of Staff under Thompson and Edgar, and Illinois did pretty good until Ryan got in, and it deteriorated worse under Blago. It hasn't gotten much better under Quinn, but unfortunately Dillard lost the primary and the stupid Republicans nominated the only one of the four candidates that would get me to vote for Quinn.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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