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Comment I want a gyrocopter... (Score 3) 271

Watching the video of this guy flying in to land shows what a cool machine the gyrocopter is...simple, cheap, easy to fly, and with a small take-off and landing footprint. Am I the only one who wants one of these now? Did the media ever identify what make and model of gyrocopter he owned? I want to get a kit and start building.

Comment Unfortunate consequence of UEFI (Score 5, Insightful) 120

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) provides a new platform for malware to execute independently of the OS. There are now UEFI applications, UEFI variables that can store non-volatile data that can be shared between firmware and the OS, EFI system partition, etc. All of these things open gaping security holes into any UEFI system. Systems with the old BIOS and a write jumper on the motherboard were too secure. We don't have that problem any longer...

Comment Free Speech is protected but not your anonymity (Score 1) 367

Your right to free speech is protected but your right to make your comments anonymously is not. Colleges (and society) should insist that all yik yak comments be attributed to their source. If the source of yik yaks is not identified, they can be banned. An anonymous commenter has no legal standing to bring a complaint about his or her free speech right being infringed. You don't have a 'right' to write anonymous letters to your campus newspaper editor that attack someone. You don't have the right to wear a mask while you walk around campus verbally attacking ethnic groups. This yik yak problem seems like an easy thing to fix.

Comment Microsoft's UI history is...not good (Score 1) 378

It is not as if we must have the 'start' menu, or even a work-like or work-similar functionality. What fills us with dread is that the new Windows 10 UI is likely to be difficult and time-wasting to use...and since Windows is ubiquitous...we will likely be using it anyway. We, all of us, use a variety of digital UIs every day...the dashboard on our car, the screen on our home entertainment system, our smart phone, kitchen appliances, etc. Most of these are fairly simple and intuitive to use...simple enough that we don't give them a second thought. That's the point, here. Windows 8 is NOT simple or intuitive. It is painful, irritating, and time-wasting. That 'start' menu was nothing special as a UI feature. It was actually very poor...beginning with the obvious conflict between clicking on 'start' to perform a 'shutdown.' But...we were used to it. We were familiar with it. There's nothing wrong with a new UI if it is good as in 'powerful,' 'simple,' 'easy,' and 'fast.' The first iPhone (and ipod touch) was radically different from anything that had gone before it but it was a very good UI and people were able to use it effectively after just a few minutes. The Windows 8 UI, on the other hand, requires a book with screenshots in one hand and a smartphone with tips in the other hand to really accomplish anything for a first-timer. So...Windows 10, whatever it ends up being, will be carrying a lot of baggage to the rollout. Know that Microsoft.

Comment Change for change's sake is not good for users (Score 1) 640

Microsoft is putting users on a continuous upgrade cycle. Windows XP to Windows 7 to Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Obviously, this is good for Microsoft because they will keep selling Windows licenses even if they do not have new users. But...is it good for users? Does Microsoft even care what the answer to that question is? A new version of Windows creates a lot of difficulty and expense for Windows users. A new windows often mandates new hardware, new software, and the need to learn a new user interface. These are costly and time-wasting. Of course the Windows user benefits from the new capabilities and features of the new Windows...or do they? Does Windows 8.1 really provide anything that Windows 7 did not? If not, users are not being treated well by Microsoft and perhaps should consider alternative ways of accessing computing services over the long run.

Comment Microsoft benefits from this (Score 2) 463

This happened to a friend with a laptop running Windows 8. The laptop had a recovery partition with the Windows 8 install on it but that was also locked and unavailable. The only way to recover (other than pay the ransom) was to...yes...buy a Windows 8 install disk and reformat. Of course, the data was lost (but restored from a recent backup) but at least the laptop was usable again. Since many/most new computers running Windows are sold without any media, this scenario has likely happened before. How many of those multitudes of Windows 8.1 buyers are second-time buyers just trying to reinstall what they have already paid for once? Also, this type of thing drives people away from laptops and desktop computers in general and towards less-vulnerable mobile devices.

Comment It's all about the data (Score 2) 332

Which companies will be around in 10 years? Companies that are in the business of acquiring, managing, and selling your data to others as well as selling other's data to you. The hardware and software do not matter. Those will always be there, of course, but the players will change as they have in the past. No one remembers Data General (a hardware manufacturer despite their name) or Amdahl or Compaq. For Microsoft, the success of their cloud services is the key to their survival. IBM, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Ebay...Yes. HP, Dell, Oracle, Sun...no.

Comment Follow the money (Score 1) 231

Laura Poitras has made some 'feel bad' documentary films that have won awards but obviously not much revenue. Yet she spends her life traveling the world and pursuing do-good noble causes in support of people supposedly suffering under the yoke of US oppression. Who is funding her travels, hotel bills, restaurant tabs, etc.? Most of the attention that she gets from the US Government is likely related to the source of her funds. If there is one thing that the 'War on Terror' has shown us, it is that the money trail is more important than just about anything else. No matter if it is Al Qaida, ISIS, IRA, Fatah, Hamas, or whoever...following the money always leads to the main stem.

Comment It depends on the attitude that you take (Score 1) 381

The Nigerians were SERIOUS about containing the disease. The US Center for Disease Control has not been as serious. They have delayed the response to the possibility of incoming infected air passengers, they have failed to quickly move in with oversight, training, and other response when infections have occurred in the US, and they have provided poor guidance and leadership to people seeking it such as the Ebola-infected nurse flying from Cleveland to Dallas on a commercial flight with CDC approval or the clipboard man 'supervising' the transfer of the Ebola-infected nurse to Emory University. Now we have hundreds of people potentially exposed, two known new infections, and dozens of people in quarantine. All of that would not have happened if the CDC was SERIOUS about containing this virulent disease. They need to approach their job as if a twitchy mental case were walking behind them with a cocked and loaded pistol pointed at the back of their head. That kind of serious. That's what it will take and we will get there eventually, although it might take a few dozen more new US infections.

Comment Error in your numbers... (Score 1) 295

The human race dumps in excess of 40 BILLION tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, every year.

The atmospheric co2 concentration increases by about 2 ppm per year. That equates to about 1.03x10^13 kg/yr or 10.3 billion metric tons added to the atmosphere per year (which has a mass of about 5150000 billion tons). However, the global production of co2 from fossil fuel combustion (coal, oil, and gas) is about 48.9 billion mt per year. Therefore, approximately 79 percent of all of co2 produced from fossil fuel combustion is sequestered as well as 100 percent of the co2 produced from respiration, forest fires, organic matter decay, natural gas seeps, etc. To put this in perspective, if all of the known reserves of global fossil fuels were combusted at present rates, they would last about 75 years during which time the atmospheric co2 concentration would rise from the present 400 ppm to about 550 ppm before plummeting as the supply of new co2 fizzled out. More likely, though, is that fossil fuel prices will rise as they become more scarce leading to reduced combustion rates that will extend their life out to several centuries. In that case, the atmospheric co2 concentration would rise from 400 ppm to some number quite a bit lower than 550 ppm. Will planetary temperatures skyrocket when the co2 concentration is 550 ppm? No more than they have at present. As TFA points out, the heat that is allegedly being trapped by the atmospheric co2 gas...cannot be found. If the additional heat is being trapped as the crude computer models have predicted, it has to be somewhere. Global surface temperatures, polar ice caps, ocean surface temperatures, and, now, deep ocean temperatures do not show the present of sufficient heat. Where is it going? Or...as the deniers have been saying, the computer models might be...wrong...and co2 does not block the heat in the way that they claim due to kinetic gas mixing and radiation of heat from other much more abundant atmospheric gas molecules of o2 and n2.

Comment Re:Two new deniers are born... (Score 1) 207

It would actually take about 75 years to combust all known reserves of fossil fuels at current combustion rates. In that scenario, prices would remain constant until that last chunk of coal was burned. However, the more likely scenario would be that fossil fuel prices would increase as they become more scarce and difficult to extract and the increased prices would lead to lower rates of use which would extend the life of fossil fuel reserves out to perhaps 2 or 3 centuries. In that scenario, the atmospheric co2 concentration would never reach 550 ppm (which requires 75 years of combustion at current rates) but would instead remain below 500 ppm and then decline as combustion rates dropped below the rate necessary to maintain the current atmospheric concentration. Approximately 80 percent of the carbon dioxide released from current combustion ends up as calcium carbonate in ocean sediments rather than co2 in the air.

Comment Where IS this Microsoft Talent that you speak of? (Score 1) 365

It's not on display in their current business. Windows 8.1, Office, xbox, windows phone, where? Also, let's not forget that they are busy laying off many/most of the former Nokia engineers in Finland that actually had to design, build, and compete in a competitive world market and replacing them with...who?

Comment Re:Two new deniers are born... (Score 2) 207

I sense a teachable moment. Carbon dioxide molecules certainly absorb infrared radiation leaving our beautiful planet. They have been doing that for most of the 4 billion years that the Earth has existed and had an atmosphere of gases. Fortunately for the planet, though, those same co2 molecules do not 'hold on to' (or store) the IR but, instead, 'release' it via collisions with other, far more abundant molecules in the atmosphere (O2, N2, H2O) or re-radiate it. Someone has noticed that the carbon dioxide concentration has increased in the atmosphere by 84 ppm since 1958 to its present concentration of approximately 400 ppm and they are concerned that that increase will result in a net decrease in heat being radiated into space thereby leaving our planet warmer. They believe that the carbon dioxide concentration should be held to a constant value by limiting the combustion of fossil fuels. To support this belief, they have modeled the planetary climate with computer software and have determined that a continuing increase in carbon dioxide concentration will lead to a much warmer climate which will, in turn, lead to melting of the polar ice caps in antarctica and greenland resulting in a dramatically higher sea level that will inundate a large portion of the human population. However, the maximum atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration possible if we combust all of the known reserves of fossil fuels at our present rate of combustion is about 550 ppm and it appears likely that a re-tuning of the computer model will show that a concentration of 550 ppm will not result in a any of the catastrophes that the earlier computer runs predicted, as TFA is alluding to. The climate changes, is changing, and will change...yes. But...due to carbon dioxide concentration...no. Capiche?

Comment Reject the Culture of Death... (Score 1) 478

...and embrace a Culture of Life. This 'bioethicist' is asking you to buy into his values: that the 'feeble' are less valuable than the 'non-feeble', that life is not worth living unless you are 'vibrant and engaged,' etc. These are the same sorts of values that are used to justify suicide, abortion, executions/murders, assisted suicide, euthanasia, eugenics, mercy killings, and the like, with the implied blanket claim that the killing somehow improves things for the killers. In TFA, we have the 'bioethicist' arbitrarily selecting some calendar age to begin neglecting his health based on the idea that life after that point is not worth living.

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