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Comment: Re:The last sentence in the summary... (Score 1) 207

by jafac (#48040931) Attached to: Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

As far as "displaced tens of millions of people per year" goes, this includes Syrian refugees who were forced off of their farms due to climate-change induced drought; triggering the Syrian civil war.

We're willing to spend billions on bombing the militants that arose from this war.
We're not willing to spend a dime to address climate change (carbon reduction and sequester).

Comment: Re:the solution: (Score 1) 495

by IamTheRealMike (#48039983) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Otherwise, it's just lip service. Your government is already ignoring your Constitution on a large scale, but apparently nobody gives a damn

I am not American, still, I do truly believe that hundreds of millions of Americans do give a damn.

The problem is not giving a damn. The problem is that guns are a stupid way to try and change governments, and everyone there must intuitively understand this. I keep reading comments by 2nd amendment fundamentalists saying they're packing guns so they can overthrow the government .... in case it becomes tyrannical. But this day will never arrive, no matter what the US Gov does.

The first problem is that if you go it alone, if you're a solo shooter, you can't achieve anything and will be killed immediately, then written off as mentally unstable. This does happen in the USA and in at least one case the shooter did claim they were rebelling against the government. Regardless, such events are zero impact.

The second problem is that if you try to team up with like minded people and form a group of armed citizens who are going to engage in a revolutionary coup, you will need to communicate in order to find such people, and at that point you are very likely to attract the attention of law enforcement who have totalitarian surveillance powers and the ability to move against "cults" or "terrorists". And almost by definition if you're trying to overthrow the government through force of arms instead of the ballot box you can be described as a domestic terrorist. You will end up sitting in jail for many years, and most people will likely never hear of you, or if they do read about your case in the papers they will just forget about you.

The third problem is that if you do somehow overcome the first two problems and succeed in forming some kind of revolutionary militia, taking over some territory and defending it against the US army in a new American civil war, you will need a system of government for that territory. How exactly you prevent that new government from eventually going the same way as the existing government would be an open question - attempting to encode the principles of the new state in a constitution apparently doesn't work very well, and I don't see many other ideas from the "guns give us freedom!!" crowd. This is the problem repeatedly encountered by countries in the Middle East where governments are overthrown (without guns, normally) and then tend to get immediately replaced with something worse.

So for these reasons the notion that Americans are free because of guns just doesn't seem to line up with common sense, to me. I cannot imagine any situation in which civil war in the USA would be allowed to happen - civil war is so universally catastrophic that an overwhelming majority of American's would strongly support forcible suppression of an armed uprising using all the tools of a professional army. Your Glock ain't gonna do anything against a Predator drone.

Comment: Re:Paging Arthur C. Clarke... (Score 1) 491

by the gnat (#48033585) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

the tough part on this particular subject is likely that the language didn't provide for distinctions between "Earth" and "other planets' since no other planets were known to exist by the people who spoke the language that was first used for writing down Genesis.

Right, which is why it's silly to insist on a literal interpretation of the text (or to assume that everyone else necessarily adheres to a literal interpretation), since it's using a very limited vocabulary incapable of making these kind of decisions.

Comment: Re:Are scientists ready? (Score 1) 491

by the gnat (#48033265) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

Nearly everything I read on the subject carries a stated or more often unstated assumption that evolved alien life will have the same carbon-and-water basis that we do.

No, the assumption is that we won't be able to detect vastly different forms of life at a distance unless they have advanced technology. We know that an oxygen-rich atmosphere is extremely unlikely without photosynthesis, which means that we have a simple chemical signature that we can look for to detect probable life, even if it's only single-celled. We have no idea what kind of chemical signature to expect from other forms of pre-technological life.

Comment: Re:Paging Arthur C. Clarke... (Score 1) 491

by the gnat (#48033233) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

what happened to giving Man dominion over all he surveys (Genesis 26, Psalm 8)

When that was first written down, "all he surveys" was almost certainly intended to mean "all that he surveys on Earth", with everything above being "the heavens", which was definitely not part of the dominion. And that's assuming that the English translation is actually 100% faithful to the original meaning, which I doubt.

Comment: Re:ET would disprove God (Score 2) 491

by the gnat (#48033213) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet - Psalms 8:6
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

There's so much lost in translation that I'm reluctant to go with the literal interpretation here (especially as an atheist), but this seems pretty limited in scope to me. Unless you're a strict Biblical literalist - which is not a majority of Christians - there are any number of ways these statements can be bent to be compatible with the idea of life on other planets. Sects like the Catholic church have already managed to adapt to the fact of evolution and the age of the Earth without much effort; they stopped taking the early books of the Old Testament literally a long time ago. (It's the New Testament that's really important for most Christians.) I don't doubt that some adherents would freak out (not necessarily for purely doctrinal reasons!), but I'm pretty certain that Pope Francis would simply invite the aliens to mass.

I also have infinite confidence in the ability of diehard literalists to come up with contorted explanations for anything that contradicts the Genesis narrative. People who believe that the speed of light must have drastically changed over the course of several thousand years are capable of pretty much any type of cognitive dissonance.

Comment: Re:How important is that at this point? (Score 2) 192

by NanoGator (#48030483) Attached to: Adobe Photoshop Is Coming To Linux, Through Chromebooks

Thank you! You've given me reason to sit up and pay attention when 3 rolls around, I appreciate that.

I would recommend against showing the more diehard Photoshop fans that link, though. It won't get you anywhere because what it really needs to be is a list like this:

- GIMP has a plugin/feature for automatically generating normal maps from elevation data.

- GIMP has a perspective correction feature that is superior to Photoshops in that it...

- GIMP's 'save all layers' button saves all of the layers in your file into seperate files.

.. or something like that. In the list you gave me, points 1 through 4, and 7, are irrelevant if somebody already has Photoshop. Given its de-facto marketshare, that is likely.

5 is horribly overrated. Lots of artists can script, but few (if any) can make actual plugins or modify the source code. (Even if they do dig in to the code how do they maintain those features when a new version of GIMP comes along?) I do want to mention, though, that there's another reply to my original post that seems to have covered the scripting point. I haven't checked it out yet but given that scripting is something I do, I'm certainly interested in trying that out.

6 needs an extra line, something like: "its better than Photoshop's Batch feature because...."

10... actually this is a really good one. In fact, just before this thread started, I went and found the portable version and downloaded in. Why? Welp, if the scripting that Culture20 posted a link to turns out to be worthwhile for me, coupling that with a portable version of GIMP is *awesome*. What that means is I will be able to automate certain tasks AND keep a fresh install on my DropBox account so I can even use it off-site. This is 1 out of 9.5 (I gave partial credit to the source-code bit) and, as you can already see from other replies you've gotten, most are refutable.

I'm a little worried you might read my post and think that I'm trying to perpetuate the GIMP vs. Photoshop debate. I'm not, instead I'm trying to explain what needs to happen explanation-wise to get more Photoshop people to try GIMP out. I think there's this mentality that people should switch to GIMP and that's simply not true. If you got the professional Photoshop users to start using GIMP for certain tasks, you may find that some studios may find it worth their time to invest some development time into improving it. Given how Adobe has been dicking around with the licensing, this would be a good time to get that ball rolling. Start touting the unique features it has that shave man-hours off a project. If those features don't exist, then the team needs to start talking to people like me and finding out what else they need.

Comment: Re:How important is that at this point? (Score 4, Interesting) 192

by NanoGator (#48029179) Attached to: Adobe Photoshop Is Coming To Linux, Through Chromebooks

Care to run off a list of ways that "GIMP doesn't come close"? If it's really so bad, it shouldn't be that difficult to name at least a dozen or so... In actuality, I expect that enumerating the shortcomings of GIMP will not be in quantity, but in terms of a relatively small number of particularly desirable features that many may perceive as critically important in such software.

Hi, professional artist here. Your latter point, at least from my perspective, is correct. I know Photoshop really well, but since I make my living doing this work I am not biased in a way that'd prevent me from using a free tool. Let me be extra clear: It would hurt me to be fanboyishly loyal to be any particular app. I do pick up and mess with GIMP from time to time, but it has two critical omissions from Photoshop that make it unusable in my field. First, it lacks adjustment layers. Second, it lacks Smart Objects.

These are both features intended to do non-destructive editing of imagery. Let's say you have a tree with green leaves. You can create a Hue/Saturation 'adjustment layer' that will turn all the green pixels beneath it blue. If you put a picture of a different tree below that layer, its leaves would turn blue, too. If you took that tree and made it a 'smart object', you'd effectively be snapshotting that image and every operation you do causes it to regenerate itself. In other words, if you shrank a Smart Object down, then scaled it back up again, you'd get all its original detail back.

If you're creating imagery it doesn't take long for these two features to change your workflow in such a way that you gain a HUGE time savings. In fact I have created several templates to speed up the generation of images I do that I just plain cannot do in GIMP. Realistically speaking that is enough man-hours lost that I'd actually make a greater profit paying for Photoshop than I would saving the cost of the license in favor of GIMP.

With that said, I'd be *very* happy if you told me that version 3 would add these features. I'd also be very happy if somebody could tell me what GIMP does that Photoshop doesn't. It's free. if it shaves man-hours off my work, then load me up with the tips. I ain't gonna switch, but I ain't above using both.

Media

Matchstick and Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle 102

Posted by timothy
from the what-can-it-slurp dept.
An anonymous reader writes Matchstick and Mozilla today announced their open-source take on the Chromecast: a $25 Firefox OS-powered HDMI dongle. The streaming Internet and media stick will be available first through Kickstarter, in the hopes to drive down the price tag. Jack Chang, Matchstick General Manager in the US, described the device to me as "essentially an open Chromecast." He explained that while the MSRP is $25 (Google's Chromecast retails for $35), the Kickstarter campaign is offering a regular price of $18, and an early bird price of $12.

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