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Comment "Never" is a very long time (Score 4, Insightful) 378

"Never" is a very long time.

I don't think it is likely that humans will go beyond Mars in my lifetime (say the next 50 years or so), but never? Claiming that is just hubris. There is no way to state this with any degree of surety.

It is not a stretch beyond credibility to assume that humanity may be around for a few thousand years yet. Given all we've done in just the last 200 years, almost anything is possible given another 2000 years.

Comment Re:Good way to hide your work (Score 5, Insightful) 135

A whole 22 cents per person per year for a subscription. Very expensive.

It is when you consider that you're paying that for every member of faculty and every student. Not just those in the linguistic department. Those other departments need their own subscriptions. Before you know, you're spending tens - even hundreds - of thousands of dollars on subscriptions.

Given that the publisher doesn't pay for the articles, the peer review or the editing (for the most part), it does raise the question, what exactly is being paid for via those subscriptions.

Comment Re:Get used to it, this is the future (Score 1) 279

You are forgetting about the cost of leasing/renting. Yes, if you can either pay 500 dollars now or pay 50 dollars a month for 10 months, you are better off with the latter. But that is almost never the case. It is more likely to be 50 dollars a month for a year (600 dollars total). You pay more to pay later.

Of course, in some cases, as with American cell phone contract (at least until recently,) the two options are rigged so that the monthly plan is equally cheap or even cheaper. This is usually done by conflating it with some kind of service and/or erecting hurdles to outright ownership.

Comment Re:Missing option: still using 22" 1680x1050 monit (Score 1) 198

Ok okay I'd even settle for a 2nd 1680x1050 monitor, except they don't make them anymore, R.I.P best aspect ratio ever.

I agree 16:10 is a much better aspect ratio for computer work than the "TV" 16:9 that currently dominates.

And you can still get 16:10 aspect ratio monitors. They're just all in 1920x1200 (which is better anyway).

Here is the first hit for that aspect ratio on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...

There are many more.

Unfortunately, 16:10 isn't available at any higher DPIs :(

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 4, Informative) 1197

No they can't. The pellets are accelerated out of the gun by the power an the explosive charge. They then loose velocity due to gravity and (far more importantly) air resistance. While the loss due to gravity is reversed once the pellets reach the top of their arc, the loss due to air resistance continues until they drop below their terminal velocity (the point at which air resistance and gravity cancel each other out).

Any sufficiently elevated shot will have the pellets reaching the earth at their terminal velocity (which is a fraction of the velocity that they leave the gun barrel at).

Comment Bad test or is it the headline (Score 1) 486

This is a REALLY mind boggling stupid test (or at least headline). Of course it is faster to immediately write stuff to disk as it becomes available, than to build the string in memory and then flush it to disk. Keep the IO bus full while the next write is prepared.

That doesn't change the fact that you should avoid touching the disk as much as possible, it just illustrates that if you must touch the disk, you should try to do it while the processor is busy doing other things (if possible).

Comment Re:So presumably..... (Score 1) 208

Software purchases run into a huge problem versus hardware purchases. Buy hardware and once it it bough it is yours. Buy software and you inevitable learn the lesson M$ teaches, you have not yet finished buying it and you will have to buy it, again and again and again and again and again and again and again, gees how many versions where there of windows.

Whereas hardware lasts forever...

The problem with Windows isn't that you have to spring for a new version every now and then. Its that you only have one vendor for that upgrade.

Comment Re:Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 2) 287

Building a car that gets a new traffic light right 99% of the time is probably trivial

Maybe. But considering that I go through about 15 traffic lights on my way to work (and then the same 15 again on my way home), a car that handled them correctly 99% of the time would have about a 1 in 3 of messing at least one of them up EACH DAY.

We're looking for five nines here, minimum.

Comment Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 3, Interesting) 38

This is wrong on all counts. It is very much traditional for us Icelanders (yes I'm from Iceland) to transliterate eth (ð) as d and accented characters like á without the accent.

Th is only used to transliterate the thorn (which Slashdot refuses to render).

What is annoying is when the eth is transliterated as o. I have one in my last name and I've had trouble with checking in to flights booked via Expedia due to this nonsense.

Comment Re:Actually... (Score 3, Informative) 123

Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

You must have checked it a VERY long time ago. It is true that the rate of complication is about 2-3%, but the MORTALITY rate (i.e. the number of people that die as a result of the surgery) is

estimated at one to two per 1,000,000 cases of appendicitis

(Source: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia...)

Not 1 in 50 as a 2% mortality rate would indicate.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."