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Comment: Re:Oh it'll happen... (Score 3, Interesting) 672

by Dimwit (#47716235) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

This is a much bigger deal than people seem to think. I tried getting my father set up on Linux not that long ago.

"I need help, this says GNOME needs updating, I thought I was running Linux?"
"You are, Linux is the kernel, but GNOME is the desktop environment."
"Well, what's Debian? It says Debian needs updating."
"You're running the Debian distribution of Linux."
"I thought it was GNOME?"

Comment: Re:This actually makes perfect sense. (Score 3, Informative) 116

by hey! (#47708377) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Except water vapor is the gaseous form of water; the plankton would have to be transported on individual molecules of water to reach the ionosphere.

If plankton were transportable in microscopic *droplets* in the troposphere as you suggest, a more plausible explanation is that the equipment was contaminated -- both the station itself and the gear used to test it.

Comment: Re:Trust, but verify (Score 1) 169

I disagree. It means trust but don't rely entirely on trust when you have other means at your disposal.

Consider a business deal. You take the contract to your lawyer and he puts all kinds of CYA stuff that supposedly protects you against bad faith. But let me tell you: if the other guy is dealing in bad faith you're going to regret getting mixed up with him, even if you've got the best lawyer in the world working on the contract. So you should only do critical deals with parties you trust.

But if the deal is critical, you should still bring the lawyer in. Why? Because situtations change. Ownership and management change. Stuff can look different when stuff doesn't go the way everyone hoped. People can act differently under pressure. Other people working at the other company might not be as trustworthy as the folks sitting across the table from you. All kinds of reasons.

So you trust, but verify that the other party can't stab you in the back, because neither method is 100% effective. It's common sense in business, and people usually don't take it personally. When they *do*, then that's kind of fishy in my opinion.

Comment: Re:Safety vs Law (Score 1) 471

by SecurityGuy (#47706405) Attached to: Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

Really? I've driven in near whiteout conditions, fog so thick I could barely see past the end of my hood, and a freak rainstorm that dumped so much rain I literally couldn't see past the end of my hood. I coped with all in the same way. I slowed down a LOT. The last was especially worrisome as I had to completely stop on a road with a 45 MPH speed limit. Normally, I'd call that insane, but I LITERALLY could not see the road anymore. Forward motion at all was fairly soon going to mean driving into a ditch. I had no choice but assume and hope any other cars on the road also had to stop. I don't see how they could have done anything else.

Personally, I think all such vehicles are going to have to have a very basic failsafe that alerts the occupants LOUDLY that it's about to stop, then does so if driving or equipment conditions become inadequate for navigation. That's all people do anyway, really. Conditions too bad? Pull over. Injured/incapacitated? Pull over if you can.

Comment: Re:Omission (Score 1) 264

I think you're mixing up programs. The mobile command center is probably not military surplus, it was likely purchased and customized under a homeland security grant.

These things aren't unreasonable purchases for a medium-sized city like Milford. They aren't military vehicles, the're basically mobile office space.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 264

Irrelevant. Cops are SUPPOSED to shoot people because that's what they are paid for.

No they are not supposed to, nor is that what they are paid for. Sometimes they *have* to shoot people, but that is and should be regarded as a failure, albeit sometimes an avoidable one.

Modern policing is governed by the "Peelian Principles" (for Sir Robert Peel). The very first principle: "To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to repression by military force and severity of legal punishment." Furthermore, the principles state that policing is only effective if it can secure the respect and cooperation of the public and "the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives." (principle 4)

So the idea that it's part of a cop's job description to shoot people is rubbish. It's a cop's job to keep the peace, and if a good cop shoots someone it's because it's the lesser of two failures.

Comment: Re:increased mutation rates = survival code kicked (Score 1) 116

by hey! (#47686389) Attached to: Fukushima's Biological Legacy

On the other hand, an idea that can explain anything isn't really scientific. There's no question that evolution by natural selection is a scientific idea, but somehow it gets garbled in translation into an "organism trying to find a variation". In other cases (visible in this discussion) it's seen as benign intelligent force that will compensate for our mistakes. You can purge the white-bearded sky god from your iconography, but it's harder to get him out of your thinking.

Comment: Re:begs FFS (Score 5, Interesting) 186

by hey! (#47668613) Attached to: Entire South Korean Space Programme Shuts Down As Sole Astronaut Quits

Sometimes the loss of an awkward construction is a gain for language.

"Begging the question" was never a very good choice of terminology -- a half-baked translation from the Latin petitio principii. You might as well use the Latin because you have to know what the term means to have an chance of decoding its meaning; the words give no clue. "Asking ill-founded questions" or "asking premature questions" would have been better.

"Begging the question" has *always* misled most readers and hearers, and we're better off with the new meaning, which *everybody* understands (although many dislike).

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"

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