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Comment Re:10% more transmittance for glass? (Score 3, Informative) 37

That is one of those Wikipedia articles which is a bit vague about what it means. It's doesn't make sense to intend to say that glass transmits 90% of incident light regardless of the thickness. The Wikipedia entry references a single optical "element", so I'd take "the transmissivity of one element (two surfaces) is about 90%," to mean that 10% is the lower limit of light loss for a single lens of arbitrary thinness.

Now if a very thin silica glass lens transmits 90% of the light falling on it, then clearly it'd be very difficult to conceive of a material that transmits 10% more light than that. However you can achieve whatever level of attenuation you wish by making your piece of glass sufficiently (possibly absurdly) thick. The three inch thick glass panes used in giant ocean tanks are noticeably more opaque than air. Clearly it's physically possible for a material to transmit 10% more light than the same thickness of glass -- for a sufficient thickness. Particularly if the index of refraction of that material is closer to air.

Of course that's where we get to the point that the summary is badly written too. Silica glass *is* very transparent; insufficient transparency isn't a problem in window applications, if there's a problem it's that the material is too transparent. That's why we have dark tinting and anti-IR coating. So it's not clear why we would care that the material can transmit 10% more light. Clearly the story got garbled somewhere along the way.

Comment Re:Get a feature phone, dumbass. (Score 1) 272

You know what's going to happen if you rely on a pager, don't you? Nobody will know how to contact you on that.

Which, indeed, is a feature -- not a bug. Anyone you want to reach you you give them the secret formula: call my pager's phone #, and when you hear the beep enter your phone number followed by #. Or if you need to send text, send an email to myPagerPhoneNumber@provider.com. If you can't handle that I don't want to hear from you.

Oh, and a feature phone is fine solution if it's OK that you can't be reached when you're in a tunnel or some other places the VHF phone band can't reach but typical pager frequencies can.

Comment Would this mean no electronic only? (Score 2) 183

While I generally agree with him (less for privacy purposes and more for not paying a transaction fee to a credit card ever time), making it right would add a lot of potential problems to it. For example, what about online only transactions? Would Ebay or Spotify be required to somehow accept cash payments? I am all for companies not being forced to go electronic only, but I also wouldn't want to try and force every company to have to accept cash either.

Comment Re:First Name Basis? Rude. (Score 1) 577

Grammer ignorami. Proper nouns should NEVER be preceded by articles.

Oh, the definite article is very commonly used before proper nouns, most often place names or geographical features (e.g. "The Mississippi (River)").

Sometimes "the" is used purely customarily (particularly in names translated from other languages like "The Ukraine" or "The Maghreb" ), but its primary function is to distinguish between nouns referring to specific things a speaker is expected to be aware of, and generic things that are just being introduced into the discourse: "a ball [which I haven't mentioned up until now] broke Mr. Smith's window; Mr. Smith kept the ball [which I just mentioned]."

In particular proper nouns which sound like they might be generic will sometimes customarily get a "the" tacked on to indicate the audience is expected to picture the well-known thing rather than some unknown one ("The United States", "The Great Lakes", "The Big Easy"). "The Donald" is a definite article usage of this type, with an bit of ironic deprecation mixed in.

By the way the plural of "ignoramus" is "ignoramuses", not "ignorami". That is because "ignoramus" was never a noun in Latin; rather it is a conjugation of the verb ignorare (to be unacquainted with, to ignore). "Ignoramus" entered English as a legal term to mean "we take no notice of" (e.g. a witness whose testimony is irrelevant because he has no firsthand knowledge).

Comment Context, for Americans (Score 0) 600

in England, even roads with a "central white line" are almost universally only wide enough for a single car at a time to drive down them by any sane measure. When there is no white line, cars will often drive down the middle of the road, and "slow down"/"move over" when another car approaches, entirely out of necessity.

When there *is* a white line, most cars won't do this, despite the same necessity still being there.

England's roads (the ones they are talking about) are basically foot-paths which were widened over time enough to allow horses through, but which were never widened or maintained enough to allow multiple cars through in any case. Two American cars would literally not fit side-by-side on these roads.

What is actually needed is wider, better-lit roads, with real shoulders and barriers at the side. But that costs money, so instead we get proposals like "what if we don't bother to even repaint the lines anymore?" and "people will slow down if we stop lighting the roads entirely"

As for "slowing down", the speed limit on most roads (even ridiculously tiny roads) is "meh, whatever". If they really want people to slow down, reducing the speed limit would be the *first* thing I'd try. It seems not to have occurred to anyone in England, though.

Comment Re:You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 1) 356

It could very easily happen, by enforcing blocking rules that restrict or eliminate third party content.

That won't work. Even if you don't communicate directly with the third party, you don't have any way to prevent the content provider (who is also the ad provider from your point of view) from passing the information along.

We seem to have latched onto this "third party content" as The Problem, where it's really just a hack du jour for easily spotting a problem. But the only reason a content provider is putting <script src="somewhere else"> into their pages is because it still gets them paid by the "somewhere else." If you hit their own server instead of the third party, they can still forward any requests behind the scenes to anyone, and you won't even know it's happening, but all the same information will be there.

If you eliminate "third party content" you're just going to turn second parties into proxies. And they'll really do it, too. Why wouldn't they?

Comment You CAN'T have ads without tracking. (Score 2) 356

That's never going to happen, so people who think that a compromise might some day be reached, need to let go of that.

Some of the things on the list are extremely easy because the browser itself is ultimately in control. If you don't want animation, for example, then your browser can elect to not animate things. Same for playing sound, executing Javascript, 10kb limit, etc. You're going to get your wish on all of that stuff, assuming you haven't already gotten it already.

But tracking isn't going to go away. Your computer is initiating a conversation with someone else's computer, and there's only one thing you can do to prevent someone else's computer from remembering that it happened: have there be nothing to remember, because nothing happened. i.e. don't request the ad.

If you get the ad, then you get tracking, period. There is no possible compromise between the two sides on this, and everyone who thinks they can have ads but no tracking, is kidding themselves.

Either the ad industry is going to persuade us that tracking isn't all that bad, or the users are going to persuade the media that ads aren't all that necessary. No middle ground exists on this.

Comment Re:$40K still a lot for most folks (Score 1) 37

The difference is what can be done about it.

If the market decides that it's not important for people to have this, then the only way to change that is for the people who need it to somehow become rich. If the regulators decide people shouldn't have this, then the voters can change that. And if you factor in the increased independence and productivity of the recipients, it might not cost that much.

Of course the way we do it now is we force employers to make accommodations. That's better than nothing, but statistically the public is still paying; the burden is just randomly concentrated on a few unlucky employers.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 668

Since when have we reached the point where you aren't allowed to annoy or offend people?

Since never. You're still allowed to offend people, but it's never been the case you could do that with impunity.

The only thing that has really changed is that communication on a mass scale is literally too cheap to meter. That means putative offenses and the dudgeon that follows on them can spread across the globe in minutes rather than taking days or weeks to spread through your immediate circle of face-to-face acquaintances. So without people changing one bit, the circumstances in which they interact in have changed dramatically. For things to go back to the way they used to be people would actually have to stop being the same as they've always been.

Well good luck with that. People tend to be stubborn idiots. College students tend to be inexperienced stubborn idiots. That means they're trying to find their place in the world, and the way an inexperienced idiot would do that is to try to change the world. And if there's enough of them working together (using cheap global communications?) then they might even succeed. Sometimes that's even a good thing, but it's never pretty.

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