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Comment: Re:You want to stop at this dwarf star? (Score 1) 244

by mike2R (#39350977) Attached to: Nomad Planets: Stepping Stones To Interstellar Space?

the ship would need to be intergenerational. This introduces huge problems ethically. The only feasible approach is to send mechanical beings

I'll agree there are ethical issues to be considered, maybe even 'huge' ones. But to completely dismiss the entire concept for ethical reasons? No not even slightly.

If we get to the point where we can design and build a ship like that, and find volunteers willing to commit themselves and their descendants to it, I think I'd be more inclined to say "good luck!" to them than anything else.

Comment: Re:What garbage non-science! (Score 1) 224

by mike2R (#37514248) Attached to: Irish Man's Death Ruled Spontaneous Combustion

I actually thought this had been resolved a while back - maybe I just heard of a theory and took it for fact.

As I understand it, what happens is that someone dies/falls into a deep coma with a source of ignition nearby (eg they are smoking at the time, or near an open fire). The human body then burns very slowly over many hours as kind of an inside-out candle - clothing acting as a wick and human fat as the wax.

This fits with the facts that it tends to be older people living alone, there is little damage to surroundings and some extremities are often completely undamaged.

Not really a cause of death though...

Comment: Re:Who is the new dictator? (Score 1) 271

by mike2R (#37176306) Attached to: Internet Restored In Tripoli As Rebels Take Control
While I agree that Gadaffi must certainly have had a significant degree of support, and also that the various armed groups of rebels are currently fragmented along tribal and ethnic lines, I think that this view can be pushed to far.

To see this as simply an East vs West civil war is to ignore the very definite large-scale support the rebels have received in and around Tripoli. The TNC in Benghazi have been adamant that they fight for the freedom of all Libyans, not for secession or to settle old scores - and while the fact that they need to say it indicates there are fault lines there, there has been nothing really credible to say that they are a) not sincere or b) being rejected on these grounds.

Tribes obviously play a part, especially in rural areas, but Libya is plainly not simply a tribal society - intermarriage is common in the big cities, and this is where the initial uprisings happened. There is a nation of Libya, on top of the other regional, ethnic and tribal identities. This was what initially took to the streets against Gadaffi at the beginning - it wasn't dispossessed tribes, or rebellious Easterners, it was the young people of Libya inspired by events in neighbouring countries.

Building a new society in Libya is a massive challenge, and there are huge potential problems, but I doubt it is as impossible a task as some think. The basic building blocks are there, and the desire from a large segment of the population. Massive oil wealth isn't a bad thing either, since the new government will actually be able to satisfy some of the key economic demands, unlike in say Egypt or Tunisia.

Comment: Re:I am curious what the residents think (Score 2) 271

by mike2R (#37175918) Attached to: Internet Restored In Tripoli As Rebels Take Control

The whole thing is a farce. "Rebels"? They're jihadists. Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces readily kill civilians, they yell "allah hu ackbar!" when firing their weapons. Terrorists all around, including NATO. We should GTFO at once, Obama got us into another mess we shouldn't be involved in.

They are terrorists because they shout "God is Great" (one of the cries of the revolution across the Arab world, and even used by those protesting against the Mullahs in Iran)?

I'd hate to see your reaction if you heard some of my countrymen singing are national anthem, God Save the Queen.

Comment: Re:Who is the new dictator? (Score 2) 271

by mike2R (#37175886) Attached to: Internet Restored In Tripoli As Rebels Take Control

Actually no. France, with NATO backing and U.S. participation will be in charge from here on out. The problem with Libya was that it had a stable, successful socialist economy - and was doing too much business with China. That's been fixed now, thanks to an insurgent force recruited, funded, trained, armed and directed by a NATO coalition, operating under active air cover and full spectrum propaganda provided by the aforementioned foreign powers.

Typical rubbish. There are no foreign troops (in significent numbers) present in Libya, nor likely to be (the Libyans don;t want them, and no one wants to provide them).

Successful socialist economy? A population of a few million, and massive oil wealth, mean that it wasn't the poverty ridden hell hole it otherwise would have been, but compared to its potential... Anyway, Gadaffi left his socialist phase behind him a long time ago.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 179

by mike2R (#36398644) Attached to: A Plea For Game Devs To Aim Higher
I'm with you on that. Sure AAA games from the major publishers may be somewhat bland (still good in many cases though), but the Indie scene is making the running so well that it hardly matters.

It also is something of a US/western thing. I'm becoming a real fan of Russian game development, there have been some absolutely fantastic Russian games in the last few years. Ice Pick Lodge's The Void for example firmly answers the question "can computer games be art?"

Honestly, this is a great time for computer game development, at least on the PC. We've got good, solid AAA games with huge budgets, and a burgeoning Indie scene turning out more innovative new types of games than I've ever seen. Added to that is maturing games industries in Eastern Europe and Russia bringing a new perspective on games. Hopefully this carries on, or we may look back at 2011 as a golden age.

Comment: Re:because it's not at all difficult... (Score 1) 161

by mike2R (#35584936) Attached to: Rock, Paper, Shotgun Call For Worldwide Game Release Dates
As I understand it, it is just regarding (bricks and mortar) retail habits in different territories. US game retailers like to release on a Tuesday, the UK on a Thursday.

There isn't much point in a publisher fighting with its retail channel over a matter like this, so they don't. But as digital distribution increases, and with the ever present piracy issue, it may start to make financial sense for publishers to insist.

Or maybe not. I don't think anyone outside the industry really knows much about these sort of negotiations. Is it just an old habit to release games on a Thursday in the UK, or are retailers very attached to the day for some reason? First step is probably to find out why the current situation exists.

Comment: Re:Great book (Score 1) 583

by mike2R (#35279570) Attached to: LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective
I don't think that the author had much to do with it - he would sell the rights to the bookseller, who would then keep that right. - The rights to print Shakespear, for example, were still resident in only one bookseller when the Statute of Anne was passed (a century+ later). Perpetual in this circumstance would be that the common law (the accumulated precedent of judge-made law) recognised the right to a primitive form of copyright, but had no mechanism for this right to be ended.

Comment: Re:Great book (Score 3, Insightful) 583

by mike2R (#35267794) Attached to: LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective
The point (and yes I am just parroting Lessig here) was that the Statute of Anne was the replacement for the old common law copyrights which were perpetual. The point of the Statute of Anne was to stop copyrights being perpetual in English law. That said there were none of the implications for derivative works that we have today. I'm pretty sure that while the owner of the copyright had the perpetual right to be the only one who could print copies of Shakespear's plays, anyone could perform them without licence: it was literally the right to make copies.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.