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Comment: Re: It's how fantasy heroes are written (Score 3, Insightful) 345

by jfengel (#48665451) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

This is very true, but one difference is that the battles took up more "screen time" in the films. Tolkien's battles were epic but abstract. Jackson's aimed to humanize the characters but the outlandish stunts contradicted that.

It worked better for LOTR than Hobbit.

Comment: Re:Action movies are boring. (Score 1) 324

Your description sounds most like Deep Space Nine, and yeah, I thought that was the best-written show of the series. (TOS is still my sentimental favorite.)

But it never made the jump to movies, and probably couldn't. TOS and TNG both got a lot more action-oriented on the big screen. The bigger screen raises the stakes, which is usually going to mean some kind of world-ending conflict rather than a mere interpersonal conflict. Even movie 4, which is the most personal and scaled-back of the films, had an apocalyptic frame story and a few good action sequences. And while Khan (the good one) was also a very personal story, it was also a classic Horatio Hornblower ship battle.

I'd love to see a new Trek series set in a place where they could tell smaller stories. I think that Starfleet would be kind of inevitable, since I don't see them ever giving up on the ability to tell action stories, but there are ways to make that less focused on the epic. There was, decades ago, a notion of a series set at Starfleet Academy, which could be good if done well. That's just one idea.

As long as it's all about the films, I expect them to continue looking a lot like they have been. They can do better than they have been, especially now that they've spent two films introducing the characters (who bear only a thin resemblance to the TOS characters), they can start to make the relationships work. (As opposed to pretending that we're going to care about a fake death sequence crammed full of fan service.)

Comment: Re:Fine (Score 1) 290

by mc6809e (#48661625) Attached to: Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi

The spectrum is not that limited. I live in an apartment building and can see over 30 different wireless networks. I have absolutely no issues with my own wireless.

You can't compare the two situations.

What you're seeing are beacon frames. Even if 99% of them are trashed by noise, your wireless networking hardware will remember the 1% that get through and log the AP's information.

Comment: Ummmm... About twice in 16 years (Score 1) 112

by Sycraft-fu (#48661265) Attached to: Apple Pushes First Automated OS X Security Update

In my time in IT, that's what I've seen. There was an update to the 3com 905 drivers back in the day that BSOD's systems, since then there have been more rigorous driver testing. After that there was the recent Windows 7 update that had a problem on some systems. We didn't see any issues on any of our some 400 Windows 7 systems, but I did verify it was real. MS rolled it back with another automated patch.

Oh and I suppose XP SP3 though that wasn't automatic, and the only systems it "broke" were ones with Malware infections so I hardly count that.

So... ya... Personally, I'll take an issue ever decade or so in trade for having a system that it up to date. However, if you'd rather not patch your stuff go ahead, just don't do it on my network, I'll block you.

Comment: Re:sigh (Score 1) 188

by jfengel (#48660487) Attached to: An Automated Cat Litter Box With DRM

You can also teach your cat to pee/crap in the toilet, believe it or not.

Yeah, you can try. Of my two cats, one would have nothing whatsoever to do with it, and the other one made it about a week before freaking out and peeing on the floor instead.

Not everybody's cats are as dumb as mine (these are among the dumbest cats I've ever met), but at least anecdotally the whole cat-toilet idea isn't as easy as it sounds.

Comment: Re:News at 11.. (Score 0) 718

by jfengel (#48637745) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Thanks for that. I find myself increasingly bugged by this kind of argument by misleading analogy. "X is like Y. You agree with me about Y. Therefore you must agree with me about X." It basically frames the entire argument around the differences between X and Y, rather than taking X on its own terms.

It's kind of galling, since it basically assumes that I'll agree that X is identical to Y. Therefore, either I'm stupid for not realizing that X and Y are identical, or you're stupid for not recognizing that there are meaningful differences. I'm betting it's the latter, but even without that assumption, it's hard to see how we proceed from the demonstration that at least one of the parties to the conversation is stupid.

Comment: Re:Also... (Score 1) 130

by jfengel (#48627649) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Nothing wrong with being wrong with confidence. Sounds like the majority of humanity the majority of the time.

Oh, it definitely sounds like the majority of humanity the majority of the time. I just don't think it's one of our more admirable traits.

In our case, it's necessary, because we evolved with mediocre brains. I'd like to see our successors do better. They aren't yet, which is what this article is pointing out. This promising system isn't ready yet. It's just not wrong for the reasons that the GGP post thought.

Comment: Re:Does Denmark... (Score 1) 189

by jfengel (#48610709) Attached to: Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

You have to take nonbinding referenda with a grain of salt. It's easy to wave the flag and claim nationalism when you don't have to deal with the difficulties of actually running a country when you do.

I'm not saying that the Greenlanders don't genuinely want independence. I'm just saying that 75% is the high-water mark. At least 25% genuinely don't want independence, and that were it to come down to a binding vote, they could well find another 26% who get cold feet at the prospect of having to deal with the consequences.

If Denmark does indeed manage to win them trillions worth of oil, they may well decide to keep it all for themselves, and vote for that. And then the sticky wicket would be getting to a binding referendum, which the Danes would not permit easily. The easiest route to it would be to buy their independence by promising a fraction of that oil revenue.

Comment: Re:this is ridiculous (Score 1) 440

by jfengel (#48610549) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

We have an odd kind of expectation of privacy even in public places. I'm not saying we don't; I'm just pointing out that the expectation strikes me as not obvious. The Fourth Amendment calls out "their persons, houses, papers, and effects", which notably omits anything outside your immediate control.

The expectation comes from a pre-technological age, and I certainly don't fault the Fourth Amendment for failing to see how technology would change the ways in which we expect to be private even in public. But I do think it ends up calling for a recalibration of both the law and our expectations.

Ideally, I'd like to see that codified in a new amendment. Unfortunately, given that even simple, popular legislation seems impossible to pass, I can't imagine getting agreement on something with even the faintest whiff of controversy past the rather higher bar of a Constitutional amendment. So I'd be happy for a decent national conversation on the topic.

Personally, I wouldn't have thought that the law extended to an expectation of privacy on your front lawn, since you already expect your neighbors to be watching. It's interesting to see a court disagree. I wouldn't be surprised if this is overturned at a higher level, though unfortunately, at this point I've given up thinking of the Supreme Court as anything other than an ideology engine, so really just figure out which side is which and assume that it'll go that way.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.