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Comment Re:Funny block... (Score 1) 177 177

Most Opera browser add-ons for converting YouTube to mp3 work by submitting the YouTube URL to various on-line converter sites such as The add-on description tells you the ripping site. No need to Google ripping sites. I imagine other browser add-ons work the same way.

Most of my conversions are of generally poor-quality live recordings, so bad soundcards and speakers don't really matter.

Comment Re:Hard to insure (Score 1) 419 419

Deforestation can destroy agricultural land via increased soil erosion, but deforestation is also the means by which more agricultural land is obtained. Which is bad. Suggested readings: Collapse by Jared Diamond and Planetary boundaries ("Land use" in particular).

Comment Re:Wrong priorities! (Score 1) 265 265

Any organization (government, corporate, academic, etc.) larger than a small startup develops bureaucracies; it's the nature of an organization. If you think bureaucracies and deadwood are only found in government, take a good hard look around you at the company you work for. Think about the unrelated companies you deal with daily. (You're going to tell me that spending hours on the phone with a private health insurance company trying to get something resolved is "better" or "more efficient" than the same amount of time spent at the DMV?) Government is not immune to bureaucratic problems, but neither are private companies.

Comment Re:They cannot though... (Score 1) 127 127

You're correct on most counts, except maybe regarding newbies. I started out with a commercial (Unipress) version of Emacs, heavily customized, in the late 1980s. Our overlords (the contractor we were subcontracted to), rather than buying the source, foolishly bought the binary version for Motorola-based Sun workstations, so we were out of luck when we switched to SparcStations. I downloaded the original MicroEmacs, modified some of the code for my own purposes, and heavily customized it. I've used it on Unix/Linux platforms ever since (20+ years). In 2001, for Windows work, I downloaded JASSPA MicroEmacs (, modified the code to treat the PC keypad as a VT100 keypad in application mode, and reused my UNIX/Linux customizations. I've been a happy camper for a long time; I like the small footprint and how quick it is. (The same can be said about VI, but I was not that crazy about VI when I used to use it a lot.)

JASSPA MicroEmacs (free) also works under UNIX/Linux; I just haven't bothered to change over from my original MicroEmacs package. The JASSPA version also supports the mouse and menus, which I use infrequently.

Comment Re:"as effective" doesn't mean "effective" (Score 1) 190 190

CBT (the cognitive kind!) may be effective for milder forms of depression, but not for more severe forms (like I have). My current psychiatrist even recommended against it for me because the chance of failure is so high that it could make my depression worse. CBT is generally very effective for OCD (which I also have). The kind of CBT the Chinmeister recommends sounds very promising, but I don't think my wife would go for it! :(

Comment Re:Strict Typing (Score 1) 467 467

Reminds me of the ARIANE 5 rocket failure in 1996. IIRC, they reused Ada code from an earlier rocket, the range of one of the rocket parameters had changed, they didn't correct the range of the corresponding variable, and a run-time exception occurred seconds after launch. Too easy to overlook ... Still, you're better off with Ada than without on mission-critical systems like that.

Comment Re:California (Score 1) 398 398

I live on the East Coast and a lot of people don't turn on their lights when it rains, even though it became the law a few years ago. No location has a monopoly on common sense. Also, are daytime running lights no longer required? Our old Toyota car and van had DRL, but we had to replace the van with a 2012 Kia SUV which doesn't have DRL.

(Washington, D.C. area, famously populated by out-of-state drivers who don't know how to drive in the snow!)

Comment Re:Seems a little inflated... (Score 4, Insightful) 248 248

I worked in software development. I've met teachers who are smart in their fields and in technology. I've never met a teacher who thought they were smarter than everyone else because of their teaching degree. I've met a lot of software folks who weren't too smart or whose knowledge was a mile deep and an inch wide. Teaching is no different than any other profession - you have the same distribution of talent.

Comment Re:In practice it's like a different language. (Score 2) 305 305

In real code, you localize based on entire messages, not individual words. How do you localize an English word that, with one spelling, may be a noun or verb and, in the latter case, may be of different tenses? You would need the context of the entire message and a natural language processor to translate the word. (Localizing the common word "The" in isolation as you do is fraught with errors.) Consequently, it's better (and quicker and easier) to translate entire messages rather than individual words.

Comment Re:The American elections are covered in Holland (Score 1) 1237 1237

Voters are dumb. There is a reason the people who introduced democracy never intended for everyone to be a voter. Not the Greeks and not the Americans. Votes were once restricted to people who could at least be presumed to have more then two braincells to rub together. In modern times... well that homeless guy can vote...

Yes, restrict voting to white men who own property - exclude poor men, women, non-whites, and small furry creatures.

Comment Library E-books (Score 1) 336 336

After I got an E-book reader several years ago, I went to my local library, got a new library card, and surfed over to the state of Maryland's E-book site (shared by all public library systems in the state). Slim pickings. Mostly recent fiction and self-help books - there weren't even subject categories for science and technology. Very disappointing.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner