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Comment: Re:A lot of the online gambling industry is locate (Score 0, Flamebait) 58 58

Surely the proposal will be scuttled when the realize that driving the gambling operations out of the province will sharply reduce the number of them that give due prominence to French language text; and acknowledge the right of the people to lose money without brutalizing exposure to anglicisms.

Comment: Re:It's not designed to dogfight. Lowest priority. (Score 2) 711 711

Technically the gun 'works'; but the vendor is too half-assed to actually provide drivers for the gun until some later revision, for which we will presumably pay more.

Optimists prefer to focus on the fact that, in order to preserve the oh-so-sexy-low-radar-signature design, the system only holds 200 rounds, so nobody expects much of it even when the pilot is able to use it.

Comment: Re:Linux everywhere. (Score 1) 26 26

Is there anywhere that the 'Warrior' design actually exists in any form more advanced than internal or very-select-partners-only engineering samples?

Based on what is written about them, they seem fairly interesting; but they don't actually seem to exist anywhere. You can get relatively low end MIPS cores in a lot of routers and such (ramips based devices and some broadcom) and much punchier hardware from outfits like Cavium; but the field is pretty empty of the 'warrior+powerVR' SoCs that are proposed in various slide decks. The CI20 is still based on the JZ4780, from Ingenic's 'if you really can't afford a fancy Allwinner' line of penal CPUs; but no warrior.

Comment: Umm... (Score 1) 145 145

It seems like a commonplace that not every line-of-business java slinger is going to make use of the more elegant mathematics being worked out on the edges of 'computer science'; but isn't this issue already addressed by the fact that things like 'software engineering' are distinct courses of study, with a different emphasis?

Also, why do we care what a former biologist, now sci/tech article writer for the WSJ has to say about technology-related education? Is there some connection that I'm missing?

Comment: Re:a bright future (Score 1) 39 39

Some of the (often excitingly dreadful) stuff used by the orbital-launch rocketry guys might beat hydrocarbons on pure energy density; but I suspect that civil aviation may not be ready for hydrazine spills on busy runways and range safety officers blowing up the occasional airliner.

The exciting thing about solar aircraft(aside from it being cool that they are possible) is that, if you can get efficiency high enough, they are basically your only option for long-to-indefinite loiter. In-air refuelling costs a small fortune, so hydrocarbons are mostly out; and nuclear, the only other long-lasting fuel source; has been explored; but you don't name a project after the god of the underworld because it satisfies more conservative risk analysis.

Comment: Re:Precedent (Score 2) 62 62

Even without a formal system of precedent, and treating prior cases as authorities to be cited, I'd imagine that the outcomes of past cases, and the various arguments and concepts employed, likely have an influence on future cases, at least those where the person overseeing them is undecided or has no particular opinion on the matter.

At least in the US, that seems to be a factor when(for some reason of how the courts are structured and arranged) a given court decision is not official precedent for the purposes of another court; but still has a decent shot at being cited if it framed the issue persuasively. It's not 100%, it might also be mentioned in the process of vehemently disagreeing with the decision of the other court and politely-but-brutally rubbishing their line of thought; but even without binding legal obligation to consider a given case, sufficiently similar past cases tend to help shape future thinking on the matter(as well as encouraging or discouraging prospective litigants).

Comment: I'd certainl yhope so... (Score 4, Insightful) 62 62

Under what legal theory would it be forbidden to offer a product that blocks shitware? Even if we grant that this '' must be tolerated as legal-but-sleazy, rather than dragged out and hung from a lamp post; is there some sort of 'right to be installed' that software possesses that nobody told me about?

It seems about as silly as arguing that throwing away junk mail without opening it is abridging the spammer's right to free speech.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 358 358

Indeed; that's why I included the "don't need bitcoins" case(already have euros in hand) and the "won't be helped by bitcoins"(nominal euro holdings are frozen in a bank or similar, and are at risk; but also unavailable to buy bitcoins with.)

I definitely suspect that somebody is going to be taking quite a bath on this; either holders of Greek state debt, or Greeks with cash in easy reach of the state, or both; but I just don't see how bitcoins outperform 'in-hand' euros, or dollars in terms of weathering the transition; while anyone who can't get their euros is probably in deep shit; but can't buy bitcoins because they can't get to their euros, so they won't be helped much by bitcoins.

I definitely wouldn't want to have money stuck inside Greece should it exit; but barring all but the most heroic border controls, not a historical strong point of the Greek government, just walking the euros out if you have them will be relatively simple(and, if doing so is illegal, so would getting the same euros out-of-country by buying bitcoins from a non-greek, the money needs to move either way); while anyone who doesn't have them may well be stuck; but also doesn't have cash on hand to buy bitcoins.

Comment: Why? (Score 2) 358 358

I realize that any instance of fiat currencies looking foolish is a happy day for the goldbugs, physical and virtual; but I'm not sure I follow:

Greece has been part of the euro zone for a while now, any remaining pre-euro currency is just a collector's item, and has no value now and no expectation of gaining value as the basis of a post-euro greek currency.

The euro itself will presumably do some fluctuating based on whether people are more nervous about the fact that the euro zone basically can't pull together when things look vaguely bad; or more enthusiastic about the fact that a weak member of the euro zone dropped out, leaving a stronger survivor group and establishing a precedent for (relatively) orderly drumming-out of any future weaklings.

In any case, greeks who currently have cash holdings either don't need bitcoins(if they just put the euros under their pillow they'll still be able to drive into the nearest euro zone country and spend them) or won't be helped by bitcoins(their euros are just numbers in the ledger of some deeply fucked bank that is imposing withdrawal limits or freezes, so they can't get them to hide under their pillow or to buy bitcoins).

A 'grexit' is actually more or less the opposite of the classic 'my holdings are in the dysfunctional currency of inflationistan; but capital controls are keeping me from expatriating them or buying dollars!' problem that bitcoin might actually be useful for addressing. If Greece drops out, all the greeks holding euros still have relatively hard currency, probably superior to whatever is introduced as a local replacement. They gain no obvious advantage from shifting euros into bitcoins, unless Greece bumps up their border controls into a veritable Berlin wall to prevent physical transport of currency; but continues to ignore online activity.

This story just seems orthogonal to bitcoins.

Comment: Re:a bright future (Score 2) 39 39

The design can be changed; but this design is as it is in large part because of how much surface area it needs to collect enough sunlight to sustain even its distinctly frugal operation.

Improvements are likely, with better solar panels, better batteries, or both; but you don't beat the fact that optimal insolation is 1366w/m^2; and real world values typically lower, at least on average. A liter of Jet A is 35.3 MJ, so ~9880watt/h. Even at peak insolation, a square meter of solar collection takes a little over 7 hours to amount to as much energy as a liter of jet fuel. Jet engines are, of course, hardly perfectly efficient; but you get some sense of perspective from the fact that a relatively modern design, aimed at fuel efficient operation, like the 787 still has storage for in excess of 100,000 liters of fuel, a big 747-400 more like twice that.

On the plus side, your sunlight supply doesn't weigh anything, or require any volume(though your batteries do, and barring major improvements their energy density is dreadful compared to hydrocarbons); but even given perfectly efficient solar hardware, there just isn't that much energy to work with, by the standards of hydrocarbon aircraft. Any possible design is going to reflect this through some combination of gigantic wing area per unit capacity and a flight plan that sticks relatively carefully to maximally efficient speeds.

Comment: Re:Coral dies all the time (Score 1) 116 116

That's why I expressed curiosity about pH, rather than temperature. We know that some amount of temperature variation leads to survivable bleach/recolonize cycles; but a shift in the direction of making calcium-based structures more expensive to build and maintain under water could be quite different in impact.

Comment: Re:a bright future (Score 3, Interesting) 39 39

It's pretty profoundly useless as a replacement for a commercial airliner or cargo plane(basically the wingspan of a 747; but transports a single pilot at a painfully tedious 50-100km/h); but suitably automated versions of the very-long-endurance solar aircraft concept have other uses. Longer life, and greater control, than balloons; but markedly cheaper to launch, and lower ping, than anything in orbit.

As a manned aircraft it's a pure novelty; but its performance is increasingly close to 'like a small satellite; but closer to the ground and requires only a large strip of pavement for launch and recovery', which could definitely find some takers.

Comment: Re:What were they thinking? (Score 1) 177 177

The difference is that merely being a dickhead is relatively low risk, so it's annoying but not surprising that people do it when it suits them. Waving a selfie stick around is an excellent way to lose a phone, at minimum, and potentially do yourself some actual damage.

I'm not expecting civility here; but even relatively dumb animals learn to avoid aversive stimuli; and the slightly smarter ones sometimes even anticipate and avoid them.

Comment: Re:Hurray! (Score 1) 177 177

I wouldn't want to be riding during testing; but the combination of tight quarters and fairly substantial air currents from passing coaster cars in an enclosed roller coaster would be a pretty neat challenge to watch a drone work through. Extra credit for drones capable of exploiting passing cars(riding their air currents in some controlled way, maintaining position immediately behind them if a relatively static trapped air region is available, 'roosting' on a beam and using regenerative braking on their rotors to recharge the batteries, etc.)

Comment: What were they thinking? (Score 4, Interesting) 177 177

I imagine that there are parts of a given ride where you can safely deploy a 'selfie stick'; but what kind of idiot waves a pole around when moving at nontrivial speed near walls, beams, etc. that the pole can catch on? Roller coasters are designed not to subject you to unsafe levels of acceleration or deceleration; but that does not include sticking to speeds that are safe it a modestly rigid pole abruptly couples your moving, and squishy, body to an immobile structural element.

If you are lucky, you bought a cheap crap stick, and it will snap(and not send a sharp end into anyone's eye) before some part of your body does; but that's not really a gamble you want to take just for a lousy picture of yourself.

The little racket of selling pictures of the riders, taken by fixed cameras installed at strategic points, probably helped contribute to this decision, doing well by doing good and all that; but what a stupid idea.

Do people also take care to wear ponytails and/or ties when near rotating equipment? And dangle loose clothing over any exposed gears and belts they find? Or do we have people who've never met a machine more dangerous than an iPad or a minivan and just don't think?

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke