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Comment: Re:The only features ... (Score 1) 243

by pluther (#46931937) Attached to: The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

Why even bother having a phone.

What other device can you carry around in your pocket that can do everything he lists?

For me, pretty much the same - texts, messaging, web browsing, and I'd also add playing audiobooks, music, and podcasts.

The voice calls aren't a feature I use often.

Comment: Better for work than for play (Score 1) 102

by pluther (#45861143) Attached to: Eye Tracking Coming To Video Games
I don't think I'd want this for most video games, for many of the reasons people have already been listing.

But man, would it ever be useful for real work. Simple things, like making whatever windown I'm focusing on become active.

A good eye-tracking system could replace a mouse, with maybe a pair of buttons right below the space bar on the keyboard or something.

I would think blink or wink tracking would be more annoying than useful, though...

Comment: Five fingers (Score 1) 349

by pluther (#44878379) Attached to: Arrested Chinese Blogger "Confesses" On State TV, Praises Censorship
He also said that the prompter was holding up five fingers.

I will never understand why they coerce these false confessions. There can't be more than a handful of people, especially in China where trust in their government is even lower than over here, who believes he changed his mind on his own.

Comment: Re:Can't we just send them all? (Score 4, Insightful) 176

by pluther (#44804147) Attached to: Final Mars One Numbers Are In, Over 200,000 People Applied
And then there are those of us who are well aware of the risks, and have no illusions about how "exciting" it would be. And have signed up anyway.

I'm someone with close friends, good family, and active social life, a couple of different fulfilling hobbies, and a steady career that I'm 15 years into and 20 years from retirement from.

And I signed up.

I began my application by listing a myriad different ways the mission could fail, from exploding on launch, to losing air on the way there, to crashing into the planet, to starving to death on the surface, to the most likely: the project running out of money before ever leaving the ground. These are not 200,000 delusional people. These are not 200,000 people who think they're signing up for a quick trip on the Millennium Falcon Many, if not most, of these people know what they're getting into, as much as it can be known at this point. And we've signed up, to go to Mars.

The project will probably fail. Simply because most ambitious projects fail.But some succeed. The probability of failure is not a reason not to be ambitious.

But why go? I can't speak for everyone who signed up. But for myself, the answer is simple. We have to go. We have to expand beyond our planet. Here's somebody trying to do something about it. And I can't pass up the opportunity to be part of it. 47 years ago today the words "To boldly go where no man has gone before" were first uttered in public. And no, you don't need to point out that the show was fiction. But the words meant something.

There are always people willing to go new places. And people willing to go with them.

Columbus wasn't alone on his ship to America. Shackleton had to turn down almost 5000 volunteers for his South Pole expedition. Going to Mars is an even bigger deal. I'm not surprised they got 200,000 applicants. And it's OK that you can't imagine wanting to go. I can't imagine *not* wanting to go.

And yeah, the project will likely fail. But even if it does, something will be learned. Something new will be gained. And eventually, someone will use those lessons and succeed. And I'd be glad to be part of one step of that process. That's why I sent in my application.

Comment: Re:The rest of the criticism remains valid (Score 1) 216

by pluther (#44692229) Attached to: Gore's Staff Says He Was Misquoted On Hexametric Hurricanes

And putting an accurate thermometer on top of a building in the middle of a 20 acre blacktop parking lot will return skewed data... Many people tend to ignore the fact that cities have their own bubble of warmer temperatures.

I haven't actually looked at the data yet, but I suspect that the last 135 years of recorded temperature data were gathered by more than one guy in one location.

Comment: Too expensive? (Score 2) 366

$190.8 billion in 1975 dollars (the equivalent of $828.11 billion today). Looks like the ultra-rich are stuck on Earth for the time being.

You realize this is almost the exact amount (only a few tens of billions of dollars off) that the ultra-rich in the United States alone gave themselves from our tax money just over five years ago?

The only thing lacking in building such a space station is vision, not resources.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."