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Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 111

by Richard_at_work (#49760309) Attached to: Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit

Because there might have been other things going on behind the scenes that are yet to come to light? Perhaps this filing is just the latest action in a series, most of which happened in private between the parties? Not everyone launches into a lawsuit without trying other redress first - especially if contract cases are likely to be thrown out if lesser mediations have been skipped in the first place.

Comment: Re:Thai music is heptatonic (Score 1) 59

by rwa2 (#49759233) Attached to: Favorite musical scale, by number of pitch classes?

ha, yeah, I suppose I /still/ have no idea :P

What I meant is while western music scales mathematically divide the octave into 8 intervals (12 including the black keys), Thai instruments divide their "octave" into 7, which is part of the reason why Thai and other asian music sounds... exotic to westerners.

Here's someone who knows what he's talking about...

Also a herpetonic scale sounds cool because imagine a bunch of shiny lizards playing in an orchestra

Comment: cheap BLU phones (Score 2) 301

by rwa2 (#49754693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

I've been getting a bunch of BLU phones for the kids for about $20 - $30 a pop.

They're by no means nice phones, but they have a good feature set, and we haven't had any problems with them that weren't caused by dropping them into puddles or sending them on a ride through the laundry machine.

BLU also has a slightly larger one with a full Blackberry-like keyboard for texting that also has a broadcast TV receiver instead of just FM radio.

Comment: Yes, but not for the sake of playing (Score 1) 168

by msobkow (#49753613) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Video games got me into computers because I decided I wanted to program a version of "Space Invaders" for the TRS-80 Model I, Level I.

I wrote an intro screen in BASIC, but it was too slow.

So I taught myself machine code and POKE'd it into memory, and got the intro screen working.

I never did finish writing the game, but I learned a lot about the basics of programming and how computers worked.

From that 14-year-old project, I was hooked; taking Computer Science in University became an obvious choice.

Comment: Re:Trolling? (Score 2) 227

by rwa2 (#49753437) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Er, just trolling for mod points, and I guess I know my audience for the most part... I was really just looking for a nice place to link to that funny image, and your post sounded smart (though TBH I didn't really understand what position you were arguing for or against, but I agree with the statements you made).

But just to explain my AGW analogy... should we be worried about asteroids enough to spend money on asteroid interceptors, even though any kind of payoff is likely only once every 70,000 years or so? Should we be worried about climate change enough to spend money on trying to cram more people onto Earth, or just let the natural cycles of mass extinctions and famine run its course?

The fine article is somewhat silly, because first they complain about how bad at statistics people are, but then go through the math that the odds of anyone dying due to asteroids are 1 - in 70 million per year.

assuming our world’s population remains level at 7 billion indefinitely into the future

which is
1. a bit ridiculous that the population will hold steady at 7 billion the forseeable future, not that it matters because humans have difficulty relating to any population above a couple hundred.
2. over enough millennia, even with those odds, we'll see definitely see something. Probably not in our lifetimes, but likely on a civilization scale of 10,000 years.
3. Yes, TFA mentions that most of the solar system debris has already been absorbed by Jupiter and the like, but seems to ignore some other million-year scale cycles for encountering space debris http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_...

Are people fear-mongering? Definitely. Is any effort we make to tackle the miniscule risk of asteroid impacts or climate change wasted? No. Are historians in the distant future going to look back on our culture and and say "silly fools, they wasted so much time and effort worrying about X that they didn't notice the real issues piling up to destroy their civilization" no matter what we do? Hell yes.

+ - Coral islands defy sea level rise

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Despite having some of the highest rates of sea level rise in the past century, the 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll in the Pacific show no signs of sinking.

Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897-2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level.

Be aware as well that the cause of the rise in sea level here is not clearly understood. It could be the global warming we have seen since the end of the Little Ice Age of the 1600s, or other more complex factors.

Comment: Re:Mostly wrong (Score 3, Insightful) 227

by rwa2 (#49752245) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Yeah, large, mass-extinction asteroids are only a problem every 70 million years.

By that logic, why even bother worrying about AGW, since even by the worst predictions it won't have any horrible effects for the next 100 years or so. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy life! .... there's nothing that could possibly happen that Earth wouldn't completely recover from in a couple million years.


Comment: Re:Sudden? (Score 4, Interesting) 263

by rwa2 (#49751577) Attached to: ESA Satellite Shows Sudden Ice Loss In Southern Antarctic Peninsula

Politics are not Pro- or Anti-Science. It is weather the science is political useful for them or not. Otherwise they will be happy putting their head in the sand.

This. If you know anything about lawyers and law, the first tenet is NEVER ADMIT FAULT. No good can come of it. People might then expect you to pay for damages or whatever.

Environmentalists make the mistake thinking that conservatives are stupid. That is not the case. The only thing they care about is that they will not have to pay for or be part of the solution. Any time you spend trying to convince them otherwise is wasted.

The other bit is that politics is never proactive, always reactionary. No environmental protection or anti-pollution law was ever passed until something was already FUBAR, be it due to the London yellow fog, or smog over LA, holes in the ozone layer, or Chinese urban centers shutting down due to respiratory issues. The politicians will maybe finally get around to doing something substantial about AGW after there's a refugee crises from low-lying areas, like the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Louisiana, Florida, etc. Chances are, they still won't blame AGW, since it'll be sea swell from a hurricane/typhoon that does those population centers in, but at some point they'll get tired of throwing money at those places to rebuild. Fortunately there are already a lot of migrant refugee boats in the Mediterranean and Andaman Sea for other reasons, so we're already slowly building a framework for dealing with these kinds of things.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman