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Comment A few bad reactions got some press. (Score 1) 82 82

You can become violently allergic to practically ANYTHING. (The immune system, in each individual, creates a large number of clones of cells making different antibodies by pseudo-randomly editing the genome making the antibody, kills off the ones that recognize the infant body, and amplifies the clones recognizing new stuff that appeared at the same time the body experiences damage.)

A few bad reactions to a few particular foods got a lot of attention - and overreaction. Which ones got the attention was mostly a matter of chance. So now the clueless bureaucrats are taking extreme measures against the handful of allergens that got the press, and the rest are completely off their radar.

They have zero tolerance for peanuts.
  - Do they have zero tolerance for shellfish? (Restaurants in Silicon Valley were very careful about allergies when I first moved here - because one had been informed that a customer had a shellfish allergy, fed her something containing shrimp, and she died.)
  - Do they have zero tolerance for milk? (Some milk reactions are an enzyme deficiency, but some are an allergy, which can be deadly. Also: a protein in cow's milk increases the risk of Multiple Sclerosis).
  - Do they have zero tolerance for tree nuts?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for wheat?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for honey?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for corn? (It would be convenient for ME if they did - my corn allergy isn't QUITE to full-blown anaphylactic shock level, yet, but it IS to the "projectile vomiting" and "three days of flu-like symptoms" level. But I won't try to stop others from enjoying corn.)
  - Do they have zero tolerance for eggs?
  - Do they have zero tolerance for fish?
And that's just the COMMON food allergies.

If they had zero tolerance for every food allergen that had caused anaphyliaxis, they'd have zero tolerance for FOOD.

Comment How do you stop it? (Score 2) 426 426

What if you just don't connect it to any network, ever?

How do you stop it from connecting? These days most laptops, at least, have WiFi, Bluetooth, BLE (really distinct from classic buetooth), and maybe other radio-networking capabilities (GSM, LTE, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, 6LoWPAN-over-Bluettoth-4.2) built-in. Also infrared and ultrasonic-capable audio interfaces with microphones and speakers. Even with the ones that DO have a switch to turn the radios off the switch normally just tells the software not to talk on the radio - which the software is free to ignore.

(Not to mention that the remote-administration hardware/firmware built into the chips by the major manufacturers can, and does, listen on the radios these days for remote-administration commands, comes in UNDER the OS, and can't be disabled.)

Then there's the question of what good the computer is to you if it's NOT connected to a network?

Comment Re:Plate boundary (Score 1) 288 288

Until the next earthquake, and then you fix it. A hell of a lot more straightforward than making something last in the violent and frozen marine environment. I hope there is no metal in it. Or concrete. This thing has to compete with giant ships lumbering across the ocean - it will be a challenge.

Comment Landmines for peace (Score 3, Interesting) 214 214

Out of all of the weapon-specific hysteria (and there has been a lot of it--white phosphorus, thermobaric bombs, depleted uranium, etc.), the anti-landmine one might be the most dangerous.

Obviously, they do have a good point, what with the disasters in Indochina and elsewhere. However, those were cases of non-self destructing anti-personnel landmines placed in third world nations. The situation is / would be quite a bit different with anti-tank mines, self-deactivating or remote-deactivating mines, and/or mines placed in developed nations that have the resources to keep people out and clear the minefields later on as needed.

Why is this all worth mentioning? One word: Ukraine. In a situation where one side in a conflict desperately wants to fortify their defenses but doesn't want to risk alarming the other side (or giving them a plausible pretext to feign alarm), landmines are one of the few stationary weapons available that can thwart or at least seriously slow down an invasion. Instead of all this deeply worrying Cold War-type bravado of military exercises and NATO rapid response plans in Eastern Europe, just mine the fuck out of their borders. Putin could act huffy and offended if he wants, but people will realize it is a clearly not an aggressive action.

Comment "Some folks" ? (Score 1) 871 871

Errr, what else would it be? Electric engines are already fantastic: they offer great performance, don't have to deal with nearly as much heat stress, and there's no need to screw around with a delicate transmission.

OTOH, batteries are currently very expensive, bulky, can't recharge quickly (nor do we yet have the infrastructure to allow swapping at gas stations) and have a limited lifespan. The cheap, energy dense, durable, fast-charging battery has always been the holy grail here.

Comment Cheap hydrogen (Score 1) 871 871

No. The most efficient source of hydrogen is thermal electrolysis powered by a breeder nuclear reactor, or (if the local geology permits) perhaps geothermal power. No CO2 required.

We'd have to get over the initial tech investment first though, and (in the case of nuclear) convince the general public not to go apeshit.

Comment Re:Please (Score 1) 364 364

Its like saying "Hey, Chevrolet, you know your customers like the radio station set to 101.9, why cant you engineer your cars to respect their choice instead of forcing your nefarious 101.5 agenda."

Yeah, but this is a Mozilla car analogy we're talking about here.

In the current 2015.7 model, release, the UX team has decided that a 5-button hamburger menu on an AM dial (and only from 1100Khz to 1150KHz in 10KHz increments) is all that's needed. Users who want to access a wider range of frequencies in the AM band are free to write an extension or purchase a third-party radio head unit.

To further improve the user experience, we remind prospective extension developers that in the Aurora channel for the 2016.1 model year, the about:config setting for frequency.megavskilohertz has been removed, along with the FM antenna. The UX team has made this recommendation based on telemetry that suggests that few drivers actually listen to FM radio, especially since the 2013.6 model, in which the AM/FM toggle switch was removed because the UX team for 2012.1 felt it was cluttering the dashboard.

Comment Re:If you think Windows is bad (Score 2) 364 364

It was those fat French* who demanded that Microsoft deliver an OS without a web browser at all, wasn't it?

* I'll assume Gerard Depardieu represents all French people, just like McDonalds represents all American cuisine and heavy drinking represents all Irish.

Comment Re:"We have a profound opportunity to distort." (Score 1) 64 64

It will also vary depending on the performance of the vehicles immediately ahead of, oncoming-and-passing, or crossing ahead of the street view vehicle. Especially the first: The sensor will be running in the exhaust plumes of the vehicles ahead of the street view car, so the map will be a very non-random sampling.

On the other hand, the partculate and "volatile organic compounds" sensors will produce some very interesting data. The latter is what the federal standards call "unburned hydrocarbons" when emitted from an engine, and the output of modern engines is vanishingly small. But many species of evergreen trees emit them in enormous quantity, as part of their ongoing chemical warfare against insects that eat trees. That's what the blue haze around pine-forested mountains (such as "the Smoky Mountains") is about. You can literally destroy (by extreme and long-term contamination) an automotive conformance test cell (the room where they test the car's emissions), requiring it to be torn out and rebuilt, by placing a Christmas tree in it overnight.

I expect some towns in remote, forested, mountain areas, where people move "for their health" and "for the clean, fresh, air", to get a rude awakening. B-)

But I doubt it will affect the extremely tight standards for automobile engines - except maybe to cause a flap that tightens them further. These days many engines are so clean that running then can IMPROVE the air quality in some places (such as portions of Los Angeles, with topography that created such a thermal inversion that a single settler's campfire could leave the whole valley filled with smoke for a day or more) by inhaling and burning far more hydrocarbon and particulate pollutants than they create.

Comment Just try it (Score 4, Insightful) 372 372

Shutting down all online porn-sites in the UK? Yeah, go ahead, see how long the public is willing to play along; I predict quite an uproar. Besides, it wouldn't stop porn-sites from outside the UK anyways, so it would both upset a lot of people and yet be wholly ineffective.

"Why waste negative entropy on comments, when you could use the same entropy to create bugs instead?" -- Steve Elias