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Comment Re:Lesson could have been learned from the Ruskies (Score 1) 118

There were very good reasons to use a pure oxygen atmosphere. And some very good reasons why it was a really bad idea. NASA found that out. The hard way.

These things happen. At least it happened on the ground where they could figure out what went wrong. If it had happened in space there would have been screams, garbled telemetry, then silence. Nobody would have ever known what happened.

...laura

Comment How about a story? Please? (Score 1) 232

If you have a good story, everything else falls in to place.

I remember talking to people about The Matrix. They went on at length about the special effects. The story (if any) was incidental. I concluded it had no story at all.

The opposite extreme from my recent experience would be something like the old British spy show The Sandbaggers. Most of it is people talking on the phone and arguing in offices. And it's utterly spellbinding...

...laura

Comment Re:PS (Score 1) 414

I used to work for a company that did hardware and software for the printing industry. We ate, lived and breathed PostScript.

One of my favourite demonstrations was the Towers of Hanoi in PostScript. Feed a file to the printer, it thought for a few seconds, then printed a page with the moves on it.

...laura

Comment Standing up straight = military? (Score 1) 77

I've always had decent posture, stood up straight, and colleagues at one past job wondered if I had a military background. Figures. I try to give myself an excuse to stand up and walk around every hour or two. Coffee is helpful. :-)

Like all things, it's a matter of balance. I'm tall (6'1") and if I didn't have good posture I'd be in trouble.

I see an epidemic of slouching people with incipient dowager's humps from constantly leaning over their smart phone...

...laura

Comment Identifying oneself (Score 1) 428

I reuse to use my passport as ID for any national activity. International, sure. That's what it's for. But I do not, repeat, do not need a passport to travel within my own country, or from one location to another in the U.S.A.

I usually use my pilot's license as ID when I check in. Canadian ones look like passports and have many of the same security features. Fine. Or so I thought once when a glubeshnik at Oakland International Airport started blankly and called his supervisor. Rather than argue I showed him my driver's license instead.

...laura

Comment Cashless in Canada (Score 1) 440

Canada has gone for debit cards in a big way. I hardly ever pay cash for anything.

Our local public transit system is rolling out a smartcard fare system. On my way to work maybe one person a day pays their fare in cash. Yes, TransLink can track where I ride the bus. And if they ever misuse that information I'll ditch my current Compass card and buy an unregistered anonymous one.

...laura

Comment Grids and landmarks (Score 1) 393

I too thought of my Maidenhead grid square (I'm typing this from CN89lg).

The most generally whacked-out addresses I've seen are in Costa Rica. No house numbers or anything, mail is addressed by landmarks. One hotel I've stayed at had the postal address "300 meters East of the Escazú Country Club, Old Highway to Santa Ana, Escazú, Costa Rica". Mail may be addressed with respect to any well-known (to locals, at least...) landmarks; I've seen stuff that referenced the town square, the bus station, even the local McDonald's.

...laura

Comment Re:Singular "they" (Score 2) 151

It's because this year transgender issues have really come into the public conciousness, and I've seen a number of mainstream media outlets publishing articles on the language surrounding them. The general public is becoming more aware and learning how to speak about transgender people and issues without accidentally being offensive.

I don't view this as a transgender issue. I view it as a needed word. At one time "he" was accepted as a generic third-person singular pronoun, but since few people born since about 1920 accept it as such, we needed a new word. Singular "they" fills that need.

...laura

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