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Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 1) 460

The worse thing that could happen to a view screen is that it gets so smashed up you can't resolve fine details through all the cracks (actually, the absolutely worse thing that could happen is that it ceases to exist, but at that point you've got other problems). But the fine details are hardly necessary for flying and landing.

The worse thing that could happen to a video feed is that the feed goes completely dead, in which case you will be literally flying blind. In that case, your only chance of survival is to eject.

Comment: Re:Interesting...but not 'new' (Score 1) 159

by steelfood (#47400699) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

The maintenance activities for the London tube or the NYC subway are likely also being planned and scheduled using some sort of similar system

I can't speak for London, but you'd be surprised about how backwaters the U.S. can be, especially in government organizations. When contracts are dragged out far beyond the initial bid (or even estimate, in a no-bid situation), it's more cost effective to do nothing and stick with paper and pencil. Check out the CityTime project if you want to see what happens to government contracts. It's an extreme case, certainly, but similar things happen on all scales, from the union workers to the contractor all the way up to management.

Comment: Re:I'm really missing Groklaw (Score 2) 220

by steelfood (#47274909) Attached to: US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

IANAL either, but I suspect there's a bit more to the word "generic" than merely commodity hardware. My understanding is that a generic computer is one that can be programmed to virtually do any task. So any software that runs on a CPU (or even a GPU these days) would be running on a generic computer, but hard drive firmware would not.

This reading would be more in line with some of the other cases, as it means that software by itself cannot be patented, but software that's tied to specific hardware and is specific to the way the hardware functions, can be patented.

But IANAL, so maybe the actual legal definition will be a little different.

Comment: Re:Serously? (Score 1) 398

by steelfood (#47268105) Attached to: Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

The bombs were not for the Japanese. They were expected to fight to the last man. The bombs were dropped as a show of force to Russia. With the European theater concluded, Russia was moving troops to the east in preparation for an invasion of Japan.

That the emperor of Japan used the bombs as an excuse to curb his generals was a huge bonus. it kept Russia out and the U.S. from having to invade.

Comment: Re:Logical Consequences (Score 3, Interesting) 398

by steelfood (#47268087) Attached to: Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

There are parts of your rather thoughtful assessment that I agree, and parts that I disagree with.

they fear even more a united democratic Korea that might (who knows?) have US troops stationed in it near the Chinese border.

I'm not sure that's the fear. A unified Korea, assuming from the South, would no longer require U.S. troop presence. And if the South managed to unify Korea, they'd be more likely to kick the U.S. troops out than to keep them there. The only reason the South Koreans tolerate the U.S. is because that keeps North Korea out. Keep in mind that South Korea (and Japan) are not grateful for the U.S. presence. They tolerate it and only because they have to. Taiwan is the only one who's amicable to the relationship, and they're growing closer and closer to the mainland every day (they'll still like Americans, but they know the money's in China). But there's no U.S. base in Taiwan either.

They don't trust North Korea to maybe not use a nuke against them in anger or by mistake as their missile systems might simply go the wrong way and blow up in China by accident.

You have to understand that China's need is economic growth at the moment. China is afraid of North Korea provoking war against the South. They're not so afraid of a unified Korea under the North regime if it just ended there. However, if the North ever took over the South, the next logical step would be to attack Japan. And this is especially true if North Korea had nukes. There would be absolutely no restraint from the rabid war dogs in the North against Japan. You do not understand hatred until you speak to a Korean about the Japanese (even the South Koreans, who are friendlier than their batshit crazy cousins up north).

Such an action (the war, obviously) would destabilize the region enormously. The U.S. would be involved. China would be involved. Russia would be involved. Even India and much of Western Europe would be dragged into the conflict. That's the last thing China wants to see, because there's a lot of risk there with little to no reward. The risk is greater U.S. or Soviet--I mean Russian--influence in the area after the war concludes, or even of MAD.

Even if North Korea magically discovers the ICBM and hits the U.S. with nukes, China would have lost, because the U.S. is really fueling the majority of China's economic growth. Now, when China has entered a period of economic self-sufficiency, their tune with regards to a nuclear North Korea may change. But for now, North Korea is a massive sore point for China.

the Kims aren't getting rid of their nukes because they believe that their family survival depends on it.

After Bush put Iran, North Korea, and Iraq in the so-called "Axis of Evil", are you surprised? Iran is also seeking nukes. And don't forget Pakistan, which is probably more unstable and more hostile to the U.S., was not included in this list for one very big, radioactive reason. The survival of the North Korean (as well as Iranian) state does depend on it. Hell, if Libya or Egypt or Syria had nukes, the western powers would have been helping the government, not helping rebels fight against it.

The only ways that North Korea is ever going to be nuclear free is that either the US is going to attack them and gamble that they can destroy their few nuclear missiles before they leave North Korean airspace or (much less likely) the regime will collapse quickly for some unforeseen reason and the new government will get rid of the nukes.

I'm not sure you get how other countries feel about the U.S., in particular those under the "Axis of Evil" label. The only way North Korea will not seek the bomb is if the U.S. implodes and collapses on itself. Full stop. Same with Iran.

Comment: Re:Chicago Blackhawks too? (Score 1) 646

by steelfood (#47267903) Attached to: Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

My understanding of the complaint is not necessarily that the term necessarily is derogatory, but that it references Native Americans in a non-PC manner. Remember when blacks became "African Americans" and whites "European American" or "Caucasian American". My recollection is that the complaint stems from that period of time. It doesn't help that "Redskins" has taken on an additional negative connoctation.

And the PC-ness is just one angle. Another is that actual Native Americans have no part in the ownership or management of the team, and do not and did not historically comprise a large part of the players either. It's like calling your local sports team the "Germans" or the "English" (and there is a team, Vikings, that's in this vein, but Viking descendants couldn't care less at this point). The final claim is that the names are disrespectful to actual Native Americans and their heritage, and combined with the use of mascots paints their culture in a negative light.

Essentially, the real fight is not against what may or may not be derogatory terms in sports team naming, but against associating sports teams with Native Americans (and using their often fictional and villanously romanticised depictions as mascots no less). Redskins is just the low hanging fruit because the terms has become derogatory.

Comment: Re:Conflict between Japaneese and Chineese (Score 1) 398

by steelfood (#47266567) Attached to: Why China Is Worried About Japan's Plutonium Stocks

China seems to be the one annexing islands and redefining boundaries.

The "Japanese" islands were in fact Chinese up until WWII. After WWII, the U.S. gave Japan islands that they didn't originally have any claim to.

As for Vietnam, the situation is a bit murkier, as those islands have been disputed for years. There've been treaties, and various talks, but nothing's definitive.

But China also has disputed territory with India, who is a nuclear power. China's also a bit sore about India's friendly treatment with the exiled Tibetans, especially the Dali Lama.

Yet, it'd be a vastly different reaction if Japan built their own bomb. Even South Korea would be opposed to this, while North Korea might outright use it as an excuse to invade (the U.S. invaded Iraq for similar reasons but with much less ability to justify). And let's not forget Japan's most powerful and oldest enemy, Russia. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd have something to say about a U.S.-friendly nuclear power knocking on their back door.

I suspect people here are trivializing East Asian and in general Asian politics, in the same way people think they can trivialize Middle Eastern politics. It's just not that simple.

Comment: Re:Peso vs. Dollar (Score 1) 108

by steelfood (#47257145) Attached to: Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

My argument isn't that the one- and two-bar $ are variations that deserve two code points, but that they are inideed separate glyphs that deserve separate code points. There's historical as well as current cultural precedent for this. For Unicode to aspire to represent all written symbols (especially now that it's taken on emoji), this treatment of the two different $ continues to baffle me.

My point about the half- and full-width glyph variations are that they exist. I just find it odd that a character with what I think is a stronger case for a separate code point is completely marginalized.

Comment: Peso vs. Dollar (Score 2) 108

by steelfood (#47251237) Attached to: Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

It's great they're adding new currency symbols for new currencies, but there's still a long-standing issue of the $ with one bar and $ with two bars. It's currently still considered a stylistic difference, but the scope of Unicode has evolved to account for every glyph known to man. Certainly, one- and two-bar $ can hardly be said to be the same glyph within this new context.

Especially considering that there are already stylistic duplicates (half-width and full-width latin forms vs. plain latin), I can't seem to understand the justification behind letting one- and two-bar $, which are historically separate glyphs, be underrepresented.

Comment: Re:Just imagine "if" (Score 1, Interesting) 347

by steelfood (#47251155) Attached to: Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

If only they could restore those lost emails from the Bush era while they're at it.

I'm not trying to be partisan; e-mails are constantly being "lost" in any controversy irrespective of political affiliation, and I think the NSA should do their patriotic duty and help recover these important bits of evidence for congress like they otherwise normally do for the FBI.

Comment: Re:It's written in by hand (Score 1) 142

While I mostly agree with you, there is a market that P.F. Changs is filling that many local places cannot. Unless you're living in an area that has a good sized Chinese population, most "real" chinese food places serve items like fried chicken and egg drop soup. The rest of the menu is probably going to suck just as bad or worse.

High end Chinese restaurants is hard to do, mostly because the majority of Americans (to no fault of their own) have long since associated Chinese food with cheap, and the "high end" Chinese food in the U.S. just doesn't cut it quality-wise for the local Chinese population (especially compared to what's found in Hong Kong or even Vancouver or Toronto) for that price. My point being, there really aren't many places that can support a decent local Chinese restaurant. But where they are present, they're certainly preferable food-wise to P.F. Changs.

As for why Chinese people haven't started a chain like P.F. Changs already (that serves more authentic Chinese food, say), well, that's largely a cultural thing that would require several books to explain. The closest thing to that is Panda Express, and we all know what types of food they serve.

Comment: Re:So far what I lost... (Score 1) 396

by steelfood (#47236971) Attached to: One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

I've had pressed CDs that began developing holes in the reflective layer starting from the outside edge. Those defects are irrecoverable.

Scratched CDs and DVDs are not as big of a deal these days as they used to be. Really good drives can handle them without losing or corrupting data, though the drive would slow down over the scratched areas, so if the disc was bad, the read speeds would drop to almost nothing. There used to be a really good site that did incredibly detailed reviews of optical drives, including taking black sharpies to media. Not sure if it's around anymore.

But honestly, who uses optical media anymore? Especially after the HD-DVD/Blu-ray debacle, I think everyone's turned off by optical media and prefers streaming now.

Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad. -- Rob Pike

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