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Comment "I like to watch." (Score 4, Interesting) 232

"I like to watch." - Quote from Chauncy Gardener (Peter Sellers) in the movie 'Being There'.

Many people leave the TV on all day, some all night. Some have multiple TVs on in different rooms. These people tend to be home alone and their television is a 'companion'. They like the stream of voices, especially happy voices like from game shows. They usually don't actually watch a show, almost never from beginning to end. They get sound bites, they see an occasional pleasant scene as they vacuum the floor or wash dishes or talk on the phone.

Clearly these are not /. people, but they vastly outnumber us. They are the demographic that advertisers want to reach. TV ads slip in to the distracted mind unnoticed where they can have maximum impact on the subconscious.

The future of television for the masses of dull ignorant people is exactly what we have. What we have had since B&W Jackie Gleason shows. Lots of easily accessible mindless entertainment for mindless people. Thank goodness for some new producers who offer more stimulating fare.

Comment angst over old tech . . . (Score 1) 246

Apple is among the worst for this situation. I believe that almost every Apple device today is sealed and unserviceable. The disk drive in my old iMac died years ago but it is such a pain to get inside I just use an external drive. I'm a hardware/software hacker and I like things that I can mod and upgrade. Sorry, that's so last century. Unfortunately the time I spend hacking is not as productive as the time I spend using my devices as a tool to get real work done.

On the upside, every time I bring my stuff to the Apple store for repair or other problems; they fix it for free. I've never paid a cent. Not only that but I get useful information from the Apple Geniuses in the process.

The Apple devices are a consumer product, like a toaster or printer ... they are mostly disposable in the first world market that Apple serves and considered to be a temporary step in product design and functionality. It is assumed that their lifespan is limited, and rightly so. If we keep our 10 year old tech and expect it to serve our current requirements we are not optimizing our experience.

It's expensive to enjoy cutting edge tech because it will quickly become obsolescent. It's not because the manufacturer made it unserviceable, it's because it's old. Give it to your parents and get the latest shit. If you are a true nerd, go ahead and fiddle with the old devices; but if you are a productive person just use what serves your needs today and tomorrow.

Comment consider silver colloids . . . (Score 1) 137

For thousands of years silver was the antibiotic of choice. Unfortunately nobody can patent silver, so pharmaceutical companies opted for other methods of germ fighting.

According to sciencemag.org "Silver ions perform their deadly work by punching holes in bacterial membranes and wreaking havoc once inside. They bind to essential cell components like DNA, preventing the bacteria from performing even their most basic functions."

In particular a recent article reveals that dead bacteria containing silver ions cause massive death among neighboring bacteria creating a zombie effect. This exciting news for sick people will probably fail to impress the medical establishment because silver still isn't patentable or profitable. http://news.sciencemag.org/bio...

Recent studies of silver suggest that it is not as effective as some would have you believe. Again, who pays for those studies--the medical establishment--can you believe their conclusions? They begrudgingly admit that silver is harmless when used sensibly. Corporations in the US have only one mandate under the law--provide a profit for their shareholders. Is this the correct attitude for a medical institution?

Comment money talks . . . (Score 1) 193

There are forces in the nuclear equation that are greater than simple megawatts. These are economic forces. Throughout the energy industry are forces and counter forces trying to determine where our energy will come from. The players include governments and lobbyists from the oil, gas, coal, nuclear, solar and wind industries. You and I don't have a lobbyist. So what will be financed is what will be profitable for the most powerful lobbyist. (Assuming 'free' market conditions.)

The utility companies have an interest too. You and I might like a microwave oven sized fusion generator in our basement or our automobile, but the utility company can't profit from that and the government can't tax our consumption. As a result, only huge fusion generators will be built permitting a continuing monopoly in the energy industry.

Comment Re:Generally happy with Cox (Score 1) 175

If you have a choice, consider Cox.

Cox was family owned until fairly recently. As a corporation, little has changed from the users' POV. They seem to score well at DSLReports.com and SamKnows.com. My experience has always (~20 years) been excellent--speed, tech support, reliability, billing questions, etc.

There was a substantial free speed increase several months ago, and then a substantial price increase about 2 months ago. Still better than any other ISP I'm aware of.

Comment Re:It takes multiple fire fighters to control a ho (Score 1) 91

Not only that, but 2700 feet of pressurized fire hose probably has a significant weight even before you open the valve. If 4 feet of hose hold one gallon, that would be roughly 5,000 pounds of water (not counting the weight of the hose itself or the butterfly resting on the handle). 200 horsepower is not enough. Furthermore that bulky contraption is not nearly as sexy as the ancient jetpack that James Bond used.

Comment think about the children ! (Score 2) 223

Yes, what about the poor children with their sensitive hearing, and dogs, cats, chickens and cockroaches ... An advertiser who elects to disrupt their lives with horrible noises should be ashamed (and sued).

Hey, don't pretend that you haven't any chickens in your house. We can hear them via the microphone installed in your thermostat, we can see them from your television and we can smell them via your smoke detector.

Comment Re:more stats please . . . (Score 1) 161

For those who haven't seen a modern passenger plane or most any other plane, you should know that it is not easy for the pilot to see the ground (where lasers might come from). Some reports say that 'the cabin was lit up' from a laser (because it hit the ceiling of the cabin), but it is very difficult to strike a pilot's eyes from a ground based laser unless the plane is banking sharply in your favor and the pilot is not looking at her instruments.

Additionally, the vast majority of lasers available to the public sell for much less than $10 and are similar to the lasers in your DVD player. My right eye has been blasted with far more powerful lasers in order to repair the retina. Without those lasers it would be blind.

That leaves the dreaded 'terrorists' that are everywhere these days. No doubt they have super-duper nuclear lasers to destroy planes and pilots. Will legislation prevent that happening?

Comment Uber uber Alles (Score 1) 83

"A prefixal use of uber, adverb and adjective, with the basic meaning "over, beyond."..."

Soon we can expect Uber insurance company, Uber auto manufacturing, Uber legal defense fund, Uber uniform company, and special Uber discounts at Disney World, all for Uber drivers (who may or may not be employees).

Comment Re:Such as occurred in the 1960s (Score 2) 99

"space race, such as occurred in the 1960s"

The import of that all out effort was greater than Columbus discovering the New World, greater than most anything ever done by humans outside of war. It required masses of money, masses of brilliant scientists and engineers, vast numbers of sub contractors and a government and population that gave wholehearted support.

And it was a death defying journey for crazy humans who were willing to risk it all for science. Do you see those elements in today's 'space race'?

Comment Acrobat is your friend . . . (Score 1) 305

Not sure I understand the problem. I frequently face forms that are not digitized. My handwriting is terrible so I scan the pages of the paper form and OCR them, whip out Acrobat Pro and convert them to a fillable form. Then I correct any errors and save the blank form. This blank fillable PDF form can be used by anyone on any standard computer. Any data entered via keyboard is easily legible and can even be spell checked. Similar forms are used by many government agencies and millions of businesses.

Next, I type out whatever data is requested of me, add an image of my signature, and email it to whoever requested it. Altogether this takes ~2 hours because I am not proficient with Acrobat.

I suspect that with practice I could do 10-18 forms a day depending on complexity.
I could probably design and produce a form from scratch within one day.
So what's the problem at Immigration Services?

Comment Re:speak truth to power ? (Score 1) 351

So, in this political season in the US, can we believe anything that the candidates say?

Trump and Carson seem quite candid and frequently reveal their lack of presidential quality. Clinton, and the rest of the republicans, is scripted and it's impossible to know what she/they might actually think or do as a president. That leaves the outsider, Bernie Sanders, has no chance at the White House, partly because of his honest candor.

Obama campaigned on certain assurances which have failed to materialize. He seemed a 'man of the people' until he neglected to address the illegal immigrant problem and supported the trade agreement driven by the corporate elite and failed to close the inhumane prison in Cuba. There was no way to predict his actual actions from his promises as a candidate.

We want diplomacy in important sensitive discussions, but at some level we want honesty and openness from our elected officials. Can we have both?

Comment speak truth to power ? (Score 1) 351

The problem with this is that there is a universal 'gentleman's agreement' among world and corporate leaders that they never say what is actually on their mind. Public statements must be carefully scripted and reviewed by the advisers; they must be designed to obscure any element of truth and cover it with vaguely bold assertions.

Nikita Khrushchev, Mayor Daley, Donald Trump and a few others live in infamy (or ridicule) because they dared speak their minds:

"I once said, "We will bury you," and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you." - Khrushchev

"The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder." "We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." - Richard J. Daley

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas