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Comment: Re: Really ? (Score 1) 234 234

The moon has no atmosphere.

I remember, almost thirty years ago, running across a book with that title. It was the story of a girl (about fourteen, I think) whose family relocated to a lunar colony because her father got a good job up there. The title is a bit of a play on words, of course, but both meanings were appropriate and it wasn't a bad book.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 133 133

A robot can only do what it's designed to do. It can only use the tools or probes you built into it unless you've added to the cost, weight and complexity of the device by giving it the ability to reconfigure itself, and even then, there are a limited number of configurations it can use. A human, with a tool kit can swap things around however needed, limited only by what's available and can stop in the middle of an experiment if needed to record some unexpected phenomenon. You can't do things like that with a robot because by the time the controllers back here see what's happening, it's too late.

Comment: Re:What is the point? (Score 1) 133 133

What do we get from sending a meat robot to mars, other than the sort of daredevil glory?

We get something on the scene that's able to adapt to the situation, take advantage of the unexpected and do things on its own initiative. I don't know about you, but I find the Risk well worth the potential benefits.

Comment: Re:Because titan has ice, pluto isn't even a plane (Score 4, Informative) 98 98

One of the things accomplished by taking Voyager I behind Titan was a direct measurement of the thickness and density of Titan's atmosphere. They did this, btw, by measuring how much of the probe's signal was absorbed before it was completely occluded and by how long it took the signal to come back to normal strength after it came out on the other side. And to show you how good the navigation was, closest approach was less than two radii out, meaning that if it had been cut in half, Voyager would have collided with Titan instead of just passing closely. I know this, because I spent some time at JPL in the mid 1980s and am slightly acquainted with the man who came up with the idea and did most of the work involved.

Comment: Re:well done. (Score 2) 289 289

Back when the (then) newest version of Windows would reboot when there was a problem instead of giving you a BSOD with the option to kill whatever caused it and try to continue, I had a friend who was a senior developer. He actually insisted that if something went badly wrong, he wanted his computer to reboot right then and there. He didn't care what program had crashed, he didn't want a chance to save his work, he just wanted it to reboot without asking. I never did understand his attitude, but I can only guess that a lot of people must have shared it because there wasn't the type of mass protest that I would have expected. Clearly, when it comes to Windows, spontaneous rebooting has been acceptable behavior for decades.

Comment: Capital of bad drivers (Score 1) 203 203

If it's true that there are more traffic fatalities every year in San Diego than there are murders, it must be the world capital of bad drivers. Maybe they should be putting some of this money into improving their Driver's Education and Driver's Training classes instead of trying to make it harder for people to use the streets.

Comment: Re:Coming to a neck near you ... (Score 1) 71 71

Not that good of a location, hard to see and easy to be covered.

Whoosh! That's a reference to the TV show Dark Angel. All of the gene-engineered "soldiers" from Manticore had barcodes on the back of their neck and it wasn't a tattoo, either; if you removed that section of skin, the barcode would still be there when it grew back.

Comment: Re:No, not so much (Score 1) 255 255

Microsoft products are simply a disaster and require years of experience in order to use them.

And there's a very good reason for it: vendor lock-in. Once you've gone with Microsoft and its products, there's a very long, expensive learning curve before your employees are proficient and productive. It takes an exceptionally brave manager to admit that they were wrong and that all of that money the company spent on retraining was wasted, especially when it's easier (and possibly cheaper) to stick with what you have because "everybody knows how to use it."

Comment: Why I don't use Google any more (Score 1) 424 424

For several years now, Google has taken to ignoring all of the punctuation in my query to "give me more results," when I added them to get me less results and avoid wasting time wading through page after page of irrelevancy. Yes, I know that I can force Google to Do It My Way, but only after the fact and in any event, I shouldn't have to. Google knows how to give me exactly what I asked for so why doesn't it Just Do The Right Thing. Google may not be doing evil, but it's forgotten that if you don't please your users they won't come back and there won't be any ad revenue. Personally, I've switched to startpage.com, not so much for privacy issues but because it returns the kind of results I want, not what gives them the most advertisements.

Comment: Re:I'm perfectly fine with this... (Score 2) 161 161

Well, no, legalising the blasting of such people with a shotgun would probably be a very effective way to protect the privacy rights of those who don't want the cameras on them.

I'd have no problem with that, provided that it was limited to practicing politicians who needed killing.

Comment: Re:Congratulations... (Score 1) 161 161

I can't speak for anybody but myself, but I'd have a lot more respect for them if they'd stuck it out and fought for their principles, even though they knew it was a lost cause. What they did, essentially, was give up without even trying, leaving the impression that they didn't consider their principles worth fighting for.

Comment: More fit, too. (Score 1) 409 409

Americans didn't worry about fitness until JFK started talking about it, and it took years to catch on. Today's adults are far more fit than their parents were and have more muscle mass. That's going to make them heavier, but not fatter. Yes, there are probably more tubs of lard out there now, but the fitness freaks and body builders are helping bring the average up as well. (And, as the BMI doesn't take muscle mass into account, most of them are considered obese even though they have very little body fat.)

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.

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