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Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

Change (1) to "Following too close for the given conditions," and both (3) and (4) are dealt with. If conditions are such that your stopping distance will be increased, you are responsible for leaving a correspondingly larger amount of space between yourself and the car in front of you. There is, perhaps, an edge case in freeway driving: someone changes lanes in front of you, then slams on their brakes, but that isn't really relevant to approaching a stop sign.

Comment Re:Infinity (Score 1) 1067 1067

Well, I think that it could be argued that the *fundamental* theorem of algebra is more fundamental (that's the rule that, when vastly oversimplified, states that polynomials have roots). That being said, the identity that you propose is, as pointed out by the GP, an identity derived from properties of multiplication. It is not really all that fundamental, and one of the hypotheses of the identity is that x is not zero.

Comment Re:Infinity (Score 1) 1067 1067

In the one-point compactification of the real (or complex) numbers, it makes sense to assign the value infinity to x/0. This is both meaningful and has value (particularly in complex analysis). That being said, the original question is asinine. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of both mathematics and programming.

Comment Re:How does one tell the difference? (Score 1) 103 103

It can be difficult to tell the difference between rocks that have been modified by people and rocks that have been shaped by natural processes. That being said, there are things to look for.

First is material. From the photographs in the linked article, it appears that the purported tool is made from some kind of fine-grained silicious material (high in silicon, rather than magnesium and iron, as evidenced by the color), whereas the surrounding rock appears to be basalt (mafic, therefor darker in color). If you work in an area, you get to know the geology of the region, and where rocks come from. Seeing rocks far from their sources often indicates human curation. That being said, it seems unlikely to me that anyone would bother to curate a general tool like the ones photographed, so that probably isn't going to be a huge factor in this case.

Second, after seeing hundreds or thousands of stone tools, you get good at identifying them. It is kind of like chicken sexing---it may be difficult to quantify *exactly* why something is a tool, but people get really good at it, none the less. Again, this isn't the whole story, but it gives you an idea about why one might pick up a rock in the field. People who have a lot of experience and training are more likely to recognize potential tools.

Third, there are morphological indications of human modification. Rocks that fall and break naturally tend to have random patterns of flaking, whereas intentionally modified rocks will show flaking that is concentrated in a particular place. This isn't foolproof (indeed, there were purported pre-Clovis tools found in California a few decades ago that, upon closer examination, turned out to be naturally formed), but, again, it is an indication.

Fourth, it is often possible to tell a tool from other contextual clues: is it near a hearth? a pile of animal bones? other easily identified tools? Again, given the age, this is unlikely to be useful in this context, but you asked a more general question, so this is part of a more general answer.

Finally, there are lab tests that can help. One can check for residue (i.e. blood or plant reside that might indicate use in preparing food), or microflaking that might indicate use, for example. These are things that you can't see in the field, and almost certainly can't see in a photograph that was taken in the field.

Comment Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 1) 587 587

Yes, I read that too. I think that you are reading way too much into what is written there. It seems pretty clear to me that he is planning on casting his own ballot on the merits of the works nominated, but that he understands those that would vote against the sad puppy slate on the theory that intentionally disruptive behaviour should not be encouraged. Moreover, even if I granted your interpretation, that would be Scalzi pushing against a given slate, rather than pushing his own slate of nominees, which is what was claimed by ageoffri in the first post to which I replied.

Comment Re:Yeah good luck with that... (Score 3, Informative) 587 587

Citation, please? I've noticed that Scalzi leaves a thread open on his website where people can push their own recommendations or slates, but I don't think that I have ever seen him endorse any particular slate of candidates. Again, my recollection may be flawed and my quick look at the Google may not have turned up whatever you have in mind, so I am more than willing to be shown that I am wrong---but for that to happen, I would need you to point out where Scalzi has posted such a slate (as I seem to be unable to find it myself).

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