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Comment Re:100% Consensus among scientific organizations (Score 2) 292

Yep. IIRC George W Bush, who is hardly known to be an anti-oil liberal, ultimately ended up agreeing that AGW was a real thing that needed to be dealt with. This was a man who literally gained much of his power from his connections to the oil industry, more so than the majority of AGW-denying Republicans.

There's a point at which the more serious the consequences, the less you can afford to grandstand and tell people what they want to hear. Just as we see every Presidential candidate split into three virtually completely different people at every election - the party's candidate during the primaries, the centrist during the main part of the election, and the establishment figure post-election - we see some politicians, from time to time, feel obliged to split from their base on key issues.

That doesn't always mean they're right. Obama turning from Guantanamo-closer to drone-assassin and whistleblower-hunter overnight seems more to me about preventing himself from having problems with the security services, or possibly fear of being blamed if there's another high profile terror attack, than anything about it being the right thing to do. But seeing people from Thatcher to Bush acknowledge AGW when there was no establishment pressure to do so, and when the consequences of AGW were unlikely to be felt (or, if felt, were unlikely to result in them being blamed) during their regimes is instructive.

Comment another approach ... (Score 1) 158

another approach is to build a fibre infrastructure that providers can lease on a per-premise basis. then they all have use of the same network (no basis for those "road rage" lawsuits) and the city still gets the advantage of being a place with speed. "per-premise" means one home can have one internet provider while their neighbor has another.

Comment Re:Why not infect Naegleria fowleri with Mimivirus (Score 1) 146

Naegleria fowleri is close to 100% fatal,

It's close to 100% fatal once symptoms present (and are further successfully diagnosed as n. fowleri). There are confirmed instances of signs that some of the population has unknowingly gotten into their systems, so it may be significantly less than 100% fatal even when infected.

So the number to eye is about 3.5 deaths per year. So it's either the case that exposure is actually very low or else that most that get infected never even know. Pneumonia on the other hand has a much higher death count.

Comment It is horrific, however... (Score 5, Interesting) 146

" 97% of people whose brains start swelling"

So basically, if you start showing the signs, you are probably gone. However, IIRC, they found a fairly large portion of the population actually has antibodies for N. fowleri, indicating that getting infected may not be that uncommon, just that most infected are asymptomatic (or maybe mistook it for some more trivial ailment).

It would be interesting to also know the percentage of exposed who do not experience brain swelling...

Comment Re:Too early (Score 1) 32

a Clinton/Bush matchup pretty much goes Clinton's way since her husband's baggage is easier to tote around than Jeb's brother's baggage. And that's the analysis for a close race!

And you're wrong because Clinton's baggage is not her husband's. Bill's popular, Hill isn't. Jeb has some baggage from his brother, but they're looking at the candidates in totality.

Jeb is a moderate former governor of Florida. Clinton is a scandal-beset senator and former Secretary of State. Jeb is neither loved nor hated, he just "is". Clinton is widely seen as dishonest, scheming, and lacking empathy.

Both have associated baggage from family members, but those family members aren't the people standing. Bill Clinton remains wildly popular in most of the US, if his "baggage" were the issue, Hillary Clinton wouldn't be unpopular.

Look, I know Obama is a centrist technocrat, but jesus, the last eight years haven't been that bad for liberalism in the US. For fuck's sake, you people literally got the best possible candidate and president a liberal could hope for in the climate of 2008 and all you've done is bitch bitch bitch, instead of trying to seize any of that momentum to build for better things.

What. The. Everloving. Fuck?

We've bitched because we're still stuck here with the torture, war on whistleblowers, and other Bush-era bullshit that he was supposed to end. Gitmo's still open. We withdrew from Iraq, but only in terms that we were going to anyway. We started a whole bunch of new wars, in Syria and Libya to name but two. Bush gave Saddam Hussein a show travel. Obama extra-judicially ordered the execution of Bin Laden. Obama extra-judicially ordered many other executions too, including drone strikes that have killed unknown numbers of bystanders. It's tempting to say we continued Bush's presidency with Obama, but it's worse than that in reality, we continued Cheney's vice presidency too.

Does any of that sound liberal to you? Seriously?

And what do we have to show for it? Obamacare? That, if you remember, is the policy we keep pointing out to Republicans is:

1. A minor shakeup of what we had already.
2. THEIR FUCKING PLAN FOR HEALTHCARE. The thing THEY were going to implement.

...because when I hear this patronizing regurgitated bullshit from Obamapologists, that's what it comes down to. Obamacare. Whoopiefuckingdoo. A "Universal Healthcare" system that's just as shitty as we had before, and is aimed primarily at reducing the deficit and protecting hospitals and insurers from financial problems more than it's aimed at providing universal healthcare. Which it doesn't actually provide, though, thankfully, the small bright glimmer of light in the otherwise dark cloud, it does at least reduce the number of people without health insurance.

But our government still murders and tortures people. And we hound them across the world for whistleblowing. The social problems America seems to suffer from seem to be worse than ever. We have no fucking improvements in infrastructure because given a golden opportunity to, Obama decided to run down the center and ask for too little, knowing he wouldn't even get that.

Is Clinton going to invade Iran? She will if a Bush-level Republican would do the same, I guarantee it. She'll fuck up on infrastructure spending, spend absurd amounts of time trying to balance the budget for no good reason whatsoever, she'll ignore social issues just like Obama because, hey, she doesn't need to, right? And she'll do what she can to impress the political establishment by obsessing over the security state and ensuring those damned whistleblowers get what's coming to them.

Maybe ultimately you have a different definition of liberalism to mine, but as I've said before, Obama's purpose as president appears to have been to tell us that elections don't matter, that no matter how liberal someone appears before being elected, we'll still end up being fucked over. The country will continue to drift right.

It's been a terrible eight years for liberalism. Utterly and completely terrible. We still had HOPE in 2008. We don't even have that any more.

Comment Re:Misleading title - didn't pass Windows 8 (Score 1) 244

I was very excited by 10 until I installed it on my tablet and found that it was something other than an updated Windows. I definitely think the GP should hold off using it if they're happy with Windows 7, which was a high quality operating system.


1. It's bug ridden.
2. Can't comment on performance vs Windows 7, but on my tablet it's awful compared to Windows 8.1. UI latency is terrible.
3. Still insists on tying use of apps to Microsoft accounts.
4. Sizable amount of default UI seems to be constantly pushing you to buy or download things.

10 is "big" and has some nice features, but I really wouldn't push anyone to upgrade unless they've test driven it first and like it.

Comment Re:By what measure, success? (Score 1) 244

It would be difficult NOT to image Windows 10 not achieving at LEAST a 5% market-share when ALL of the installed copies of Windows 7 and 8 out there harass users to upgrade to 10 for free.

But... and it's a big but... not all the installed copies of Windows 7 and 8 harass users to upgrade to 10 for free. Or even offer the option.

To be harassed, you:

1. Need to have a PC that's allowed to upgrade automatically. That eliminates virtually all corporate versions of Windows, which is disproportionately high amongst Windows users.

2. Need to have a PC where the user clicked on the little Windows notification icon, and went through the steps needed to "reserve" a copy of Windows 10. That's not everyone. That's probably not even the majority of the Windows users not covered by (1) above given most users have no idea what that little icon is. For them (people like my wife) the only Windows 10ism they'll ever see is something in a notification bar they usually never look at.

3. Need to have a PC that's "ready" to install. My tablet notified me after two weeks. A week or so later, my main gaming PC notified me that it was ready. They're clearly still pushing it out.

(1) and (3) are dealbreakers beyond the user's control. You could possibly argue that (2) is where the user has made some choices that relate to their interest in Windows 10.

5%, in that context, isn't bad. It's not great either, but it's certainly respectable.

Comment Re:To be expected (Score 1) 244

Yeah that link was posted to Slashdot a few days ago. It's mostly inaccurate concerning Mac OS X - the Dock, for example, was a NEXTSTEP (capitals deliberate) feature from the mid-eighties, for instance. The nearest vaguely Windows 95ish thing you can say about the OS X dock vs older OpenStep docks was that it moved to the bottom of the screen. And the comments about buttons to close/minimize etc originating in Windows 95 are completely ludicrous. It's like he never used a GUI before Windows 95. (I think Mac OS X did copy Alt-Tab though, so there's that, if he'd bothered to mention it...)

Windows 95 was a significant step forward for PC users, but it didn't really do much that wasn't out there on other platforms already. The Start button was mostly a new concept, but Amigans, GEM users, and Mac users didn't really see anything we hadn't seen before.

Comment Re:Not normal driving. (Score 1) 437

And, I'm sorry, but the driver with his right turn signal on who swoops across two lanes and turns left ... or the ones who think they can use the oncoming lane because there's something in their lane ... or who randomly brake because they can see a cat a half mile away ... or cyclists who do crazy and random shit ... or any number of crazy things you can see on a daily basis ... all of these things will create situations in which the autonomous car utterly fails to do the right thing.

Your pessimistic prediction is based on a misunderstanding of how autonomous cars are programmed.

You're imagining that the autonomous car's programming is based on a legal model -- i.e. that it is assuming that other cars will always follow the law and do the right thing according to the DMV handbook. And you (correctly) infer that a program based on that assumption would often fail in the real world, since other drivers sometimes do crazy or illegal things.

Fortunately, Google's engineers aren't stupid, and they understand that problem also. Which is why they don't program their cars to rely on that assumption. Rather, they program their cars to assume only that other cars will follow only the laws of physics -- for example, they can safely assume that a car will not accelerate from 0mph to 150mph in one second, but they cannot safely assume that a car will stop at a red light.

Approaching the problem at that level is not only more reliable (since unlike the driving code, it's impossible to break the laws of physics) but also easier (since the laws of physics are simpler and easier to quantify than the US driving code, and they are MUCH easier than trying to predict human drivers' psychology). An autonomous car avoiding other cars on a real street isn't much different than a bot avoiding enemy missiles in a video game -- in both cases, the program knows the missiles' current positions, their velocities, and the possible ways in which they could accelerate/decelerate/change-direction if they chose to do so -- and it plans and executes its own actions accordingly. It's not trivial, and it's not guaranteed to avoid every possible accident -- but it's not rocket science, either. Remember that to succeed, the car doesn't have to be God-like in its abilities, only an order of magnitude or so better than the average human driver.

None of this is to say that the autonomous car doesn't need to understand the rules of the road -- but its understanding of the law is used to guide its own actions, not to make assumptions about the actions of the other cars.

Comment Re:Even if you opt into HTML5? (Score 1) 189

I'd like example URLs so I can try them on my PC and in the Firefox browser on my Android tablet.

I'll let you know, I've "opted in" on all my browsers but frequently, for some reason, get videos delivered via Flash instead.

Contradiction in terms.

There are degrees of terribleness. The current HTML5 DRM system, which requires each browser on each platform independently support each third party DRM scheme essentially means that content providers get to dictate which operating system and browser you use.

To compare that to Flash, which works on every platform that Flash is available for, is absurd.

Comment Re:Poor example (Score 1) 437

I imagine that most people occasionally get into this sort of Mexican standoff with a car, in which neither driver is quite sure whether the other driver is going to go first or is planning to wait and go second.

When two humans are involved, the standoff can be quickly resolved with a hand gesture (not the one-fingered kind; I mean either a "thank you" wave if you want to go first, or a "go ahead" motion if you want them to)

I wonder if it would be worthwhile to put some kind of display on the front of the autonomous car that would allow it to communicate something similar? There is no reason (other than minimizing cost) for a self-driving car to be inscrutable.

Comment Re:Too early (Score 1) 32

Be careful dismissing Republican candidates as clowns during a primary. They always look like clowns then.

Nobody wanted Romney or McCain near anything until they won the nominations either... I think it's a bad idea to read too much into Republican dislike for their choices at the moment, they have a horrible habit of backing the nominee even if they've spend the last eight years saying what a terrible person that nominee was. They'll do it grudgingly, but they'll do it.

Now, that leads us to a likely contest between two McCains: Clinton and (Bush/Christie/whatever) and that's genuinely hard to predict. I'm inclined though to suggest Jeb Bush would win against Hillary Clinton. It'd be tight, but while Bush looks like an out-of-touch rich twit and has the nominal albatross, Clinton also looks out of touch and is widely considered (rightly or wrongly) dishonest.

My sense is that Clinton vs Christie would probably be a Clinton win, for obvious reasons.

The other wildcard is Rubio: other than waffling on immigration, what is he known for? If he can survive the primaries and avoid looking too ideologically right wing, he'll be able to define himself during the election campaign itself, which is a very useful campaign edge that few of the other candidates have.

But like I said, I'm not 100% convinced it'll be Clinton at this point. She's still the most likely, but - well, I'm not going to vote for her in the primaries. God knows who I'll vote for, but something has to happen to the Democrats to swing them back left, or else they'll continue to be "centrist" media puppets for the rest of eternity.

Comment Re:Flash is dead, long live Flash! (Score 2) 189

That's some wishful thinking. If it's dead, how is it that most video sites insist on using it? Where is the support on - forget all browsers, just the big four - for a common real time streaming protocol in HTML5?

From what I can figure out, the only major video site that's switched to HTML5 - and THEN only for most, not all, videos, is YouTube (and some clones of YouTube.) Hulu, Amazon, et al, are still using Flash. Support for iDevices and Android isn't via HTML5, it's via specialized apps, essentially going from a generic cross platform proprietary system to per-platform super-proprietary systems.

Flash isn't dead. It's old, and wants to retire, and everyone wants it to retire, but it's the only one in the office who knows how to manage the creaky old systems we still use, and HTML5 is the new hire we refuse to send on courses to learn "real time streaming" and other things Flash does all the time.

Pretending Flash is dead isn't going to kill Flash. Putting pressure on Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple to include HLS (and other standardized streaming formats) in their browsers will help, as will demanding the browsers cooperate on a DRM system that isn't the current "Attractive to content providers, terrible for everyone else" crapfest.

Comment Re:Dangerous, stupid lies. (Score 1) 616

Huh? Here is the 2nd paragraph of the linked site. It certainly does refute the post above. I think your reading comprehension needs some work:

"Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment on which the text is written to the period between AD 568 and 645 with 95.4% accuracy. The test was carried out in a laboratory at the University of Oxford. The result places the leaves close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632."

Note that "AD 568 to 645" is different than the Slashdot article lead which says "545 AD and 568".

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.