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Comment: Re:The best on the industry (Score 1) 108

by Quirkz (#49834947) Attached to: Valve Introduces Steam Refunds In Advance of Summer Sale

72 hours? Hah. Recently for me it was about two weeks. I mean, yeah, they autoreplied to the ticket immediately, and I got a computer-generated useless response half an hour later. But once I responded to that it was two weeks, and when that didn't work, it was two more weeks for another go-round.

Now they did apologize a little, and they said they were working on dealing with one really big backlog, so maybe it's not always that bad, but I was pretty unimpressed.

Comment: Re:structuring to hide crimes or using your money (Score 4, Interesting) 368

by Rei (#49832139) Attached to: Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny?

Did you read what I wrote? The fact that he tried to hide what he did with his money is not a crime. Your pointing this out means nothing as I made the exact same comment. But it is a simple fact that making suspicious financial transactions triggers investigations, as they should. The police can and should investigate when it looks like people are trying to launder money. And then he made false statements to the police during the investigation, which is a crime. You never have the right to lie to the police, even if you feel you've done nothing wrong.

It's his bed that he's made and he has to lie in it.

The stupid thing is all he had to do was plead the fifth. Which any lawyer would have advised him to do. But he was so concerned with trying to sweep this thing under the rug that he didn't want to do anything that might make it look like he had something to hide and decided that lying to the police was the best option.

Comment: Re:My lawn (Score 2) 415

Be careful with water. Don't get me wrong, I plan to incorporate water features into my house. But humidity has profoundly negative effects on many aspects of housing, from the walls to your furniture to your books and so forth, and a water feature with inadequate circulation is a good recipe for high humidity. In a bad case (as a plant nut I've had this happen), in a cold winter it can make its way through the ceiling and the insulation and freeze out on the roof, and then when it warms up melt back into your house.

Water can be nice, but don't skimp on the ventilation! :)

Comment: Re:Retractable Outlets (Score 1) 415

I saw a somewhat related concept that was sort of cool for the kitchen where there were large drawers with outlets. The concept was that instead of having to choose between too many appliances on the countertops, or having to get out and plug in your appliances on the countertop everytime you want to use them, you could just leave your appliances plugged in and pull them out just by opening the drawer, all ready to use.

Comment: Re:Future proofing (Score 3, Funny) 415


I'm in the early stages of building an underground steampunk cave home, and "futureproofing" is one of my design principles. I'm going with a very open floor plan, on the concept that it's easier for people to add in walls than to take out walls that were never designed to be removed (and may consequently be providing structural support). I'm not including any drywall; the exterior walls, a pozzolonic concrete, will be pressure-washed to remove the cement from the surface, exposing the aggregate. All piping / conduits will not only be visible, but shown off as part of the style (as is typical for steampunk). If someone wants to change something that they can't just feed into an existing conduit, they won't have to rip out the drywall, change what they want to change, reinstall the drywall, and then repaint. Plus, there can be no "critters" living in the crawlspace when there is no crawlspace.

Even if I never want to change the house, I want it to significantly outlive me, and whatever future owners are around may want to change things. Plus, it's kind of fun when you keep future owners in mind. For example, I plan to paint a really creepy, gigantic (meters across) blood-red sigil underneath the flooring - an inverse of the ægishjálmur (protection against all evil), pointing inwards as if to trap evil in, with some runic writing along the lines of "All May Enter, None May Leave" (hopefully my Old Icelandic is passable :) ). I hope that whoever owns the house after me and decides to redo the flooring gets a kick out of that one. ;)

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 368

by Rei (#49831503) Attached to: Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny?

Wherein the person being persecuted files a malicious prosecution case. Malicious prosecution being illegal is an entirely different issue than the question of whether a person being investigated has a right to interfere with the investigation simply because they believe themselves to be innocent. And furthermore, in what way was investigating a person who appears to be laundering money "malicious prosecution"? The police are supposed to investigate reports of money laundering.

You no more have the right to interfere with an ongoing investigation than you have the right to punch the officer doing it. If you think the investigation is persecution, bring it to court. If you don't want to talk, plead the fifth. What you don't have the right to do is lie to the police who are doing their job investigating suspicious financial transactions.

Comment: So the argument is... (Score 3, Insightful) 368

by Rei (#49831219) Attached to: Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny?

... interfering with a police investigation should be legal if the person being investigated feels they've done nothing wrong? Good luck getting widespread buy-in with that concept.

1) The FBI found just cause to suspect a crime; what the subject was doing appeared to be money laundering, which - as it should - triggers an investigation. 2) They began to investigate the crime. 3) They found no crime, and thus did not prosecute for it. However, in the process, the subject deliberately interfered with the investigation and made false statements to the police, which is a crime. 4) The FBI prosecutes for the crime committed in #3.

I fail to see the problem here.

That said, I'm not surprised that Greenwald does. And I can just imagine the riot he'll throw if they ever go after him for his long-time lack of payment of the court-imposed levies concerning his tax evasion for his porn business.

Comment: Re:I beleive it (Score 3, Interesting) 75

by Rei (#49830641) Attached to: How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

Other things too, from thinking about modern birds: can we assume that theropods had a syrinx rather than a larynx? Then they would be able to have very tonally-complex sounds, including vocalizing multiple different frequencies at the same time.

I assume they had a similar lung layout? Birds have a really brilliant respiratory system. The lungs are rigid and more like tubes for the passage of air rather than storing it. On inhalation, half the air goes directly into one air sac and the other straight through the lung into a different air sac; then on exhalation the sacs reverse so that the "used" air goes straight out and the "unused" air goes through the lung on the way out. So they get fresh air moving through their lungs both on inhalation and exhalation, and they never mix fresh air with used air. This means that the oxygen content of air in their lungs is much higher, which means that the oxygen levels in their blood can be much higher. It helps sustain them during high metabolic activity such as flight; I'm sure their giant predatory ancestors made good use of that oxygen as well.

I wonder if their ancestors had a similar sort of relatively inefficient fast-through digestive system, or whether that's an adaptation their descendents have made for flight? It's known for a fact at the very least that some dinosaurs consumed rocks to aid in digestion (gizzard stones) in the same way birds consume grit. Hmm, so theropods would likely have some sort of a crop then? I mean, there is evidence that at least some theropods cared for their young. Picture a bunch of baby velociraptors reaching their heads into a parent's jaw to get a meal!

It takes no imagination to picture correspondence between the legs / feet, bird legs and feet already look positively dinosaurian.

Even the evidence of fossilized prints of rough scaly skin from some tyrranosaurids (in addition to evidence of feathers, and some completely feathered) shouldn't be a real shock because we see that in modern bird species. For example, look at the head of a bald ibis or turkey vulture.

Comment: Re:Ah...hmm. (Score 2) 75

by Rei (#49830501) Attached to: How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

The more I read, the more it looks like it should be possible to "backport" birds to a surprising degree even without any unobtanium "dinosaur DNA". Even without studying what specific genes do, we can already start by comparing different lineages to see what genetic shifts in birds occurred between their theropod ancestors and modern descendents (for example, if most other groups of animals, including alligators, have a certain gene but birds don't, then that change occurred at some point on the bird side of the branching point between birds and alligators). Looking at modern descendents won't give us an exact picture of their common ancestors, but it'll certainly let us role back a lot of the changes. Combining that with reasoning out and experimenting with what morphological changes in birds that differ from dinosaurs are the result of what genes... we should be able to come up with something rather close to their ancestors at different stages.

It's amazing how much detail they're starting to be able to determine about ancient species - even to the point of being able to determine the number of wing quill feathers in velociraptors. We're certainly constraining the reversal problem more and more.

Comment: Re:I beleive it (Score 1) 75

by Rei (#49830397) Attached to: How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

Oh god, I just had a terrifying thought... A T-Rex with the threat gestures of an Amazon. For those who don't own Amazon parrots, when they get overexcited or aggressive, they not only do this fantail display, but they have this creepy thing that they do with their eyes where they make their pupils expand and contract. Picture this, but with the pupil repeatedly changing in size 3x while it stares at you. It basically means "This is my Crazy Time. Go on, try coming close to me, see what happens!" They really lose their mind during it - for example, they may go into Crazy Mode because you gave them some treat that got them overexcited, but because they can't think straight, they're prone to drop and lose whatever it was that you gave them.

But yeah... crazy T-rex flaring whatever feathers it has and giving you an unflinching death stare with giant pulsating yellow eyes.

Neutrinos are into physicists.