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Comment: Re:Contagiousness (Score 1) 450

by ultranova (#48034275) Attached to: Ebola Has Made It To the United States

Assuming you're a survivor, there might not be much of a functional nation to return too, let alone the modern world.

In which case that stocked food won't do any good for you. If food production collapses, you're done for; even if you knew how to live off the land, enough other people do too to deplete any sources in short order.

Comment: Re:No he didn't (Score 4, Insightful) 216

There hasn't been a hijacking of a US flight since then, but given that the last passenger hijacking BEFORE 9/11 was in 1987, it's likely that this long dry spell is mostly if not entirely due to banning blades from carry on luggage.

Given that archetypal airplane hijacking in popular imagination prior to 9/11 was "some nutcase wants to go to Cuba, and will mildly inconvenience us if we don't interfere" but is now "some nutcase wants to kill us all, and will do so if we don't stop him", I don't think the availability of blades would make much of a difference nowadays.

Comment: Re:Hodor (Score 1) 125

As much as I don't want to validate trolling by responding to it: many of Martin's kills are done specifically to play with expectations. We killed the presumptive protagonist (Ned Stark). Then the audience realizes this story is about the sone and his revenge. So we kill him. But at least we know who the villan is. So Joffrey dies.

I haven't watched or read the series beyond some individual scenes so I can't say if that's an accurate assesment of it, but if it is, then it's evidence for the granparent's position. "Playing with expectations" is a gimmick. It can work once or perhaps even twice, but if the entire work revolves around it, that strongly suggests the author relies on constant shocks because they have nothing else up their sleeve.

I'm sure your novels are better.

Just like everyone who complains about Obama/Bush/whatever better have a succesful term or two of US presidency behind them?

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 495

by ultranova (#48009007) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

Because I recall explaining it to you already, just a few weeks ago. Right here on slashdot. And here you are again, trolling on the subject as it it never occurred.

Truth is, we're heading for a collapse. Fossil fuels are running out, and couldn't be used ad infinitum even if they were in infinite supply do to their enviromental effects. They could be replaced with nuclear power, but the threat of nuclear war has - likely forever - tarnished their reputation, leading to slow pace of technical development, high costs and outright bans. Should fusion start working tomorrow, it would run headlong into these same problems. So what does that leave? A fantasy about windmills powering an industrial civilization. Of course people want to believe it. And so they will continue believing it, right until the bitter end - and the survivors will continue saying "if only windmills had gotten more money!"

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 1) 596

by ultranova (#48005565) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

There is no way to pack an efficient transformer into such a small space. There is no easy fix. Houses need wired seperately with a lower voltage appropriate for powering LED lights.

And then you waste energy due to higher current. But if you're willing to install new wiring, how about optic cables? You can generate light in a centralized fashion by a few ultra-efficient sources, and distribute it from there. And of course you could use sunlight when available.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 0) 596

by ultranova (#48002989) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Yes, we got screwed by the government forcing them on us before they were ready for prime time, just like the water saving toilets that don't flush unless you cycle them a few times.

No, you got screwed by private industry cutting corners, and possibly deliberately forcing obsolescence. Fluorescent lights have been used for decades. What's new is selling them for home use, rather than lighting up halls and such.

The only failure of government here is insufficient regulation.

Comment: Re:Nothing new (Score 1) 224

by ultranova (#48001709) Attached to: Where Whistleblowers End Up Working

If people wanted a hawk, Obama would have been the last person to vote for, given both what he said he stood for and his utter incompetence when it comes to foreign or military policy.

People wanted someone who'd make US strong. Of the alternatives presented, Obama had the most credible plan: focus on improving economy, ensure the population is healthy, and don't wage costly wars unless there's some actual benefit and you can actually pay for them.

How could they possibly be otherwise, when the entire system they live in is set up as one giant game of "winner takes it all, loser has to fall"?

You make no sense.

US society is the most Social Darwinist of the western world. It conditions people to value success over everything else. That reflects on US foreign policy, which tends towards cynical and ruthless.

The problem is, being cynical and ruthless is a great way of making yourself everyone's enemy. Reputation is a part of a nation's power base, and US has pretty much destroyed theirs. Which is already having an effect, for example people avoid buying US-made equipment for fear it contains NSA spyware.

Comment: Re:Fine! (Score 2) 363

by ultranova (#47993321) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

when it comes to actually "running" the company then you are suppose to do what is in the best interest of the company and shareholders

No, just shareholders. The company can be utterly destroyed as long as share price goes up in the short term. That's arguably one of the bigger problems nowadays: companies are treated as people yet are effectively not bound by law or even basic survival instinct.

Comment: Re:Nothing new (Score 1) 224

by ultranova (#47993137) Attached to: Where Whistleblowers End Up Working

The power of the NSA and CIA need to be limited, civil liberties and constitutionality need to be restored, by the people we vote for. But as long as sheep keep reelecting politicians who blatantly violate their campaign promises of transparency, accountability, constitutionality, and restoration of civil liberties, nothing is going to change.

They aren't sheep, they're wolflings voting to ensure their nation gets to be the Big Bad Wolf of nations. How could they possibly be otherwise, when the entire system they live in is set up as one giant game of "winner takes it all, loser has to fall"?

Comment: Re:Relevent (Score 1) 119

by ultranova (#47983571) Attached to: Fukushima Radiation Still Poisoning Insects

Humans are no more evolved than any other creature. Evolution is a process, it has no "goal" other then it's an expression we smart apes use to describe semi-random chemical connections that "work" better in their environment than others. Sometimes the "evolutionary" changes are a "positive", yet even our intelligence comes at a huge metabolic cost in comparison to the bulk of lifeforms (ie enough electricity to light a light bulb). When the planetary environment changes rapidly, even on a local scale from volcanoes, certain members of species inside the extinction area might have some quirk that makes it run a bit faster to escape so it reproduces. That's it, there is no "upward" driving force in evolution.

Gravity has no goal either, but its effects have a definite direction. Evolution has a starting point: very simple life forms. That means that at any particular level of complexity, the less complex ecological niches are already full, while the more complex are vacant. And as the more complex niches are filled, they open up yet more complex ones "above" them. The end result is that while individual species may evolve in various ways, evolution as a whole has a definite direction.

Furthermore, complexity seems to increase in identifiable leaps. For example, humans have all the mental faculties that, say, crocodiles do - the so-called "reptile brain" - and some extra on top of that. So it would be perfectly valid to say that humans are more evolved than crocodiles, just as it would be valid to say crocodiles are more evolved than amoebas, and amoebas more evolved than bacteria.

So yes, there's an upward driving force in evolution. It arises due to self-interaction: evolution is both guided by and affects the environment.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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