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Comment Who cares what Netflix's ratings are? (Score 1) 302

I'm trying to recall how many years it's been since I've watched broadcast or cable TV - or how much longer it was for more than an hour a month.

Ratings based TV is dead to me. To misquote a certain virtual muppet:

  • With ratings come advertisements
  • With advertisements comes pain
  • With pain comes anger
  • With anger comes the Dark Side

Comment Re:wah wah wah clickbait (Score 1) 400

And Luke... what kind of moron was he? He's handed a deadly weapon he's never seen before and immediately points it at his head, then opens it and starts swinging it around...
This movie IS from the 1970s after all. Lawn Darts weren't banned yet. We were just a decade or two away from chemistry sets with Uranium.

That's just the way we rolled then. And if some of us shot ourselves in the face, well, that was a different kind of rolling.

Comment Re-watching restored my youthful impression (Score 1) 400

I was a snarky teenager when I saw the original Star Wars (no IV: A New Hope), and I was impressed by how much the audience laughed at every campy, over-acted scene and every bit of rote dialogue. Of course, that was basically the whole movie.

Up until recently, whenever I re-watched the movies, I was never able to re-capture that delightful feeling of camp from the first movie (IV: A New Hope), but last night I did - and I noticed (again) all of the Star-Trek sound effects (quietly in the background), the use of Photon Torpedoes (did they ever make it to other movies), and so on.

This isn't an endorsement of the new movie, which I haven't seen - and I'm sure it's not the kind of endorsement anyone who has fallen in love with the movies would care to hear. But it's my experience of re-watching the first movie and how I was able to recapture the magic I felt back then when R2D2 being zapped and falling over had the audience groaning with laughter over the well deserved fate of an annoying character (but all of the characters were annoying to that audience.)

Comment Re:It will never fly (Score 1) 96

I can't imagine that this will be more than a way of re-balancing the proportions between cargo and passenger aircraft for airlines serving both markets, and that re-balancing would take place over weeks rather than individual flights or days. (And if it takes place over weeks, then flying the plane to a maintenance location to switch modules would be the practice.)

I've no involvement in aviation, other than curiosity (I fly, on average, once every 10 years.) However, the following thoughts do come to mind:

  • Do the modular compartments play any part in the structural integrity of the aircraft? If so, does that mean that aviation authorities will have to have some kind of re-certification for the aircraft when modules are replaced?

  • How long out-of-service will the aircraft be to swap modules (including any necessary inspections and certifications)?

  • How much extra weight and space will the extra mechanisms, surfaces, etc. require and how will it affect the economic performance of the aircraft?

  • What might be the (lost opportunity/economic) cost of idle modules? Both the cost of the module, and of properly storing it?

Comment When I was a kid, it was uphill to school ... (Score 1) 215

10 years ago (in the US), I got my first cell-phone - a simple feature-phone. No data plan. SMS/texts were $0.20/each. It was a LG flip-phone on a Verizon family contract (I will NEVER buy another LG phone.) These days, I carry around an iPhone4 on an AT&T monthly family plan..

I'm hardly a first adopter of phones.

That said, even I've noticed the changes in the cell-phone networks. And the most used feature of my phone is the calendar & alarms. Actual real-time communication with a smart-phone seems to be an afterthought.

Comment Re:huge waste of resources (Score 1) 252

In much of the US east of the Mississippi, there is (or was) a desire to share the same time as Wall Street. This made sense back in the days of telegraphs and telephone based traffic where HOURS mattered (but not before when Solar time was used.) At one point, Detroit, MI (at nearly the eastern most edge of Michigan) shared Chicago's time (sort of.) Frankly, Michigan would be much more comfortable in the Central Time Zone.

These days, with "instant" messaging (and where microsecond delays matter for automated trading), and where smart phones are pervasive, the case for time zones at all is weak. Let's go back to local-solar time.

Comment Speculating with ignorance (Score 1) 216

You can view this as either:

  • Uber and their lackeys breaking a law intended to safeguard users of taxi services in London
  • or entrenched legacy taxi services using a legal monopoly to deny users of taxi services the benefits of competetition

Clearly, a modern (?) Thatcherite response would be to remove the monopoly and allow all drivers a tax credit for clubs and other hand weapons that drivers can use against each other and against scum customers who use the competing service.

Comment Bomb makers take risks too... (Score 1) 43

I would think that if you have sufficiently crazy dedicated lab technicians, some of the lab work could be done by volunteers willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause. It's somewhat like it is for bomb-makers (although much more risky.)

Performing experiments on primates isn't a problem - especially if you don't care much for the scientific method and want results you can compare with controls. Keeping the experiments confined to the infidel sect is a problem though.

Creating a novel organism isn't necessary. Finding a more lethal variant of an existing organism is the goal. Influenza mutates constantly. It still requires a lot of luck, but not an impossible amount of luck.

A lot of early biological research was done with rather crude equipment.

I agree - biohackers aren't comparable with computer hackers. The cost of a mistake for a computer hacker is time and money. Biohackers are more similar to bomb makers - where the bomb makers have to depend on trial-and-error and don't have well developed procedures that can produce reproducible effects.

Comment Re:This wasn't an engineering decision... (Score 1) 569

Yeah. The engineers had a choice from the Project Manager (a Business degree) - Make It So or Get Fired.

It's possible that an engineer suggested cheating as solution. Whether that was a joke solution or an honestly cynical, it had to have been the project manager(s) involved that gave the go ahead.

Comment Nauseating Angles (Score 1) 684

Floating around at nauseating angles is a reason against going to Mars?

He was doing OK with the argument that it was dangerous, difficult, and expensive - but floating around at nauseating angles just wrecks his arguments and puts him in the class of ready made world, no older than 5000 years people.

In any event, going to Mars (or establishing a colony of people on a one-way trip to Mars) isn't justifiable practically or economically. It is justifiable as an adventure, or for other non-economic reasons. I have faith that going to Mars will lead to great things - but it's the nature of faith that it can't be justified rationally.

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