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Comment: Re:Good Job Brainiacs (Score 1) 227

Obligatory XKCD: http://what-if.xkcd.com/131/

"When instructions say let stand for 1-2 minutes, it's not just to protect your mouth from hot food—it's giving the hot and cold spots time to equalize, so the whole thing will be sufficiently heated throughout. And if some part of the food doesn't conduct heat well (e.g. rice) or contains a lot of chunks of ice (e.g. frozen fruit or meat) they also might tell you to stir midway through cooking. This helps to transfer the heat more evenly into the food, move food away from cold spots, and also break up chunks of ice and mix them with warmer pockets of water to help melt them... It turns out that "turning the microwave off every so often to let the food cool" is exactly what the "power level" setting does! Choosing a lower power level doesn't actually change the strength of the microwaves; it just means that the microwave generator won't be running the whole time... In effect, the microwave is just automating the tedious task of zapping something a bunch of times on "high" for 10 seconds each and letting it sit for a while in between."

After I read this XKCD, I started putting my Schwan's breakfast bagels in at 50% power for twice the recommended time, and the icy center vanished. All those years of raging against the magnetron for our burned mouths and surprise icy centers, and the solution was there the entire time. Is this a cautionary tale to engineers who would mock and shun the liberal arts majors who document their ingenious technical solutions? Or were these features documented all along, in instruction manuals easily tossed aside by generations upon generations of nerds who blithely assumed that they knew all there was to know about the simple and unassuming microwave, only to burn their mouths and vent their wrath upon hapless users by screaming "RTFM!"

When you stare into the hot pocket, the hot pocket stares into you.

Comment: Browser switch (Score 1) 240

by whodunit (#49619171) Attached to: Chrome Passes 25% Market Share, IE and Firefox Slip
I recently switched to Pale Moon (a fork of Firefox focused on stability) and I haven't looked back.

Everyone else likes to bitch about Firefox's ramrodding of shitty UI choices down their throats, but to me the vast instability of modern firefox just cannot be borne. In large part this is due to shockwave flash being a pile of shit; the current version has a bug where it reports itself as out-of-date (despite not being) which forces you to click every flash window to confirm that yes, you do in fact want the goddamn thing to play. Pale Moon has that same problem; because it's Flash, not Pale Moon's fault. However, when the shitty fucking app finally crashes, Pale Moon usually survives. When it crashes in Firefox, it takes the browser down with it.

I remember back when Firefox 2.0 was the latest and greatest thing - I was on a 28.8k dial-up connection at the time; so I'd never, ever, ever close a loaded page if I could help it. My personal record for open tabs was somewhere north of 4,000 - I have a screenshot of it somewhere. This was on an old laptop with a grand total of 2 gigabytes of RAM. On my modern desktop - a gaming rig with a beefy processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM - the idea of getting to even 1,000 open tabs is a goddamned joke. We've been told that Firefox's memory leaks were being fixed, but if anything Firefox is far less stable than it used to be.

YOU. Yes you, opening the reply window to blame all my problems on "dodgy plugins." Shut up. Shut the hell up. I tried a reinstall of Firefox, a complete nuke-and-pave to eliminate the instability that so plagued me, but it was all for naught. It doesn't surprise me one damn bit that Chrome is pulling ahead of Firefox in the browser wars - it's because Chrome actually works, and has much better stability and crash recovery.

Comment: Re:A better solution... (Score 1) 190

by whodunit (#49054215) Attached to: Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches
The great irony of this post is that, had it been written in the late 1700s or early 1800s, it would be completely un-ironic. That was the era of the rapier; a blade designed specifically for efficient handling in narrow back alleyways in Europe for killing people trying to smash your skull in and steal your purse. Look up any of the old fencing manuals; there's a reason the off-hand accessory (usually used for parries) is a lantern or a heavy cloak (i.e. what you would have on you as a matter of course when walking about town.)

You, sir, may sniff about the increased safety enjoyed by someone equipped with a sidearm; but your ancestors had no such qualms. As for "accidental shootings," I'd be interested in the data (or lack thereof) pertaining to those, as well. I carry a concealed pistol every day, and thanks to training, practice, prudence, good safety habits and above all; modern safety features in its design, my pistol has never bitten me or peed on the carpet.

Comment: Re:10 Years Can Be A Long Time (Score 1) 332

by whodunit (#48703539) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?
I have a book on my shelf at home that was printed in the 80s; and it's all about how the japanese are going to take over the computer industry as we know it; how the world will soon belong to Japan. SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST! A WHOLE LOT LOUDER AND A WHOLE LOT WORSE!

Comment: Re:I love contextually useful ads. (Score 1) 69

by whodunit (#48580253) Attached to: How Your In-Store Shopping Affects the Ads You See On Facebook
It's the existence of these databases that worries me; not who is making them. If the database exists, the government can and will access them, either through secret warrants or through outright illegal cracking, as the NSA did. I don't much worry about Facebook violating my rights - but what the government might do with the massive facial recognition database Facebook made of their users is a different story.

Comment: Re:Wait what, there's a registration fee? (Score 1) 246

by whodunit (#48358869) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project
You raise a very good point. TFA is simply elucidating what everyone already knows: there's absolutely no chance that the Mars One project seriously intends to launch a payload, much less people - to anywhere, much less Mars. A manned Mars mission is a blatant impossibility for NASA as-is, given a host of technological, political and monetary barriers... but even their eggheads have churned out some rough sketches with a lot of whitespace labeled "work this out later." It's the preliminary brainstorming that proceeds the engineering: before engineers could build the LM, someone had to decide that lunar-orbit rezvendous was the way to go.

The fact that the Mars One project hasn't even done this much says everything. (TFA's commentor tells Slashdot nothing new, but does help inform the less technically-inclined.) In light of this, the Mars One projects Serious Statements have always sounded like a novel way to make people start thinking about space; to consider a Mars mission "seriously" instead as just another airy, easily-dismissed "someday we'll have flying cars" fantasy. The "suicide mission" aspect is both sensationalist and a way to force people to comtemplate the inherent human risks in space exploration. I personally have no problem with this and I wish them luck with their interesting promotion of space exploration. However, the parent post asks a very, very good question:

If they're not going to Mars with that money - or even producing preliminary brainstorms - what the heck ARE they doing with it?

Comment: Re:Misleading summary (Score 1) 219

by whodunit (#48317049) Attached to: Is Public Debate of Trade Agreements Against the Public Interest?

before pistols were practical for anything more than honor duels.

This is false. According to NYPD data, 81% of police shootings take place at a range of under nine feet. Even for law enforcement officers, who are trained, wary, and expecting trouble, conflict escalates quickly and at very close range. For civilians it's even worse (there's far less data available, but the commonly-cited stat is 6 feet.) This is a social reality rather than a technological one; most of the famous Wild West gunfights, if you look them up, took place over a card table. As defensive weapons go, the pistols of the 1700s were more than sufficient at a range of 6-9 feet. For that matter, so is a cavalry saber. The saber - a common weapon of the period - cannot jam, fail to return to battery, double-feed, or be pushed out of battery by contact, like modern pistols. Pistols require a direct hit on the CNS or heart to achieve rapid incapacitation whereas a saber can inflict grevious wounds to extremities that will achieve much the same effect - to say nothing of the torso. The Second Amendment adresses "arms;" comparing only "fire"arms between an era where they were not nearly as dominant a weapon is fallacious and mislesding.

Hell, the long-guns generally weren't even rifles, they were smoothbore, muzzle-loading muskets, and only suitable for mass-volley.

The extremely high ratio of true German-style hunting rifles in the 13 colonies, as compared to mainland Europe, is a well-known fact that has been storied in song and legend. Hardly any account of the Revolution fails to mention the impressive accuracy of the rebels - and their rifles. Regardless, muskets were more common because their accuracy was just fine for shooting a nosy bear - or uninvited guest - at 10 or 20 yards. As useful as the saber was, even a terrible smoothbore musket has a longer reach. And aside from that - they were relatively cheap.

Each weapon was individually produced by a gunsmithing shop, and all parts had to be custom worked to make the weapon function. As a consequence, each weapon was very, very expensive and required service that was itself expensive.

Quite false. The advent of the flint-lock allowed for high reliability, enough to make the musket a primary weapon (unlike the old match-lock) and rather cheap and efficient manufacture (unlike the complex, spring-wound and delicate wheel-lock.) Otherwise entire armies could never have been equipped. A breech-loading rifle design was available in that era, capable of much greater fire rates than muzzleloaders, but no nation could afford to equip an entire army with them. Muskets were, by definition, affordable weapons. In addition, the traveling garb of the period (long coats for protection from the elements while walking or on horseback) allowed for easy concealment of suprisingly bulky weaponry.

The rest of your flawed reasoning and fallacious statements are quite contemporary in nature and reflect a debate I'm sure every Slashdot reader is familiar with, so there's little reason to discuss it. Your poor grasp of history, however, is aggrevating.

Comment: Re:FUBAR Deluxe (Score 2) 308

by whodunit (#48238971) Attached to: US Army May Relax Physical Requirements To Recruit Cyber Warriors
The United States Army does not punish people by sending them to the "Russian Front." Nor do they have Commisars, nor do they machine-gun anyone trying to retreat. This is nonsense.

There are no shortage of desk jobs in the US military. For every fighting man in the field there are three forklift drivers involved in moving the tons of supplies he consumes, and a desk jockey to do the paperwork for each.

We ar fighting in an age where entire warships can be disabled by computer failures and many enemies are slain by remote controlled drones. We can no longer afford to shut our best and brightest out of the military based on rumors, fear-mongering, pig-headed tradition or machismo.

Comment: Re:Maybe it's time... (Score 1) 331

by whodunit (#48198381) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun Earns Man Two Years In Japanese Prison

Our druglords buy uncontrolled firearms (both "regular" and high-power) in the USA, and use them here. So, yes, I do have basis for complaining on the status quo.

Multiple American media outlets made this claim loudly and regularly until the "Fast and Furious" scandal you mentioned broke, which revealed that guns were only crossing the border because the BATFE wanted them to - they specifically forbade gun dealers who were reporting the obvious straw purchasers from refusing them sales so they could carry out their "tracking" scheme. Furthermore, the drugs that fuel the violence and corruption in Mexico come up from South America, and South American manufactured weapons - to say nothing of foreign-manufactured AK-47s and similar weapons - often come with them. Between Central/South America and the United States, which one do you think has a more porous border (by land and sea,) less effective law enforcement and more corrupt local governments?

Comment: Re:May I suggest RTFA? (Score 1) 334

by whodunit (#48184913) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade
Having an ample sample size to work with vis a vis idiotic comments, (viz. slashdot) I have been able to apply basic pattern recogniton to your prior comment in order to swiftly categorize it. Based on this most recent reply, which characterizes my prior assesment (which was supported by argument) as an "ad hominem" statement, I submit that my analysis withstands scrutiny.

Comment: Re:May I suggest RTFA? (Score 1) 334

by whodunit (#48183131) Attached to: No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade
You're an idiot. WWII-vintage firearms eventually wear out, and the SMLE is no exception. Even if you could source replacement springs and firing pins, there's no replacement barrels easily available - and once the rifling is finally shot out of them, their accuracy goes right to hell.

The civilian market is flooded with powerful, reliable, accurate bolt-action rifles every bit as good, if not better, than the SMLE/Enfield. The Remington 700, which served as the basis for two different US Army sniper rifles, was originally purchased off the shelf for use by snipers in Vietnam. If someone was looking to make money via a rigged competition, they picked a spectacularly poor target for replacement: something with a vast number of cheap, cost-effective and already extant competitors, to re-equip a very small rural force who will probably keep using the same rifles for fifty or sixty years until they shoot THOSE barrels out, too.

Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU. -- Mt.