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So it is a polar bear, just not a modern polar bear.
If it is living in the Himalayas, it is definitely not a polar bear. It is a subtropical bear.
Of course we're never going to run out of fossil fuels. It becomes uneconomical to extract the stuff long before we run out. It never completely dries up, it just gets more and more scarce expensive and plays a lesser and lesser role in our lives. Take methane hydrates: we've known that there were massive quantities of energy stored in this stuff for decades, but we're only now getting to the point where anyone would think about using these incredibly hard-to-access, hard-to-process resources as fuel. Going back a few years, the same was true for shale gas, oil sands, deep-water offshore oil, etc. This is a point that Charles Mann unfortunately missed in his article: we're exploring this stuff because we're desperate.
This could be an okay thing if we replace oil with sustainable sources of energy (as the techno-utopians would predict) or a disastrous thing leading to the downfall of civilization (as the doomers would predict). I find myself in the middle camp: we will partially replace our fossil fuel use with renewables and increased efficiency, but the increasing cost of fossil fuel use will also force us to reduce the amount of energy we use and, consequently, our standard of living.
My first thought on reading the headline was that they made mice that hatched from eggs. The actual discovery is much less impressive.
So I've tried an awful lot of energy efficient bulbs, and I use them for most of my lighting, but I still find incandescent bulbs indispensable. The biggest problem with these other bulb technologies is that they lack the de facto standardization that has come from many decades of incandescent use. Sure, if I just want a 60-watt equivalent bulb for a regular light fixture, that's great. But what if I need something a bit brighter, for my enclosed ceiling fan? I can never seem to find a bulb that is bright enough and fits in the enclosure. Same goes for my dining room chandelier, and the lighting for the vanity in my bathroom. And even if I do manage to find a bulb that is bright enough and fits properly, there's a good chance it'll be an odd colour, and now when I stand in front of my bathroom mirror I will look an odd shade of green. Sure, maybe there are bulbs out there that are perfect replacements for the incadescents I know and love, but they probably don't have them at the store I was at, or it's hard to figure out which one to buy. So I might go through two or three different $5 bulbs before I'm happy with the result. Or I could buy a $0.50 soft white incandescent and get exactly what I want every time. At $0.12/kWh, it's not worth the effort to replace a 25-watt bulb that I use for 30 minutes a day (even considering that I'll have to replace it every year or so).
If you've got a window made of glass, I can enter your home in 5 seconds flat.
My home may not be secure, but at least it's tamper-evident.
I'm an S-corp
I know corporations have legal personhood, but I never expected to see one posting to Slashdot in person!
Of all the things Canadians can mock about U.S. elections, your difficulty in counting up the votes isn't even the top of the list. The most mind-boggling thing is that your election campaigns take most of a year, ensuring that for about 20% of the election cycle, any given politician (including the president) is basically unable to engage in their actual job of governing the country and is instead campaigning. In Canada, election campaigns typically last about six weeks; before the election is officially called, campaigning is prohibited. The result is that politicians can spend vastly more time doing their jobs and campaigns cost vastly less money.
Oh, and don't get me started on how incredibly bad an idea it is to have elected judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, etc. Here (Ontario) I think there are only five officials we actually vote for: representatives in federal and provincial legislatures, city councilor, mayor, and school board trustee. Everyone else is appointed, usually de facto by committee.
There's more to being domesticable than being tasty though. Galapagos tortoises were, according to historical accounts, incredibly delicious, so much so that they never managed to get one back to Europe because the sailors would eat them. The problem is that while most domestic animals are ready to eat in a year or less, tortoises take decades to mature. Even if we managed to hold off eating them for long enough to get a tortoise farm started, it wouldn't be economical. Hence, delicious tortoises are on the verge of extinction.
I did this for several months a few years ago, until one day when I was sitting at my desk I heard what sounded like a muffled gunshot, and suddenly found myself sitting on the floor with a very sore arse. The great thing about chairs is that they don't burst.
There's always a tradeoff between doing a job well and doing a job quickly, and clients generally want something in the middle of the spectrum, i.e. they aren't willing to pay through the nose to get it perfect when they could get something "good enough" for much less. If you are doing a site that's getting millions of hits a day, you might want everything hand-coded and optimized; but bandwidth and processor time is cheap compared to the labor required to optimize a website, so most of the time you're better off quickly throwing something together that works using an editor. The less hours you work to get the job done, the higher hourly rate you can charge: the clients will still end up paying less overall, and you'll have more time for other projects.
a Linux-powered Steam Box in the works? Probably not, given the technical challenges of getting Steam's huge library of DirectX-based games to run reliably on Linux, but it's an intriguing possibility.
I can download an album in less time than it takes to listen to it. I can barely tell the difference between the downloaded version and what I would buy at a record store. And it's already in the format I want, either for listening to it on the computer or putting it on my iPhone.
A movie, on the other hand, I'm probably going to have to leave to download overnight. It still won't be quite as good quality as the DVD version, and it will certainly be inferior to the BluRay version. If I want to watch it on my TV, I have to go to the hassle of burning it to a DVD. (If I want to watch it on my iPhone, I have to go to the even greater hassle of transcoding it.) It's probably easier to just walk to the video store around the corner and shell out the $4 to get 3 movies right away.
What's more, that 200 MB album I downloaded is probably going to get listened to dozens of times. The 2 GB movie might get watched twice if it's REALLY good.