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Comment Re:Amazing an old game (Score 1) 186

You haven't seen NetHack until you've seen it on a retina MacBook or iMac. I nearly soiled my trousers the first time I saw "L" coming at me on such a display.

Those displays are nice, but if you are gonna play ... I mean *really* play, you need a serious ASCII accelerator card.


The higher frame rate gives you the edge that you'll need on the astral plane. And don't even think about trying it without a fully tweaked, N-key rollover mechanical keyboard! Those E's on the plane of air aren't gonna sit around sipping Earl Gray Tea waiting for your laggy $5 bargain bin membrane 'board!

Comment Re:Excellent decision (Score 1) 2416

Ultimately, the only answer is a single-payer system. As long as you have private companies in the insurance business, there is a perverse incentive to screw their customers over.

Actually, this opens the door to other options by using the framework against itself. Strong copyright was used to implement copyleft. In the banking world you have credit unions that are structured to operate efficiently and for the benefit of depositors. On wall street, Vanguard is structured like a credit union for mutual funds.

I can see the eventual rise of a mutually held health insurer that can keep costs very low by removing profit skim and focusing on efficient care. Of course, the for-profit companies will fight it as hard and dirty as they do against single payer, but the new consumer-focused requirements of the ACA will probably make it easier to break into the market.

Comment The Edison Rick Roller Doll (Score 1) 105

Scientists were surprised to find that the tin cylinder containing the lyrics "Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down". Lead investigator Hubert Hvarquhar explained that "the dolls were part of a short-lived gilded-age custom where well-to-do society members would give each other gifts that spontaneously started singing and could not be shut off. Many of the dolls were smashed in rage leading to their comparative rarity today."

Comment Re:What's it like in Japan? Will this cause change (Score 3, Informative) 322

Other than poorly designed clocks, what other devices actually care about the power line frequency?

Motors. Big motors, like the kind you find in your furnace, A/C compressor, elevators, and other places. Nobody cares about the consumer electronics because all that stuff either auto-ranges or can be manually switched. But big industrial equipment is everywhere and lasts a long time.

Comment Remote Agent (Score 2) 128

NASA already did a better version of this twelve years ago on the Deep Space 1 probe.


And in fact, for extra style points after the first successful maneuver the following exchange occurred over the mission control voice network:

    "This is the flight director - Congratulations to Remote Agent. It has successfully operated the Deep Space 1 spacecraft".

    "Flight, ACS."

    "Go ahead ACS"

    "Congratulations to Captain Dunsel"

Comment Re:So all engineering is unethical? (Score 1) 826

I love how everyone responding to this post assumed that I was arguing against automation.

Look at my original post. Where did I say automation was bad? Hmm? Oh, I guess you didn't find it, because I never said it. I work in CNC machining automation myself, so I would have quite a bit of cognitive dissonance if I tried to argue that way.

I object to the Ayn Rand, macro-economics 101, euphemistic bullshit about "labor" moving to where it is needed more, as if it is some sort of inanimate liquid. The OP says that he "helped build a machine", but that sounds to me like he was not the prime mover of the project, but rather an assistant. One who's labor can be freed up by a better CAD system or analysis package. Would the OP still feel so dispassionate about the whole affair if his mechanical engineer-trained labor was freed to go to where it was really needed most -- the nearest retirement home to clean up after a bunch of incontinent grandparents, all at minimum wage, of course.

Comment Re:So all engineering is unethical? (Score 3, Informative) 826

Nice use of euphemisms. You speak of "labor" as if it some mythical, fungible pixie dust instead of twenty two people with mortgages, car payments, food and diapers to buy, kids who are going to need braces in a year or two, tires that need to be replaced before the car will pass inspection, and one hundred different things.


The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.