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Comment: Re:Good way to make yourself ill (Score 2) 54

by pla (#47784725) Attached to: Coffee Naps Better For Alertness Than Coffee Or Naps Alone
Maybe people should just sleep 8 hours a night like they're supposed to.

We don't naturally sleep 8 hours a night. We naturally sleep for two blocks of 3-4 hours per day, which the lifestyle requirements of the modern world have forced to occur in a more-or-less continuous 7-8 hour block.

Pre-industrially, those two blocks would have an hour or two of waking time between them; modern research (mostly military) has found that splitting them apart further allows people to go with as little as 4-5 hours of sleep per 24 hour period with only minimal impact on performance.

Comment: Re:America (Score 1) 117

by pla (#47784035) Attached to: US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process
It's my pet theory that this is the mechanism by which we get so many libertarians.

Strange, you just keep tossing out random completely off-topic straw-man attacks against Libertarians... And in a context where they would agree with you completely.

Libertarians hate big-government, and in general consider the patriot act nothing short of an abomination. Bringing up your personal demons at every opportunity really doesn't look any better than the morons who blame Obama for everything.

Comment: Re:Bad business practice (Score 1) 91

by pla (#47783073) Attached to: Australian Consumer Watchdog Takes Valve To Court
With a bit of luck, the person running Steam AU will see time in court.

Congrats, that $10 down the drain plus a few hours of time spend arguing just turned into a day of lost work to testify. You really showed them! Attaboy!

If you don't like the law of the land, fuck off back to America.

In principle, I agree with you. Honestly, I fucking hate corporations thinking they can get away with anything, and I hate even more that they usually do simply because of the cost of fighting them even when in the right. But you have a practical issue to consider here as well - Do you want to play Day Z? Hawken? Starbound? Zero Gear? Shattered Horizon? Anything on this list? Then you need to use Steam. And at the risk of commiting a 3rd party tu quoque, do you consider Sony any better? Microsoft? Ubisoft?

If you want what the devil has, you get to deal with the devil, like it or not.

Comment: Re:Well color me surprised! (Score 1) 62

by Firethorn (#47782059) Attached to: Fish Raised On Land Give Clues To How Early Animals Left the Seas

That's Lamarkian evolution. Not quite true(there are some weird things that do work that way).

That would only be true if the offspring of the animal inherited the bigger muscles and such as well. Instead, outside of mutations and such, the offspring will have to develop the muscles the same way it's parents did - through stressing them via work.

Comment: A willingness to fight (Score 4, Interesting) 396

by mc6809e (#47781749) Attached to: Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

Men in general seem to have less tolerance for what they perceive as error and a greater willingness to fight to correct error.

That's not the say that men are more often correct than are women. They just seem more eager to do battle, even if it is from behind a keyboard.

Anyone that's been involved in an edit war of wikipedia knows that the winner is often isn't the one with the best grasp of the facts, but it's the one least willing to give up the fight.


Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 737

by pla (#47778169) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine
That fucker on the island almost wiped out DC. The most terrifying moment in human history was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I have to presume you meant "almost wiped out civilization", because the erasure of DC could only serve to improve both the effectiveness of the US government, and the human gene pool as a whole. ;)

Comment: Re:Take 'em to small claims court. (Score 1) 346

This is going to go no where unless he can get an independent expert to certify that his measuring technique is accurate.

We're talking small claims court here (where proceures are much more relaxed due to the small amount of the dispute) and civil procedure (where the standard of proof is "preponderance of evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt".

Also: A suitable expert shouldn't be THAT hard to find, and (with open source and things like the Raspbery Pi and Beagle Bone available for platforms), independently engineering a meter to check the first one should be quick work - and something a customer of another ISP might want to do, as well.

Heh. Once it's done it could be published open-source, bringing the tool into the hands of the technically-literate masses. A couple thousand small claims cases a month might be more effective than a class action suit for getting their act cleaned up.

Comment: Re:That almost happened a while back. (Score 1) 140

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47774975) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

A pitty, thugh. By the time this was discovered I had done an outline for a five-volume fiction cycle, working through at least four genres, based on the sun going "putt" from time to time. B-b

The Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi novel "The Songs Of Distant Earth" (1986) used the Case Of The Missing Neutrinos as the opening premise [followed by "the sun is about to nova" and humanity having] a few hundred years to develop interstellar-travel technology before the Sun went nova. 'Twas a good story.

Indeed it was.

In mine, though, there was nothing wrong with the sun at all. It's just that the high neutrino flux makes other physical phenomena more apparent and (by book three) usable at a practical level. FTL interstellar travel IS developed by the fifth book (when things are fully sorted out), which is in hard science fiction space-opera form.

Of course, by that time "magic" is hard science (though its engineering is more like animal husbandry), religion has merged with psychology, and one of the crew members (or is he the FTL engine?) is (and must be) a literal god. (For the engineering crew chief think "Scotty in Druidic Robes"...) Using a god plus a nuclear reactor for the engine leads to complications (but not the ones you're probably thinking of right now).

No, not like Clarke's story at all. More like Keith Laumer collaborates with Larry Niven. B-)

Comment: Re:Well color me surprised! (Score 2) 62

by Firethorn (#47772689) Attached to: Fish Raised On Land Give Clues To How Early Animals Left the Seas

We see some level of this even with humans - a human who grows up lifting heavy objects will develop more muscles for doing so, and one that experiences regular bone stress will develop stronger bones in those areas.

I agree that they were exposed to it in the past, probably on a regular basis. There's a reason these fish are air breathers. The ability to move between various shallow ponds really raises the habitat areas for mudskippers, for example.

Comment: Take 'em to small claims court. (Score 1) 346

Take them to small claims court.

Ask for the difference between the billing tier your meter says you should be in and the one they charged you for. Dump your data in a reasonably clear format and show and explain it to the judge. Be prepared to swear that it is correct.

If they overcharge you next month, do it again.

Keep it up until they fix the meter so the agreement is close enough for you to be happy with it (or until the judge gets tired of it and issues an order - either to you or them - to make the cases stop.) It's not barratry - no matter how vexing to the utility - if the suits are legitimate, with real grounds asking for restitution for real damages, nor if the the suits are repeated because there are new instances of the tort.

First time through, ask for all the months for which you have data that shows overcharging. (If you can demonstrate a rule for the systematic overcharging, ask for the overcharges back to the instalation of the system, but be prepared for the judge to reject that.) Up to the small claims price and time limits, of course.

Be polite to the judge. Assume he's smart enough to understand this if you explain it clearly. (Judges don't get to be judges without being smart and good at figuring these things out.)

Comment: That almost happened a while back. (Score 2) 140

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47772063) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

The other interesting result would be if the expected neutrino type was not detected by this experiment, invalidating the hypothesis. This would raise further questions such as: is there some other mechanism powering the Sun? Is there something deficient in our understanding of neutrinos that prevented us from detecting them despite them being there?

That almost happened, in the early days of neutrino dectection - before things like old mines full of purified water and 3-D arrays of photodetectors running for months at a time, and you could count the number of detected neutrinos on two hands (in bi-quinary so you could go a bit higher than ten). This was when the detectors could only detect the type of neutrino directly generated by fusion reactions, and before the discovery of neutrino oscillation, when it wasn't yet clear whether neutrinos had no, or very very little, rest mass.

Early numbers, and their error bounds, made it clear that there weren't enough neutrinos being detected. (This was known for years as the "missing neutrino problem".) But the earliest ones WERE about right for a situation where all the stars EXCEPT the sun were running by fusion and the sun was out.

That may sound odd. But there was a very cute explanation that made it plausible:

The gradual gravitatonal collapse of the sun, as heat is radiated away, could power it for millenia. It's nowhere near enough to power it long enough to explain the fossil record, but it IS enough to have kept it running for historic time. Meanwhile, if a fusion reaction were to start up near the center of such a ball of collapsing gas, it would also take many years for the heat to make it to the surface. Neutrinos (which go through the sun like marbles through a light mist) are about the only signature of what's going on in there NOW.

But suppose, instead of fusing continuously, stars were reciprocating engines. They might run without fusion for centuries, or millenia, until they were compressed enough to "light up" at the center. Then the fusion heat and reaction products might make the reaction ramp up. They'd burn for a little while (which would heat them up and expand them mabye a few inches), until the decreased density and/or reduction in fuel and/or accumulation of reaction products "put the fire out" again. Repeat for the life of the star.

In this scenario, if our sun happened to be between "putts (and the very nearest stars didn't happen to have an unusual distribution of where they were in their cycles), you'd see the same neutrio flux from the rest of the sky as if all the rest of the stars were running continuous fusion. That's because it's the average of stars that are "on" and "off", and comes out to the same amount of total fusion and neutrinos.

Of course later data, both larger samples and detectors that could "see" the other neutrino types, put the kibosh on that model. A big part of it was the discovery of neutrino oscillations, allowing a stream of neutrinos that started out as one type in the sun to arrive as a mix of the three types. (This means that neutrinos have a non-zero rest mass, fly slightly slower than light, and thus experience time and are ABLE to change from one type to another.)

A pitty, thugh. By the time this was discovered I had done an outline for a five-volume fiction cycle, working through at least four genres, based on the sun going "putt" from time to time. B-b