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Comment Re:I know he has a lot to be upset about (Score 1) 233

Same way it read to me. I'm imagining Bilbo climbing out of the well with a shotgun. "This! is my boomstick!"
A hobbit with a 'tude? You know that's unheard of.

This makes sense only if you ignore the italicization of The Hobbit.

In usual convention, italicization indicates a movie or book title (among others), so if you read it as the book The Hobbit started shooting ... you have an overactive imagination.

Comment Re:WANT! (Score 1) 386

Also, I'm fairly sure it's illegal. FCC has some sort of regulations about devices even causing unintentional interference.

Devices that are designed to have interference? Definitely not legal for civilian uses.

Comment Re:No adjustable focus point (Score 1) 317

This 19-year-old hasn't made the focus point adjustable... so you can't set a moving target at a variable distance on fire with it.
Any dish shaped thing with mirrors has a focus point - especially satellite dishes - so this isn't exactly rocket science.

Well, his *simple* prototype doesn't have that feature, but it is conceptually simple enough to implement, if technically complicated.

One, the mirrors do not have to be on a dish-shaped thing; they just all have to have the correct angle at each position as if it were on a dish shaped thing. In actuality, they can be supported on a planar platform (see Fresnel lens for a similar concept).

Two, once above point is established, each mirror can have a motorized kinematic mount behind it, to set the angle of that mirror correctly, for a desired focal point.

Once you have these, you can adjust the focus within some reasonable limit—and the range of available focal length should be long enough to set a boat on fire (although all this is probably outside the capability of ancient Greeks).

Comment Re:Uhhh... whut? (Score 1) 387

Here's the real summary: Brian Greene has written on string theory for a popular audience in the past, and he's also fascinated by some of the more fringe-y elements of physics, such as the multiverse theory.

Um, multiverse theory isn't fringe-y—at least no more than any other theory within its area, i.e. on the interpretations of quantum mechanics. In fact, next to the Copenhagen interpretation (which is the textbook version of the non-explanations that physicists will try to sell you first), it's closest to the current mainstream than anything else.

Of course, the actual many worlds theory has little resemblance with the sci-fi versions (where alternate versions of even whole persons exist in vaguely recognizable but slightly different way), but the many worlds theory itself is not fringe-y—at least no more than string theory (which, I realize, isn't saying much).

Comment Re:But then what kind of asshole (Score 1) 371

Because they would not be required by law to repave the street, the streets would gradually be replaced by a patchwork of heavy steel plates covering the open trenches below.

Never mind that you are describing neither mainstream Tea Party or (more likely what you were imagining) libertarian position.

But *suppose* we lived in a world where we lived in some kind of world where anarcho-capitalist (which is closer to what you describe) view prevailed, then this is what would happen: every section of the street would be owned by somebody. And whoever dug up the streets and failed to repave or otherwise return them to good condition would get sued out of existence by whoever owned those streets.

Tragedy of commons happens only in a world where there is such thing as a public (i.e. common) property. Private individuals usually protect their own property, even against huge corporations, tooth and nail.

Comment Re:Who extended the tax credit? (Score 1) 586

it was his comment with which I sarcastically agreed. bkpark's comments actually agreed with this, though he clearly didn't see my comment as being in agreement.

With a good reason. Did you see the percentage that Pelosi was re-elected with? I forgot the exact number, but it was somewhere in the 80% of the vote.

Last election wasn't exactly an encouraging sign for conservatives in California (or New York or Massachusetts), because apparently a "wave election" in favor of conservatism can do little to make any dent in the region where I currently live.

Sarcasm gets stale quickly when it hits too close to home.

Comment Re:Who extended the tax credit? (Score 0) 586

You must not be following current events (nor have passed basic reading comprehension).

The lame duck Congress recently extended the ethanol subsidy (I forget whether that was part of the tax cut deal), and how would the Congress elected in 2008 deal with issues that affect 2011 budgets?

Actually, scratch that, they actually can affect the 2011 budget since they should've come up with the budget by the end of 2010, but in a "failure to govern" (not my words, the Democrats') they have failed to come up with anything better than continuing resolutions so far—and that's including the current lame-duck session.

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