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Comment Re:Call me bizarre but theory sounds backwards (Score 1) 496


Funny, rdwulfe, I have had my eye on you in your Florida digs for four years now. Soon you should be large enough to feed myself and the 11,216 spawn currently growing in the crest atop my hyper-developed cranium. Of course, you alone will not be enough nutrition to sustain all of us for more than 6 Mercurian days.

Comment Call me bizarre but theory sounds backwards (Score 5, Funny) 496

I am a highly evolved alien living among the humans. While I will admit to a mild addiction to Slashdot and Drudgereport (some days these are very similar), I don't play computer games or watch television. I literally have no time for either as I am so busy watching the humans and pondering all the different recipes that would make them tasty. Not to mention that as an alien, I haven't figured out how to make much money and can't afford cable or satellite TV. I tried "bunny ears" for a while, but they quit working last Spring and I haven't missed the TV much. When I did watch it, I just kept seeing fellow aliens (Nadya Suleman, Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, Sheyla Hershey, et al.) entertaining the humans.

This theory that aliens are highly evolved and addicted to electronic entertainment is backwards because we know better than to end up sitting in Plato's Cave staring at flickering images when there is a marvelous world waiting to be viewed and humans, fattened in caves while watching flickering images, waiting to be devoured.

Comment Re:Dogs eat hearing aids - seriously! (Score 1) 727

I guess so. Personally, I shove them away when that tongue first comes out, so they never get to my ears, but I have seen it happen to little children. If your theory is correct, then I would think that dogs would go after any bare skin they could get to given the olfactory nature of their mindset. I just found it interesting that the claims adjuster had handled plenty of similar situations before. A quick search got me this: The Dog Ate My Hearing Aids and a quote from this piece:

"I was at the audiologists a week after the distressing incident when I got an answer to the question that had been bugging me. Why had he chosen my bionic aids for a doggy treat?

"Feedback," said my audiologist.

"I'm sorry?" I replied.

"You probably didn't turn them off properly, so they whistled and the dog got attracted to them."

Comment Dogs eat hearing aids - seriously! (Score 1) 727

When Grandpa left his hearing aid (only 1 of his 2) on the window sill in our spare bedroom, our dog chewed it up. Our USAA homeowners insurance policy covered the entire cost of the replacement hearing aid. When I spoke with the claims representative at USAA, they said this happens all the time as dogs are drawn to the high pitched sounds emitted by hearing aids. Grandpa was disappointed as the new hearing aid was much better than the remaining old one the dog didn't chew up. I have had USAA for 22 years now and they have been great in every claim we have had. Note that membership is now open to ALL veterans of the US military whereas until recently it was only senior soldiers and officers and their immediate descendants. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF DOG.
Input Devices

Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive? 727

sglines writes "Over the last couple of years I've been slowly getting deaf. Too much loud rock and roll I suppose. After flubbing a couple of job interviews because I couldn't understand my inquisitors, I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew: I'm deaf. So I tried on a set of behind-the-ear hearing aids. Wow, my keyboard makes clacks as I type and my wife doesn't mumble to herself. Then I asked how much: $3,700 for the pair. Hey, I'm unemployed. The cheapest digital hearing aids they had were $1,200 each. If you look at the specs they are not very impressive. A digital hearing aid has a low-power A-to-D converter. Output consists of D-to-A conversion with volume passing through an equalizer that inversely matches your hearing loss. Most hearing loss, mine included, is frequency dependent, so an equalizer does wonders. The 'cheap' hearing aids had only four channels while the high-end one had twelve. My 1970 amplifier had more than that. I suppose they have some kind of noise reduction circuitry, too, but that's pretty much it. So my question is this: when I can get a very good netbook computer for under $400 why do I need to pay $1,200 per ear for a hearing aid? Alternatives would be welcome."

Submission + - Text 2.0: the book that knows it's being read (

Barence writes: The future of eBook readers could be text that knows it's being read, according to researchers. Text 2.0, developed by Ralf Biedert from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, uses an eye tracker to monitor your progress across the page. When your eye hits certain keywords actions are triggered — Latin text in Dracula, for example, is complemented by a brief translation, while antiquated words are bolstered with an explanation on the side of the page. "People talk about the end of the mouse and the keyboard, but that's not necessary, they're perfect at what they do," said Biedert. "Technology like Text 2.0 makes the computer smarter and more empathic. It's a way of giving authors, or maybe a new type of artist, additional tools to create an entirely new type of book." He also claims that as the software gets smarter and the hardware smaller it could ultimately find its way into eBook readers, or devices such as Apple's iPad, paving the way for an entirely new type of reading experience.

Submission + - Microsoft open-sources clever U-Prove identity fra (

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes: U-Prove, a powerful framework that couples strong privacy with high security for online authentication, has been released as an open source preview by Microsoft. Unfortunately, even open source is unlikely to ensure widespread adoption of this clever — and highly desirable — technology.

Submission + - Recommendations for Open Source Network Management (

mnmlst writes: I have about 200 workstations and a dozen servers to manage with minimal staff, too many power users, and zero budget for Network Management tools. The desktops and most of the servers are Windows. It's an education facility, so we have a lot of staff and user turnover. The IT support staff would appreciate learning to use network management tools that will give them portable skills when they move on to a job that has a budget for such tools. Who knows, maybe they will be the pioneers that bring open source network management to their future employers? A quick search turned up Open PC Server Integration (OPSI), OpenNMS, and Nagios. We don't have scripting skills (yet), so it shouldn't be a pseudo DIY suite. What products have you tried and worked for you? What would you recommend?

Submission + - There Is No Cyberwar

crowfeather writes: "From the article: "Howard Schmidt, the new cybersecurity czar for the Obama administration, has a short answer for the drumbeat of rhetoric claiming the United States is caught up in a cyberwar that it is losing.

“There is no cyberwar,” Schmidt told in a sit-down interview Wednesday at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco.

“I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept,” Schmidt said. “There are no winners in that environment.”

Instead, Schmidt said the government needs to focus its cybersecurity efforts to fight online crime and espionage.

His stance contradicts Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence who made headlines last week when he testified to Congress that the country was already in the midst of a cyberwar — and was losing it.""

Comment Re:Cold fusion, Amazing solar energy, gasoline (Score 1) 439

Kuwait was "slant drilling" into an Iraqi oilfield.

This justified a complete takeover of the country? FYI, I read the Iraqi military plans for that invasion a few months after it went down (August 1990). D+2 was supposed to have the Iraqi Army in Kuwait City and D+6 was to have the Iraqi Army in the Saudi Arabian port city of Dharhan. How exactly does taking over the Saudi oilfields and major export infrastructure along the Persian Gulf fit with Kuwait's slant drilling? The reason Hussein stopped was the prompt U.S. intervention with USAF F-15's, the insertion of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and the fact that Bush the Elder was taken seriously by Saddam after his recent takedown of the junta in Panama. Saddam Hussein badly miscalculated as did April Glaser, the U.S. diplomat to Iraq at the time, and our policymakers not taking Hussein seriously enough when the NSA satellites recorded the Iraqi tank divisions' pre-invasion dispositions near the Kuwait border. FWIW, the Saudi Army was a bad joke and it was ONLY the U.S. intervention that kept Saddam from grabbing control of a huge percentage of the Mideast Oil exports. He had just beaten Iran, he did get Kuwait, and if he had occupied the entire South/West half of the Persian Gulf, even the U.S. Navy probably could not get oil tankers through to Iran if they wanted to. George H. W. Bush had no choice but to intervene.

I guess we can agree to disagree about W's "free pass". The media dutifully covered Ari Fleischer and the Pentagon's official statements, but I always seemed to hear them promptly rebutted by the news anchors with "Where are the WMD's? Where are the Thomas Jefferson/Founding Fathers of Iraq?" and so on. In contrast, the current operations in Afghanistan seem to just be "business as usual" even though this campaign is coming from a guy who sounded awfully interested in not doing much more fighting in the Bush Wars. If you don't believe the media is biased, please explain to me why I watched CNN in horror one morning in the weeks soon after McCain tapped Palin as his VP candidate. Palin (who is an idiot I won't be voting for) had just had her disastrous interview in which she said she "could see Russia from her front porch." CNN's morning show (I won't bother with adding the word "news" to that description) prominently featured a "story" about a p0rn0 clip featuring a Palin lookalike stripping as two guys dressed as Russian soldiers prepared for the hand-to-gland combat soon to follow. CNN even had to blur out the nudity of the Palin lookalike. Imagine if they had done something like that with an Obama lookalike. Seriously, try to imagine it. You don't think there is such p0rn out there? You haven't heard a peep about it in the mainstream media and certainly not on CNN's morning show. As "blackgoldalchemist", a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008 should know, the media completely went for "bros before ho's" in the last presidential election. Palin combined the wrong sex with the wrong viewpoint as far as the mainstream media, (plus she is an idiot) and they were unconscionable in excoriating her. I view her more as Dan Quayle in a skirt, cute, bumbling, and a sop to the social conservatives of the Right.

I consider myself an extremely well-educated part of the actual conserve-ative wing of the GOP. We are known as "Crunchy Cons" (see book of same name by Rod Dreher who has a Crunchy Con blog as well). We believe in conserving all that is worthy and durable which includes the environment, religious faith, the family, beautiful art and architecture, and the Constitution with its emphasis on limited government and fundamental rights for citizens. This is obviously not without its contradictions, like any other viewpoint, but we certainly shouldn't be mistaken for Rush Limbaugh's "dittoheads". Probably the all-time Crunchy Con President was Teddy Roosevelt.

Comment Re:Cold fusion, Amazing solar energy, gasoline (Score 1) 439

I grasp that rubber was in short supply as it had to be imported, like silk, which was also in short supply. I would think that less burning of fuel would mean more of it would be available for military use. Don't forget the millions of troops that never left CONUS but were burning plenty of AVGAS and vehicle fuels with all the training that went on during the war. Chicory in coffee fell out of favor because during the war it had to be brought up from South America and they wanted to use that space on the ships for other supplies that were more strategic. When peacetime returned, American consumers were accustomed to coffee without chicory and it now hangs on only in Louisiana.

Comment Re:Cold fusion, Amazing solar energy, gasoline (Score 1) 439

I agreed with much of this post but "Bush got a free pass from the media"??? Really? The media gave me the distinct impressions that: 1) We all needed to know Bush was busted for drunk driving about 20 years before the 2000 election and I had to hear this the Saturday before Election Tuesday. 2) Gore had won the state of Florida even though the polls were open in the Panhandle counties for another hour costing W about 10,000 net votes in that strongly conservative part of the state. 3) Fahrenheit 9/11 was a documentary when it was actually full of outright lies and distortions. (I watched that drivel and recognized plenty of the lies.) 4) Dick Cheney was evil incarnate (entirely possible) but they didn't bother to mention that HE MOPPED THE FLOOR with John Edwards in the lone VP debate of 2004 5) Iraq War II was the Vietnam War all over again - on Day 2 of the initial invasion. (That reality came much later as it turns out. The media was just very premature.) 6) Ken Lay, the CEO of Enron was best buddies with W. What ever happened to that one? 7) Newsweek still didn't think Bush was the legitimate president the weekend preceding the 9/11 attack according to their cover story. (Look it up.) 8) Any rational person took Cindy Sheehan seriously. 9) The anti-war movement in America was really against war. The mainstream media in no way, shape, or form gave W a "free pass". W wasn't just the Big Oil president or the Wall Street president, he would seep with anything for enough campaign contributions, making him the perfect politician for our times.

It now turns out that the "anti-war" movement was really just against Bush. Notice the absence of mass protests as Obama continues Bush's policies, this time with a "surge" in Afghanistan, but the so-called anti-war movement now consists of occasional blog posts as opposed to marches through NYC. When Bush wanted a surge in Iraq, he had to battle with Congress, the media, and "anti-war" protests for months, giving Al Qaeda and Company plenty of time to prepare. Don't tell me with a straight face that the media gave George W. Bush a "free pass" as that is absurd. In contrast, the mainstream media did almost everything conceivably within its power to deliver the White House to Obama in '08 and the Republicans had it coming after the débâcle that was Bush II. How many Time Magazine covers has Obama had since he first announced his candidacy for president in 2005? Hardly anyone batted an eye as Obama sent his surge into Afghanistan. Maybe he could go ahead and annex Haiti while he is at it since the Haitians would be better off and the media and "anti-war" movement wouldn't cause him any trouble.

I'm sick to death of our hypocritical politicians, Democrat and Republican alike. Like the lawyers they truly are, they can take either side of any argument and push it without a twinge of conscience or consistency. See the amazing flip-flops of both sides depending on whether they were in the majority or minority. Specifically: attitude towards government spending (Pelosi was all about fiscal prudence a few years ago/the GOP were spendthrifts at that time - now it has reversed), attitude about overriding Senate filibusters, attitude about a larger government role in healthcare (Medicare prescription drug benefits were passed in the W years), and so on. It's sickening and their cynicism has made cynics of us all. They will reap a terrible harvest from the ill seeds they have sown. Look for the biggest "throw the bums out" election results in American history this November. This is a golden opportunity to pass term limits for Congress as their favorable poll number is now a mere 11 percent.

Comment Cold fusion, Amazing solar energy, gasoline (Score 4, Insightful) 439

"as soon as they can get these to market, solar could be very viable and cheap to produce." And if a frog had wings his ass wouldn't bump the ground when he hops.

I appreciate Slashdot acting like an old Popular Mechanics here, but I wouldn't get too excited just yet. As somebody pointed out in another forum, when you compare ethanol with gasoline in terms of efficiency, if all we had was ethanol primarily from "corn" (U.S. term, UK term is "maize") and then someone invented gasoline, we would be raving about the improvement in efficiency and economy. IOW, I will believe cheap, efficient solar power when I see it on the neighbor's roof. Until then, this is one more expensive quest for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. In the meantime, we could be practicing more energy efficiency.

FWIW, I knew W was full of crap with that whole "hydrogen economy" nonsense back around 2005. That was an absurd sop to deflect a little criticism that he was as much a tool of Big Oil as his Old Man. Make note that I served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and when it was over, George H.W. Bush was sitting on a 91 percent approval rating based on a war we had to fight to maintain a steady supply of petroleum for the Western Powers and Japan. From the desert, I wrote my Senators and lobbied them to get a bill going to get us to start weaning off Mideast Oil. That S.O.B. Bush didn't raise a finger, nor did our Congress and eventually Western wealth transfer begat Osama Bin Laden, 9/11, Iraq War II, and Afghanistan. Wouldn't you think a 91 percent approval rating might have been enough political capital to change things a little? It may even have made Bush the Elder seem like the President of the U.S.A. instead of President of the New World Order since he rightfully earned a reputation for being allergic to domestic policy. His detachment had a lot to do with getting booted in '92. A review of the stock market back in '90 - '91 reveals that Big Oil shot up and helped a lot of folks in that business recover from the very hard times they went through in the late '80's. Though I was a conservative and a combat veteran, I campaigned for Bill Clinton in '92 as I was so disgusted with Bush the Elder. Still am. God save us from another Bush.

Most of us know in our heart of hearts that our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the continued grip the Mideast has on Western economies. In World War II, the U.S. national speed limit was 35 mph and gasoline was rationed with coupons. This was done to make sure the military had plenty of fuel. If some shared sacrifice was called for now, I think most Americans would grumble, but go along with it for the sake of untangling from the Iraq and Afghan Wars. How about bringing back the 55 mph speed limit of the '70's and '80's? What about a tax based on the weight of a vehicle? If we cut back on petroleum use, we help our independence and the environment at the same time. Now that's what I call "conserve-atism".

If you want to see what needs to be done about our dependence on petroleum, just look for the occasional Charles Krauthammer piece on it. He makes the same recommendations about every 5 years, the centerpiece of which is a flexible tax on gasoline that seeks to wean us off cheap oil while keeping the price of gasoline fairly steady.

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