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Comment Re:Don't cripple... (Score 1) 397

That's not really what I meant, though. what I meant was,

Worker: "F1. Index. A, B, C, Oh, here we are... C for Coffee Break."

Help file: "Oh, having coffee break trouble. So, either they're letting you have a coffee break or not. If they are, then everything's fine and you aren't even hitting F1 and coming here, so no.

"If they aren't, that's why you're here. So, if you will, also please see the index for the entry 'Employee Relations'."

Worker: "Employee? Oh, come on. D, E... Employee Relations."

Help file: "What's really important to ask you right now is whether or not things are going swell with your coworkers. You're either getting along, or you aren't. If you are, then why not try a coffee break and go have a chat with them and liven things up a bit? Go check out 'C' for Coffee Break."

Worker: "The hell? I was just there. Oh, there's more. Click Click..."

Help file: "If you aren't getting along, maybe you should look at the help file under the entry 'Getting Back'."

Worker: "Getting back? You mean like communications or correspondence? No, that would've been under C. Let's see... E, F, G... 'Getting back'."

Help file: "See M."

Worker: "OH COME ON. H I J K... 'M' is probably nice big section, too. Have to make me do everything on my own. Probably have to wade through oodles of macros, and menus, and manual controls, and ... here we are, M. Oh. It's the first thing on the list: majorly fuck everybody up by sabotaging the mainframe computer. Click... click... oh, the computer shut down! Oh, so did Bob's! And, oh look that HR bitch in her own little soundproof office is throwing her monitor at the bulletproof glass. This is great!"

Comment Re:Don't cripple... (Score 1) 397

Adequately sapient help files also do the trick. Especially if we're talking about the Big Red Button, I don't think we want a Wizard who has to leave the series of choose-your-own-adventure style questioning open that eventually leads to "Yes, Show Me The Big Red Button, Wizard."


Wizard: "Please choose your needs from the following:"
a) monitor network traffic
b) shut down network traffic
c) notify administration

Wizard: "OTHER. Please help me figure out what you mean:"
a) take me back to the other menu, I mean the previous menu
b) I'm having trouble with my monitor
c) delete the hard drives. fuck them all!
d) this still isn't helping me, wizard!

Wizard: "So, delete the hard drives and fuck everybody, is it?"
a) I'm sure, wizard.
b) No, that was a typo. And, you're insane.
c) Get the paperclip in here, he's the voice of reason.

Wizard: "I'm WARNING YOU! Proceed?"
a) Yes, give me the fucking button, I'll click it right away.
b) NO

Wizard: "Glad I could help you!"


I think it would be better if the situation was in a help file.

"Let's see... F1 ... mm-hmm, help window. Index or contents? Let's see... contents looks really boring. Index, then. Okay... alphabetical... okay... scrolling... scrolling, yes, A, B, C, oh, I see you there everything about credit cards... D, E, F... G, H I J, oh, wow, look, something that's actually about the keyboard controls, imagine that... L... hmm... oh here we are, M for MAJORLY FUCKED UP AND IRREVERSIBLE DELETION OF ALL THE SHIT THOSE FUCKERS THINK IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY COFFEE BREAK. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's what the boss told me was going wrong with my app. Let's see... it says, if I want delete everything just close the app, run it with administrative privileges from the command line and use the argument forward-slash bee why ee. Gotcha!"

Comment Of course there is. (Score 1) 397

It's obvious that you can't put every tool in the hands of every consumer. This is a subset of the fact that a certain level of technical control isn't fitting or wise for every user.

All the same, I believe the best app offers the most power to the user, even if that takes awhile longer to code in.

The best app offers the most controls no matter what. And "no matter what" does qualify you to place them behind some "advanced options" control, or inside a plain text (or, why not, hexadecimal) config file, or in a registry entry, or wherever you need to hide it to feel that it's safe from "everybody but not everybody-everybody".

If it's freeware, consider charging for the added feature, and even requiring the customer send in a handwritten form with their tax ID and other business credentials, and signing their agreement to a series of legal disclaimers. Then you'll have their alleged good-will in writing, too, and protect yourself from damages.

Or, make it an undocumented command-line option. Then you could tie the user to having to settle with whatever they set this thing to for that session, and they couldn't just variably change it mid-session. And, if they want to know how to get to the solution, they can ask the company and the company can tell that customer how to get it done.

Is it a Windows app? If you have any pangs of guilt, I believe an "allow advanced features" checkbox that forces the operating system to validate their administrative credentials (even if it's not necessary for the purposes of the app's interaction with the operating system) is a decent enough way to go.

Comment Re:Balance convergence (Score 2) 74

If by equilibrium you mean a higher state of entropy, then yes.

You are, however, sadly mistaken in your assumption that having passed a critical mass of orbiting objects means they will suddenly start rapidly falling out of the sky.

On the contrary, what will happen now is the present objects will become more and more likely to have collisions as more and more collisions occur, in a cascade effect.

Eventually there will be a more or less impenetrable field of small debris flying around, and no opportunity to use that orbit for anything purposeful.

Even if we imagine that a roughly homogenous cloud of junk will deflect its own particles out of orbit, consider that only half of all collisions between objects moving at *almost* the same relative speed are probably going to cause the deceleration of both objects. Those are all collisions between two objects along roughly opposite vectors.

Past the point of collisions being orthogonal (and how many collisions are going to be exactly orthogonal, ie the set of planes orthogonal to a given plane versus all other planes that can be made to intersect that plane) we find collisions where one object bumps into the other object in roughly the same direction. One of the objects is going to be accelerated and deflect, even though the other object is going to slow down. The likelihood of them both having precisely the same trajectory and sharing a similar point in space as their velocities balance out is very unlikely, as well.

Yes, there's conservation of energy, but all you're pointing out is that across time -- approaching a very long era of time that, aside from some people who enter hibernation or travel into the future, is no doubt very significant in terms of human events -- "eventually" the debris will fall out of orbit.

This isn't a solution to the problem. Yes, in the cosmic scheme of things, on astronomical scales of time, eventually the stew will stop boiling and will simmer down, and all of the particles in orbit will fall to the atmosphere.

In terms of the future of humanity, however, the situation is clear: we've passed the critical mass of the junk cloud and now it is on rails toward a higher state of entropy.

Our options are either let it sit there and more or less give up on safe space travel outside of certain orbits on a scale of thousands of years, or do something about bringing debris down on purpose.

At any rate, I seriously doubt you took time to think about the consequences of having fewer *operational* satellites in the sky, but more satellites of a tiny and purely junky existence.

Comment "All you can eat" ? (Score 1) 573

"All you can eat" doesn't mean "all you can sell". Buffets, typically, aren't carry-out without adding additional charges.

"Unlimited service" doesn't mean "all you can eat". It means you won't be capped as long as you follow the TOS. I am fairly sure that somewhere along the line, this guy must have put pen to paper that his service was for home use, not for business use, or else the company wouldn't also have a business package.

I'm sure there was probably some agreement, as well, that he would secure his connection from unauthorized use. That's not unusual, these days. A contract can stipulate that the general public can't have access to your bandwidth. If you're operating a business, you're opening your paid share of the bandwidth to the general public.

There's so much wrong with what the guy did. The only interesting thing about all of this is the amount he was able to siphon before he was stopped. That's the only real valuable information, here: how much can the average person get away with? 30,000 x average suggests to me that the monitoring either was relaxed for the moment or is in general very relaxed. Which means that, potentially, 100 or 1000 x the average might still be gotten away with. That's valuable information!

The guy's situation though doesn't even begin to beg debate. I like the "all you can eat buffet" analogy. It's not a license to sit at a window and open your own restaurant to the sidewalk outside using your window seat.

Comment Re:Don't...just don't (Score 1) 327

They failed to provide a proper control group.
Plates close to routers were placed on a wooden surface. Control group was placed on plastic sheets.

I have to agree. Common sense suggests that using two different placement surfaces will tend to strongly skew results toward two different patterns. Another commenter noted that watercress are sensitive to phtalates found in some plastics. Think there might be any in the plastic surface?

Comment Don't be so hasty (Score 1) 663

Oh, like "scientists" suddenly arriving on-scene, at seemingly almost the last minute, to pitch in with their "findings", is a novel thing?

Let's consider a few other ecological tipping-points or resource bell-curves and see how well scientific findings were applied in those situations, as a comparison to how valuable these findings related to oil futures (futures, mind you) really are.

If global warming exists, it is history's most major industrial accident, so you'd think a careful study is backing the debate. Instead, self-proclaimed scientists argue conclusions predisposed by funding. Conflicting figures run amok, and science itself seems to break down: scientists don't know where 30-40% of projected carbon emissions "go" (Parsons, 145).

In the midst of the climate debate, deforestation estimates differ by tens of thousands of square miles as do assessments of original forest areas (Shoumatoff, 340; Richards, 11).

Not helping matters, in the 1990s the Global Climate Coalition, financed by large oil, coal, and auto industries, ran a disinformation campaign on global warming, finding an audience due to their emphasis on unbiased journalism (Casper, 143).

Climate and tree-cutting aren't the only muddied issues: fishing "is fraught with scientific papers trying to write and rewrite history to excuse some and blame others" (Clover, 111).

Scientists in the 1860s, pressured by British fishermen who had to fish farther and farther out to land any catch, began the inquiry into man's effect on "fisheries" (a term describing oceanic regions as industrial supplies.) Commission chairman Thomas Huxley maintained a view into the 1880s that: "in relation to our present modes of fishing... the most important sea fisheries... are inexhaustible," justified based on two assumptions: that fish catches are miniscule compared to what swims in the vast oceans, and that the effect of fishermen on their numbers was nil compared to that of their everyday struggle as marine life (Clover, 102). So began the tradition of failing to apply sound logic in solving the urgent problem of over-fishing.

During the 1990s, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization stated fish catches were increasing yearly. In 2001, two researchers revealed catches actually declined since the 80s. Chinese officials had overstated their national statistic, their operations of government subverted beneath operations of industry: the officials were promoted only if statistics reflected increased production. The Chinese officials had recorded "by-catch" (a term for unsalable fish) as productive (Clover, 22; Cousteau, 149). As a direct result of their inventiveness, fishing was not done as if a scarcity were underway, which it was. Jacques Cousteau remarks, "such lapses by those who lead nations bewilder explorers who have led a team" (94).

Cousteau notes further discrepancies: between the projected rate of nuclear power plant meltdown and the real thing (whereas pioneer risk assessments assured the world that a meltdown would occur only once for every 17,000 operating years per concurrently-operating plant, two meltdowns had occurred after only 4,000 operating years total for all plants world-wide); between the projected failure rate of space shuttles (once in 100,000 launches) and reality (Challenger, the 25th launch); and between claims versus motives when decisions affecting human lives are made "not to protect lives, but to protect investments" (pages 88, 92).

So you see, these "scientists" seem to only gain a major stage and only seem to be listened to when they're actually the puppets of major industrial interests.

Let's also take into consideration that oil trades on the global market and that the value of oil futures is volatile. Events like political instability in the middle east might make oil appear to be an unstable future and so values of futures will plummet. Saddam Hussein used this to his advantage numerous times by killing his brothers to drive oil prices down, buying oil futures, and then shaking hands and making peaceful promises with the West to bring the futures up and make a profit selling.

What does discovery do? It increases the amount that's out there. Less scarcity means less value overall, so the more these findings are taken seriously, the less valuable the oil futures are going to look. But if, after oil becomes devalued to a certain extent, the scientists are -- wow -- suddenly found "wrong" (who'd have thought it could happen on Earth?!?! WHYYY?!?!?!) then the opposite could happen, and the cheap futures could be sold at a profit.


Casper, Julie Kerr, Ph.D. Fossil Fuels and Pollution. New York: Infobase. 2010. Print.

Clover, Charles. The End of the Line. New York: The New Press. 2006. Print.

Cousteau, Jacques and Susan Schiefelbein. The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus. New York: Bloomsbury. 2007. Print.

Parsons, Michael L. Global Warming: the Truth Behind the Myth. New York: Plenum. 1995. Print.

Richards, John F. & Richard P. Tucker, eds. World Deforestation in the 20th Century. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 1988. Print.

Shoumatoff, Alex. The World is Burning. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1990. Print.

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