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Comment Re:IA - no issues (Score 1) 821

I mailed in my absentee ballot for Black Hawk County this afternoon. However, I had to use a FWAB because I never received the ballot I requested a month ago. I waited until the last day for that ballot, and finally went to the local (de-facto) embassy for Plan B.

Every time I always check the box to continue receiving ballots at my current address, but somehow that never seems to "stick", I always have to proactively request a ballot.

Frankly, this is a national embarrassment for the USA. Our election process is so fucked up with machines and such. Here in Taiwan (where I live) they have no machines and use only paper ballots. After the polls close, they hand-count the ballots in public view and results are usually complete within 2~3 hours.

We can do better, folks. We must demand better.

Comment Re:What about the non-junk? (Score 4, Interesting) 147

This reminds me of another method using light instead of gas, which was described at a recent space conference. The idea was to pulse laser light toward the west (since most space debris is traveling predominantly eastward), and over time the photons alone could provide enough delta-v to nudge things out of orbit more quickly. For the big stuff they have other plans in mind, such as electrostatic tethers and micro-rockets. But for little stuff, the light pulse would be a cost-effective "shotgun" approach to deal with the cloud of crap that's too small to track.

Sorry I can't find a link at the moment. I saw it a few months ago on YouTube from either NewSpace or SpaceUp, or ISDC or one of the other conferences in the last year or two.

Comment Re:Slackware on floppies (Score 2) 867

Windows is a piece of crap, but still much better for a desktop workstation than any Linux (or UNIX) I have come across.

Wait, what? Windows is a piece of crap, but still better than Linux? I think at least one of these words does not mean what you think it means. ;-)

I started with Slackware in '95, and tried various other distros over the years, though I couldn't name them all or tell you the order. RedHat, Debian, Gentoo, CentOS, FreeBSD, SuSE... it's all a hazy blur now... I kept a dual-boot Windows partition around for a while, but used it less and less, and finally stopped using it in the early 2000's. (I still have WinXP in a VirtualBox, just for SlingBox, but hardly ever use it these days.)

At this point, it's hard for me to imagine ever going back to "non-free" software. I've been using FOSS almost exclusively for over 10 years already. In recent years I've settled on the various *buntu distros, depending on which desktop is less "sucky" at any given time.

Comment Re:Cows eat Grass (Score 1) 432

Now you're just being obtuse. The point here is grass vs. grain. Cows are not evolved to eat grain, whether it's corn seeds or wheat seeds or whatever sort of "grass" seeds you choose. Cows are essentially mobile fermenting vats with legs; their purpose in life is to eat lots of cellulose (not grain) and convert it into meat, methane, and poop. Feeding them grain not only fattens them faster, it also screws up their digestion and nutrition.

Comment Re:Still Wrong (Score 3, Interesting) 926

It's time for people to start learning about permaculture. The "green revolution" is nearing its end, as the petroleum on which it depends reaches peak production. The way forward is to grow as much of your own food as possible, buy your food as locally and seasonally as possible, and promote the adoption of sustainable farming practices, either via the political process or by directly supporting local farmers who use them.

Permaculture can be practiced through various methods in almost any type of climate, and it's scalable from a backyard plot to a thousand-acre spread. It uses no chemical inputs, requires far less water, and actually builds up more topsoil instead of eroding it out to the ocean.

A few examples to check out:

1. Managed grazing. Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm is a prime example of this method which produces insane amounts of beef, pork, and poultry on just 100 acres of grassland. (The average farm in their county gets 80 cow-days per acre; Polyface gets 400!)

2. Aquaponics. Will Allen's "Growing Power" co-op in Milwaukee is a great example of aquaponics, which is a cross between aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics. Basically, fish produce waste which feeds the plants, and plants clean the water to keep the fish healthy.

3. Pasture-cropping (aka "no-kill" farming). Australian Colin Seis is credited with inventing (or rediscovering) this technique of planting row crops on pasture land without plowing-under the grass. Instead, the grass is grazed or mowed prior to planting, which gives the crop plants a head start before the grass comes back.

There's a ton of info about all this stuff on the web, especially on YouTube. Check it out.

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 2) 370

There's a farmer in Virginia who claims his permaculture techniques could sequester all the CO2 emitted by humans since the industrial revolution in less than 10 years. His name is Joel Salatin and the technique he invented is called mob-stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization. In the 50 years the Salatins have been farming this way, they've added 8 inches of topsoil to their land (this is how the carbon is sequestered). Salatin is featured in Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma." Pollan gives a brief introduction to the farm in this video among others.

Comment Re:WTF. (Score 3, Insightful) 616

DE designers should be retired, just like the guys who gave us the basic clutch+brake+accelerator layout of pedals in cars. The basic combo of windows, widgets, & menus has served us well enough for decades already. There is nothing "more intuitive" waiting to be discovered... at least not as long as we're still using keyboards and mice.

FFS, quit mucking about with "innovation" on the desktop!!! (Remember KISS? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"...?? Any of this ringing any bells?) If anything, you DE designers should be more concerned with convergence than differentiation. Every time you hear the screams of millions of users crying out against the latest "New-Paradigm"[tm] from MS or Apple, that should be your cue to GIVE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT -- ie: what they are USED TO -- not an "Even-Newer-Paradigm".

If you've got time on your hands, and are looking for something to do, please spend it on improving your favorite apps. The UI does not need anything "new", nor do the users want anything new or unfamiliar. It's more than enough hassle to keep up with "innovations" in the app space... please don't make us learn new tricks in the WM too!

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