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Comment Mind your sects... (Score 3, Informative) 645

Be careful how you use the term "American Baptists". The American Baptist Churches of the USA are a fairly liberal and ecumenical bunch that believe in religious freedom (and humility) better than Richard Stallman believes in software freedom (and humility).

There are other baptists sects in America that are considered stricter groups and might be more likely to fit your stereotype, so beware how you capitalize "American".

Sure we believe in God, and I won't deny there are some zealots among our ranks, but as a denomination, we believe in autonomy, and the members certainly cannot be categorized the way it's being used here.

www.abc-usa.org ...if you're interested.

Comment Re:Goodbye Hulu (Score 1) 434

The normal Hulu isn't going anywhere. Not with a lackluster deal like that!

Ah, this deal is NOT lackluster...you will suddenly see the quality of available shows on ""free" Hulu drop dramatically.

Everything of any worthwhile value to Hulu viewers (full episodes, latest episodes) will go to the "pay" side and the "free" side will be random short clips of "Differ'nt Strokes" and the episodes of "Punky Brewster" where the old man has another heart attack.

It reminds me of when our local grocery store started a "Discount Card" program that is now ubiquitous. Literally overnight as the program was implemented, prices around the store on many items TRIPLED without the Card!

Your savings was simply paying regular price, but now you add the privilege of being tracked by their database.

The "Old" Hulu will now be the "Pay" Hulu, so I think "Goodbye" is a fair term to use here.

Comment JavaFoil (Score 3, Informative) 105

Basically, this is similar to XFoil, which is the standard 2-D CFD software for beginning Aeronautical Engineers (after they made us write our own...in FORTRAN77).

Since it is not 3-D, it runs MUCH faster and lets them discover the basics of pressure over an airfoil, which is the important part of wing design. The details of taper, sweep, tip shape, twist, and such are a bit too much for a high-school project. Surface area and aspect ratio are the simplest and most important criteria for airplane design. These values can be calculated on paper after coefficients of lift and drag are generated.

Javafoil can be run stand-alone or in an applet. It's free, and fairly straightforward to use.

Best of luck. I'd be interested to hear how quickly they catch on to the concepts.

http://www.mh-aerotools.de/airfoils/javafoil.htm

Comment This makes obvious sense to me (Score 2, Informative) 267

My guess is that pulsar timing is similar in concept to what happened when John Harrison when he tried making an accurate clock for determining longitude.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harrison

His early clocks just kept getting larger and more complex, but they were never able to achieve the needed accuracy on a moving, rocking ship for weeks on end.

His solution? He made an very SMALL clock, what amounts to a pocket watch, and was able to achieve accuracy in a variable environment.

Atoms are always going to be more consistent than a celestial object, because electrons can be less susceptible to external forces like aerodynamic drag, object imperfections and inconsistencies, impact bombardment, proximity of other similar objects, and the myriad other things that can affect rotation of an object larger than, say, a cat.

Sure, our "man-made" clocks are more accurate, but that is only because nature has better oscillators that we are capable of observing.

Comment Re:Open cloud vs Facebook, Google, Twitter (Score 1) 226

The largest challenge to openness stares us in the face every day, and nobody seems to notice: Much of our data is stored in proprietary servers controlled by private companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

While I cannot speak for Facebook and Twitter (nor do I speak through them because of my mistrust), but I do know that people at Google have noticed, which is why a team there has developed the Data Liberation Front.

Please check them out at: http://dataliberation.org/

To get you started, here is their mission statement:

Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.

Comment Re:here we have a nugget of scientific observation (Score 2) 336

I do have a couple of small problems with your comments, let's begin:

here we have a nugget of scientific observation

Well, we actually have TWO scientific observations that form a single inference, which if you remember your scientific method, is still capable of being fallible. I'm not making a statement either way on this one, just reminding you that this article is about an inference, not an observation.

political recrimination gets us nowhere. its cold in the house because someone left the window open? ok, so you're going to sit there and scream at each other over who opened the window? here's a new idea: how about someone demonstrating actual responsibility and instead actually stand the fuck up, walk over, and close the fucking window: NO MATTER WHO LEFT IT OPEN

OK, there's something here with which I agree, and something that bothers me about the current political climate. What the recent Copenhagen conference taught us was that, if we are all living in the same house, then it's OK for the "kids" to leave windows open because the "adults" are going to be adjusting the thermostat to compensate. The adults will also pay the now much higher utility bill, because the kids don't make as much money, and they do get chores done around the house the adults don't have time to get done, or are beneath them. The problem is, the adults don't like the fact that, because the kids' bedroom window is open, it's raining in the house and the carpet is getting ruined. But the adults still won't make the kids close their bedroom window, which is causing most of the thermostat problem anyway. Which leaves the adults going deep into debt to add expensive and complex add-ons to the adults' rooms in order to save on their utility bills...but it'll cost 10 years worth of utility bills to install the add-ons, and only saves 10% a month. Did I mention that the kids are complaining about the smell from the carpet, and that they'd like to sleep in the adults' room?

commence with the retarded partisan bickering anyway. meanwhile, us engineers will roll up our sleeves and will actually go and fix your fucking problem while you political assholes do nothing but bicker

more action, less "hot air"

Engineers will never be able to truly fix the problem, because a design can only work if it's implemented, and we have to convince the money man who, by the way, is VERY political, to make it happen. It's why communication is such an important part of the engineering curriculum...we have to be able to talk to various and diverse types of people to solve a problem. Think about how many "Ask Slashdot" articles involve how to properly provide the "hot air" to get the boss to sign off on an action...

Comment Re:Metric? (Score 1) 244

It can't be Indiana...our government is so afraid of being different anymore they now only pass legislation that is requested or approved by the federal government. It's why we adopted Daylight Saving despite lack of public support. (The deciding vote came from a border-county representative whose constituency explicitly preferred year-round standard time. He was cajoled into changing his vote because of party politics, rather than respecting his choice to represent the people who elected him.)

Which is worse; pi=4, or 7am=8am?

Comment Re:I honestly don't get it (Score 1) 117

I believe id is using the web browser/plugin for a couple of reasons. First, they want to efficiently simplify the updating system. Once you login, it always checks and updates files in the plugin to make sure they're up to date. It will also update in-game ads use. Today, this is often done by yet another program to run in the background of your computer (jusched.exe comes to mind).

The second purpose is to unify the user experience. Since Quake Live is designed to be an on-line "community", they want the forums, chat boxes, user profiles/stats, and game searches to be in a single interface. Even if you play the game in full-screen, once your match is completed it takes you back to the "lobby" which is just a nice web page, complete with ads and instant updates.

It does seem silly on the face of it to think that the plugin is large enough to be a stand-alone download, but there are some legitimate business and technological reasons for making it the way they did.

Comment H-P ScanJet Hardware Easter Egg (Score 2, Interesting) 233

A clever group at H-P made a scanner that when powered up while holding the "Scan" button and the SCSI address at zero would play Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The motor's drive speed determined the pitch of the note played. I loved showing that one off to my friends that were lucky enough to own one, especially because I didn't.

Comment Re:sales and tech support really dropped the ball (Score 1) 1654

I wonder why, after all these years, [Verizon] do[es]n't at least have a list of local LUGs to which they could direct Linux users. Had someone at least got her in touch with them, I bet the problems could have been resolved.

Wow, what a wonderful idea for a community/national non-profit; create a LUG technical support system that is approved or recommended by businesses. Buy a gOS machine from Wal-Mart? Call the enclosed 800 number to contact your nearest LUG, or call Wal-Mart and get the direct line in your area. "Operators are standing by!" I know much of the Linux community is either; (a)fixing their own machine, or (b)writing/updating software for everyone else's, but I'm sure there are some volunteers available to get folks like this at least STARTED on the right path.

I know there are for-profit systems like Shuttleworth's, but there MUST be room/money for this type of "pro-bono" work.

Comment Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (Score 1) 339

The mandated cut-off was also created to "encourage" stations to build on the new digital infrastructure. It's costing them millions per station for the transition, and they likely wouldn't do it if they knew they didn't have to.

The FCC knew more stations could fit into a smaller section of radio spectrum, so to move everyone over to digital would free up more frequencies. There is considerable pressure to find long-range spectra for new wireless technologies, and this is a major step in that direction.

Personally, I like my analog TV. No buffering, elegant failure mode, and less technology to interpret the signal. I do understand what they are trying to do, however, and I was impressed with reception in rural areas.

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