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Comment Re:Fuck yeah (Score 1) 161

Our government works for us, not the corporations who want to turn our private lives into profit.

HADOPI? It is undeniably true that France has a distinct distaste for data-hoovering American internet companies(how much out of a genuine commitment to privacy law, and how much out of an ongoing jealous spat over the surprising lack of data-hoovering French internet companies is somewhat unclear); but damn are they ever 'helpful' when it comes to protecting those culturally-vital copyright holders...

Comment Wait a second... (Score 4, Interesting) 49

AIDS(which, while nasty, is pretty stubbornly fluid-borne) shares a containment level with the flu(which, while merely annoying, cuts a broad and temporary swath through the population pretty much every time somebody gets the winter sniffles)? Are 'containment levels' based much less on ease of transmission than the name would suggest?

Comment Re:Because... (Score 1) 320

There is http://maps.google.com/gl which uses webGL to add some amount of integrated 3d stuff to Google Maps, wholly in-browser. Definitely more limited than the plugin-based or freestanding Google Earth 3d tricks.

I don't know whether this is because webGL is currently too fucked to support it, or whether there just isn't any demand, or whether it's a project in progress, or what.

Comment Re:Underlying structure versus pretty pictures. (Score 4, Interesting) 320

I guess you might be stating my opinion; but my thought is why? What is the 3d web going to give me that 2d doesn't?

It might be helpful to consider an analogy: "What is the 3d desktop going to give me that 2d doesn't?".

The first stab at '3d web', the ghastly VRML horror, is very similar in spirit to the various abortive attempts at creating '3d desktop' graphical shells. As it turns out, this is an area where you are lucky to break even with what you are trying to replace, and epic failure is the rule. Such attempts have largely died, and deserved it.

'WebGL'(as its name suggests) is much more closely aligned to '3d desktop' in the sense of 'people writing programs for this platform can expect OpenGL and/or Direct3d to be available to their programs if they want it'. This has proven to be enormously useful: lots of applications are simply impossible in anything approaching real time on affordable hardware with a pure-software render path, and the bad old days of having one variant for 3dfx/Glide, one for software, one for openGL, and possibly one or two others for oddball losers like 'S3 METAL'.

If you fundamentally don't like this 'web-app' stuff, you won't like it any more once OpenGL ES is given javascript hooks and set loose upon the world. However, the ability to deploy as 'web-apps' applications that require 3d capabilities has the same basic set of use cases as deploying 3d applications as native binaries.

Comment Re:This is Gas Chromatography (Score 1) 387

As best I can tell, it appears to be a bit more sophisticated than that(as well as presumably smaller, if they managed to shoehorn one into a space probe):

The laser burns the sample and allows the apparatus to examine the carbon isotope ratio in the combustion products. Their commercialization partner, 'Protium', apparently makes isotope-ratio mass spectrometer gear, and this laser apparatus seems to have similar capabilities.

Comment Re:Buy local honey (Score 1) 387

yet many of the same people that cry "support local businesses" in this context, buy stuff on amazon or newegg all the time without batting an eye.

fucking hypocrites.

One minor little difference is that for agricultural commodities, there tend to be local producers(in most areas at least, exactly what is 'local' obviously varies by location and season). In the case of books or motherboards, it's pretty unlikely that you are doing anything other than choosing between the local reseller and the online reseller.

People who 'buy local' tend to want to either support a local/regional production system, or a local reseller that has some sort of brick-and-mortar charm. In the case of books or electronics, the former is mostly moot(most of it Just Isn't Made Locally, and if you do happen to live near an Intel chip fab or something, you probably 'buy local' no matter where you buy). The latter, unfortunately, tends to be largely moot. Back when I was in college, the local book store kicked ass, and everybody shopped there. Now, the local bookstore is just an appendage of Barnes and Noble, only with limited hours and an even more limited selection. At least I have MicroCenter, which makes buying all but relatively esoteric hardware in person worth doing.

Comment Re:Of course it protects the small investor (Score 3, Interesting) 267

I don't know whether there was any really nasty interpersonal knife-twisting and violatation-of-not-actually-contracts-but-verbally-they-felt-like-them in that specific case(which my account for some of the bitterness swirling around it; but I certainly wouldn't want to be 'guy with a clever mechanical power-smoothing technique' in a world where supercaps have become downright cheap, and the demands of digital electronics of various flavors have driven serious improvements in DC-DC conversion and various techniques for bludgeoning ill-mannered input power into nice clean low-voltage DC...

The question that I'm left with is whether the spring arrangement was simply too expensive in absolute terms(ie, even if the 'intellectual property' were valued at zero, is the BOM cost of the spring +simpler electronics just higher than dumb crank + more sophisticated power conditioning apparatus) or whether this is a case where the patent holder, by holding out for more than he was worth, encouraged people to 'innovate around' the patent.

Comment Re:G.I. Joe (Score 3, Insightful) 147

Yes, I'm puzzle at the sarcasm here. It's a war toy, somewhat more up to date than the war toys I played with as a kid, but cap-guns, soldier action figures, grenades, bazookas, model jet fighters, tanks, and battleships... I played with all of these. There's nothing new about this.

This is probably why most of the review-snark is focused on our wacky adventures in novel legal interpretation with a side of collateral damage, rather than the (not particularly exceptional, if comparatively cheap) capabilities of the drone itself.

The news isn't that weapons have marched on; but that we really haven't been covering ourselves with glory when it comes to using them.

Comment Re:Chloroform (Score 3, Funny) 272

Remember: Anesthesiology pays relatively well because knocking people out is easy; but knocking them out such that you can wake them back up is hard.

Also, murder charges are a real hassle, and even jurisdictions that allow you to shot people for little more than trespassing tend to frown on lethal traps...

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