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Comment That won't work either. (Score 3, Informative) 135

I would envision something like a space suit, with chain mail over Kevlar to resist bladed weapon puctures and bullets. It would not need to be airtight, but would allow a slight overpressure for nuclear/biological/chemical survival, something like armored firefighter turnout gear with SCBA, with an armored helmet with facemask.

Accessorize with melee weapons and big guns...ouila! The fashion statement of the Apocalypse.

Spoken like someone who has never hiked long distance. Weight is your enemy.

You are no better than the fashionista, proposing something so utterly impractical yet "cool" looking.

Comment Re:Vicious Storms? What??? (Score 1) 135

Total global cyclonic energy ("vicious storms") has been at a 40-year LOW. Yes, the Atlantic got some storms last year but they were only seemingly "more vicious" because they happened near cities. The overall rate of "vicious storms" is DOWN, not up.

Well, 40-year low is possibly a bit misleading if you intend to imply there's a downward trend. ACE varies pretty wildly from year to year, so it's extremely hard to say if there's a trend in one direction or the other. This is why most climate and atmospheric scientists are extremely reluctant to blame any one storm season on climate change, despite the media biting at the bullet to do so.

Though, what's interesting to me is how strong everyone predicted this season was going to be in the Atlantic and how anemic it has been so far. I haven't seen a good explanation of that, though we've got 3 more months to go.

Comment Re:3D Printing Hysteria (Score 1) 207

Maybe this sounds weird, but this is actually a key question for me about 3D printing. Material matters at least as much as shape.

I cook a fair bit, and I know what I like in a spatula. I have several different kinds of spatula on hand for different purposes. They need the right amount of flexibility for the job. Some are very thin and stiff (but not brittle); others are thick and flexible. Some need to tolerate high heat; some need to be soft enough to avoid scratching Teflon.

That's just for spatulas, a pretty trivial tool. I'd imagine that more complex jobs require more complex combinations of materials. Shape is important, but I haven't seen any indication that they're getting anywhere close to being able to get a machine that does the things that rubber, metal, wood, and a vast array of different plastics yield.

Comment Re:Yes, there is a simple fix (Score 3, Informative) 167

Frenemy. Or rather, lots of web sites are my frenemies, scooping up Javascript from dozens of web sites with no clear indication that they're aware of the interactions or trustworthiness of those sites. Slate.com is my particular nemesis here; I once counted two dozen separate sites that would have had to be enabled before the site could run as its designers intended, some of them down 4 and 5 layers of indirection.

NoScript, who treats everybody as an enemy until told otherwise, requires an awful lot of hand-holding before permitting that. NoScript I trust (more or less) to be on my side, but lots of web site designers consider them the enemy, and that makes our mutual encounters... tense.

Comment Re:Well Duh: Open Source is better (Score 1) 160

Thanks a lot for this. Slashdot is full of very smart people who say, "I'm very smart, and I don't understand why it takes you so much time, effort, and money to do the thing that you do. Here, let me teach you your job." It's nice to have the occasional interjection from somebody who actually understands what's going on to explain at least a few of the complications glossed over in the process.

Comment Re:I wonder about the taste (Score 5, Insightful) 221

Well, of course, I seriously doubt it will be as tasty or have nearly as good mouthfeel as a burger from a real cow, but this is a very important, early step in a long chain of necessary inventions to truly replace animals as a meat source.

However, if culture medium *does* matter, then that become yet another variable to tweak in producing the tastiest meat, and it's almost certain that we'll be able to improve on nature by, say, eliminating the taste of fear and stress in meat.

We'll also theoretically have the ability to grow sterile meat if we can use sterile inputs. Imagine meat that can stay vacuum sealed on the shelf with no refrigeration for months and still taste fresh!

Comment Re:Good Question (Score 1) 655

Humans aren't horses, but they're both mammals and so are likely to have fundamentally similar biochemistry.

Similar does not mean equal. Any pet owner can tell you that there are foods humans can eat that will harm your pets and vice versa. (e.g. Grapes, raisins, onions, & garlic can cause kidney failure in dogs & cats.) This is why we can't just stop testing with animal models.

There are a variety of drugs that are safe to use on horses but not on humans. One would be phenylbutazone, or "bute," a painkiller that will suppress human white blood cell production and, in conjunction with some other drugs, will destroy your liver. Bute is one of many horse NSAIDs not approved for use in humans.

(Similarly many human OTC painkillers in the same class will kill your pets. Tylenol is also bad for pets, causing anemia in cats and liver toxicity in dogs.)

I can't find anything about dewormers being poison, though. Apparently, most of the dewormers I saw were also used (in appropriate doses) in humans and dogs or simply have never been tested properly in humans. I looked up fenbendazole (not enough testing), ivermectin (used in humans), moxidectin (not used in humans but safe according to some tests I read), praziquantel (limited use in humans), and pyrantel pamoate (used in humans, but an uncertain risk to pregnant women). With the exception of the last, I'm not aware of any known risks from their presence in meat, but we just do not have enough knowledge on many to approve it for the general food supply.

(On the subject of dogs, it worth noting that a few of these drugs -- the avermectins -- can be toxic to herding dogs but not to most other dog breeds. It makes their use in heartworm medicine tricky.)

Comment Re:qualcomm is right (Score 1) 526

Plus you'd still have enough oomph to run a torrent server, a tor node or just use your phone to mine some bitcoins.

So, how is cell phone reception over there in that parallel universe where Tesla got us all switched over to wireless power transmission? Satisfy my curiosity -- does anyone get killed touching doorknobs after walking across a shag carpet?

Comment Re:Wha if (Score 4, Informative) 140

Unfortunately, one senator is NOT completely meaningless. Inhofe isn't just a Senator. He's the ranking minority member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. That means he has enormous say in any legislation on the environment. If the Senate changes hands, he becomes the chairman of that committee, and has the power to singlehandedly stop any legislation to do anything about climate change. He would also have significant power to introduce legislation to dismantle any regulatory framework, and the ability to hassle executive branch agencies with subpoenas (and has shown a willingness to use it).

The committee structure of the US Congress puts enormous power in the hands of a few individuals. And the ones with the biggest axes to grind try to end up in prominent positions: the House Committee on Science and Technology is packed with people who aren't just climate change denialists, but creationists to boot.

Comment Yes, publicity means privacy in this context. (Score 1) 207

The right of publicity is essentially the right to control commercial use of one's name, likeness, and reputation. It is the right not to be exploited for sensationalist profit. Is the right to control what words people try to put in your mouth -- what people try to claim that you endorse or support. This is part right now that people are railing against -- the notion that profit trumps speech.

However, there's another side to the publicity coin, and that's the right to be left alone. The right not to have one's likeness and life drug through the public eye without some kind of public merit. It's based on the notion that we have a natural right as to how and whether aspects of our lives are communicated to the public. It's very closely related to the doctrines behind prohibiting slander and libel. That side is very much about privacy.

The general causes for action under the notion of right of publicity are:
1) Intrusion upon physical solitude.
2) Public disclosure of private facts.
3) Depiction in a false light.
4) Appropriation of name and likeness.

While this case is about #4, #1-3 are essential privacy rights, and while the EFF is not arguing against them, I worry that weakening appropriation weakens false light, disclosure, and intrusion torts.

As to the case at hand, in general, commercial speech gets the lowest protection by the First Amendment. Privacy trumps profitable speech, but much like defamation law, the protections weaken the more political and public your life is and the closer the speech comes to political or academic speech, until it comes to the point that politicians essentially have no right of publicity, which is frankly the way it should be.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

9th Circuit Court Elevates Celebrity Privacy Rights Over Video Game Portrayals 207

The EFF posted a biting response to yesterday's Ninth Circuit ruling that heavily weights celebrities' right to privacy, and construes that right very broadly. From the EFF summary of the case: "The plaintiff, Sam Keller, brought the case to challenge Electronic Art (EA)'s use of his likeness in its videogame NCAA Football. This game includes realistic digital avatars of thousands of college players. The game never used Keller’s name, but it included an avatar with his jersey number, basic biographical information, and statistics. Keller sued EA claiming that the game infringed his right of publicity — an offshoot of privacy law that gives a person the right to limit the public use of her name, likeness and/or identity for commercial purposes. ... Two judges on the panel found that EA’s depiction of Keller was not transformative. They reasoned that the 'use does not qualify for First Amendment protection as a matter of law because it literally recreates Keller in the very setting in which he has achieved renown.'" The piece later notes that this reasoning "could impact an extraordinary range of protected speech."

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