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Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 286

That's the problem - the currency. The UK government (and all political parties) has said in no uncertain terms that there is no way that Scotland will share currency if they become independent. So any bank, insurance company, pensions investment firm, or even regular business / investor that has accounts in sterling is going to move them south and a big chunk of their infrastructure to mitigate the risk. Perhaps Scotland could join the Euro but those sort of things won't happen over night and it still wouldn't stop the flight of currency. Over the long term it might not matter, but it might in the short and medium term when people discover their savings or their pensions are bolloxed from the move.

Comment It's always been thus (Score 1) 794

My kids are coeliac. They MUST eat gluten free or they will get sick. Supermarkets usually carry a range of foods but it's a specialty food and there isn't much variety. So the more stores that carry GF the better to stretch the variety and choice out. And that includes health food stores.

So I'm happy that Whole Foods exists. They carry a large range of GF and occasionally something novel enough that I'll buy it because its unavailable somewhere else (for less). It is expensive though and I do not comprehend why anyone is dumb enough to buy foods there without a dietary necessity. Gluten free foods in particular command a 2-3x markup and don't even taste nice for that. Anyone who eats them without a medical need is a moron though I should thank them for expanding demand for those products.

I'm ambivalent about the fads, quackery and woo they sell - they're not a pharmacy - but I wish they wouldn't sell it.

Comment Re:Why single out Whole Foods? (Score 0) 794

So... why single out Whole Foods and compare them with creationists?

Because it works, for the most part. It elicits an emotional response in readers who have an irrational hatred for people who happen to ascribe to creationism. Like most "editorialisms," it's a race for the bottom.

If this is the kind of crap Slashdot is going to keep posting, maybe it's time to go elsewhere.

I quit reading Slashdot regularly about a year or two ago for this exact reason and started reading HN instead. Unfortunately, I've noticed that the left-of-center outgassing from Slashdot and elsewhere has caused many of these other sites to express the same symptoms within a short few months. The tech community is, at large, an echo chamber of Leftist ideology and ideologues who suffer from various degrees of disdain, disgust, or hatred for any who holds beliefs that run counter to majority views. Any suggestion that minority opinions may be welcome is a ruse.

Watch my comment for illustrations to this effect; within a few days, it'll likely have replies confirming my suggestions by denigrating common scapegoats for societal ills (the "extreme right," global warming "denialists," religious believers, etc.) painting them as the most vile of scum. Or observe the sibling comment just prior to my posting that illustrates the condescending pretentiousness that is endemic to these discussions.

My motive in leaving Slashdot was the fault of vitriol I observed directed toward those whose comments I've enjoyed over the years (and friended them). It was depressing, to say the least, and reflected poorly on the Slashdot community. So, packing up and leaving for a while seemed the only option. Except that it's inescapable. You cannot go anywhere without encountering this sort of vitriol. Maybe it's the fault of society in its present state, maybe it's the fault of Internet discussion and what behavior it encourages. I don't know.

Fortunately, with the libertarian revival as of late, I've noticed some Slashdot threads improving in balance. Or maybe it's because of how I left my thresholds configured to filter out mostly the people I enjoy (who are still posting, thankfully).

Comment Re:However.. (Score 1) 247

Soyuz was apparently considered, but the Columbia orbit was really difficult to get to from the cosmodrome. I don't remember if it just wasn't possible, or if it just would've taken even longer to get ready than the Atlantis. There was an Ariane considered too apparently, just to get some more CO2 scrubbers up there to buy more time, but that would've inovolved developing a completely new packaging and delivery system or something like that. I don't remember the specifics but it wasn't feasible either.

Say what you want about NASA's competence, but you can at the very least assume that if random internet commentators can come up with an idea, then the highly educated rocket scientists at NASA probably could have as well, and if the mission in the report was presented, there's a pretty good chance that it was because that was actually the most likely one to succeed (however unlikely it actually was). Unless you think that random internet commentators are actually smarter than the collective wisdom of everyone NASA has or could have contacted when doing this report after the fact.

Ultimately, I'm not entirely convinced that the "let them have a great mission and then maybe get killed in seconds on re-entry rather than force them to have a crappy terrifying mission and die slowly from CO2 poisoning over the course of several days" wouldn't have been, ultimately, the right choice, even if it was only made by omission rather than officially. I know that if I was an astronaut, I'd choose the former.

Comment Re:until someone hacks it (Score 4, Interesting) 216

With no "good guys" to care about, there are all kinds of novel things the ship could do. It could be remotely or automatically steered to the nearest warship or safe harbour. Parts of the ship could made impassable with bars or shutters. Other parts could flooded with tear gas, frictionless liquids, strong adhesives, permanent marker dye etc. On the outside nets or grapples could be thrown out to foul the pirates boats or propellers. Stun grenades could be fired etc. Cargo could be protected with electrified fences, barbed wire etc.

The ultimate failsafe if remote control was impossible and communication was disabled would be to trip a few circuits deep in the ship, jam the rudder and drop anchors. Good luck towing that. Basically it could be made really unpleasant and futile to hijack these ships. But it could make for some amusing news headlines.

Comment Re:Niven short stories (Score 1) 293

New technology typically goes through a phase where it is really expensive when it is first released, and then it gets less expensive, right? The Jigsaw Man is set in that initial timeframe. Breakthroughs in the medical science gave doctors the ability to transplant every organ except the brain and spinal column, but the cost was still very high and only a few could really afford it.

Niven does explore the next phase, where the cost comes down (or the technology is replaced by something less expensive), in his novel A Gift From Earth. I think the novel was written before the story, in fact.

Comment Niven short stories (Score 1) 293

A number of Larry Niven's short stories would be excellent examples of futurism:

The Jigsaw Man really stands out as a commentary on how power would be abused when organ transfers became nearly 100% successful (yet very expensive).

The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club talks about flash crowds.

Cloak of Anarchy deals with, strangely enough, anarchy.

Comment Re:Vive le Galt! (Score 1) 695

The problem here is that the exchange is also a bank. So bitcoins are meant to be backed by tangible assets - funds in USD or some other currency. At any given time the books should balance, that if someone buys BTC with USD or USD with BTC then the funds in each amount should tally. Since the exchange controls the exchange rate, it shouldn't make any difference whether the value goes up or down.

But someone figured how to make phantom withdrawals of bitcoins so their books did not match and they don't have the assets to cover the gap. If there was a run on the bank / exchange (for instance because people have heard that MtGox is run by security incompetents), then the subsequent exodus would wipe them out.

I'm not sure how absconding with the remaining assets is wise or legal however. They'd had better damned surface in the next few days because I expect they'll experience the delights of being on the interpol wanted list otherwise. And if the police don't catch them, then I'm sure some of their more muscular customers will be eager to have a quiet word with them.

Comment Re:Cheaper, really? (Score 1) 314

You can use QT on Android too, not that I see that it boils down to using either QNX or Android. There are various flavours of Linux (or BSD) that could fit the bill for an in-car entertainment system. Maybe it's just the case that for the effort, risk and cost involved for Ford to produce one that fits their requirements that they may as well licence QNX.

Comment Re:That'll fix half of the problem (Score 1) 314

QNX is clearly a better choice for a system that should just work, all of the time.

If SYNC is an entertainment system as it appears to be (I've never used it) then I don't see that it should make a damned bit of different what kernel or OS is powering it. All it has to do is play music, radio, maps, vehicle info, bluetooth and whatnot. ANY modern kernel could do it. Most of the complexity is in the multimedia framework and application software running on top.

I don't see that switching to QNX implies that the software is any more reliable for the change. It's as easy to write shoddy, leaky crap code over one kernel as it is over another. I expect the main motivating factor for Ford had less to do with the kernel and more to do with the price they got from RIM to licence and support it.

Comment Re:i have to ask (Score 1) 105

Virtually every phone uses a SoC (e.g. snapdragon) that has a android solution (drivers etc.). It's possible that certain hardware features such as VP8 decoding might not be enabled

So I presume that yes given the effort (and some way to obtain root), most of their mid-high range phones could run Android. Some of the older lower ends might not because they were deliberately gimped and don't even run Windows Phone 7 properly, using a cut down version called Tango instead.

But for the effort it may be easier to just buy another phone.

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