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Comment Re:A sense of scale (Score 1) 542

The reason that mankind is unlikely to colonize space is that most alien technological civilizations in the galaxy will have already beaten us to it. People who talk about the scale of distance in interstellar travel often don't appreciate the scales of time that existing civilizations would have had to work with. Even at just 1% the speed of light, you can colonize the entire galaxy in less than 10 million years. That's nothing when you consider that another civilization could easily be up to a half-billion years older than us.

Comment Re:Sounds rather slanted (Score 5, Insightful) 142

Spain *are* a much better team than Switzerland and this system would show that. Have them play a thousand times, and Spain would win the vast majority. So I'm not sure I see your point.

You do make a good point about Italy. However I'd be interested to see what the system actually says about Italy before condemning it.

Comment Too much work (Score 3, Interesting) 602

When the World Cup started, I thought of playing around with notch filters to remove the noise, but the whole thing just reeked of effort. The human brain is actually pretty good at filtering out noise if you give it a chance. Just watch the games and don't worry about the vuvuzelas and before long you won't even notice them. I don't. It's a lot like what happens when you live next to a highway.

Comment Re:Physician, not physicist (Score 1) 546

If the method of space travel being discussed doesn't result in high-energy collisions with hydrogen atoms in the first place, as is the case with a Star Trek like warp field (aka an Alcubierre drive), then he clearly isn't qualified. Every write-up I've seen on this guy's analysis, including TFA, is appended by notes explaining various things this guy omitted or didn't think of.

Frankly, whenever somebody claims to have proven that something is impossible, usually the only thing they have proven is that they are unimaginative dolt.

Comment Apples and oranges (Score 1) 437

By and large, people who make music are reasonably good at figuring out how to make decent music. They practise, they play for friends, they perform in small venues, they attract a following.

On the other hand, people who decide to write a book, often have no fucking clue how to write. Maybe they have a good idea, or an interesting story, or a unique perspective on certain events. But write a coherent well-structured book? Ha!

And the problem is, people think they can write. Let them all self-publish and many aren't going to believe they need professional help. Many musicians at least know they can benefit from a professional sound engineer, but how many first-time writers hire their own freelance editor?

Take book publishers out of the picture, and most auto-biographies would be unreadable. Large amounts of non-fiction would be unreadable, as would a surprising number of novels. Books that requires illustrations, would be filled with really crappy illustrations. Or none.

You think text books are hard to follow now? Leave academics to their own devices and see what you get.

Book publishers bring a lot more to the party than their music industry equivalents. They rewrite and restructure, fact-check, illustrate, do graphic design, obtain clearance for the use of quotations and excerpts, and translate to foreign languages.

I spent ten years writing custom software for book publishers, and I know that their's is one of the most complex and challenging businesses going. I'm not saying I agree with Macmillan's e-book pricing. But comparing them to the RIAA is ridiculous.

Comment Re:An Alternative (Score 1) 560

I get the feeling you really don't understand fandom.

People have natural tribal impulses, not to mention competitiveness. Belonging to a fan culture helps meet those primal needs. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of a sports team, a sci-fi show, a music act, or a political party. It's enjoyable to gather with fellow fans, and share a sense of pride, accomplishment, and belonging. Fans become emotionally invested, and it can become a huge part of their lives, and in my experience, almost always for the better.

And it's ridiculous to try and write off fans as being irrelevent spectators. If fans didn't exist and people didn't care about professional sports or entertainment or the democratic process, then those things wouldn't even exist. We only have them, because people do care, and watch, and pay money, and participate. And for that I am thankful.

Comment Re:So how do we DDoS Microsoft? (Score 1) 332

Why single out a relatively new service to hand the root of your domain over to?

Because that is the service that all of your internet-using customers will use to seek information about your company.

Maybe '' points to my mail server, because I am an email company.

Then that would be a stupid email company and deserves to go out of business.

I'm sorry, but if does not bring up your company's website, then you are a dismal IT failure, and no amount of rationalisation or waving RFCs about will change that.

I understand and appreciate that there is often perceived to be a "right way" to do things in IT, but you still have to balance that against common sense, practical considerations, and user expectation. The "right way" may be right when seen within a specific and confined logical framework (networking 101), yet be completely moronic when placed within a broader context (business and marketing on the internet).

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman