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Comment Re:Alternative headline (Score 1) 987

Let's bring the soldiers home so they can't accidentally kill children, journalists, or innocents. Or get killed themselves. And I don't mean two years from now ('bama's schedule) but immediately. Tomorrow. The Soviets wisely stopped fighting in Afghanistan when they realized it's hopeless to civilize that mountain country, and we should too. We'd save a LOT of lives.

Ok, I want to end our foreign wars as much as the next guy (maybe even more - my brother-in-law is risking his life in Iraq as we speak, but that's besides the point), but we can't just up and leave without making an even bigger mess than we already have. If we were to just pull out now, the power vacuum will be almost immediately filled by some very unpleasant local religious zealot warlords that will make life shitty for everyone nearby for a very long time.

We have to finish what we started or it gets even worse. That's the sad reality of the situation. It would have been better to not get involved in the first place (or at least to get involved very differently than we did), but now that we're here the only responsible action is to see it through.

Comment Just kill him (Score 1) 469

No, the CIA knows better than to make a martyr out of him with simple assassination. That's why he's being discredited with sexual assault charges. Character assassination is far more effective.

Comment Looking for life in all the wrong places (Score 1) 335

It amazes me that you can't concieve of the possibility that this is the first planet in the galaxy for life to have formed.

While it is technically possible, it seems astronomically unlikely considering the size and age of this galaxy. Our sun is not even a first generation star. First life in the galaxy should have occurred billions of years before our solar system even formed.

We haven't found any evidence of it anywhere else, and it's not from lack of looking.

It most certainly is from lack of looking. So far in all of human history, all we have done is a decent (not perfect) job of looking on the moon, and made a half-assed attempt at checking a few square feet of mars (if it was teeming with life we wouldn't have missed it, but we hardly checked exhaustively). 99.99999.... % of the galaxy is still left completely unexplored. We don't have enough data to even think about making conclusions about the prevalence of life in our own solar system, let alone the rest of the galaxy.

Titan and Europa are good candidates. If we don't find any there, we may not find any anywhere.

Yes, they are good candidates for carbon-based "life like us". Given the spectroscopy results of Titan's atmosphere, I would actually be surprised if we didn't find at least simple bacteria-like life there.

However, I am certain there is more than one basic path to "life" in this universe (even in this galaxy). We arrogantly assume that other life must function in a similar manner to us, so we only bother to even consider looking in environments vaguely similar to ours for life vaguely similar to us. There may well be life on Venus, or even Mercury, or the surface of the sun, or hanging out in the Oort cloud (just not anything remotely similar to Earth life). Even our science fiction does a piss-poor job of exploring this concept.

Comment Re:*Really*? What do they expect to defend against (Score 1) 391

Reading this article, I was puzzled by two things.

First: Why is this just starting to happen now? Masked vigilante heroes are older than dirt (at least in story and song). They have been portrayed in mainstream popular media since at least the 30s. By the 50s/60s, you have adults that have grown up in a world where comic book superheros have always existed. Why does it take another 50 years for people to start imitating?

Second: Why have none of these fools gotten themselves killed yet?

Are the answers to these questions related? If they are, does that mean that people are just getting stupider?

Comment Frack! (Score 1) 465

The only thing I really hated about BSG was the word "Frack". I hated it in both the original series and the remade series.

A totally contrived lack of swearing in oh-shit life-or-death situations would have been worse. The writers used "frack" instead of "fuck" so that the actors could swear with realistic emotion without pissing off the FCC. Would you rather they said things like "oh fudge" and "gosh darn it"? Or worse, not express emotion with expletives at all?

Now, I would prefer if they had just went with "fuck", because I think censorship of "naughty" words is one of the stupidest things our society does. But given the real-world puritanical limitations, I though "frack" was actually a pretty clever idea.

P.S. I agree with your point about too much technobabble on TNG. I have said before that since so many problems are solved by rigging the main deflector dish to fire an inverse tachyon pulse that there should just be a button for it on the captain's chair.

Comment Re:Soul food? (Score 1) 286

"Soul Food" is the politically correct label for African-American food. Think fried chicken & waffles, collard greens, okra, grits, chitluns... Basically southern food that was traditionally popular with the less economically-advantaged people in the south.

Comment I remember getting paid $$$ for aluminum cans... (Score 1) 622

...because it was only a week or two ago. Depending on the day, they are worth between $1.55 to $1.85 a pound at my local scrap recycling company. They pay for plastic & glass too (even non-redemption glass is worth half a cent per pound). It was my understanding that this was the norm (at least in the U.S.). Where is it that you have to pay to recycle? What gave you the impression that you could no longer recycle aluminum cans by the pound for money?

Cellphones

Cell Phone Interception At Def Con 95

ChrisPaget writes "I'm planning a pretty significant demonstration of GSM insecurity at Defcon next week, where I'll intercept and record cellular calls made by my attendees, live on-stage, no user-input required. As you can imagine, intercepting cellphones is a Very Big Deal in the eyes of the law; this blog post is an attempt to reassure everyone that their privacy is being taken seriously despite the nature of the demo. I'm not just making it up either — the EFF have helped significantly with the details."
Crime

Mom Arrested After Son Makes Dry Ice "Bombs" 571

formfeed writes "Police were called to a house in Omaha where a 14-year-old made some 'dry ice bombs' (dry ice in soda bottles). Since his mom knew about it, she is now facing felony charges for child endangment and possession of a destructive device. From the article: 'Assistant Douglas County Attorney Eric Wells said the boy admitted to making the bomb and that his mother knew he was doing so. The boy was set to appear Tuesday afternoon in juvenile court, accused of possessing a destructive device.'" She's lucky they didn't find the baking soda volcano in the basement.

Comment Logic of Tattoos (Score 1) 1186

I would question whether anyone with tattoos actually is any kind of geek, especially a math or science geek. We're supposed to be logical and have superior reasoning abilities, and there's absolutely nothing logical or reasonable about getting ink permanently injected into your skin.

There's nothing logical or reasonable about making your toaster run linux either, but it's considered a mark of true geekdom. Not all geeks have to be Vulcans. I think getting a tattoo of physics equations or a perl script or whatever to be incredibly geeky.

If you want art, get it on paper or canvas so you can pass it down to your descendants, not something that's destined to die when you do and that you can never sell or easily get rid of.

You can pass down your tattoo to your descendants... Just leave instructions in your will to be skinned and have your hide turned into a nice human-leather wall-hanging. (There's also photos & memories if you're squeamish).

Tattooing is a fad that comes and goes over the years; it was popular among the flappers in the 1920s and popular among WWII and Korean War soldiers. Today's tattoo fad comes to us courtesy of the American Prison Syetem, just like that other retarded fad, the pants halfway down with boxers showing.

Now tell these guys to GOML with their illogical fad following. Here's a hint for them -- you're never cool when you're trying to be. If you have tattoos, you might not belong at slashdot.

I know you're an old-timer, but tattoos aren't just for felons and soldiers anymore. They have actually achieved pretty wide mainstream acceptance. Kind of like how computers aren't just for geeks anymore.

Now, personally, I know I'm too fickle to commit to something that permanent on my body. But if other geeks want to decorate their skin with some geek-tribe symbols, I totally approve.

P.S. Discrimination for employment (or anything else) based on the existence of a tattoo should be punished as harshly as discrimination based on race, hair color, or sexual orientation. (However, an employer should be free to set a policy that tattoos must be covered while in uniform, as long as that policy is applied equally).

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