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Comment Re:Brogramming??? (Score 2) 432

I clicked that article and there is a image with the word scrogrammer. If that's the alternative, I suggest we just stop using words to describe things.

Indeed. I used to ridicule GUIs (as an old-time CLI jockey) as "point and grunt" interfaces. Now, this style of communication is starting to appear to be a superior alternative. Give people words, and you see what they do with them... /sigh

Comment Re:How is this spoiling? (Score 1) 165

That's like saying that Nate Silver or Andrew Tanenbaum spoiled the presidential election... Just because they looked at the signs and figured out how others were going to vote doesn't mean that they spoiled anything.

Actually, it does.

Let's talk about this again if statisticians end up actually influencing the vote through their data analysis. Otherwise, let it go.

What would influencing the vote have to do with it? I think you're misreading what it meant by "spoil" in this context: to reveal the ending early, which is exactly what they did.

Comment Re:No more time travel! (Score 1) 735

Larry Niven kept telling people "time travel isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy" over and over until it finally hit him, "Hey, time travel is fantasy!" and he wrote some stories about people going back in time to recover extinct species and coming back with dangerous magical/mythical creatures. Was cute...

Comment Re:Umm? How far away would it have been? (Score 1, Insightful) 157

Alex, calling people idiots doesn't really help your credibility. Try not being a name calling jackass. 3 digit ID doesn't give you the right to be a prick.

Normally I would agree, but when the person you're responding to was being a douche to begin with, the response is warranted.

Comment Re:Brilliant idea (Score 2) 480

I remember suggesting this at a customer's office years ago. As an example, I used a password made from the first letters of the words in the sentence, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain." They seemed to like the idea in principle, but thought it would work better with a famous and easy to remember quote rather than a weird, random sentence. To my utter shock and horror, not a single person there had heard that sentence before.

Comment Re:IMPORTANT QUESTION... apk (Score 2) 182

The only reason to blow up the asteroid while it's heading away would be if it were coming back. But if it's coming back, blowing it up "as it goes away from us" is really just blowing it up on the way in, just further ahead of time. It's still a bad idea for exactly the same reasons, you're just executing the breakup so the shrapnel with a total mass identical to the original asteroid shotgun-blasts into the planet on the next pass rather than on this pass. If you're trying to make it not head in our direction, it's actually a lot easier to do that if you don't break it up.

I imagine in your head you're picturing some kind of massive explosion that sends the mass of the asteroid flying in all directions, rather than just cracks the rock up into smaller asteroids in the same orbit. That would work, if we had something powerful enough to do that. A nuclear bomb wouldn't, however. Might as well suggest we use a stick of dynamite. At the time it was invented, in the popular imagination you could do anything with it, but really, it's just dynamite. Nowadays, since nuclear bombs are the most powerful explosive devices ever invented, again in the popular imagination you can do anything with them. But really, no. An asteroid large enough to really worry about is too large to be much affected by a nuclear bomb.

Comment Re:Apophis larger than we thought (Score 3, Informative) 182

...I think euthanasia may be appropriate in certain situations, but not when you can put the minds of a couple of expert trauma surgeons into some of the crew and just cut the patients legs off, or waste some explosives to try and remove the debris, or send the ships robot down to the surface to move the debris, or any of a dozen ideas better than just having a few soldiers try to muscle the debris off.

None of these options were possible at the time.

When a patient is in extreme chronic pain that can't be stopped and will last for the rest of their life and begs to die, it's time to consider euthensia.

That would be exactly the situation here. The only options were to either euthanize him, or leave him there in pain to die alone. He asked for the former, and got it.

Comment Where's the thermodynamics outrage? (Score 1) 161

Usually whenever /. posts a story about harnessing energy from some source, the pseudo-physicists come out in force to complain about the energy being stolen, e.g. a story about harvesting energy from the motion of cars over a road attracts comments about stealing gas from the motorists (it must increase fuel usage, or the laws of thermodynamics are being violated, yada yada). Knowing /., I was expecting complaints about how this must increase food usage of the people in the subway. Kinda like how putting solar panels on your roof causes the sun to burn out more quickly, right? That energy you're getting has to come from somewhere...

So disappointing, /. You've lost your outrageous outrage. Or you've grasped the concepts of efficiency and otherwise wasted energy... (not holding my breath on that one -- we'll see what happens the next time an article is run on harvesting energy from something other than the sun or body heat or other examples where the fallacy is obvious.)

Comment Re:America was Founded by Terrorists (Score 2) 584

Any reasonable definition is going to include terrorists primarily targeting civilians or using civilians for shields. The founders didn't do that.

This "reasonable definition" is rarely used in practice, which makes the definition suspect. Most people use the word to refer to enemies using unconventional tactics, even when they target legitimate military targets. I first learned about "terrorism" as a kid when a lot of kids of my generation did, when a suicide bomber attacking a Marine base in Beirut. Apparently marines are civilians now. The apparent justification for considering this terrorism regardless is that the marines were off-duty. If attacking soldiers while they're off-duty is terrorism, you're completely wrong about "the founders didn't do that". Few wars are won by those who wait at the battlefield patiently for their enemies to show up on their own schedule, and we've bombed plenty of military bases ourselves, barracks and all...

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