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Comment Re:Oily rags (Score 1) 253

I put them on the steel scrap pile, because I have one. I have never ever EVER had one ignite in those conditions, and I've had them soaked with gasoline, diesel fuel, biodiesel, carb cleaner, brake cleaner, clean motor oil, dirty motor oil, diesel kleen diesel additive, QD electronics cleaner, and probably lots of other things. Some of these are solvents that flash off rapidly. Some of them take a lot longer and leave something behind. None of them have burst into flame. The spontaneous combustion thing is restricted to exceptional circumstances, like fumes building up in an enclosed area with a spark, or broken glass which acts as a lens concentrating the rays of the sun. Of course, garage fires would be rarer if the former of those were a more exceptional circumstance. I don't put the oily rags back into the hamper. That would be a Bad Idea(tm). Into the trash can, likewise. But only if it's in the sun.

Comment Re:Dune (Score 4, Insightful) 691

Well, if you outlawed every form of argument a simpleton can misconstrue, you might as well cut your own tongue out.

Literature is great way of raising questions. It's a lousy way of *answering* them. You should never walk away from a book convinced of anything, whether it is science fiction, historical drama, or a Harlequin romance. That's because an author controls the domain of discourse in fiction. He creates the fiction world and as much of its history, natural science, and society as suits his purpose. He can produce a socialist utopia or a Galt's Gulch, whichever serves his story -- or his biases.

As for the science fiction fan's supposed knowledge of nature, I'd be suspicious of it. While it's true that sci-fi fans often have familiarity with physical science and technology that exceeds the general public, that's hardly a ringing endorsement. In my writing group, I recently critiqued a manuscript in which Shiite terrorists, working under a Wahhabist imam, build a lithium deuteride super-warhead and launch it on an ICBM into equatorial orbit to cause world-wide destruction of electronic equipment via EMP. Now virtually *every* aspect of this scenario is demonstrably *wrong*. When I pointed this out, the author's reaction was "It doesn't matter." Now there's something to be said for this. All he really needs is the set-up for his post-apocalyptic adventure, and it could just as well be magic and pixie dust as EMP and lithium deuteride. But I feel that as far as you explain anything, that explanation ought to hold water.

The thing about scientific literacy is that it isn't knowledge of a bunch of random, disconnected facts (e.g. lithium deuteride is used in thermonuclear warheads) as it is a capacity to figure things out, like whether it is remotely feasible to take out the entire world with EMP from a single warhead. Basic fact-finding and simple computation.

Comment One size fits all (Score 1) 191

Card everyone makes it much simpler than having to make a guess.

Doesn't make it a good policy. Simple one-size-fits-all policies that do not allow for common sense are rarely a good idea. I would never anyone to scan my driver's license to buy a game. That is simply none of their business. I might show it to them for security purposes for my credit card but they only get to look, nothing more.

Comment But you are still out the cash (Score 1) 191

Well, Wachovia was eventually eaten by Wells Fargo. They did return my money after about two weeks - it just took going through their fraud investigation stuff.

But that is the problem. With a credit card you don't have to recover anything. While in most cases you will get the money back from debit card fraud you still are out the cash in the mean time and there is some chance you won't get it back at all.

Comment Can't authorize without network connection (Score 1) 191

You'd think people would figure out not to attach everything to the internet. Why the card readers needed to be connected to anything but an internal network (with no internet connection to that) is a bad security model to begin with.

Because you need to connect the card reader to the credit card company network which is no internal to Target or any other retailer. If you don't have a real time connection to the merchant service provider you cannot authorize the purchase. You can do it over a phone line but that is much slower. Storing credit card data locally with a merchant is generally a REALLY bad idea if it isn't actually necessary. Merchants generally have little to no expertise in data security and there are plenty of examples to prove it.

Comment your highest purpose (Score 2) 30

I neglected to mention the corollary. Since were just a simulation, what's your purpose. Well presumably you exist to be window dressing in a sophisticated version of Grand Theft Auto or the Sims. However, if our creators are at all like ourselves then they are vain and one of these sims is an avatar for them. Which ones? well duh... it's the famous people folks!

your simulated life is therefore meaningless unless you reduce your degrees of separation from famous people. Your highest purpose in life is to degrade yourself for Miley Cyrus's pleasure. If you do that you will find the number of computer cylces devoted to you will increase, your pixelation will get finer, and you will stop doing repetitive motions. Anything else but celebrity idolatry just makes you an Orc peasant in Warcraft

By the way, I'm the real game creator, just fucking with your mind, you uncomprehending digital slob.

Watch the "the 13th floor" it's actually a true story in my real world.

Comment Re:This is the anthropic doom , folks (Score 1) 30

The future won't be Dad commuting to the Moon office in giant 1960s rockets while smoking a pipe, or the Human Species (every single one of us!) bravely heading to the stars in some sort of sci-fi vehicle (ignoring all the realities we know about space)... No, the future is far more radical than that: it's the complete understanding of how matter organizes itself into life. And how we can control it.

The anthropic principle says that if your prediction is possible then it's overwhelmingly more likely that some past civilization in the vastness of time and space got their first and you yourself are the product of their research. It also says that if a civilization persists forever it must achieve a ubiquitous computational power in devices that can simulate a greater number of neural firing events that it's creator. At that singularity, where simulated life and actual life can not be distinguished by the entity experiencing life, it becomes overwhelmingly more likely that you exist in a simulation than not. If you reject this hypothesis then the alternative is then it must be because every civilization snuffs itself before reaching the power to create unlimited versions of itself in a computer.

Since all our known physical laws from QM to the diffraction limit to the finite speed of light would be the exact expected behavior of any simulation with finite resources it seems reasonable to assume the former not the latter.

Comment This is the future folks future, folks. (Score 1) 30

The fermi principle says that while that is the ambition of every evolving civilization in the universe, there is only a short window between when they discover the technology for radio transmission and they discover the orgasmatron, ending all progress. This is the future folks future, folks.

Comment Re:Justice (Score 1) 202

This. I found this bit of info on Bitlocker surprising as well: "When first run, the payload installs itself in the Documents and Settings folder with a random name, and adds a key to the registry that causes it to run on startup." Is this still even possible on modern (ish) operating systems (Windows 7 / Windows 8). Windows seems to ask for permission whenever an .exe is executed, and you'd certainly think it would ask for permission when a program modifies that part of the registry.

Comment Re:Where Internet Libertarians come from (Score 1) 691

What rubbish. The pot-clouded, myopic world view of a basement dweller. Pretty much every extreme political position can be understood in that frame... if you simplify it sufficiently. By the way, what the heck is an "internet libertarian"? Are there "internet socialists" too? And are they equally maligned by the rest of the Internet? Or is it just defending your views online that makes you an "Internet anything"?

Brought to you by an "Internet liberal-in-the-European-sense-which-is-not-at-all-the-same-as-an-American-liberal"

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