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Comment Re:Movies are real! (Score 1) 750

Why do I feed trolls?

The point of posting the link was to show that there is technology that works for some definition of "works".

It's not computerized and activated by your DNA. It doesn't read fingerprints. So if that's required for your definition, then it only "comes close."

If your definition of "works" is "prevents unauthorized users in almost all cases", then it works.

The point of the link is to educate know-nothings that this is not a new idea, let them know that there is reliable technology that works, then let them decide if that's good enough to include in this conversation.

Thank you for making clear that you didn't read the link or else you wouldn't ask such a stupid question and would have, instead, commented with your thoughts on just how close this technology is to your definition of "works".

YOUR point was obviously to be an asshole; thank you for such clear communication.

Comment Re:So many people miss the point. (Score 1) 656

The public has decided that bombs kill way too many people and the law (in the United States, at least), severely punishes people who, successfully or otherwise, blow up a bomb. Like all other hazardous items (with the curious exception of guns), individuals have to be licensed to handle bombs and there is probably a federal registry that lists all of them and where they store their bomb-building supplies.

Wrong on all counts. This is what happened the last time a group of my buddies got together for a little informal target practice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTAeNxH-hIk

That video shows good, clean fun and an exercise of basic human rights. Anyone who disagrees is wrong but may, of course, have some good points to make. Feel free.

Comment Porn? (Score 1) 363

Yes, granted, the internet is for porn. It does a great job.

This submission, though, comes from Japan where variations of porn magazines, often of very high quality, are still produced.

That reminded me that I miss the porn magazines of my youth, especially the ones that pretended to be legit by including articles. Some did a good job of showing great porn (or at least nude art that was a bit more on the raunchy side) while also printing fun, informative prose.

Playboy could be quite literate but wasn't porn-y enough.

I'm thinking more like Puritan. I really miss Puritan.

If it were in the right content cycle, Zoom was also good. That magazine didn't know what it wanted to be. Some years it was a photo enthusiast magazine that used lots of racy content to illustrate camera and lens tests. Other years it was a softcore porn mag where they told you what cameras they used to shoot the stuff and occasionally printed new product news releases from photo equipment manufacturers. Over years-long cycles, the pendulum would swing back and forth. I really miss certain iterations of Zoom, generally the French editions.

Are any of my fellow oldsters willing to share any fond memories? Or has printed porn become entirely superfluous?

Comment Call quality (Score 2) 350

I pick up a call and suddenly I'm back in the 1960's.

Were you alive and using a phone in the 1960s? I doubt it. Back then, connections were all analog and the sound quality was stellar. Deregulation, fragmentation, cost-cutting, the advent of digital, the lowered expectations of cell phone users have allowed ALL phone transmission quality to decline. But if you're old enough to remember, you know that those rotary-dial phones with the 30-foot handset cords (so you could be mildly mobile within your home) and the system that backed them up produced high-quality sound relative to the crap we put up with today.

Hell, I'm still pissed that I had to give up my outdated StarTac when the cell technology changed. Cell call sound quality was acceptable before that. Now it's all crap, all the time.

Comment Re:Convenience Store (Score 2) 131

In 1976, my father bought my first revolver for me at a combined liquor and gun store that I'm sure also sold tobacco products. It was located in a major shopping mall (Wonderland, iirc) in San Antonio, Texas. I mean, right out there where today you find Apple stores and Payless shoe stores, a combination liquor/gun store! It was great!

Kids today don't appreciate what they've lost.

Comment Re:Just Let It Die (Score 1) 204

...you could stop trying to be the arbiter of what is good and worthy and just indulge in the media you do enjoy.

I can take that attitude towards media but the GP has a point. It's spread past mere "media".

Offhand example - Many makers of firearms and accessories have taken up the whole "zombie marketing" angle. One manufacturer took a normal-priced line of cartridges, changed the packaging to something featuring drippy fonts and garish green and red colors, re-named the line "ZombieMax", and seriously jacked up the price. The stuff immediately started flying off the shelves. (And this was way before Newtown.)

The power of marketing gimmicks is sometimes a serious blow to my faith in the reasoning skills of my fellow humans.

Comment Re:Sustained focus (Score 1) 166

I consider much of your post drivel. This,

This starts from a young age, I would say, for the first X years of school, you don't have to study for anything and then suddenly they make it so you can't succeed anymore without studying. Well, what do you know, the one damn thing I don't know how to do is to study.

however, hits home. Hard.

I never cracked a book when I was a kid. I listened in class, did what homework was required in a mad dash at the last minute, and graduated as valedictorian of my high school class.

Then I went off on a full-ride scholarship to a prestigous university where professors actually expected me to read stuff they didn't touch on in class and even (as I found out after I failed my first test) to seek out and read the books they had written on the same subjects, completely without any official guide.

Seriously, my college provided no faculty advisor for new students. There was a history professor who was theoretically assigned to help. I was required, for example, to get his OK on my class selections. When I took him the form, he looked at it with a puzzled expression, asked me if I knew how to spell his name, then instructed me to sign his name to it and not bother him again. That was the last we spoke.

My student mentor was tasked with helping me adjust socially. Well, no one has ever succeeded in helping me adjust socially to anything. He got lost pretty damn quick.

With no clue, no help, and no life preserver in a sea of sink or swim, I sank. Fast. I couldn't adjust to the complete change in educational processes quickly enough and I lasted just one semester.

Dropping out was the second biggest mistake of my life and even now, as an old man, there isn't a week that goes by that I don't regret it.

Back on-topic with something relative to the OP - From experience, I'd say that academic failure can come from unexpected sources. When students fail, it's not because they are incapable of learning. Clearly, they are. It's just that the way they've learned to process new knowledge and they way it's being presented are not in sync. Right now it may seem that the main problem is short attention spans but, frankly, I think there have always been disconnects between methods of teaching and techniques of learning, some of those disconnects large enough to completely sink the efforts of the folks on both sides of the podium.

Comment Re:A sudden attack of reason (Score 1) 238

Holder already stated that using a drone, on a common American Citizen, siting in a Starbucks, would be an unnecessary use of force.

Unfortunately, an unnecessary use of force in the opinion of one AG under one set of circumstances may be considered, under other circumstances, by an FBI Special Agent in charge of an ongoing situation (and with concurrence up the chain of command) to be perfectly reasonable. I have no doubt that if the technology had been available at the time, the bodies of Randy Weaver and everyone with him would have never been found; there would have only been a giant, smoking crater where the drones landed.

Yes, Paul was putting on a show. That doesn't change the fact that he was seeking a no-weasel-clause direct statement from the AG that there exists no authority to use drones on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. He almost got that..but not quite. As drones become cheaper and are deployed at lower and lower levels of government (counties have them now), I have no doubt that someday in the near future some County Sheriff will lose patience with some lone nutbag in an isolated cabin armed with a rifle he knows how to use. At that point, someone will be called on to kludge together some way to attach a couple of gallons of gas and some sort of igniter to a cheap surveillance drone that will then be crashed into the roof of said isolated cabin. Hell, we've already seen the aerial bombardment of holed-up folks using helicopters in the middle of a city with predictably disastrous results.

A drone strike on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil is, unfortunately, not a big stretch from what we've seen in the past. When it happens it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the use of force.

Comment Re:Impossible to enforce (Score 1) 853

When you said

We also thought that guns, couldn't be banned... gun bans ... will held up as something that any "civilized" country does.

did you actually mean

We also thought that guns, ... couldn't be banned... gun bans ... will hold up as something that any "civilized" country does.

thus implying that gun bans in the U.S. are inevitable and will be accepted?

If that's the case, I think you're very wrong. I'm looking forward to seeing how New York, California, and Colorado shake out. We'll learn a lot from the way the current (batshit insane) legislation in those states is handled. I could be wrong...but I kinda doubt it, at least where the majority of the flyover country is concerned.

Comment Barbie? Seriously? (Score 1) 853

I hate Barbie for personal reasons not germane to this discussion but this

Every time a parent hands their son Billy a toy that teaches them to build and create then give their daughter Sally a Barbie and some dress up clothes reinforces long standing cultural stereotypes.

is unwarranted.

My sister grew up with Barbie. She's exactly the age that was the target demo when the doll was introduced. She loved Barbie because Barbie could do anything. Barbie was a pilot and a flight attendant. Barbie was a businesswoman and a housewife. Barbie was an astronaut, fer chrissakes. And at whatever she did, Barbie was successful, earning enough scratch to afford her own dream house and Corvette.

So the lesson my sis learned was that you could look like a bimbo but still succeed in life on whatever terms you dictated, whether you chose to go head to head with the men or not. Genetically, she didn't have the looks but she darn well knew ('cuz Barbie has set such a good example) that she could do anything a man could do. After she outgrew dolls, she majored in mathmatics when she went off to her university, wound up with a job in federal law enforcement, rose to the executive suites, and ended her career doing very high-level research on legal compliance trends before she retired.

To this day, she credits Barbie with teaching her that women can achieve whatever they want.

Of course, I used to steal her dolls and shoot off their heads with a pellet rifle...but that's another story.

Comment Been there, done that. (Score 1) 770

My heart goes out to you. My house took a lightning hit many years ago and I lost 3 TVs, 4 VCRs (it was a long time ago), 1 CD player, one combo CD/LaserDisc player (like I said, a long time ago), all our phones, several appliances, and even the house intercom.

My advice is to shop carefully and don't expect to replace everything. Generally, I'd say get the best-suited, most versatile core components of a system that you can eventually grow back to the same level of usefulness and convenience you once had.

Avoid the temptation to get something cheap to fill every slot that's been emptied. If you do, you get all your functionality back immediately but you'll ultimately be unhappy with the quality of your purchases.

Comment Great! I'd rather see them play with real guns... (Score 1) 335

...like this 13-year-girl. She's getting out of the house, away from staring at a screen, spending time with family and learning useful skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yd4B77PkeaU

I feel sorry for folks stuck living in places where this sort of thing is prohibited or considered socially unacceptable.

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