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Comment Well... most of the 'fail' has been covered... (Score 1) 1385

... so let me just say, do you remember that guy down the street who was always talking about building a helicopter hat, or having brushes under all the cars to keep the street clean, or making self-zipping pants?

Aren't you glad he didn't run for office and get into a position of political power?

He what?


Seriously, folks, it's a dunderheaded idea - I'm not saying all rail is, but we've got too much ground to cover and too many people spread out too far. As much as some people would like to, we're not going to move everybody around so they fit the needs of a rail system. And we aren't going to build a rail system big and complex enough to serve enough people.

I don't want people to give up their dreams, I just don't want to pay for them - especially for the really silly ones.

Comment Ambition (Score 1) 307

While I complained about the coverage, I don't have a problem with the ambition behind the project. I don't know how it will end, but I don't have a problem with building something to last 10,000 years to prove it can be done, or because you want your name up in lights or whatever. It will probably require renovations (like Jens Olsen's 25ky clock linked elsewhere here), but it's still an audacious concept, and admirable for that.

Comment Re:Kind of useless pictures... (Score 1) 307

Sorry I wasn't specific enough. The pictures (in the article) are largely small parts disassociated from their function or other parts they may be attached to. It's like the photographer was obsessed with the gears themselves and didn't care about the machine.

It seemed kind of more-artsy and less-informative.

Comment Re:First sector fails (Score 1) 357

No, wear-leveling just delays the inevitable. Eventually, the last "spare" block is written to, and after that you have a write failure. One more failed block and you could have catastrophic failure, exactly as described (depending on which block failed).

Comment Re:In my case (Score 1) 357

To go even more sideways on the topic, I have a Viper 550 alarm on my car (older model). The remote went through the washer and dryer twice. Still works fine.

Also, my dollar-store 10-pack "Clip Click" pens seem to be able to survive washing without staining anything, and still work afterward.

Somehow, modern technology started becoming reliable and durable when I wasn't looking.

Comment Doing too many things at once (Score 1) 281

Even if this worked, I don't want shock absorbers trying to keep the tires on the road (with springs), control weight transfer, aid in ride quality AND trying to make power.

It's not as bad as regenerative braking, of course. Brakes are a safety system, I don't want them to worry about anything but stopping.

And, of course, there's the weight, which is a substantial drain on fuel economy (depending on how much weight, of course).

You could probably save more fuel making something lighter and less complicated - at a materials cost, of course, for crashworthiness - nothing's free.

Comment Uncertainty (Score 1) 774

We just don't have the information to answer the question.

About the only thing I can state with any certainty is that the question isn't going to be answered by a bunch of academics sitting on their duffs making up all-variable equations into which they plug wild assumptions.

Either they're going to come here (or have), or we're going to go there. I love good speculation, but this one's tiresome. It's just grinding gears. I mean, Schodinger's Cat is an interesting thought-experiment, but if thousands or millions of people spent decades going over and over the details I'd consider it a sign of mass insanity.

Maybe SETI isn't a question of good or bad science, maybe it's a question of OCD.

Comment Re:A cat has gotten my tongue (Score 5, Insightful) 303

AMD doesn't make any $1200 chips.

Like it or not, that's just not the market they're in. They're doing well at the $200 level, though.

I'm not particularly concerned that there's little competition in the segment I'd never pay for anyway. I mean, it's nice that there are Maybach Mercedes and McLaren F1's, but that doesn't mean I'm worried about competetiveness in the segment.

Whereas I'd be worried if there was only one mid-priced performance sedan, especially if it was sub-expectations in some way.

I don't think AMD is ashamed to have set a record with a $235 chip, in a world previously dominated by $1000+ chips.

Comment Layouts, without the "ay" (Score 1) 312

Just what the computer world needs - another keyboard layout.

Back in the old days, it was bad enough that PCs had one (and then two) layouts, and Apple another, and then the smaller makes... then some non-savant idiot came up with the L-shaped enter key and relocated the backslash, and now we have some insane number of keyboard layouts, like 20-30 last time I looked.

Especially when you move from one computer to another, it's just insane. I'm all for people "doing their own thing," but there are places for standards, and the interface is one of those places.

It's too late now, of course. But I went looking for an illuminated keybaord a while back and couldn't find a single one in the layout I'm used to - about 9 other layouts, of course.

At least with "separate box" PCs I can choose my keyboard. I prefer to leave the C64 as a "fond memory" instead of trying to go back to one.

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The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.