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Comment Been there, done that (Score 5, Insightful) 1128

in 1933 the German Conservatives decided to support Hitler as chancellor to destroy the Nazi movement by confronting its ludicrous proposals with the cold reality of real life government.

The Nazis decided that if their plans weren't realistic, reality would have to budge.

Not saying (not even implying, hi there FoxNews) that Palin's a Nazi, will create a totalitarian state of some kind or other. I am saying that candidate Palin could become president Palin and Democrats would have noone but themselves to blame.

Comment Re:Well that was the intention of the virus (Score 1) 189

And finally... Why the heck are our friends at Siemens selling systems to the Iranians?

Had you spent just a minute at wikipedia it would have told you that it's general purpose industrial PLC, not some specialized system tailored for one specific use. You want one? Let me google that for you: here

That's the main problem with Stuxnet. While there are a few checks to tailor it to the specific situation in Iran, we're still talking about large volume off-the-shelf equipment. The military's used to collateral damage but in cases like this (Stuxnet's just the beginning; it's been a tremendous success so everyone's gonna want one) the collateral damage might be people dying in an industrial accident in a completely unrelated country half way around the world.

Comment Re:Welcome CookieMonsterComputingOverlords! (Score 1) 73

No it's after the guy who got in an epic row with Newton over the invention of calculus that led to English mathematicians rallying around Newton's method in an upswell of patriotic fervor.

It took English mathematics a century to recover. So the next time you hear someone criticize something because "that's the way they do it in France" remember: Good artists copy, great artists steal (a bon mot I just came up with, pretty brilliant if I may say so)

Comment Re:Not quite far enough... (Score 1) 754

The article says installing one of these on a Ford adds $400 to the cost.

Hahahahahaha. Yeah, right. I can buy a cheap camera plus cheap screen for let's say $150. This is gonna be a lot cheaper because

  • They're gonna buy vast quantities
  • They still have a few years and electronics get cheaper
  • The car's gonna have a screen for controlling all kinds of stuff anyway

Basically it's gonna be $20 to put a webcam in the rear bumper.

Comment Re:Somewhat in place in other countries (Score 1) 890

Spain, too, has x-rays for larger luggage but no metal detectors.

But this is just a lower level of security theater. They only do it for long distance trains because it would be completely unworkable on commuter trains or a metro. But long distance trains make for bad terrorist targets, even at full capacity the people-density is relatively low and the seats are sturdy and so you're unlikely to kill many people. Unsurprisingly the attack that killed 200 people was on rush hour commuter trains.

There are so many soft targets -trains secured? On to busses, cinemas, Walmarts (especially on Black Friday), elevator banks or the $&$%/& security lines in front of them when you do start to deploy scanners- and so many more ways to attack targets that aren't quite as easy (tunnels are a prime target if you want to scare drivers, anything carrying toxic crap, etc.), it's completely pointless.

Airport security makes a certain amount of sense because tiny amounts of explosives can kill hundreds of people and using the aircraft as missiles can kill thousands, as do checkpoints for specific high profile targets (Congress), everything else is stupid.

Comment Re:Nice post, but... (Score 1) 421

The base can be entirely robotic, and it could pay for itself in just a few months.

Sorry, but no. The dust is abrasive as hell, the whole enterprise would be a maintenance nightmare and we're definitely not at the point where we can send up a small replicator that produces everything needed as long as you feed it materials and energy.

The support infrastructure for a fully automated mine would be massive, sending replacement parts to the moon would be prohibitively expensive, building factories even more so.

Launch costs need to come down 2 or 3 orders of magnitude before we see large space based industries and colonization.

Comment Re:Meanwhile in the U.S. (Score 2, Insightful) 163

It's even worse than you think. $1 spent on road maintenance when the surface first starts to deteriorate will save $14 that you would have to spend to rebuild the roadbed if you let potholes reach the foundation. It's one of the most cost effective uses of money the government can do.

But it doesn't get done. Why? Simple: Voters are stupid. Let me elaborate:

  • New projects allow lots of photo ops. Signing the contracts, groundbreaking, ribbon cutting, etc. "I was assiduous about routine maintenance" doesn't get you votes.
  • Even worse. Drivers don't like road works. If the road's a disaster they'll nevertheless approve because something had to be done, if the road was kinda ok, they'll be livid.

There was a huge building spree in the 50s and 60s and a lot of infrastructure requires a major overhaul after half a century, i.e. lots and lots of money. But the Highway Trust Fund is broke because there hasn't been a raise of the gas tax for almost 20 years, and inflation means that that money's now worth less than half what it was then.

Invest now to save later has never been the most American of attitudes and it's only gotten worse over the last decades (blame it on the Baby Boomers, they're on a spree to rape the country before they die =)

Comment Re:Not a chinese train (Score 1) 267

That's because the article's doing a half-assed job. The amount of weasle words and unrelated crap is so bad the author didn't even want his name associated with it.

here's pictures of the train in question. It certainly involves a lot of foreign tech but still, the fastest production train in the world is an achievement.

Comment Re:Immature and Gun Happy (Score 4, Funny) 1141

I'm proud how patriotic citizens like you prevented our Kenyan in chief from proclaiming the People's Republic of America and turning this proud nation into a SOCIALISM.

I mean, hey, the stimulus act contained $300bn in tax breaks but when Obama does it, it must be SOCIALISM.

And that infrastructure spending Republican congressmen and business associations wanted? Now Obama is in favor of it, so it must be SOCIALISM.

And extending tax breaks a Republican president and Republican congress scheduled to expire for anyone but the richest 2% that never had lower taxes anyway since they came up with the income tax. SOCIALISM.

I'm sure if you just keep watching Glen Beck and buy ammo and gold capitalism can yet prevail.

Comment Re:Go Stephen! (Score 1) 703

The Dolchstosslegende called, it wants its lies back.

You killed 2 million Vietnamese civilians and your pet regime managed to outdo the communists. Despite dropping more bombs than during all of WWII you still weren't anywhere close to pacifying the country.

It's disgusting that you then come up with the same fucking lies the Nazis used to get to power (it wasn't our heroic soldiers but the traitorous socialists at home) and that you regret that the US didn't more to bomb civilians.

I know that US schools suck but, man, learn some history. The current crop of American conservatives really scares the bejeezus out of me.

Comment Re:According to the latest article in "Duh" Magazi (Score 1) 534

Eye halve a spelling chequer.
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marques four my revue,
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye striker key and type a word,
And weight four it two say,
Weather eye am wrong oar write,
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid,
It nose bee fore two long,
And eye can put the error rite,
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run auld these lines threw it,
Your lie glee pleased two no,
There letter perfect awl the weigh,
My chequer tolled me sew.

Comment Re:No current OS is "right for a slate" (Score 5, Insightful) 467

Hell, I'm having a hard time thinking of what would be right for a "slate". That Courier sure looked nice for what it was designed to do. As a general computing platform... nah

Microsoft's the Xerox of our days. There's some great ideas coming out of Microsoft Research but the rest of the company's pathologically unable to see anything through to the end.

Tablet PCs. Great idea, it failed because all the devices were half-assed notebooks with a touchscreen tucked on. It failed because MS went all the way to create the best handwriting recognition on the planet and then didn't make it usable in Office (with the exception of one specialized app). It failed because they really needed something like the Courier user interface but instead they built the back-end then scrapped it and instead they're just gonna copy Apple like usual.

P.S.: Oh and they failed because Intel's been unable or unwilling to really improve the Atom in over two years. It's their Tick....Quack model of development. The Quack is them moving the GPU on the CPU die which is less about better performance or lower power and more about killing Nvidia without being quite so obvious about it.

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