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Comment Re:The benefit is standardization (Score 1) 359

Again, that universalist argument could be applied with equal vigor to language.

English is by FAR the most widely spoken language in the world (Chinese is of course the highest NATIVE language, but as far as people who speak *some* of it, English is nearly 3/4 of the planet).

So as soon as the world dispenses with the silly particularism and ethocentricity of languages, I'll be on-board with dumping the US measurement system.

I'd only also point out that 0.5% of the world states are superpowers, and 100% of them use the US measurement system. Coincidence?

Comment Re:It's degrees celsius (Score 1) 359

First, not everyone needs or cares to convert units. If I need to know how far it is to the next town, I don't care that "miles" is hard to convert to feet or yards, because I'm not GOING to. I use the unit appropriate to the scale I'm working in, and conversions are largely irrelevant in general life.

Second, base 10 is useful for computers and digital applications, but in fact it's a rather inconvenient number system. 10 can't be divided into integers twice, nor can it easily be divided into integers of 3 or 4. Base 12 (ala the foot-inch relationship, the one place where conversions are fairly common) can be easily fractionalized by 2, 3, 4, and 6. If the base 10 system is so universally perfect, how many hours are in your day? Minutes in your hour? Days in your year?

Finally, your universalist argument could be applied in toto to languages. Why have all these silly little national languages, when by *far* the bulk of the world speaks English? So why don't we just universally adopt English and dispense with all that native-language particularism?

Comment Rare Earths? (Score 2) 251

OK I must be COMPLETELY misunderstanding something.

First I keep hearing about "the Chinese have a monopoly on rare earths".
Now NASA is talking about people mining rare earths on the moon?
(Both the article, and it's original referent at refer to 'rare earth elements', although I'm inclined to believe that *may* have been using an unfortunately-confusing term for 'elements that are indeed rare on earth' like He3.)

They simply don't exist in concentrated veins. The processing is dirty and polluting, which is the only reason China might be considered to have a 'corner' on the market - they don't give a shit about their pollution.

As much as we NIMBY rare-earth refining, it can't be so bad that we're seriously willing to go to the MOON to do it?

Comment Re:Parents (Score 1) 299

Oh yeah. My parents did a huge job of that. I had complete "freedom". Between a bicycle that I'd take out with friends for full-day runs at age 12, and a car at 16, and suburban neighbourhoods throughout, they never held me back.

But man, the sheer number of lectures, and the length of those lectures, in the event that I did anything that they didn't wind up liking. Sheesh. The only discipline was the lecture, and it was always after-the-fact. I'm not talking about an hour in the kitchen either. I'm talking about four hour lectures in chairs and couches with the two of them and me in the sitting area off of their master bedroom.

I can't even count the number of stupid things that I didn't do purely because I didn't want to spend four hours listening to my parents about it after.

Comment Re:Celsius (Score 3, Interesting) 359

Celsius merely replaces one set of 'arbitrary' reference points (human warmest/typical =100 and coldest/typical = 0) with another (the freezing/boiling points of a hypothetically-pure water in a specific set of pressure circumstances = 0/100 respectively).

Aside from that, it's what people grew up & are comfortable with.
Well, the only other difference is that I don't see Americans being evangelical about trying to convince anyone to use their system. (Shrug)

Comment Re:Celsius (Score 1) 359

It's probably hard for people in other countries to understand, but the Metric Conversion Act merely indicated that the metric system was the PREFERRED system, not the "required" system.
Further, Executive Order 12770 is relevant only to government agencies.

This was back when the US government had fewer abilities to simply order its citizens (you know, the ones laughably in charge?) to do what it wants on a whim.

Submission + - Apple Pulls Blockchain from App Store, Leaving Apple Users Walletless (

EmagGeek writes: Apple this week yanked a bitcoin app from its App Store, prompting an angry screed from the developer, who accused Cupertino of trying to squash a "revolutionary new payment system."

The move is mystifying, Blockchain said, because its app has been in the App Store without incident for two years and secured more than 120,000 downloads. "The only thing that has changed is that bitcoin has become competitive to Apple's own payment system," Blockchain said. "By removing the blockchain app, the only bitcoin wallet application on the App store, Apple has eliminated competition using their monopolistic position in the market in a heavy handed manner."

This move effectively bans Bitcoin on Apple devices, as Blockchain was the only bitcoin wallet app available in the iTunes store.

Comment Re:Don't miss the point of this please. (Score 1) 299

I think you have a very valid point which is why this such a scary issue. However, the emails were obtained through a court ordered subpoena during an investigation and retrieved through back ups the government is required to keep.

It's much scarier than that.

The NSA has all the official certs, the exploits, and the technical ability (along with the ability to coerce/force ISPs, phone carriers, etc to help) to forge and place an email or any other digital evidence on pretty much anyone's system that they wish to, and have it appear forensically to have been created/saved/received on any past time/date they wish.

Throw in a little "parallel construction" and you're suddenly a convicted felon on the way to a new, very "friendly" cell-mate for a few decades, all legal-like. This is a tool the Stasi would have wet-dreams about.

It's too much power for *anyone* to have.



Wine On Android Starts Allowing Windows Binaries On Android/ARM 140

An anonymous reader writes "Wine on Android is happening slowly but surely ... Wine is now in a state to be able to run your favorite Windows (x86) game on your Android-powered ARM device, assuming the game is Windows Solitaire. Wine has been making progress on Android to allow simple applications to run on Wine, but they have run into some challenges, as noted in the annual talk at FOSDEM."
The Courts

German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games 261

sfcrazy writes "A German court has dismissed a 'reselling' case in favor of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve's EULA (End User License Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games. What it means is that German users can't resell their Steam Games."

Mac OS X Bitcoin Stealing Trojan Horse Called OSX/CoinThief Discovered 108

An anonymous reader writes " has discovered a new trojan horse for Mac OS X called OSX/CoinThief.A, which spies on web traffic to steal Bitcoins. This malware has been found in the wild, along with numerous reports of stolen coins. The malware, which comes disguised as an app to send and receive payments on Bitcoin Stealth Addresses, instead covertly monitors all web traffic in order to steal login info for Bitcoin wallets."

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