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Comment Re:Holes? (Score 4, Interesting) 303

Actually, as with most situations where humans dump heaps of something somewhere without worrying about the consequences too much, the buildup of salt in the ocean potentially can have significant harmful effects on sea life.

This is a major issue near where I live at the moment - we have no water (driest state in the driest continent on Earth) so we are keen on desalination, but the planned desal plant may kill a unique local form of giant cuttlefish because we are going to pump heaps of salt into a gulf that doesn't flush out quickly:

I guess it'd like fish deciding that pumping a few percent of extra CO into the local atmosphere won't be a problem for us because the atmosphere is so big. At a certain point you don't want to be too near the outlet.

Comment Re:Make sense (Score 1) 530

Personally, I don't think it's all that smart to try to out-Apple Apple. Apple's strength is ridiculously tight integration of hardware and software, perfected over a decade now. Microsoft's strength is that they are the default desktop/laptop O/S for pretty much everyone else.

If they try to copy Apple, they become the second best at tightly integrated hardware/software, instead of the best (in a commercial sense) at selling ubiquitous, flexible operating systems.

Put all that differently - why would I buy a Microsoft walled-garden laptop when I could just buy a macbook?

I buy Microsoft stuff because it comes on my flavour of hardware, I don't buy the hardware because I love Windows 7 so very much.

Comment Re:Yeah, so what? (Score 5, Insightful) 484

The fact that you are more concerned that your President is killing US citizens without charge or trial outside of a warzone than that your President is killing human beings without charge or trial outside of a warzone is at the heart of what is wrong with your country.

Semantics? That is "the heart of what is wrong with your country"? "Wrong with your country" is what... pretentious motherfuckers who post online?

There are many problems in the world and many problems in our country. The only problem identified by your post is you.

American exceptionalism is the problem I am referring to. More traditionally known as 'hubris'. There are some good plays about it, you should check them out. The Greeks had the concept nailed down about 2500 years ago.

Your government and many of your citizens operate on the basis that there are "Americans" and "others". You regard yourselves as special, privileged, the chosen people. You have failed to register that this is obviously not true, nor have you registered that your supposedly permanent hegemony of only a few years ago is already gone.

Once you decide that some are "more equal than others", you lose the ability to impartially assess any situation. The concepts essential to a just, democratic world become unworkable, because they rely on the opposite view, that no-one person or group should be more privileged than any other.

The GP's comment exemplifies the (majority) American mindset - murdering people is only problematic if it offends your constitution. Well, guess what? Fuck your constitution. It's problematic because it's fundamentally wrong, not because it offends some American document which you guys tend to ignore most of the time anyway.

Hence you cannot understand (a) your immense economic problems (b) your immense geopolitical problems or (c) your immense problems with groups of angry foreign men wanting to hurt you. None of it makes sense to you because you cannot see that you are not special, and therefore that there will be no automatic Hollywood ending to these dramas.

Bill Clinton made a speech towards the end of his presidency where he argued strongly that the US should strengthen international institutions and human rights standards as much as possible. His reasoning was that America's time in the sun wouldn't last forever, and that when some other power - China, for instance - was dominant, America would be grateful for strong and liberal democratic international governance. Sadly Bush II and Obama haven't heeded that warning, and have contributed to a world of unilateral murder and mayhem as a result. The precedent of the powerful being entitled to murder the weak instead of pursuing them according to law will have terrible consequences for all of us, I fear.

Comment Re:Yeah, so what? (Score 3, Insightful) 484

Killing foreigners? Okay. Killing Americans? A violation of the president's oath to uphold Constituional Law

I hope this is a joke. In case it's not, I assume you agree that by parity of reasoning, other countries have the right to launch missiles into US territory to kill US citizens if they decide they are beyond the reach of those countries' domestic legal systems?

Comment Re:Yeah, so what? (Score 5, Insightful) 484

>>>In the US, I'd be a lot more concerned if the President were not the one with final say over what the military is up to.

What you SHOULD be concerned about is the President already ordered the execution of 3 U.S. citizens, including an underage minor. I didn't realize the death penalty could be applied without a right to trial (or against juveniles... I thought they were exempt). We live in dangerous days.

The fact that you are more concerned that your President is killing US citizens without charge or trial outside of a warzone than that your President is killing human beings without charge or trial outside of a warzone is at the heart of what is wrong with your country.

You have started down the path where arbitrary murder by the state is sometimes acceptable. You can still turn back, but you need to turn back right now, in relation to all human beings.

It will be interesting to see how the US reacts when, with its power in decline, China or India or Russia start killing civilians in other countries because they are on some "kill list" or other.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 710

Until the day I receive some value for my money, until I can go into a theater and see a movie that is more than just spectacle, explosion and skin, until the day when a movie can stand up against the best novels and plays without flinching, I will not go to the movies. It is as simple as that.

So you place no value whatsoever on the pure visual spectacle. You refer to theatre, which suggests that you are happy to have your stories conveyed to you by people standing around in an unchanging, brownish room talking to one another.

I'd say you're atypical, even amongst people into the arts. While I don't mind a decent play, the experience of watching a genuinely good movie cannot be replicated by a book or theatre production.

Do you avoid art galleries because you can stay at home and read descriptions of what's in the paintings?

Furthermore, you must be going to the wrong movies, because there are many, many movies which are "more than just spectacle, explosion and skin". Try avoiding "The Avengers" and go to something with some substance instead.

I must disagree about 3D, too. Used properly, it does add to the quality of the visual spectacle.

Comment Re:Prometheus 3D (Score 1) 710

In Prometheus, 3D wasn't apparent for the first minute or so of the film until the crucial-but-forgotten scene of the alien dosing himself. I started wondering about whether the film was set up for someone with a shorter distance between their eyes.

Interesting that you would say that - I found the 3D instantly effective from the moment the film started, so perhaps your speculation about eye separation is right. I watch a lot of movies and would say that Prometheus is the best looking film I've seen in a cinema.

3D is a challenging thing for the ./ crowd. On the one hand it's quite a nifty technology and falls into that category of "things people in the 1950s would happen in the future which are finally, belatedly happening". On the other hand, people here are such cynical, tightwad shut-ins that they scream and yell about how it's a gimmicky rip-off propagated by the Hollywood mafia designed to lure them out of their basement lairs and steal their thoughts.

IMHO Prometheus (and also recently, Hugo) shows that 3D has matured to a point where it can be used to great effect to actually enhance movies, instead of being used as a gimmick where things 'poke out' of the screen at you. The only thing I dislike is that it does not capture real 3D - you can't move your head to see behind something, for example.

Comment Re:No worries (Score 1) 420

'Tenenbaum is just entering the job market and can't pay the penalty.'

That's what garnishments-for-life are for. Talk to some divorced fathers.

I wish people would stop focusing on his particular situation. It is irrelevant whether he practically can or cannot pay. The penalty is outrageous even if he's a billionaire.

Comment Re:Not just Apple (Score 1) 337

laptop, or phone, to help ME out with attaining knowledge not to serve the corporate master who built the computer/laptop/phone.

Then you shouldn't be buying Apple. It's well known their platform is all about lockdown and tying you into their ecosystem.

If you want an open platform, buy an open platform. Apple is not that. Hasn't been for decades.

You would have a point if every Apple ad clearly stated that Apple reserves the right to filter your access to information in a way which is favourable to Apple and unfavourable to its competitors or people it just doesn't like very much.

Until then, Apple presents products which people believe to be devices for accessing information in an unbiased way, which are in fact not doing that at all.

I suggest that what you think is "well known" is in fact known only by a tiny percentage of informed geeks. The average iphone user has no idea that Apple would interfere with their search results to prevent them finding out about rival products.

Comment Re:Not just Apple (Score 1) 337

There are plenty of reviews from established, recognised websites which rate the new Nokia phones very highly indeed. Outstanding hardware, good mobile OS, good battery life, etc etc etc.

You truly are brainwashed if you think this is just "astroturfing" by Microsoft when the truth is obviously that Apple is abusing its market power to skew search results in its favour.

Comment Re:Low standards (Score 5, Insightful) 285

the obvious correlation between piracy and decreased music sales is intellectually dishonest

What's intellectually dishonest is asserting that there is an "obvious correlation".

A few points about music:

1. Supply is effectively infinite. There is always something new you haven't listened to yet. You could never consume it all in one lifetime of non-stop listening.

2. Copying music without a licence does not in any way imply that you would buy the relevant music. At most, it implies that you were sufficiently interested to invest about 10 seconds of your time and about 10 cents worth of bandwidth to "check it out".

3. Copying music without a licence does imply that you are interested in listening to music generally. The more you copy, the more interested you are. There are studies showing that the biggest "pirates" tend to be the biggest spenders on music.

4. In my experience, there is an extremely strong correlation between people copying music and people buying music. Specifically, many people now essentially "try before they buy". For example, someone might download an old Radiohead album. If they have any taste, they will be blown away by its quality. Next time Radiohead release a new album, they will be far, far more likely to buy it than they were before.

5. Most people have a reasonably hard limit of how much spending on entertainment they can "justify". Because the supply of new music is near infinite, people are likely to spend up to their limit on music and then copy thereafter (not as neatly as that, but psychologically).

6. IIRC there is evidence that the rise in on-line copying has actually improved music sales.

7. Music isn't like a car. You don't download one album, then not want another one for 10 years.

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