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Comment Variation on time division multiplexing (Score 2) 79

While the hardware challenges are undoubtedly substantial, the basic idea is just a variation on time division multiplexing, which has been extensively used since the days of the telegraph, well before 1900. If this receives a patent, I hope it is for some hardware advance and not just because of the sharing of the fibre.

Comment Quite a few risks (Score 1) 249

I strongly suspect that few of the posters have actually shipped stuff by sea to the tropics, or viewed the typical handling of containers in a container yard.

As others have stated, the main risk of total loss is through pilferage. However, ships cargo gets much rougher handling than your checked baggage when traveling by air. The posters who say that lots of electronics gets shipped from the Far East to the US and Europe are correct. To get an idea of why most of it arrives undamaged, take a good look at the packaging your last Chinese made monitor arrived in. You could drop it from 20 feet and leave it for several hours in a sauna with no ill effects. If you want to just pack your stuff securely so it is not rolling around, then maybe you will get lucky, but I would not count on it.

Comment Re:First release of X ? (Score 1) 285

The first use of the name X was for X1 in June 1984. It originated at MIT. The name X was used to distinguish it from the earlier and rather different W (now you know why a Window system was abbreviate as "X": it was basically "W" mark 2). The obvious follow up question is when was W released? I cannot remember (perhaps never knew) and am too lazy to search the Internet to find out.

Comment Re:Real Cables (Score 1) 488

It is clear the reopening of Sweden's investigation into Assange, and the extradition proceedings, were at the behest of the Americans, but I am puzzled. Why does the US want to eventually extradite Assange from Sweden rather than more quickly from the UK? In this kind of political case, the UK is likely to be at least as cooperative as Sweden. Who has a good theory?

Comment Re:Of course. (Score 2) 1174

what I'm curious about is how long a reverse-terrorist attack will take to happen (enough westerners are so pissed off at islam that I do wonder how long it will be before some christian crashes a plane into a mosque or equiv).

I think an interesting example of this is the Anders Brevick affair: a middle class, white Christian male murders 77 mostly teenage victims to protest the increased acceptance of Islam in his country. A small proportion of the population anywhere that (i) feels irrationally strongly about some issue; and (ii) is powerless to fight it in any other way will convince themselves that it is helpful to protest the perceived (often real) wrong by attacking innocent third parties. Demonizing groups that are already extremely angry will make them even more unhappy and possibly turn 0.001% of them into terrorists.

Comment Airline likely concerned about refused entry (Score 1) 624

The only valid reasons an airline employee might have to refuse boarding to a passenger with a damaged passport are:
  • It is being proffered as proof of identity and is so badly damaged (for instance, the photograph is unrecognizable) as to be inadequate for that purpose. Or
  • (Only if boarding an international flight) the employee has a reasonable concern that the immigration official at the destination might refuse entry based on the condition of the passport. This is because the airline becomes responsible for returning you to your starting point should this occur. Airlines (and individual airline staff) vary in their strictness over this kind of issue. I strongly suspect that this was the real reason for refusing boarding, and the statements about the passport being a privilege was just a gratuitous (and rude and insensitive) comment.

Comment The Khan Academy video for starters (Score 1) 254

First, unless you are an expert debater, recognize that others can argue this better than you can. I suggest you ask him to spend 10 minutes watching the educational video on SOPA/PIPA put together by the folks at Khan Academy. Next suggest that he browse Doc Searl's (Harvard Law School) blog post on why SOPA/PIPA is a disaster waiting to happen. You might casually ask why he thinks even the sponsors of SOPA (once educated on the issues) have withdrawn their support.

Comment Oracle at fault again (Score 1) 94

Since the Oracle take over, it seems all Sun's products have been degraded. The likely consequences of allowing Oracle monopoly control of Sun were clear from the beginning. The interference with Java, OpenOffice and MySQL was bad enough, but they are now allowing Sun to emit dangerous plasma clouds. When are the responsible authorities going to take action to prevent Oracle from inconveniencing us all in this way.

Comment Re:Hello!!! (Score 1) 484

Perhaps, you would care to reread Judges 21. Here are some selected highlights:

10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.
11 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.”
12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
...
20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards
21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife.
...
23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.

This is according to the most recent translations. Trust me, the older translations are worse.

Comment Re:Hello!!! (Score 1) 484

If you will claim that it glorifies violence, would you also say that the Diary of Anne Frank glorifies violence? Because both are the same style of literature-- that is, historical writings, and both contain violence.

I guess I was not very observant, but I failed to read any approval of the violence in the Diary of Anne Frank. When "the lord" burns people who murmur against him, tells his people to kill all the non virgins of a town they have captured, but keep and rape all the virgins, mandates death for homosexuals, and a thousand other acts of violence in the OT, it is in the context that everything God does is beyond approach.

Comment Re:Hello!!! (Score 2) 484

It's the Old Testament! THAT, isn't a childrens story!

It also is of dubious artistic merit, contains explicit sex scenes and glorifies violence. If one is going to justify censorship at all, I can see no reason why the sale and possession of this filth should not be banned.

Comment Re:That's not the first memorable 09-11 (Score 1) 804

I am not a history buff, but even my hazy recollections were enough to know that your post contains some pretty dubious thinking

Catalonia wasn't a nation then (otherwise they wouldn't have taken part in the war to choose Spain's next king, would they?)

Based on this logic, Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Portugal and the Holy Roman Empire would not have been nations either, since they most definitely took part in the war. Nevertheless, I would tend to accept that Catalonia's independence by that point in its history was questionable.

Feel free to point _any_ time of history before 1714 when Catalonia was an unified entity

The same Wikipedia article you researched contains these quotes:

... after the defeat of Emir Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqiwas's troops at Tours in 732 local Visigoths regained autonomy , though they voluntarily made themselves tributary to the emerging Frankish kingdom, [emphasis mine]

and

As part of the Crown of Aragon — most historians would say the dominant part — the Catalans became a maritime power, expanding by trade and conquest into Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and even Sardinia and Sicily.

This second quote suggests to me that, at a certain point of time, the Crown of Aragon amounted to a Catalonian empire. As with all empires, it eventually collapsed, but Catalonia has arguably as much right to a claim of nationhood as England, (previously the centre of the British Empire, and now a constituent part of the United Kingdom)

Comment Re:Murky: could be good or bad (Score 1) 142

This brings up some interesting points: if you have a property interest in a domain, then what do you pay the yearly fee for?

Administrative costs. In a similar way, once I stake a claim to a particular trademark, I continue to own it as long as I do not abandon it. IMHO, this is an easy decision, though I agree there will be pressure in some quarters to get it quashed.

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