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Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 2, Insightful) 463

I found this story puzzling, I would have expected Sony to do this rather than Microsoft. The fight against "piracy" is the fight against indie media, since the indies use the internet to get the word out and the mainstream monsters don't need it.

Nobody ever lost a dime to noncommercial infringement, but many great artists have starved from obscurity (very good example being Van Gogh, who only sold one painting for ten bucks in today's money, to his brother, to pay a debt). The fight against "piracy" is a fight against their indie competition, who DO cost them sales; fifty bucks I give Indie A is fifty bucks I don't have to give to MAFAA B.

Before CD burners and the internet the creator was dependent on publishers, but publishers are no longer needed. Publishers hate and fear the internet, with good reason.

Since Sony has publishing arms and MS doesn't this is really weird. Maybe MS is deliberately trying to kill the ex-box like it did FoxPro? It would make sense if Sony did it, but not Microsoft.

This pisses me off, as a former Sony victim I want that company to die horribly. Come on, Sony, follow Microsoft's lead and let Nintendo have the game business!

Submission + - EU websites track users without warning, against own rules (

Sam Lowry writes: European institutions are tracking users of their web sites, in breach of the EU's own data protection rules. The fact has been confirmed by Europe’s data protection watchdog, in an interview with EurActiv, while Brussels is reviewing privacy legislation to tackle the abuse.

Comment Re:A more interesting question (Score 1) 117

The book I'm working on right now is set only ten million years in the future, mankind has evolved into four distinct species, and has two warring planets manufacturing neutron stars as weapons.

I'm sure long before the sun is a red giant we'll have already been living on Ganymede and everywhere else, and possibly other star systems. Either that or (more likely) we'll be long extinct.

The idea of terraforming Mars will be fantasy for a long time, though.

Comment Re:A more interesting question (Score 2) 117

The thing is there really isn't a total extinction event. Well other than a supernova or being sucked into a black hole.

Four billion years ago a Mars sized planet smashed into the Earth and splashed, leaving the earth's surface molten and creating rings around it. The rings gravitationally coalesced into the moon. If Earth had harbored life when Earth had no moon, it would have all been obliterated. And supernovas have caused mass extinctions on earth before, but having people on Mars would also die from a supernova powerful enough to destroy all life on Earth.

We should be thinking about terraforming Ganymede, since a few billion years from now the sun will become a red giant and the three innermost planets will be swallowed by it. In Larry Niven's A World Out of Time they moved the Earth to Jupiter's orbit when the sun swelled.

Comment Re:I am surprised (Score 1) 117

I guess I've come to believe that life will evolve to meet just about any condition

It has to exist to evolve, and we still know little about life's beginnings. It may well be that life can survive and adapt but that it's still not be conducive to life's formation.

I find it interesting that oxygen was poisonous to Earth's first life forms.

Comment Re:Anyway (Score 3, Informative) 117

Can we just pick some bacteria and launch them up there? It's going to happen eventually, anyway. Might as well get it over with.

Rather than just destroying them, why not use them? An astronaut will need a pressure suit to walk around outside anyway since the air pressure is so low. This story got me curious, so I hit wikipedia.

They have been used for more than fifty years to treat thyroid disorders. They are used extensively within the pyrotechnics industry, and ammonium perchlorate is also a component of solid rocket fuel. Lithium perchlorate, which decomposes exothermically to produce oxygen, is used in oxygen "candles" on spacecraft, submarines, and in other situations where a reliable backup oxygen supply is needed.

Comment Re:Mostly off Windows... (Score 1) 1215

I'm running kubuntu, which is very windows-like except with the power and features of open source and lacking most of Windows' shortcomings. I have one very old tower running XP and only use that one for converting vinyl and cassette to CD; I haven't found a viable alternative to EAC on Linux. I'll have to take that box off of my network when Microsoft stops supporting it (the assholes). EAC is a free app, but not open source. Audacity lacks a critical feature EAC has.

The only thing keeping Windows on this notebook is laziness (well, I'm too busy working on Nobots. I should sweep my floor).

Comment Re:All I can say is ... (Score 1) 297

Realistically you have three options: Vote republican, vote democrat, or throw away your vote.

Not at all, that's a fallacy perpetrated by Republicans, Democrats, and the MSM. If you smoke pot and vote for either of those parties, you're voting to throw yourself in prison! If you don't smoke pot, some of your friends and loved ones do and you're voting for prison for them.

A vote for the main two is a vote for the status quo, your vote says you're happy with the way things are*. A vote for one of the other three viable parties, the ones who are on enough ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning if the MSM covered them is a vote of protest, a far more powerful statement than a write in vote for Mickey Mouse and far better than what most folks do when they hate both mainstream candidates, which is to just stay home.

* The one exception I can think of was when John Ashcroft lost his Senate seat to a dead man. Voting him out of office did no good at all, as Bush appointed him Attorney General right away.

Comment Re:Enjoyable (Score 1) 10

Well, the more you do of anything the better you usually get at it. As to edits, it depends on the story. I went through this one four or five times before I was satisfied, a longer one would take more editing. I have yet to go through Nobots once without changing something. The last time I went through it there were only two minor changes. My goal is to go through it five times without changing anything.

I've been spending almost all of my free time and some of my not so free time on it; "I look at he floor and I see it needs sweeping. Still, my guitar gently weeps." I think I'll hire some poor person to clean up my filthy house, paid a fellow from Felbers the last time my yard was bad enough I feared a letter from the city.

Springfield is like Florida -- nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there. When I retire next year I'll probably move back down to the St. Louis area, I have family and old friends I've known for decades living there.

Comment Re:Tech specs (Score 1) 115

Each balloon is 15m (49.2ft) in diameter - the length of a small plane - and filled with lifting gases. Electronic equipment hangs underneath including radio antennas, a flight computer, an altitude control system and solar panels to power the gear. Google aims to fly the balloons in the stratosphere, 20km (12 miles) or more above the ground, which is about double the altitude used by commercial aircraft and above controlled airspace. Each should stay aloft for about 100 days and provide connectivity to an area stretching 40km in diameter below as they travel in a west-to-east direction. (Citation)

I wish that guy would get an account, I would have never seen his comment if it wasn't that there were only two comments (in the last half hour!) higher than -1. Far better FA than the one linked in TFS.

Submission + - Google Tests Balloons to Bring Internet to Rural Areas

jones_supa writes: Google is running an experiment called Project Loon in New Zealand which involves launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground. The balloons will drift around the world on a controlled path and the attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country. Access will be intermittent, but in time the fleet can be expanded to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas. The balloons could one day be diverted to disaster-hit areas to aid rescue efforts in situations where ground communication equipment has been damaged. Each balloon is 15 m in diameter and filled with lifting gases. Equipment hangs underneath including radio antennae, a flight computer, an altitude control system and solar panels to power the gear. The ballons shall be flown in the stratosphere, 20 km or more above the ground (above controlled airspace). Each should stay aloft for about 100 days and provide connectivity to an area stretching 40 km in diameter below as they travel in a west-to-east direction.

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