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Comment Gotta love medical community rhetoric, never fails (Score 3, Informative) 342

I just love how they bring up the "% of folks who tested positive for marijuana" like every other slanted sound bite does when it comes to this supposed epidemic of stoned drivers. What they fail to clarify, as usual, is that the vast majority of those people were also drunk, on pills, and/or on other narcotics at the time, which is why they were being tested and presumably were impaired in the first place. They just happened to smoke a joint at some point during all their other drug use. The amount of folks who have only smoked marijuana at some point and driven dangerously enough to pull over is rather tiny.

Comment "A Song of Copper and Fiber" (Score 1) 139

Wow, HBO wasn't whistling Dixie earlier this year when the new season of their most popular show was premiering and they insisted they were working diligently on making their content more available, between the Amazon deal and now this.

The reason is simple: because Game of Thrones.

While it's still not hitting Sopranos in traditional ratings, between the HBOGO and DVR ratings it's estimated it's audience right up there with the largest scripted TV network show right now (beating BBT) - if you factor in pirating it's easily the most watched scripted television show currently in production worldwide, period.

Not only that, but the merchandising is making HBO a bundle right now - they can afford to take this route. Truth be told, I doubt the cable companies cared much - HBO is a huge PITA for them post-GoT, because folks sign up for three months just to watch it then drop it, and they clog the phone centers with "retention" calls to a huge degree trying to worm free HBO out of them for whatever complaint (which usually gets you 3 months, same length as a season).

I'm not a white hat, but I'm not a "download everything free mwhahahaha world owes me anyway" type either. That said - this pretty much takes any "valid" excuse away from pirating the show - and those that still do so are really crapping on the content. I know it won't change most, or even many, folks doing this - but if ever there was a time to support something financially, it's here. The money paid to HBO for subscriptions pays for these shows and keeps them on the air. There are no commercials, no subsidizing with other network divisions, etc. - this is as "real" and direct as it gets for directly supporting traditional content.

FWIW, this was my final impetus. I've been ready to dump cable for two years now (and if you knew how much I love TV you would find the notion itself shocking), but in the end, it was ease of access to HBO, Dallas on TNT (which just got canned), and Nick at Night - besides the "it's already installed" convenience factor - that are why I hadn't cut yet. With HBO accessible on it's own, Nick at Night isn't going to cut it for $150/month. All told, once I get alternate internet, Hulu, HBO, TiVo, etc. I'm going to be paying more like $80 a month for content, which is just fine with me (especially since I can cut those bills if need be or desire wanes much easier than just having to get rid of everything like you do with cable).

So props to HBO for taking the leap - I'll be signing up on day one.

Comment Re:The Year of Windows on the Desktop (Score 5, Insightful) 545

You do realize desktop Linux distros have been unbelievably easy to install (or even run from a Live CD) for the last decade or so don't you? Nobody has been "forced" into using Windows just because it happened to ship as the default for a very long time.

That's like telling someone that "a space shuttle is really easy to use, someone on the ground actually presses the "launch" button for you!"

Sure, automated initial installs have been all wrapped up in little wizard-like packages. That's not the point, it's the ongoing installation and management of packages and versions and such that you have to keep up on.

I get Linux, I do. I have used it on spare PC's before. But I just don't have time to use it on my main machines, because while I'd love that much time to tinker around and do all kinds of clever things with it to hone it to be the ultimate OS for me - I just don't have that kind of time to spend on it consistently. You have to "keep up" with Linux as a hobby way too much for folks that just need to get tasks done on a PC when they sit at it (especially with tablets in the picture, as for a lot of us we spend a lot less time tied to larger machines since we do a lot of consumption that way now).

It's one of those things that I'm glad it's there, I wish I had time - and maybe someday, but since I don't install crap on my PC and I don't go to sketchy websites (well aside from this one LOL), and I take a modicum of security precautions, I do OK with Windows. I never have to ask if I can run something on my machine, why I buy a product that can connect to a PC via USB or network (camera, Blu-ray, etc.) I never have to wonder if the driver software will work for me or if I'll have to spend hours hoping to get it working with whatever I can scrounge up, I never have to search out solutions around how to do what I want, etc.

In the end, yeah, Windows, yuck, but deal-able, and it's really disingenuous to pretend that because they have dumb downed the initial install package to Windows levels, that the actual ongoing user experience of Linux is nearly that plug and play for most folks, so to speak.

Comment Re:The fantasy of the "rogue" that was right. (Score 1) 770

Notice how all the verifiable data that we have since the first models started this hoax have failed?


No, I don't notice that. Care to be more explicit?

Manhattan isn't underwater, nor does it appear to be in any danger of being so for quite some time, for one. (The height of the water level around Manhattan has gone up about a foot and a half since the mid-19th century when we started keeping track of it. This can largely be attributed to development since then such as deeper shipping lanes, etc. - i.e., we put a lot more shit in the water now than we used to - well, less untreated shit shit, but more of everything else.)

The Climate Change promoters were telling us in the 90's and even into the 00's that by now, we'd be close to losing the city.

Get those troll mod fingers ready (I have excellent karma, I can take it - and every troll mod vote when someone mentions the obvious on this topic is understood to be "that person has a really good point that I wish wasn't true" - just like true faith believers): the scientific community of 2014 is to the scientific community of 1955 as the Republican Party of 2014 is to the Republican Party of 1955.

'nuff said.

Comment Re:35% is high, yes, but ... (Score 0) 165

Countries that charge a higher sales tax/VAT often get many more services for their taxes, however. A least in Europe. For example, I'm fine with a 20% sales tax if it buys everyone healthcare. The US would be far better off under a much more sales tax oriented system, to begin with (as we have no national sales tax, period, only by state).

Of course, you don't tax necessities like that (the basics, food, clothing up to a certain amount, etc), but beyond that - if you can afford a $4000 TV, you can afford a $4800 TV. If you can buy a diamond ring for $10,000, you can afford $12,000. It's a more fair system to pay for things, where you don't tax folks as much for working as for spending.

Now, of course, that's in a relatively more ideal world where we aren't spending trillions of dollars on the useless drain of a war industry it would actually be used for, so in this case I think it doesn't matter how they get the money out of us because it's not being used to improve our lives or our country anyway.

Comment Re:Truly the best scams (Score 5, Interesting) 251

True, but the gap of "standard knowledge" isn't as bad as it used to be. At least it's getting better. If any message has gotten through, it's been not to give out information to an unknown phone caller. I'm sure it must work sometimes or they wouldn't be doing it, but since email spam has been largely eliminated from most end-user experiences, it seems going back to the phone scams is a bit too late because folks are going to click on an email link much more readily than give out any info to an unknown phone caller these days.

I have a friend in her 50's who's parents are in their late 70's, and they just got one of these calls last week. To give you an idea of their technical proficiency, they still use AOL mail (and Facebook is too difficult for them to use). The caller wanted their windows installation ID. They kept them on the phone for like 20 minutes - while they used their other phone to call Microsoft, LOL. The scammer gave up when they realized what was going on, and they never gave them any personal info. So, even they knew something was "wrong" and didn't fall for it. That's just one anecdotal example, granted, but again these are the very folks that they are trying to get who have wised up and are especially vigilant about phone callers in particular (organizations like AARP are actually really good at educating folks about not falling for scams).

The funny (sad?) part was the parents understood exactly what happened during the attempted scam (bad guy trying to get their computer info), but what they didn't understand was why Microsoft didn't seem very interested in "getting 'em" after the fact - they wanted to fill out a report about the scam, etc., and MS basically said "you did the right thing, thanks, /click" - they just didn't understand why MS wasn't going to investigate further, call the phone company to get records, etc. That was the only difficult thing for them to understand and had to be explained to them, LOL. So even though they may not totally get the larger view of the picture, they knew not to give out any information which was the important part.

Submission + - European Rosetta space craft about to rendezvous with comet (

Taco Cowboy writes: After a long 10 year journey spanning some four (4) billion kilometers, Rosetta, an interplanetary space craft from the ESA (European Space Agency), is on its final approach to comet Comet 67P (or comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko)

The last in a series of 10 thruster firings over the past few months has slowed Rosetta to the pace of a person walking, about two miles per hour relative to the speed of its target at a distance of about 60 miles

Photographs have already revealed a surprisingly irregular shape for the 2.5-mile-wide comet, possibly an amalgamation of two icy bodies or a result of uneven weathering during previous flybys. From a distance, the blurry blob initially looked somewhat like a rubber duck. As the details came into the focus, it now more resembles a knob of ginger flying through space

Wednesday marks a big moment for space exploration: After a few thruster rockets fire for a little over six minutes, Rosetta will be in position to make the first-ever rendezvous with that comet nickname "Rubber Duck"

This burn, expected to start at 11 a.m. central European time, will tip Rosetta into the first leg of a series of triangular paths around the comet, according to the Paris-based European Space Agency, or ESA, which oversees the mission. Each leg will be about 100 kilometers (62 miles) long, and it will take Rosetta between three to four days to complete each leg

There will be a live streaming webcast of Rosetta’s Aug. 6 orbital arrival starting at 8 a.m. GMT via a transmission from ESA’s spacecraft operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany

Submission + - Verizon Throttles Data to "Provide Incentive to Limit Usage"

An anonymous reader writes: About a week ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked for Verizon's justification on its policy of throttling users who pay for unlimited data usage. "I know of no past Commission statement that would treat 'as reasonable network management' a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for 'unlimited' service," the FCC wrote. In its response, Verizon has indicated that its throttling policy is meant to provide users with an incentive to limit their data usage. The company explained that "a small percentage of the customers on these [unlimited] plans use disproportionately large amounts of data, and, unlike subscribers on usage-based plans, they have no incentive not to do so during times of unusually high demand....our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others."

Submission + - Ancient worms may have saved Earth (

sciencehabit writes: You can credit your existence to tiny wormlike creatures that lived 500 million years ago, a new study suggests. By tunneling through the sea floor, scientists say, these creatures kept oxygen concentrations at just the right level to allow animals and other complex life to evolve. The finding may help answer an enduring mystery of Earth’s past.

The idea is that as they dug and wiggled, these early multicellular creatures—some were likely worms as long as 40 cm—exposed new layers of seafloor sediment to the ocean’s water. Each new batch of sediment that settles onto the sea floor contains bacteria; as those bacteria were exposed to the oxygen in the water, they began storing a chemical called phosphate in their cells. So as the creatures churned up more sediment layers, more phosphate built up in ocean sediments and less was found in seawater. Because algae and other photosynthetic ocean life require phosphate to grow, removing phosphate from seawater reduced their growth. Less photosynthesis, in turn, meant less oxygen released into the ocean. In this way, the system formed a negative feedback loop that automatically slowed the rise in oxygen levels as the levels increased.

Submission + - Edward Snowden is not alone! ( 2

bobbied writes: Apparently Edward Snowden is not alone. CNN is reporting that recent leaked documents published by "the Intercept" (a website that has been publishing Snowden's leaked documents) could not have been leaked by Snowden because they didn't exist prior to his fleeing the USA and he couldn't possibly have accessed them. Authorities are said to be looking for a new leaker.

Submission + - Microsoft's Xbox One Is Failing 1

Monkey writes: Even with the price cut after Microsoft un-bundled the Kinect from the Xbox One, the console is still struggling to gain market share from Sony's Playstation 4. From the article:
"Prior to the Kinect-less version of the Xbox One, the console was averaging around 40,000 units per week. This rose about 50% to 60,000 per week after the lower price was introduced, but that's still roughly half of the weekly sales of Sony's PlayStation 4."

Comment Re:Nerd Blackface (Score 4, Insightful) 442

Oh please. I don't think many of you have ever seen a sitcom before.

Sam Malone had a sex addiction problem. Monica Gellar had severe OCD. Roseanne had anger management issues.

That's what's hilarious about the folks who cry about BBT - they take it so seriously because it hits a lot closer to home than they would like folks to believe and they simply don't have the ability to laugh at themselves.

Did folks criticize Mary Tyler Moore Show for not being an accurate enough representation of life in a network news room? Probably, if they worked in one and didn't have a sense of humor.

As to TFA, I'm very glad for them - they earned this - this show is going to bring in billions because of the syndicated deal, the hell is merchandised out of it as well (I was at a LCBS yesterday and they had an entire section of BBTS merch), and they are getting a small cut now. Is everyone on TV overpaid to some extent, sure. But comparatively, these are not outrageous salaries, particularly in this current climate of a hit TV show being as rare as it is, particularly on networks. If the entire industry is going to rake in such money, I'm glad that the folks in front of the camera who are largely responsible for my enjoyment of the show as opposed to executives who just sit and approve shit.

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