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Comment Terrible idea (Score 1) 159

Terrestrial radio uses frequency division AND geographic separation in order to provide communications ability to the users on this planet. To tinker with the ionosphere would increase propagation even for those signals for which propagation beyond line of sight was not a significant concern. Not every user needs over-the-horizon signaling. To a very large degree, we use the horizon effect for useful things- for one, it allows us to have multiple 100KW television transmitters all using the same channel all on the same continent. Ionospheric changes will have negligible effect on the power needed to adequately cover a metropolitan area with signal, and may actually INCREASE the power needed to swamp a distant signal that's intruding spatially into another market.

Comment The real problem (Score 1) 1145

I think the real problem is that there's a minimum required to not be homeless in most developed nations. There are ZERO apartments in most areas that would be described as "basic", having just a bedroom and a bathroom and a kitchenette. We are therefore burdened with having to have middle-class income to even live within the law. Nobody builds basic, poverty-level housing anywhere. This means that while you work in a gas station or restaurant, or wherever you're underpaid or not employed within your primary career, you're shit out of luck. This affects college students whose parents do not contribute, or can't, and disproportionately affects teens who grew up in state care as orphans or wards of the state. In those circumstances, when you turn 18, you're turned out onto the streets. If you make it, fine. If you don't, nobody cares. Having a brother in law who grew up in state care and who is currently homeless, I am always surprised at the sheer number of homeless people who have similar circumstances, and cannot get out of it because to maintain a job, you have to have a place to live, and to have a place to live, you have to have maintained a job long enough for first and last month's rent, a security deposit, and you have to miraculously have a decent credit rating, somehow, after being homeless. It's one of those things where there's a crack in society, and once you're in it, unless a miracle happens and someone offers you a place to stay for basically free, you'll never get out of it on your own.

Comment Re:It's Heartbreaking you're not in Jail (Score 1) 482

Several emails sent through the server state in absolute terms that the reason to operate a private email server is to avoid Freedom Of Information Act compliance and other Federal requirements and data requests. The entire purpose of that server was to avoid legal compliance and transparency. The reason she had her own server rather than a Gmail or Hotmail account is that Google or Microsoft could be subpoena'd and would comply and turn over records, but you can wipe or destroy a server that's completely under your control and utterly avoid recordkeeping for criminal or incriminating correspondence.

Comment Re: The Taste must have been fired also (Score 2) 474

The Gros Michel banana is not extinct. It just is rarely grown because it's vulnerable to a blight, and growing an entire field of it practically guarantees that you'll lose your crop. It is grown in smaller crops to guard against this. You can get them, but not cheaply, and not at your store.

Comment Re:How much was this advertisement? (Score 1) 99

It's actually NVIDIA that doesn't have something in the 200 dollar price point that's even remotely new. It's completely inappropriate to compare a 200 dollar card to a 325 to 350 dollar card. Most consumers don't buy 400 to 800 dollar cards. AMD knows VR cannot succeed without a mid-range mainstream card that is capable of VR, and without capability, people won't experience VR, and if they don't experience it, they won't demand better hardware, and AMD won't have business. But- If both vendors make VR capable cards at the 200 dollar price point, then there WILL be demand for VR, and after that, demand for even better hardware to run VR with, and then both AMD and NVIDIA make money. Nobody demanded video games on computers until computers with video games capabilities hit an accessible price point, and VR is no different. It is NVIDIA that decided to launch their 700 dollar card and 450 dollar card first, and delay the MAINSTREAM card. AMD instead launched the mainstream card FIRST, with the 400 dollar cards coming later.

Comment Re:Hold Ma Beer and Watch This! (Score 1) 1023

The argument that companies would rather have nobody rather than pay more is ludicrous and is NEVER USED with any other commodity such as fuel or flour. It exists purely to allow fiscal hegemonies to keep a vendor (us) from raising their prices. If your employer could make do without you RIGHT NOW, you'd be out the door. But there are certain times when you need someone's help in order for you to make money. And that's not going to change. There will always be times when the owner of a business needs a human being to do something for him. And what we have to decide on is whether it's gonna be that guy who pays the worker, or whether it's going to be the taxpayer.

Because starving potential thieves existing in large numbers is simply not an option, never has been. If 20 percent of your population falls into danger of starvation, your wealthy will be murdered and your government overthrown. No amount of Apache helicopters can fix a nation that has that kind of problem, and automation WILL bring us the potential for that level of problem. All that's required is a tiny dip in ambition among the investor class at this point.

Someone's going to be feeding the working people of this nation. I propose that it should be the employer.

Comment I doubt that they've contemplated the implications (Score 1) 209

First, Stone fails to imagine the possibility that his exposure to the workings of the NSA was a sanitized charade. Once the data is collected and stored, there is no limit to how many groups can make use of the data in its raw form.

Second, Stone fails to grasp the potential for such data. With this data, an incumbent and his cabinet can identify potential troublemakers, sort them by level of influence, and then simply selectively watch them until they break some obscure law, and prosecute it aggressively. Or even accuse them of having child pornography, since we already know that juries, the press and the public lose objectivity the minute the subject is raised, and the burden of proof goes right out the window. It allows the State to form an Enemies List, to know who dislikes what policy and how influential they are on social media or within their circle of activists.

From now on, we'll never be totally sure, when a politician or activist is prosecuted for something, that he was caught through the normal happenstance of law enforcement or whether he was expressly targeted because he opposes an incumbent or moneyed interests.

Comment Re:And the scientific evidence for this conclusion (Score 1) 391

> First, there is no reason to believe that we can built robots that can reproduce themselves.

What? This is exactly the technology humans are trying to reach! We're already a significant way down this path!!

> Second, there is no evidence that we or anyone else can build intelligent machines, as the original story seems to presuppose.

Nature did it. We can do it.

> Third, biological organisms are so many orders of magnitude more efficient and flexible than machines that it barely makes sense to put them into the same qualitative category "form of life".

This whole conversation is about extrapolating on the cosmic scale. If you look at the path robotics has taken in the last century it does, as pointed out, actually support the premise of this article.

> Hint: A human consumes only about 2.9 kilowatt hours per day, the equivalent of 1-2 light bulbs ...

Not relevant. Once machines are replicating and repairing themselves they'll do exactly what we do and find other sources of energy.

Frankly I agree with you that it's hard to picture Transformers inhabiting the universe, but OP did make a really good point that extrapolation isn't even in the ballpark of refuting this clown. Honestly I'm shocked he didn't come back with that XKCD cartoon.

Comment Re:How important is that at this point? (Score 2) 197

Thank you! You've given me reason to sit up and pay attention when 3 rolls around, I appreciate that.

I would recommend against showing the more diehard Photoshop fans that link, though. It won't get you anywhere because what it really needs to be is a list like this:

- GIMP has a plugin/feature for automatically generating normal maps from elevation data.

- GIMP has a perspective correction feature that is superior to Photoshops in that it...

- GIMP's 'save all layers' button saves all of the layers in your file into seperate files.

.. or something like that. In the list you gave me, points 1 through 4, and 7, are irrelevant if somebody already has Photoshop. Given its de-facto marketshare, that is likely.

5 is horribly overrated. Lots of artists can script, but few (if any) can make actual plugins or modify the source code. (Even if they do dig in to the code how do they maintain those features when a new version of GIMP comes along?) I do want to mention, though, that there's another reply to my original post that seems to have covered the scripting point. I haven't checked it out yet but given that scripting is something I do, I'm certainly interested in trying that out.

6 needs an extra line, something like: "its better than Photoshop's Batch feature because...."

10... actually this is a really good one. In fact, just before this thread started, I went and found the portable version and downloaded in. Why? Welp, if the scripting that Culture20 posted a link to turns out to be worthwhile for me, coupling that with a portable version of GIMP is *awesome*. What that means is I will be able to automate certain tasks AND keep a fresh install on my DropBox account so I can even use it off-site. This is 1 out of 9.5 (I gave partial credit to the source-code bit) and, as you can already see from other replies you've gotten, most are refutable.

I'm a little worried you might read my post and think that I'm trying to perpetuate the GIMP vs. Photoshop debate. I'm not, instead I'm trying to explain what needs to happen explanation-wise to get more Photoshop people to try GIMP out. I think there's this mentality that people should switch to GIMP and that's simply not true. If you got the professional Photoshop users to start using GIMP for certain tasks, you may find that some studios may find it worth their time to invest some development time into improving it. Given how Adobe has been dicking around with the licensing, this would be a good time to get that ball rolling. Start touting the unique features it has that shave man-hours off a project. If those features don't exist, then the team needs to start talking to people like me and finding out what else they need.

Comment Re:How important is that at this point? (Score 4, Interesting) 197

Care to run off a list of ways that "GIMP doesn't come close"? If it's really so bad, it shouldn't be that difficult to name at least a dozen or so... In actuality, I expect that enumerating the shortcomings of GIMP will not be in quantity, but in terms of a relatively small number of particularly desirable features that many may perceive as critically important in such software.

Hi, professional artist here. Your latter point, at least from my perspective, is correct. I know Photoshop really well, but since I make my living doing this work I am not biased in a way that'd prevent me from using a free tool. Let me be extra clear: It would hurt me to be fanboyishly loyal to be any particular app. I do pick up and mess with GIMP from time to time, but it has two critical omissions from Photoshop that make it unusable in my field. First, it lacks adjustment layers. Second, it lacks Smart Objects.

These are both features intended to do non-destructive editing of imagery. Let's say you have a tree with green leaves. You can create a Hue/Saturation 'adjustment layer' that will turn all the green pixels beneath it blue. If you put a picture of a different tree below that layer, its leaves would turn blue, too. If you took that tree and made it a 'smart object', you'd effectively be snapshotting that image and every operation you do causes it to regenerate itself. In other words, if you shrank a Smart Object down, then scaled it back up again, you'd get all its original detail back.

If you're creating imagery it doesn't take long for these two features to change your workflow in such a way that you gain a HUGE time savings. In fact I have created several templates to speed up the generation of images I do that I just plain cannot do in GIMP. Realistically speaking that is enough man-hours lost that I'd actually make a greater profit paying for Photoshop than I would saving the cost of the license in favor of GIMP.

With that said, I'd be *very* happy if you told me that version 3 would add these features. I'd also be very happy if somebody could tell me what GIMP does that Photoshop doesn't. It's free. if it shaves man-hours off my work, then load me up with the tips. I ain't gonna switch, but I ain't above using both.

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