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Comment Re:This is frightening (Score 1) 312

You don't have to build a fully-enclosed Dyson sphere to get vast benefits from stellar engineering. "Simply" putting up a fleet of steerable mirrors (a Dyson swarm) in solar orbit is fantastically useful all by itself, but it also gives you enough energy to make more of them, which in turn gives you enough power to fully surround, if not enclose, the star...which lets you harness its entire output as you like.

Everyone gets hung up on that one episode of Star Trek, but stellar engineering really does get more practical the more you do it.

Comment Re:mixed feelings and abstract hate. (Score 1) 917

Having sexual intercourse with someone of the same gender is usually a choice (Assuming there is no gun to your head). It is at least as much a choice as being overweight, underweight, or continuing an addiction. As a matter of fact, in some cases stopping an addiction can be deadly, but refraining from homosexual relationships is not.

Perhaps not directly. But depression can kill you (i.e. suicide) - and depression and/or suicide could be the end result of a misguided attempt to fight one's own natural tendencies.

We have already tacitly decided as a culture that we have no problem telling people to fight their natural tendencies; that ship sailed a long time ago.

We tell the fatasses to lose weight, and bombard them (and allow corporate d-bags to bombard them) with propaganda to get them to hate their bodies (so we can sell them diet and exercise products that won't work and we know won't work). How many fat people suffer from depression? How many of these people commit suicide annually?

We tell the ugly (and less than “knockout-level” attractive) people (especially girls) to do everything in their power, including surgery, to transform themselves into something that should be allowed to appear in public. How many teenage girls commit suicide annually because of the unrealistic body-images we show all day long on TV?

And you know what? We get the hell over it, because that's how the economy works and it's how we pay for all of our entertainment: if it weren't for the ads that make us hate something about ourselves, our bodies, our finances, our self-esteem (hah!), our allergies, our car, our house, our ISP, ad infinitum...there'd be no money to pay for the TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, Web sites, etc. we use every day...and there'd be no reason to buy much of anything, and there'd be no paychecks for the auto workers, drug makers, home builders, and sweatshop kids making all that crap we buy but don't need.

Sometimes it makes us feel bad, but we have a cure for that too.

Comment Re:Lies. (Score 1) 353

Apple owns CUPS. The same printing system as used by most linux distros as well as the BSD's.

Sure, because they bought it from Easy Software Products, and hired the guy (Mike Sweet) who actually wrote it.

...and then have the cojones to put this on the main page: “CUPS is the standards-based, open source printing system developed by Apple Inc. for Mac OS® X and other UNIX®-like operating systems.”

This is basically true, in that Apple continue to pay Mike, and he continues to develop CUPS...but it's also so so wrong.

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 1123

Both science and religion attempt to reconcile our observations of the world with our understanding of the world, so yes, they are comparable at a certain abstraction.

The difference is that one makes stuff up and says it's true no matter what, while the other one makes stuff up and includes the caveat: if it doesn't work as expected, it's time to come up with something better that has to fit all previous observations. In this sense, religion is the antithesis of science, as religion is 100% confident, while science's maximum is 99.999...%.

Religion also has a moral, social component that in order to maintain the above component, is likewise absolute and true regardless. If one discards the above and only follows this second component, religion becomes less religion and more organized spirituality. Then it is compatible with science.

You've got it exactly backwards (and wrong, but that's not the point I'm making). Understanding the world is not at all what religion is about, because it is irrelevant to religious thought. For example, the actual mechanism of the origin of species doesn't matter one bit to the religious part of a person, because he's far more interested in the facts on the ground -- what's going on around him, and religion has a lot to say on those subjects. That is, the explanations about the natural world provided by virtually all religions are purely in service of moral and social directives -- not the other way around.

The main reason we have this problem today is probably that the Catholic church was by far the largest sponsor of actual scientific inquiry, as well as the most organized educational system, and the largest source of government power, for hundreds of years.

People generally don't care how the universe works. What they want to know is how they should behave...but when the people telling you how to behave are also telling you how the universe works (because they're the only people actually investigating it), you believe them.

Galileo wasn't persecuted because he proved that the Earth revolved around the Sun (after all, Pope Clement VII had already expressed interest in Copernicus's theories); he was persecuted because he wanted to change Church dogma because of it...and that was just stupid.

Comment Re:[sigh] (Score 1) 457

Apple owns Objective-C. They have licensed portions back to GCC w/o the Apple runtime.

No, they don't, and no, they haven't.

Some time about 1999, Apple signed over the copyrights on their changes to GCC back to the FSF (who then licensed them back to Apple).

What Apple DID have was a trade mark on the name "Objective-C" (which Next Computer had previously bought from Stepstone Corp.), but it was canceled by the USPTO in 2006. (though there is a related trademark that was registered in 2008).

Either way, ownership of a trade mark does not equate to ownership of a programming language.


Submission + - MS exec: Pirating software? Choose Microsoft

An anonymous reader writes: ArsTechnica is running a story regarding Microsoft's view that should software piracy occur, Microsoft's desire is that the pirated software be theirs, to potentially, in the future, convert users from the "dark side" into legit users who obtain licenses...

"At the Morgan Stanley Technology conference last week in San Francisco, Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes commented on the benefits of software counterfeiting. 'If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else,' he said. 'We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products. What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.'"

Obviously Microsoft prefers the market to use their software even if it's pirated rather than the alternative to occur: the use of free software which threatens their dominance in the software market.
The Internet

Broadband Providers' Hidden Bandwidth Limits 443

An anonymous reader sends us to the Boston Globe for a story that will come as a surprise to few here: broadband suppliers will cut you off if you download too many bits. It tells the stories of several Comcast users who were warned — without specifics — that they were using "too much" bandwidth, then had their accounts summarily cancelled. Looking into the future: "...even if only a tiny fraction of customers are downloading enough to trigger the policy, that will probably change as more entertainment moves to the Internet."

Submission + - South Korea preempts robot uprising

An anonymous reader writes: CBC News reports that South Korea is drafting robot standards to govern robot behaviour in years to come. From the article: "The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future," the ministry said in a statement.

The Robot Ethics Charter will apparently be based on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. Read the article here.

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